Now several weeks removed from the Food & Wine Classic, I still find myself daydreaming on what seemed like a weekend long frenzied reverie filled with gastronomical delights and libations. The festival was held in the heart of the snow-capped mountains of Colorado, in the idyllic and historic town of Aspen. It was a swirling whirlwind sensation filled with impassioned food enthusiasts, great eats and tons and tons and TONS of alcohol.
I am so thrilled to announce that Bario Neal, a Philadelphia-based jewelry design company, is giving away one of their beautiful Knotted Rush ring in silver to one of our lucky readers! I personally love the delicate simplicity of this classic ring. It is a gorgeous piece perfect for everyday wear.
I celebrated the summer solstice, the official mark of the summer season in Aspen, Colorado- a little over a week ago.
So easy, but ridiculously delicious. No, seriously. Seriously.
I love braising chicken in its own liquid. There’s no need to add too many spices- but the result is always flavorful and juicy.
This gazpacho packs quite a punch! I find that most gazpacho soups tend to be too light to hold on its own court. While this gazpacho stays true to being a refreshing summer staple- the smokiness of the roasted red bell pepper and the textural weight of both the diced bacon and hard-boiled eggs as garnish really give some depth to this soup.
I love Eggs Benedict. It is a rich, sumptuous savory dish between the creamy egg yolks and the satin delicacy of the sauce.
Spring and early Summer is the best time for outdoor parties. We try to eat and entertain in our backyard alcove as often as we can.
Black truffles are such a luxury. Our local Farmers Market would carry them when they are in season- but a thumb sized piece can be worth about $50-100.
This dessert is deceivingly simple but absolutely surprising. It really doesn’t get any quicker than this to pull off an impressive, delicious dessert
So, the time has come when you finally feel ready to upgrade your kitchenware- but where do you start? Sure, you already have the basics- measuring cups, whisks, mixing bowls, etc- but which items are worth paying more? As a recipe developer, and food writer I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen- and I found that there are really ten key kitchen investments that can bring your cooking and efficiency to whole new level.
I love throwing dinner parties. I take great pleasure seeing my guests gathered around, enjoying each others’ company and eating a great meal together.
My family and I are avid watchers of Fox’s Masterchef. There is something so supremely satisfying watching food being made- and between the theatrics, the food and the drama, that show got us hooked.
I had such a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday. My amazing husband let me sleep in while he took care of the girls. Then Ruthie and Noah made me a delicious breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and eggs. It was almost commercial-worthy… were it not for the pile of dishes I volunteered to clean up afterwards.
Late last night, we heard a horrible noise. But living off of a busy street, we learned to ignore most noises that manage to filter through our windows. Our dog, Pippi, however was on edge the rest of the night. This morning, I found out why.
Between seasonal allergies and a cold going around, our house is a mess. So don’t be surprised if the next series of posts will be a week-long tribute to soup. I haven’t had much time to really take care of myself last week, between a sick husband and a sick baby and prepping for our Easter brunch.
This recipe is inspired by and adapted from this month’s Bon Appetit Noodle Salad with Chicken Recipe. The original recipe was a bit too spicy so I had to readjust the spice ratio. In the end, the dressing for this noodle salad is just the right balance between savory, sweet and spice.
To be quite honest, I have never dyed Easter eggs before. So this project became a lot more ambitious when I decided that I wasn’t just going to dye Easter eggs, but hollowing them out, and making fortune eggs for people to take home after our Egg Hunt brunch.
Today is the second day of passover. We usually celebrate passover with my husband’s side of the family, however, because of some work conflict, we’ve been unable to visit them in DC. While we do not observe this holiday, I do love celebrating this tradition together with family.
Muhallabieh is a milk-based dessert I grew up eating in Saudi Arabia. It is light with consistency that is somewhere between yogurt and panna cotta. When we left Saudi, I thought it was the end of my indulging on a number of my favorite Arab foods.
Within seconds of of seeing Bon Appetit’s April 2014 cover, I was immediately inspired to recreate their cover dish. It looked delicious and refreshing. Without having read the recipe, I knew I could recreate the look of the dish with a handful of ingredients.
Weekday lunch was always such a point of frustration in our household. I always planned ahead for dinner, but somehow unless I buy deli meats for a quick sandwich, we end up buying our lunch to avoid midday cooking and dish cleaning.
Okay- before you say anything, I got the idea from the tapas chef genius, Jose Andres. This amazing Spanish-American chef recently released his own brand of potato chips, and my-oh-my are they delicious.
It is difficult to talk about Peppercorn without mentioning its past. Peppercorn Restaurant, a recent addition to the Main Line restaurant scene, has had a bit of an identity crisis since it opened July 2013.
There’s something downright sensual about making cheese. I think it’s the cream, and the milk and the pillowy softness that results from it. This was my first attempt on cheese-making of any kind, and I must say, that I’m kind of hooked! I may never buy store-bought ricotta again.
