Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Like This!

Jessica Lea Mayfield's "Tell Me." Go to her website to learn more.

Friday, March 18, 2011

TGIF: We can all go home soon

Picture from Design Sponge

Earlier this week I showed you guys an expensive coffee table I would really like to own. I even found a cheap approximation and a DIY project, which I think might be too expensive to justify executing.

I thought it would be nice to end the week by directing you to a house tour of a couple who have made a lovely home by using a lot of imagination and love. You don't need money to be thoughful about making your home look nice. Elias and Theresa have their own blog, orange juice etc , and the tour was hosted by designsponge. Please view, and enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Petunia Window Shops

So there's what you get and there's what you would get if you didn't have to be limited by silly things like a budget. I love this coffee table, but at almost 400 big ones, it's going to have to stay on the dreamier, inspirational side of my shopping endeavours. Y-base coffee table, you are a looker.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oysters After My Own Heart

I was in New Orleans right around Mardi Gras and I had the best oysters I have ever eaten in my life. I have to go back to New Orleans just so I can have these fire roasted babies again. The restaurant, Cochon, that had these guys was excellent and is well worth a return trip.

Here's some info about some of our local oysters. Check it out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pretty Music and Updates

Joey loves Sharon Van Etten's music. It is very pretty. I like this song in particular. I know Beth is a fan too. This is for you guys.

I know I didn't post much this week. It was not a big food week for me; actually it was more of a slow, take-out instead of cooking kind of week. Hey, it happens.

Electronically I gained a new (home) computer and lost my work comp (Tolva 'prophet of numbers' R.I.P). It's the circle of life you know?

Anyway, I will be back with more fun tidbits next week, so keep checking back here. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and this song 'For You,' indeed.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chinese Take Out

Picture source: The Gowanus Lounge

Last night I had the best take out from my local place, Chinese Musician (serving Greenpoint since 1982). I love that tag line. Hey, if they have been around for almost 30 years, then they are doing something right.

Anyway, I ordered seafood dumplings in soup and cabbage with black mushrooms, because I am trying to eat like the USDA says I should. It was da bomb. I am looking forward to finishing it tonight.

P.S. I will buy a beer for anyone who can tell me what show this block was featured on.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Win Stuff!

It takes one minute and it is free and you don't have to subcribe to anything, so check out all the stuff you could win if you enter Williams-Sonoma and The Kitchn's sweepstake.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't Laugh

Picture source: wikipedia

Last night was one of those nights where I had been chatting on the phone and ended up kind of half napping, half scolding myself to go brush my teeth and floss before I passed out with the lights on. I was also thinking about Berkshire pork. I guess now you know what my dreams are made of.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Don't You...

1. Do like Beth and eat kale like salad. Just massage raw kale leaves with salt and olive oil. They keep well in the fridge prepared like this.

2. Add bacon to your chili like Joey does. Yum!

3. Saute mushrooms with chipotle chilies and eat them taco style like me.

4. Pan roast pork chops with green peppers and tomatoes like my mom.

5. Share some other ideas with the rest of us!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Birthday Recap

Joey made me a beautiful and delicious chocolate cake.

This is the second pie we made. The first one was just like it, except we used tomatillo salsa. It was this, which I made before. This time I made my own pizza dough. I have made dough before, but I'm no expert as you can see by the shape of the pies. It tasted good though, and I think they look kind of charming.

This was the last pie that we ate. It was probably a bad idea, since we still had cake, but hey you only turn 30 once, right?

This is the last pie we made. It was half tomatillo salsa and half homemade red sauce, goat cheese and pepper jack with shallots. We haven't tried this one yet.

This is what I look like when I blow out candles. Stunning! I know.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January Meals

Risotto with sweet red peppers, braised fennel sausage and a balsamic reduction accompanied by a salad of sprouts and smoked paprika grilled onions

Poulet au Paprika with lemon scented brown rice and lima bean salad

Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa

Hot Italian Sausage with Collard Greens and Grits

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I'll Be Eating 'on' My Birthday

Salt Cod Fritters, Lamb Sausage Ragu, Curry Aioli

Assorted Charcuterie

Berkshire Pork Belly, Rock Shrimp, Turnips, Romesco, Sherry Caramel

"Smores," Graham Cracker Ice Cream, Toasted Marshmallow,
"Hot" Chocolate Ganache

Joey is taking me to Recette for my Birthday (tomorrow, the 27th) on Friday. This is very exciting not only because it has been called one of the best restaurants by the New York Times and by New York Magazine, but also because it rhymes with my name. Awesome.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's Not Me, It's You

Picture sourced from allyou.com

I love the magazine Real Simple. I think that it is beautiful to look at and has helpful information. My official subscription began this month and I have made two recipes from the magazine. Real Simple is not just about food, but they sure make the recipes they feature look good.

Unfortunately, the actual results have been just ok. This brings me to ask: is this my fault or are these crappy recipes? Has anyone else been seduced by a beautiful picture and then been disappointed by the results of the recipe the picture is plugging?

I guess I'll keep trying the Real Simple recipes and rotate them with my other sources. Only with time will I answer my question.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This weekend I went shopping in my own kitchen. You know how sometimes you'll get stuff to make a recipe and then you have produce or spices that just go unused? I try to be efficient by keeping scraps for stocks and by planning my next meal based off what I need to use up. It's a fun way to keep things challenging.

What did I end up making with what I found? One night Joey and I had a cauliflower souffle and pasta with chopped grilled chicken dressed in a parsley pesto. For Sunday brunch we had pancakes.

Anyway, I wanted to share some great substitutions that I made this weekend. The last one I didn't do this weekend, but I have done it before and it really works well, especially for pancakes.

1. Sour Cream! Replace buttermilk with it. Both have a tang, so it works really well. Omit the butter from the batter. You won't need it because sour cream is high in fat.

2. Sour Cream again! Omit cheese in your souffle recipe and add sour cream. Please note you will still need some cheese to dress the souffle dish.

3. Cauliflower! Use this to replace a bechamel sauce in your souffle. This is truly great because it will really make your souffle much healthier. Add about a heaping cup of cauliflower to a pot. Add about a cup of 1% milk and a bay leaf. Keep your cheese rinds people! I added them to the pot and it added so much flavor, without the fat. I also added a teaspoon of butter. When fully tender, remove from heat. Add a pinch of ground cloves and leave covered on stove. Then pick out bay leaf and cheese rinds. Put in blender and pulse until smooth. When this is cool, stir in three egg yolks and the sour cream. BAM! You've got something going on.

4. Parsley! Make a pesto per usual, but substitute parsley for the basil.

5. Flax seeds! When you don't have eggs, just take a tablespoon of flax seeds add about a 1/4 cup of water and heat over medium flame. Stir constantly until it has the consistency of egg whites. Let cool and add to pancake batter or cake batter.

What are your go to usurpers?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Petunia Talks Produce

Here is a chart that lets you know what produce is in season in New York. If you live in another state, go to Field to Plate to get your local information. For my fellow New Yorkers, you can go to Pick Your Own to get more info on local and seasonal produce.
If you need inspiration for what to do with winter produce go to Real Simple for inspiration. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What are you crying about?

Boo hoo. I spilled half my coffee this morning and a lot of that went all over my coat, my wonderful warm coat that protects me from the crappy weather outside.

I have no choice but to launder it when I get home, which means I'll have to walk around in my not so warm other coat while I do that. Argh. I am going to the closer but more expensive laundromat to get this done and I'm getting a bottle of wine to go with dinner.

On the bright side I'm making a new chicken dish tonight and my ham an cheese sandwich tastes pretty good right now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Strangely Delicious: Rice for Breakfast

Picture sourced from Philspector

This morning I woke up and wanted warm cereal. Since I didn't have oatmeal (which I love) or any kind of dry cereal, I decided to use the rice in my fridge. I was inspired by a rice pudding I had for dessert at an Indian restaurant this week.

The rice I had made on Monday was a creamy brown short grain. I had added salt, butter, a little lemon juice, a bay leaf, lemon zest and fresh chopped basil. I reasoned that this savory rice would easily and happily become a sweet warm breakfast with the help of maple syrup, milk and a microwave.

I know it may sound crazy, but I feel that the bay leaves leave a kind of perfumey quality to food and that lemon is always a welcomed ingredient in sweet dishes, as is a little salt. Lastly, basil is somewhat sweet and spicy, so that is why I went for it and it really did turn out great.

It inspired me to try to make a basil and lemon ice cream with my new ice cream maker. Anyone interested in trying it?!?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Are you eating your vegetables?

Broccoli gratin and russet potatoes

This is part of what Maybelle made for dinner last night. I bet those vegetables tasted great and could have been a meal on their own.
I have incorporated vegetables into my meals by chopping up carrots and scallions into my tuna fish. I also have been eating lima beans with red peppers in a tangy vinegrette and I made chicken with fennel, onion and red peppers in a smoked paprika sauce on Monday.
Have you been eating your vegetables? If so which ones and in what ways?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mac and Cheese

Use this recipe from the Food Network. You can leave out about 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter and two or three ounces of cheese, plus use 1% milk. I promise you nothing will be compromised and your arteries will thank you.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Hey all! We made it through the week. How awesome is that? How awesome are we?

It was a big week for firsts. First week of the year. First full week of work. First time for many things I'm sure; like getting back on the work out wagon and the eating healthy wagon or whatever wagon you have resolved to sit tight on.

For any takers out there I'd like to offer some advice for staying healthy and enjoying the year ahead. The first thing I would say is don't be a slave to recipes. They are just guidelines. Follow your gut. If you're trying to shed a few pounds and like to eat rich food, don't deprive yourself! Make a big salad and eat a smaller portion of the richer food. I made risotto this week and only used two tablespoons of butter instead of the four the recipe called for and you know what? It was delicious.

I would also say, eat your vegetables when you can. Don't be afraid to serve some left over vegetables at breakfast, especially for brunch. My favorite thing is eggs over easy on top of an arugala salad. You can even throw vegtables into a scramble. Also, like I mentioned in my last few posts, you can add vegetables to pancakes and you can steam them up and eat them like hot cereal.

Lunch is a good time to get to the veggies too. Don't forget that beans are a great substitute for meat in sandwiches. Make a home made spread like hummus or a black bean one with a good kick of flavor. If you'r buying lunch skip the chips and get a side salad instead. You can also incorporate vegetables into your tuna or chicken salad.

Lastly, I would like you to remember that cookbooks are in your home to be used, not admired. Get in there and try something challenging. It's ok if you get a page or two a little dirty. And it's true you might not always succeed at what you're making, but I bet even then, you'll have a good story to tell. My point is have fun, get your hands dirty and don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.

So that's it for my two cents. Enjoy the weekend. I leave you with the ever-wonderful David Bazan.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In Chicken News Today

Picture source: Wikipedia

I have never made chicken piccata, but Katie has and she gave me some tips I'd like to share with you. Wikipedia tells me that piccata is an Italian technique whereby you prepare a meat by slicing it, sauteing it and then serving it with a sauce that is made with lemon, butter and spices, which usually means parsley.
These are the steps that Katie took to make her version:
Step 1:
She mixed her dry ingredients. I bet seasoned bread crumbs would work well here.
Then she prepared the chicken cutlets by spraying them with an oil spray and she covered them with the dry mixture.
Step 2:
She sauteed the cutlets. Here is a tip I attribute to Michael Symon and was confirmed last night in a cooking class: don't waste your olive oil on cooking. Use a blended oil (a mixture of cheap olive oil and a neutral oil) or just use a neutral oil. Leave the good stuff for finishing a plate.
When the cutlets were almost ready, Katie squeezed lemon juice over them. Yum! That sounds good.
Step 3:
This is when it gets intense. Are you ready? When the cutlets were cooked, Katie set them aside. She added ten lemon slices, chicken stock and more lemon juice to a separate pot to make her sauce. When the sauce had reduced she dressed her chicken with it. Tada! Chicken Piccata!!
This sounds great. I want to make this soon, along with the recipe I picked up from my cooking class on how to roast a chicken perfectly. Here is the trick: you don't need butter. All you need is a little kosher salt and time. Salt your chicken for a few hours, then take it out and let it get to room temperature and then pop it in the oven at 450 F. You can stuff it with a lemon if you want, but you don't need to add aromatics until the last five minutes or so. Try these tips and be amazed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why Not Soup?

Sourced from: thekitchen.com

Joey and I had his dad's white bean soup this sunday. It was an easy meal to make and it was delicious! At The Kitchen they have some nice and simple soup ideas. Why don't you try one of these out this week?

Strangely Delicious

Sometimes something sounds like a weird combination and you try it and it tastes awful. Every time that has happened to me is far out weighed by the times the combination has been surprising, addictive and just plain delicious. Here are some odd combinations for you to try out. I dare you.

1. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt to pasta and marinara sauce, sprinkle heavily with crushed red pepper flakes. Mix it all up and enjoy.

2. Steam chopped butternut squash with brown sugar and cinnamon. When tender, pour warm honey-infused milk over it and eat if for breakfast.

3. Coat sliced Spanish onions with olive oil and smoked paprika. Grill them, and then chop. Place onion on top of sprouts. Zest a lemon over it. Finish by drizzling olive oil and a little lemon juice over it. Season with salt.

4. Squeeze lime juice into rice at end of cooking and stir in a large mound of chopped cilantro.

5. I got this idea from my friend abby: spread roasted yams on pizza dough. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Toss arugula on top of pizza when it comes out of the oven.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Joseph Mauro's Bowl of Fire Hummus

Today Joey is sharing his hummus recipe. It's name is a reference and homage to all of Andrew Bird's excellent Bowl of Fire albums. It's a great name, but don't be worried, the hummus doesn't pack a lethal dose of heat. Rather, it has a wonderful rounded out flavor. The heat, and garlic combine nicely, but what I like the most about it is the texture, which unlike store brands, has chunks of chickpeas waiting to be scooped up with all the other yummy goodness.

What you need:

1 can of chickpeas, drained
sea salt, to taste
a rounded tablespoon of crushed red peppers
3 cloves of garlic
generous tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, don't skimp
rounded tablespoon of tahini
rounded tablespoon of Goya adobo
rounded tablespoon of cayenne pepper
rounded tablespoon of cumin
rounded tablespoon of chili powder

Note: You will do this in three rounds.

Round 1
Put 1/3 olive oil in food processor with salt and all of the garlic and pulse. Then add in 1/3 tahini paste, pulse again. Add a 1/3 of all the spices, pulse again. Lastly, add 1/3 of the chickpeas and pulse again.

Round 2
Repeat round 1 and omit salt.

Round 3
Repeat round 1 and omit salt.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions for the New Year

1. Eat more vegetables
2. Plan meals ahead more often
3. Keep vegetable scraps in freezer for stocks
4. Jarred pasta sauce: never again
5. Use the Food Matters Cookbook as much as possible
6. Eat less mediocre food for convenience
7. Enjoy indulgent processed food without guilt
8. Know what vegetables and fruit are in season, and aim to use them
9. Make lobster macaroni and cheese at least once this year
10. Master making pasta