Monday, March 28, 2011

Sweets & Spring

A week ago I attended a fun and funky little gathering in Greenpoint, Brooklyn penned as a welcome fest for spring, called the Sweets Swap. Boy, was it ever. :)

Jen and Sarah, the hostesses, encouraged everyone to wear their most divine spring brights while munching on the sugary treats that each participant created, to complement the sentiments of joy and frolicking. Rather than contribute something edible, Jen suggested I bring my camera to show everyone just how much fun a sweet swap can be. Between sips of homemade fresh fruit punch and impromptu games she periodically announced (blindfolded stick-the-candle-in-the-cupcake, anyone?), the space was filled with mounting laughter and the banter of interesting characters.

Not to end anticlimactically, there was even a pinata to whack! Sadly, I had to leave as they strung it up, in the rich sun of the waning day - it was that rich kind of sun that you actually feel warmed by (could it really be spring??).

I can attest, it was a sweetly unique way to spend a Sunday. Thanks again, Jen!
"Funfetti" cookies

My favorites - and they were vegan! chocolate chips + chopped nuts
This Dr. Seuss-looking dessert was tasty: meringue, blueberry mousse, and lemon zest!

Pretty Lisa, editor at BUST, decked in flowers and dots

Erin, at left, creates beautiful illustrations. She made sweet-inspired cards for everyone to take home!

Sweet bunny, lighting the way

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our Hearts Go Out To You

The devastation in Japan keeps sinking in deeper as the days go by. I cannot believe the layers of impact - literally and figuratively - as I tune into news reports online. Aftershocks, flooding, radiation (!!), and bitter cold, all after a horrendous earthquake felt across hundreds of miles and the decimation from a tsunami. The story I want to share is my small way to try and offset the heartbreak, a story of love. I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful and sweet people we came across as we traveled. I hope you will smile and delight in viewing these interesting, luminous spirits.

Our first day, Shimokitazawa


He made amazing drinks from inside a tiny van, the "Motoya Express"

My mocha and interesting items on the menu

At Tsukiji Market
My beautiful friend A, who was with her parents when the earthquake struck (and is ok!)

It doesn't get any cuter than this...

Almost unbearably adorable

Near Arashiyama, the bamboo forest

At Kiyumizu-dera temple in Kyoto - post coming soon

The stylish winter in Takayama - story soon

If you are looking for a way to help you can give here, here, and here - few organizations whose members work so hard, and that I love. Thank you for your concern and compassion!

Let us send love and relief to the people struck by the devastation in Japan.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pairings Article, The New York Times

Hi everyone! It has been a crazy week, and it's only Tuesday. Here's the link to today's feature, a recipe from Priorat, Spain. If you make it, please let me know how it turned out!

Screenshot from

Thanks for stopping by, and don't let the week get out-of-control. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wintertime (yes, still) Indulgences


It isn't every day that I eat pizza or pasta. Hardly ever, in fact. I made a deal with myself long ago that because of my love for chocolate (see my Valentine's Day post), I decided not include other delicious things that I cherish in an effort to maintain a healthy physique and "order in the house"... well, ahem... currently, that has been tossed out the window. You might be aware that it has been an unusually bitter and protracted winter here in New York. I keep saying to myself, "when I'm overcome with heat during the city's oppressively humid summer, I'll wish it was cold like this!" But because winter has been so ferocious, I have actively sought out THE MOST comforting comfort foods, and am having quite a lot of fun with the results. 

Not too long ago, I decided to make a pizza. Two small ones, in fact. I usually go for red and saucy but this had none, save for a drizzle of olive oil at the end. I had seen it from recipe grazing on the web over a year ago, and saved it for who-knows-when. The ingredients are simple and yet the result is so flavorsome I would make it again in a heartbeat: a crust with just the right bite, oozing cheese, meaty mushrooms, and buttery slivers of potato... What's not to love?  

In my story, there's also a lasagne tale... Scroll down for the juicy bits on that. :)

This recipe is divine! Please let the pictures (and my vigorous encouragement) speak for themselves. :)

My lasagne has a somewhat sad ending, but fear not. There is romance and passion, and it turned out amazing. There's just a wee problem that happened along the way...(notice the absence of my gorgeous, baked and bubbling tray of lasagne?)

What happened I vow will never happen again. So delighted was I with my tray of perfection, I hurredly scurried with oven mitts and hot pasta to the studio from the kitchen. While pulling a board from the shelf to set it upon (not looking at said tray in the other hand), it promptly slid right off my mitt and exploded on the floor. CRASH. I was red, shocked by the calamity in front of me. 
There was no way to repair this defeat and all I could do was scoop the poor thing off the (thank god freshly cleaned) floor... all the lessons we get taught by parents or bosses or teachers or whoever flashed before me and I could have just kicked myself, dammit. Because I am a masochist, I had to know what exactly I had ruined with a little nibble from my trashed masterpiece. It was outrageously tasty...I think this means that somewhere down the road there is a lasagne re-match awaiting me. Hopefully, it won't take another crazy winter to bring me to the stage, so I can indulge in its spicy, cheesy, incredibly savory layers for real.

Thank you for sharing in this little drama, and have a fantastic weekend!