You may have heard some fuss in the media lately about a little thing called OWN? You know, Oprah’s new 24/7 network devoted to self-discovery?
If you’ve been vacationing in Atlantis and have somehow managed to miss all the coverage, let me summarize it for you:
OPRAH DID SOMETHING.
And I have to say, I agree wholeheartedly with all the excitement: it’s a fact that everything the woman touches turns to gold. She’s just perfection, and I - along with everyone else - adore her.
Which brings me to some exciting news! I’ve been asked to work with OWN and She Speaks as a “Conversation Leader,” which means that I’ll be viewing and writing about the shows in advance of the premieres (cool), as well as chatting about various things over on the OWN/She Speaks boards.
For my introductory post, I was asked to make a video in which I say how I’m going to OWN 2011 and the show that I’m the most excited for (Your OWN Show, of course). Here it is! (I just made it this afternoon, hence the New Year’s Eve-appropriate sparkle earrings :).)
Question for you: do you do the whole resolution thing? If so, what are your plans for the coming year?
This is the first time I’ve made my Aunt Jo-Anne’s famous (at least in our family) baked beans in a slow-cooker.
Highly. Recommended. Whoa, these are good. And easy. And good.
So good, in fact, that I’ve given them a featured role in our New Year’s Eve dinner (along with pulled pork and a few other sides…and champagne, of course).
The plan this year: Kendrick’s likely getting home too late for us to go downtown, as we’d originally intended, and so we’ve decided to skip the taxis, expense, and general headacheness of Going Out Big in favor of home cooking followed by drinks in the neighborhood. Seriously, this slow-cooker is the BEST: I get to do all the dinner legwork way in advance, and then head out for Happy Hour with some friends while it finishes up on its own.
But back to the baked beans. This time, I added a few little extras to Joanne’s original recipe…and they came out sweet, tangy, and filled with incredibly tender bits of meat.
What you need:
1 package dry beans (I used black-eyed beans)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 ham hock
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup ketchup
1-2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
What you do:
1. Pour the beans into a big bowl and just cover with water. Let them soak overnight.
2. Boil the beans for 10-15 minutes on the stovetop; drain.
3. Place the beans and all other ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for hours and hours (mine were in there for 7-8 hours, but I also only boiled the beans for 10 minutes, so perhaps that’s why they took longer). Add a bit more water halfway through if they look a little dry.
4. Remove ham hock and shred meat; return meat to pot. Adjust seasoning, if needed, and serve (here, they’re served alongside German Potato Salad and coleslaw).
If you’re headed to a New Year’s Eve party at someone’s house tonight, here’s a suggestion: in addition to (or instead of) the standard bottle of wine, bring along a cool, inexpensive bar accessory like these Victorian Key bottle openers ($7.99 from World Market).
And just because I was browsing around on the World Market site…these Fleur de Lys glasses ($11.96-$15.96) are gorgeous.
Q. Hi Jordan!
I’m a longtime reader of your blog. I moved to the Upper East Side in November, and since you live in this area as well I was wondering - what are your recommendations for great, reasonably priced sushi up here? My boyfriend and I love sushi, but neither of our budgets exactly lend to trying out every restaurant. I remember reading a number of posts from you about sushi, so I figure you’d be a little more in the know than I am. I’d love to hear your input!
A. Hey Tara!
The best sushi I’ve found in the area is at Gajyumaru. The atmosphere is fairly run-of-the-mill (simple wooden tables, brightish lighting), but the quality of the fish is awesome, and there are lots of unusual options on the menu. For atmosphere + quality, I’d recommend Amber, on 3rd…but be warned: it can get expensive. Wasabi Lobby is my pick for quick + serviceable: the sushi isn’t anything special, but it’s totally fine, and it’s well-priced. And Poke is BYO, which is a plus, but they really rush you out the door when they’re busy, so i’d say only go during off-peak hours.
* * *
Anyway, so last night Francesca and I went to Amber for dinner…and yep, nice atmosphere, not-so-nice prices. And look: we (coincidentally) wore the exact same nailpolish (Sephora by OPI in Dear Diary; a perfect, looks-good-on-everyone pale pink).
Like Mary (and most people…no?), I LOVE artichokes.
How to pick them:
Look for artichokes that are heavy for their size, with tightly-packed leaves and no bruises or discolorations. To prepare, first rinse off the artichoke and then cut off all but about 5mm of the stem (I use poultry shears, but a knife will do). Some people trim off the sharp ends of the leaves; I am impatient and hungry, and am willing to put up with a little pain for more immediate gratification.
How I make them:
Opinions on this differ, but I steam artichokes with the base side up (use a vegetable steamer if you have one). Cover, with just enough room for some steam to escape, and steam in approximately 3/4 inch of water on low heat for 40-50 minutes (depending on the size of the artichoke). If the water boils down too low and gets kinda brown, just add a little more. When the base is fork-tender, they’re ready.
How I serve them:
How I serve them:
I serve steamed artichokes with Lemon Butter, which you make by reducing the juice of 1 lemon over low heat for a few minutes, and then adding 3/4 stick of butter (it makes several servings) cut into pieces. Allow to melt, and pour directly into little serving dishes like the one you see here, which I bought in Chinatown years ago.
I prepare the melted butter about fifteen minutes before I’m planning on serving it, because I like it to thicken just a little (so more grabs onto the artichoke leaves when you dip them).
And now I think I have to go pick up a couple for weekend munching purposes.
Top image via maryrambin.
Bralettes are lingerie perfection: they’re gorgeous, comfortable, and can be found in a wide range of prices (try Free People for tons of affordable options, and brands like Cosabella and Hanky Panky if you have a little more money to spend). At left is one of my favorites: the OnGossamer Black w/ Champagne Boudoir Blooms Bralette ($38).
Basically, a bralette is a soft bra (no padding or underwire) that often extends partway down the body to form a sort of crop-top. I once wore a sequin one in public (paired with silk harem pants); this isn’t something I necessarily recommend. You can, however, wear many styles as substitute camisoles and let the tops peek out over a button-down shirt (this look works best with bralettes in bright colors, as opposed to nude/white/black, which are traditional lingerie colors and may look…well, like your bra is showing).
Since they don’t usually have a ton of support, I personally prefer bralettes as sleepwear; they can be paired with anything from matching lacy bottoms to boxers or PJs, and if you choose one with more coverage, everything should stay in its place all night long.
Some more great picks:
Clockwise from top left: Rose Burnout Velvet Bralette ($38); Hanky Panky Signature Lace Retro Bralette ($35.90); Eberjey Winthrop Lace Bralette ($46); Urban Outfitters Mary Green Bralette ($36); Cosabella Never Say Never Sweetie Bralette ($46; comes in lots of other colors); Calvin Klein Perfectly Fit Bralette ($22.99).
Or so it seems, anyway. I’m sick; half the people I know are sick, including Kendrick, who apparently made off with the remainder of the DayQuil this morning. (UPDATE: Kendrick is a note-perfect husband and would never, ever do such a hideous thing to his deathly ill wife. Also, there was none left in the box when he checked. Love, Kendrick.)
I don’t think I’ve had a cold since the one I picked up in London last November, but I remember getting all sorts of great get-better advice from you guys back then and decided to revisit it this morning.
- Jenny recommends elderberry syrup for its infection-inhibiting properties.
- Gabrielle recommends Gypsy Cold Care tea.
- Erin recommends this Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, added to decaf green tea.
I swear, Virgil was a sled dog in a former life. Minus the obedience and general willingness to listen.
Lucy? More of an indoor kinda girl.
Since 2010 is winding down in just a few days, I thought I’d take a moment to list my favorite beauty products (both new and old) that I’ve discovered/been using constantly over the past few months.
- Borghese Fango Ristorativo: the best mud mask I’ve found. A weekly mud mask plus a weekly overnight application of Boscia’s Intensifying Moisture Pack has made my once-scaly skin a whole lot more manageable.
- Strivectin Retexturizing Scrub*: my favorite of the products in the line, this scrub has singlehandedly made me an advocate for the benefits of exfoliating biweekly. Huge difference. Read more here.
- Rain Africa soaps: this company, which I just stumbled upon in Rockefeller Center a few weeks ago, is just amazing. More on them later, but for now, suffice it to say that the soaps are extraordinary (and make gorgeous gifts).
- Cor Silver Soap*: I love it. It’s ridiculously expensive ($125 for the large bar), but…I just adore the stuff. And I’m still working my way through a sample size that I picked up in September, so I’d advise snagging one of those (they’re just $15) before committing to the Big Purchase.
- L’Oreal YouthCode Day/Night Cream* (available in stores January 2011): I like moisturizers rich but non-greasy, and this one is great for nighttime (and for extra-dry mornings). I leave it on the windowsill for an extra-cooling effect.
- Laura Mercier Sequin Eye Color in Tiger’s Eye: a warm brown with a hint of sparkle that takes it from day to night.
- Carmex Moisture Plus (pink sheer lip tint)*: it’s just the perfect everyday lip tint - lots of moisture, and the subtlest pink shimmer.
- Stila Raspberry Crush Lip & Cheek Stain: this two-in-one color is perfect for travel. Just beware: it’s powerfully pigmented, and best applied with a mirror handy.
- Sally Hansen Sun Glow Powder Bronzer*: a couple of months ago I ran out of my usual NARS Laguna, and fished this (much) less expensive alternative out of my makeup drawer. Since then I’ve picked up a new Laguna…and I’m still using the Sally Hansen. Go figure.
- Proactiv Makeup Removing Towelettes: I keep a package of these in my bedside table for the nights when I’m too exhausted to make it to the sink. They’re non-drying, refreshing, and take absolutely everything off (also great for travel).
- Sprayology Homeopathic Spray*: A sort of silly premise - vitamins! that you spray under your tongue! so they get into your bloodstream faster! I mean, whatever. But I spritz every night anyway, because why not? The tube is right there on my bedside table. And I go to sleep feeling just a little extra-virtuous and healthful.
*Product sample generously provided by manufacturer.
There are two things that I especially love about this tabletop: the air plants in glass votives, and the twine-wrapped vase. But the thing that I love most of all? This look couldn’t be easier - or more inexpensive - to DIY.
First, the air plants. You can buy them online, and they require minimal care (just mist them about once a month). For a similar look to this one, just set them on the table in votives, antique cream-and-sugars…whatever you have handy, really. I also like the idea of tucking branches and coral around them to add more texture.
For the twine-wrapped vase, all you need is twine and some glue. You can just wrap the center section if your vase is a pretty one (or if you’re short on time), but I like the idea of covering them top-to-bottom - so rustic and pretty. To do this, just start at the base and use glue to affix the twine, working your way slowly up until the whole thing is covered.
For a variation on the look try wrapping just the mouth of a Mason Jar (or any clear glass jar you have handy), and then filling it 1/3 of the way up with cranberries, nuts or coarse sea salt (snow! sorta…). Place a white votive inside, and voila! Adorable centerpiece, perfect for a New Year’s Eve dinner.
(At other times of the year, try switching up the filler in the jar for season-appropriate things like sand, small seashells, or rocks.)