Category: fab faves
Tuesday, April 14
My relationship with fresh basil is one of the love-hate variety.
I love using fresh basil when cooking, but I can’t for the life of me keep a basil plant alive. I have the blackest of black thumbs. Buying fresh cut basil at the store just doesn’t really work, though. It only lasts 1 or 2 days and then it’s Bye Bye, Basil. I recently read a tip about snipping the stems of fresh basil and putting it in a glass of water like flowers in vase, but that only works about half of the time for me.
Luckily I discovered a basil plant that is AWESOME for people like me. I’ve seen it in a few different stores and it is the best! North Shore Living Herbs sells mini fresh basil plants potted in peat moss that I am completely in love with.
Here’s how it works: The basil plant comes in a mini pot with holes in the bottom. You place the pot on a plate or in a cup and make sure that it’s sitting in 1/4″ – 1/2″ of water (check it regularly to keep it watered!). The basil stays perfectly lovely for 1-2 weeks, which works really well for the home cook.
Be sure to keep an eye out for these great little basil plants. I guarantee you’ll fall in love!
Wednesday, March 4
I am SUPER excited about today’s post. First off, I get to brag about one of my very lovely food blogging friends. Second, I get to share an AMAZING recipe with you. Third, I get to do a giveaway. So much goodness in one place!
Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is a friend I met through blogging that I am beyond grateful to know. She is lovely and talented and I am lucky to have her as one of my people. Her blog Simple Bites is wonderful and she is truly an inspiration to me. The woman pretty much makes everything from scratch. When you grow up on a homestead AND you’re a professional chef you tend to do that sort of thing. I know I will never be an “Aimée” myself, but one can always dream…and at least I try!
Aimée just published Brown Eggs and Jam Jars and I am so happy to share this beautiful cookbook with you today! (Congratulations, Aimée!) My friend Allison came over this morning and we made a couple of Aimée’s recipes from the book. It was such a lovely morning, spending time with a friend making recipes written by another friend. I’m feeling all aglow with cheesy friend-i-ness!
Today I get to share Aimée’s recipe for Crispy Rosemary Roast Potatoes with you. Holy HANNAH, people. So good. Allison and I basically ate the entire batch. (We won’t talk about how many potatoes that was!) The technique for cooking the potatoes coupled with a cornmeal coating made for truly perfect roast potatoes. Perfect and dangerous. I wasn’t kidding when I said Allison and I ate an ENTIRE BATCH. At 10:30 in the morning, mind you. SO GOOD.
Anyway, Aimée’s book is filled with similarly wonderful recipes and I highly recommend you buy the book immediately! Right after you enter today’s giveaway, of course!
We are giving away a copy of Aimée’s beautiful book to one lucky, randomly-selected winner! Simply leave a comment telling us your favorite thing to make from scratch and you’re entered! Aimée is all about going homemade, so I think chatting about our favorite from-scratch recipes is the perfect way to celebrate her book launch! So, to recap, to enter the giveaway please leave a comment telling us your favorite thing to cook/make/bake from scratch by Midnight PT on Wednesday 3/11/15. Prize needs to be shipped to a U.S. or Canadian address.
And with that I give you Aimée’s recipe for some of the best potatoes you’ll ever eat. Enjoy!
Crispy Rosemary Roast PotatoesThis recipe is from the book "Brown Eggs and Jam Jars" by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque and makes some of the best roast potatoes this side of anywhere!Author: Aimée Wimbush-BourqueServes: 6Ingredients
- 2 pounds red potatoes (about 6-7 medium), peeled (Please note that I totally did NOT peel the potatoes, whoops! Sorry, Aimée! They still came out perfectly)
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced, plus more chopped for garnish (I also forgot to mince the rosemary leaves...can you tell Allison and I were chatting while making the recipe? Again, everything tasted great.)
- 8 fresh garlic cloves, peeled
- Position a rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC).
- Cut each potato in half, then in half again, until you have 4 evenly sized chunks per potato. Place in a medium pot with 1 teaspoon of the salt, cover with cold water and set over high heat. Bring potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and boil for 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Drain potatoes, then transfer to the bowl with cornmeal and toss gently to coat.
