Saturday, February 26, 2011

Queenie's Treasury

Happy Saturday, folks! It's a sunny day here in New York, and I'm about to head out in search of caffeine and merriment. Before that, though, let's talk Treasury. Today's edition is all German and Austrian, all the time.

The Neue Galerie on East 86th Street is focused on German and Austrian art and design, and is always an amazing source of inspiration. (And of pastry, thanks to chef Kurt Gutenbrenner's Café Sabarsky, which is modeled on a fin de siècle Viennese cafe.) Their current exhibition is entitled Vienna 1900: Style & Identity, and it looks amazing. I'll definitely be stopping by to visit in the next few weeks - maybe more than once, since it runs through June 27th!

Continuing the Austrian/German theme, check out this amazing apartment for sale in Berlin. I'm in love the with layout, the perfect galley kitchen, herringbone floors and huge windows. I don't know anything about Berlin's neighborhoods, but, according to the Times, at least, Friedrichshain is a cool place, and there's a farmers' market right around the corner. Give me some white paint and sign me up, baby!

Friday, February 25, 2011

When Jason tweets, I listen.

My love for roasted cauliflower is anything but a secret. I've shared no fewer than four recipes for the stuff on Queenie (and You + ME*) to date, and I'm adding to that number today. My friend Jason, you see, tweeted the other night that he'd recently made roasted cauliflower with a mustard garlic sauce. The whole thing sounded creamy and decadent beyond measure, and I decided that the head of cauliflower in my fridge was fated to be dressed just so.

I decided to add a little whole grain mustard to the mix, in part to add a bit of texture and in part because I had it in the fridge. High-quality mustard is key here, since it's such a dominant flavor. Grey Poupon is, in my opinion, far too tart and vinegar-heavy. I prefer Maille, which is no more expensive and far more flavorful.

Making a paste out of the garlic helps it blend into the sauce a bit and mellows the flavor just a tad. That said, if you let this sit overnight, you'll get quite a garlicky kick out of it. (Not that this is such a bad thing, but it can overwhelm the somewhat delicate earthiness of the cauliflower.)

If you do decide to make things ahead of time, I recommend storing the roasted cauliflower and dressing separately in the fridge, then combining them and letting them come to room temperature together before serving. Just remember the breath mints, for the sake of your friends and colleagues.

Roasted Cauliflower with Mustard and Garlic
Adapted from Jason Trevino

1 head cauliflower, core discarded, cut into 1-inch florets
1 1/2 tbs. olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground back pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1 tbs. canola oil

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the cauliflower out on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/2 tbs. of the olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower, stirring once or twice, for 25 to 30 minutes, until it is well-roasted, and even a bit black in spots.

Meanwhile, leave the minced garlic on the cutting board and sprinkle it with a bit of salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, mustards, honey and canola oil. Once the salt has soaked into the garlic, smash it a bit with the flat side of your knife until it forms a thick paste, then add it to the mustard dressing.

Once the cauliflower is roasted, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the dressing bit by bit, mixing it into the cauliflower until it is well-dressed. (You may have some dressing left over.) Season with pepper and a little salt. Serve immediately.

Serves two as a side.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A hint of spring.

Come on over to You + ME* Equals, where I'm dishing up a lemony, garlicky avocado pasta that tastes a bit like spring (thanks to some seasonally incorrect contraband basil). Don't tell the folks at the Greenmarket that I cheated on them, okay?


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We go together.

Broccoli and garlic go together like pretzels and beer, like peanut butter and jelly, like gin and tonic. They are MFEO, you know what I mean? (Made for each other - that's what I mean.) The great Ina Garten (she of the easiest, tastiest brioche on earth) knows this, and as a result created one of my favorite salads of all time: broccoli with garlic and soy sauce. It's a spicy, salty delight, and one I try to eat as often as possible.

Today, I was craving said salad, but already had multiple things happening on my stovetop. How, therefore, would I be able to blanch the broccoli? And then I realized - I don't have to blanch it; I can roast it instead. Roasted broccoli is a pungent, slightly crunchy treat, and I had a feeling it would go just as well with the garlicky oil and salty soy sauce as its blanched counterpart.

The result is a supremely rich salad, but one that's still ridiculously good for you (Broccoli is, after all, a superfood.). It's a little crunchy and a bit toasty, and it travels immensely well. And, true to form, the broccoli and garlic go together like...broccoli and garlic.

Roasted Broccoli Salad
Adapted from Ina Garten

2 heads broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for roasting
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
1 tbs. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbs. soy sauce

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the broccoli florets on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until a few of the florets begin to brown.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook gently until the garlic begins to soften and is quite sweet. Add the pepper flakes and remove the oil from heat. Let the oil steep for at least 30 minutes.

Transfer the broccoli to a large bowl. Remove the garlic cloves from the oil and pour the oil over the broccoli. Add the soy sauce and vinegar and toss to combine. Taste for seasonings - you'll likely want more black pepper, but possibly not salt (thanks to the soy sauce).

Serves 4-6 as a side.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Queenie's Treasury night, people! It's the end of a long weekend here in the States, and I'm gearing up for a sprint of a week ahead. I'm going to see this play with my little brother, and am meeting not one, not two, but three friends for drinks/merriment. Add to that one of the busiest and most exciting projects I've worked on, well, ever, and you have the ingredients for a nutty time. Before that descends, though, let's talk Treasury!

I think I just might need one of these sparkly bracelets to take with me to Texas in a couple of weeks. I absolutely love the combination of soft thread and metallic rhinestones going on here, and the peach color just seems like it would go with everything, doesn't it?

The Jonathan Adler Design Your Own feature is way too addictive. Today alone I've made about four different monogrammed totes, a few patterned throws, and at least five pillows. I have serious issues. Luckily, I've managed to resist actually buying any of those - thus far.

The Margo Tote from Fabric & Handle is simple, elegant and super functional. The straps adjust to your needs. Want to go with an over-the-shoulder model? Just redo a few snaps, and you're all set. Perfect for trips to and from the farmers' market, or for carrying a laptop to and from the office. (Spotted by the ever-fashionable Ez at Creature Comforts.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Right up my alley(s).

If there are two things in this world that I love, they are spicy food and booze. Combine the two in one little package, and you might as well slap a label on it with the words, "MEG, PLEASE BUY ME." Not kidding. Not even a little.

When we were trying to decide what our second cocktail would be at the fabulous Rue party a couple of weeks ago, Miya mentioned that she'd seen a bartender peddling Sriracha bitters. I, obviously, made a beeline for his bar. Tout de suite, people.  Tout. De. Suite.

So, yeah, it turns out that this awesome little company called Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters makes an assortment of bitters in seriously cool flavors, including rhubarb, peach and Meyer lemon.  And, of course, Sriracha.  They recommend using the latter in a Sazerac; I had mine in a modified daiquiri, and that was pretty dang good, too.

I'll be purchasing several bottles for experimentation. Any cocktails you'd like to see gussied up with Sriracha or rhubarb goodness?  Tell me!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Queenie's Treasury

It's only 1:30 on Saturday afternoon, and already I've had a productive weekend. This bodes well for my week, don't you agree? While I sit here patting myself on my back for my efficiency, let's spend a little time on frivolity, shall we?

Joanne Mattera paints beautiful, textile-inspired works on both paper and canvas.  I'm particularly smitten with the madras paintings, and especially enjoy Joss 43, with its drips and dribbles. Like madras fabric itself, the colors and pattern just scream "summer," don't they? (Discovered via Frolic.)

Dana Tanamachi is a graphic designer who works for one of my absolute favorite firms, Louise Fili Ltd. Her posters are lovely and wonderful, but it's her chalk art that has my mouth hanging all agape right now. As is clear from my blog header, I love a good chalkboard, and her work is absolutely smashing.  She's available for all sorts of events, so if ephemeral artistry is your thing, give her a shout!

I've been hankering for a gold watch recently, and I'm particularly enamored of L.L. Bean's version, which is part of their schmancy new Signature line. It has such a lovely, vintage feel to it, and seems like it has that nice menswear vibe without actually being too overwhelmingly large for my freakishly small hands.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Visiting hours.

It's that time again - time for me to share a recipe with the readers of the fabulous You + ME* Equals! Head on over to read about my latest obsession: chickpea, tomato and escarole stew, which is saved from complete and total healthfulness by a dollop of garlic mayonnaise.

I know, right?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kicking back the Old Fashioned way.

A classic cocktail is one of life's simple joys. The ritual of making it, the pleasure of drinking it, the fun in sharing it - all of these things add up to create a perfect little gem of an experience.

My current go-to cocktail is an Old Fashioned.  Nothing could be simpler, really: you muddle some citrus with a bit of sugar and some bitters and top the whole thing off with ice and booze (either rye or bourbon).  It's not for those who prefer their spirits masked by cloying fruit juice or syrupy soda.  This is a cocktail for boozehounds.

