Wednesday, July 29, 2009

shoes. you torture me.

These have been quietly haunting me since they appeared on shopbop at the beginning of the year. And they are still there. Except now they are 50% off. And I, like, srsly need them. And they have my size. Still.

ummmmmm. Shopbop please make them 70% off. I could buy them, but I don't need them at all (even though I just said I did). I work at the beach and I only wear flipflops and we haven't been going out as much as of late so if I bought them, they'd just be added to my stacks of pretty shoes that live in their boxes that I wear every once in a while but mostly just like having because I love shoes.

See how I practice restraint? Perhaps one of you will go buy them and they'll no longer be available in my size. Then I can stop thinking about them and move on.

Or they will go to 70% off and I won't have enough willpower left to resist.

more from Moro - Lentil salad

This is actually LOOSELY inspired by a Moro recipe. As in they had a recipe for lentil salad with tomatoes and dill, so I made a lentil salad with tomatoes and dill. Though I have to admit, I'm not entirely sure that I actually read their entire recipe. I'm bad like that.

Lentil salad with roasted tomatoes and herbs

(this one's going to be reeeaaaal loose, kay? I didn't take copious notes or anything)

Any small lentil (french, black, spanish, or a mix) cooked until they are just tender. You don't want them mushy for a salad recipe.

basket of cherry tomatoes



finely chopped shallot

olive oil

juice from one lemon

salt & pepper

Toss the cherry tomatoes with olive oil and roast them in the oven until just melty and browning.

Rinse and tear the dill and cilantro in nice size pieces. Whole leaves for the cilantro and teeny springs for the dill.

Toss the lentils with olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste. I think the lentils should taste good on their own at this point. Then add the roasted tomatoes and their juice, the herbs (you can add others if you like), shallot and and lemon juice. Taste again. You'll likely need another dash of olive oil and a bit more salt and pepper, but that's totally up to you.

Yum. Even yummer the next day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our wedding

Is up on 100 Layer Cake. I almost forgot to post it over here!

It seems so far away now, it's hard to remember all those little tidbits of wisdom I wanted to impart on future brides reading my blog. But I will try. I would have liked to hear people's advice post-wedding while I was planning mine. So following the theme of the rehearsal dinner and rehearsal and cocktail party:

Post wedding notes

Only follow traditions that resonate with you.

There's no sense in doing something at your wedding that doesn't make sense to you as a person and a couple. I shan't get in to what we did and didn't do, but just try to remember that this is YOUR party, and you should do whatever you want.

Okay actually, I will say one thing because I can't resist. A number of people were horrified (during the planning process) that I had decided to wear black shoes. *gasp* Brides don't wear black!!! It's bad luck! um. oookay. No. See, wearing a particular color has no bearing on weather or not your marriage will be successful. Use your noggin when making these sorts of decisions.

Ask someone to marry you who really knows you.

I realize that there are many people out there who aren't comfortable with the idea that someone who does not hold a religious certification could marry them. Which, hey you know, whatever works for you. But even if you do decide to have a priest or a rabbi perform your ceremony, try to spend some time with that person so they know what kind of ceremony you want. We were at a close friend's wedding recently and the priest said the bride's name wrong. Doh!

We had Brock's older brother Sky marry us (who is now a reverend in the Universal Life Church!) and it was just so amazing. He did SUCH a good job and everyone laughed and cried and it was a little longer than some ceremonies, but everyone said they enjoyed it so much. In fact a bunch of my parents' friends who I don't know that well said, you know before the wedding, we really didn't know Brock and Kristina, but now (at the reception these discussions happened), we feel like we do. And it's so great to be here celebrating with them.

Aww. We owe it all to Sky of course because he put together such a thoughtful ceremony. In the end, I have to say, the ceremony was one of my favorite parts of the day.

In fact, it was so perfectly meaningful to have Sky marry us that the 3 brothers have decided that each will marry another. Sky and Melanie are getting married in September and their younger brother Jordan is marrying Sky. And then when Jordan gets married (in like 10 years) Brock will marry him. Cuuuute.

So there's that.


If at all possible avoid lugging all supplies, arrangements, 15 pumpkins, place cards, 90 pounds of flower frogs, favors, etc over to your venue at 11 pm the night before the wedding. We survived, but I had a moment of, OMG what are we doing? Let's just not do this. But we did.

Consider taking your pictures before the ceremony.

I know this is a sensitive subject for so many people, but let me assure you that the magic isn't lost when you have your "first look" alone, just the two of you (and your photogs, obvs), hours before the ceremony. It doesn't make the moment any less special, it doesn't take away form the butterflies before you walk down the aisle. It just means that

1) You get to have your moment together, without 200 people watching, where you can both cry and hug and kiss, and then spend the next few hours together taking pictures and enjoying your wedding day as a couple. Not holed up in your getting ready area. The day and night go by so fast, I'm so grateful for the time we had together that afternoon.

