Out of the Closet

This post has nothing to do with gay anything, even though it’s Pride, so um sorry for the confusion. I’ve been moved to write because I’ve seen an increasing number of stories about how to turn one’s closet into an office. real Simple, Apartment Therapy and a West Elm catalog are among the culprits. Excuse me for yelling, but WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TOO MUCH CLOSET SPACE? If you’re in Brooklyn, I’ll let you use my apartment as an office if you’ll let me use your closet. Seriously, are these otherwise totally respectable sources just running out of ideas? Why not write about how to turn some other corner of one’s home into an office? Chances are people will have a much easier time finding some other space they don’t use, right? So, uh, thanks for reading my rant.

Bottom’s Up

You know how every summer, you get really excited to wear dresses again, and then every fall, you can’t wait to break out your sweaters? I feel the same way about beverages. Sure, I get excited for hot chocolate season, but right now I’m all about summer beverages. ¬†You know why? Aside from my all-consuming love for iced coffee, you can put so much stuff in summer drinks! Try throwing some frozen berries in a glass of iced tea. Isn’t that delicious? I’m also a huge fan of putting cucumbers in alcoholic beverages. Vodka tonic with a few cucumber slices? Simple and transcendent. If I had some St Germain’s around, I’d add a splash of that. But, I don’t. Also good in cocktails, iced tea or even just seltzer is mint leaves. Seriously, folks, if you want to feel fancy, just freeze some fruits or berries and throw them in a mild-flavored liquid. If you’re worried about sweetness, balance it out with cukes and/or mint. Salut!

Frugality Fail

So, it’s hot in NY. And Jasmine, she’s fluffy. Not wanting to spend $60 to get her hair cut, A and I did it at home. Of course, she doesn’t know that she looks funny and patchy. She’s cooler and happier. And it will grow back. Just wanted to share her funny ‘do for internet posterity.

Standing Ova-tion!

I had the pleasure this week of breakfasting at Adour, the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the St. Regis hotel. They don’t generally do breakfast, so that made it extra (eggstra?) special. The highlight was the lobster eggs benedict. I mean, yum, lobster. And brioche instead of English muffin. The eggs were the most perfectly poached I’ve ever had. (It was kind of eye-opening that some eggs are poached better than others.) Anyway, it was all the inspiration I needed to make my very own eggs benny.

I found the same very basic hollandaise recipe in several places: stick of butter melted, four egg yolks, two tablespoons lemon juice, pinch of salt, pinch of cayenne. Whisk the yolks and lemon over a double boiler, slowly whisk in the butter, add the seasoning, et voila. I suspect I didn’t do these things as painstakingly as I was supposed to, as it only took about five minutes and the result wasn’t completely smooth. But it wasn’t separated, and it tasted delicious. I poached my eggs with a splash of vinegar and served the whole shebang on a corn muffin with a bit of turkey. It was, in a word, divine. Not quite as good as Adour’s but certainly tastier than what I’ve had at a few diners.

Sadly, hollandaise doesn’t keep, so after having it over green beans (in lieu of asparagus) for dinner, it was time to say goodbye. Still, I suspect that next time I have people over for breakfast, I’ll do it again. (It’s not really worthwhile for just me and A.) Eat your hearts out readers!

Ah, Inadequacy

I stumbled upon this post on Jezebel today about how craft blogs are always so whimsical and perfectly photographed and just make lesser crafters/home mavens feel inadequate. As someone trying to blog about that stuff, that can go double for me. But, you know, I have a job and a small budget and a dog and a cat and a boyfriend all in a one-bedroom apartment. I kind of started blogging to show that this stuff doesn’t have to be perfect or life-consuming to be worth the effort, and to track my own small victories.

Anyway, the post is well-written and a good read. Meanwhile, I’ll continue reading how hipster-flowerchild-princesses decorate their lofts/country cabins/rambling Victorian mansions so that I can revel in the fact that I didn’t have to give all my money to Anthropologie or spend every weekend scouring fleamarkets just to have adorably mismatched dishware. I got mine for free!

Mmmm Chocolaaate

You guys, something really important has happened: I learned how to make chocolate.

Just let that sink in. Sweet, delicious, fancy chocolate. Sarina and I took a class at the Institute of Culinary Education. It was four hours of chocolatey goodness. The teacher, Jeff Chocolatepastrychef, was fantastic and spent a long time explaining how chocolate is grown and roasted and turned it into tasty treats. I learned what conching is and that wild cocoa trees are taller and whiter than domesticated ones, and also that the cocoa butter-based paint used to decorate chocolates is hilariously called Chef Rubber.

Then we got down to business. It’s messy and kind of fussy, but ultimately well worth the effort. I know what everyone’s getting for the holidays!

Teas Please

A very exciting book came across my desk a week or two ago, and I’ve been meaning to write about it: The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook. It’s become one of my nerdier obsessions. It’s broken down into chapters for yellow, green, black, white, pu-erh and oolong teas, and withing each of those, tells you what various subcategories should look like in both leaf and liquid forms, and how they should be steeped. So if you want to geek out with your teac(up) out, I highly recommend it.

Great Steaks

Following years of vegetarianism, I just couldn’t get in to steak. There are usually cheap cuts at my grocery store, it’s easy to cook, and it’s pretty good when cooked with sesame oil (which maybe negates the cheap factor?). But, you know, not very exciting. Last night I got a grass-fed prime rib for A’s birthday. Now I get it. That’s all.

A Quick Musing

I know when dressing themselves, people gravitate toward colors that look them, and I’m wondering if the same is true when people decorate their houses. I know there’s a lot of ideas about how certain colors make us feel, but then how to account for people who decorate in red, which is angry-making? I’ve been wanting to use more colors on the mustard-rust spectrum lately, so should I start wearing those colors? Or is it an opportunity to explore a palette that doesn’t look good on me? And if I use those colors, will I look less picture-perfect at home? (Because I do, you know, look stunning while cooking, cleaning and watching TV in my pajamas.)