Revelry

GONE FISHIN’!

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Well Revelers, she’s here!  With her shining beach days, starlit evening strolls, and manifold fragrances and flavors, full-scale summer has taken a seat at the table.  And I’m about to sit down and join her for some much-needed R&R.

As Season 1 of LEGENDS wraps up and I start brainstorming what I’ll be packing for my sunny adventures, I’m especially excited to know that in August I’ll be returning to you rested and raring to go with a new show, and a new website.  In the meantime, I’ll be continuing to make a mess of my kitchen, and I hope you’ll be doing the same with yours - if you stumble onto any culinary wisdom, write it down!  I’ve got a comments section coming with all your names on it.

Until August, I bid you happy grilling, many an iced treat, and more thrills than GREASE lightning!  

Revelers, we really do go together…

HAPPY SUMMER!

xx,

A

 

4th of July photos are among my favorite.  The childlike joy people experience on this holiday, when ice cream sandwiches and explosions in the sky are just the beginning, is uncanny.  When else is it this easy to get a large group of people to commit to one color palette?   

Yesterday, I stumbled onto an article from National Geographic, detailing pro-tips on how to make your fireworks photos pop.  The photos themselves, like the one above, are gorgeous. 

Just a little Americana to start your Independence Day!  And perhaps inspire some creativity.  How American…

xx,

A

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE

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With July in full swing and LEGENDS about to wrap up for the summer, I’m looking forward to summer vacation like a kid staring out his math class window.  Like good food and good style, this girl could use a good tan and a good nap.  So, to set you up for summer before skipping out for a moment, this week I decided to do something special.  I’ve cracked open my book, the eponymous predicator of this blog, to bring you my Blueberry Crumble.  

It’s true, year-round I crumble for crumble, but this one’s truly one of my favorites.  There’s something about the oatmeal-cookie like flavor and texture of this particular topping that brings out the sweetness of any fruit pairing, while muting any tart our sour notes.  I’ve tossed this on peaches or blackberries, or mixed it in with greek yogurt for a deceptively healthy breakfast, but my favorite iteration of this recipe calls for blueberries and gets packaged for gifting.  

Use a disposable pie tin, and wrap it all up with a bow after, and you’re well on your way to being the favorite at any BBQ.  That is, if you can manage not to devour it yourself…

xx,

A

BLUEBERRY COBBLER

Ingredients for Topping:

¼ cup All Purpose Flour

¼ cup Quick-Cooking Oats

¼ cup Packed Brown Sugar

½ cup Coarsely Chopped Almonds (about 2 ounces)

¾ tsp. Kosher Salt

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg

½ cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, softened

Ingredients for Filling:

½ cup Sugar

¼ cup All Purpose Flour

¼ tsp. Kosher Salt

Two 12-ounce baskets Fresh Blueberries

2 tbls. Fresh Lemon Juice

Vanilla Ice Cream

Directions for Topping:

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, almonds, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until moist clumps form.

Directions for Filling:

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375F. Butter a 9-inch pie dish. Whisk the sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Add the blueberries and lemon juice to the sugar mixture and toss gently with a silicone spatula to coat, being careful not to break the berries. Transfer the berry mixture to the prepared pie dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling.

Bake the crumble until the filling is bubbling thickly at the edges and the topping is crisp and golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the dish to a rack and let it set, about 15 minutes. Serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Total Cooking Time: 1hour20mins

Serves: 8

The suit that suits summer

I’m constantly running around town.  From meetings, to events, to coffees/lunches/dinners, to set, I sometimes have day when my outfit gets zipped up at 8 and works along with me until after midnight.  In summertime, when it’s hot and fussiness feels especially tiresome, I often find myself adopting a uniform of sorts - a set of sundresses that hit at a length i’m particularly fond of and can be gussied up for night with a leather jacket, or a tank top that goes with literally every single thing in my closet.  

