Monday, September 28, 2009

A Recipe for Fall

Perfect Fall Day
2 brown leather boots
1 pair skinny jeans
1 part wool/ 1 part cotton sweater
1 tablespoon crisp air

Dash of cinnamon

Mix first three ingredients with air. Take a walk, meet a friend, grab a latte and sprinkle dash of cinnamon on top!

Today was the first day of Fall for me. I know, I know, technically it was last Tuesday but I was still donning a cute summer dress and acting frivolous... Today--- well, today was a turning point. I pulled out my boots and sweater and I swear I saw an orange leaf fall.

Ahhh...there is something about this time of the year that is rejuvenating. Though you are adding clothes I can't help but believe that you are shedding the months and are given the chance for a start over. Today, to me the crisp air signifies change...

Tonight, in honor of this change and the air and the boots, I am cozy in my apartment listening to a new mix, testing a new recipe and getting excited for what this season has to offer.

In the pot...

Spicy Squash Soup
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Carrot, peeled and diced
1 Onion, diced
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb. Winter Squash, peeled and diced
1/2 lb. potato, peeled and diced
3 cups of Water
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add carrots and onion, cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chile powder, cumin, curry and red pepper flakes. Saute 5 minutes. Add squash, potato, yogurt and water. Simmer, covered about 30 minutes. When soft, puree with a emulsion blender. Add Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with greek yogurt and chives. Enjoy!

On the iPod. . .

Fall Mix
Go Home- Amanda Jenssen
Try Not to Breathe (Live)- REM
Why Does it Always Rain on Me- Travis
We Will Become Silhouettes- Postal Service
Sort of- Ingrid Michealson
San Francisco- Brett Dennen
Don't Panic- Coldplay
High and Dry- Radiohead
Save it For Your Prayers- Duffy
Skinny Dipping Girl- Joe Purdy
Girlfriend- Wolfgang Amedeas Phoenix
Running to Stay Still (Live from Paris)- U2
The Story I Heard- Blind Pilot
World Spins Madly On- Weepies

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Shy Less than Perfect

In a perfect world I would not rush and forget and drop balls.

In a perfect world my hair would not curl in humidity.

In a perfect world my oven would stop burning things.

In a perfect world my electric bill would not be $138

and, in a perfect world this is the dessert I would have brought last night...if it wasn't for the rushing and the forgetting and the burning and the hair and the meltdown about the $138 bill for 450 square feet apartment (for god's sake, I know I put off good energy in here but $138 worth? Seriously?). In a perfect world I would not have had to run to the bakery and you would have devoured this perfect dessert. But instead you got Nutella Brownies and they were freshly baked, just not by me and you still loved them.

That's the great thing about friends--they love you even when you are not perfect and they understand when you have crazy hair and rants and are late and show up without the dessert you were going to bring. We may not live in a perfect world and I may not be a perfect gal but at the end of the day when you are surrounded by good people, good conversation and good tunes, a shy less than perfect is okay by me. It is actually, well, perfect!

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
2 teaspoons dark rum
24 packaged ladyfingers
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined. In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom. Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture. Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours. Before serving, sprinkle with chocolate shavings.
Happy Thursday.
xoxo, not so perfect gal

Monday, September 21, 2009

Is it SO Wrong to Want it All?

Lately I have been wanting my cake, cheesecake and maybe even a cupcake-- have it fed to me by someone cute and successful---all with no calorie intake. I know, I know, these demands are too high. This mentality gets a gal in trouble. And yes, a gal must give up something... but does she always have to make a choice?

For instance...last night at TJ's I was making a decision between sweet and savory. Do I get the Olive Oil Popcorn or the Soy Ice Cream? Did I want sugar or salty? After minutes of deliberation I did not choose... I got both because really, what is so bad about having a little of each?

Isn't life best when we have a little balance? Days filled with a mix of social and personal time, outfits paired with a pattern and solid, music combined with lyrics and instruments and dinners filled with equal proportions of sweet and savory. We should remember that in life we crave variety and without it we get bored, passive and stop growing.

Speaking of cravings... this morning a friend I have been wanting to see posed the question, "Cheese or Jam?" Mind you, he was referring to my music choices but of course I made it about food (as I always do). It reminded me of my favorite sweet savory treat that is the perfect example of this balanced life I crave. Full of all things comforting--- cheese, bread and fruit, Baked Brie can be served as a dessert or appetizer and is amazing whole or made bite sized.

Baked Brie and Jam
(Taken from the Rachel Ray website)
  • 1 sheet frozen prepared puff pastry, 11 x 17 inches, defrosted
  • 1 wheel brie cheese, about 5-inches round
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 box water crackers

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice brie in half across the middle.