When we were planning our trip to the Philippines, I knew I wanted to plan a trip to one of its famed beaches. However, as much as we would have loved to visit Palawan, an island rumored to have the most beautiful sunsets in the world, we did not feel like hopping on another, albeit significantly shorter, plane ride so soon after we arrived.
Located within the heart of Quezon City, the largest city in Metro Manila, Cocoon Boutique Hotel was a surprising respite from everyday chaos. What’s more surprising is the hotel’s efforts in providing the first environmentally friendly, green hotel in the Philippines.
My family and I just recently came back from our first big international trip from the Philippines together. We had such a wonderful time. But the weeks leading up to our departure was spent agonizing, carefully planning and collecting things we needed to survive the long journey over and back.
Sometimes, after the kids go to sleep, my husband and I would have “mini-dates,” where we’d have a glass of wine or a finger or two of scotch or have a cocktail together in the living room. During the summer months, we’d sneak off with the baby monitor to our patio, start a bonfire and sit under the stars while we sipped our drink.
I’ve been struggling to find discipline in motherhood. Growing up, my mother worked 60-70 hours a week as a OB/GYN nurse at a royal university hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Another snow day is coming up. I have lost count on how much snow in how many days we’ve had this winter, because its truly been brutal.
With about two feet of snow in our front door- we are definitely staying in for the rest of the day. So while the kids and I are getting snuggled and bundled, we thought we’d finish our Valentines for our friends and family.
With just barely a week since the last snow storm, it seems that another one is its way tonight. This winter has been fierce and unrelenting. But I try to continue looking at the bright side of things- namely, winter cocktails!
I have fallen in love with the Beekman Boys. Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge created the lifestyle company, Beekman 1802, which makes pastoral living seem so idyllic. What started off as a fantasy has now become the fastest growing lifestyle brand in America, and with it, the revival of their sleepy town of Sharon Springs, NY.
A cheese platter is one of my favorite ways of preparing a hassle-free appetizer or to add a little pizzazz to cocktail hour. We usually have a small selection of cheeses in our fridge so that we’re ready to feed impromptu guests or to satisfy a craving.
Recently, I have had the pleasure to work with, MusicWorks, a wonderful non-profit organization. MusicWorks is Delaware County’s premier music therapy service provider. They are also the only music therapy center whose services for special needs children are covered by insurance.
I wish I could take credit for this, but I can’t. This brilliant twist on the classic Bloody Mary cocktail is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Bloody Mary served in his restaurant, Barbacoa.
There is something so charming about life in miniature. Awhile ago, one of my favorite stores, Terrain, offered terrarium-making classes (while sipping wine), so I decided to join in the fun. Terrariums are small-scale verdant vignettes- arranged in clear containers.
The end of the holiday season is always so bittersweet. The ceremony of getting the house all gussied up for Christmas, the anticipation, the holiday parties and preparation for our yearly Christmas brunch makes parting with this season slightly painful.
Hello, friends! First and foremost, I am simply humbled and amazed by the incredible support I receive from this community. Thank you so incredibly much! In the spirit of giving gratitude, I want to share five things I’m thankful for from this week:
I love waffles. But you already know that…
Throughout my pregnancy I craved three things- fried chicken, waffles and beer. I knew since then that whether my baby was a boy or a girl, I wanted to throw a “fried chicken and waffles” party for baby’s first birthday. And so it was!
I love dressing up our home for Christmas. Between all the twinkly lights, the tree and the escalating anticipation for the Christmas Day, the house feels positively magical.
During the holiday season, there seems to be an unspoken agreement in our family to devote our gift-giving to the kids. But I still couldn’t resist making some yummy goodies for the grown-ups. I vary it year per year.
Ruthie and I made a wide range of presents for this holiday season. This was one of the more ambitious projects we undertook only in that it had a lot more steps to complete but otherwise this was easy and something I would totally do again.
After a weekend of non-stop cooking, I usually love to wind down with quick and easy meals for the rest of the week. It takes me awhile to warm back up into more time-consuming dishes.
This is such a fun project to make for other kids in the family. Ruthie made a series of shirts and onesies for the babies and toddlers of the family.
This weekend Ruthie and I made it a mission to finish her Hanukkah and some of her Christmas presents. I am glad we started the holiday presents early this year because it’s a lot less stressful when spaced out through the course of several weeks.
Happy Friday, friends! Firstly, an apology: I’ve been having such a hard time keeping up with the blog updates.
To celebrate Miya’s birthday, I made cupcakes for the teachers and caregivers at the daycare. This is hands-down my favorite cake/cupcake recipe of all time.
Growing up, Julia Kostreva knew with deep conviction that she always wanted to be a designer. She went to the Maryland Institute College of Art and afterwards let her whim be her guide- traveling throughout Europe, living in Japan and eventually settling in San Francisco with her friends.
I feel like it’s been AGES since I last wrote a Five Friday Favorites post! There’s been quite a bit of (positive) upheaval in my personal and professional life lately and I’ve had a really tough time trying to balance the blogging along with it.
I first fell in love with the Beekman Boys when I stumbled upon their show on Planet Green. Since then, Noah, Ruthie and I have been following the evolution of their brand, Beekman 1802
Ruthie and I have been making holiday presents on and off for three years now. I wanted her to understand that the holidays was about the joy of giving back to the people we love.
My wonderful stepdaughter, Ruthie, turned 10 this weekend. It’s been officially five years since she came into my life and stole my heart.
So as some of you may know, this weekend I auditioned to be part of Masterchef USA Season 5. I feel exhausted even just from the memory of it.
The Fairy Door project was conceived by the wonderful Carrie Kohs, owner of the remarkable toy store pucciManuli. The neighborhood shops will be unveiling their fairy doors throughout the season. I thought this was an inspiring, whimsical project so I decided to be part of it. I am on a mission to securely place two […]
Something magical is happening to our neighborhood. Since the summer, Ruthie and I have heard a rumor that there is a fairy migration happening across the country.
All the delicious farm fresh eggs we’ve been getting everyday allows me to be extra creative in finding ways to cook them. With the cooler weather rolling in, I have been craving heartier fare in the morning.
While this 2013 Chicago Marathon was my fifth, this race was a first in many ways. Miya was still fast asleep when I left the hotel, so for the first time, I walked to the start line alone.
I love my stepdaughter. Ruthie brings such happiness wherever she goes.
We recently hosted an Oktoberfest party, and I decided to make our own flower arrangements on the tables. This was my first attempt at flower arrangement using a short wide vase, which is an unusual vessel but creates beautiful, cascading arrangements if used properly.
Traveling with a child under 1 year old is never really truly enjoyable. There’s always a sense of relief and triumph through surviving time away from home with your baby.
Hotel Monaco is another feather in the Kimpton Hotel Group’s cap of beautiful boutique hotels around the country. It is Kimpton Hotel’s second property in Philadelphia.
With all the recent loss, I have been trying to concentrate and remember everything I have to be thankful for. Yes, its been a tough year- but I have supported and loved and that is enough to anchor me in the present
2013 has officially kicked my ass. My grandmother passed away yesterday and I have been trying to process that loss since I found out.
Even before Miya was born, I knew I wanted her first birthday to be celebrated with fried chicken and waffles. I don’t quite know where the desire came from
Writing and blogging can be such an isolated experience. Personally, while I love the creative process of developing recipes, writing about food and shooting videos it can be quite exhausting and uninspiring to go through it alone.
This Sunday, September 22, is the fall equinox, which marks the official first day of Autumn. This cool weather has me reminiscing about our puppy’s arrival into our lives and on how much I was anticipating Miya’s birth, less than a year ago.
Fall is a beautiful time for mushrooms. All the humidity that built up during Spring and Summer usually result in delicious, earthy mushrooms.
I can never resist “Moules Frites” in a menu- the combination of the tangy steamed mussels and the crisp savory goodness of french fries has been drooling as soon as I see it.
Early fall- that time of year where the weather threads the line between cool and warm. It is also the perfect time to start pulling light cashmere out of the closet.
The Farm-to-Table movement has been on a slow ascent for a long time, first studded with only a handful of pioneers around the USA. The movement that took over 40 years to come to full speed and is now finally speeding through the country with a steady hum.
We don’t have cable TV in our house. We get our TV fix through Netflix, HULU or AppleTV.
Philadelphia has a thriving and burgeoning arts and culinary scene. This city has been slowly making its mark as a world-class player in both industries.
While I always enjoy our visit to the Hamptons, its become a challenge to find great hotels with enough space to accommodate a family and still stay reasonably affordable.
As we transition to cool Autumn weather, I am naturally starting to favor my heavier clothing. I haven’t embraced wool weather just yet- but I am shying away from my linens and silks.
I got a bit overzealous when planting my tomatoes this year and decided to plant almost every heirloom tomato variety that came across my path. Some took to soil, and some didn’t- but as a result, the beds are bursting with our Green Zebra variety.
If you’ve checked my blog or connect with me through other social media channels these past two days you might have noticed that I haven’t been around. It’s been a difficult week. While Miya adjusted very well to Day Care- I have been hit with an intense wave of depression…
Our garden is bursting at the seams with tomatoes and basil. I have grand plans for canning the tomatoes for winter- from marinara, to crushed tomatoes to homemade ketchup
Two months ago, I hosted an ice cream/ gelati giveaway. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out the materials and logistics that is involved in sending out perishable items.
It’s September, and I crunched on my first Autumnal leaves this past weekend. The golden, umber of dried leaves dusted over my car despite the muggy weather was a shock. I didn’t expect Fall to arrive so soon!
Our week in DC has come to an end. We unfortunately didn’t find enough time to go to all the museums we wanted.
A little while ago, we started a new segment on the blog called “Ruthie’s Reviews.” Here, my step daughter, Ruthie, explores various venues and establishments and gives her opinion.
Stella & Dot is hosting today’s wonderful giveaway: a stunning Sidewinder ring. This innovative company is one of the fastest growing businesses in America…
I have always been curious about the cerebral process in which various women get dressed. While some women approach fashion in a very practical manner…
In honor of all our chickens, who started laying eggs this past week- I wanted to create a new egg dish. Our Easter Egger chicken, Mary Lennox, lays beautiful green-shelled eggs, which inspired this playful take on a Dr. Seuss classic- “Green Eggs and Ham.”
This summer has been a whirlwind. Someone asked me yesterday what I have been up to this summer and I honestly couldn’t answer.
Sometimes I accessorize for the dress, but sometimes I dress for the accessory. With that line of thought, I absolutely love pairing white dresses…
It’s amazing how popular white parties have become as a summer theme. One globally celebrated white party is Diner en Blanc, an event that was popularized in Paris
I love Chicago. Once known as the “hog butcher of the world,” this city has since moved on to become renowned for their thriving molecular gastronomy and yes, their delicious deep-dish pizzas.
I find that people have an increasing level of disenchantment with traveling these days. Between airline delays, overpriced, bad airport food- the magic of airline travel has been reduced to plastic silverware and a peanut-less bag of nuts.
Summer is quickly coming to a close. We are going for a last summer hurrah and spending the last week of August in DC…
In honor of Jamie Oliver and his search for the next Food Tube star, I decided to toss my hat in the ring and give it a shot.
I have stayed in far too many hotel rooms than I care to admit. Perhaps this is the reason I am ever more critical about what constitutes the ideal hotel stay.
Stella Rossa, an Italian bistro nestled on the edge of Brandywine River, is a recent addition to Philadelphia’s bustling Italian culinary scene.
My camera is an everyday fixture in my life these days. As a result, I have been hunting for the perfect camera bag…
Our family is obsessed with Masterchef. We wait for the new episode every week and I may have…
Have I mentioned how much I love OTTE dresses? This gorgeous piece is a tad bit more sexy
Philippine cuisine is a wonderful smorgasbord of various cultural influences. Most notably, Philippines has adopted a bevy of Spanish foods…
As you may notice, I have quite an affinity for dresses. I rarely wear jeans mostly because they are less forgiving…
Last weekend we went picking for fresh blueberries at a nearby farm. Blueberry picking is time consuming and hard work…
Did you know that this week is National Orgasm Week? No, I’m serious! This is an actual, legitimate thing.
My husband and I make a commitment to have at least one date night every month. But between busy work schedules, family time and various events…
I am having a love affair with neons lately. But only in small increments- usually in unexpected places, like my neck or perhaps my undergarments…
This delightful and refreshing dessert is a perfect summer treat for adults. It’s a cherry-lime puree spiked with sake.
There’s nothing that is as versatile and universally proclaims “breakfast” as eggs. There are 100 ways of cooking an egg.
And just like that, the weather has shifted and it feels like a brisk fall day! It’s incredible how quickly the weather changes!
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be…
I made this recipe for two reasons. One reason is to treat all the lovely readers who want to try and make their own ice cream…
These pancakes are actually “double chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes.” But that’s a pretty long name, so instead I would like to call the “ZING!” pancakes.
Can you believe that we’re already halfway through the summer? I feel like I still have so many things on my summer bucket list that I have yet to accomplish.
This has been an interesting week for me at Daily Ampersand. The heat wave (104F/ 40C yesterday!) has me feeling shiftless and lackadaisical.
I was not always a runner. In fact, I struggled to finish a mile all throughout high school. But since insomnia ran in my family and I was an unfortunate recipient of this genetic anomaly…
This summer in the city has been brutal; like a pendulum swinging wildly from one extreme to another of either torrential rain or severe heat.
With all the fresh summer produce, it doesn’t take much to whip up quick, delicious food. This makes for a great appetizer or a light lunch.
Shrimp is the workhorse of the seafood world. It is an extremely versatile ingredient.
It’s funny, I call this section of the weekly post my “five Friday favorites” but in reality I actually post 6 different links. The 6th link is what I consider a bonus link- a way to explore other blogs in the web that are interesting or inspiring or BOTH…
Growing up as a child in Saudi Arabia had its advantages. I was exposed to a constant stream of delicious meals from my parents’ diverse group…
It’s difficult to talk about weight, but I will anyway. I gained about 40 lbs when I was pregnant.
Summer is all about the pleasures of entertaining. Whether its a casual brunch or a backyard barbeque or a weekend pool…
There’s no dish as universally recognized and loved as a sandwich. Yes, it is not the height of global cuisine, but making a great sandwich is an art form on its own!
With one foot in my former profession and another in what I hope to be my new one- I go back and forth between pursuing a career change and just staying in my current path.
It has been two weekends since the opening night of the Hampton Holiday House White Gala, but the memory of its insouciant luxury and uninhibited sense of ease is still fresh in my mind.
In honor of the 4th of July holiday, I thought I’d put together a red, white and blue outfit. I have a particular affinity with shirt dresses.
It’s July. It’s a season for light, delicate, fun fare- and not just food but for fashion as well.
Fresh grilled fish is another favorite summer staple in our family. When I was a child and lived in Saudi Arabia, we would sometimes spend long weekends out of the capital along with other families, sometimes by a riverbank…
It’s been a pretty exciting week, hasn’t it? I am so pleased that DOMA and Prop 8 was turned over. I am a big supporter of the Equal Rights movement and this is a wonderful leap towards the right direction.
Before I started this site (when it was still on tumblr), I had attempted to document my musings on being a stepmom on a separate blog.
Sometimes, I wonder why do I do fashion posts? There are many far more established fashion sites out there, so what do I have to contribute?
This is my first Daily Ampersand food giveaway! Several readers have expressed how much they like to idea of homemade ice cream …
We had such a restorative time at the beach this weekend! After several weeks of being apart from each other, we were finally complete just in time for us to go to Southampton, NY.
Lately, I’ve been upping the intensity in producing high-quality work and applying for writing opportunities for various publications. Last night, when I finally got home, Miya is already tucked in and fast asleep in her crib.
I don’t really know what possessed me to get a dog, start a garden and raise chickens in the midst of giving birth and a family crisis, but I am glad I did. I suppose I clung on to the idea of gardening as a way to connect with the memory of my father.
I love this navy blue dress by Karen Walker, a New Zealand designer. I am a big fan of anything nautical to begin with and I imagine that since New Zealand has the largest sailing community in the world- that this piece pays homage to her seaside holidays there.
I love finding ways of eating dessert for breakfast. And when I’m able to combine one of my favorite dessert items with one of my favorite breakfast items? Well then, that’s heavenly.
In my former life, whenever work took me to New York we would stop by the Oyster Bar and half a dozen East Coast oysters and a fresh lobster dinner to celebrate the end of an incredibly long, exhausting day.
Here’s another little confession: I am always a little afraid of letting my (sometimes crass and politically incorrect) sense of humor show through my writing.
Okay, I just have to warn you- this confessional is a bit graphic- so please proceed with caution. In the past 2 weeks several friends and acquaintances have been asking what it’s been like for me as a mother.
Spring has slipped away leaving behind a lush, verdant summer here in Philadelphia. We already have a small growing list of garden parties we’ll be attending during the summer (and perhaps throw one of our own).
This is a great foolproof cake recipe, quick and easy, perfect for a dinner party or simply to enjoy with your family. When paired with the fig and balsamic swirl gelato- it instantly elevates this confection into an elegant, showstopping end to a meal.
As a child I wasn’t able to appreciate the complexity and depth of flavor of a fresh fig. It has an inherent earthy caramel delicacy. The first time I truly appreciated it was in my teenage years. It was a perfectly ripe fig cut in half; its center glistening with deep maroon streaks spreading out like veins in a leaf, speckled with the exquisite texture of its seeds.
During one of our final conversations, my father told me that I need to find my passion. It was a novel experience, speaking with my dad in that manner. In my family, passion takes a backseat to success.
Known for his impeccable sense of urban styling and flawless structure, Marc Jacobs launched his retro-cool inspired ready-to-wear brand name with cool-girl chic accessories. This brand has cultivated a cult following since its launch in 2001.
Here’s a confession: I hated my husband for awhile after Miya was born. (Just so we’re clear: My husband and I are in a good place now. So you can manually release your butt cheeks if you thought this post was going to end on a sad note.)
I love French Fries. Since I was a kid, my family always joked that should a man ever propose to me, it should be done with a bouquet of fries. No, seriously. Alas, Noah never got the memo until after- he proposed sans frites. C’est la vie.
Ketchup gets a bad rap. One could be reprimanded from using this condiment on the “wrong” dish. Chicagoans for example think it’s egregious to put ketchup in a hot dog. I personally like the acidity and the sweetness that ketchup adds- to roast chicken, fries, burgers, and yes, the occasional hot dog.
Leche Flan- literally means “milk custard.” There are countless variations of this recipe in different countries around the globe- “Creme Catalan,” “Creme Brulee,” “Panna Cotta.” Leche Flan is a another “fiesta” dessert- easy yet decadent.
Halo-Halo is another quintessential Philippine dessert. It is served in most Filipino restaurants. Halo-Halo literally means “mix-mix.” It is made with shaved ice and topped with a range of confections- from sweetened red beans, jackfruit, garbanzo to coconut jelly, tapioca and ice cream.
The weekend before I left for the Philippines, I planted all the seeds for our vegetable garden and set up the chicken coop from Green Chicken Coop for the chicks. When I came back, it was a wonderful surprise to see some sprouts all abloom
This is a classic Filipino dessert. It is made out of grated purple yam, sometimes called taro or the Okinawa purple yam. Depending on the consistency you’re looking for- making Ube can take anywhere between 30 minutes or HOURS.
Miya was 2 and 1/2 months old when we first took her on a plane ride. We only had a week to prepare. My dad’s condition worsened, and I knew I had to bring her with us so that her grandfather could see her possibly for the last time. I searched for a lightweight umbrella stroller and purchased the Bumbleride Flite through amazon.
I recently came back from a 3-week trip to the Philippines. My mother and I along with my baby, Miya, flew to the Philippines to put my dad’s ashes to rest. It has been a harrowing experience to travel with a baby- especially when the trip takes about 32 hours from door to door.
Over the Easter holiday, our local farmer’s market was flooded with all kinds of eggs- including duck and goose eggs. I was curious about what ducks eggs would taste like. I only recall one duck egg recipe in my youth.
Mango ice cream was one of my father’s all-time favorite flavors. He loved fruit-flavored desserts, especially if they were tropical fruits such as jackfruit, avocado and guava. The ice cream in the Philippines is typically very creamy and sweet. For this recipe, I decided to use duck eggs.
A Banh Mi is a Vietnamese style hoagie. It is a great example of how the French culture has fused with Vietnamese cuisine, using the a baguette as a foil for of all these traditionally Asian flavors. In Vietnam, they are traditional street food- often sold on food carts, each made to order.
Confession: I have an impulse control problem. So before I even read a single book on keeping chickens, I convinced my husband that we should keep chickens. We’re officially starting a garden this year, and somehow the leap from having our own vegetable garden and raising our own eggs sounded very appealing and idyllic.
I love Japanese Ramen noodles. There is something immensely satisfying about eating those squiggly noodles. While this recipe is not authentic to the Japanese method of making noodles- it produces the desired effect- springy and light noodles over fragrant broth. For a truly flavorful soup, it is best to make homemade beef stock, but I understand that not everyone has the luxury of time.
After 57 hours of labor and 3 return trips to the hospital, Miya Nariko was finally born at 8:02 pm on November 17 in Philadelphia. This is her birth story.
This is one of my all-time favorite soups. The secret is all in the homemade stock. It really has to be made from scratch or else it doesn’t have the same complexity of flavor that one looks for in such a simple soup. I like to make stock at the end of the day before I make dinner.
As a precursor to the upcoming food posts- I wanted to share some essential knife skills tips and tricks. We filmed this ages ago when I was still 8 months pregnant and ready to pop but I have not been able to get around to posting it until today.
It’s been a rough couple of months. As I have mentioned briefly before- my father was diagnosed with Stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma a year ago. Last week, he passed away. My husband recently wrote a piece about what it has been like in his last day. I’ve been traveling back and forth between Philadelphia and Chicago as often as I can for the past 2 months.
Firstly, let me apologize for my abrupt hiatus from blogging! The third trimester exhaustion has hit me hard. On the bright side, I have been able to create new material so I will have new entries for you from here on out!
As my first post for this comeback, I hope you enjoy this little tutorial on making some classic Fall Pies.
Rarebit risottos are perfect for cold nights. They are made with beer and cheddar cheese, which are not typical risotto ingredients, but makes this heartening dish great comfort food.
Every Sunday, Dixie Kitchen in Evanston, IL makes a mouthwatering créme brûlée French toast. The crisp Fall air made me nostalgic for Chicago. I miss weekends spent over this warm, indulgent breakfast item.
Last weekend, we threw a little soirée in our garden with some family and friends to ring in the new season and announce the gender of our baby. It was the largest get-together we have ever hosted in our home.
I still remember my first cup of English tea. It was at a nondescript Bed and Breakfast in London when I was 9 years old that I first fell in love with this beverage. Before this, I’ve only every had Lipton, which is good in its own right- but was a bit bitter for my taste.
I am sure you’ve heard me rave about my friend’s flower shop, Inspired Blooms. Megan, the owner, arranged the flowers for our wedding celebration. For that occasion, we wanted to make the venue feel as if it was an extension of our backyard…
So, this past weekend, we hosted our first garden party in our home, and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. I couldn’t wait to share all the details of this wonderful little event as soon as the photos are ready.
With the cooler weather settling in, I’ve started seeking comfort in log fires, warm apple cider and stews. While it does take significantly longer to make stews- these dishes taste better overnight and could be kept in the fridge for 5 days.
I love Dutch Babies, also known as German Pancakes. They are sweet popovers that are typically served at breakfast but delicious any time of day. I typically like mine with some spiced nectarines, a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of whipped cream
My thighs are now the size of tree-trunks. You’d think that that would make me more stable and yet during this pregnancy so far, I tripped and fell twice. No harm done except on my poor knee. Strangely enough, both times were when I was wearing flats.
I have gardening guilt. We have a decently sized backyard, with plenty of space to create a garden, but I haven’t taken advantage of the space. There’s always some excuse, like work or the weather or lack of time.
So last week, I made an enormous amount of crêpe batter. I decided to use the rest of the batter to make a creêpe mille-feuille and boy, did it taste amazing! I made some strawberry-vanilla whipped cream to layer between the crêpes
Nothing is more sublime than seeing two wonderful people in love. I went to my cousin’s wedding this weekend, and it was such a warm and wonderful affair. Everything from the ceremony to the reception was a fun, candid and inspiring reflection of their relationship.
The first time I had soft-boiled eggs, I must have been around 8 or 9 years old, but I remember it clearly as if it was yesterday. My cousin and I were playing in her bedroom when my aunt came in with 2 small mugs, each filled with 2 soft-boiled eggs, a pinch of salt and pepper and some bread.
