February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day Dinner

by Shelly


I’m just a cheesy girl who loves to get all romantic on Vday!  My fav way to spoil my main squeeze is to feed him silly. Surprise surprise!  Eating out is for the birds…who wants to deal with those crowds and those PRICES?  Not me.  So eat something fabulous at home and make him take you out on the town the following weekend!

My go-to to make my guy putty in my hands is a great big steak!  Filet cause it’s an extra special day.  Then add one of the mentioned accompaniments, a little something green and a delicate starch.  Don’t forget the…better than your everyday… wine and a chocolatey surprise to wrap up the meal.  He’s sure to understand why you’re his Valentine!

Oh…and make sure you put on the moooood music!

 steak | mushrooms | sauce | lobster | asparagus| fingerlingsmusic| wine| chocolate souffle

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Late July Edition!
I sort of skipped what was suppose to be a monthly post of my favorite things last month (June).  This month has been so filled up with summer get togethers, trips out of town and whatnot that…well…I’m just getting to it now. But here it is! My July favorite things!
1.  San Pellegrino Aranciata
Found these on a trip to Costco just before Summer really got going.  They’re yummy, look oh so cute sitting in a tub of ice during a bbq, and they’re a nice alternative to soda. BIG, big fan of these!
2.  Santa Barbara Design Umbrellas 
I want all of them, every color, every style…I LOVE THEM!  They aren’t cheap, but man are they a lot of style for your patio.  A simple outdoor set would become WOW with one of these over it!
3.  Rikshaw Designs
I first learned about Rikshaw Designs from Alex over at the Rustic Rooster blog. I was hooked…instantly!  Catherine Fitzsimmons designs are right up my alley, bohemian, colorful, casual and beachy.  It’s no secret (well maybe it was on here!) that the other half and I are all for having another baby right now.  Guess what I’m putting in the baby’s room? Yeah, you guess it…this stuff!  But until then I am happily living in my cute kurtas…I just ordered two!
via Guidespot.com
via Coochicoos.com
4.  Felix Doolittle Stationery
I finally started using my cute Felix Doolittle return address labels this past month.  I can’t believe I had forgotten about them!  As per my usual, I got them, left them in a drawer I never hardly open and thus forgot about.  Our address labels feature a cute black labrador chewing on a ball…VERY our dog Zipper!  Ball crazy doesn’t even begin to explain how in love with tennis balls our creature is.  She’s insane.
In any case, the artwork is absolutely stunning!  Each drawing is so good you wish you had a full sized version to put on your wall.  They really are that spectacular.  I used them on a few thank you notes I sent out this past month and people actually called and/or emailed me to ask where I had gotten my labels! Seriously.
I also picked up bookplates for my little one featuring a monkey holding onto a LARGE baby bottle of milk.  We called Ellie “milk monkey” when she was born because she was such an avid eater.  That girl loved her milk!
 via Martha Stewart

5.  Grilled Steak and Summer Vegetable Salad- From Everyday Food
I’ve subscribed to Everyday Food since day 1 of the publication.  It is my go to for quick, delicious, easy food.  The mag really is a life saver.  They come up with week long menus which include a whole shopping list with everything you will need to make the food.  Very convenient!  This past month featured this meal which I thought may be a little ho-hum.  But we’ve been trying to eat light around here lately and this fit the bill.  I will tell you…HO-HUM it is NOT!  I’m a big fan of all sorts of veggies, so getting me to eat them is not normally an issue.  The hubby however…can be a bit picky.  He’s not super into squash, zucchini or eggplant. This dish had all three..BUT HE ATE IT!!!!!  AND, he loved it! It also looks super pretty when you plate all the veggies and steak together.  It’s a really nice presentation.
Grilled Steak and Summer Vegetable Salad
Serves 4
Time: 45 minutes
Try grilled bruschetta with this supper: Brush thick slices of crusty bread with olive oil, then grill until toasted on both sides.  Flank steak can be used in place of hanger.
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 springs of rosemary
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 lbs. hanger steak
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes on the vine, or plum tomatoes halved
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 sweet bell pepper (any color) cut into sixths, seeds and stems removed.
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1. Heat a grill to medium-high.  Clean and lightly oil hot grill.  In a small oven proof pot combine oil, rosemary, and garlic and place on grill.  Cook until oil begins to bubble, 2 minutes.  Remove herb oil from heat and set aside 3 tablespoons in a small bowl.
2.  Brush steak with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes per side for medium-rare (move steak to a cooler part of grill if it begins to over brown).  Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil.  Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.
3.  In batches, brush vegetables with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, until tomato skins are split and vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes total.  Transfer to a serving platter, along with sliced steak.  Add vinegar and honey to reserved oil and whisk together.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then drizzle dressing over steak and vegetables.
“5th Avenue” at Art Brokerage.com
Locomotive #4 via hometown-pasadena.com
6. Ray Turner
I discovered Ray Turner when I was about 18 years old in a downtown Fullerton art gallery (which has since moved locations), Sarah Bain Gallery .  I was immediately hooked on Turner’s style.  The exhibition was on a series of chefs in a kitchen.  They were stunning…and NOT expensive at the time. Now of course paintings that were once in the hundreds are in the tens of thousands.  No, I won’t be acquiring one soon. sad.  But I recently decided to check out some of his new works and as usual I was not disappointed. One day..maybe…I’ll get one of those chef paintings.
Ok, that’s my late July edition of “A few of my favorite things“! Hope you enjoyed!

