Kimchi Fried Rice

IMG_2122I've spoken before about my love for fried rice as an easy weeknight meal, but lately I've been wanting to spice it up a little. Believe it or not, I had never had kimchi until relatively recently (there aren't a ton of Korean restaurants in Minnesota, unfortunately) and the first time I tried it, I wasn't so sure if I liked it or not. IMG_2117

But after trying it a few more times, I'm officially a convert–plus, fermented foods are supposed to be very good for you. Ari is still a little wary of the funky, spicy fermented cabbage, so I've been making this fried rice in the meantime–you still get all of the spicy goodness of kimchi, but cooking it for a few minutes tones down the taste.

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Kimchi Fried Rice (adapted from Food52)

1 to 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil1 package tofu, drained and cut into small cubes
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used peas, carrots and broccoli)

4 to 5 scallions, whites only, finely sliced

1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)

4 cups cooked rice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pinch salt, to taste

Fried eggs (1 per person)
Heat canola or vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides. Add vegetables and sauté until just cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Add the scallion whites, and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Next, add kimchi and kochujang, and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes until the kimchi begins to soften.Add the rice and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. (You can always add a little bit of the briny liquid from the kimchi jar if it seems like there’s not enough color or spice for all of your rice!)

Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for just a few more minutes until the rice is warmed through. Season with salt, to taste.

Serve topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with scallions greens.

Rose Gold

I've been super into rose gold jewelry lately, and have been excited to see the metallic trend being translated into housewares as well. From statement pendant lamps to shelves to a pretty amazing bed, rose gold is a modern way to add some glamour to your décor. Here are a few of my favorite spaces. Image from domaine.com

Mixed metals add depth to this marble-covered kitchen.

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Tom Dixon's iconic lamps bring in light and add interest to a neutral Scandinavian dining room.

coppershelves

This amazing shelf would look just as at home in a bathroom as in an entry way.

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A rose gold-framed mirror is a subtle take on the trend.

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Though it's not cheap, Michael Varian's stunning copper ink wallpaper would be perfect for an accent wall.

Image via shopsweetthings.com

Spotted in L.A. bakery Bo Nuage, these angular bar stools are stunning against black and white molding.

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Exposed pipes add storage and visual impact to this neutral kitchen.

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Modern yet traditional, this incredible bed frame makes a bold statement.

Boulevardier

IMG_2074Crocuses and cherry blossoms are starting to bloom, and it's finally beginning to feel like spring. But since the nights will still be chilly for at least a couple of months, I love nothing more than kicking back to watch Netflix (we're currently burning through Deadwood) with a good cocktail. IMG_2078 This classic drink, which I first had at my favorite neighborhood spot, Long Island Bar, is a slightly bitter take on the Manhattan (my other favorite). I wasn't a big fan of Campari until recently, but now I'm loving the bitter, complex notes it adds.

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Boulevardier (makes one, recipe from PUNCH)

1 1/2 oz whiskey or bourbon

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet red vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake well, about 10 seconds. Strain into a coupe or over ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with orange peel.

Pimiento Cheese

IMG_1714    On last week's episode of "Better Call Saul" (which, if you haven't watched it yet, is great–but watch "Breaking Bad" first), Mike Ehrmentraut calls pimiento cheese "the caviar of the south." Having just made pimiento cheese for a dinner party, I thought this description very apt–with a similarly salty but creamy–and much lower price point–pimiento cheese is makes an excellent appetizer for your next party (seriously, it will be the first thing to disappear). IMG_1712

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It's traditionally served with saltines, but pretty much any cracker will do, or I've also known people to spread it on bread for a pretty ridiculous take on grilled cheese. Just don't tell anyone what's in it.IMG_1711

Side note: Ari (my darling boyfriend) is currently trying to raise money through Kickstarter to fund the next season of his podcast, Off Campus, which focuses on graduating from college and navigating the real world. Check it out (and donate) here, if you feel so inclined.IMG_1713

knife / board from Paris (similar) / bowl

Pimiento Cheese (adapted from Southern Living)