- In a 12-inch cast-iron pan or heavy skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. When small bubbles begin to rise (but before oil is smoking) and oil is very hot, add rosemary and garlic. Stir carefully with tongs for a minute to infuse the oil.
- Carefully add the cornmeal-crusted potatoes all at once to the hot oil and arrange them with your tongs so that they are evenly distributed around the pan. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Carefully remove pan from oven and turn each potato so the crispy side faces up. Roast for another 20-25 minutes or until golden all over.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary and a sprinkling of sea slat if desired. Serve at once.
Posted by Jane Maynard at 3:49 pm 72 Comments
Categories: fab faves, featured recipes, Giveaways, Recipes, side dishes, the goods, way gourmet Tags: brown eggs and jam jars, cookbook review, cookbooks, potatoes, roast potatoes |
Thursday, February 12
Years ago I wrote about cheese paper here on the blog. Back then I didn’t know much about the stuff and it wasn’t very easy to buy. Luckily for all of us cheese paper is more accessible these days (thank you, Internet) and I actually use it myself now, so I feel like an updated post is in order!
I was first introduced to cheese paper at the Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco. Their cheese paper has the adorable cowgirl logo printed on it (see picture here) and, I’ll be honest, that was the biggest appeal of the paper to me at the time – what a pretty way to store your cheese! As pretty as the paper is, it is actually very functional, too!
Cheese paper allows cheese to breathe while also keeping it wrapped properly, so it will last much longer and taste better. Click here to see the details about how cheese paper is constructed and how it works. Formaticum is the primary brand that makes cheese paper and it’s the kind I use. You can buy Formaticum cheese bags or a set with cheese bags and cheese paper on Amazon, but you can also buy all of their products directly on their website. I love both the bags and the paper. I have no affiliation with Formaticum – I just love their fancy, French cheese paper!
So, hop to it! Give your cheese a happy, super cute home!
Friday, February 6
Happy Friday! I’m getting Show and Tell up a little late today because I’ve been busy as a bee finishing up our living room decor. I can’t wait to share the final product with you, but until it’s totally done and picture worthy, here’s a little sneak peak of one of the gems I found for the wall: stump prints from Light & Ink. I ordered the Spring Hollow Gold print yesterday and can’t WAIT for it to arrive.
I have some fun news today, too! In addition to regularly contributing to Babble, I am also now going to be writing for Parade’s food website Community Table as well as the blog for Solly Baby. My first posts for both sites went up this week!
At Community Table: 10 Romantic Cocktails for Valentine’s Day Fun!
And for Solly Baby: 12 Fantastic Freezer Meals, Before The Baby!
Show and Tell is for the whole class – be sure to share your own stuff and finds!
Posted by Rachel Utterback at 2:35 pm 4 Comments
Categories: around the house, Community Table, fab faves, new house fun, solly baby blog, the goods Tags: around the house, cocktails, community table, freezer meals, parade, solly baby, solly baby blog, stump prints, valentine's day |
Thursday, January 29
Just a quick post today to share my new favorite cheese. It’s called ricotta salata and it’s mighty fine.
The kind I buy is from Bel Gioioso. They label the cheese as “The Italian Feta,” which I think is a good description. Salata means “salted,” and that’s basically what this cheese is – ricotta cheese that has been pressed, salted and dried. The texture is very similar to feta, but the flavor is much more mild. Think ricotta with, you guessed it, salt added!
I pretty much put it on every salad I eat now. I can’t get enough. And, unlike feta, my kids are much more likely to eat it sprinkled on their salad, so they can eat the same salad I make for the adults. I’m thinking ricotta salata would be good in other dishes, too, like scrambled eggs or tossed into roasted veggies. Maybe it’s time I start experimenting, but, honestly, I go through enough of the stuff with just salads!
Tuesday, December 23
A big holiday thank you to Q Squared NYC for sponsoring today’s post.
Today we have a Call for Recipes, but let me first set the stage.
My neighbor Kat recently hosted a cookie exchange. I love cookie exchanges, but, much to my surprise, the cookies were not my favorite part of Kat’s get together! Kat served a lovely sit-down brunch before the cookie swap and it was quite wonderful. The food was amazing and it was so nice to take a break mid-morning in the mad rush of December and enjoy good food and company. The whole thing made me feel happy and bright.
For Cate’s birthday party this year the only time we could coordinate with her friends was yesterday morning, so, as inspired by Kat’s party, we decided to host a Christmas birthday brunch! While Cate’s brunch was a little less fancy, it was equally delicious and fun.
I’ve decided brunch is my new favorite thing for entertaining. So much of the food can be made ahead of time, making for less stressful party prep. Plus, who doesn’t love brunch food? Nobody, that’s who. I also love having the party early in the day, it has a completely different feel and, honestly, I like having more time for clean-up when the guests go home, as opposed to night parties where you’d rather go to bed than clean up.
Pictured: Q Squared’s Cool Montecito Large Tray
Q Squared NYC is sponsoring today’s post and I want to give them a quick shout out. Until Q Squared came into my life I didn’t own any serving trays and very few platters. Now I am swimming in beautiful trays and platters and I can’t tell you how fabulous they are for entertaining. I used a Q Squared tray for my cookies at Kat’s party and it was adorable. For Cate’s party, the serving trays came in handy both for the food and the Christmas crafts. Three cheers for Q Squared’s high quality, durable, beautiful serving trays – I can’t live without them now! Oh, before I forget! Q Squared also gave me a few of their Bijou candles for the holidays and the candles smell scrumptious. They have also been the perfect decoration for our coffee table this year. I highly recommend them!
It’s time for today’s Call for Recipes! Please share your favorite brunch recipes and tips! I really do want to host more brunches and become Queen of Brunch. Great aspirations, people. I think I might even plan a little Christmas brunch for this Thursday, so please share tips and recipes!
I’ll kick us off with the brunch menu from Cate’s party.
- Ina’s Banana Granola Muffins (made the day before, warmed in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes prior to serving)
- Grammy’s Blueberry Muffins (made the day before, warmed in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes prior to serving)
- Frittata Cups (used spinach instead of kale, made them early in the morning then warmed in a 200-degee oven for 10 minutes prior to serving)
- Hot Chocolate
- Fruit salad
Ready, set, GO! Let’s brunch it up!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 2:14 pm 13 Comments
Categories: call for recipes, fab faves, holidays, Recipes, the goods Tags: brunch, call for recipes, holiday entertaining, q squared, q squared nyc, serving trays, sponsored |
Thursday, December 18
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!
A few weeks ago I shared some of my favorite organizations that give back, one of them being TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods (TTM). I learned about TTM at the AYA Summit with ONE this past October and was completely taken with the founder, Jane Mosbacher Morris, a woman dedicated to lifting survivors throughout the world. Jane was energetic, passionate, smart as whip and had a really cool first name, so obviously I fell in love with her.
TTM combines the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations. TTM works with proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict and disease and they just launched their online marketplace, making their survivor-made goods available to anyone at any time!
I shared TTM with you on Giving Tuesday as a great gifting option for the holidays, which it obviously still is! (Seriously, if you get me this Sari Blanket for Christmas I’ll love you forever. Oh wait, this isn’t about me. Sorry about that. It’s just, well, that blanket!) In addition to TTM being a great place for you to shop for the holidays, TTM is hosting a giveaway here on the blog!
TO THE MARKET will be giving one lucky randomly-selected winner their choice of one of the All Across Africa baskets (you can see the baskets by clicking on this page). I have the navy/silver small basket and it is beautiful.
There are several ways to enter the giveaway! Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on 12/23/14. Leave a comment! Easy peasy! If you would like, please share with us something you love on the TO THE MARKET website! BONUS ENTRY: Sign up for the TO THE MARKET email list. Click here, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address in the box on the very bottom right. Leave a separate comment telling us you subscribed to get the extra entry. BONUS ENTRY: Follow TO THE MARKET on Facebook. Leave a separate comment telling us you did so to get the extra entry. BONUS ENTRY: Follow TO THE MARKET on Instagram. Leave a separate comment telling us you did so to get the extra entry.
