Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Caprese Tomato Kale Soup

Caprese Tomato Spinach SoupSoup season is upon us! So I'm kicking it off with flavors that are reminiscent of a summer staple (because I'm just not over that it's over) - Caprese Salad. This is a tomato based soup made hearty and healthy with kale - topped off with fresh mozzarella and basil. Yummm. 

Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

32 oz. Fire Roasted Tomatoes
16oz grape tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
10oz bag kale, stems removed
Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
Fresh basil

1. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, warm up the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the chopped onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and saute for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, saute for another minute.
3. Add the can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes and grape tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium.
4. Add the stock and kale, stir until well incorporated, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low, simmer for 6-8 minutes. (You can puree part of the soup to thicken it)
5. Serve with mozzarella and basil. 
Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Sunday, November 16, 2014

back to San Francisco

...ended the trip in San Francisco, one of my favorite cites EVER
Since this was trip #4 to SF, we wanted to explore uncharted territory (for us). Checked out the Fillmore District - lots of great shops, plus a park with a view.
Hayes Valley
Hayes Valley - a little gem of a neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend spending a whole day here. All independent, local shops - plus there is an entire bakery devoted to bread pudding?!
Hayes Valley fillmore
Hayes // pre-Indian food
Hayes Valley Hayes Valley SF
my mother in her favorite city
Hayes Valley SF Hayes Valley
Hayes Valley SF
One day I will live in you, California. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sonoma & Napa

now onto California wine country...
Sonoma and Napa really get into the Autumn spirit, even if the leaves never change. 
view from Sterling Vineyards
grapes pom
oakville grocery
Must eat: Oakville Grocery! Best sandwiches and salads - perfect for grabbing and picnicking with some wine. I need to recreate these sandwiches soon...
Peju Winery - beautiful tasting room, art and sculptures throughout the property
How could we not stop of Bouchon Bakery? My nails even matched. Not pictured: chocolate dipped French macaroons. Yountville, where Bouchon is (as well as French Laundry and Ad Hoc) is a very impressive/neat area to explore. 
peju napa pejusunflowers sunflowers
If you're visiting: The downtowns of both Sonoma and Napa are very charming/historic, but I gotta say I was most impressed with Healdsburg - it has so many great shops, galleries and restaurants.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mixtape Monday: What I am Listening to and Why

Currently on rotation:

1. Fade Away - Susanne Sundfør (This song is spectacular, makes me want to dance all over the place. Can't wait for the new album.)

2. Heart - HAERTS (I have been waiting 2 long years for this album to come out, and it was worth it.)

3. I'm Callin' - Tennis (I think I like this band more now than ever, loving their new 70's vibe.)

4. Pray to God (feat. HAIM) - Calvin Harris (great running song)

5. Got Love - Tove Lo (another good song for the gym)

6. Another White Dash (birthday version) - Butterfly Boucher

7. Another Drug Deal of the Heart - The New Pornographers (such a true phrase)

8. Higher - Lila Ices

9. Be the One - HAERTS

10. Black Lemons - Generationals (80's to the max)

11. Wide Eyes - The New Pornographers

12. First Time Caller - White Lies

13. Continuum - Young & Sick (for fans of: Washed Out and iamamiwhoami)

14. Let Go - Saint Savior

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lemon Chicken and Israeli Couscous

Lemon Chicken and Israeli Couscous Lemon Chicken and Israeli Couscous
There's something about an aromatic Middle Eastern stew that is so comforting. Maybe it's my wanderlust to go back to Morocco, or perhaps it has something to do with a past life...

This dish is not that difficult to make and has that stick-to-your-ribs goodness. Lemon and turmeric take the place of spiciness, making it all the more flavorful. 

Lemon Chicken and Israeli Couscous
adapted from this recipe
 extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 lb cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 strips lemon peel (2 inches each), or more
Pinch of turmeric
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 lb frozen peas, thawed

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add couscous, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, and return skillet to heat.
2. Cook chicken, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip, and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, reserving drippings in skillet.
3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, lemon peel, and turmeric, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Return chicken to skillet. Add wine, and cook for 4 minutes. Add stock, salt, and couscous, and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until couscous is tender and chicken is cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in peas, and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Serves 6
Lemon Chicken and Israeli Couscous

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sea Glass Beach + the coast

Went back to northern California a few weeks ago, it's my family's home away from home. 
sea glass beach
sea glass beach
Been wanting to go to Sea Glass Beach at Ft. Bragg for some time now, and finally made the drive this trip. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, with more stones too... but it was still pretty neat. Did you know another name for sea glass is "mermaid tears"? My 8 year old self would be really into that idea...
cliff house
view from the Cliff House
wild succulents everywhere
coast sea glass beach sea glass beach milky way 
Driving back from Ft. Bragg, we stopped off the side of the road and gazed into the sky. I don't think I've ever seen so many stars before - the camera couldn't even capture it (thanks for the photos Dad!). We could see the Milky Way. It was unreal. 
milky way

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mixtape Monday: When the Leaves

Most the leaves have fallen in Chicago and it has already flurried, but I'm not done making Autumn mixtapes.

1. Big Love (Live) - Fleetwood Mac
2. Southern Skies - Matrimony (I wonder why I like this song...)
3. When I'm Gone - Caitlin Rose
4. Kentucky Pill - Johnny Flynn
5. In Harmony - Ásgeir (Icelandic band!)
6. Noble Aim - Sleeping at Last
7. Ocean to City (Piano Version) - High Highs
8. The Sea & The Shore - Amy Speace
9. Cathedral in the Dell - Andrew Bird
10. Rainbow - Emily West & K.S. Rhoads (I am obsessed with song right now)
11. Glowing - D.A.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Butternut Kale Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Butternut Kale Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto Butternut Kale Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Prepare yourself for lots of Autumn squash recipes over the next few weeks...

This dish was very satisfying and healthy. The homemade pesto was tangy and sweet and so worth making (my Bullet Blender is amazing for this).
It is a perfect Fall dinner.

Butternut Kale Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto
1-12oz bag cubed butternut squash (Trader Joes)
extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sea salt
bit of fresh grated nutmeg
1-10oz bag chopped kale, stems removed
12oz. whole wheat pasta

// pumpkin seed pesto //
3 cloves garlic
zest and juice of 2 lemons
2/3 cup roasted candied pumpkin seeds (Trader Joes)
1 cup parsley
1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup water
few pinches of salt and pepper

1. Saute butternut cubes with the olive oil (enough to coat), paprika, salt, a grate of nutmeg until caramelized and cooked through. Add kale, more olive oil and saute till all kale is cooked. 
2. Cook pasta.
3. While pasta is cooking, make pesto. Add the garlic, lemon zest and juice to a blender or processor and pulse a few times to break down. Add the pumpkin seeds, parsley and parmesan and run the processor to mix, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in the olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper until combined. Taste and alter as desired. Add water to thin to preferred consistency. 
4. To serve, spoon butternut squash and kale over pasta and pour over pesto and mix together. 

To keep in the fridge, put pesto in a separate container and add to pasta/butternut before heating up each time. 
Butternut Kale Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto Butternut Kale Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto
^^ Oh yes, I gilded these real leaves with copper paint. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Party!

My roommate and I hosted a Halloween Party this past weekend, and it was a big success! (I define success by everyone had fun and nothing was broken.)
Here are some pictures of the decorations...costume pictures coming soon....
Halloween Party! 
Covered her desk with a black vinyl tablecloth and some gauze (almost everything is from Target fyi). 
Halloween Party!
A carved little pumpkin vomiting some guacamole. 
Halloween Party!
My roommate made this cute little banner.
Halloween Party!
Streamers and twinkle lights everywhere. 
Halloween Party!
Halloween Party!
**not pictured: our tequila punch with spider ice cubes
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