Lately

This month has been nonstop. Between my work schedule, apartment hunting and social engagements, I haven’t had much time to post. Regardless, it’s great to be back on the world wide web. I’m sure the internet was weeping at the thought of another lost blogger. Now dry those eyes.

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Mast Brothers sea salt chocolate

Every time Jordan and I are in Williamsburg we purposely walk by Mast Brothers on North 3rd Street. The sweet smell of chocolate permeates the air, challenging you not to go inside. Since our first trip several years ago, we’ve accrued a rather large selection of their chocolate bars. Each variety has a carefully appointed, stylish, wallpaper-quality wrapper that is almost as good as the product itself. Currently I’m working on their Sea Salt bar and cannot enter the kitchen without stealing a square.

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Hey, Granola Breath

Making my own granola always seemed like a bit much. Who really does that?  I mean, I don’t own clogs or actually enjoy hiking. I confess that I do own Birkenstocks, but they are absolutely having a come back. Despite my lack of outdoorsiness – I decided to give making my own a try. The recipe turned out to be super easy, delicious and versatile. You can mix in dried fruit or chocolate to enhance the sweetness a bit.  The recipe also allows you to substitute different types of nuts depending on what you have available. Maybe this whole granola thing has me rethinking clogs?  J to the K.

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Ahoy, Hanoi!

The second stop on our Southeast Asia trip was Hanoi, Vietnam. Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and was unexpectedly my favorite city on our trip. I loved the endless, twisting alleyways full of street food vendors and the excitement I felt when I stepped outside the familiarity of our hotel. The weather was mild in Hanoi, so it allowed us to spend the entire day exploring without having to take our usual 3pm shower break.

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Rice ball exchange in Hanoi, Vietnam

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The Best Salmon Salad

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The greatest salmon salad for two. Dish by Crate and Barrel.

Sometimes preparing a protein for an entree salad seems like such a difficult step. Why not forget the salad part and just eat this roasted chicken immediately? I oftentimes agree, but recently held out in order to prepare the most delicious salmon salad with cornbread croutons.

All of the ingredients come together in a savory, wholesome way and it’s worth the 8 minute roasting time. I realize that making the salmon is already a big step, so baking cornbread may seem out of the question. That being said you can skip the cornbread croutons or substitute store-bought ones. Jordan had made cornbread for chili the previous day, and I decided to recycle it in this salad.

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Dinner Party for 4

I love any excuse to entertain, so when Jordan’s friend started dating his new (much younger) girlfriend, I jumped at the chance to have them both over for dinner. I mean how else am I supposed to get to know (read: judge) her? It turns out she was lovely, mature for her 26 years and made excellent conversation about The Real Housewives.

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I never try to complicate appetizers and focus most of my attention on dinner. I always have crackers, mixed nuts and good olives on hand, just in case. I supplement these basics with 2-3 good cheeses, cured meats and fig spread. Jordan and I conveniently live upstairs from Malt and Mold, an artisanal cheese shop, so good cheese is never far away. Remember to always leave a small dish out for the olive pits.  You don’t want your guests awkwardly putting them on the table or secretly palming them.

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Salsa Skillet Chicken

When I cook, more often than not I find myself committing to a super complicated recipe that requires some sort of prolonged brine and 15 different spices, most of which I need to purchase the day of. After sitting down to dinner at 9pm, I realize that I probably could have skipped the 1/8 tsp of sumac. Needless to say, I’m trying to become more open to easy recipes that require less prep. I am learning that complicated does not necessarily equal better.

Case in point: this creamy salsa chicken recipe is so easy and seriously tastes great. Serve it over brown rice or quinoa in a bowl with some fresh cilantro and let the compliments roll in.

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Up North, Eh?

We’ve been on a wedding circuit as of late, which has been both fun and exhausting. I have not had a chill NYC weekend in over two months and it’s starting to feel like I’m just visiting my city in between events (dramatic).

This past weekend, we flew up to Toronto for my friend’s wedding at The Art Gallery of Ontario. I love parties in atypical spaces, and they really nailed it–the wedding was modern and elegant but not stuffy. Drinking cocktails in a museum feels a little illicit. There’s a small part of me that’s like well, what would happen if I just ‘tripped’ and this martini went all over this priceless painting? I almost have to hold myself together in a weird fantastical way.

Steven Meisel's Portrait of Madonna as photographed by Anne Collier's
Steven Meisel’s portrait of Madonna as photographed by Anne Collier. One of my favorites at AGO.

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Anything Scones

I am a major morning person, except for when it comes to fitting in breakfast. I’m usually out the door with coffee and don’t bother to eat anything until lunchtime. However, I do have one fail-safe grab-and-go recipe that works for every season. I call them Anything Scones, because you could literally add any seasonal fruit, herb or chocolate to the recipe and it will never fail you. The scones are always moist, delicious and in my experience go well with bodega coffee and the M15 bus.

Anything scone looking good on a Sascha Brastoff Surf Ballet plate
Anything Scone looking good on a Sascha Brastoff Surf Ballet plate.

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Down South

Best maple bacon donut from Glazed
Best maple bacon donut from Glazed

Last weekend, Jordan and I flew down to South Carolina for a friend’s wedding. We’ve always wanted to eat at Husk and may have made a reservation four months ago (worth it). We spent one night in Charleston and then drove down to Seabrook Island. There was a major rental car shortage due to the recent flooding, so we ended up procuring a last minute Zipcar for the weekend after a minor airport panic attack (sorry J).

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