Aug 31, 2012

colorful summer salsa

The end of summer shouldn't have to mean the end of margaritas, corona lights, and tacos twice a week. Since you can get all of the tasty fresh ingredients that make this salsa oh-so-good year round, you should! I'll be the first to admit that I genuinely enjoy cheap, bottled salsa. Tostitos Mild Salsa? Oh yeah, gimme some of that. But every now and then, when the timing is right, there is really nothing better than a fresh, citrusy salsa. I whipped this salsa up as an appetizer on one of many taco nights this summer. It is fresh, tangy and crisp. Yum, yum.

25 Heirloom baby tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 lime
1/4 lemon
Salt and Pepper
Hot sauce
Cilantro (if you like it - I don't)

Quarter and half the baby tomatoes, depending on their size. Chop red onion and mix in with tomatoes. Add lemon and juice from 1/2 lime, save the other 1/2 for garnish. Season with salt and pepper. Add just a shake of your favorite hot sauce. Add about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

Squeeze some lime juice and add an extra shake of salt to your chips. Serve!

Aug 30, 2012


I have had an awesome last week of summer. From brunching all weekend to an awesome double date with good friends to brainstorming with a pomeranian - I don't think it could have been any better. Every day has been a great day - we've done and seen new things in the city, spent time with our wonderful friends, and eaten and drank our way through my new neighborhood. Bye bye summer, come on Fall! Here's the week via Instagram:

Aug 29, 2012

stamp it

I've said it before, but I am a big fan of a hand written letter. Birthday cards, thank you notes, hey-girls... I just like to stick a letter in the mail every now and then. Which is lucky, because when engaged/married/both, penmanship basically becomes a second job - whether you like it or not. There are certainly instances where a handgun isn't the appropriate note adornment, but whenever possible I love to break out these rubber stamps that I found in a freaky little basement store on 11th Street. I used to cut my own notecards out of card stock, but I was perpetually messing up my measurements, so now I just buy blank pre-cut cards. I love adding my own touch to stationery/cards, and a cool stamp is definitely the easiest and most reliable way to do that.

Aug 28, 2012

summer vegetable "gratin"

A gratin is meant to be smothered in cups and cups of delicious cheese, but I was looking for a light side dish to go with my roast chicken and cous cous  so I all but eliminated the cheese in this one. I know, what the hell. Basically, this was just a pretty way to roast some fresh summer vegetables. I seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and olive oil, and made a "crust" out of parmesan, flour and.... rosé. I needed something wet and the rosé was already in my hand so it just felt right, you know? Although slightly pinkish at first, once baked it added just the crunch that this dish needed.

Aug 27, 2012

at home brunching

NYC is a brunch-obsessed city, a fact that has become exceedingly clear during my mere three weeks of residence in SoHo. The lines that spill out of popular brunch restaurants are sometimes shocking. I'm not saying I'm immune - earlier this summer my friend Sally and I waited for a table at Prune for an hour and a half - but sometimes the frenzy is too much for me. Sometimes I just don't want a bitchy Brooklynite to tell me I have to wait until 2pm for a meal that is supposed to be half breakfast! In a strong anti-brunch effort, my friend Martha and I decided to cook brunch at home at my apartment this past Saturday morning. We mixed up Virginia cider mimosas, kept the coffee flowing and cooked up some cinnamon apples, bacon, fluffy pancakes and Mediterranean scrambled eggs. True to form, our meal extended on well past 3pm, always a mark of a brunch well done.

 [giant jonathan adler teacup mugs - perfect for drinking obscene amounts of coffee]
 [pink lady apples sauteed with butter, cinnamon and honey]
[for the fluffiest pancakes ever substitute any liquid with equal parts club soda - a trick martha learned from brunch at the gramercy park hotel]

Aug 24, 2012

welcoming committee

A friend who was a few years below us at Chapel Hill just moved to NYC, and really, what better way to welcome a friend than by roasting a chicken in her honor? I have been wanting to try Ina Garten's Roast Chicken for years, and it was definitely worth the wait. I cooked mine in a slow cooker since I knew I would have to rush home from work and didn't want everyone to have to wait to eat until 9pm - but otherwise stuck to the recipe pretty closely. Served with some cous cous and a vegetable gratin and accompanied by never ending bottles of rosé - it was a tasty little meal for our new New Yorker!

