Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Budget Finds: Pot Racks!

As we all know far too well, New York kitchens need all the space-saving solutions they can get. That's why last weekend, my roommate and I installed a pair of these above our stove:

The pot racks cost us $30 total, and that's for 2 racks and shipping. These are about the same, and for just about the same price. For all the space-maximization these get you, you could almost say they're priceless!

I'll be taking a blog-break for the holiday, but expect me back in full swing on Monday! Enjoy, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Link of the Day

Pardon me for being off this week--traveling makes blogging difficult! Expect less precisely scheduled posts while I'm away, and don't say I didn't warn you!

Today, two friends (one of whom can be found here) ironically sent me tips about cool food art. The first is plausible but likely fake--however, the thought of it is still very cool. Intricate food sculptures made from ordinary vegetables--I wouldn't question the pumpkin sculpture, for instance, but carving a strawberry is just not possible. Especially because the center of its flesh gradates to white, and this sculpture does no such thing. Still, it's a cool thought. Check it out here.

The second link I found in my mailbox today was definitely real, and really breathtaking, though it would arguably require less skill and precision than the first. That's not to say I can make this--look at how cool!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Ideas... Mmmm!

I apologize for starting late this week, a habit I know I've been prone to on Mondays :)

However, this is an exciting week! I'm gearing up for my trip home tomorrow, where I'll be spending my Thanksgiving with my wonderful family. It's been a while since I've been home, so I'm quite excited. This weekend, I spent some time researching side dish recipes that I might want to make with my mom, as we always tag team for Turkey Day cooking. Side dishes, for some reason, are always the most difficult things for me to come up with, since they can often be too boring or too bold for my family's tastes. Below are some links for those of you who are in similar predicaments.... I haven't narrowed the list further myself, but I think there's lots of good stuff to choose from.

Side Dishes

Broccoli Rabe with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Wild Mushroom Bundles

Crisp Haricots Verts with Pine Nuts

Mushrooms Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Balsamic Glazed Sweet and Sour Cippoline

Caramelized Shallots

Creamed Corn Gratin with Fried Onion Rings and Bacon

Carmelized-Shallot and Sage Mashed Potatoes

And Desserts, of course, for those who, like me, don't like pumpkin pie...

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Gateaux Au Chocolat Et Mandarine

Smitten Kitchen's Mom's Apple Cake

Apple Walnut Bread Pudding

Mom, if you're reading, start narrowing down!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Design Porn: Showerhead Decanter

If you ever dreamed that it would rain wine, there's finally something to come close. This decanter by Matilda Sunden Ringner is really more of a carafe, but it surely does decant as well. Pour a bottle of red (or white! or rose!) into the top and watch it rain the most delicious, intoxicating rain as the wine comes out eight little holes looking kind of like this...

While I can't find anything that says how much this baby costs, I can't imagine it would be cheap. But what an idea! It's beautiful, and Red is drooling like wild over it. See more of Matilda Sunden Ringner's interesting work here, in addition to "rainman."

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Link of the Day

Over the last few weeks, Meet has been covering the goings on around the rink at Rockefeller, and I thought I'd counter with news of a new rink for skating-lovers here in Manhattan.

In my mailbox this morning was a tip that the Museum of Natural History has opened a rink of its own, complete with a polar bear sculpture that illuminates the center of the skating area. It's a great deal, and the location is phenom. For $10 a person ($9 for students), you get admissions and rentals! And what looks like a view to die for...

The Polar Rink will be open from 12–8 pm Monday–Thursday, 12 pm–10 pm on Fridays, 11 am–10 pm on Saturdays, 11 am–8 pm on Sundays, and 11 am–10 pm on holidays.

Click here for more info!

Life Made Simple -- Wonton Wrappers!

Yesterday I was on the phone with Chef Harold Moore of Commerce when he brought up a point that I thought the whole world needed to know. Yes--the whole world indeed! See, he makes a dish that I love that's sweet potato tortelloni with pomegranate seeds and a balsamic reduction. It's fancy but not too fancy, original but approachable, and basically heaven in every bite. He gave out the recipe at a recent event where he gave a demonstration of how to make it, and his beautiful stand mixer (yes, the one in my dreams) was essential to getting that tortelloni dough rolled out thin. I watched and added it to the reasons I need a stand mixer, right after those ouvo in raviolo....

I shared my regrets about lacking such devices when he made the revolutionary point: you don't need a stand mixer to make tortelloni and ravioli. You don't need any equipment at all! Nay, you need not even make pasta at home! But how???

