Archive for Sep 2012

September 27, 2012 Heading East

 

NYC 2 Heading East

I love NYC.  I mean, it’s energy, it’s culture, it’s grit.  I love it all and I love that I get to go at least once a year!   Every year my family convenes in this incredible city for a long weekend.  We eat, we shop, we eat some more and then we exercise.  It’s become a tradition to run the Tunnel to Towers race.  It follows the path Stephen Siller, and FDNY firefighter took on 9-11 from Brooklyn, through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and up to the World Trade Center.  It’s incredibly emotional and a really powerful thing.   Fire fighters and police officers come from around the world to run, most of them in their full gear, just as Stephen Siller did.  There are flags, cheerleaders, bands and some amazing patriotism.

On our first run in 2010, Chris shot some amazing footage of the race and you can see the video here.  Still brings tears to my eyes.

If you’re going to be in the NYC area this Sunday, you should definitely come out!  It will definitely be one of the more amazing things you’ll ever do.

September 17, 2012 Cocktail Hour: Sgroppino

 

Although it doesn’t quite feel like it in Los Angeles yet, it seems that summer is coming to a close.  The nights are longer, there’s the tiniest hint of a chill in the air, and the roads are packed with little ones heading to and from school.  So, as a last ode to a wonderful summer, Jess made a sgroppino for me.  Mario Batali touts it as the perfect way to “untie the knot” from a deliciously filling dinner.  And I couldn’t agree more!   It’s the perfect concoction to sip on the back porch at the end of a long day.  Enjoy!

End of Summer 1 Cocktail Hour: Sgroppino

 

Sgroppino

 

1 cup vodka

1 pint lemon gelato

1/2 bottle of prosecco

1 cup ice cups

 

Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until frothy and smooth.  Pour into chilled champagne flutes or coupes.

 

Sometimes, Jess recommends books to me that really make me wonder about her.  How could she possibly enjoy this?  Or think that I might enjoy it?  A teen romance?!  And then I read it, because she has never ever steered me wrong.  This book is fantastic.  It makes me wish I had been this girl when I was in high school.  Or even known that I could have been this girl in high school!

Oh, and just a note… this book is incredibly heavy!  It’s not that big, but it’s super heavy.  One of those that you think you should buy for an e-reader, but the illustrations are so good, you really must see it in full color!

Skirball 057 Flipping Pages: Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Hey Everybody! Summer is officially OVER and this week’s got me looking forward to Autumn (or the extended summer we have here in LA) and looking backward with longing at what used to be my favorite time of year: Back to School. It’s sick, I know, but I used to get excited at the promise of new assignments, fresh school supplies and end-of-summer gossip (I went to school when people were much less technologically connected). I thought we should read something that takes us back to that time, when the week after Labor Day meant new beginnings and cool breezes and being a grown-up was something to be put off for as long as possible.

Full-Disclosure: this is a Young Adult book. But that’s ok! We were all Young Adults once…not so long ago! I’m not sure what it was about this book that piqued my interest. Perhaps it was the illustrations by one of my favorites, Maira Kalman. Or I just have strong urges to revisit those formative years of my youth and remember what it was like for everything to be so downright new. Why We Broke Up is a letter from Min to her former boyfriend, Ed, detailing all the ways their short love affair was just plain wrong. I love that Daniel Handler, sometimes also known as Lemony Snicket, so totally nails what it’s like to be a confused and yet very cool teenage girl. Ed repeatedly tells Min she’s “not like other girls.” In fact, she is. She could be any of us, really. She meets a popular guy at a party, he pursues her, she is completely enchanted by him and blind to some pretty huge warning signs.

After I read this little gem, I had a marathon session of My So-Called Life episodes, an old favorite that shares so much in common with the book. The show aired when I was a sophomore in high school, and it was truly the first time I saw characters on television that could’ve been plucked straight from the halls of my school. The show beautifully represented what it was like to be a teenager in the late 90′s and it was refreshing to finally see that I wasn’t alone out there, that whatever I was going through was fairly normal. So sad that they only filmed one season! (And what’s even more disturbing: I found myself identifying with the parents in the show this time around! Noooo!) The entire season is available on Netflix, Amazon and iTunes, so definitely catch it if you haven’t already!

xo, Jessica

 

There’s a Tumblr page that people can post their own break-up stories on…adorbs!
This page is a collection of posts that Daniel has responded to…hilarious!

I have a beautiful Pinterest board full of amazing looking desserts.  Things that literally make my mouth water.  But I hate making anything on it unless I have other people to eat it.  Otherwise, I definitely make a few trips to the kitchen while I’m supposed to be working to nibble.  And if I nibble all day long, all of the dessert disappears.

But recently, I just had to make something.  I wanted to bake!  Even though there was no where to take it!  So, I opened up my Pinterest app, took a quick spin through the board, threw my finger down and landed on this beautiful Cherry Cake.  Decided there would be less nibbling if I made cupcakes instead (and I could force Chris to take some to his office!)  Deeelicious!   So good!  They are now all gone. Opps.

cupcakes 001 In The Kitchen: Cherry Cupcakes

Cherry cake


Adapted From Call Me Cupcake
100 g softened butter

1 3/4 sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1/2 vanilla bean

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 large egg whites

2 tbsp kirsch liqueur

Handful of fresh cherries

Pink food coloring

 

1. Heat oven to 175° (350F).

2. Butter and flour two 15 cm/6 inch baking pans.

3. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add milk and vanilla powder (or scrape out the seeds in the vanilla bean). Mix until smooth. Set aside.

4. Measure flour and baking powder in a bowl and mix it with the butter mixture. Add the egg whites and mix for 2 minutes. Add kirsch and mix until smooth. Divide the cake batter evenly between two bowls and dye with pink food coloring into two different pink shades.

5. Pour the batter into the two prepared pans. Add some pitted and sliced cherries to one of the cakes (or both if you want to).

6. Bake the cakes for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

Buttercream Frosting

Adapted From The Food Network

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

 

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more milk if needed for spreading consistency.

September 3, 2012 In The Kitchen: Smoothies

 

I’ve been eating the same thing for breakfast every day for about six months.  I thought I would get bored.  I thought I’d be over it.  But it’s so freakin’ tasty I actually get excited for it.  Excited for vegetables for breakfast!?  What?!  Turns out, smoothies are delicious.

I juice whatever I happen to have in the fridge at the beginning of the week.  Kale, broccoli, apples, pears, zucchini… anything that I think will have a lot of liquid.  Then I put half of it in an airtight bottle and freeze the other half into ice cubes.  Makes breakfast super easy every morning.  A few ice cubes, spinach, berries, avocado, banana and enough juice to blend it all together.  Done & done and healthy :-)  I always make sure to add either a banana, half an avocado or mango, or all three actually.  They make the results so smooth & creamy.  Honestly, I sometimes consider how healthy this can actually be because it’s so delicious.

smoothie 001 In The Kitchen: Smoothies

 

Smoothie, Makes 2

 

5 Frozen Juice Cubes

Handful of Spinach

Handful of berries (strawberries, blueberries or raspberries are my favorite!)

1 banana, 1/2 avocado or 1 mango (or two, or three)

Fresh Vegetable Juice (enough to blend everything together)

Throw it all in the blender and let it whirl!