Monday, November 23, 2009

Feeling Nostalgic, and as Always, Chic...

While there are certainly some drawbacks to living life in bygone days, I have lately been feeling nostalgic for those times. I think much of it has to do with teaching etiquette in the classroom. It reminds you of a time when men were gentlemen, and women were ladies. Of course, I'm not saying that we should return to the times of blatant social inequality between the sexes, but I wonder what has happened to the days when women carried themselves with grace and elegance. I see it less and less these days.

The amazing photography of Richard Avedon allows me to travel back in time for a moment, to capture the style and sophistication of a different era. His fashion photographs are especially captivating.

Richard Avedon, Paris, 1955

I can just imagine myself sitting in a cafe in Paris right now. My precious poodle, Gusteau, sitting in my lap. A classic Chanel suit (I wish!) with killer heels. A frothy cappuccino, and warm, buttery croissant on my plate. A slight chill in the autumn air.

That's my mental vacation for the day! Where does yours take place?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gobble Gobble Gobble!!

I was watching my favorite chef Ina today on Food Network, and saw her make Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter (recipe available on Side note: I love watching the Food Network during Thanksgiving time! I might need to start wearing a bib to catch all the drool! Anyways, I have recently started working with truffle butter and truffle oil. I am hooked! The deep flavor really makes even easy dishes taste rich and elegant.

Needless to say, when I saw Ina using it on a turkey, I was ecstatic! I am thinking I might try to make a small turkey using this method. I typically buy my truffle goods at Williams-Sonoma when I can make it to the store (I'm not close by unfortunately). The truffle oil is available in-store and online, but the truffle butter is in-store only. Ina buys hers online at, so I might have to go that route if I run out before I try this recipe. Yes, they are expensive, but as I always say, I'm worth it!


A Shout Out for all the Holiday Entertainers Out There

"Host- and hostessing, as we know, is often a heroic endeavor, requiring daring, ingenuity, a desire to take chances and a concern for others. These traits are also called for in saints and Nobel Prize winners."

---Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen

Creative Home Style

Please remember this as you begin your hosting adventure tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Discover Wine Country

One of our new traditions for Thanksgiving is to go out to eat at a Thanksgiving Buffet. Then, it's off to see a movie. While relaxing and enjoyable, the only drawback is our lack of leftovers. Now, I'm typically not a big leftover person, but in the last couple years, I have enjoyed seeking out new and interesting ways to turn leftovers into something different. And let's face it, there's something you can't resist about Thanksgiving leftovers. So, I might be deep frying a small turkey during the holiday weekend, just so I can partake in a couple great recipes.

The first that I love is Turkey Bolognese by Giada De Laurentiis. You can follow her recipe, or really just throw your favorite pasta sauce ingredients all together (as I did the first time), using the leftover turkey instead of ground beef. The possibilities are endless. It's a nice, quick pasta dish that puts a new spin on turkey, and it's nearly impossible to mess up!


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 pound shredded cooked turkey (preferably dark meat)

3 cups marinara sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti

Freshly grated Parmesan


Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and saute 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, stirring often. Stir in the basil. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. (The sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Cool the sauce completely, then transfer it to a container and freeze for future use. Bring the sauce to a simmer before using.)

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten as needed. Serve with the Parmesan.

I also love Giada's morning after Thanksgiving recipe, Eggs in Purgatory. It's a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes. I'm anxious to try this one again, as the first time, I didn't get the right consistency.


5 large eggs

2 cups mashed potatoes, chilled

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup marinara sauce, warmed

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Stir 1 egg in a large bowl to blend. Mix in the potatoes, then the flour. Using a generous 1/2 cup of potato mixture for each, form the potato mixture into 4 (4 1/2-inch) diameter pancakes.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Fry the pancakes until they are golden brown and heated through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pancakes to paper towels to drain. Keep the pancakes warm on a baking sheet in the oven. Pour off the excess oil from the pan.

Heat the pan over medium-low heat. Crack the remaining 4 eggs into the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the white is firm, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the eggs over and cook for 30 seconds longer.

Spoon the sauce onto 4 plates. Place a pancake atop the sauce. Top each pancake with a fried egg. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

Mmmm. My mouth is already watering. I can't wait to spend a lazy day enjoying some creative uses for turkey!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A thought for the holidays...

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
---Harriet Van Horne