Monthly Archives: March 2011

It Won’t be Cold Forever, Spring Will Come

Say what you will about the traffic, the economy, the politics; Florida is a special kind of place, it is sunny, fresh, embraces rhinestones and diamonds for daytime, has a lot of love, and takes pride in its sunshiney-ness with streets named after flowers, fruits and tropical birds like Flamingo Road and Orange Drive.  

Hollywood Beach
As I mentioned I spent the weekend at home visiting my parents.  I flew in Friday evening and had dinner with my parents at home.  Saturday morning I went for a training run for my upcoming race (it’s 3 days away!), and then I spent lunch with my dad’s parents for lunch and a baking lesson, recipe coming soon.  
Lunch at Nanny and Poppy’s
On Sunday I went to my mom’s favorite place, the beach.
Hollywood Beach
Hollywood Beach
I haven’t been in 80+ degree weather in quite some time, and I haven’t been to the beach since Thanksgiving.  It was a good reminder of what is to come.  So, my friends in cold locations, please know it won’t be cold forever, the rain will stop, you’ll be able to put your coats, scarves, and wellies away.

The sun will come out soon, and it will be beautiful.

And when it does, please don’t forget your sunscreen.

Lucky Charms

I like stars, horseshoes and rainbows in the marshmallow form, but I love evil eyes, wishbones and clovers in silver, gold and platinum.

What can I say? I have a sweet tooth and like nice things!
With Yoga, Kabbalah, and good fashion superstition sharing the limelight with the ancient and traditional faiths, the way we find luck, good favor, and a little bit of blessings now comes with bling.  

These tokens and charms veer from the traditional and favor the fashionable, so they are more Saturday errands than Saturday’s sacred texts, but I love finding a personal way to accessorize.  Here are some of my favorites:

Lucky Charms from L-R: Jennifer Zeuner Long Skinny Good Luck Hamsa Necklace at Singer22, Alex and Ani – Lifetime of Luck Expandable Wire Bangles at Couture Candy, Anna Beck ‘Gili’ Clover Necklace at Nordstrom, Jennifer Zeuner Mini Hamsa Curb Bracelet at Charm & Chain, Ileana Makri Evil Eye Bracelet at Barneys New York, Dream Mullick Wise One Bangle at Max & Chloe, Jennifer Meyer Wishbone Studs at Ylang23

Where do you find your luck?

Crab Cake Appetizers

“Crab cakes and football, that’s what Maryland does!” – Wedding Crashers

To live near Maryland is to know (and love) crabs: steamed, dipped in butter, made into cakes.  When I was home for the weekend I made a crab cake appetizers for my parents and grandparents.  It was so fun to cook for people who have cooked for me my whole life, and to make something that doesn’t show up too often in South Florida.  Florida is all about stone crabs, not Maryland crabs.

Crab Cake Appetizer, makes 14
2 containers of 8oz crab meat (I used lump and claw)
1 egg, gently beaten
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay (this is not exact*)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
3 cracks of fresh black pepper
sprinkle of salt
2 tablespoons of mayonaisse
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
1/4 lemon juice
chopped chives

In a medium sized bowl empty the crab and with a gentle hand and wooden spoon mix the different kinds of meat together.  You can use all the same kind of meat, but generally one is considerably more expensive than the other, and they have a different flavor, so I combine for more depth.

In the empty crab cup, beat the egg and then add it to the crab.  Add the mustard, and a couple of squirts of the Worcestershire sauce, the lemon juice and the Panko.  

You’re probably noticing that the measurements for these ingredients are not overly specific, that’s because we’re cooking and not baking, and because flavor and spice is personal.  Mark loves Old Bay so I tend to go stronger with that, and I don’t care for salt so I tend to go lighter.  If you want spicy crab cakes, add more red pepper – it’s that simple!

Again with the wooden spoon, very gently incorporate all of the ingredients, being careful to not pulverize the crab.  A great crab cake is full of big, pump pieces of meat.  I usually take a sniff of the crab mixture to see if it seems balanced, and then maybe add more spices if necessary.

Now, form small balls of the crab mixture is the well of the palm of your hand.  These just need to be gently formed, not packing them too tightly.  Place all of the uncooked cakes on a plate and cover with plastic to refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  Refrigeration lets the crab cakes firm up before they are cooked.

In a large pan over low/medium heat add a touch of butter and get to cooking.  Each side takes 3-4 minutes.

When the crab cakes are out of the pan, give them a few moments to cool and mix up the sauce (mayonnaise, lemon juice and Old Bay) and chop up some chives.  For an extra kick you can add a dash of Tabasco to the sauce.

Place all of the crab cakes on a platter and give some (or all) a small dollop of sauce and a sprinkle of chives, serve with fresh lemon, oh and Enjoy!

First Signs of Spring in DC

I spent the weekend in Florida with family, and I have lots of recipes and photos to share of what is perenially 85 degrees and sunny (my hometown).  

But, before I left I snapped this picture of cherry blossoms along Logan Circle in DC.  The arrival of cherry blossoms, a gift from the Japanese, is the highlight of the year because it is a reminder that even though it is still 40 degrees, that spring will come and it will be lovely.

Wishing you a pink filled, lovely start to your week!

Be Engaging

So, you’re engaged.  Mazel Tov!  Now what?

I was once engaged, and now have friends who are or who will be, and maybe you are, or you have friends/sisters/daughters who are or will be.  Here is where I am going to share some frank advice.

When you are engaged to be married, that is the time between “Will you marry me?” and “I do”.  You might have one of these on your finger, or a string, or maybe you’re not a ring kind of girl – hey, Carrie wanted a closet, no judgement.
Ali Fedotowsky’s Neil Lane Engagement Ring via
Anyway, after you move beyond the proposal and calling your parents, siblings, friends and families, there is a lot to do and consider.  The first thing to remember, tell people before posting on Facebook – some news is worthy of a phone call!

Take the time to enjoy your engagement.  Before buying a magazine, looking at dresses (this might be hard to resist), before even booking a date, take time to enjoy your engagement.  

Be silly, take kissy face pictures, talk with your hands more than normal, tell people you’re affianced, introduce your “fiancee”, get a manicure.

Happily Ever After by Essie
Taking time helps get you ready to plan, which can sometimes feel like the other definitions of “engaged” such as:
  • having ones attention or mind or energy engaged; “she keeps herself fully occupied with vendor phone calls and magazines”
  • involved in military hostilities; “she was engaged in a heated battle for the perfectly pink peony bouquet”
  • booked: reserved in advance; “she has engaged a room block at every hotel within a 10 mile radius of her reception”
  • busy; “she was engaged in all the planning, she forgot to work out, see friends, relax”
To the newly engaged meet some of my favorite friends on the Internet:

And when you’re ready to start planning and talking and looking for inspiration, don’t forget to come here!

Lovely Lavender Eyes

Yesterday, Hollywood star, human rights activists and beauty legend Elizabeth Taylor passed away.  I have to admit, I have only ever seen one of her films, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  However, I think her beauty, her marriages and her grand glamour have become the things of legends – so much so, that people “knew” her without ever really knowing her.

Taylor’s most standout beauty feature were her eyes, often called lavender or violet eyes they sparkles and seem to be the centerpieces for all of her beauty photographs.  In a very Old Hollywood way, before colored contacts, fake tanning and botox, a young Taylor was lovely with lavender eyes.

To bring a little bit of that color into your own life, and just in time for Spring, here are some favorites:
Lovely Lavender from L – R:  Plissé silk-chiffon dress by Alberta Ferretti at the Outnet; Brian Danielle Pink Amethyst Pendant Necklace at Max & Chloe;  Lavender Bloom False Eyelashes by Shu Uemura; Waterford “Alana Prestige” Pitcher at Bloomingdale’s; Sweet Lavender Silk Top by Catherine Malandrino; Color Design by Lancome; Natalie bandeau bikini by Lisa Marie Fernandez at the Outnet; Dried Lavender in Clay Pot at Pottery Barn; Barbet Long Dress by Odylyne at Shopbop; Williams Sonoma Essential Oils French Lavender at Williams Sonoma

May we all have a reason, even if it is a rainy Thursday, to be glamorous – just like Liz.

Full Moon

This past weekend there was a “Super Moon” – the moon was 17,000 feet closer to Earth than it normally is, so it looked that much larger than normal. Sometimes the moon makes you do crazy things, this is one of those times.

(The picture, though a great study in contrast, does not fairly portray how big the moon really looked.)
On Saturday, we went with friends to Haine’s Point, the spot where DC’s two rivers meet and it must have been the full moon because we were inspired to try some new food choices, far beyond our normal menu selections.

First stop: Capitol Hill for DC-3, an aviation inspired, boutique hot dog restaurant from the guys that brought Matchbox to DC.  Each dog is inspired by a different location, the Cincinnati, West Virginia, or mine the Californian (no hot dog, just falafel and avocado).  
DC-3’s California “Hot Dog”
To be fair, hot dogs really should be eaten on the spot, either steps away from the grill or still within smelling distance of a street vendor.  Our hot dogs had to travel a little bit, so by the time we dug in, the bun had lost some of its bounce and the toppings melded together.  I wouldn’t recommend these for on the road food, but if I did go back, I would definitely indulge again in their fried pickles; the thick cut pickle coins were battered and fried and delicious.

Post moon viewing we looked at each other and wondered, “So, what’s for dessert?”  Never mind that between four people, six hot dogs, two orders or fries and a order of pickles had already been devoured, we were on the hunt for something sweet.

Perhaps it was the thrill of the moon, or the allure of sugar and butter, our next stop was Dangerously Delicious Pies in the H Street, NE.  Dangerously Delicious is a Baltimore import, and while pie seems homey, this is by all accounts homestyle pie with a bad-ass baker attitude.  No gingham, or girly cake plates here, we’re talking pies and skulls and cross bones, and rock and roll.  
Between the four of us we ordered, and shared the cherry pie (very tart), the mixed berry (perfect sweetness and bite), the chocolate chess and the Baltimore Bomb.

Baltimore Bomb
Baltimore Bomb is evidently a local specialty and has been highlighted on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” as a favorite of the Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman.  The cake is a custard cake with Baltimore’s local Berger’s cookies “melted” on top.  It tastes like melted, ooey, gooey cookie dough – which is to say, pretty out of this world.  It is worth sharing with a friend.  While it was definitely a treat, I think if we went back that is what I would order again – I can bake a mean pie myself, so I like to try things that I don’t have the recipe for and that are, well, the bomb.

So, while normally I’m talking oatmeal, whole wheat flour and root vegetables, this weekend was one to indulge in and we took some time to howl at the moon, and quiet the growl of our stomachs.

The Difference between Boys and Girls

On Sunday I woke up to see the following email exchange between Mark and his friend Nima, and then eventually Mark, Nima, his girlfriend and me.

Here is the difference between boys and girls:

Mark sends a date and a one word question.  Nima replies with a one word response.  And so now we have plans.  Needless to say my commentary in the email took more words than the entire planning process.

This email chain did two things, get me excited for dinner and make me laugh.  It has also made me start thinking about where, what we’ll do for dinner – but again, that might be difference between boys and girls.

Happy Monday friends,  look for a moment to laugh wherever you can find it.

Shop till you drop – and save

I’ll be working this weekend, but if you’re not, and you find yourself at the mall – don’t miss out on these great gear up for spring sales:
Great time to stock up on the “in today, out tomorrow” trendy styles for Spring
Nine West
Still lots of cute pieces up to 50% off and good to transition into a slow coming Spring at J. Crew, plus free shipping over $100.
Fall into the Gap (and Banana Republic and Old Navy) Give and Get is Here!: Enjoy 30% off from March 17-20 at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy plus we’ll make a 5% donation to a non-profit.
Also, take 15% off when you buy one pair of jeans, 25% off when you buy two or more pairs at Bloomingdale’s Denim Days 
Have a fashionable weekend – see you Monday!

Kiss me, I’m Stylish!

Emeralds have favor with today’s leading ladies and have for long before (and presumably after) St. Patrick’s day.  The richness of emerald stones complement the complexion of today’s hottest stars. 

Most famously first seen on Angelina Jolie at the Oscars in 2009:
Angelina Jolie in Lorraine Schwartz via InStyle
They have since graced red head Julianne Moore at the Golden Globes in 2010
Julianne Moore in Bulgari via InStyle

And, a very blond Reese Witherspoon at the Oscars in 2011
Reese Witherspoon in Neil Lane via InStyle
These looks get their movie-star sized wattage from the simplicity of the design: a stud and a drop, and the mega-size.  In this case, (and with jewelry isn’t it often the case?), bigger is better.

So, perhaps you don’t have velvet rope access to Neil Lane – here are some looks for less:

Go Green, From L-R: Noumea Emerald Pierced Earrings at Swarovski, Courtney Lee Collection Emerald Brittany Earrings at Max & Chloe, Lata K Illusion Green Onyx Long Earrings at Max & Chloe, Nicky Hilton Sterling Silver Bullet Earrings with CZ and Green Enamel at, Diana Warner Emerald-Cut Crystal-Drop Earrings at Max & Chloe