These guys, though they look like slices of cheddar cheese is this photo, are wonton wrappers, and they're the key that holds together the puzzle. If you've ever wanted to make homemade ravioli or tortelloni, a quick trip to the asian market will cut a whole lot of that work. According to Harold, the extra corn starch makes them easy to work with and easy to cook. Who knew! I'll be experimenting with this real soon, so expect reports!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Budget Finds: Digicams for Google's Latest Instance of Wonderfulness

Living a good four and a half hours away from TWB means that we must constantly find new ways to engage with one another that don't rely on finnicky T-mobile reception. Not to bash T-mobile, but what kind of carrier makes you lean halfway out of your window to get reception when you're in one of the country's biggest cities?

I digress. But T-mobile hasn't been the only culprit here. Skype, the former web-connecting giant of the world, has begun to provide less and less reliable connections, with calls dropping every few minutes to everyone's despair. It's like a bad TV commercial, but you can't complain because, after all, the service is free.

But then along came Google, with it's ever-powerful splendor, and introduced video gchat--which has so far proved to be far more reliable than T-mobile and Skype combined. In honor of the newly-launched service (also a budget find, if you will, as it's totally free of charge), I've found the cheapest webcam on the internet, ringing in at a special price of $13. Even with $4 shipping, that rings in well under our $25 budget.

Talk about a budget find! If you or anyone you know has a long distance relationship to maintain (romantic, friendly, or otherwise), I'd snatch one of these babies before the promotion ends! Check here for more info.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Orangey Lemons or Lemony Oranges

I always laughed at Jessica Simpson's famous Chicken of the Sea gaffs back in the day, but I happened to make my own similar food mixup last week when I found this bizarre fruit:

A cross between a lemon and an orange, I had no idea what to call the thing. The woman at the counter clearly spoke Spanish, so I asked her (in my first language), what the orange lemon was all about. She laughed at my naivete, and told me to suck on the fruit for digestive relief. Unconvinced and curious, I picked up a few and brought them home.

What looked like an orange lemon tasted like an orange-y lemon. Slightly less sour, a bit sweeter, and more citric, the fruit seemed to promise more than just digestive relief. And yet, I didn't know what to do with it. I squeezed some into my water and made the most delicious orangey lemonade, and set the rest aside for more inventive uses. Aside from using the juices as a marinade, though, I am at a loss. If you had an orangey lemon, what would you do?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Moving on...

Many know me to be quite the cupcake fan, and the reputation was rightly acquired. Over the last few years, I've sought cupcakes from bakeries across Manhattan for the purposes of always knowing which one reigned supreme. The verdict? Crumbs. Always. And as much as I've been loyal to this wonderful treat, the dear cupcake, I almost hate to say, is suddenly being overshadowed by a sugary treat of a whole new dimension: the macaron.

It all started in Morocco. Throughout my time in Fes and Casablanca, I noticed women and children bearing trays of round white treats--cookies of some sort--not knowing quite what they were and resisting sweet things for reasons that made sense to me then and don't anymore. Finally, in Marrakesh, I decided that the little round cakes were simply too omnipresent--everywhere I looked, there they were, and like a moth drawn to the flame, I succumbed. Now I remember why I'd resisted all along. What if they're so delicious I become addicted? What if that's all I eat for my remaining time in Morocco? What if I can't find a replacement back in the States? All questions were legit--the macarons were gooey, coconutty, and I wouldn't exaggerate by calling them little bites of heaven.

For months, I sought long and hard--macarons are not big in the states, everyone wrote on message boards, and it is impossible to find the real thing even in NYC. Discouraged, I almost gave up. And then I started working in the fashion district, a few blocks south of Times Square. That's when I stumbled upon this little gem of a bakery, perfectly named: macaron. And with 30 some-odd flavors made in-house each day, I've finally found the real deal. They're Parisian style, not Moroccan, but they're every bit as delicious. And they even celebrate post-election pride!

Macaron is located at 161 West 36th Street (near Seventh Avenue), 646-573-5048.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Chocolate... For Your Body!

Every day when I get out of the subway, I'm greeted by an array of bright colors and candy-themed decor at the corner of 60th and 3rd. Dylan's Candy Bar has always been a source of happiness for children (and sometimes adults, too!) but now you can enjoy their candy without eating a single bite! How? With their "Re-Treat Bath and Body Line," of course!

With "flavors" like chocolate cupcake, coconut bon bon, and birthday cake batter, these lotions, glosses, and creams will keep you sweet and soft--like a perfectly baked cookie! Er... maybe not everyone wants that. But take my word for it, with so many gimmicky beauty products on the market, I was surprised to find that the lip balm had a really nice, smooth feel without any stickiness or excess oil, and the same went for the hand lotion (something I'm usually pretty picky about).

The one caveat? You'll definitely want sweets when your hands still smell like chocolate four hours later. So do yourself a favor, and grab something sweet while you're at it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chocolate Show Coverage, Part 2: My Favorite Things

So I know I'd promised you all some good ol' chocolate show coverage yesterday, but Red got distracted by ugly pillows and aebleskivers. Sorry! I won't make you wait any longer to hear my favorite picks from this year's show. So here you go, Red's Chocolate Awards 2008!

Best Design:

Pralus Chocolatiers put together these beautiful arrangements called Des Pyramides Tropique, a set of ten chocolate bars each from different parts of the world. They're all made with the exact same recipes, so that the only difference between the bars comes from the nature of the beans and the geographical conditions in which they're farmed. It's a fascinating concept, but the color-coding really hit my aesthetic soft-spot.

Best Guilt-Free Snack:

Since I went to my first Chocolate Show, Romanicos has always caught my eye. Coming from Miami (like me!), they also specialize in healthier chocolate treats. Their pure dark chocolate truffles, which they call "Original Sin," are quite sin-less in fact, with only 38 calories apiece. How do they do it? No butter! And this new line, photographed above, uses Miami's Latin fruit flavors--papaya, mango, guava--to decorate and flavor the truffles that are shaped to look like sushi. Chocolate masquerading as health food? No need to masquerade, Romanicos!

Best Indulgent Treat:

Roni-Sue's chocolate-covered bacon, also called "Pig Candy," a surprisingly delicious execution of the salty-sweet combo, harkened back to the days when my friends overcame my skepticism to show that potato chips dipped in chocolate are seriously tasty. Apparently, after talking to Roni-Sue, I wasn't the only one to have that epiphany who-knows-how-many-years-ago, as it was one of the inspirations for the deep-fried, pork-based chocolate treat. Having frequented her store at the Essex St. Market, I'm not sure why it took me this long to muster up the courage to try them. If there was one thing I wanted to purchase at the show, a bag of this stuff was it. The label aptly reads, "Pig Candy--it's addictive!"

There were so many delicious chocolate confections at the show this year that it's hard not to mention the rest... so stay tuned as some other special chocolatiers may make eventual appearances here at eatmywords. But for now, I think I need me some choco-indulgence!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Budget Finds: Aebelskiver Pan!

Ever since seeing this ridiculously cool video on the Williams Sonoma website about aebleskivers, I've been dying to make my own. And though the WS pan isn't tremendously expensive, I seriously question how quickly the novelty of aebleskivers would expire. That's why I was really excited to find an aebleskiver pan for under $10!

This pan,

which yields delicious things that look like this,

which can also be made in stuffed versions (!), seriously costs $8.99 at And with overwhelmingly positive reviews from at-first-skeptical users, I have no doubt that I want to add this guy to my little collection. Just imagine the possibilities--filled pancakes with chocolate or jam, cornbread balls with chili or cheese, gougeres, oh the things you could make! Now if only I can find just another few inches of cabinet space...

Link of the Day

Each year, Design*Sponge features the Ugliest Pillow Contest, where readers can take pictures of their most hideous, shameful pillows and hope to win the prize of brand new, designer pillows to replace them. The submissions are always hysterical, and this year far outdoes last year. My vote is below, but check out all the ugly pillows here for a good mid-week laugh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fashion Has Never Been Sweeter

I suppose the theme of this week is going to have to be "indulgence," what with a cream sauce pasta, funky cocktails, and now a recap of the NY Chocolate Show to get us into the thick of the week. Before I get into my favorite vendors from the show (which I'll cover tomorrow), I was hoping to share some of my favorite snapshots from the annual Chocolate Fashion Show, an opening night tradition that's loved by all! This year's theme? Sweet Superheroes!

For anyone who watches America's Next Top Model as religiously as I do, it was an enormous surprise to see Jaslene open the show. I'll be honest and say I was never her biggest fan, but it was no less awesome to see her walk the runway.

Probably one of my favorite looks from the evening, this was also one of the most chocolate-centric costumes to strut by. It's easy for chocolate designs to become too heavy and cumbersome to be flattering, but this looks just as great as it would probably taste.