Spread the puff pastry sheet onto a counter and roll it to an 1/8 of an inch thick. Place half of the brie onto the puff pastry. Spread the jam on top. Sprinkle the almonds on the jam.


Replace the top half of the brie. Wrap dough up and over the brie, starting at the corners.

Turn over so the sealed side is underneath.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with crackers.

Baked Brie and Jam is proof that you can almost have it all, that you do not have to make a choice and that life is a little less boring with balance. I am still working on that calorie thing... again, sometimes a gal must give up something.

In fear that I would eat it all, I did not make Cheese and Jam for dinner but I did eat a balanced meal served playing a cheesy Ben Lee song and an 8 minute jam by Perpetual Groove and a couple of Coldplay songs in between... cause really, why must you choose?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Cinderella Story with a Not So Fairy Ending...

In the fairy tale, when Cinderella broke her shoe she met Prince Charming and lived happily ever after... but we all know that is not how it works. When my shoe broke I met Lola, and not only was she not charming, she yelled... loudly.

Nearly two months ago, on my way out to meet a Prince and various Princess wanna-bes at a nightspot called Marvin, my favorite BCBG gold wedge broke. The average gal that was already tired might have taken that as a sign to go home but not this optimistarian... I was looking for the the happy ending. One cab ride and a new pair of equally cute shoes later I was on my way to a very fun night. The night proved itself eventful and worthy of the cab fair but the story does not end with the taxi turning into a pumpkin, there is still the issue of a broken shoe... and Lola.

SO, a month later after much delay I deliver the said shoe to the cobbler for repair. She was no Prince but if she could make these gold pieces of art whole again who needs a Prince? Days pass, weeks pass until almost a month is gone. Each night when I dress I want those shoes and I realize that I have yet again forgotten to retrieve them from my shoe fixing princess. Until today. Today I went to the cobbler. Today I met Lola. Today was the day that Lola yelled. Today I yelled back. Lola is no Princess...she is a pauper that has lost my shoe. My beautiful gold BCBG wedge. She lost my shoe and she yelled. She yelled at me for waiting so long to retrieve it. She yelled at me for not keeping up with my slip and she yelled at me for yelling back.

So, folks, there is no chicken in this story, nor is there a recipe but there are a couple of lessons:
1- Do not delay the retrieval of clothing, purses or shoes being repaired. The more time lapse the easier it is for your paperwork and your treasure to be lost.

2- Just because someone is wrong does not mean they are apologetic. Sometimes they are just plain mean.

3- No matter how optimistic you are there is not always a happy ending. Yes, I said it. Maybe
I should have let go of the shoes with my inhibitions on that night two months ago when the ending was good. Maybe I should not have wished for more. Maybe there is no Prince or Princess at the end of the story. Maybe all we get in the end is Lola, and she is yelling... loudly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

I love beets.
I love the color of beets.
I love beets with arugula and goat cheese.
I love how they bleed on your hands or over the cheese in your salad.
With each drop of the red juice I picture nutrients seeping into my body...

On Sunday I attempted for the 2nd time since I moved to roast beets in my oven. The first time I torched them. Since then I am learning to control my gas stove and I had more than a bloody mess. I had delectable, flavorful, blood red, full of juice beets ready for a yummy salad.

Simple Roasted Beet Salad
Cookie Sheet of Roasted Beets (three big sliced or five small)
Goat Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh OJ (squeezed)
Salt, Pepper

Slice beets and sprinkle with sea salt and evoo. Roast at 500 (425 if you have gas oven) for 30 minutes. Set aside. Chop basil. Add to 2 parts olive oil, 1/2 part OJ, 1/2 part Balsamic Vinegar. Whisk in salt and pepper. Add to arugula with crumbled goat cheese and walnuts. Coat with dressing.

Before my salad my Sunday was feeling a little off. Even though the sun was shining, I felt a little run down. There is something about a beet that is comforting, grounding... maybe it is the organic nature of the plant, maybe it is the rustic color or maybe it is the wonderful flavor. Whatever it is, I am thankful for for Mother Earth for providing us with such a colorful, tasty vegetable.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wanita Wishlist

So a long time ago in a small VA town, far far away I volunteered my time to an art program called Little Masters. Each Saturday there was a little dark haired girl that would come to art class and say, "I want_____. I need_______." Every week the blank would change with a new want and a new need for her mom, myself and anyone else that would listen. I named her Wanita.

Today as I enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day I found myself with a couple of wants and needs of my own...

1. At Barnes and Noble and I spied a new cookbook I need, Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More than 200 Recipes for a Healthy Sustainable You. I was going to buy it but then I realized that I wanted three... one for me, one for a birthday gift and one for my other whole foods eating companion. Suddenly a $30 purchased became much more. My need to give became daunting. I bought nothing.

2. A job. It is hard to appreciate a Labor Day off when technically, your laboring is limited. (Dear Employers: Can you fill this want and soon-to-be need? I ask nicely. Please, I beg of you.)

3. Amnesia. I really want to forget how good bread and cheese are, especially buttery brie on a crusty baguette served with garlicy tomatoes. I am such a healthy eater but almost on a daily basis I think of bread in a not-so healthy way. Seriously, today alone I thought about this tasty treat for 2.36 hours. Damn those simple carbs...

4. These shoes from Anthropologie. I really, really want them. Scratch that, I really, really NEED them.

5. Today was the last official day of summer. I wished it to be sunny so I could frolic. It rained. All day. I did not frolic. Guess a gal cannot get everything she wishes for.

Wanita Price

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Julia, Julia and Stacey

I just returned from seeing Julia & Julia and I think I can say that the movie was as cute as the book--- and as a read-the-book-then-see-the-movie type of gal, that rarely happens.

Just a couple of things I took from it...

1- My pot... the controversial red pot is present in both Julia's kitchens. It is the larger model that I wanted but it is still the same pot. I pose to you, "If one had red enamel french pot as kitchen staple, is she destined to have career in food industry?" As a possibletarian, I think so.

2- I love the kitchen melt down scenes... I certainly remain more composed as a cook but I do remember this one Christmas that I had turned our kitchen into a bakery after working 15 hours in my cute little boutique, the week before Christmas... I was EXHAUSTED and should not have tried to bake eight new recipes after 9 p.m. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda... let's just say when Scott tasted a cookie at midnight and said it was, "Just okay." I lost it. Dough, tears and curse words were flying. If I recall correctly it went something like (please read in loud, sniffley voice), "Here I am making Christmas special for our whole f*** family while you are in there with your TV and your dog and your piddling and all you can say is they are just okay. OKAY. OKAY???? Seriously, would you tell Santa that is toys are OKAY???" Too bad New York Times didn't call to interrupt that one.

3- I think we all can take something, cook or no cook, from the scene near the end when Julia P. heard that Julia Child "hated" her. She said, "But I love her and I think if she would read my blog she would know that I was not disrespecting her. The Julia I know would understand me." The husband reminded her that was the Julia in her head not the real thing. I think we all have someone on a pedestal in our head, we all make assumptions and we all fantasize and romanticize situations... it is just important for us to know when to decipher the real person vs. the person in our head.

In honor of the movie I will enjoy something decadent, cooked with real butter and a good glass of French wine to end my relaxing city day. (Please read in Julia Child voice) I am Stacey Price, Bon apetit!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rainbow at the end of my day...

Remember ROY G BIV?

It is hard to believe that this time last year I was still the owner of a super cute gift and clothing shop that also housed a creative yarn and card making shop... One day in September Karen asked me as she was trying to knit a baby hat in the colors of the rainbow, "What colors come first?" I, without thinking, spouted off, "I think it is red, you know, ROY G BIV." She thought I was making up another answer that I did not know (not that I do that or anything) and had me second guessing. After Googling it, I knew I was right.

Technically it is the order of colors in the visible spectrum from shortest to longest, to me it is how I learned the colors in the rainbow... and how I choose to eat. I had not thought about that acronym since grade school. Funny how things stick with you.

Just like anything else in life, I can apply this concept to food. I follow the rainbow philosophy of dining--- the more colorful the meal, the better it is for you.

R- The first and favorite color you find in the rainbow is RED. Red, for red wine. In a wide mouth glass, Pinot Nior today, preferably.
O- Sweet potatoes, roasted with a yogurt curry dip or possibly my specialty, Black Bean & Sweet Potatoe Soup. A fast fix is carrots, always best dipped with hummus or in tonight's case, blue cheese pecan dip from Trader Joes (thanks, Kathy!).
Y- Yellow Peppers, my favorite roasted with onion and mushrooms. Or possibly roasted squash will do the trick. Since fall is here it is time for Butternut Squash soup!
G- Greens of any sort, sauteed with garlic and olive oil.
B- Blueberries and Greek yogurt, need I say more?
I- Plums, Black Cherries, Cranberries... I love my dried fruit mixed in my live cereal with soy milk.
V- Eggplant roasted with tomatoes and garlic... served hot or cold.

Tonight for dinner I had most of the rainbow fast and easy with my sauteed Swiss Chard & Avocado, Carrots and Blue Cheese Dip and glass of Pinot Noir.

I tore the chard and stalks into 2 inch strips and blanched with a minced garlic clove and salt in saute pan until tender. I served with chunks of firm avocado. If I had, I would have shaved Parmesan on top or maybe some blue cheese but alone it was still great!

My meal was colorful, tasty and healthy... also well deserved after a long day of running around making others happy. Add a visit from a friend bearing dip, one SATC episode and much laughter later and that is one of my favorite ways to end a day.