Friday, May 28, 2010


An awesome blog about personal style. Seriously inspiring and just plain fun. Remove yourself from what you think of as "fashion" and bring yourself to the freedom of personal style. A friend and Advanced Style blogger Debra Rapoport gives us a tour of her favorite thrift shop.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moms Forgiving Linzer Torte.. with a spring time twist of my own.

Do not be afraid of butter, it won't help. Butter is your friend. It likes you. You like it. Why fight it? My mothers Linzer Torte is awesome. There are 3 sticks of butter in it... and its the only thing I can bake. I have a hard time following a recipe and I hear baking is science so... if you make a substitution you better know what you are doing or you might blow something up. Anyway this is one recipe that doesn't care what you forget. As long as the butter sugar and flour are in there you're pretty good. In the end I forgot half the ingredients, messed up the dough, and yes I made substitutions but the result was WINNING>

Spring Linzer Torte - click here for printable recipe


3 stick butter room temperature

1 1/2 cups powedred sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups of ground hazelnut (buy whole grind yourself)

3 cups unbleached all purpouse flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

14 ounces of raspberry jam with seeds ( I like Bonne Maman Preserves)


10" tart pan with a removable bottom

rolling pin (ghetto version is a jar or glass but dont let it get warm from your hands!)

food processor is nice but if you don't have one use a pastry cutter or two knives.

wax paper

cookie sheet

tin foil


cooling rack

Preheat oven to 375

In your food processor put butter and sugar and blend until creamy. It should look like this.

Then beat in the egg and add the ground hazel nuts and flour a little at a time - about a 1/4 cup or so of each - and add the salt.

Once you have mixed it all up divide the dough into two sections and flatten each ball between wax paper, place on a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. You can also make this the night before and leave in the fridge all night.

In small mixing bowl add raspberry jam, juice of lemon, and zest of 1 lemon and mix until


Even though my mother uses two 7" tart pans (hey if you got em go for it) I stick with one 10" tart pan.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out into two circles a little larger than 10” in diameter. Slide one rolled out section of dough over to the tart pan and work up the sides of the tart tin. Pour in the jam mixture.

Take the other section of dough and slice into 1/2"-3/4" slices like this.

Layout the strips of dough to create the first layer of lattice work. Then lay out the second layer in the other direction. You can see mine is not exact and a bit of a mess. Don't worry it all tastes the same! If you have a hard time with the lattice work. put the sliced dough back in the fridge to chill before trying to lay it out.

Once your criss crosses are done put the tart in the fridge for 30 mins to chill the dough again. I like to put my tart on cookie sheet lined with tinfoil - this keeps the bubbling jam off your oven and your pan. so less cleaning. Bake for 45 mins golden brown and jam is bubbling.

Let it cool on a rack if you have one. Once cool remove the tart tin and place on a cake plate

Then dust with powdered sugar using a sifter!! This one traveled while hot so it did sink a little but still retained its beauty. My mother always said. Nothing a little powdered sugar wont fix! Its true the powdered sugar will hide any mistakes in the dough.

Gain 500lbs with each slice! Just kidding!!

Happy Birthday Angie!!! This Tortes for you!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An afternoon in Chelsea... Monet, Comme des Garcons, & Peoples Pops!