2) You are completely and totally relaxed before the wedding starts. I was just super excited for the ceremony to start by the time 5 o'clock rolled around. And then I got insanely nervous as my parents and I were walking out to the ceremony space. And I almost broke into huge sobs. But I made it. No blubbering until we read our vows. And then, just for a moment.

3) You don't have to miss the cocktail party. Which in and of itself should be the deal sealer. Brock and I left the ceremony and went up to our hugely beautiful room above the pool. We shared a glass of champagne and watched the party for a while from our perch and then we got to go join in the fun.

Write your own vows

Which I'm aware, is easier said than done. I was totally stressed about it the week before the wedding, (Brock had finished his weeks before, sooo telling of our personalities), and nervous they weren't going to be profound or thoughtful enough. But once I started writing them, they just came. And then I practiced reading them to Melanie the night before and morning of the wedding... like 30 times. I sobbed my way through them each time. BUT! The 31st time was the charm. I made it almost to the very end before the tears came.

Something about writing them forces you to connect to the event and to your partner and to what you intend your marriage to be in such a real way.

And I'm sure there are plenty of other things too, that's probably enough advice giving for one post. What worked for me won't necessarily work for you and that's totally great and fine. In the end you just want to be sure that you're celebrating your marriage the way you want to.

Okay. Have a good weekend all.

Photo by Michèle M. Waite

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beet dip for crudite and summer parties

Moro East is definitely a current favorite cookbook around my kitchen. Every recipe I've made has been utterly delicious. And pretty much every single one I've thought sounded a little weird. Pumpkin Pistou? F-ing amazing. So I know nothing and this is why it's good to get new cookbooks from time to time.

I actually bought it in Australia, at this lovely little cookbook store (yes! a whole store of only cookbooks!) on Gertrude Street in Melbourne. And while you can order it from the comfort of your own computer via Amazon, I felt compelled to buy it IN AUSTRALIA as a souvenir of a delicious dinner we had at Añada. Apparently one of the co-owners is also involved in Moro (in London). Good enough connection for me. I'd had my eye on the book for months before our trip so, you know, all I needed was a teeny push in the right direction and the credit card was out.

I digress.

The point of this post is the beet dip. And like some of the other recipes I've tried from this book, I was a teensy bit skeptical. Beets with tahini. Hmm. Sounded at least more interesting than Whole Foods hummus. The first time I made it was for Melanie's shower and it turned out to be the culinary rage of the party. Serve it with crudite and maybe some toasty flatbread and cheese. Oh my.

Beet dip with tahini

(From Moro East, with a few additions/changes by moi)

Preheat oven to 400.

600 g raw beets (i would say that's like 6-8 medium beets? I didn't weigh mine, but eyeballing it seemed to work. If you're anal, the kitchen scale is your friend)

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
6 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T tahini
3-4 T chopped fresh mint (depending on how minty you like your dip)
2 t red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 medium lemon
sea salt and pepper

The actual recipe calls for boiled beets. I've never boiled beets before and I do love them roasted so I decided to roast mine for this recipe. I'm sure you could boil them with great success, but I'll proceed with the roasting.

Actually, I'm not going to type out the roasting instructions again. You can see them in my Beet Salad post last month. So... roast and peel the beets.

Coarsely chop them and transfer them to the food processor. Add garlic, olive oil, and tahini and whiz in the processor until you have a nice semi-smooth puree. Then add the mint, lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper and whiz for one moment more. You can probably do it all at once, but I like to imagine that the fresher tastes bubble to the surface when you separate the whizzing. The Moro recipe has you mix the mint, vinegar, salt and pepper in by hand, but I say if you have the processor out, use it for everything.

Taste. (You will die). Add more salt, pepper, or lemon if you like. And voila!

The lemon is my addition, so if you'd like to stick to the real recipe, leave it out. And I added more mint than they call for, but I love mint and herby tastes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

NPR's best beach reads- my votes

Have your seen NPR's best summer books contest? I usually don't play along with things like this, but when it comes to a list of 100 books, I can't resist.

This was ridiculously hard and quite shockingly emotional. I was practically choking back tears as I read through this long list of books at work. What is happening to me?? but there are so many memories associated with books, aren't there? Old favorites you read 10, 15 years ago and still remember how much you miss them. They are like old friends in a way. Or those more recent that were so beautiful, they still sting a bit when you think of them.

I suppose that makes me a bit of a book romantic. But the books you read, they're like a map of your life in some ways. Growing up in my family, you always had a book you were reading. It wasn't like oh, are you reading something? It was, what are you reading right now? Not, did you bring a book? But, where's your book? Yours. It's like part of your identity while it's on your nightstand.

