We love our round dining room table. It’s warm and friendly and lends itself to easy conversation. One thing dilemma it causes us though: what kind of placemat to use. Square ones just don’t work — they leave too much space and look sloppy. Circles are better, but not perfect. In the past, we’ve customized placemats ourselves cutting out odd shapes that fit exactly. Now we have found the perfect solution: Chilewich’s oval placements, bright egg-shaped backdrops for your dishes. And, they’re new spring colors are especially vibrant. It’s nice to see one of our favorite brands pushing away from their safety zone of neutrals. Don’t these turquoise ones look gorgeous against the bright orange Eames chair? Perfect for the modern chic dining room –with every day ease and cleanup! For more info and to see other colors, visit Chilewich.com
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This is one of our favorite recipes. It’s ideal for late winter, early spring, when you are craving something fresh with a ton of veggies in it. Snap peas are great, but if they’re not available, try green beans or broccoli. Sometimes we toss in a red a pepper for color. We first had this soup when our talented friend Deborah brought over a big pot of it to our place for dinner. It’s fragrant, hearty and able to bust colds in a single bowl. Enjoy!
Deborah’s Curry Chicken Soup
What You Need
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast – cut into bite size bits
1 can coconut milk
3 scallions – chopped
1 ear of corn – trim corn off cob and set aside (canned or frozen will do)
4 cloves garlic – chopped
2 cups + 1/4 cup chicken broth — separated
2 carrots – sliced very thin
1 cup of snap peas – cut in 1/2 or thirds
1 large potato cubed
8 – 10 medium shitake mushrooms – slice in half then very thinly slice into slivers
2 tbl sp peanut or soy oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 – 1/4 soy sauce (to taste)
1/4 cup cilantro – chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tblsp. green curry paste
How To Make
1. In a soup pot, saute the carrots and potato in 2 tbl. peanut or soy oil for about 2 minutes, then add scallions, saute for another minute.
2. If needed, add more oil then add chicken, garlic and 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Saute 2 minutes.
3. Add snap peas and saute one more minute. Pour can of coconut milk and chicken broth along with soy sauce into pot. Put corn cob and kernels into pot.
4. In 1/4 cup warm chicken broth, dissolve green curry paste and add to soup.
5. Simmer for 30 minutes.
6. Remove corn cob. Add 1/2 cup fresh lime juice and cilantro before serving. YUM!
Hello fellow movie lovers! We have one week to go until our big night of the year. Sadly, this year I have to work on Oscar night — though I can assure you that tracking stylish arrivals and covering the night’s fun is not exactly “work.” But it means I won’t be able to host my own party. Perhaps some of you will pick up my torch and throw your own. Remember, your DVR is your secret weapon to fun, fun, fun! Let me know how you will be celebrating on the 24th.
There are few things I look forward to more than the Academy Awards. I’ve been celebrating them for years in both high and low ways. I’ve rented hotel suites and made customized cocktails (I recall a “Babe” martini with a pink grapefruit rind tail). I’ve been to viewing parties where no one paid attention, and I’ve been to viewing parties hosted by Elton John. Yes, I’ve even been to the Academy Awards themselves, albeit in the nose-bleeds, the last year they were held at the gorgeous Dorthy Chandler Pavilion. My current mode for Oscar night is what I like to call “cozy red carpet.” Comfort food, good friends, and fuzzy slippers. Best of all, I have discovered the secret tool needed to having a truly fun Oscar night party: a DVR. Here’s how it works:
Forget the ballots, go for live betting. Rather than have all your invitees fill out ballots before the show begins, engage in live betting throughout the night. We give out ballots for reference only, so people can keep their own score on what’s been unveiled and what’s to come.
Record the show and start watching it late. Nothing brings down an Oscar party more than too many commercial breaks. Record the Oscars but don’t watch them live — at least not a first. Don’t worry, you’ll catch up as the night goes on. This way you can dive right in and fast forward through the dull parts.
No cell phones allowed. Because you’re not watching the show exactly live, don’t let cheaters check twitter or text messages that may be revealing the winners before you’ve seen them. Make reasonable exceptions for moms worried about babysitters.