The summer of 2014 is shaping up to be the season of the white suit.  Whether pants or a dress, flowy or fitted, these sets move fluidly from board room to boardwalk.  The separate pieces allow for a sliding scale of  formality and, of course, skin-baring, and let’s be honest: nothing’s better than summer skin and white white!

Take a peek at these pulls from whowhatwear and Elle Germany.  Shine in the light and stand out at night, all while looking like a lady in charge.  The Revelry way.

xx,

Aimageimage

 

ORGANIC WHOLE WHEAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

I am a mother, a woman, and an incurable stalker of the craft services table, and I am unapologetically obsessed with the chocolate chip cookie.  No other western-world dessert recipe has enjoyed so many incarnations, adaptations, and celebrations as the good old triple-c.  As someone who is always on the hunt for the best of the best, the plethora of chocolate chip permutations on the market has proven quite the delectable challenge - how is a girl ever to know when she’s found “the one”?

Much like other seemingly impossible searches (love, parking at Whole Foods on a Saturday morning, the perfect lip balm…), when I finally stumbled on the recipe featured here, from Good to the Grain, the questions simply fell away and all I saw was the answer.  I love treating my family to sweets, but let’s admit it: white flour has zero nutrients.  That said, I also dislike trading out ingredients purely for nutrition, at the expense of flavor.  This adaptation of this cookie is perfect in that the nuttiness from the Walnuts, the semi-sweetness of the Chocolate, and the molasses quality of the Brown Sugar come together to honor the texture the Whole Wheat Flour brings to the table.  These cookies aren’t just better for you because of the Whole Wheat Flour, they’re better all around.

So rejoice, Revelers - your bake sales, luncheons, and late-night-cravings have found their perfect companion.  That’s what I call something to chew on.

xx,

A

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ORGANIC WHOLE WHEAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE -adapted from Good to the Grain 

Ingredients for cookies:

3 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

8 oz. cold Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extra

8 oz. (2 bars) Organic Semi-Sweet Chocolate, roughly chopped

1 cup Organic Walnuts, ground

Flaked Sea Salt, to taste

Directions for cookies:

Preheat oven to 350F, then line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Sift the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Kosher Salt into a large bowl - whole grains can be very heavy, and sifting will add airiness to the mixture and, ultimately, lightness to the cookies.  

In a standing mixer on a low speed, mix the Butter and Sugars until blended, then add Eggs one at a time until fully combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add the Vanilla, and the Flour mixture, and blend on a low speed until the flour is barely combined - roughly 30 seconds.  

Add the Chocolate and the Walnuts, and mix on a low-speed until they are combined throughout the dough.  Remove the dough onto a clean workspace and mix with your hands until everything is evenly distributed.  

Scoop 3-tbls. mounds of the dough onto the cookie sheets, 6 mounds per sheet, leaving three inches between each ball.  Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through.  Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to the counter, leaving them on the parchment paper to cool.  Re-line the baking sheets with parchment paper, and repeat with remaining dough. 

These cookies are delectable straight out of the oven, or up to 3 days later!  If you’d like to prep the dough in advance, make sure to scoop your cookie balls before placing in the refrigerator, as cold dough can be very difficult to scoop.  Refrigerated dough will keep for about a week.

Total Cooking Time: 45 mins.

Serves: 20 cookies

SUMMER VEGETABLE CHOPPED SALAD

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Lately, LA has been bringing the heat, and I’m turning to crisp summer salads.

My favorite, this vegetable chop, is light enough to munch on all day, while also being nutritionally dense and protein packed enough to power me through work.  And with all of it’s many colors, it’s an elegant addition to any menu.

So harken back to that time-honored advice and, this summer, eat your veggies!  That way, when you get to the BBQ you’re attending later, you can make eyes at that cheeseburger you’ve been dreaming about…

xx,

A

SUMMER VEGETABLE CHOPPED SALAD

Ingredients for Summer Salad:

4 stalks Celery

1 large Cucumber

1 bunch Radishes

1 Yellow Bell Pepper

½ Red Onion

1 can Artichoke Hearts, drained

1 can Garbanzo Beans, drained

6 oz. crumbled Feta Cheese

Ingredients for Red Wine Vinaigrette:

3 tbls. Red Wine Vinegar

5 tbls. E.V.O.O.

juice of 1 Lemon

Flaked Sea Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Herbs de Provence, to taste

Instructions for Red Wine Vinaigrette:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk rapidly with a fork.

Instructions for Summer Salad:

Cut the Celery and Bell Pepper into small, ½-1 inch pieces.  Slice Cucumbers thinly, at a diagonal, keeping the skin on – do the same with the Radishes, slicing them extra-fine so they are translucent.  Quick-chop the Red Onion into tiny morsels. 

Combine the vegetables with the Artichoke Hearts, Garbanzo Beans, and Feta, and toss with the Red Wine Vinaigrette.  Add a fork, a sunny spot, and a book, and actually enjoy eating your veggies!

Total prep time: 30 mins.

Serves: 4

Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki

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If there is one thing I love in all it’s many forms, it’s the meatball.  From classic Italian, to sweet Japanese, I adore these morsels of protein for their juicy, savory bite and their multi-purpose form.  Whether in pasta dishes, as last minute hors d’oeuvres, or folded into the best darn sandwiches in the world, meatballs are multi-taskers that pair casual presentation with sophisticated flavor profiles and leave lots of room for your own spin.

Recently, while experimenting with lamb, I stumbled onto this irresistible recipe.  These one-bite delights are packed with flavor, drawing acid from the Lemon and heat from the Red Pepper Flakes, and the stray away from the typical beef and chicken means you will be treated to something equally nosh-worthy and unique.  Best part?  Mandatory dipping sauce - and it’s made out of whole ingredients like yogurt and cucumber, yet hits more satisfying than blue cheese on a buffalo wing.  Plus, you can serve these puppies up as easily with toothpicks at a cocktail party as you can in pitas for lunch - or, double the recipe, and make enough for both!  

That said, warning: I’ve started keeping them on hand in the freezer in case of last-minute guests, and let’s just say unexpected visitors have never been more frequent…

xx,

A

LAMB MEATBALLS WITH TZATZIKI SAUCE

Ingredients for the Meatballs:

2 lbs. Ground Lamb

3/4 cup Panko Crumbs

1/4 cup Mint - finely chopped

juice of 1 Lemon

2 cloves Garlic - pressed

1/4 cup Shallots - minced

1 egg - beaten

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tbls. Cumin

1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste, for heat)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Ingredients for Tzatziki:

16 oz. plain Greek Yoghurt

1 large Cucumber - coarsely grated

1/4 cup mint - finely chopped

2 tbls. E.V.O.O.

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions for the Meatballs:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until consistent.  Heat 1 tbls. E.V.O.O. in a cast-iron skillet, form lamb mixture into 1-inch sized balls, and cook in batches 3 minutes or until browned on each side.  When fully cooked, the meatballs should be firm when poked with a fork.  Plate with tzatziki and grilled pita and chomp away!


Directions for the Tzatziki:

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir.  Allow to set in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving.

Total Prep Time: 30 mins.

Total Cook Time: 20 mins.

Serves: 8

ROSE-TINT YOUR WORLD

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I’m one for offbeat beauty any day, but one area where I’m all classic all the time is in the selection of my favorite flower.  Although you may occasionally see my vases displaying hyacinths or tulips, roses from my garden are the decorative queens of this castle any day…or at least every day that they’re in bloom.  

Part of the reason I am so especially fond of roses is my personal relationship with them.  There is nothing I love more than spending a day caring for these beauties, then clipping a few off when they are at peak radiance and adorning my table with a centerpiece from my very own garden.

