Friday, April 18, 2014

#nycdonuttour @ doughnut plant [chelsea]

I've seriously been slacking on my doughnut touring recently. It probably had something to do with our terrible winter and my desire to stay within 3 blocks of my apartment (where there are sadly no doughnut shops). So now that spring has arrived, lookout city! I'm coming for you and your sweet treats! 

My latest endeavor was to the Chelsea outpost of Doughnut Plant. I went on a Sunday afternoon, so many of the flavors were already picked over, but I was still able to grab a few tasty options for Kurt and me to "share". The Meyer Lemon & Poppy Seed [yeast] and Valrhona Chocolate [yeast] made it back to Brooklyn but I gobbled up the Blueberry [cake, not pictured] for lunch while running errands. I have always fancied myself a yeast doughnut girl, but that cake was so moist and delicious. I don't even know what to think anymore. Two thumbs up for the Plant.

220 West 23rd Street
Chelsea, Manhattan

379 Grand Street
Lower East Side, Manhattan

And completely unrelated, I've been playing "Divisionary [Do the right thing]" by Ages and Ages on repeat recently. The song is crazy catchy and the video is adorable. So go out there and kick some ass this weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

crochet jewelry class

I recently attended a class at the Brooklyn Craft Company in Greenpoint. I've been eyeing their courses for several months, but none of their (kind of pricey) offerings ever really inspired me. However, when I saw this jewelry making class being taught by Andrea Bocchio, I was excited enough to spend the $65 without much question. I have seen Andrea's pieces at markets and craft fairs around the city and was really interested in learning how she makes them.

We chose some colored yarns and chain while Andrea walked around showing us her technique. I've never done crochet before and it was much harder than I thought. [Andrea is from Peru and has a very adorable accent. She was constantly saying "perfect! perfect!" even though what we were creating was far from perfection.] After a few rows of color, I slowly got the hang of it.  Three hours later I had a pretty sloppy looking product which could possibly pass as a necklace (Andrea says a typical one takes her 15 minutes or so) but I look forward to trying it again and honing the skill.

Until then, I've got my eye on this bracelet from Andrea's collection. Check out all of her beautiful pieces here. And check out Brooklyn Craft Co. classes here

Monday, April 14, 2014

weekend in review

Kurt and I finally got to try out the new shuffleboard club in Gowanus this weekend. I'll go into more detail later but let's just say I'm a natural (I think "dream crusher" was the exact description). One day we had breakfast at Dub Pies (which is becoming a weekend ritual) before I baked piles and piles of cookies for Kurt's softball team. I then foolishly agreed to accompany him to the game on our bikes...25 miles later (not even kidding) I earned a lovely dinner at Van Horn in Cobble Hill. I miss their sandwiches (and hushpuppies!) but our sweet potato gnocchi and bone marrow grits were incredible. The ride was actually great and not all that strenuous along the west side bike path. My butt is sore today but I am so thrilled to be back in bike riding weather that I almost don't notice. Almost.

Friday, April 11, 2014

on the hunt: art

Kurt and I have a lot of things on our walls. In fact, we are running out of real estate. We've got posters and prints and maps and license plates and a tapestry and even a flag. But now I've zeroed in on this one wall in our bedroom that would be perfect for a big piece of art.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

Of course now it will be impossible to choose something! We're working on printing some personal photos (not a single one in the apartment so far!) but a huge dramatic photograph could be nice for the spot I have in mind. I've seen some great mountain scenery but I'm not sure I could stand Kurt's ski mania at a higher level than it is now. I would actually prefer something beach themed but it's hard to find a photograph that isn't cheesy (unless you can spend oodles of dollars on something from Gray Malin).

An abstract painting of blobs of color could work and there are several options on Etsy for affordable originals. I tend towards the blue/green spectrum but have also liked some accents of reds/oranges. I'm usually cheap but could see trying to DIY this being disastrous. Plus, I don't hate supporting up and coming artists.

A loosely painted landscape/seascape could also be nice but the options I've come across have been pretty blah. There's a fine line between the piece looking like it was painted by a five year old and getting too Thomas Kinkade-y, if you know what I mean.

Do you have any sources for affordable art? Any favorite pieces/artists out there?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ball-off: recipes

The Ball-Off was a great success! I know you've been waiting on pins and needles for the winning recipes to be posted. Well, you're in luck and will find them below (paired with my less than appetizing food photography). Everything seriously tasted better than it looked, I swear. Even though I didn't win any prizes, I've also included my recipe for Bacon Kale Feta Balls. I like to think I earned an honorable mention :)

Best Savory - Arancini al pesto - Kurt

(Maybe one day Kurt will give us an English translation...Until then, running the recipe through Google Translate is pretty entertaining.)

Best Overall - Buffalo Chicken Balls - Liz and John

Best Sweet - Oreo Truffles - Liz and John (total power couple!)

Bacon Kale Feta Balls (gluten free!)

1 lb thick cut bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 big bunch of fresh kale, maybe 4-6 cups, torn/chopped into small pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, diced
3 cups Rice (or Corn) Chex cereal, crushed (use breadcrumbs if you and gluten get along)
Gluten free flour (or regular, all-purpose)
3-4 eggs
4-6 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400° F. Sauté the bacon pieces in a large pan until nice and crispy. Transfer the bacon bits to a paper towel on a plate to soak off some grease. Once the bacon cools, dice into small little pieces. Drain all but a couple tablespoons of bacon grease from the pan and sauté the onion. After a few minutes add the garlic. Cook for another minute then add your kale and mix it all together. The kale will overwhelm the pan at first but it wilts fairly quickly. Use a cover if your pan has it and the kale will steam and cook down even faster. Once wilted, remove from heat. In a large bowl, mix together your kale mixture, bacon, cereal, and eggs. Sprinkle in some flour, salt, pepper. Once combined, start shaping the mixture into 1" balls* adding a little feta cheese** to each one. Line the balls up on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm!

*When I started shaping the balls, I thought adding some flour to my hands would make them not sticky (like with baking). Wrong! Clean hands are the way to go! I would even suggest rinsing every 2-3 balls.
**Of course I forgot to add the feta until I had shaped all 437 balls (slight exaggeration) and neatly lined them up on the pan, so I had to go back and add it one by one. You could probably add the cheese to the mixture in the bowl and just make sure it gets evenly distributed.

Happy cooking! Or, rather, balling!
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