I am SO happy to be connected with TO THE MARKET and grateful I can share them with you, too! Thank you for showing them support and good luck with the giveaway!
The lucky winner of this giveaway was Sarah K from The Pajama Chef who said, “I love the Turquoise & Brass Horn Necklace.”
Tuesday, December 2
Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is where it’s at! If you don’t know what Giving Tuesday is, click here to watch an introductory video. Essentially it’s a bunch of really great people from all over the world coming together to GIVE and to also share ideas for giving. To show my support I want to highlight a few organizations that I have personally supported and worked with.
ONE: I love ONE because it’s all about advocacy. They don’t ask for money, they just ask for your voice. Click through to ONE’s website to find out all of the amazing ways to make your voice heard and help those in the world who need it most. If you really want to shop and support ONE at the same time, buy the Alex and Ani New Beginnings bracelet. I bought this for myself as a stocking stuffer but, alas, it will never make it to my stocking. It just really, really, really wanted to be on my wrist.
To The Market: This website just launched and it is beyond beautiful. The woman who started the organization To The Market (also named Jane!) is filled with so much positive energy (and smarts) I almost don’t know what to do with her. 😉 To The Market’s goal is to support survivors by selling their goods. Read more here and don’t forget to shop!
fashionABLE: I love fashionABLE and am basically swimming in their scarves. I also bought myself a beautiful bag that I have yet to open because we’re saving it for Christmas morning. That closed box is taunting me and I don’t know how much longer I can stand it! Anyway, fashionABLE creates sustainable business for women in Africa and the founders are amazing and also filled with energy that inspires. Click through to learn more and shop!
Heifer International: Last year I bought some goat shares. Maybe this year we’ll make it a llama. I’m still deciding. No matter what, it’s gonna be cute. Heifer is the best, click through to find out more!
Fair Trade USA Holiday Guide: Fair Trade USA, another organization I love, put together an awesome fair trade shopping guide, so make sure to check that out, too!
I KNOW there are so many worthy organizations out there, but I wanted to share the ones that I have most recently supported myself because A) I know from personal experience that they are awesome, and B) I know that these organization really truly help people – it’s not lip service.
Happy Giving Tuesday! Whether you get out there and shop from companies that give back, make a donation to your favorite non-profit or you just deliver cookies to the widowed elderly woman down the street, get out there and give. It’s the best way to kick off the holidays!
And please share your favorite giving organizations in the comments! The more suggestions the merrier!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 2:19 pm 4 Comments
Categories: fab faves, the goods Tags: fair trade, fair trade usa, fashionable, giving back, giving tuesday, heifer international, live fashionable, ONE, to the market |
Friday, November 21
This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC.
I was recently chatting with my dear friend Amy about the holidays and she mentioned the dishes her mom used when she was growing up. Amy talked about how those dishes are firmly entrenched in her memory and that the dishes themselves are as much a part of the experience of the holidays as anything else. As she got thinking about it, she found she felt the same way about the dishes her grandmother used, too.
I loved this conversation because it really got me thinking. Often when I look back on holiday meals with the family, the food is what I focus on. In fact, when I pass traditions on to my kids it’s almost always focused on the food and sharing family recipes. But I haven’t thought much about the significance of the dishes we used. After chatting with Amy I realized my experience was the same as hers, that the dishes actually played a large role.
When I was very young, most of our holidays were spent with the extended family, so a lot of the memories of dishes I have are from my grandmothers. My Grandma Wallin was the type of woman who would bring china to the beach for a picnic, so you can imagine what her table would look like for the holidays. Crystal glasses (perfect for serving 7-Up!), crystal bowls and china dishes abounded. As a young girl, I loved it. Her dishes made those family dinners feel extra special and fancy.
My Grandma Blomquist had 7 children, so when that family got together it was always a large group. I’ll never forget the tall stacks of plates on the buffet table or the basket she used for her giant rolls. What stands out most, however, is the silverware. She had several sets of silverware, complete with intricate patterns. I remember helping get the silverware out of the drawer in her china cabinet (and how that drawer was always a bear to open!). We would wipe the silverware down with a towel and, when dinner was done, carefully put it all back in the drawer.