4 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated yellow onion
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (7-oz.) jar whole peeled pimiento, drained and roughly chopped
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Where to Eat in Paris

This is certainly not a definitive guide on where to eat in Paris, but it is where we ate. Everything was SO GOOD. Seriously, I don't know how a simple ham sandwich is so much better than it is here (not to mention the fact that a half baguette piled with saucisson sec or ham is 3 euros.) I know that Parisian restaurants have gotten a bad rap in the past for being snooty but everywhere we went was so lovely (it does help to at least attempt to speak French, though I would recommend that for any foreign country.) Le Servan: We ate here for Ari's birthday, and while everything was great, we particularly loved the blood sausage wontons with sweet and sour sauce (sounds crazy but they were delicious) and the slow cooked beef. Expect French dishes with plenty of Asian twists, about $120 for two (with wine.)

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Le Relais d'Entrecôte: Maybe a little touristy, but this steak frites-only restaurant is a classic for a reason. Reasonable prices, addictive sauce and super crispy fries make it a great option for picky eaters, and the three locations are very convenient.

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Bones: This newish place from Australian chef James Henry was empty when we arrived at 7:30 on a Tuesday, but quickly filled up and with good reason. The bar has small plates, but the 55 euro tasting menu was stellar, highlighted by housemade bread and butter, steamed oysters with mignonette and amazing roast duck. The innovative menu changes nightly, and you can book ahead online.

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Lulu La Nantaise: We randomly stopped in this little crêperie along the Canal St. Martin because we were starving, and it ended up being such a gem. Reasonable prices and a great selection of both sweet and savory crêpes make it a perfect lunch place.

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Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki: This tiny and beautiful pâtisserie was just down the street from the apartment we rented, and had a gorgeous selection of Japanese-influenced pastries (think matcha croissants) and great coffee (which, unfortunately can be hard to find in Paris.)

Apart from these, there were innumerable boulangeries and cafés that we stopped in for a sandwich or a quick glass of champagne-you really can't go too far wrong.

All photos from my Instagram.

Soba Noodle Salad

IMG_1062 We've been eating a lot of soup lately. Winter, unsurprisingly, usually makes you crave hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of food, like stews, baked pasta and occasionally Shake Shack. But when you are tired of lasagna, sometimes a cold and light noodle salad will do the trick, even when it's 5 degrees outside. Cucumber and radishes add excellent crunch, and thanks to buckwheat soba noodles, you can eat a heaping plate and not feel too full (all the better to save room for dessert.)

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IMG_1068I probably shouldn't be writing this now considering we likely have at least two more months of chilly weather, but I for one am looking forward to spring. I love squash and apples and potatoes as much as anyone, but you know, one can only eat so much. We're leaving for Paris(!) in a week, and I'll be back in March with pictures (and of course, where we ate–I have a running list of approximately 50 places right now.)

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Soba Noodle Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit)

Chile-Scallion Oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 star anise pods

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

½ cup vegetable oil

Noodles And Assembly

12 oz. soba noodles

tablespoons soy sauce

tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

scallions, thinly sliced

½ large English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves or any sprout

Chile-Scallion Oil

Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar and cover until ready to use.

Noodles And Assembly

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible.

Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, chicken, and scallions; toss to coat.

Toss with cucumber, radishes, and cilantro and drizzle with chile oil just before serving.

Deviled Eggs with Prosciutto

IMG_9629Happy New Year and apologies for the radio silence! There's really no excuse, but what with the flurry of the holidays and getting back into the swing of things with work and everything, it's felt like the last thing I want to do at night is sit in front of a computer. Otherwise, the new year is off to a good start–we're trying to eat healthier (at least for the month of January), so I can't say there have been a ton of exciting recipes here (lots of salads and variations on quinoa with vegetables and some protein). Have you made any resolutions? (Have you kept them?)IMG_9633I made these deviled eggs for a New Year's party, and I think they're my favorite variation on the recipe (basically, any combination of pork + eggs is genius in my book) but you could easily leave out the prosciutto for a vegetarian take. I could seriously eat a whole plate of these for dinner–but they make a great appetizer for any occasion. IMG_9634

Deviled Eggs with Prosciutto (adapted from Food & Wine)

12 large eggs

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

4 cornichons, minced

3 tablespoons goat cheese, at room temperature

2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallot or red onion

2 teaspoons snipped chives or scallions

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 ouncea thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces

In a large saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 8 minutes. Transfer the eggs to an ice water bath until chilled, about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cornichons, goat cheese, mustard, shallot and 1 teaspoon of the chives. Peel the eggs and halve them lengthwise. Add the yolks to the bowl, mix until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

Set the egg whites on a serving platter. Scrape the egg yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe the filling into the whites; alternatively, spoon in the filling with a teaspoon. Top each egg with a piece of prosciutto, sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of chives and serve.

Entertaining: The Perfect Cheese Plate

mg_9276Though I sometimes love making complicated appetizers, when hosting a dinner or holiday party you can't ask for an easier (or more crowd-pleasing) option than a cheese plate. Of course, cheese plates are nothing new, but putting a little thought into it can take a mediocre plate of cheddar and turn it into an impressive spread.mg_9273 mg_9270

For starters, choose a variety of cheeses (the advised amount is about 2 oz of cheese per person–unless you're just planning on having cheese for dinner, in which case, it's at your discretion. Not that I've ever done that.) I like to go with something soft (such as Camembert or the very lovely Jasper Hill Harbison), something hard like Manchego or Comte, and something funky or blue like Époisses or this super creamy Gorgonzola Cremificato. If you want more than three types, you can branch out from there–just try to keep a balance between textures and how strong the flavors are. (Note that this is in no way sponsored by Murray's, I just find them to be an excellent resource when looking for cheese.)mg_9268

After that, I like to add a few varieties of pickles and jams (I usually go for pepper jelly), like mini cornichons and if you're feeling ambitious, watermelon rind pickles. Then just add toasted baguette slices and a couple of kinds of crackers, and serve with wine (obviously). Perfect for holiday entertaining or a fancy night in.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 3.26.49 PM There are still a few (slightly sad) looking tomatoes at the farmer's market here in New York, but with snow in Minnesota this week, there's no doubt that winter will be here sooner than we know it. Tomato soup is possibly my favorite way to bridge the gap between summer and fall–you get the brightness and acidity of summer's best produce with the coziness of a warm fall soup. Make this weekend, and stock up in the freezer for a little taste of summer all through the cold months to come.

I didn't have a chance to photograph this the night I made it (curse you, Daylight Savings Time!) but did snap this picture at my desk the next day for lunch. Serve with grilled cheese  sandwiches, obviously (because let's be honest, who really wants tomato soup without grilled cheese?)

Roasted Tomato Soup (adapted from Ina Garten, courtesy of my mom)

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise 1/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 2 cups chopped yellow or white onions 6 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with juice 2teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 1 quart chicken stock or water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/8 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade, or blend until relatively smooth in a blender. Taste for seasonings.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

_MG_7459Brussels sprouts were one of those vegetables I stayed away from as a kid because someone told me they were gross, and once I finally tried them as a teenager, made me kick myself for missing out all those years. _MG_7469We eat them all the time in the winter, usually simply roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper until they are super crispy, but when I came across this salad from one of my favorite little restaurants in NYC, I knew I had to give it a try. I made do with what I had, but since you only need a few ingredients, the salad comes together in minutes and is a study in simplicity. It goes perfectly with roast chicken or short ribs, and makes a great alternative to traditional winter roasted vegetables. _MG_7465

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad (adapted from the New York Times)

24 brussels sprouts

½ cup raw walnut halves (I only had almonds, so I used that instead)

¼ cup fork-crumbled parmiggiano reggiano

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Trim bottoms of brussels sprouts and discard any discolored or loose outer leaves. Using a mandoline, the slicing attachment on a food processor or a very sharp knife, shave sprouts into the thinnest of slices.

In a large bowl, combine shaved sprouts with the other ingredients, mixing roughly by hand so that the greens begin to wilt a little. Season to taste with salt and add a little more olive oil and lemon juice if necessary.