Spring has taken its good sweet time to come in New York City, but after an insultingly long winter, any glimmer of warm, sunny weather means a trip to a patio for a glass of wine and snack al fresco! Lured in by a ‘Patio Open!’ sign, I dropped in Gottino in the West Village last week and helped myself to a wonderful shaved Brussels sprout salad and glass of rose. Since it was so good and I had all the ingredients on hand (we are Brussels sprouts addicts, as you know) I of course had to go home and make my version! While we are still easing into spring up here, I think this is a lovely salad to help bridge that gap. Add nuts, substitute shaved Parmesan instead of goat cheese, and toss in a lemon vinaigrette to help welcome spring and, eventually!, summer.
Raw Brussels Sprout + Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese
1 small bunch Brussels Sprouts, shaved or pulsed in a food processor
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced or pulsed in a food processor
fresh goat cheese or shaved Parmesan
dash of mustard
kosher salt & pepper
walnuts, if desired
Whisk equal parts lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Add a dash of mustard and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss in Brussels sprouts and fennel to dress. Add raw walnuts and toss to coat.
Note: this is a raw salad. If you prefer, blanch vegetables and toast walnuts. Otherwise, enjoy with a glass of wine to help with digestion.
Between Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, this weekend is the perfect time to celebrate! Whether you watch the races this Saturday, save up for Margaritas on a patio this Sunday, or manage both, we have some Derby themed selections to kick off the weekend and help you keep it all very stylish!
Here in Texas, we love Cinco de Mayo. Perhaps unreasonably so, but regardless it’s the perfect reason for a little soiree. Recently I’ve seen two fresh takes on Cinco de Mayo decor that I just loved – probably because they both were a little less “Tex-Mex” than you typically see.
Channeling Contessa posted her Cinco de Mayo spread last week (top left). I love the vibrant, almsot girly colors she used. These darling melamine plates from Anthropologie and some Sheridan French cocktail napkins would provide a similar look. I’m kind of obsessed with the white lace tunic too, I think it would be a perfect hostess outfit.
Camille Styles also posted a Cinco de Mayo party that looked so fun I wished my girlfriends and I had been there. The table had a bit of a desert feel to it, complete with my new favorites – succulents. Keep it simple – Guacamole, Grapefruit margaritas and this fabulous centerpiece (via Meg Biram) would help you recreate the look!
I am excited to share my freshly painted Vintage Seagrass Dresser with you! While I still have some touching up to do, I think the white paint has made a dramatic difference. The piece now looks fresh, but still with a little vintage charm with the brass pulls.
I really love how the pulls pop against the white and how my dresser doesn’t match the honey wood floor anymore. It took a lot of paint and coats to get this far, so I need to find a rainy day when I can muster the energy for that one last touch up coat. While I still have some work to do, I think it’s come a long way!
I used no VOC paint from Benjamin Moore and I highly recommend it (with Benjamin Moore and any other paint line). You give up the toxic paint smell without giving up the performance of nice paint, it is win-win.
My petite New York City bedroom is very narrow, so I could only get a shot of the whole thing on my iPhone, but hopefully this still illustrates it’s great new look.
Whew, this week has been a crazy one! Let’s all take a mini mind vacation and sail away into the turquoise sea, shall we? Happy Weekend Friends!
Apparently, my new trick for not becoming bored with potentially blah foods (couscous, rice and beans, brown rice) is to add vinaigrette. I really wish I had figured this out earlier, because I probably could have gotten on the quinoa/ farro/ bulgar bandwagon years ago if I knew adding a vinaigrette would make whole grains infinitely more appealing. (I realize couscous is not a whole grain, but it’s the same principle.) Really, it’s just like dressing a traditional salad – and who would ever eat raw greens without a drizzle of something? While the vinaigrette does make the dish a tad more caloric, I say who.cares., because olive oil is good for you, and there is no good reason to eat boring food.
*also, this is a “real life” photo. I eat out of paper bowls and use plasticware every day for lunch because our office has no kitchen. I guess I could stash a real bowl at the office for blog photos, but that would be a bit too creepy for my style. Kind of like the time I came to work with pizza dough rising in my purse.
Couscous with Almonds, Scallions, and Feta with Apricot Vinaigrette
adapted from Real Simple, serves 4
1 10 oz box couscous (I used garlic olive oil flavor) or about 4 cups leftover couscous (extra points for whole wheat, although I used regular)
4 scallions, minced
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon apricot or orange jam
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare couscous according to package directions. Mix in scallions, almonds and feta. Drizzle dressing over (you might not want to use all of it) then toss to combine. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Fresh black pepper finishes the dish nicely.
I received lots of lovely gifts for my birthday. From doodles to the kindest of cards to practical, everyday tools, I felt very special on my 30th birthday! I feel compelled to add one of those gifts to our Kitchen Gadget Friday Find two weeks ago: The Soda Stream!
Pictured above on my faaaabulous new graphic letterpress coasters (thank you, co-blogger Liz!), making soda at home has become part of my regular routine. Whether hydrating in the morning or giving my cocktail a little spritz in the evening, the soda stream is definitely making my life and outlook on blah water way more bubbly. This gadget splurge is definitely Deux Maisons approved.
Last Saturday we had an impromptu dinner at our house with our neighbors. When we couldn’t decide where to go out, we decided to stay in – I ran to Central Market for pre-marinated lemon rosemary pork loins to grill, one couple brought appetizers, and the other brought a salad and couscous. Worked out beautifully! (as in, delicious and easyeasyeasy.)
One of my favorite parts of entertaining is setting the table – and it gave me the perfect excuse to use my new napkins from Zara Home obtained in Madrid. I didn’t have any fresh flowers in the house – so off to the yard I went with my eye on the giant rosemary plant that is currently trying to take over our driveway from its happy home in the flower bed. I just snipped some branches and put them in petite vases. I kept them small since I knew we wouldn’t have a ton of room on the table, but the touch of green really brought some life to centerpiece.
I ended up loving this make-do “floral” arrangement. Not only do I always have a surplus of rosemary, I also liked that it mimicked the flavors and mood of the meal – simple and light. Other ideas for a last minute centerpiece might be:
Bowl of lemons, oranges or limes, or even two small bowls
Whatever herbs you have on hand
Sprigs of Boxwood, holly, or whatever bushes you have in your yard
Azaleas, roses, or any kind of flowering shrub (if you’re lucky!)
2 single flowers in a tiny vases
And if you have nothing green, just use lots of mini votives!
Between my Fennel, Pear, & Walnut Salad and this new post, I must be on some sort of spring salad kick. With fruit (other than citrus!) starting to come available again and sunnier skies and warmer temperatures, salads sound and taste so good again. Perfect on its own for lunch or a light dinner or paired with pretty much anything, this salad can turn into your spring and summer side staple. Apart from incorporating leafy greens into my diet, I am also a big fan of salads that call for fruit without being overly or unnaturally sweet. Swap out walnuts for cashews or pecans, the goat cheese for feta, and the berries for anything in season and you have yourself the most flexible salad recipe ever. Enjoy!
Spring Salad with Berries, Walnuts, Goat Cheese
1 bunch mixed greens (I used a mixture of spinach and kale), washed, patted dry and de-stemmed, if necessary
1 handful blueberries and raspberries (or whatever you have on hand)
1 handful raw walnuts (or cashews, pecans)
crumpled goat cheese
For the Dressing:
1 clove garlic, smashed
dash of mustard
kosher salt & pepper
In a medium-sized bowl, rub garlic around bowl’s interior, set aside. Whisk together equal parts lemon juice and olive oil in the coated bowl. Add a dash to a tablespoon of mustard and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Place mixed greens in bowl and toss with dressing to coat. Add walnuts and berries and continue tossing. Top with goat cheese and enjoy!
Last year husband went to the Masters at the “most beautiful place on earth” for the “best vacation of his life.” So much for the honeymoon in paradise! Sadly he’s back at home watching in on TV again this year, so I’ve decided we’re having Pimento Cheese sandwiches for lunch to make him feel a little bit better about it.
It seems the actual Augusta National Pimento Cheese Recipe is a highly guarded secret. But from some internet sleuthing, I’ve found one that seems to be a popular recreation. From the picture taken of the authentic sandwich, it looks to me like the secret is keeping the Pimento Cheese nice and simple – nothing fussy, sharp cheddar, mayo and pimentos on white bread. Have an Arnold Palmer to drink for extra golf fun. (You might need to add a splash of vodka to stay entertained by the golf on TV if you’re like me.)
Apparently sandwiches are still a steal at $1.50 at Augusta National!
Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, via Your Southern Peach
makes 2 sandwiches
notes from Your Southern Peach, which I thoroughly agree with: