This salad is a really, really good thing. I could - and might, starting now - eat it every day, it’s just that fresh and light and delicious. (Oh, and it’s also excellent alongside lots of different dishes, including last night’s Curried Chicken A La Oscar.)
CUCUMBER, YOGURT & DILL SALAD (serves 2 as a side dish)
What you need:
Half an English cucumber (the kind sold in plastic wrap in supermarkets), very thinly sliced
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
What you do:
Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl; season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve garnished with a little extra chopped dill.
P.S. If you grate the cucumber rather than thinly slicing it, this makes a fabulous tzatziki dip.
Welp, that was painful, wasn’t it? The Oscars tried to be new and young and hip and instead they were awkward and cringe-inducing. And I’m not even talking about the old people. Hell, you EXPECT old people to be awkward. You don’t go to a nursing home and expect to have a blast. But if you go to a…
Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Couture & Mila Kunis in Elie Saab.
This is so obvious that I’m bored with myself for even naming these two Best Dressed, but what can you do? I didn’t think anyone else even came close: this year’s Oscars weren’t exactly showstopping in terms of fashion (hair and makeup was another story; I thought almost everyone looked spectacular from the neck up).
Love or hate Cate’s dress - and it’s true: that thing, much like Angelina’s emerald Golden Globes gown, would look good on exactly nobody else on the planet - you have to give her credit for astounding originality, elegance, and attention to detail, and for her razor-sharp understanding of what works on her (and nobody else). As usual. Also, that lavender/yellow combo is to die for.
Mila is also a completely unsurprising choice - media outlets were naming her “Best Dressed” almost before anyone else had made their way down the carpet. She’s the It Girl of the moment, and this gown encapsulates why: she’s simultaneously beautiful and sexy, girl-next-door and girl-way-over-there.
(Oh, and an honorable mention goes to the lovely and composed Hailee Steinfeld. Her Marchesa was just perfect for her.)
Last night, we ended up holding a little impromptu Oscars-watching party for our neighbors. I had a moment of flusteredness because it was so last-minute, and I hadn’t planned to be feeding more than two…but then realized that I had already been planning to make one of those meals that easily bulks up to feed an army. And in this case it was a vast and intimidating army of…four. So really, there wasn’t a whole lot to worry about.
Last month’s Real Simple included a Slow Cooker feature (above), which I obviously clipped out and saved. I was especially excited to try the Curried Chicken with Ginger & Yogurt - curry is on the shortlist of Kendrick’s favorite meals, but isn’t something I’ve ever experimented with making. I ended up not being nuts about the recipe, though - it was a bit bland, and I tweaked it a bit moments before serving to add more flavor. So: the below recipe contains both the original proportions and my suggested fixes.
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I bought 3 packages, which contained 18 filets) (Note: as Emma mentioned below, this is a lot. But the filets I chose were itty bitty; if yours are more averaged-sized two thighs per person should do the trick.)
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice (recommended: twice this amount)
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (recommended: 1 cup reduced-fat)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Salt & pepper
What you do:
1. In your slow cooker, whisk together the tomato paste, garlic, curry powder, ginger, and cumin. The instructions say to whisk in 3/4 cup water, but I’m going to recommend just 1/4 cup water (to keep the sauce from thinning out too much). Add the onion, and stir to combine.
2. Place the chicken on top, and season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, on low for 7 1/2 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
4. Just before serving, add the yogurt and a bit more salt to the chicken, and stir to combine. Serve over rice, sprinkled with scallions.
Today was Stephen’s birthday brunch, so I woke up bright and early(ish) to make a version of the phenomenal mac ‘n’ cheese Morgan made for her Holiday Brunch a couple of months back. It’s based on a Barefoot Contessa recipe; I just tweaked it a bit to make it even creamier and less breadcrumb-heavy. FYI, it’s a little labor-intensive - or at least results in quite a few dirty pots and plates and implements - but things move along much more quickly if you grate the cheese ahead of time.
Happy birthday, Stephen!!! Love love love.
CHEDDAR & GRUYERE MAC ‘N’ CHEESE
What you need:
1 lb macaroni pasta
About 3 cups cheddar
About 3 cups gruyere
1 quart whole milk
7 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup white breadcrumbs
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
What you do:
1. Heat the oven to 375, and cook the pasta in boiling water drizzled with a little olive oil according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Next, grate your cheese. Feel free to use more or less of one type of cheese or the other, depending on your preferences.
3. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t let it come to a boil.
4. In a large saucepan, melt 6 tbsp butter and then add the flour. Whisk together; it will be 100% not a liquid and will make you think that you’re doing something wrong; don’t worry, it’ll all turn out well in the end.
5. Add the milk to the butter/flour mixture and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for a couple of minutes.
6. See? You just throw the cheese, macaroni, and salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the pot and stir it all around; it might still look a bit thin, but that’s nothing to worry about.
7. Pour it all into a big casserole dish and dot with halved cherry tomatoes.
8. Melt the rest of the butter (1 tbsp) and combine with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over the pasta and tomatoes.
9. Cook in the oven for about half an hour, or until lightly golden brown and bubbling. Yummmm.
I am writing because I need your help! I am in a friend’s wedding in July and we need help picking a shoe color for all the bridesmaids. The dresses are an ebony color:
Her “main” color is a mustardy yellow…Now, should we go with the soft black or neutral color, or should we try to find a color that will “pop”? We thought an eggplant color would look nice, but we live in Minnesota and the bride does NOT want it to look like we are attending a Vikings game =) Any advice or help is greatly appreciated! Thanks Jordan!
A. Hey Ashley!
My favorite idea: go for dusty rose shoes in a slightly retro shape with some super-feminine detailing, to pick up on the vibe of the dress (I love the idea of a rose/mustard combo). I also threw a bright-pink pair in here in case you want even more contrast.
Another pretty combo is ebony, mustard, and blue. Go for a pure robin’s-egg blue or a bright teal for a daytime/garden wedding; go slightly darker - like the Nine West pumps - if you want a more formal, evening-appropriate look.
If you decide to go with a neutral shade, I’d pick nude or silver - both go with just about everything, and both can of course be worn to countless post-wedding events, so the other bridesmaids will thank you :).
I associate boxed wine with a summer I spent living in Australia with my then-boyfriend in what could best be described as a frat house with zero university affiliation, and thus zero reason to maintain any semblance of order whatsoever. It was a horde of sweaty soccer players and one blonde girl (me), and while this may sound like the beginnings of quite an excellent porn, let me assure you: wasn’t nothing sexy about it. By the time we moved out, the house was moldy in places you don’t want to know about and smelled like fifteen-year-old socks.
And merlot-soaked cardboard.
So my associations with boxed wine are not so good. But I’m working to change this, because boxed wine is not all frathouses and mold; these days, it can be extremely delicious (in addition to being dirt-cheap and eco-friendly).
Click here for Brokelyn’s list of the Best Boxed Wines For Your Buck; I like the one with the monkeys on it. But really, at just over a dollar per glass for most of the brands, you can’t go wrong with any of ‘em.
Remember Brunch Critic, the site founded by my friend Andrea that I wrote about the other week? On Saturday, March 5, they’re having a launch party at gastropub Park Avenue Tavern that will include a selection of fabulous brunch dishes, as well as unlimited mimosas, Bloody Marys, and cocktails.
I know, it sounds like a terrible time.
Here’s the good news: I have access to a limited number of invites, so if you’re around on March 5 and would like to come by the event to say hi and grab some brunch & Bloodys, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll see what we can do to make it happen!
And if you’re in the NYC area, don’t forget to check out Brunch Critic to find some brunch inspiration for this weekend. You can search by neighborhood or by mood, ask the community for suggestions, or check out Brunch Critic’s top picks in categories from Notable Pancakes to If You’re Still In The Same Clothes From Last Night.
Love this tip from Houzz: if you have a boring old hanging lamp or chandelier, you can jazz it up for minimal cost by purchasing a whole bunch of individual colored crystals and hanging them from the existing fixture.
I’m not crazy about the colors chosen for the one pictured here - I would have gone with either all red crystals for a boudoir vibe or with white and silver ones for a deco look - but it illustrates the concept nicely and shows how it can work with even the most run-of-the-mill fixture. Here’s a minimalist spin on the idea, and here’s a more traditional one.
During a quick break from shooting yesterday, we sought refuge from the cold in the form of lattes from Dean & Deluca. While waiting on line, I spotted row after row after row of delicious-looking sweets in little silver containers, and thought to myself how perfect they’d be as favors at a wedding or shower.
You can mix and match the tiny, gorgeously packaged tins (single tins are around $7 apiece) with various candies or go for a classic (like chocolate-covered almonds) for all your guests. My top picks: Mint Malt Balls and Dark Chocolate-Covered Orange Peel. Growl.
While checking out the Dean & Deluca website I came across this Crystallized Natural Rose Flower ($14) - how stunning and unique is this? The crystallized roses are pricey, so they make more sense for a smaller event…but how gorgeous would a single one of these set out at each guest’s placesetting be?
Of course if you’re handy you can just go ahead and DIY either of these ideas.
For the candy tins, just purchase inexpensive tins with clear covers here, and bulk candy of your choice here. Maybe add a pretty sticker to the top.
For the flowers, make sure that you buy organic blooms that haven’t been treated with pesticides or anything else iffy. Remove anything potentially sharp or, you know, alive (like bugs), and then dip first in frothy egg whites (use a paintbrush if you’re worried about the flower falling apart) and then in superfine sugar. Set flowers on wax paper and let dry in a cool place, turning occasionally to ensure even drying. (For detailed instructions, including a list of recommended flowers, click here.)
Affordable & Adorable In Union Square / La Carbonara
I’ve passed this restaurant about a zillion times (you probably have, too), but have never gone in, mostly because a) if you just walk two blocks East you’re in the middle of Union Square, home to Republic and Coffee Shop, two of my favorite haunts, and b) the exterior says “totally average Italian place where I will be forced to order Caprese because I can find nothing more exciting on the menu, and because Caprese is always good.”
La Carbonara is super cute (brick walls, cozy atmosphere, farmhouse tables), has tons of lovely little touches (like fresh ricotta in olive oil set out on each table with the bread), and serves up house-made pasta like my fettuccine with shrimp and cherry tomatoes (above). A bit loud for groups (I went with a few girlfriends last Friday and we ended up more or less screaming at each other), but perfect for a romantic date.
Oh…and it’s fantastically reasonable: at $14.50, my pasta was one of the most expensive ones, and no dish costs more than $17.95.
I think I speak for all of us when I say that I am seriously - like really really really - ready for some sunnier days. But even though winter’s still hanging around, there’s no reason why your clothing can’t take some baby steps towards spring.
Tights and hats are still a necessity in my neck of the woods, but as the weather grows warmer tiny floral dresses, loose knits, and flats perfect for running all over town start looking not too hot, not too cold…but just right.
I bought this sheer floral minidress - and the black La Perla slip under it - nine years ago, in an underground shop in Camden Market, in London. I think I paid about $7 for the pair, and didn’t even bother trying them on because I figured I’d find a way to wear them regardless of how they fit.
That’s the thing about floaty minidresses - they can be shapeless, too big, too small, have rips in them…whatever, really - and you can still make them work with the right accessories. In this case, the dress is, oddly enough, all of the above (totally shapeless, too big through the armholes, too small through the hips, and nicely ripped down one side), but the belt, the slip, and the H&M knit cardigan (which I also have in cream, and which you may recognize from this post) hide its many imperfections.
See? You’d never know that the dress is a total disaster (or that the entire outfit - shoes included - cost just over $100).
Slouchy cardigans mask such a multitude of sins - love them.
Shoes like these Miz Mooz flats are so completely unlike me. I rarely wear flats (save for flip-flops and boots), and I haven’t owned anything resembling these since the third grade, when I purchased saddle shoes about three months after the trend had died down and was mocked mercilessly (true story). But they’re super cute, and I’ve been trying to figure out a way to integrate them into my wardrobe ever since I picked them up at the Bowlmor event last month.
I also think they’d be adorable with slightly-too-short skinny jeans with some rips in ‘em and a loose white T (like this outfit). Any other suggestions?
I spent this morning shooting an in-studio segment with pet expert Jenn Fadal (and Ida the Adorable Beagle). She had tons of fantastic tips on everything from nutrition to exercise to choosing the right dog for your lifestyle - I’ll be sure to post the segment here once it airs so you can listen for yourself.
This was my first time hosting an in-studio interview (as opposed to working in a studio by myself, as I did for the Betty Crocker segments, or hosting on-site interviews, which are a bit more informal), so it was a little different…and very exciting for me.
Here’s how it works: see that little clock reading “3”? It counts down to one, and then I’m up: first I thank the host, and then I move into the segment, delivering an intro to that camera you see on the right. From then on I chat directly with the guest until it’s time for my outro, which I deliver back into that camera.
In a fun little coincidence, I ran into Top Chef contestant and author of Pretty Delicious Candice Kumai (whom you may remember from my Raspberry Oat Loaf Cake post) in the hallway, waiting to appear in a segment on At-Home Girls’ Brunches. I told her that her recipe came out beautifully :).
And as a quick aside, I just have to show you the cake stands that Candice was using for her segment. I own a Jadeite cake stand exactly like the one on the left, which I picked up in a vintage store in Ohio last Thanksgiving. But as it turns out, you don’t need to drive for ten hours to buy them: Fishs Eddy sells exact replicas in tons of different colors (dying over the pale pink).