I had spent way too many days inside staring at the computer so I met Marla on the High Line for a walk in Chelsea. There was a new piece of public art up - Richard Galpin's Viewing Station. At the end of the High Line workers were beginning to lay soil all the way to the 30's. Crazy to think that soon you will be able walk from the meatpacking to the 30's in less time than it would take a cab! We walked to the Gagosian Gallery for the Monet show. Beautiful. Open until June 26th. Some things should be seen in person!
Mini decorative side note...check out the frames! These shows are assembled from private collections and always have the craziest frames. A kind of craftsmanship and extravagance that is reserved for masterworks. Its always fun to study them. Some are simple some ornate. All have Monet inside.
At the door of the Gagosian they ask you to check your bag. While everyone was grumbling I was stoked and blurted out AWESOME! Who wants to carry a bag thru a Monet show anyway! The ladies at the bag check thought I was funny and when we left they made a big show of giving us free posters. ha.
Strolling around we passed these life size paintings by Lynette Yiandom which I was into.
A few more galleries and my eyeballs were fried. But I had to stop at the Comme De Garcons boutique.. A rough but carefully curated exterior.
A slick and sculptural interior. I love this store.
I treat it like a gallery. I have been in dozens of times and have only ever purchased a couple things. These wallets which I LOVE!
And my favorite coat -Junya Watanabe- a gift from my man!
Next Stop Peoples Pops! My friend Joel Horowitz and his partners have really stepped it up this year and opened a shop in the Chelsea Market.
Popsicles and shave ice made from local produce and cane sugar in flavors like apricot+cardamon and plum+yogurt+tarragon. A line of people and children were waiting for the shave ice. I overheard the ice shaver explain to the kids that they buy the ice in 300lbs blocks and have to break it up into 45lbs blocks which you see on the counter...
A nice way to cool down. A simple delicious treat. Check it out! Stop by!! And for all you Williamsburgers out there who dont like to leave the 10 block radius of your house (self included) - they now sell Peoples Pops at Marlo & Daughters! word!

Furniture Files. Hallucinatory chairs for your next tea party!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kitchen Makeover!! How to change it up with out spending a million bucks!

I didnt have a million dollars to spend.. but I had to lighten the dark kitchen in our new apartment. You cant always get what you want. I wanted: new countertops, new backsplash, new fridge, new stove and was desperate to rip out the drop ceiling. But I just couldn't afford it. So I came up with a solution that ran me around $1200.00 and offered a dramatic change. Spray lacquer the cabinets! This really picked up my spirits.

I took off all the doors, hinges, and hardware myself to save a little $$ and carefully numbered and labeled everything for easy restoration. I sent the doors over to my painters shop for spraying. When I was out of town they came over and sprayed the base cabinets. Love them.

If you want to do something like this in your kitchen there are a few ways to go depending on if you rent own etc. and the quality of your cabinets. You can go in with a paint brush or a smooth roller some semi gloss or pearl finish paint and take care of business. Or call a professional for spray lacquer.

Please email if you have questions about your kitchen or need a little advice about any room in your house!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ay Cariño!!! Awesome Mexican Food served with LOVE graces the Southside.

I was THRILLED when I heard that the former managers and staff from Bonita had banded together to open Cariño on South 4th Street. They were the heart and soul of that place and have taken all the LOVE and bundled it into one killin mexican joint - Cariño! I have been there a few times since they opened and I have to say... it is... as good if not better than Bonita was! The tastes are much more traditional the sauces much more tangy the bacon on the huevos rancheros is crazy thick cut and crispy fried.. And if you go there for a birthday party they will be happy to embarrass your friend with some loud music and a good round of happy birthday!! What could be better than that!!! The old staff and managers are warmer and more inviting than ever and the service is attentive and real. They Care. It Rocks. A new spot in my weekly rotation! See how happy I am!?
I used to go to Bonita for the huevos rancheros on the regular and I am happy to announce.. This one tastes better.. and I am pretty sure its cheaper!!
After we got our check.. hello!
They totally brought us this flan on the house! And damn it was good! Great creamy texture.
Go check it out!! And for those who like to drink.. they will get their liquor license very soon!! And word on the street is a frozen margarita machine is coming their way! Hello!! Happy Summer Y'all!! I know where you'll be!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A simple Sandwich and a Pesto Scape.

