I will gladly admit that I have an obsession with cookbooks. My first cookbook was The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, and over the years it has been dearly loved with many stained pages and tried recipes. But, I've also added more than a few to my collection, and most recently is Jerusalem. It came out last fall, but has recently been receiving a lot of press from Epicurious and The New York Times. To me, it is the perfect cookbook to learn about middle eastern flavors and techniques. Each recipe is unique, and evey photo is stunning. Over the last two weeks, I have tried a handful of recipes (all delicious), but will be sharing a few with you. I will feature one of my favorites later in the week, so be prepared for something delicious.
July 29, 2013
Ina thinking about exploring our stairwell // Exploring the Virginia countryside
Fresh watermelon on a hot afternoon // Trying all the local breweries
Floating the James River // The Farmer's Market has a taco stand, I will be there every weekend
Finally finished all our thank-you cards // Anthropologie hosted a pop-up farmer's market
July 24, 2013
Few things are more exciting to me than an end of season sale. It is the perfect time to buy the high priced item you've been eyeing. I'm constantly shopping sales at J.Crew, Madewell, and Shopbop. Right now you can get an extra 40% off sale times with free shipping at Madewell and an extra 25% off sale items at Shopbop. So, why wait any longer to buy that special piece you've been eyeing?
ONE a great lightweight stripped blouse that you can easily wear into fall // TWO This punk floral print will be in style for years // THREE Loeffler Randall for under $100? Count me in // FOUR Perfect for any last-minute summer getaways // FIVE Keep the sun at bay with a pair of cateyes // SIX These shorts have a scalloped pocket // SEVEN Summer skirts should be sunny and breezy // EIGHT Your summer carryall
July 23, 2013
Our first week living in Charlottesville we did not have internet. So, we spent a few afternoons at a local coffee shop sipping iced coffees and catching up on emails (well, mostly social media). So, when I stumbled across this NY Time's article about making pickles at home, I knew exactly what was going to be on our farmer's market list that weekend: kirby cucumbers. Will made pickles last summer, but they never seemed quite right. The process of pickling can be tricky, so the method fermenting seemed easier. The process was simple, but there are a few things we will do differently next time. We placed a clove a garlic in each jar, and this gave them a very strong garlic flavor. I would could back to 1 clove for the entire batch. We also let them sit out for three days before checking them. I prefer a crisper pickle, so if you are like me, two days should do the trick. Overall, this is a recipe I would make again (and probably will this summer), so that is why I wanted to share it with you. It really does make fantastic pickles, plus knowing you made them yourself makes it all the better.
Adapted from The New York Times
2 lbs kirby cucumbers
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp dill
2 tbs kosher salt
Place cucumbers in a large bowl filled with ice water and allow to soak for thirty minutes. Then, remove from ice water and slice off ends. From here, cut the cucumbers into spears, slices, or both.
Add salt to 2 cups boiling water and stir until dissolved. Next, add two cups of filtered of non-chlorinated ice to the salted water. Allow the mixture to cool.
Transfer cut cucumbers to two or three quart jars, along with garlic and dill. Top each jar with brine until just covering cucumbers. Loosely cap the jars, the pickles will reales gas during fermentation.
Place jars in a dark pantry for two to three days, until sourness is reached. Keep in the refrigerator and enjoy for up to one month.
July 22, 2013
I've always found mixing patterns to be a little intimidating. I was worried my outfit would in up clashing, instead of looking effortless. But, when I found this Anthropologie dress, I knew it would be the perfect piece to try pattern mixing. The key is to keep one piece neutral, like the dress. Black and white stripes make an easy background for just about any another pattern. I doubt I'll try this look that often, but it was fun for an afternoon at the farmer's market.
July 19, 2013
A striped shirt is a wardrobe staple. It can be dressed up or down, and goes with just about anything. In the summer, I like to wear mine with white denim or a linen skirt. It keeps me feeling cool, plus whenever I wear one I feel a little nautical. And what is more summery than a nautical outfit?
July 18, 2013
Dress: Anthropologie (similar, similar, similar) // Hat: Target // Bag: Old Navy // Sandals: J.Crew // Necklace: Kate Spade
Last weeks cool weather was a tease. The 70 degree days we were having, quickly turned into mid 90's with high humidity. On days like that, I mostly want to stay indoors. But, when the outside world calls, I reach for a light sundress, sandals, and straw hat. The look is easy to put together, and on hot days that is what I need. How do you stay cool in the summer?
July 17, 2013
This is an adaptation from Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book. We substituted Grand Marnier and simple syrup for Cointreau and agava syrup because that’s what we had on hand. Grand Marnier and Cointreau are both orange liqueurs, but since Grand Marnier is made with congnac, I think it makes a smoother drink.
As far as the tequila goes, it doesn’t have to be super expensive, but make sure you get the silver or white variety (the clear kind), that’s preferably made from 100% blue agave. Finally, and most importantly, use fresh lime juice. One drink uses less than one lime. It’s the single most important step.
2 oz tequila blanco
.75 oz grand marnier
.75 lime juice
.25 simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake until the shaker is frosty. Pour into a chilled coup glass. Cheers.
July 16, 2013
We went to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning to buy ingredients for Ratatouille, but when it was time to make dinner I wasn't in the mood. I mostly wanted guacamole, but that isn't really a meal, so we made these summer vegetable tacos to go with the gauc. This dish was new to us, but it was delicious. You could really taste each individual vegetable. Also, don't shy away from the feta, it really adds a nice kick.
Summer Vegetable Tacos
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 purple onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 corn, kernels removed
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup sour cream
6-8 corn tortillas, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled feta
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add diced tomatoes and let cook down until a thick sauce forms. Once tomato sauce is thickened add zucchini, corn, and red pepper. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. At this point add the seasonings and sour cream. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Divide vegetable mixture among tortillas and top with feta cheese.
July 14, 2013
Jeans: Gap // Chambray Top: Gap // Necklace: J.Crew // Purse: Kate Spade // Shoes: Calvin Klein
Back in Alabama, the thought of wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt could make you break out in a sweat, but in Charlottesville that is a different story. I've found that an outfit like this is pretty typical on a cooler summer day. I obviously really like pairing denim together, and updating the look for summer is ideal. It supposed to be a little warmer over the next few days, so I will be packing up my denim, but I'm looking forward to wearing this look straight into fall.
July 12, 2013
Mint is a color that comes around every year when the weather gets warmer, and for good reason. It looks great on its own, but pairs well with with neutrals like tan and navy. The fact that this beautiful equipment blouse is on super sale is reason enough to add a piece to your wardrobe. I am thinking I need it in mine. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I'll be working a little bit, but I plan to have a little fun too.
July 11, 2013
Over the last few months, I've been trying to make an effort to eat less meat. This has required me to really plan ahead when it comes to dinner. It is easy to make a quick salad for lunch, but dinner requires more thought. Fritters have become the perfect easy weeknight meal. Always delicious and easy to assemble, I can make them out of almost any vegetable in my fridge. These italian inspired zucchini fritters were especially tasty. Pair them with the lemon-yogurt dipping sauce and salad, and you have the perfect summer meal.
2 medium zucchini, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
I clove garlic, diced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
In a food processor, shred zucchini. Then place zucchini in a large bowl lined with paper towels, top with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and allow to sit for 15 minutes while zucchini releases its juices. Squeeze out the juice from zucchini over the sink and place back in the bowl. Add the remaining salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, baking powder, flour, eggs, parsley, and parmesan cheese, and stir to combine. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once skillet is hot add two tablespoons of olive oil. Drop a 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet. Allow to took for 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Add remaining olive oil to the pan as needed.
Lemon Yogurt Sauce
5 tablespoon greek yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoon cumin
In a small bowl comin the greek yogurt, lemons, and cumin. Adjust to your liking and serve alongside the fritters.
July 10, 2013
We made it to Virginia! After a long weekend of packing, moving, and unpacking we are almost settled in. Besides trying to get the new apartment organized and decorated, we have mostly been taking it easy. We found a few great restaurants and took a trip to the biggest Farmer's Market we've ever seen on Saturday morning. I'll be back with more details later on, but for now enjoy these pictures!
Our view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from dinner // hand pies to celebrate the Fourth of July
A great local coffeehouse, Mudhouse // Arugula and prosciutto pasta
Cherry tomatoes from the Farmer's Market // The first dinner in our new apartment
My magazine collection ready for the move // The last beer at our favorite brewery, Avondale