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Monthly Archives: November 2010

I’m just going to breeze past the whole Thanksgiving feast yesterday and jump straight to one of the yummiest desserts I have ever tried: stewed rhubarb with (full-fat) yogurt.

Many times I have passed the rhubarb section on a lone shelf in Whole Foods. To me, they looked like red celery stalks and seemed unappealing next to the heads of broccoli and ears of corn. But I came across a recipe for stewed rhubarb by my current favorite foodie writer and chef, Melissa Clark, and had a hankering to make some tonight. It seemed way too simple to pass up and Melissa Clark’s recipes (so far, all nine I have tried) have been delightful.

  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch kosher salt.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine ingredients. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb breaks down, 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 2 cups, to serve 6 to 8.

Serve over ice cream, pound cake, anything sweet or savory. The rhubarb comes out tart with a slight hint of sweetness. I dolloped some on top of full fat FAGE yogurt. Mmmmm…..

As I continue my flower obsession, I skipped on over to the Floral Art LA store on Abbot Kinney this morning to purchase a couple of their signature “vision glass” vases, super sleek and flat vases used to make bold and graphic floral arrangements. I’ve begun making my very own cutting garden in the back so rather than spending a lot of money on pre-cut flowers at the store, I can grow my very own and just cut them whenever I want! Yesterday, I planted two rose plants, an anthurium plant (which I learned must be indoors), and a beautiful white hydrangea (also must hang out indoors until ready to be transplanted). This morning I added two orchids to my collection. Here are my new arrangements.

Deep violet calla lilies from last week all sitting upright in one of my new vases (pre camera filter)

…and post camera filter

A mix of three orchids floating beautifully in another one of my new vision glass vases from Floral Art LA (pre camera filter)

…and post camera filter

Friday is always date night in our house and last Friday was no exception. We went to one of our favorite eateries, 26 Beach, in Venice. I was in my asian food mood, and couldn’t resist ordering their shrimp stir fry salad with jumbo shrimp, tofu cubes and lettuce all tossed in a yummy sesame dressing. I love shrimp, it’s seriously one of my most favorite things to eat.

Chris ordered their “Mile High Burger”, which had pastrami, provolone, cole slaw, tomato and a creamy sauce all sandwiched in a buttery brioche bun. The burger, no joke, was almost the size of a baby’s head! He inhaled that thing in less than 10 minutes so needless to say, he sat in a serious food coma swaying slightly from left to right as I finished my salad.

OK I know I’m going on and on about flowers but it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, the weather is turning a bit overcast and I’m enjoying a glass of my favorite Maui Blanc wine while watching old I Love Lucy episodes on Netflix. I just finished browsing Jennifer McGarigle’s Floral Art LA’s website and checked out a darling video of her demonstrating how to arrange one of her signature “vision glasses” – so fresh, so modern, so darn cool. The main lesson I took away from her video is that you can use leaves – yes, simple leaves – to help create stunning backdrops to your floral arrangement.

So what did I do? Well, I skipped out to our backyard that’s bursting with tropical plants and snipped off a giant banana plant leave to jazz up the rose and tulip arrangement I put together earlier. Voila! Just the simple look of leaves has transformed my arrangements from pretty and traditional to modern and graphic. LOVE!

Tulips and banana leaf

The updated tulip arrangement

Banana leaf for flowers

Up close of the banana leaf, snipped to fit the vase

Beautiful tulips

The beautiful melon-hued tulips

I did the same with the roses in their cylindrical vase except for this arrangement, I used three skinny strips of banana leaf and wrapped it around.

roses and green pom pom

The new arrangement with banana leaves

An up close shot of the leaves

Knowing me, I couldn’t leave well enough alone so I had to make another last minute arrangement with a beautiful little glass bowl we had lying around. I went out to our front yard (can you tell that we have plants growing at our house in abundance?) and snipped a pretty summery hibiscus and another flower (no idea what the name is – sorry.) Same deal with the banana leaf…

Sitting pretty on our side table in the living room

I can’t get over how obsessed I am now with decorating the home with fresh flowers. I found some beautiful vases from, ahem, TJ Maxx Homegoods because everything there is a major DEAL and I’m all about the deals. Why pay full price when you can score pretty much the same thing for up to 75% off?! But I love the treasure hunting in the discount stores. I have found so many great things between TJ Maxx, Loehmann’s, Ross, Marshalls, Tuesday Morning, Nordstrom Rack that I’m pretty much addicted.

Whole Foods is having a great sale on flowers like their fresh roses and tulips. I found these beautiful white roses and mixed them with apple green pom-pom flowers. A dozen roses was only $9.99 (compared to their normal $14.99) and the pom-poms were $2.99. SCORE! I arranged them neatly in my new cylindrical vase.

White roses and green pom pom flowers

Then I purchased some gorgeous melon-hued tulips for $7.99 for the bunch. Not bad! I stuck them in my new rectangle vase and tied them in the center with a little rubber band, making them look much more neat and tidy. Thank goodness for the internet because when I first arranged the tulips, I just dropped the entire bouquet in the vase, which was filled super high with water. According to E-How, you have to fill the vase only 3/4 of the way with fresh, cold water and prick the tulips on the stem beneath the actual flower. THEN you peel away the leaves that would be sitting underwater because they will eventually rot and become moldy. OK so some of those tulips are totally hanging over the edge but, oh well, they’re just chillin.

Last but not least, I filled a mason jar with some violet garden mums and the apple green pom pom flowers. Love, love, love the contrast between these two complimentary colors.

I have been wanting to make white bean and kale soup for the longest time now, not only because it’s a healthy dish but because we grow our own kale and it’s been sprouting like crazy in the garden. So it was due time to whip up this yummy recipe. Adapted from the Whole Foods Market website.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 (32-ounce) box vegetable broth
4 cups packed chopped kale
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

*Optional: Croutons (I made mine at home by chopping up some bread and toasting it on high in the toaster oven. You can season yours with salt, pepper, anything you want)

*Optional (and highly recommended): FRESH shaved parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add broth, kale and tomatoes, carrots and beans and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until kale is tender. Use an immersion blender to partly puree the soup so some of it is chunky and the rest is smooth. Add croutons and grated parmesan cheese on top.

Fresh kale from our garden

Fresh kale from our garden

Garlic

Can't get enough garlic

White bean and kale soup

The soup topped with homemade croutons and shaved parmesan cheese