Inspired by something a friend mentioned.... did you see that article in the new york times on asparagus pesto? No. I hadn't. But I did have a ton of basil in my fridge that needed using. So. I busted out the cuisinart and got busy. Basil. Pine nuts raw garlic salt unfiltered olive oil and some pecorino. That was what I had intended. What I didn't intend to do was use too much olive oil and salt! So in an attempt to salvage my pesto. and without anymore basil or pine nuts.. I rummaged through the fridge and found walnuts! why not. So in they went. but it was not enough... I remembered the mention of asparagus pesto. and had just bought some farm fresh asparagus! I broke off the woody ends and threw the raw asparagus into the cuisinart until they mellowed out the salt/olive oil overload. a little lemon juice.. And it was.... SALMMIN'. an interesting taste. freshie. nice. nutty. In went the crackers and a dip was born! Today I spread it all over sourdough and melted gouda on the other side. Tomato. and we have lift off!!! check out the asparagus pesto recipe in the times - its not this -but looks awesome. Better yet make up your own! Have no fear. The great thing about pesto is you blend and taste and blend and taste till you get something great!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I got a present today!! And it ruled! Why? Isn't it obvious? It was made with love! The best gifts involve some thought and a little bit of crafty. In the day and age of 1800 flowers and internet shopping it is a rare treat to get a gift that someone has procured, wrapped, and decorated specifically for you. It was thrilling to open this and I was pleasantly surprised by every detail. First a bag. Inside I saw flowers! A box! A bottle! A hand made card painted and collaged, mixed with an experience to share. This really makes the gift receiving so much more personal and interesting!
Love you Steph!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gettin' Spicy!! Gettin' Organized! Awesome adjustable cabinet organizer.

Today I opened my spice cabinet to an explosion of spices salts condiments and bouillon. I couldn't take it anymore. Time to get organized!! Its great to have all your spices organized when you cook so that you can see what you have and know where it is. In theory you should clean out your spice and herb storage at least once a year. Spices and herbs become stale and loose potency when kept too long. Whole spices retain more of their oils than ground spices so whole spices are generally good for a few years while ground spices only retain peak flavor for a year. It is easy to tell if your spices are still good by smelling and tasting them. If the flavor or smell is weak. Toss em. The first time i did this I found a jar of Cayenne that i had brought with me when I moved to NY from CA over 10 years ago!! it was about as spicy and aromatic as flour! You do want to keep dried herbs and spices away from heat and light and store them in airtight containers. If you have any unusual, hard to get, expensive herbs or spices consider storing them in the fridge - they will keep twice as long. My husband brought me a spice mixture called "head of the shop" from a spice market in Morocco - this is something that is unusual and hard to get so- Fridge!! Bulk herbs and spices that come in plastic baggies end up scattered all over the cabinet and create a mess. I washed out the old stale spice jars and reused them for my bulk herbs and spices. Bye bye plastic baggies. hello order. Once I separated the good from the bad and made sure everything was stored correctly... I bought this awesome Copco adjustable cabinet organizer - it has three tiers and allows you to actually see the things in the back of the cabinet!! You can use this in any cabinet and expand it across the width. It works great for your canned and dried things as well. Here it is below available at BBB. They also have a few versions at the container store. Its rad. Do it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


it was a beautiful day. Arthur MacDonald my contributing editor (aka the decorating mustache) came over for a nice walk about. He rode his bicycle over the williamsburg bridge with a lemon cake and a box of powdered sugar in the front basket. We had recently done some electrical at my house hanging a light fixture and planned to brunch with our girl Bloody Mary at his favorite 50's diner Relish. We had a nice stroll up bedford avenue perusing the street vendors wondering if Haight St and Telegraph Ave had followed us east.. Arthur bought me a sweet murano glass paperweight for 2$!! We then took it to brunch with us at Relish...
A few Bloody Marys and a burger later we strolled past Sanford and Svens for some rumaging.
Arthur is a 50's fanatic and found some old Look Magazines...
I found a Gravel Art Tiger Zebra Cat for $35!! Must Have!! It needed a little make over so putty tape and paint was the afternoon activity!
While the paint was drying.. Arthur taught me how to make lemon frosting for his lemon cake!
Lemon zest, Lemon juice, powdered sugar. Mix until consistency holds together like a ribbon when drizzled from a spoon.. Who knew a box of powdered sugar and one lemon could make such amazing lemon frosting!!
And with my gravel art frame done..... We were ready to call it a day! Turned out real nice.
And yes I hung it above eye level which is "against the rules" but i had to put something else near that TV to distract my eyes!!!