My votes in no particular order
(My criteria for best beach read was more best vacation read. Most absorbing, all encompassing stories that are best read when you have hours and hours of free time, a cool drink and a spot in the sun)

east of eden
the harry potter series
the joy luck club
the poisonwood bible
pride & prejudice
the red tent
the time travelers wife
the bonfire of the vanities
the world according to garp (or any John Irving book)
the yiddish policemen's union (i loved kavalier and clay too, but this one somehow was better)

Others I wanted to vote for but seemed more like just really good books:

empire falls
heart of darkness
the corrections
the sun also rises
the wind up bird chronicles
the unbearable lightness of being
the pillars of the earth
bridget jones (this being more a true beach read... hilariously endearing and all of that)

A few that were missing

eat pray love (UM, WHAT?? how did this not make the top 100 summer reads?)
infinite jest
the god of small things
my life in france (I know I'm reading it right now, but it's soooo good)
jitterbug perfume
forever amber (borderline historical romance, but a total epic nonetheless. 100+ 5 star reviews on Amazon. If you like historical fiction, you will LOVE this book. Like, loooooove.)
on the road

and like a bazillion more that I can't think of at this very moment. It's so hard to choose. I'm regretting a few of my decisions already.

just one

I had some problems with my carrot seeds germinating this year. And when I say problems, I mean I only ended up with one.

And I ate it for lunch at work this week. It was purplish and pretty good. I think I'm going to rip out some squash plants and try carrots again. I am reaching my limit on summer squash.

(the camera on the new iPhone is much better, in case you were considering an upgrade. And it's shoots video. Which has actually turned out to be very handy.)

Happy weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

i sewed

And I swear it might have been the most satisfying thing I've done in a long while. My friend Deja and I took a class at The Urban Craft Center in Santa Monica (right behind the Peets on Main Street) and it was so fun.

Adding to the list of things I need...

New sewing machine that does fancy stitches with the twist of a knob. I'm pretty sure I was more excited about our test stitches than the final product.

I made a pillow. Wheeeeee! I think I will make pillows for everyone for Christmas this year. Forget about jam and other canned goodies. 2009 is the year of the pillow. Unless I learn to make something else in the next few months.

Also, even if you are a proficient seamstress, they give classes in every sort of craft you can imagine. And they have a great little supply shop that sells all sorts of essentials and really cute fabric.

I even bought a few pieces. For "research" as I'm calling it. Poor Brock. He is such a good sport.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

bike. need.

My morning commute is officially too short to warrant the use of a legit road bike (which is all I have). I need a linus. The roadster sport with fenders and 3 gears.

It's so chic and almost french and will make me feel like wearing dresses and hats and filling my satchel with baguette and wine and tomatoes on my way home to enjoy a simple dinner in the backyard.

And they are on Abbot Kinney so I could just pick one up today at lunch?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Farm 255 surprise visit

Via Travel + Leisure.

My dearest, loveliest, most pregnant friend Laura appeared in my lap over the weekend.

We seem to be on some sort of Conde Nast free publication list at the moment and we're currently receiving a complimentary subscription to Travel + Leisure magazine (last year it was Mens Vogue). I usually thumb through the pages for a moment, feeling sad about all the amazing places there are to travel that I have no plans to visit, before I toss it into the recycling bin.

This month there was a nice feature on restaurants who are taking the 'farm to table' thing a step further by actually growing their own food. And main image was this cute photo of a totally hip, cowboy-boot-clad, knees-sock-wearing farmer girl tending to her towering okra crops.

Um, that would be my friend Laura. HELLLOOOOOOO!!!! How cool is that? I had no idea they had an article coming out and certainly would have never even seen it had Conde Nast not signed us up for our gratis subscription.

Their restaurant, Farm 255, is soooooo worth the trip if you're in Athens, GA. Or any of the surrounding cities, actually. And you can totally visit the farm and even volunteer to help harvest, especially right now when the squash and tomatoes and okra are coming in by the ton. Which is always great fun.

Aaannd, they got a shout out in a NYtimes article last week, Young Idols with Cleavers Rule the Stage, (thanks for the tip, Nikki!). Their former chef Tamar is back in the Bay Area, but credited her butchering skillz to her days on the farm. Awwww.

It seriously made my Saturday. I'm so proud of them and all their hard work.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Melanie's shower

is up on 100 Layer Cake, dudes!

Sorry I've been MIA. Long weekend of ridiculous travel stories, recovery and now work other things are kind of cramping my blogging style, yo. Anyway, I guess I kind of needed the week off.

I shall be back next week, but in the meantime, Melanie's shower: