November 27, 2010

Just Call Me Sandra.

I love when I catch Semi-Homemade on the Food Network. The host, Sandra Lee, is hysterical and a tad crazy (but entertaining nonetheless). Sandra, of course, doesn't even compare to Giada DeLaurentiis, my favorite (and ironically the favorite of many guys in my life, which is obviously not a mystery if you saw her size zero frame with her c-cup chest spilling out of a v-neck shirt), due to her classical training and easy delectable menu items. She is commonly ridiculed because of the fact that she'll make a meal with partially home made items for 60% of the show, and the reminder of the allocated time for her show will be focused around the coordinating cocktail she throws together to accompany the food item(s). Excellent. My kind of lady. She was my inspiration tonight.

Tonight I made cranberry sweet potato quinoa with goat cheese, and to accompany, a cherry cranberry vodka cocktail. The meal was ended with dark chocolate and knitting on the couch. What am I, 92 years old? Seems like it, don't worry I'm going out to the bars later, I'm not as lame as I sound right now! See what you are missing when you are doing all those awesome things in California, Doug? I'm just kidding.

Doug is spending time with the family for Thanksgiving, and today was (well, I guess is right now at this moment) at a College Football game at USC (his dad's alma mater) . He's also seen a great collection of modern art in LA, and also has had a recent run-in with
John Michael Higgins when leaving the art museum in fact (I did mention that I was happy I wasn't there for that moment. If I were, I probably would have yelled "come come with the kick drum, Gary, Gary, in the house, with the kick drum, come come...." from "The Breakup"). Back to the point. This quinoa rocked. I made up the recipe as I went. My cranberry sauce was fantastic in it. I used the left over sweet potato from the store that I bought for the mashed rosemary sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner. I used the cranberry sauce (from this post). Recipes below for both. Try them out for a cold night after Thanksgiving to use your extra ingredients!

Sweet Potato Cranberry Quinoa

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 peeled and cubed sweet potato
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil or cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
Bring the broth and quinoa to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Simultaneously, start softening the sweet potatoes. These certainly need time. At least 15 minutes if not 18 to 20 depending on how soft you prefer them (I cooked them for 20 minutes). Simply grease the pan with olive oil or spray. Add in the rosemary with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. The two things should be ready at about the same time. Combine them in a bowl, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and stir in the red wine vinegar. Add in goat cheese and eat some while you do it, like i did. Eat it and save the rest in a container for whenever. quinoa is really good cold, if i might say so myself.

Cranberry Cherry Vodka

Splash of Effen Cherry vodka. Fill 3/4 of the cup with Diet Cherry juice (I got mine from Target). Fill the rest of the glass with ice and Target brand Cherry Limeade sparkling water. Enjoy!

November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks.

Welcome to the Goldstein Thanksgiving Dinner, 2010. The best thing about a small family dinner (with casual parents like mine) is that I was able to wear LuLulemon Yoga pants during preparation and eating time. Nothing like taking down a big meal with stretch pants on. I have included the details of the night that made it feel special for my family. My mom was the one who brought the turkey and the container for the turkey (including the baster that my brother and I used to play with in the bathtub as little kids. It was the same one she brought over my apartment tonight, don't even get me started on how strange that seems to me! I just decided to let it go, and creepily laughed it off since it was nice of her to bring it over for us to use to moisten the turkey). Per usual, there was spilling of gravy, since that's a family tradition, along with my father making a few jokes we didn't understand/jokes that were not really appropriate for family time. Also, as is tradition, my dad fell asleep before dessert while simultaneously, my mom declared that she was going to hit up the gym later than evening. Sigh. My family is crazy. It's okay, I think I am pretty strange myself! Above all, I am thankful that my parents and brother were able to join me tonight.

Cheers, Mish

Name Tags:
West Elm Gold Pine Cones Note cards with Permanent Marker
Silver Side Serving Plate, West Elm

Centerpiece Decor:
Home Goods Glass Bowl
Target Brand Cinnamon Sticks
West Elm Gold Pine Cones


Fluffy Whole Wheat Biscuits & Herb Biscuits
Frisee Salad with Cranberries and Pistachios
Clementine Green Beans with Pine Nuts
Cranberry Pomegranate Relish
Fennel and Apricot Whole Wheat Stuffing

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots
Mustard Red Potatoes

Dr. Browns Diet Cherry
Soda (a family favorite from our neighborhood Jewish deli in Wilmette, The Bagel)
Red Wine from the Goldstein Parental Units (from Costco, of course)
Frango Mints

Pumpkin Pudding Cups with Cinnamon Cool Whip

Fluffy Whole Wheat Biscuits
(these were better than the herb biscuits in my opinion, so I'll just include this recipe)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup milk (I used Almond Milk)
In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a small 8 ounce (if you have one) juice glass and place on an un-greased baking sheet. The original recipe said something about a special cutter you need. Screw that! I used a cup and they came out as perfect circles. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Frisee Salad with Cranberries and Pistachios
  • 1 package frisee lettuce
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts (I used unsalted Pistachios that were roasted)
  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • roughly 3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles
Combine the last 5 ingredients, whisking them together. Dip your finger in a few times and test if you'd like more juice or pepper, etc. Add in the frisee to the dressing. Toss a few times. Add in the cheese, nuts, and fruit.

Clementine Green Beans with Pine Nuts
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (I just used light cooking spray instead)
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots (about 2 large)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind (I actually used clementines since Doug had a lot of them laying around & I wanted to use them before they went bad!)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice (I used clementine juice here too)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
Boil water. Add the green beans in and cook them for about 7-8 minutes. I took them out when they were soft but not too soft. If you like them more crispy, then go ahead and make them that way. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Add green beans; stir well. Add rind, juice, pepper, and salt; sauté at least a few minutes depending on how browned you would prefer your veggies to be. I warmed them up again on the pan prior to serving. The frying pan added a nice crisp texture. I'd recommend to keep them on the pan as long as possible for more rustic flavor.

Cranberry Pomegranate Relish

  • light cooking spray (Martha said vegetable oil, but I didn't like that taste too much)
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallot; cook, stirring constantly, until softened, 3 minutes. Add cranberries, pomegranate juice, and brown sugar; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst and sauce is slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in pomegranate seeds (if using). Let cool to room temperature before serving. This one is delicious. I am going to make this one a tradition. Maybe Doug will let me add it to the family repertoire, since it does, after all, fall under a traditional menu item (he has set traditions for Thanksgiving, while I make more innovative menus).

Fennel and Apricot Whole Wheat Stuffing
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish and foil
  • 1 large loaf whole wheat bread cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces (about 16 cups)
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apricots, cut in quarters
Heat oven to 375° F. I had to do it with the oven at 350 because I was also working at the same time that the turkey was in the oven as well. Spray a rectangle baking dish. Dry the bread out in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. I had to do it in two shifts. Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, fennel, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the bread, broth, eggs, dried apricots, fennel fronds, and ½ teaspoon salt to the vegetables and toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover with buttered foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned, 20 to 30 minutes more.

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots
  • Light Cooking Spray
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (I used the Splenda Brown Sugar with partial Splenda in it and partial regular light brown sugar)
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (I used just a tad less, I didn't want it to overpower)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I used a bit more than this, it's basically based on your taste palette)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Almond or Skim milk
Boil the potato pieces in a sauce pan. Cook until tender. Drain and then beat them in a bowl using a mixer. I added in the brown sugar and milk at this time to keep it light. Also, add in the salt pepper and rosemary at this time as well. Simple as that!

Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

(This one is a staple in my kitchen. I make it all the time b/c it's a crowd pleaser. I even made it for my housewarming party!)

  • 3 pounds red potatoes (quarter them)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup vinaigrette

Place the potatoes and salt in a medium pot and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving dish. Whisk together the vinaigrette and mustard in a small bowl. Pour half the mixture over the hot potatoes, toss, and let stand for 1 hour. Just before serving, drizzle the remaining vinaigrette mixture over the potatoes, add the tarragon and pepper, and toss.

Pumpkin Pudding Cups with Cinnamon Cool Whip
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided (I used Light Brown Sugar by Splenda)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk (I used Almond Milk. Cooking Light Magazine used Low Fat Milk. I'm sure either would work).
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Cooking spray
Combine 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine milk and egg, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Combine pumpkin and the next 4 ingredients (through ground nutmeg) in a bowl, stirring well. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place pan over low heat, and cook for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly (do not boil). Divide pudding evenly among 4 dessert bowls, and cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Chill until ready to use. I set them in the fridge for a couple of hours while I prepared the rest of the meal. I used Cool Whip when serving. I used the beater and blended Cool Whip with cinnamon. It was FANTASTIC.

I hope everyone had a nice meal!

November 24, 2010

Potato Pancakes.

Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah
Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora

Gather round the table, we'll give you a treat

to play with and latkes to eat
And while we are playing
The candles are burning low
One for each night, they shed a sweet light

To remind us of days long ago

One for each night, they shed a sweet light

To remind us of days long ago

I love Hanukkah. I am a bad Jew because I love Christmas more, but nonetheless, I do very much enjoy a latke. Below is the recipe for the potato pancakes. Doug combined this with an egg, per my recommendation, and ate it for breakfast!
  • 6 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 6 cups shredded peeled baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup grated fresh onion
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used Whole Wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

2. Combine potato and onion in a colander. Drain 30 minutes, pressing occasionally with the back of a spoon until barely moist. Combine potato mixture, flour, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Spoon 1/4 cup potato mixture loosely into a dry measuring cup. Pour mixture into pan; flatten slightly. Repeat the procedure 5 times to form 6 latkes. Sauté 3 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Remove latkes from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and potato mixture to yield 12 latkes total. Serve with sour cream mixture.

November 23, 2010

Manwiches and Fries.

Prosciutto Pear is a fantastic combination. Now put that in a sandwich. it was seriously delicious. i made that along with Sweet Potato (baked) fries. What an excellent meal. I like to call the sandwich a manwhich because it was hearty enough for a guy to have as a meal. Doug liked it!
  • 8 slices 100% multigrain bread (we used Seeduction bread from Whole Foods, our fave)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 ripe pear, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small block of brie. Any kind you want works. We used one we love from Whole Foods.
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 3 minutes or until toasted. Turn bread slices over; spread butter evenly over bread slices. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until toasted.
  3. Combine arugula and shallot in a medium bowl. Drizzle arugula mixture with oil and vinegar; sprinkle with pepper. Toss it well so that the mixture evenly coats the lettuce and drips off. You don't want anything soggy on the sandwich!
  4. Divide arugula mixture evenly among 4 bread slices, buttered side up; top evenly with prosciutto. Divide pear slices and cheese evenly among sandwiches; top each sandwich with 1 bread slice, buttered side down. I used a healthy version of a lighter margarine, but it's up to you on what you'd like to use. Cooking Light Fall 2010 showed me this recipe and I made some tweaks to it.
Sweet Potato Side Dish
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 large egg whites (Egg Beaters work)
  • 1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 small sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), scrubbed and quartered lengthwise
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and then set aside.
  2. In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of water until combined. Place the Parmesan on a sheet of waxed paper or put it in another shallow bowl.
  3. Dip the sweet potato first in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then dip each wedge into the egg white mixture until coated. Finally, dip the sweet potato in the Parmesan, pressing the exposed surface of the potato into the cheese. (Don't worry if some gets on the skin.) Transfer potato wedges onto the prepared baking sheet as you go.
  4. Bake potatoes until tender and crisp, about 25 minutes. Serve sprinkled with more salt if desired.

November 21, 2010

Quest for the Dress.

Shoes on my feet (I bought it), Wedding Dress I think that's neat (I bought it).

Yes, it's true. First of all, that I think I know at least 5 words of a Destiny Child's song by heart (I'm terrible at lyrics of songs, so when I get a few lyrics in a row correct, it's a big moment) and second of all, I bought a wedding dress this past Saturday.

I know everyone thinks I'm crazy because it's so far in advance, but I swear that I have never been so sure about anything in my life as I was about the dress that I purchased. I
walked out after buying 2 dresses total. One to be used for the rehearsal dinner and the other for the wedding day. I will obviously not post photos of my purchases for fear of Doug seeing them but I will certainly go ahead and rave buckets about the local designer that I purchased my dresses from. I must say that feel better to be fostering local business. Okay, let the raving begin...and have a look at her website too while you read. It gorgeous, just like her collections.

Designer Name: Caroline DeVillo
Visit her

First of all, the studio space on Damen is adorable. It's warm, clean, vintage feeling and inviting. It's an old school apartment space that is basically the length of the same building that Benefit and Feast are in on Damen. The floors are wooden and the walls are a light blue. Each person with an appointment gets the entire place to themselves. I love that. The woman who helped me was knowledgeable and open minded. She was very straightforward when it came to pricing and products. She knew each fabric available and which line it came from. Plus, since this was a boutique style place, each dress is essentially custom made to fit the customer.

That leads me to my second reason I was obse
ssed with this designer. This boutique is able to modify the dress per your specifications. For example, I wanted everything very simple. They were able to replace a flower/bow shaped accent with a smooth thick white satin ribbon instead. Further reinforcing why this was the right choice for me. I was going to go with J Crew, and am glad that I made a choice that feels more personal. Everyone knows I'm a J Crew freak, but in this case, I had to broaden my horizons. Plus, boutiques typically are able to handle alterations if needed, and I'd much prefer to have someone tweaking my costly wedding dress who knows the cut & lay of the fabric. I have included an image from CS Brides (Winter 2009) where Caroline's dresses are matched up alongside Vera Wang & Badgley Mischka dresses! Another thing off my list. Excellent.