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Ugh…no one likes them. We’ve been so crazy this year and the last half of last year, that we aren’t even CLOSE to finishing them. So we’re getting an extension. Oh well. 
But what makes me feel better around this time of the year is knowing that the simple things (and sometimes the cheapest) are what makes my world go round and lifts me up when I need it most. I just wanted to share a few of those things with you….

via cluas.com
No not the city, the band. I have every album now and it is my GO TO for happy, pick me up music. I love that their music doesn’t sound the same from song to song. I’m even more thrilled that I will be seeing them this weekend at this event! Check them out right here.
2. Epicuro- Alianico Red Wine $4.99 at Trader Joe’s
A friend introduced this wine to me a few years ago. And I was skeptical. $4.99, seriously!? This can’t be good. I’ll admit I’m no wine connoisseur, but I definitely don’t go for the jug wine at the grocery store either. Since the hubby and I drink a fair bit of wine (Hey, he’s got a stressful job and well..I have a 2 year old), we are always on the lookout for some thriftier bottles to enjoy. This one fits the bill perfectly. 
3. Z Pizza- particularly the Provence pizza!
When we moved to our new home last July we discovered that this pizza chain was right around the corner. We tried it out…we fell in love. The ingredients are oh so fresh, the pizza ingredients they throw together are perfect and it tastes way better than those other pizza guys. They’re salads rock too!


4. Our backyard/ garden
 We were beyond thrilled when we moved into our new home which happened to include the most incredible backyard. The previous owners had recently spent A LOT of money renovating and upgrading the whole thing just about a year before they sold it to us. I come from a long line of gardeners on my mom’s side of the family, so of course I have naturally fallen in love with the pastime too!

The little one and I spend many daylight hours ripping out overgrown plants, pruning roses, and potting herbs and ferns. Not everything is successful, but it is my little way of relaxing and taking in the sunshine. My little girl just likes the chance to get totally dirty….since mommy is a bit of a clean freak! 

We can’t WAIT to throw a big 4th of July BBQ this summer with all of our friends and their kids! The pool and spa are screaming for it!

5. Modern Family
If you haven’t watched this show yet kick yourself. Seriously, this is one of the funniest shows around right now. All the characters crack me up, but the adorable gay couple is my favorite. Go figure. (FYI: I love the gays!) Anywho, check it out Wednesday nights on ABC, it will not disappoint.

Hope the simple pleasures in your life help you get through the yucky stuff too!


January 21, 2010

Here comes the rain again

by Shelly

And in Southern California no doubt! In all my 33 years as a So Cal native, I cannot remember such “WEATHER”! I love it, but I’m sort of not prepared for it. First off I need these:

Sperry Topsider “Pelican Rain”  $67.95 Nordstrom.com
And this jacket has that I grabbed this from my man and threw it on. Doesn’t it look better on me?…look to it.
 Barbour Classic Bedale Jacket $379 J.Crew
And there are some SERIOUSLY cute umbrellas out there right now! I think I could start a collection.
Bella Pagoda- B&W Pinwheel $129.00 Umbrellas.net
Beach Stripe Gold $69.00 Umbrellas.net
Jumbo Silver Bubble Umbrella $50 Umbrellas.net
And if you’re going to be stuck inside all day you might as well make this wonderful recipe for Italian Wedding Soup by Ina Garten. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve made it quite a few times and everyone loves it!