I was in the mood to make crêpes last night. I made a large amount of master batter so that I can experiment with different flavors and crêpe styles this week.
I have to admit that I now truly enjoy the process of finding outfits that work for my new frame. There’s a level of creativity that applies in styling the maternity body that I haven’t experienced before. Comfort now takes precedent in my wardrobe buying process, while style and design are secondary.
Last year, I started a countdown of the top 5 t-shirt labels that dedicated their brand into the creation of the perfect-fit tee, but I never finished the series. I previously wrote about Splendid and James Perse.
We have a new member in our family. Her name is Pippi (after Pippi Longstocking). She is a beautiful red-haired Cavalier-Poodle mix. Our life shifted, as we expected, scheduling our day so that we can take her out on frequent walks in our attempt to house train her.
Happy Labor Day! I hope that everyone who celebrated this holiday did something relaxing to commemorate the last day of Summer. For everyone else, I hope you’re having a great start to your week.
Our dear new friend Carrie Kohs, owner and founder of the unique and beautifully curated toy store Pucci Manuli, invited us to experience the Hampton Classic Horse Show. We didn’t quite know what to expect.
This trip is my first time in the Hamptons, and I was excited and naturally curious to see what the fuss is all about. We’ve been exploring each town bit by bit- and yesterday, we decided to head down to Sag Harbor.
Tucked away in a corner of Shelter Island is “La Maison Blanche,” a piece of idyllic country paradise. The Victorian property with its wrap-around porch was recently acquired and renovated by two Shelter Island business men, Alistair MacLean and John Sieni…
I have been an armchair canner for over a year. I bought 2 books on the subject- “Putting up” by Stephen Palmer Dowdney and “The Art of Preserving” by Rich Field, Lisa Atwood and Rebecca Courchesne.
For as much as suburban living gets lambasted by pop culture- from movies to novels to music… I do love our little neighborhood. While its far from quaint, the folks here are warm and kind and I have managed to befriend the local merchants in my favorite neighborhood markets.
With summer drawing to a close, I’ve been contemplating on how I’ve spent summers as a child. I grew up in Saudi Arabia. Whenever summer would roll around, my parents and I would spend 40 days in the summer with my relatives in the Philippines with no agenda but to relax and enjoy our time together.
I found out my dad has stage IV cancer in the beginning of the year. About a week after that, we found out I was pregnant. It has been hard trying to reconcile my anger and devastation with the wonderful news.
One of my favorite spaces in Philadelphia is the Reading Terminal Market, which was one of the first open-air markets that flourished in the city since its founding in 1891.
Another amazing maternity piece from Hatch Collection- the Chambray jumper! I bought this piece when I was still only 8 weeks along, and wore it with a belt around the waist to cinch the look.
Hello lovelies! How was your weekend? Mine was surprisingly productive! I usually set ambitious weekend goals which I never finish, but not this weekend!
It was Paris in New York. Within a bronze dome nestled on the corner of the infamous NoMad hotel rooftop, 10 guests including myself enjoyed an evening of French cuisine with a 360° view of the New York skyline.
As an extension of the Taste Architecture- Midnight in Paris feature, I wanted to share with you what I wore that evening. The dress code for the event was “Parisian Chic.”
In contrast to the heartier, more complicated Beet and Shrimp Salad entree from last week- I wanted to prepare one that is simple and perfectly portioned as an appetizer.
I no longer fit any of my shirts; it simply doesn’t button all the way down anymore. I saw this cool outfit trick from Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook on making a maxi dress look like a maxi skirt.
Okay- I feel that I have to give everyone a fair bit of warning for this blog post. This is really a bit more of a confessional on a topic I don’t feel a lot of maternity books cover: libido, spontaneous orgasms and “maintenance.”
Design Philadelphia 2012 is just around the corner- so in the spirit of that event here is an article I wrote about Design Philadelphia from 2011.
I highly admire Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. These style mavens launched two incredibly successful fashion houses, which include Elizabeth and James, a company named after two of their siblings. It is effortlessly cool and a reflection on the twins’ eclectic taste.
I love a good, hearty salad. Something too leafy without something to sink my teeth into just feels less satisfactory. This salad recipe could easily be a simple beet salad without the shrimp- or you can substitute the shrimp with some seitan for a vegetarian/ vegan friendly meal.
I have mentioned previously that I have not been able to bring myself to buy maternity clothes. There is one exception- and that’s the Hatch Collection. I have been on the hunt for pieces I could wear at work throughout my pregnancy but still be wearable and fashionable after the baby is born.
Falling in love is a strange thing. The sensation of falling in love with my husband, Noah, felt like falling backwards- ungovernable and breathtaking yet curiously secure. On the other hand- falling in love with my step-daughter, Ruthie, felt more like leaping forward
One of the ongoing struggles I’ve had with my dearest stepdaughter, Ruthie, was getting her to try new dishes. While she’s always been an enthusiastic kitchen helper- she never really wanted to eat anything beyond her usual range of favorite dishes.
