Friday, July 16, 2010

bomb burger

I made burgers and sweet potato fries last Sunday night. They came out pretty swell. I topped mine with a slice of my dad's home grown tomatoes, jalapeƱos, avocado, sharp cheddar and havarti (couldn't decide on just one cheese, so I did both). As far as the actual burger goes I added a handful of oats, minced onion and garlic, lots of black pepper and kosher salt, an egg, butter, and worchestershire sauce to the ground sirloin. No exact measurements. Just lots of love. The sweet potato fries got some brown sugar, cayenne, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and fresh grated nutmeg. Oh, and the same sweet, sweet lovin'. And a side of dos xx.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

kyra's bday

It was Kyra's birthday last weekend. If you didn't go you missed out. It was at this really cool wine bar on Clear Lake called Chelsea's. AND...there were cupcakes. That's all I'm sayin'.
Brunette designers unite!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

bleu potatoes

I've had this recipe in my 'must make' pile for a few weeks now. Last week when it was raining insanely hard one evening it was the perfect night to invite mom over after work for this potato and bleu cheese tart. I know. Sounds a little weird. But would you expect any less? And if you're not a bleu cheese person, first of all, why are we friends, and secondly I guess you could sub goat or maybe feta but it will not be as awesome. So...mid way through making the dough I realize I don't have a pastry cutter OR a rolling pin. Have no fear, mom to the rescue. I pulsed the dough in a blender lieu of a pastry cutter and my mom suggested using a pint glass to roll out the dough. Genius. Besides putting the bottom of the tart pan in upside-down (hence the lack of a lone tart piece pic) I think it came out well. It was pretty and delicious, though I think next time I will add a more pungent gorgonzola or roquefort. The bleu I used was quite mild because I was afraid a stronger cheese might over power. Not true. Go for the good stuff. I just used thyme as the herb on top but had it not been raining I would have gone down to the courtyard by the pool in my building and picked some rosemary. Yes, there is legit rosemary bushes, huge ones, downstairs. I love fresh herbs but they don't keep for very long and I hate wasting them so this is perfect.

Tart Shell
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, diced
1 large egg

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, or pulse in a blender. Add one egg and mix with a fork until a dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Level the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Proceed with a filling of your choice, no parbaking required.

Red Potato and Bleu Cheese Tart
1 Tart Shell, above, or recipe of your choice, in a 9-inch tart pan and ready to fill
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoons finely chopped herb or herbs of your choice, like thyme and/or rosemary
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, cover potato slices with water by two inches and add some salt. Simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. If the potatoes don’t seem very dry, pat them dry with towels.

Arrange potato slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles around the tart pan. Sprinkle blue cheese over potatoes. Whisk cream and egg yolk together and pour into tart shell, then sprinkle tart with herbs of your choice and salt & pepper.

Bake tart on a baking sheet (don't skip this part mine seeped out the bottom because of the whole upside-down tart pan bottom thing) until bubbling and golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack and serve warm or cold. With a big green salad, for balance.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A is for Ampersand

Check out this workbook about typography created by Studio 3 from Norway. Studio 3 is an in-school design agency at the Graphic Design Department of Westerdals School of Communication in Oslo. Studio 3 was established in 2002 and exists of a handpicked selection of 15 truly dedicated 3rd year's graphic design students. How cool! How come we didn't do something like this? This book is sweet. I want one. Too bad they're sold out. How cool would it be if our old favorite project, Type Workbook, turned into something like this?

risotto & shrimps

I made dinner for James, Anita and Amy Saturday night. I wish I had people to cook for every night. In my next life? And never ending free groceries? Yes. Risotto from scratch is not as hard as everyone makes it out to be, you just have to be patient.

Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto

6 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups Arborio rice
3 cups baby bella mushrooms
1 bunch of asparagus, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


In a medium saucepan with a lid, combine chicken broth and white wine and heat just to simmering. Keep warm.

Saute mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium sauce pan with salt and pepper until browned and soft. Turn off the heat.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains are translucent around the edges. Be careful not to allow the grains or the onions to brown.

Reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir or move the pan often, until the liquid is completely absorbed into rice. Once absorbed, add another amount of liquid just to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before. There should be just enough liquid left to repeat 1 more time. It should take approximately 35 to 40 minutes for all of the liquid to be absorbed. After the last addition of liquid has been mostly absorbed, add the mushrooms and asparagus and stir until risotto is creamy and asparagus is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
4 cloves garlic, miced
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, less if you can't man up
1.5 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled
2 teaspoons grill or bbq seasoning blend
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 handful chopped parsley

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil, garlic, onion, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. When onions are translucent add shrimp. Season with grill seasoning or salt and pepper and cook shrimp 3 minutes or until just pink. Toss with lemon juice and chopped parsley. Eat.

In other news, I can now poach an egg with no problem. Not an easy feat. This was Saturday morning breakfast. Solo. I love waking up to an empty house, making coffee and taking in the placid silence of the morning. I made myself ham, havarti and poached egg on toast with arugula and roasted tomatoes (from my Dad's garden, yum!) with parmesan shavings.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

grocery vlog

My friends from school Joanna and Marcia invited me to be in a video blog for AIGA Houston. Joanna thought we could go through a grocery store and critique packaging designs. So fun! And right up my ally. Here's a few pics of my favorite packaging of the day. The vlog itself is still being worked on, cutting and editing and whatnot, might have to film some more. I'll update this when it's posted to their site. Marcia is now in Switzerland for three months (lucky), so additional filming could pose a problem. Maybe we'll just have to go there and see her. Yes, that is the only feasible solution.

p.s. Dry lavender soda is phenomenal in the Fleur-De-Lis Martini at Hearsay downtown. You must go. And while you're there go ahead and try their Gin-Gin Mule. Hendricks Gin, Lime, Mint, Ginger beer. Yes, please.
I loved the feel of this soft matte plastic, by king soba. Gone are the days when is everything packaged in slick shiny plastic. Now the cool kid's packaging is matte plastic with matte printing. Nice.

heat & oysters

So, this past Saturday, James and I couldn't agree on where to eat lunch. He really wanted tacos from La Tapatia and I really wanted a burger from Barnaby's (clearly the better choice). We decided neither of us would get what we wanted so we went to his friend Mark's fish shop and bought a bunch of oysters to go fry up at Lizzard's. Not Barnaby's but still a good decision, or so we thought. We get to the bar with the oysters and all the accouterments (corn meal, Tony's, oil) and James immediately breaks the cord on the fryer. No big deal, right? So we go down the street to Bed, Bath & Ridiculous to buy a new one and all they have a is a super huge one that's way over priced. Then we go to Costco. I'd been thinking about getting a membership anyway, especially because it's right down the street from my house. And who doesn't like to buy things in bulk? Like 400 rolls of toilet paper, who wouldn't want that? So they let us look around before I decide on a membership, good thing because they were out of fryers, of course. Why wouldn't they be? So finally he convinces me we should go to Walmart. My nemesis. I really hate supporting that company. But of course, they had one and for a good price. I refused to go inside, so just waited in the car where it was 105 degrees. Yes, I'd rather sit in ungodly heat then go into that store.
So after that whole fiasco the oysters came out great. After all, I did have an excellent fry cook :)


Annabell, aka AB, is a friend of mine's dog. My roommate and I watch her periodically when her parents go out of town. She is the bees' knees. We had her again this weekend so I thought her cuteness deserved a post. This first pic was the first time we watched her, she'd just had a hair cut. Cute.
This is when we had her Father's Day weekend. She's like a kid, sleeps the whole way in the car.
This is was few weeks ago. It was her 5th Birthday. OMG. I'm obsessed.

fat cat

I introduce to fat cat, T. This is what she is doing 99% of the time; hence the fatness. She is on diet food, but she's only lost 1/2 a pound in the last year and a half. I tell her she is 'well rounded'. She's my favorite.

Here she is on my bed. As you can see I have some things up against the wall I have yet to hang. Though I am pretty impressed with my hanging thus far. I've usually hung very little in past apartments. Something about this one made me just do it. Maybe it's because I feel more like a grown up with things on the walls, idk. So anyway I have these aqua shutters my dad found in my grandpa's garage. They are kinda grungy, in a good way, worn down to the wood in some places and nicely weathered. I'd planned on hanging them on a wall just like they are but...they don't really go with the neutral/ non-color scheme of my room. I could make them go with a simple coat of paint, but then I'd loose their grungy quality, which defeats the purpose. And no, I will not do the faux grunge thing. Absolutely not. So this means I have to plan a whole room around their washed out aqua color? Suggestions are welcome. And then I have these 2 antique-y looking paintings of a typewriter and an old telephone. I want to put them on the wall above my desk but I've basically been too lazy lately to get them up there. They're framed in metal, like cast iron or something else obnoxiously heavy, so thats my real excuse. I need more sheetrock anchor thingys, yeah that's it. Also I've been thinking about cutting out a matte white vinyl silhouette of a chandelier to put above my bed. Good idea? Or overplayed? I really like the idea of the matte white vinyl on the barely tan wall with white fluffy bedding. I'm just not sure about the whole chandelier thing. And then theres the part about getting something that massive and fragile straight and on to the wall. Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

new digs

Here's a few candid shots of my new digs. I'm liking it so far. T is adjusting. Slowly. She wasn't much for the camera today so I'll get her some other time. She spends most of her time in my bathroom/closet, about 18 inches from her food. Typical T.
netflix on ps3 = my new bestie.

living. loving.

view from my room.

view from the livingroom.


kitchen. love.

bathroom. try to disregard the big ugly green trunk.