Monthly Archives: May 2012

Red tie party: Apps.

We recently hosted a send-off party for our dear friends Kim & Danny who were moving back to our beloved San Francisco. Invite: Paperless Post.

The red choice was inspired by the People’s Republic of China and as it turns out just picking one color can make quite an impact!

I kept the appetizers SUPER simple… strawberries with a little creme fraiche mixed with a little sugar. 

Caprese salad… but I did find cute little toothpicks with a red ball on Shanghai Street that made them a lot more festive!

Sangria is a great red drink. Here is the recipe I used and everyone (but preggers me) loved!

I also served some red pepper crudites with spinach dip… appetizers really don’t have to be that complex! And as you’ll see tomorrow: the entrée was pretty heavy so it was nice to have something fresh and light.

Here we are with the guests of honor.

And here I am with my friend Kim… I miss her already! Although luckily I will get to see her while in San Francisco!

And here the Mr. is manning the bar with some rosé wine, another great red-ish cocktail.

All photos by the very talented Becky Benians.

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Pretty Eggs Bennie.

I hope you are all looking forward to the weekend… and for those of you in the States, to a long weekend!

One of the best things about weekends is brunching… I just had to share this picture of what I think may be the pretties Eggs Bennie I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing and eating at the Verandah over on the South Side. Their brunch is phenomenal and includes a brass quartet.

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Monique’s birthday: Salads and lemon cake.

My friend Mo was nice enough to spend her birthday with our Stitch n’B*tch group so I put together a little vegetarian salad spread for her. Our friend Lauren, who recently moved back to the States, was also in town so it was a double celebration.

Yes, you really can feed 12 hungry ladies with just salads. And I venture to think with these filling and delicious salads even macho men would be happy with this menu.

My friend Mo also loves the color purple (her husband even got here a purple sapphire for an engagement ring–it is STUNNING) so I tried to incorporate purple into the tabletop and into some of the dishes…

The first salad was Fingerling Potato, Fig, and Tarragon Salad, which I found on Garden of Eden, and which Darcy found in In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams by Jody Adams and Ken Rivard. I actually saw fresh figs in a Hong Kong supermarket so I snapped them up instead of opting for dried. The purple in this one was the figs and some of the fingerlings.

One the left: Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Fresh Herbs discovered on Garden of Eden and originally from Molly Wizenberger, the author of the fabulous cooking blog Orangette and the enjoyable book A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table. This salad has become a staple lunch for when it’s just me working at home… it’s so easy, you have everything you need for it in your pantry, and it’s so delicious!

On the right: Barley and Corn Salad with Arugula and Haricot Vert discovered on Smitten Kitchen, but originally from Bon Appetit, July 1998. This is so good with fresh sweet corn and crispy green beans!

On the left (and this may have been the crowd favorite): Ottolenghi’s roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt. I have the Ottolenghi cookbook (thanks to my friend Kirsten’s recc) and I LOVE it. Ottolenghi is a restaurant / deli in London ran by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, who infuse their cooking with references to their childhoods growing up in Jereusalem. All the recipes are pretty simple and insanely fresh! You can find the eggplant recipe here, too though if you don’t own the cookbook. This is a really different take on eggplant… it pairs so well with the saffron yogurt and the sweet/tartness of the pomegranates, which also really checked the purple box.

On the right: Kale Salad with Pears, found by me on Garden of Eden, but  adapted by Darcy from this recipe on Food52. It is so healthy to eat kale raw and by letting the kale marinate with fresh lemon juice, you let it really soften up.

And of course no birthday is complete without a cake! Keeping with the light theme, I made my go-to Ina Garten Lemon Yogurt Cake

My friend Tori passed on this recipe years back and I’ve never looked back. It is so easy (no need to even use a mixer) and so moist and fresh. My only change (and it’s a good one) is to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and I get away with 1/3 of a cup, not 1/2 a cup.

Happy Birthday Mo! xxxxx

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Cash is king: the HK Apple store.

In Hong Kong, it’s very common to see mainlanders come over and buy very expensive things–all in cash. So the Hong Kong apple store needs a bill counter at the register.

They avoid the luxury tax of the mainland, which can be as much as 50%, and in some instances the money may not be entirely legit (i.e. bribes) so buying handbags or computers is a good way to spend it.

Apple even has bill counters for people who buy laptops with cash. I’ve heard of smaller retailers employing a person full-time to be on hand to count wads of cash. And, lastly, cash is still king here; it just isn’t as much of a credit card / ATM card economy. Pretty crazy huh?

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Girls weekend: Thailand shower.

We did a little shower for Monique while in Thailand.

It was the traditional, hang up all the lingerie and make the bride guess who gave what.

But the exotic locale made it a little more fun!

I love how lush and green it is there… but you do have to accept that it also rains daily to make that possible.

It’s good to make sure at least one gal gives a white ensemble for this game…

Can you tell the bride-to-be’s favorite color is purple?

Here’s her special chair: the headband was actually a gift from my girls on my bachelorette, but I thought this was the perfect occasion to break it out again.

We didn’t get around to playing until it was dark, so Lauren is nicely highlighting each outfit with her phone!

And Mo is making her guesses with her flashlight! 

I think her trousseau is in good shape for the honeymoon… I hope she plays the paper bag game where she makes her new husband pick out a new outfit for each night…

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