Eventually we moved far from our extended family, at which point the dishes my mom used for the holidays take over my memories. My mom had a set of Christmas china that made an appearance very year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We loved those dishes and using them at Thanksgiving quite literally marked the start of the holiday season in our home. Once the holidays were over, we would scour the post-Christmas sales to find more pieces to add to the collection. Those dishes are firmly planted in my holiday memories and, to this day, whenever I see that set of dishes at a store, I am transported back in time.
As I mentioned before, while I’ve always had these memories, I’ve never stopped to think about how strong they are. And, on a related note, I haven’t really thought much about the dishes I use for the holidays and whether or not my kids have the same kinds of memories. Our family is young, relatively speaking, so I’m still in the phase of collecting those dishes that will play a special role at our holiday dinner table year after year. After doing all this thinking about these particular memories, it makes me that much more excited about adding new dishes to our holiday collection and setting the table with my kids each year.
I want my children to have similar memories to what I have, memories like polishing silver and pulling china down from the high cupboard. Of course I have fond memories of the food, but as I ponder those holiday meals from the past, I find that the act of preparing the table for those meals is where the strongest memories lie. Making the table special and beautiful with the women that meant the most to me in my life ended up being the times where we talked and bonded most and I will be forever grateful for those memories.
I hate ending posts with open-ended questions because it feels super cheesy, but I’m breaking my own rule today because I really want to hear from you! Please tell us about your own memories!
Pictured above: I’ve added some really lovely pieces to our holiday dish collections from Q Squared NYC. For Easter we use white dishes combined with serving dishes from the Heritage collection. For Thanksgiving we’ve added serving dishes from both the Ruffle and the Diamond collections, both of which are pictured above. Also pictured is the Maple Apple Bijou candle, which is the perfect scent for Thanksgiving and looks beautiful on the table, too!
Tuesday, October 21
I have a monster of a post for you today (mwah-ha-ha!!!), complete with ideas for completely cute yet simple Halloween party table decor as well as a 13 (mwah-ha-ha!!!) ridiculously adorable Halloween recipes.
When it comes to entertaining, I keep it simple. I like to have a whole bunch of white serving dishes in storage that I can pair with a few accent pieces and a colored tablecloth for the occasion. Then I just throw a few decorations on the table – simple but elegant. A vase of flowers, a Christmas wreath with candles, a few pumpkins for a Halloween party…you know, SIMPLE. There’s enough going on to get ready for parties I just can’t go over the top with my decor. But I find by playing in a simple way with color and using lots of white dishes, the table always looks impressive.
My ruffle dishes from Q Squared NYC are just such pieces that come in handy for all kinds of occasions. The ruffle design is elegant and a little bit different than your standard white dishes. BUT…if you pair it with a black tablecloth and a few of Q Squared’s slate platters, those wavy white dishes suddenly take on a spooky air! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I loved using these dishes to decorate a Halloween table! Throw a few pumpkins on the table and make Halloween-themed food and you’re all set!
I think Halloween food is the most fun food in all the land. Whenever October rolls around, I am always so impressed with the creative food I see in magazines and on blogs! Here are a few favorites I’ve found this year, including a couple I used for my own Halloween party decor!
My friend Kristen from Dine & Dish shared Frankenguac just this week. Is this not the cutest guacamole ever? Be sure to click through to Kristen’s post for details! (I put my Frankenguac on a slate platter and it was beyond adorable and a great centerpiece for the table.)
My friend Sommer from A Spicy Perspective posted these adorable Halloween skewers, which my kids happily gobbled up! I couldn’t find dark grapes, so I used blackberries instead. I think blackberries (i.e. black pickled brains!!!) might even be spookier. Check out Sommer’s post for more details! (The skewers looked perfect on the ruffle long platter.)
Here are a few more Halloween recipes I am dying to try! (Mwah-ha-ha!!!)
Butterbeer Popcorn from An Edible Mosaic (because I simply cannot resist anything Harry Potter!)
Well, that list should keep you busy until Halloween rolls around next week. Happy Hallowen!
This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Seriously, those dishes I used are PERFECT for Halloween. Get shopping!