Pause the show right before the envelopes are opened. This is the fun part. Just as Natalie Portman is fumbling to get that envelope for best actor open, hit pause. At that moment, instruct everyone to write down who they think is going to win that award only. Hit play.
Reward everyone who got it right. We like to give out little toys as tokens. Your guests can take them home, so everyone is a winner.
Winner takes all! At the end of the night, the person with the most tokens, wins the pool! (We got zoo animals and gnomes from orientaltrading.com.)
The day after the awards last year, everyone was grumbling about how long the show was, and how dull it was — that is, everyone but us. We all had a such a blast placing live bets throughout the night that the three plus hours fly by.
Of course the other important component to a good academy awards night is the menu. My menu for Sunday is still being debated, but right now I’m eying spiced popcorn, mini quiches, bite-sized pulled pork sandwiches, some kind of chocolate pots. I also am on the hunt for the perfect cocktail to make by the pitcher.
What about you? Are you planning anything special for Oscar night this Sunday?
My next door neighbor Jane and I have an awesome, and potentially dangerous, habit: We often pawn cooking experiments off on one another. I love to bake, but it’d be extremely bad for our waistlines if we ate everything that came out of the oven. Jane’s the same way, so we often trade dishes filled with various sweets back and forth. Last week, I gave her birthday cupcakes. And then she returned our plate brimming with these. The best way I can describe them is to say they are wonderous, oatmeal, maple whoopie pies. Okay, maybe not whoopie pies, but the cream has a wonderful aroma that wafts up your nose with each yummy bite. It turns out this is because not only is there maple syrup in the filling, but also in the oatmeal. Sneaky, but genius! I begged Jane to share the recipe (sorry I don’t know its origin) and here it is below.
Jane’s Oatmeal Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies
what you need:
14 tbs butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
11/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups Quaker Oats (maple flavor – no sugar added)
how to make
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl using a fork for 2 minutes.
3. Cream butter and sugar at medium high speed for 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla to butter and sugar mixture and beat for 3 minutes.
4. Add flour mixture to butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla mixture using mixer on low speed until blended.
5. Add oats and incorporate by hand.
6. Drop by teaspoon sized balls on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake for 8-10minutesuntil light brown.
8. Cool one minute on cookie sheet then remove to cool on wire racks.
2 tbs cream cheese, softened
2 tbs butter, softened
1-2 tbs maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (more if needed for desired consistency)
Cream butter and cream cheese together on low speed for 2 minutes , then add 1 tbs maple syrup, and add in powdered sugar. Add more maple syrup or powdered sugar until filling is a spreadable icing consistency.
Pair cooled cookies together and add about 2 tsps filling to one side of the pair to form sandwich. Store in air tight container.
The Claim: Whether you’re separate your eggs because you’re trying to be healthy, or just because tiramsu is on the menu tonight, Quirky’s Egg Pluck gadget aims to take the sucky part out of pulling separating your yolks. They say that you simply place the gizmo over the yolk of an already cracked egg, squeeze the silicone chamber, and release to suck the egg yolk up into it.” Give Pluck another squeeze to release the yolk.
The Situation: Egg cracking is not my strong point — I often get shell fragments or leave dribbles of egg whites behind in the bowl. My method of separating eggs is the one my mom taught me as a kid — crack the egg, then toss it back and forth in the two half shells, letting the white pour out while preserving the yolk. It more or less works, but I often crack the yolk, a drop of which can ruin a perfectly good egg white froth. After spotting Pluck on Quirky, I decided to give it a try.
The gadget itself is like a turkey baster without the tube. The small clear plastic opening unscrews from the white silicone part for easy cleaning. I followed the instructions. First, crack and egg. Then, while squeezing, place the Pluck on the yolk.
Presto! The yellow ball gets sucked into the blub.
Simply squeeze it again to release the bulb into another bowl.
The Verdict: The Pluck is $13 at Quirky, and for some it is a worthy a purchase. It does the job it says it does, and definitely makes the task of egg separating much cleaner. It’d be a fun stocking stuffer for your diet-focused friend, or a must-have for any meringue maker. However, if you don’t find yourself separating eggs too often, you can definitely live without.
Still Curious: Visit quirky.com to see Pluck in action, and get the full story on its creation.