Nakedness has become a trip to the fun house mirror. My body looks dramatically different in the morning from what it does in the evening and I am actually quite impressed at my body’s ability to stretch the way it does.
This is yet another gorgeous piece from Yigal Azrouël. I first spotted this dress worn by the beautiful Hanneli Mustaparta during the New York Fashion Week SS2012. She paired it effortlessly with silver Alexander Wang heels and purse.
I love putting together care packages for friends and family. One of my favorite people in the world, Monica of Sincerely Nutrition, recently moved from Chicago to Ohio and I just finished putting together a little housewarming care package for her.
Confession: I am a Downton Abbey nut. It is among the handful of TV shows that I truly care about. I look forward to the Season 3 premier in September with great anticipation. In the meantime, I wanted to stave my desire for some Downton goodness by trying to replicate and reinterpret the essence of Edwardian era fashion in a modern way.
One of the many delightful and unexpected side effects of the being pregnant are sudden waves of hormonally charged depression. This is an occasional occurrence, typically occurring between 11pm to 2am. I have determined that this “incident,” as I’ll call it, typically manifests in 5 stages.
Hello lovelies! I hope you had a fantastic 4th of July! Yesterday was the first time that I didn’t go out to see the fireworks. It was simply too muggy and balmy last night, so my husband and I opted to stay at home and watch Independence Day instead.
At week 21, I definitely felt an appetite and hormonal shift. As I was about to sleep on Sunday night, I suddenly felt extremely depressed and proceeded to cry for the next 2 hours until all the crying finally knocked me out.
Let me tell you something: I am so thankful to be out of the first trimester. Not that the second trimester is any prettier, but I do feel a hellavu lot better! While there are still a lot of left over yuckiness that carried over (perhaps it runs through the whole pregnancy? I don’t know. I haven’t gotten to that part of the book yet!) to the second trimester
I am not going to lie, I love dressing up. But then again, you may already know that. As a result, one of the biggest (albeit trivial) challenges I encountered so far during this pregnancy is maternity wear. I have not ventured much into maternity stores. I cannot seem to justify the cost of buying clothing I will only wear for less than half a year.
Last night, I felt the baby move for the first time. Of all the strange pregnancy related changes and experiences I’ve had so far- this has got to be on top of that ever growing list. It felt like something between caffeine induced heart palpitations and really bad gas.
Hello everyone! Firstly, welcome to my new blog! Actually, the content is the same, just that lay-out is different. What do you think? Do you like it? Still ironing out a few kinks here and there but I wanted to stop procrastinating and start sharing because I have some exciting news!
Pan-Fried Artichoke Hearts with Lemon and Parsley
2 tbsp canola oil/ grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
My husband and I have decided to lower our meat intake. As a result, we’ve been eating a lot more whole foods- from vegetables to grains and even experimenting with tofu, Seitan and tempeh.
Philadelphia is in the midst of a revolution. The city has waged a quiet rebellion against the image its been dealt. Known for its pretzels, cream cheese and cheesesteaks, a growing number of the Philadelphians are staging a coup and have started to redefine its culinary reputation. One such part of this revolution is “Cook.”
A frittata is an Italian style flat omelet. The beauty of a frittata is that you can put almost anything you have in the kitchen in it- left over vegetables, cheeses and meats.
I recently threw a small dinner party- and must say that it was the best menu I have ever put together. The food came together so well! Usually, when I pull together a dinner party menu, I tend to pick and choose from several cookbooks for variety. However, for this last party- I decided to primarily use Elizabeth David’s recipes.
I celebrated my birthday this past month- and one of the exciting gifts I received this year was an Ebelskiver pan! Yes, I say this without irony! I am genuinely excited about this awesome new kitchen toy.
I have just recently gotten to know one of Chicago’s new little treasures. Gilt Bar’s owner, Brendan Sodikoff, made brilliant use of the unusual space off of the restaurant’s main dining room by converting it to the Doughnut Vault in April 2011.
I spent this weekend in New York with my husband to celebrate my birthday. I always love visiting the city- and there never seems to be enough time to truly do everything we want to do- but we were able to enjoy some wonderful spots, eat great good and most importantly- spend time with our friends.
Urban Outfitters (UO) has evolved a lot since its conception in 1970. The company first started as a mail order apparel catalog and eventually became a lifestyle store that operates five other retail brands- Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN.
James Perse launched his eponymous brand in 1996 as a nod to the warm West Coast indoor/outdoor casual chic look, trending towards the minimalist low-maintenance high-fashion aesthetic. As a result, the label has everything from stretch jersey dresses, knitted jackets to the perfect-fit tee. T-Shirt prices range from $50-150.
The classic T is coming back with a vengeance. The trend of wearing a t-shirt with couture was brought back by Jil Sander for her SS2011 collection. She paired her bold, bright, citrus and incarnadine maxi skirts with plain tees and since then, the t-shirt and a statement skirt became the power pairing of the spring and summer look of 2011.