The “smitten kitchen”is the tiny kitchen of Deb Perelman,a mom and entrepreneur in New York City. You can see some pictures of it here. She is proof that you don’t need a kitchen featured on HGTV to be a great cook. I love her. So you can imagine how excited I was when The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook came out. It is as great as I thought it would be,and I took myself to my slightly-bigger-than-tiny kitchen with my non-granite-counter-tops and got cooking! (I don’t understand the fascination with granite counter tops –someday if I have a slightly-bigger-than-tiny kitchen I would much rather have one of these.)
I thought I’d share what is my favorite recipe so far. Just a little taste of the great things in this book. Enjoy girlfriends!
2 heads broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds,toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries coarsely chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk,well shaken (my son’s job –believe me it is well shaken)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 small red onion,finely chopped
lots of freshly ground black pepper
Trim the broccoli and chop in to large chunks,then cut each chunk into thin slices. Toss the broccoli with the almonds and cranberries. In a small bowl,whisk the buttermilk,mayo,vinegar,sugar and salt until smooth. Stir in the onion. Let the onion marinate in the dressing for 10 minutes. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture;add black pepper. Stir until the broccoli is evenly coated. Serve immediately,or cover in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. YUM.
*Recipe courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf Publisher excerpted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
You can still connect with nature in the cold weather even if you hate it. Edle Catharina Norman shows you how in Beautiful Winter,our favorite home decorating book of this season. This book illustrates over 50 home projects that can be created with flowers and seasonal materials –even for the craft-challenged!
Of course,you can always purchase the look of nature for your indoors –like this Balsam Hill Noble Fir Wreath. Balsam Hill has even added the lights for you! This is truly a stunning wreath that you can decorate your home with for years. You can see all of their wreaths and garlands here. As an added bonus,not only are they beautiful,but right now they are on sale –Balsam Hill currently is holding it’s Last Chance Sale –save up to 50% off plus free shipping site-wide.
Count your blessings today,girlfriends.
When the colder weather hits,it’s always nice to spend some time on the weekend in the kitchen. If you are planning some cooking time this weekend,we have a recipe for you,courtesy of Little,Brown,from Andrew Weil’s new cookbook,True Food. Unfortunately I do not live near one of Andrew Weil and Sam Fox’s True Food Kitchen restaurants. Until they expand to the east coast,this cookbook should hold me over! There are more than 125 recipes from the kitchen of True Food Kitchen in a beautiful format that has pictures of almost every recipe (my pet peeve of cookbooks). Below is one of the many wonderful recipes in this book. Enjoy and have a merry weekend,Girlfriends!
Modern research shows that astragalus root,a Chinese herb long used to ward off colds and flu,has powerful immune-enhancing properties. The sliced,dried root is available online and in herb stores. It is nontoxic and adds a pleasant,sweet taste when simmered in soups. Shiitake mushrooms also boost immunity and have an antiviral effect. Garlic is an antibiotic;ginger,a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 lg onions,thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic,smashed
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
4 oz shiitake mushrooms,stemmed and thinly sliced (about 2 c)
2 lg carrots,julienned
2 1/2 pieces astragalus root (about 15″total)
8 c Mushroom Stock (see below)
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
2 c broccoli florets
1/2 c julienned scallions
HEAT oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions,garlic,and ginger and cook until soft and translucent,about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms,carrots,astragalus root,stock,and 2 cups water. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.
ADD tamari and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Add broccoli and cook until tender,about 2 minutes.
REMOVE astragalus root pieces. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with scallions before serving. (Makes 12 cups.)
NUTRITION (per serving –6 servings) 75 cal,4 g pro,13 g carb,3 g fiber,1.5 g fat,0 g sat fat,987 mg sodium
Easy Flavor Booster:Mushroom Stock
Stock used in restaurants is usually made with chicken,but we serve so many vegetarian dishes that we needed something different for our sauces and soups. Shiitake mushrooms impart a savory essence;you’ll never miss the meat. Keep in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a month.
Chop 2 ribs celery and 1 medium onion and put in large pot with 2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms and 2 1/2 quarts water.
Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Turn off heat,cover,and let stock steep 20 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce.
Pour stock through fine-mesh strainer,discard solids,and let cool.
(Makes 2 quarts.)
**Recipe courtesy of Little,Brown;taken from True Food.
I really enjoyed browsing through Ellie Krieger’s cookbook The Food You Crave:Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life. For those of us who are trying to eat better (that would be me),this book is a gift. I have a very big love of carbs and sugar that often interfere with my efforts to eat well. Having a book like this around when I am in the mood for something “bad”has been priceless. (By the way you can snag this book at Amazon for 17 very-worth-it dollars.)
Last night I made her Sesame-Teriyaki Chicken. There is just nothing wrong with crispy,teriyaki and sesame glazed chicken. Yum! Her Teriyaki Sauce recipe was simple to put together and beats anything out of a bottle. The best part? I didn’t feel guilty eating it!
There are very few cookbooks that I browse through where I want to try almost every recipe. This is one of those books. Next up:Pumpkin Pie Muffins. Yum!
In Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey:The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle,Fiona,Countess of Carnarvon,has capitalized on the success of the ITV/PBS series Downton Abbey to relate the history of the house it’s filmed in,Highclere Castle,and the family who own it,the Carnarvons. In particular,the Countess focuses on her predecessor,Lady Almina Carnarvon,the 5th Countess,who presided over Highclere from her marriage in 1895 (at the age of 19) to her husband’s death in 1923.
Almina was the illegitimate daughter of Sir Alfred de Rothschild. Blessed with incredible wealth but dubious social standing,Almina gained acceptance by marrying the 5th Earl,George (called “Porchy”),and he gained the influx of her fortune to help sustain the estate. Despite this less-than-romantic arrangement,Countess Fiona describes the marriage as a happy and loving one. She outlines the early years of Almina adjusting to her new life,the birth of her children Henry (“Porchy” again) and Evelyn (“Eve”),and the running of the house and the servants who worked there. The account progresses through the challenges and sorrow of the First World War and Almina’s transformation of Highclere into a hospital for injured officers,to her lifelong connection to nursing. Also detailed are the lives of those who interacted with Almina,from housemaids,soldiers,her personal assistant,her children,and,most notably,her husband,Lord Carnarvon,the famed “gentleman archaeologist” who financed and assisted with Howard Carter’s discovery of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
Lady Fiona writes with the confidence and detail of extensive research,often citing her sources within the text or reprinting entire letters,but in such an intimate manner that the book reads more like a novel than a biography. She includes how she suspects people might have felt at various times and a wide selection of photographs that help bring the people and Highclere to life. Fans of Downton Abbey will notice remarkable similarities between characters and events in the show and real people and events described in the book. A treat for enthusiasts of early 20th century history and Downton Abbey alike,Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey serves up an intimate and easily enjoyed view of the lives of one of the most intriguing families in recent British history.
About the Author: Fiona,8th Countess of Carnarvon,is a former auditor at Coopers &Lybrand and ran her own fashion label,Azur. Fiona’s guardianship of the estate extends to its grounds and gardens,events and the Egyptian Exhibition –around which she and her husband regularly take visitors.
This review was written by girlfriend Alex Hopwood.
Get your hands on a copy of Scrap Republic:8 Quilt Projects for Those Who Love Color,by Emily Cier. This slim but eye-catching volume is filled with eight projects ranging from beginning quilters to those with years of experience. The two central themes of the book are color and using scraps,which every quilter knows pile up quickly after projects get finished. These project ideas give you the confidence to turn what might feel like leftovers into beautiful,vibrant works of art (and if you don’t have lots of scraps kicking around,never fear – Cier adapts her instructions for those buying new fabric). Cier’s work is sure to inspire you!
About the Author: Emily Cier is a quilter who specializes in patchwork. For more information about her or to see more of her beautiful creations,visit http://carolinapatchworks.com/blog/. For more information about this book or others like it,please visit C&T Publishing at http://www.ctpub.com/.
We’ve been waiting for this book to go on sale,and it’s kind of making our morning that it’s 60% off! The Family Dinner:Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids,One Meal at a Time will inspire you to gather the family around the dinner table every night. Kids really do enjoy the uninterrupted parent time,and you’ll all be healthier for it. Have a great weekend,Girlfriends!
…and we are as happy as you are! Today’s bargain book is perfect for those who have made a resolution to get more organized this year. Throw Out Fifty Things:Clear the Clutter,Find Your Life will help you to de-clutter your home,your desk,even your mind! Have a great weekend,Girlfriends!
Live More,Want Less:52 Ways to Find Order in Your Life by Mary Carlomagno has a specific focus – order – but a wide range of applicability. Carlomagno,a self-described recovering shopaholic with an innate ability to organize,has put together a readable collection of organizational advice for everything from your closet to your mind. The working theory of the book is that “when you release,simplify,and clear distractions,you open yourself up to an entirely new kind of freedom,movement,and discovery”.
There are 52 “ways” (a throw to Carlomagno’s personal interest in Eastern traditions) to de-clutter your life,and the book can either be read straight through or used as a week-by-week guide. A few of the more powerful sections of the book are “Love things that love you back” (a way of detaching from material goods),“Opting out”,and “Portion control for life.” Each “way” comes with a related anecdote or explanation,along with several basic “daily practices” to help you immediately put the advice to work in your life. There was even a chapter on “Book Keeping”,a particular source of clutter for this bibliophile,and to my pleasant surprise,the advice wasn’t to throw out all my books – whew! This is a self-help book that is actually helpful – read it and pass it on to your loved ones who might benefit from an organizational nudge – Ms. Carlomagno would be proud.
About the Author: Mary Carlomagno is the owner of Order,a company that specializes in clutter control,urban apartment solutions,office spaces,and shopping addictions. She writes frequently on organization for magazines and newspapers,including the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Body and Soul. She is also a columnist for care.com. She lives with her husband and children in New Jersey. To learn more about Mary,visit her company’s website at http://www.orderperiod.com.
This review was written by girlfriend Kristin Awsumb Liu.
It’s that time of year for all things spooky,so why not get spooky in your kitchen? The Dead Celebrity Cookbook by Frank DeCaro,of The Daily Show fame,is a resurrection of recipes from more than 145 stars who are no longer with us. But it’s not just the recipes that make this book so entertaining,it’s DeCaro’s intensely funny writing about the origins of each one that makes this one of the most entertaining cookbooks we have seen in quite some time.
As a little Halloween surprise,we are able to share with you one of the recipes from this unique cookbook. Enjoy,girlfriends!
SAMPLE RECIPE FROM THE DEAD CELEBRITY COOKBOOK
Peter Falk 1927-2011
He was one of the great ones–appearing in films as disparate as The Princess Bride and Wings of Desire in the same year,1987. But no matter what Peter Falk did (and he did a lot),he will always be remembered as the police detective in the rumpled raincoat on the mystery series Columbo. The character,one he played for more than thirty years beginning in 1971,is one of TV’s most indelible portraits. Among Falk’s most beloved films were the cult hit The In-Laws,the one-two Neil Simon punch of Murder by Death and The Cheap Detective,and six pictures with his buddy,the director/actor John Cassavetes,including the 1974 classic A Woman Under the Influence. The Emmy- and Oscar-nominated actor published his memoir Just One More Thing in 2006,and it wasn’t a moment too soon. Falk was diagnosed with dementia two years later. Just one more thing:His pork chops are as toothsome as he was.
Peter Falk’s Pork Chops
6 pork chops
1 medium onion,finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white vinegar
Salt and pepper,to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup water
½ cup liquid from jarred vinegar peppers
1 cup (or more) vinegar peppers
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350°. Brown pork chops in olive oil in a heavy frying pan and remove to a casserole. Cook onions until translucent in same oil and add to casserole. Deglaze pan by adding white vinegar and stirring up all brown bits. Add to casserole along with all remaining ingredients except vinegar peppers. Bake for 1½ hours. Add vinegar peppers and cook 15 minutes more. Remove pork chops and peppers to a warm serving plate. Add 2 teaspoons corn starch to pan drippings to make gravy. Pour over pork chops and peppers and serve.