Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Perfect Fall

Finally we have made it to my favorite time of the year: Fall. Even though I don't decorate my house for the occasion, I have many little touches that capture the feeling of the season.

For food, my husband and I made Ina's Company Pot Roast last night, with baked potatoes, and it was fabulous! With the cool fall air coming in through the open windows, the warm, comforting smells and taste of pot roast was perfect. It was a wonderfully cozy meal. Because this recipe makes so much sauce, it is perfect if you're looking to stretch a dollar. We plan on using the leftover sauce to top egg noodles, and possibly for spreading on a steak sandwich. Be prepared to spend many hours at this recipe, even though the steps themselves are very easy. Totally worth it though! This will definitely be a staple in our Fall menus.

Picture of Company Pot Roast Recipe

For dessert? I'm thinking Ina's Ultimate Ginger Cookies. I have not tried these yet, but just imagining the warm and spicy notes in them makes me almost want to bake! Smells are very powerful for me. Bad ones trigger my migraines like nothing else, but the good ones have the ability to transport me back to some of my favorite times and memories. Can you imagine the house smelling of warm cinnamon and ginger on a rainy, overcast day? Heaven!

Picture of Ultimate Ginger Cookie Recipe

To drink, I'm thinking some hot chocolate of course, cappuccino with cinnamon on top, or some hot, spiced cider. Now, to get the full effect of Fall, for me it must be served in an Irish Coffee mug. It's amazing how your glassware can change the mood of the drink!

The scent of the season may also be captured for body and home. For me, I just picked up the new Bath and Body Works scent, Leaves. I really notice the apple and cinnamon fragrance in this body lotion and shower gel. To prevent those cold weather chapped lips, my go-to lip balm is Chicken Poop. Weird name, but the best I have used. What appeals to me most is the scent of lavender and orange. Very comforting and warm, which is what Fall is all about. For the home, I picked up a new electric oil warmer (also from Bath and Body Works) to use with my old fragrance oil standbys: Apple, Spiced Cider, and The Smell of Christmas.

Leaves Body Lotion - Signature Collection - Bath & Body Works Chicken Poop™ Combo Pack

To brave the colder temps, nothing says Fall like a fabulous scarf. My favorite is my new one from Anthropologie:

Transmission Scarf

I have received so many compliments on this scarf. You can't beat the colors and texture of this one!

Finally, I don't think it gets any better than curling up in front of the fire with a good book. In my mind, there is no better choice than Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, and More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen, both by Laurie Colwin. The charm and cozy nature with which Colwin writes, is the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday morning under the covers. Another great choice is Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I always get a laugh out of that one!
Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen Cover More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen Cover

So that's my plan for maximum Fall enjoyment! What's yours?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You're the Chef d'elegance...

Well, that's what my husband called me last night. I rather like the title! Don't know how true it is, but I'll take it.

So, we went to the Williams-Sonoma technique class, Bistro Suppers. On the menu was Steak au Poivre and Pommes Frites. As far as techniques, the class did not teach me anything new, but I was happy to pick up a couple new goodies that were used in the demonstration for my own kitchen. We finally tried them out last night as we re-created the meal to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary.

The first item was the Steak au Poivre seasoning rub. Very tasty and very simple. Just rub onto ribeye steaks, and cook (we did ours all on the stove top). Much easier than putting all the separate ingredients together. The second was the truffle oil finishing sauce. We used this with a little butter, and beef stock to make a delicious pan sauce to coat the meat with. Quite tasty, and couldn't be simpler!
Instead of the Pommes Frites, we stuck with Ina's Matchstick Potatoes, which were excellent as usual. Thinly sliced potatoes, fried in vegetable oil, and topped with Fleur de Sel and parsley.

Now what would a chic chef wear to serve such an elegant, Parisian bistro meal? This dress from my favorite store, Anthropologie:

I had never thought about it before, but this dress reminds me of the outfit Carrie Bradshaw wears in the final season of Sex and the City, when she finally makes it to Paris.

And that's how to combine two of my favorite things: food and fashion. Add in a bottle of French Burgundy wine, and you've got the perfect evening!