Since the booze is front and center in this drink, it's important that you use a high-quality whiskey.  My favorites for an Old Fashioned are Tuthilltown's Manhattan Rye (a worthy splurge) and Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon. My favorite oranges to use are actually Honeybells, a kind of tangelo.  If you can't find those, I recommend a clementine in lieu of the orange slice; its juice is a wee bit more delicate than the slightly more sour Navel orange.

Queenie's Old Fashioned

2 dashes bitters (I like Regan's Orange here, but Angostura work, too)
1 tsp. turbinado sugar
1 lemon wedge
1 generous slice of Honeybell, or one clementine cut into four wedges
2 1/2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey

Add the bitters, sugar, lemon and orange to an old fashioned glass. Muddle together until the juice has come out of the fruit and formed a paste with the bitters and sugar. Add three or four ice cubes, then top with the whiskey. Stir once or twice. Serve cold.

Serves one.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sundays are for bacon.


Nothing says "Sunday morning" quite like the smell of bacon crisping in the pan.  This past Sunday, I decided I would forgo my usual breakfast (coffee and, well, coffee) for something real and hearty; something that could get me through my chores and carry me on well past lunchtime.

That something was an egg, avocado and bacon sandwich. It started innocently enough - people have been more atwitter than usual recently over the idea of avocado toast, and so that was my plan. Avocado mashed about a bit, spread on fresh baguette, topped with a smidge of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

But then I remembered the eggs in my fridge - after all, they were just sitting there, hanging out, waiting to become the protein in some fabulous creation.  And the bacon! The bacon I bought last week in a fit of craving, and of which I've used on bits and pieces.  Both pair so well with one another and with the avocado - how could I leave them out of the party?

And so the sandwich evolved. From a mashed avocado on toast to a far taller, far naughtier creation.  Fresh baked baguette (courtesy of FreshDirect's parbaked goods section), still warm from the oven and spread with a bit of mayonnaise.  Next, a layer of sliced avocado, seasoned liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Next, a slice or two of slab bacon, fried to just this side of crispy and topped with fluffy scrambled eggs.

Creamy, salty, fluffy, crispy deliciousness, all in one little sandwich.  Oh, happy Sunday.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Queenie's Treasury: All Etsy, all the time.

You guys! It's the weekend! Aren't you psyched? Me, too!

As you know, I've been a bit under the weather of late, so I plan to spend the weekend banking lots of sleep, reading a good book and watching a couple of Oscar contenders. I'll also be cooking for my lunches this week (braised chicken with mushrooms, beet salad and pasta with cauliflower are all on the menu) and doing a little laundry. Bo-ring, I know.

In the meantime, let's check out this week's Treasury! I've decided it's time for an all-Etsy edition, and I do hope you enjoy it.

This cushion cut aquamarine ring by Garnet Girl makes my knees weak. It is absolutely stunning, right? I love the pale blue stone set against the warm rose gold. I love the old-fashioned cut, and I love the way the setting sort of hugs the stone to the ring. Love, love, love.

These coral and turquoise earrings from Beadycats are a burst of sunny happiness, amirite? I can't get enough of their cheerfulness, and I can totally picture them with a cute little sundress and sandals. Ah, summer.

Nick Heywood is one of my favorite bloggers, and I'm also completely enamored of his Etsy shop, where he peddles all kinds of vintage goodness.  This mirror-framed needlepoint has been calling to me for a couple of weeks now; I feel like it would be right at home in my home - or maybe in yours?

Friday, February 4, 2011


Happy Friday, everyone!

It's been something of a rough week in these parts.  I've had a nasty cold and a very busy week, both of which resulted in a lost voice and a desperate need for sleep.  The latter will be dealt with during tomorrow's forecasted wintry mix; the former I'm tackling tonight with a hot toddy.

I put out the word on Twitter that I was in the market for a good recipe, and my lovely Tweeps (one of whom is my dear friend Anica) responded with some fabulous ideas!

I went for English Breakfast tea, a little lemon juice, loads of honey and a shot of bourbon.  Garnished with a lemon slice and boom! Recuperation in a mug.

To health!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

To the point.

 I went to the Decemberists concert last week.

It was awesome.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Better together.

Salty and sweet, that is. There's little I like more than a dish that combines salt with sugar, and Shack Shack's salted peanut butter hot chocolate is no exception. It's deeply chocolatey, and instead of just adding extra richness, the peanut butter actually cuts through the sweetness with its salty edge.

There's not much more to say, other than that the beverage, which comes in one perfect size, is available at all Shake Shack locations around the city. You're bound to be near one sooner rather than later, right?

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