Happy New Year.
Archive for December, 2010
You may have heard some fuss in the media lately about a little thing called OWN? You know, Oprah’s new 24/7 network devoted to self-discovery?
If you’ve been vacationing in Atlantis and have somehow managed to miss all the coverage, let me summarize it for you:
OPRAH DID SOMETHING.
And I have to say, I agree wholeheartedly with all the excitement: it’s a fact that everything the woman touches turns to gold. She’s just perfection, and I – along with everyone else – adore her.
Which brings me to some exciting news! I’ve been asked to work with OWN and She Speaks as a “Conversation Leader,” which means that I’ll be viewing and writing about the shows in advance of the premieres (cool), as well as chatting about various things over on the OWN/She Speaks boards.
For my introductory post, I was asked to make a video in which I say how I’m going to OWN 2011 and the show that I’m the most excited for (Your OWN Show, of course). Here it is! (I just made it this afternoon, hence the New Year’s Eve-appropriate sparkle earrings .)
Question for you: do you do the whole resolution thing? If so, what are your plans for the coming year?
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This is the first time I’ve made my Aunt Jo-Anne’s famous (at least in our family) baked beans in a slow-cooker.
Highly. Recommended. Whoa, these are good. And easy. And good.
So good, in fact, that I’ve given them a featured role in our New Year’s Eve dinner (along with pulled pork and a few other sides…and champagne, of course).
The plan this year: Kendrick’s likely getting home too late for us to go downtown, as we’d originally intended, and so we’ve decided to skip the taxis, expense, and general headacheness of Going Out Big in favor of home cooking followed by drinks in the neighborhood. Seriously, this slow-cooker is the BEST: I get to do all the dinner legwork way in advance, and then head out for Happy Hour with some friends while it finishes up on its own.
But back to the baked beans. This time, I added a few little extras to Joanne’s original recipe…and they came out sweet, tangy, and filled with incredibly tender bits of meat.
What you need:
1 package dry beans (I used black-eyed beans)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 ham hock
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup ketchup
1-2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
What you do:
1. Pour the beans into a big bowl and just cover with water. Let them soak overnight.
2. Boil the beans for 10-15 minutes on the stovetop; drain.
3. Place the beans and all other ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for hours and hours (mine were in there for 7-8 hours, but I also only boiled the beans for 10 minutes, so perhaps that’s why they took longer). Add a bit more water halfway through if they look a little dry.
4. Remove ham hock and shred meat; return meat to pot. Adjust seasoning, if needed, and serve (here, they’re served alongside German Potato Salad and coleslaw).
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If you’re headed to a New Year’s Eve party at someone’s house tonight, here’s a suggestion: in addition to (or instead of) the standard bottle of wine, bring along a cool, inexpensive bar accessory like these Victorian Key bottle openers ($7.99 from World Market).
And just because I was browsing around on the World Market site…these Fleur de Lys glasses ($11.96-$15.96) are gorgeous.
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Q. Hi Jordan!
I’m a longtime reader of your blog. I moved to the Upper East Side in November, and since you live in this area as well I was wondering – what are your recommendations for great, reasonably priced sushi up here? My boyfriend and I love sushi, but neither of our budgets exactly lend to trying out every restaurant. I remember reading a number of posts from you about sushi, so I figure you’d be a little more in the know than I am. I’d love to hear your input!
A. Hey Tara!
The best sushi I’ve found in the area is at Gajyumaru. The atmosphere is fairly run-of-the-mill (simple wooden tables, brightish lighting), but the quality of the fish is awesome, and there are lots of unusual options on the menu. For atmosphere + quality, I’d recommend Amber, on 3rd…but be warned: it can get expensive. Wasabi Lobby is my pick for quick + serviceable: the sushi isn’t anything special, but it’s totally fine, and it’s well-priced. And Poke is BYO, which is a plus, but they really rush you out the door when they’re busy, so i’d say only go during off-peak hours.
* * *
Anyway, so last night Francesca and I went to Amber for dinner…and yep, nice atmosphere, not-so-nice prices. And look: we (coincidentally) wore the exact same nailpolish (Sephora by OPI in Dear Diary; a perfect, looks-good-on-everyone pale pink).
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How to pick them:
Look for artichokes that are heavy for their size, with tightly-packed leaves and no bruises or discolorations. To prepare, first rinse off the artichoke and then cut off all but about 5mm of the stem (I use poultry shears, but a knife will do). Some people trim off the sharp ends of the leaves; I am impatient and hungry, and am willing to put up with a little pain for more immediate gratification.
How I make them:
Opinions on this differ, but I steam artichokes with the base side up (use a vegetable steamer if you have one). Cover, with just enough room for some steam to escape, and steam in approximately 3/4 inch of water on low heat for 40-50 minutes (depending on the size of the artichoke). If the water boils down too low and gets kinda brown, just add a little more. When the base is fork-tender, they’re ready.
I serve steamed artichokes with Lemon Butter, which you make by reducing the juice of 1 lemon over low heat for a few minutes, and then adding 3/4 stick of butter (it makes several servings) cut into pieces. Allow to melt, and pour directly into little serving dishes like the one you see here, which I bought in Chinatown years ago.
I prepare the melted butter about fifteen minutes before I’m planning on serving it, because I like it to thicken just a little (so more grabs onto the artichoke leaves when you dip them).
And now I think I have to go pick up a couple for weekend munching purposes.
Top image via maryrambin.