Using white chocolate as a canvas for tons of colors was an idea that I was really digging, as so many other designs succumbed to a completely brown palette.

I have no clue what superhero this was meant to be or if one designer just missed the memo. However, the color work on this was phenomenal too. I'm still in awe as to how much time this would have taken to complete. Despite breaking the theme, it was nice to see something that looked... wearable, for lack of a better word.

And, for the first time I'd seen, there were men decked in cocoa as well! This one was particularly entertaining... but not as much so as the bodybuilder model who lost his costume halfway down the runway! Uh-oh!

More chocolate mischief to follow tomorrow...

Seriously Chic or Seriously Geek?

Last week, I was served a drink in an Erlenmeyer Flask. I was taken back to high-school chemistry, and couldn't help wondering where the Bunsen Burner would turn up. But the kooky presentation worked with the bright orange colors of the drink, made with prossecco, vodka, and mango puree. And with two straws coming out at different heights and angles, it almost reminded me of some magical love potion straight out of a twisted fairy tale. Shrek, perhaps?

Having googled suppliers of chemistry supplies, I discovered that Erlenmeyer flasks sell for as little as $3.50 a piece, or $3.10 when bought in sets of 12 or more! At that rate, they're totally affordable accent pieces for an otherwise classic set of serveware.

What do you think? Seriously chic or seriously geek?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good Enough to Eat... Again! --Pasta with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

About two weeks ago, I made a version of my favorite pasta dish. It's a good thing that it came out fantastic, because I went wild finishing up two boxes of pasta that seemed to be far emptier than they truly were. The result was an entire week's worth of pasta, and I wrestled with the idea of reheating pasta and eating it overcooked... for another four days. But somehow, the sauce kept the pasta at just the right consistency each time I reheated a portion, and when I finished the batch on day four, I was almost a little sad to see it finally go. I knew I had a winner for Good Enough to Eat... Again, so here's a nice kick-start to the week.

Red's White Sauce Pasta With Mushrooms
Serves four, easily

1 box of pasta............................................................$2.00
1 cup heavy cream...................................................$0.99
1 cup white wine......................................................$3/bottle at TJ's
1 shallot....................................................................$0.50
1-2 tbsp. garlic..........................................................$0.10
1 cup fresh parmesan (not dried)............................$5.00
1 cup each Portabella and Shitake mushrooms.....$3.00 (a steal at the farmer's market!)

total cost...................................................................$13.59
total cost per meal......................................$3.40


1. As you're cooking the pasta, chop the shallot, garlic, and mushrooms, and sautee them in a large pan with a tiny bit of olive oil until just cooked through.

2. Place sauteed vegetables aside in a small bowl, deglaze the pan with the white wine, and simmer on medium heat until wine reduces by almost half. Add in the full cup of cream and vegetables. Bring back to a simmer, and add half of the cheese.

3. Drain pasta, add to the pan, and add the rest of the cheese. Mix together. Viola! Enjoy your meal with the leftovers from your three-buck-chuck bottle of wine.

Note--it's really easy to add chicken to this recipe in place of (or in addition to) the mushrooms. Just cook the chicken along with the vegetables and keep all those ingredients together.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Making Seriously Big Use of Seriously Small Spaces

There are lots of exciting things coming next week on eatmywords, including coverage of the 11th Annual Chocolate Show here in New York. But until then, I'm leaving you all with this inspiring article over at Smitten Kitchen, one of my all-time fave blogs.

A problem that we New Yorkers all share is the dreaded teeny kitchen, often with mini-sized ovens (check), short and squat fridges (check), less than six cabinets (check), and sometimes only two burners (not-so-check). Deb at Smitten Kitchen shares her tips on maximizing a tiny kitchen, and this is seriously helpful regardless of where you live.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Appetite Stimulus Plan

A rose by any other name is still a rose, right?

Well, that would mean that Restaurant Week by any other name (and in the middle of November) would still be Restaurant Week, you'd think. Nope, this oddly timed version of the cheap dining celebration is taking on a whole new recession-themed spin, and they're calling it...

...the Appetite Stimulus Plan.

I think it's pretty cute, actually, but my personal sentiment is that the deal should be differentiated from the not-so-distant cousin Restaurant Week. The two feature $24 lunches and $35 prix-fixe dinners at various posh restaurants around the city--for three courses it's not bad, but I'm never terribly excited about the deal either. With drinks, tax and tip a seemingly affordable meal can easily have a non-affordable check.