To boost your floral finesse, here is a helpful guide from the folks over at Better Homes and Gardens.  Take the time to stop and smell the roses - then prune them, and the fragrance will last longer!

xx,

A

OUTSHINE THE SUN

To be fair, the sun shining in Los Angeles isn’t exactly a novelty.  That said, oh boy, it has really been out to prove it’s moxie of late.  Several days this week have hit near 100 degrees, and as the heat rises, so too does my demand for pieces with punch - less layers means every item must earn it’s place in the ensemble!

After wearing a beautiful sequined top from Blumarine to the TNT Upfronts, which I attended with my LEGENDS team in New York City this week, I’ve been reminded of how much I adore a little shimmer in the hot months.  Metallics play beautifully against sunkissed skin, plus with this season’s focus on playful palettes and shiny sportswear, sequins and sparkles are more wearable than ever.  No longer monogamous with black-tie affairs, you can spread the twinkle to daytime on t-shirts, or pull it on in sweatshirt form to combat the air-conditioning for a night at the multiplex.

Here are some favorites I pulled from design deity www.womensweardaily.com.  Personally, I’m already mentally pairing that Wes Gordon pencil skirt with a silk shell and a glass of champagne…

xx,

A

BLUMARINE:

KAUFMANFRANCO:image

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ:

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JEROME C. ROUSSEAU:image

WES GORDON:

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TRINA TURK: image

Pavlova with Fresh Berries

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This Sunday is mother’s day, and as both a very happy member of the “I’m obsessed with my mom” club, and a mother myself, I find myself in the lucky position of having double the reasons to celebrate - and splurge!

This light, creamy, heavenly - and that’s a word I reserve - dessert came to me from my manager, Michael, several years ago.  One bite and I was hooked.  Much like mom of the year at a PTA conference, it presents as composed and elegant, and finishes sweetly unforgettable. Plainly, this dessert is unbeatable in any election.

Whether you’re celebrating your mother, a mother you know, or the mother in you who cares for all those you love in your own way, let’s raise a deliciously topped fork to those who mother.  

Happy mother’s day!

xx,

A

PAVLOVA WITH FRESH BERRIES

Ingredients for Pavlova:

6 large Egg Whites
1 1/2 cups Sugar, blended to make very fine
1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp. Salt
2-3 cups Fresh Fruit, for decoration 

Ingredients for Optional Fruit Syrup:

1 cup Fruit
1/2 cup Balsalmic Vinegar
1 tbls. Honey
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar 

Directions for Pavlova:

Pre-heat oven to 300.  Using a pie dish as a guide, draw an 8-inch circle on one side of parchment paper. Flip over and place on a baking pan.  Whip eggs to soft peaks, then slowly incorporate sugar and whip to stiff peaks.  Add Balsamic, vanilla and salt and whip 30-60 seconds more.

Scoop whites onto parchment, keeping within the boundaries of the circle. Pile up rather than spread out.

Put in oven, and turn heat down to 275. Bake for 1 hour to 1:15. Turn oven off, leave oven door partly open (use a wooden spoon between door and frame).  Let cool completely inside the oven, for several hours or ideally overnight - it is best to leave the Pavlova inside of the oven, untouched, until right before you have to decorate it, as it will set best in a resting position.  Remove from oven and place Pavlova directly on serving dish.  It is fragile and you will not want to move it before serving!

Whip 1 pint (or more, if desired) of heavy cream into soft peaks, and pile on top of egg white base until completely covered.  

Decorate with your favorite fruit - we chose an assortment of fresh berries.

Directions for Optional Fruit Syrup:

As a finishing touch, you may want to add a fruit syrup.  Add 1 cup fruit, 1/2 cup Balsalmic Vinegar, 1 tbls. honey, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar to a small pot and boil down until the consistency is thick enough to stick to the back of a spoon, then drain out the seeds and pour over the pavlova. 

DEVOUR!  IMMEDIATELY!  (With your mom.  Or without…).

Total Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Cook Time (including cooling): 6-12 hours

Serves: 12

Sometimes, mid-week, you just need Audrey Hepburn to remind you that it’s all possible.  All of it.

Happy Wednesday.  Cheers to possibility!

xx,

A

THE CLASSIC TRENCH

Spring is a time for wet weather, making this week’s spotlight staple a seasonal one, but I’m a fan of trenches all year round.  If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, trenches are a girl’s truest.

The trench coat ought to be a requisite in any Reveler’s wardrobe.  Thrown on in even the roughest of conditions - whether they be imposed by mother nature, or by last night’s party - you’ll be instantly transformed to simple, classic chic.  Plus, with so many styles to choose from, you can express your inner-self in your outerwear.  

Now you just have to decide what to wear - or what not to wear - underneath….

xx,

A

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Oh, to be a kid again…

Happy Easter, darling Revelers.

xx,
A

Oh, to be a kid again…

Happy Easter, darling Revelers.

xx,
A

CARROT CAKE WITH MASCARPONE FROSTING

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With Easter coming (not that I need an excuse…) I’ve had carrot cake on the brain.  But not just any carrot cake - the recipe I’ve been honing since my first scrumptious bite as a child.
I use a white whole wheat flour in my cake, which when laced into any molasses or brown sugar sweetened baked good makes for an earthier, more sophisticated flavor.  I balance this richer taste and texture by rejecting the often heavy and too-tangy tranditional Cream Cheese frosting, opting instead to fix my frosting with a combination of Cream Cheese and Mascarpone.  The Mascarpone brings a subtler, lighter, more directly sweet flavor that complements the spiciness of the fresh ginger and nutmeg that my recipe employs.  The combination of elements is nothing short of delectable.
Best part?  Because my carrot cake features such simple, whole ingredients - I also trade the usual canola oil for grapeseed oil - and is so much lighter than other recipes, you can smile from the first bite to the last, then keep smiling as you start your second piece.  Heck, whenever I make this - assuming any leftovers have survived - I end up becoming a dessert for breakfast girl for days after.  After all, it’s just carrots, right?
xx,
A
ALI’S CARROT CAKE
Cake Ingredients:
1 cup White Whole Wheat flour                                                                
1 cup All Purpose Flour                                                                            
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Flaked Sea Salt 
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
dash of Nutmeg
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup White Sugar
1 1/4 cups Grapeseed Oil
2 tsp. Grated Peeled Ginger
4 Eggs
3 cups Finely Grated Peeled Carrots
1 1/2 cups Chopped Walnuts
Icing Ingredients:
8 oz. Mascarpone                                                                                      
5 oz. Cream Cheese
6 tbls. Softened Unsalted Butter
2 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
pinch Flake Sea Salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Butter 2 9-inch cake pans, then lay parchment inside and  butter and flour.  In a medium-sized bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg.  In a separate bowl, mix the sugars, oil, and ginger and whisk in the eggs one at a time.  Add liquid mixture to flour mixture, and stir in carrots and walnuts.  Divide batter and bake until toothpick comes out clean - 40 minutes.  Let rest for ten minutes, then flip onto racks and let cakes sit until completely cool.  
For the icing, using a mixer beat mascarpone, cream cheese, and softened butter for about 3 minutes, until fluffy.  Then beat in the powdered sugar, and once incorporated flavor with maple syrup and sea salt, mixing until color and texture achieve consistency.  
Ice top of one layer of cake with about 1/3 of icing mixture, add second layer, and cover entirecake with rest of icing - using about 1/3 on top, and the other 1/3 to cover sides.  Decorate with walnuts if desired.
Enjoy!
Makes: 1 cake
Total Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Cooking Time: 50 Minutes

Because I’ve been chuckling over it since my buddies from the upcoming horror film, THE DIABOLICAL, sent it over from the edit room, here’s an outtake to kick off the weekend.

Just a reminder that no matter how horror-filled your day is (in my case here, literally), there’s always room for laughter.  

Happy friday!  Go out and scare up some fun.  

BOO!

xx,

A