Then I’ll grab my bowl of soup, curl up with a blanket and watch a good movie. But probably not for too long since my 2 year old will want me to play with her.
 Solid Cashmere Throw-Lantana Williams-Sonoma Home $269.00

Now off to enjoy the wet weather…
Kate Kerrigan.com




December 27, 2009

Knocking it out of the park??

by Shelly

This was our first Christmas in our new home! Last year we were all crammed into a tiny nook of a dining room trying to do Christmas Eve dinner, but this year we could spread out! Not only can we now fit 10 people in our dining room, but I don’t have to yell at everyone to get out of my kitchen so I have room to cook and move.

Since my hubby’s eighty-six year old grandma was coming down from Central California to join in the festivities, I decided to try my hand at an old school classic dish….Beef Wellington! I didn’t really know exactly what it was to be honest. I just knew it was a serious classic Christmas dish and it sounded…well fancy. I wanted to try it AND “kill it” aka knock it out of the park, if possible. Then a few weeks ago one of my fav chefs on the Food Network, Tyler Florence made Beef Wellington and that was it..
Here’s how I did it:
1) First I sauteed finely chopped button mushrooms, garlic, thyme and shallots. I made this a few days ahead, so I was freaked out the day of trying to do it all at once. I stuck it in the fridge for a few days.
2) The day before Christmas Eve I bought a 3 1/2 lb. beef tenderloin from Costco. NO….it was not cheap! It ran me about $60-65 or so. But this was a special occasion, so I wanted to go all out.
3) I tied up the beef in four places to keep the beef in a cylindrical shape while cooking it. I rubbed extra virgin olive oil all over it and liberally salt and peppered the surface. Then I popped it in a hot pan with olive oil and seared the whole outside. Then I set it aside and let it cool a bit.

4) Then you lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. You have to make sure the wrap is big enough to roll the beef in and cover completely. On this piece of plastic wrap you shingle thin slices of prosciutto…about 6 slices on top and 6 slices on the bottom…in a square shape. Then you take your sauteed mushroom mixture that you’ve made ahead, and spread a thin layer of it over the prosciutto. Once you’ve done that you sprinkle kosher salt, cracked pepper, and thyme leaves over the surface.
5) Once your meat has cooled, you cut off the twine and smear the entire surface with a good dijon mustard.
6)Next, you take your seared tenderloin, plop it down in the center of your mushroom’ed prosciutto and using the plastic wrap, roll it up tightly tucking the ends of the prosciutto as you go. I twisted the ends to secure it and from this point you still the beef in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so it will hold it’s shape. I left the beef in a whole day before the big event. It came out just fine.
7) The day of I rolled out one pound of thawed puff pastry on a floured surface. You then unwrap the plastic from the beef and plop that sucker right down in the middle of your pastry. You need to make sure you roll the dough out wide and long enough so that it will wrap around your hunk of meat. Then you roll it up in the dough, tuck under the ends, using egg wash to secure and put the ugly seam side down on a baking sheet. Then you egg wash the entire surface, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and make a few small slits to let out steam during cooking. And then you stick it in a 425 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 125 degrees.
8) Once it’s reached the 125 degree mark, take it out set it on a platter and cover it with foil. Now don’t touch! Let it rest for 10-15 minutes..the juices will make their way back into the beef and the beef will continue to cook at this point.
9) Then you slice it in nice thick slices and pour some yummy Green Peppercorn Gravy over the top and ENJOY!
The meal came out PERFECTO! And I got some serious rave reviews from the fam. I won’t lie..it was a lot of work, but I felt like a champ after I was done. I also made the rest of the dishes that Tyler Florence made with his Beef Wellington. You can find the whole menu here.
Hope you knocked it out the park this holiday season too!

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