 [squash, zucchini and tomato gratin]

 [slow cooker made the chicken fall apart a bit too much - but it was tasty]
 [this is a good one ;)]
 [welcome, carolyn!]
[the best dessert ever - tate's cookies topped with steve's icecream]

Aug 23, 2012

garden party in the living room

I love being home in NC for a million reasons - the biggest of which is just kicking it with my family at our house. When it's warm we spend a lot of time outside around the pool, in the pool, grilling, eating... but sadly when we were home last weekend it rained the entire time. So to bring a bit of our backyard inside, my mom and I ran out into the rain with shears in hand and clipped away. I absolutely love this antique brass drink dispenser that my mom recently dug out of storage and polished up - and I love it even more when it's filled with our yard's last summer flowers. I definitely want to use it as some sort of floral piece at my wedding - it will look awesome at our venue, which we also officially decided on while home! Making it happen, y'all. 

Aug 22, 2012

a crab dip born out of necessity

This crab dip was a far cry from what I normally would have thrown together with 12 ounces of fresh crab meat, but I was definitely pleased with the result. As I mentioned, we were leaving the beach the next morning and needed to use up what we had in the house, so I didn't want to buy what I would need to whip up a hot crab dip or crab cakes. I have seen a lot of cold crab dips that use cream cheese as a base, and while I'm sure they are delicious, this one is definitely much more bathing suit friendly. Using leftover Greek Yogurt from taco night (not this one but same idea) as the base, I concocted a delightful crab dip that was light, tasty, and least importantly... healthy!

12 ounces of fresh crab meat (cooked)
10 ounces of 0% Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 1/2 tablespoons good Dijon Mustard
Lemon Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Green Onion

Mix together crab, yogurt, cucumber, mustard and lemon zest. Add 2 tablespoons of LP, one tablespoon of paprika and a shake or two of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish off with freshly chopped green onion and a dash of paprika. Refrigerate until it is time to serve!

[best part about having guests over is devouring the leftovers once they leave]

Aug 21, 2012

engagement party 2.0

Remember how my friends in New York threw us the best engagement party of all time? Well, they are now tied for that spot. My new in-laws threw us a spectacular party in Charlotte, NC last weekend. They pitched a huge white tent in the backyard, strung the most beautiful lights, arranged the most beautiful flowers, served the most delicious array of food, and hired such a fun bluegrass band to play all night. Best of all was the extreme mud from days of raining- it was a shoes off soiree and by the end of the night my dress was covered in mud. I loved it.

But what really made it special was the unbelievable number of people who came from far away places to be there with us to celebrate. Since we have to hold off on a wedding for another year, it meant SO incredibly much that so many were able to make the trip. I didn't even beg like I normally would have, because I knew it was such a big ask for people to come down to Charlotte just for one night. And when people do things without having to be begged, that's when you know they really love you. We are beyond lucky. These have been the happiest three months of my life largely because my friends and family have made every effort at every point along the way to make us feel like the most special and loved people on earth. I don't know how I'll ever say a big enough thank you. So for now, just enjoy the pics from our muddy fête!

 [so many friends in town! hanging by the pool pre-party]
 [thanks to my wonderful cousin Kat for taking all of these great pics]

 [goat mac 'n cheese bar. oh baby]
 [happy family]
 [old friends and new friends who are all friends..greatest thing in the world]

[bunny ears by two Chambers at the same time - CLASSIC]

It was the (tied for) best night ever!

Aug 20, 2012

beachfront entertaining

At the end of every trip to Bald Head Island, my family without fail ends up with insane amounts of leftover food that we are too lazy to pack back up and haul off the island. So our last night of vacation usually turns into a smorgasbord feast of epic proportions. This past Friday was no exception, but this time I actually had a way to put the leftover food and wine to good use! A friend had just arrived on the island with his parents who I have been wanting to meet - so we invited them over for some late afternoon hors d'oeuvres. I made a cold crab dip that I will share later this week, but otherwise just set out some cheeses with fresh cherries and honey, chips and salsa, and wine. Lots of fun on a really beautiful night!

[i really love this lobster chip-and-dip because the dip looks like lobster guts - yum!]
[our collection of oceanic platters is astounding. every dish on the table either had a fish on it or was itself shaped like a fish. they really help remind you that you are indeed at the beach]

 [fish tray, fish bowl, perfect for drinking wine like a fish]