Homemade iced tea & tortilla soup…oh, and some gelato

4 Jun

First things first — I’ve never made homemade iced tea before but I grew up in the South so my Dad usually made a pitcher of the unsweetened variety during the summers. Unsweetened, though, was against my iced team religion (if one can have one) — it was either sweet tea or nuthin’. Who could blame me when I grew up with my Granddaddy’s version — two ladles (not spoonfuls, ladles, yes, I’m serious) of sugar into boiling hot tea? It’s a miracle I’ve only had one cavity my whole life.

Well, now I’m older, not wiser, but less psyched about a tub full of sugar in my drink. So on Sunday I made my first batch of homemade iced tea — 5 bags of earl grey and 5 bags of mint, finished off with a smidge of honey. I let it steep for about 20 minutes before popping it into the fridge to chill. Delish. Now I’m thrilled to try all sorts of other iced tea combinations, particularly with fresh herbs (think: mint) or fruit (how about raspberries?). Anything you’d recommend? I’m all up for ideas.

While the tea was steeping I dove into another new recipe — vegetarian tortilla soup (recipe here) via Gwyneth Paltrow‘s cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. This is definitely a weekend-sort-of-endeavor. It probably took me close to two hours to finish this before serving but it was absolutely delicious. It’s light but rich in flavor and a perfect option for the summer months when you’re done with the usual grilled veggies or corn chowder but want to go sans-meat.

And finally, speaking of my father, we both share the same adoration right now for one particular dessert and that is (drum roll please!) Ciao Bella‘s dark chocolate gelato. You have to pry it out of my hands to get yourself a sampling it is seriously.that.good. Don’t add a damn thing to it — including another gelato flavor or topping. It would ruin the purity of the whole thing. (Do I sound obsessed or what?!)

Happy cooking and taste-testing :)

(Photo of iced tea via Savory Sweet Life, photo of tortilla soup is author’s own, photo of ciao bella via lindsay says yes)

The great outdoors in the deep South

2 Jun

Our annual Memorial Day trip to Charleston, SC this time included a half day frolicking about Middleton Place, a “National Historic Landmark” and America’s oldest landscaped gardens. It is truly stunning. You can walk for what seems like miles among both well-kept, aristocratic-seeming gardens as well as southern marshland that extends forever. It’s a really unique combination of two types of beauty — one carefully manicured and the other wild and unkempt.

Looking around at the sheer vast tracts of land that have been preserved I couldn’t help but wonder what would have replaced all of this history and beauty had it not been protected. I could envision yet another cul-de-sac with McMansions and clogged traffic. How unfortunate that would have been.

But the good news is that Middleton Place is around for visitors for years to come so if you have a chance to check it out during a visit to Charleston, I highly recommend it. Just bring your sunscreen and a big hat. It gets hot as hell down there.

(Photo the author’s own)

Sandals for the summer

2 Jun

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My latest sandal purchase was a bit odd, not so much in what I bought, but in where I bought it. My destination of footwear choice? — Whole Foods. I told you, random. Why? I don’t know. The grey, cheap flip-flops called to me that particular shopping day so in they went with the milk, the salad and the bread.

But alas they are not all that comfortable nor chic for city walks. These, on the other hand, would be. But there’s always a catch when something is as well made and lovely as this — they’re expensive. More than $300 expensive.

So I’ll keep looking for a similar version, just not in the soap aisle like last time.

(via Lamb’s Ear Shoes)

Lemon pancakes with berries

2 Jun

Sprouted Kitchen posted about these divine-looking and sounding lemon pancakes with yogurt and blueberries. You could also try this with blackberries or strawberries and nix the yogurt and stick with good ‘ole maple syrup. But the original recipe is definitely worth a whirl.

Full recipe here.

(Photo also via Sprouted Kitchen)

Stella McCartney & hard work

27 Feb

You read this The New York Times Magazine piece and walk away thoroughly impressed by the dedication, passion and organization of Stella McCartney’s fashion empire, as well as her home life. That whole “I don’t know how she does it all” certainly comes to mind…but when you peer past the curtain of it all, you realize that prioritizing what matters is the key to making it work.

Stella at work

Stella at work

(Photo via The New York Times Magazine)

Oscar favorite

26 Feb

No shocker here but Gwyneth was absolutely stunning tonight in all-white Tom Ford. The cape was so freaking cool.

Gwyneth, Oscars 2012

Gwyneth, Oscars 2012

(Photo via PopSugar)

Little Serow: Thai worth waiting for

26 Feb

It was my 30th birthday this weekend and in the spirit of a new decade and a desire to try something new, we checked out the new whole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant, Little Serow, a project of Komi chef, Johnny Monis.

We waited 2.5 hours.

Laid back seating at Little Serow

Laid back seating at Little Serow

The good news is that you can put your name down and then they’ll text you 10 minutes out from your seating. And since it’s located below Komi, you’re in a great spot of town so there’s plenty of places to enjoy a drink and a good conversation as you wait.

And I must say it was worth it.

The northern Thai menu changes weekly but the things that remain the same are shared plates spiked with enough spice to make you weep.

Crisp veggies are key (when your mouth is on fire)

Crisp veggies are key (when your mouth is on fire)

There was a mint, lime-infused flash-fried tofu dish that was the best thing I’ve eaten in years. (And I don’t profess a love for tofu)

There was a green shrimp curry adorned with crunchy noodles that I almost drank like it was the nectar of the gods.

And to top it off, a very low key dessert that was absolutely perfect — sticky coconut rice. Delish.

Go. You won’t be disappointed.

(Photos via Washingtonian)



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