Thursday, November 29

Hazelnut Truffles

The idea of cooking with chocolate has always seemed daunting to me. 
As tempting as those cookbook pictures often are, the recipes always seem
too complicated and time consuming, and I can't say I've ever felt up for the challenge.
Then I came across a recipe for almond truffles in the December issue of Coastal Living.

The recipe sounded simple, the list of ingredients was short,
the only unappealing thing about it was the three and a half hours
of chilling that needed to happen before serving. 
That's just torture, having to wait three plus hours to eat a piece of chocolate.
So I decided to give it a try, and let me tell you, it was worth it!
They are so easy to make and are a great little treat serve at holiday parties.

The recipe in the magazine called for almonds, but since I didn't have any almond liqueur
on hand, I decided to swap out amaretto and almonds for Frangelico and hazelnuts.

What you'll need:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped*
2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)
1/2 cup whole roasted hazelnuts

How to make:
Bring cream to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan.
Remove from heat and add in the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.
Stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the liqueur. Transfer to a bowl,
cover, and refrigerate until the mixture is chilled (this takes about 2 hours).

While you're waiting, preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Spread the raw hazelnuts (still in their shells) in a single layer on a pan.
Bake for 20 minutes. Check one of the nuts to make sure they are finished
cooking - the meat should be slightly golden in color when done.
Place the nuts on a cool pan or in a bowl once out of the oven.
Once cool, finely chop and set aside.

Drop chilled chocolate mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto
a wax paper lined tray and put back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and, working quickly, use your hands to
shape the chocolate into balls. Then refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Roll each ball in the hazelnuts to coat and place truffles on a tray.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
Serve at room temperature.

This recipe should make about 3 dozen truffles!

* I used semisweet chocolate chips, mainly because they were on sale and I
didn't have to chop them... I know, as if this recipe wasn't easy enough.

Wednesday, November 28

Tell All Your Friends

Ten years ago I was fifteen. I know it's simple math, but to me that just sounds insane.
On Saturday, JD and I went to see Taking Back Sunday play up in Hell's Kitchen.
They're on tour for the ten year anniversary of their first album, Tell All Your Friends.
And let me just say, they put on a really great show.

A lot has changed in ten years. I barely remember the girl I was way back then.
But standing in the crowded room, listening to them play made me feel like
I was right back there in high school.  It's amazing how music stays in your memory.
You don't have to listen to a song for years but when you hear it again all of
the words and memories attached to it come rushing back to you.
It's a feeling similar to reading a book you haven't read in a while, the new perspective
shows you how much you have changed since the last time you read it.

One funny thing that happened:
 While standing on line outside they had people checking IDs so you
could get a wristband to get drinks at the bar. When it was the girl in front of me's
turn to hand her ID to the checker the woman glanced at it with a smirk and handed it
to a second checker. The girl in front of me had to still be in high school.
The second checker  announced "we have a winner!", stuffed the ID in her pocket
and told the very confused looking, wristband-less girl to continue making her way
inside the venue. JD was cracking up.

Monday, November 26

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Coat: Maje | Pants: Vince | Boots: Rag & Bone | Sunnies: RayBan

There comes a time every year when all of a sudden it's unbearably cold in Manhattan.
I dread the winter wind whipping around the buildings, freezing you right there in your tracks. 
The closer you get to the river, the more you want to cry. After a couple of weeks, you get used 
to the cold and it's not so bad elsewhere in the city, but that wind you meet while walking west,  
really cuts through you. I got to experience the first taste of it for the season this weekend. 
Scarves and gloves are a must from here on out. Full on ski gear is optional.

Thursday, November 22

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I am thankful for so many things.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I am so very thankful 
that my family and friends are safe. 
There has been so much loss, a good deal of them
lost their homes to the storm. 

I'm thankful to have my darling JD,
to have such wonderful close friends, and
 that Mischa is doing better on her new diet 
(she was diagnosed with pancreatitus back in May).

Today, JD and I have three dinners lined up.
It's going to be a long day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21

Afternoon in Central Park

On Saturday afternoon JD and I went for a walk in Central Park.
The park is so big, I feel like I still haven't seen so much of it.
So, we have been making an effort to explore new parts each time we go. 
On this visit we stopped by the Delacorte Theater where they do 
Shakespeare in the Park, took a stroll around the Turtle Pond,
and visited the castle before it got too cold and dark.
Top: Reiss | Sweater: Urban Outfitters (old) | Pants: Vince |
Boots: Rag & Bone | Handbag: Mulberry
We really don't get to the park enough... or just me.
JD seems to spend a good amount of time there whether it's
climbing on a sunny afternoon or studying with classmates.

What is your favorite part of Central Park?

Tuesday, November 20

Maple Lattes

A couple of years ago I had heard about a coffee shop in Park Slope that makes maple lattes. 
I thought the idea sounded lovely and suggested to JD that we should make the trip 
to Brooklyn one afternoon to try them. We never got around to it and as time passed, 
I forgot about Gorilla Coffee and their maple lattes. Then a couple of weeks ago 
I got Taylor Swift's new album Red, (which is pretty great by the way - The Last Time 
is my current favorite on the album). As is tradition at this point, I flipped open the booklet and 
read through the lyrics to find the capital letters that spell out hidden messages. 
The message for All Too Well was "maple lattes", written about Jake Gyllenhaal 
with the message referring to Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope, 
thus reminding me that I still hadn't tried a maple latte.

Getting maple lattes was then added back onto the must do list.
So on Saturday we made an afternoon of it. We hopped on the D train
 and headed over to Park Slope where I finally got a maple latte and 
JD got a hot chocolate and an esspresso. It was delicious, definitely worth the trip. 
Hopefully, it's not another two years before I taste one again. 

Monday, November 19

Sunday Morning

Shirt: J. Crew | Pants: Vince | Shoes: J. Crew | Sunnies: Ray Ban
Scarf: Found years ago in a small boutique in Montauk

Comfort is crucial on Sunday mornings, especially after a long Saturday.
We had quite the adventure this weekend and did a lot of walking.
I had originally planned to wear my favorite Rag & Bone boots, 
but that was not happening. Not yesterday morning at least. 
For the record, Rag & Bone makes the most comfortable heels,
but at this point, even flats were uncomfortable.

For our late morning walk to pick up some lunch and chai lattes,
I paired my new favorite pants (they are insanely comfortable!) with a simple
t-shirt in one of my favorite colors this season, and a cozy scarf.

I hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, November 16

It's Friday!

I have a confession to make.
I started listening to Christmas music this week.
Is that bad?
It's not even Thanksgiving yet.
Ah, whatever.

It's Friday!
There are a million things I'd love to do this weekend.
And most of those things involve food.
I think on Saturday I may finally make the trip to Brooklyn for a maple latte.
We'll see.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a photo of Mischa
and her cute new haircut.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15

Parmesan & Rosemary Pumpkin Wedges

I can't believe how fast this week is going,
especially being that I've been feeling under the weather the last couple of days
and when I am not feeling well, it is the end of the world.
I hope this isn't a recipe overload, but it's too good not to share.

I love pumpkin everything pretty much,
so this year, JD and I decided not to carve our pumpkins from Halloween
and cook them instead. As JD and I needed to buy the heaviest pumpkins we 
could find, there is roughly thirty pounds of pumpkin to try new recipes with. 
The second pumpkin is even larger. We'll be eating it until March.
From the moment I saw this recipe in the October issue
of Coastal Living, I was itching to make it. It's so simple and easy,
but not the usual way you think of cooking pumpkin. Cinnamon and 
brown sugar are replaced with rosemary and parmesan cheese. 
This recipe came out so delicious, I think I may have to
make it again next week for Thanksgiving!
After all, I have plenty of pumpkin left.
What you'll need:
2 Pounds of unpeeled seeded pumpkin cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Cup of grated parmesan cheese
2 Teaspoons of lemon zest, divided
1/4 Cup of breadcrumbs
2 Teaspoons minced rosemary
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/8 Teaspoon pepper
1/2 Cup of sour cream

What to do:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the pumpkin wedges on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, coating both sides evenly.

Mix the parmesan, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, breadcrumbs, rosemary, garlic, salt, 
and pepper together in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture on evenly on the pumpkin wedges.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until tender.

In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream and remaining teaspoon of lemon zest together.
This serves as a delicious and refreshing dipping sauce for the pumpkin!

Tuesday, November 13

Cross-body Handbag Hunting

I'm in the market for a new handbag.
More specifically, I've been searching for a black cross-body bag
which has turned out to be a much more difficult task than originally expected.
While I have come across so many lovely bags, none of them are what
I'm looking for. What exactly that is, however, is still to be discovered.

Some contenders...
 I think this Rebecca Minkoff purse is so cute, but I like it much less in black,
which is the color I'm actually looking for. I don't think this lovely
burgundy color would go very well as an everyday bag.
Okay so this cute little J. Crew purse isn't technically a cross-body
but I have had my eye on it for quite some time, just not in black.
I really like the structured look and the top handle.
I love this saddle bag styled Chloe, but it is too small for what I'm looking for.
I really do like this Tory Burch a lot. It reminds me a little of Proenza Schouler.
I actually think that this is the closest to what I want, but I'm just not crazy about that
pebbled leather look. It would be a done deal if it were smooth leather instead.
I think I'll have to go see it in person, perhaps this weekend.

What do you think?
Have any recommendations or favorites?

Monday, November 12

Caramel Apple Jello Shots

On Thursday evening I received an e-mail from JD suspiciously titled "MMMMMM",
which I opened to find a link to a recipe for caramel apple jello shots and a question,
if we could make them over the weekend. I took one look at the recipe
and knew that this was something that needed to happen.

Now before you say "we're not in college anymore" and dismiss the idea entirely, 
these are a much more civil, grown up version. There are no paper cups to be found here!
Plus, they are so easy to make and delicious! A perfect Autumn treat for a party.
 What you'll need:
*10 Small Granny Smith Apples
1 Envelope of Gelatin (unflavored)
1/2 Cup of Water
1/2 Cup of Coconut Milk
Yellow Food Coloring
1 Envelope of Land O Lakes Caramel Hot Chocolate
1/4 Cup of Sugar
*1/2 Cup of Butterscotch Schnapps
Lemon Juice

*This recipe calls for 10 apples but we only made five and didn't have too much
extra filling left over so I wouldn't cut the recipe if you don't need to.

*There are a lot of recipes for these out there. The one we used did not include vodka 

but feel free to add a cup or two if you'd like something a little stronger.

What to do:
Cut the apples in half length wise and use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out
the inside of the apples. You'll want to leave a nice layer of fruit to eat with the jello.
Place the apple halves in a muffin or cupcake pan and brush with lemon juice,
this is supposed to help prevent the apples from browning.
Refrigerate until the filling is ready.

In a medium sized saucepan, combine the water and hot chocolate mix.
Stir/whisk until the hot chocolate has dissolved then add the coconut milk and stir/whisk again.
Add the gelatin and let the mixture sit for a few minutes without stirring.
Then on low/medium heat stir/whisk until all of the gelatin has dissolved.
Add the sugar and let simmer until it is combined.
Add a few drops of yellow food coloring until you get the desired caramel color.
Take the mixture off of the heat and once it has cooled add the Butterscotch Schnapps.

Then pour the mixture into the apples and refrigerate until the filling has set.
Once it has set, slice the apples and enjoy!

Saturday, November 10

One Year!

Exactly one year ago today I started this little blog.
I can't believe it's been that long already!
Shaping this blog has been a long process, it's still sort of a mess of all different things.
Food, style, trips, book reviews, and weekend adventures. 
I've really managed to stuff everything in here.
Thank you for reading along, and I truly appreciate it!

Thursday, November 8

My Beach

The landscape of our barrier island beaches is not permanent.
Each spring we return to see what the winter has done with the sand.
Some years the beach is fine and the sand stretches long to the water.
Other years it is short, with most of the sand having moved further down 
the shore to another beach. It happens every year like clockwork, a routine,
yet we like to think of this ever changing landscape as permanent. 
We build on top of the new sand and become upset when it disappears again.
Each year we forget, but our failing memories do not pause the erosion.
Hurricane Sandy did quite a number on my beach last week.
Waves now break on the east bound lane of Ocean Parkway.
They say the beach is "gone", but really it is too early to tell if the 
changes in the landscape will be slightly more permanent.
Right now, it does not look good for Gilgo, but we will
have to wait to see what will become of it.

Years ago, JD buried a piece of driftwood in the sand to set up his slackline.
People have tried and tried to remove it but it has remained.
I bet that it's still standing, though in the ocean now.
I have confidence that at some point the sand will return,
but I cannot say when. Until then, I will be thankful that I got
to spend so much of my time in such a beautiful place.

Some of my favorite pictures from Gilgo this summer.

P.S. It's snowing in New York right now! How crazy is that!