For some restaurants, though, it's worth it. My picks for the Appetite Stimulus Plan? Cafe Boulud, Grayz, and perhaps Matsugen.

But those who aren't in the city can have some fun too--since the Appetite Stimulus Plan is sponsored by OpenTable, restaurants across the country are participating too. Check here for more details.

Get Your Mind Out of the... Table?

Earlier this week I came home with a whole list of good news to present to my roommate--things are going increasingly well at work and life is great, but the #1 news bit of my day came as quite the surprise to her. "Where are my priorities?" I had to ask myself, after recounting the list of exciting things. Well, at least they're not in the gutter. No, they're on the table.

At work that day, I was stumbling around the internet looking for someone's contact info when my mind made a tangential leap to a wonderful dish at my favorite restaurant, San Domenico (currently closed for renovation and relocation). The dish? Ouvo in Raviolo -- a large ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta, which brims with gooey egg yolk as you stab into it as it topped with white truffle shavings. Heaven? I think so.

Amazingly, Chef Fada of San Domenico has responded to a request to put the recipe online, and here it is. Ah, my link of the day. Heaven made accessible to all. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Budget Finds: Proud to be an American (and a New Yorker!)

Since I am in a very patriotic mood today, Budget Finds is going American-Chic!

Well, at least that's what I'm calling it today, with this adorable collection of wooden NYC buildings in miniature form. A collaboration between MOMA and Muji, the set features the original MOMA building, the Empire State building, the Chrystler building, the Statue of Liberty, the Guggenheim, and a bunch of little cars. MOMA tells us the wood is all from sustainable forests, too!
I can see these little guys being the perfect touch to any office or desk... or simply a really cute gift for those who beg for non-cheesy NYC souvenirs. And at $15, why on earth not?!

Good work, MOMA. And good work, America--now that we have a real leader on our hands, let's see some sustainable (re)building of a whole new dimension!

And, dear readers, I promise to shut up about politics from now on!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pigs With Lipstick.. the edible version!

I am literally brimming with excitement and nervousness and overall anxiety, so I've set my sights on election foods--a subject a feel somewhat more at ease with!

Friends of mine are throwing a party where each one of us is supposed to bring a dish or drink that's associated with a blue-leaning state. My contributions? At first, I though orange-infused brownies, the orange referring to my home state of Florida (which I hope desperately goes blue this year). Then, looking at a bottle of white grape vodka left over from my housewarming party, I figured grape cocktails might be a refreshing twist on the grape associations (which usually mean wine) for California.

Then I had a pivotal election-food conversation with a friend, where we decided what each of us would bring to our respective parties. No, it doesn't have to do with a state, but I think it's totally clever: pigs in blankets, a la Sarah Palin. What does that mean, you ask?

The Pig remains the same. The blanket is a straight jacket. The ketchup is lipstick. Pigs with lipstick in straightjackets. And we must eat them to prevent their chances of reaching the White House!

Alas, if you are still looking for something to serve at your election bash, go for some Pigs with Lipstick! It's sure to be a hit!

photo courtesy of

I'm Sorry Ms. Palin, Am I In Your Way?

I can't believe it: today's the day! After what seems like the longest campaign in history, today is the day that we elect a new president to replace that quack we have currently sitting in the Oval Office. Halleluja!

While I nervously wait for the business day to end so that I can hop on over to my friends' place for our much-anticipated election party, I can't resist sharing this hysterical greeting card from jeashoot's etsy shop.

Just too funny.

In case the text isn't clear enough in the image, it reads, "Move it! You're blocking my view of Russia!" (ohhh, Sarah Palin...)

PS. This is my 100th post! Whee!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tile Madness!

It's a late start to the week, and I have to admit that I feel a little guilty about it! The thing is, our apartment is getting a little bit of a reno, and it's not exactly by choice. After a pipe burst under our wood floors and caused them to buckle and erupt, our management company decided that tile floors would be the best solution for all. What we're getting looks nice, but I prefer to have my tile on bathroom and kitchen walls rather than floors, where they keep the feeling of the room warm rather than cold on my feet.

Right now, I'm particularly fond of custom-made mosaic tile and subway tile, and mosaic maximizer lets you do just that. You can choose all the colors you want represented in your mosaic, and then adjust the percentage that that color should take up in your blend.

I can't seem to find out how much this all costs by square foot, but it's something I won't have to worry about for quite some time...