Collections to Envy: Mulberry Fall 2011 RTW

It might be my study abroad fever (I’m thinking London? Why not?) that is making me crush on this British collection so much. I especially love those accessories! Hook me up with those bags, socks and scarves any day. The color schemes are perfect with subdued colors juxtaposed to brighter ones(it’s kind of how I dress everyday), and the clothing looks extremely wearable. I can’t overlook the use of schnauzers in their show. I miss my doggy, Mandy, too much to bear. I love seeing dogs on the runway. It is such a lively, and adorable touch. My favorites are below, but see the entire collection at http://nymag.com/fashion/fashionshows/2011/fall/main/europe/womenrunway/mulberry/#slide17&ss1.

Food Lit: Michael Pollan “Food Rules”

Biggest overstatement of the year. Food seems so complicated sometimes. But it doesn’t have to be.

I can’t think of anyone who has greater insight into the current status of food and our relationship to it than Michael Pollan. You don’t have to agree with everything he presents in his various novels and essays but I have to say his work is some of the most eye opening material I chose to explore.

I am especially smitten with his book, “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. He does not provide a step by step guideline but rather suggestions that are quite simple and logical. Pollan makes me think about the little things I can do to change my diet and be a more food conscience and informed consumer.  His new illustrated version of the manual is coming out soon (can I say Christmas gift?) so enjoy the above video to take a look at the new illustrations and some new rules too! While you’re at it, follow him on twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/michaelpollan) as he is posting new rules everyday.

Happy Friday! We survived the week!

Photographer Crush: Matthew Brandt

I wish I could say I discovered him on my own, but I can’t.

What I can say is that I love Brandt’s prints too much to just leave them on my computer. They would be perfect all lined up on a white wall, no? I think I just found the artwork that is going to go up on my dorm room wall. I have a whole collection of yellow frames filled with images from artists I admire and I am working on what I call my “collection” wall filled with objects I horde from the year, but there is one spot that is needing some love. I think a bunch of these prints would add some colorful “serenity”.

Brandt has many series but “Lakes and Reservoirs” is my personal favorite. He captures color photographs of different lakes and reservoirs and uses the water that is in the location to develop the print. Instead of the typical gorgeous landscape this work goes further. The subject itself contributes to the medium, blurring the lines between the medium and the message. What results is the character of the space, the speckles and blurred images add life to what would otherwise be static prints.

Visit http://www.matthewbrandt.com/photographs/lakes-and-reservoirs/ to see more, but as usual check out my favorites below!

Seasonal Transition: Shrimp with Yellow Tomato Confit and Quinoa

Do you see those leaves falling off the trees like I do? Oh my, has fall suddenly taken over. The air is crisper, the foliage is sporting beautiful shades of red and orange, and cravings are changing. Although I hate to say goodbye to cherries and fresh peaches, there is nothing like autumn apples and baked pears. Comfort food becomes more important as we transition into the winter, but I never want to sacrifice my health for copious amounts of feel good eats. (Fine, the gooey butter cake was a huge exception)

So I turn to my favorite cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Luques, for a great recipe for just this time of year. Suzanne Goin’s original recipe is for spot prawns, but I think shrimp work just as well. I chose quinoa because I love its texture and how it takes on the flavor of the tomato sauce, but you can substitute other grains like rice or even pastas like orzo or spaghetti. Enjoy!

Shrimp with Tomato Confit and Quinoa 

[Only slightly adapted from Sunday Suppers at Luques, Quinoa is my addition]

  • One cup of quinoa, cooked according to package instruction
  • 1-2 lbs of shrimp with shells (depends on how many you are serving)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons basil, sliced
  • 1 lemon, for juicing

Yellow Tomato Confit

  •     1/2 cup sliced red onion
  •     1 jalapeño, chopped
  •     1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  •     1 teaspoon dried oregano
  •     1/4 cup basil, chopped
  •     1 1/2 pounds yellow tomatoes (around 4)
  •     1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •     Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Use kitchen scissors to cut the shells of the shrimp down their backs, from the base of their heads to the top of their tails. (Don’t remove the shells.) If the shrimp are wet, dry them with paper towels.
  2. For the Yellow Tomato Confit, preheat to oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Scatter the red onion, jalapeño, garlic, oregano and basil in a baking dish. Core the yellow tomatoes and place them, stem side down, on top of the onions. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, and pour the olive oil and 1 cup water over the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes in the oven about 50 minutes, until they soften and blister. Remove the pan from the oven, and let cool 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and process at the lowest speed until the tomatoes are pureed. Transfer to a container. Seasons with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Taste for seasoning.
  3.   Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Swirl 2 tablespoons olive oil into each pan, and carefully place the shrimp in the pans, on their sides. (You may need to cook the shrimp in batches to avoid overcrowding them.) Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Pour another 2 tablespoons oil into each pan, and cook about 5 minutes, until the shells get some color and the flesh begins to turn opaque on the first side.
  4. Turn the shrimp over, drizzle another 2 tablespoons oil into each pan, and season the second side with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Cook another 3 minutes or so, until the shrimp are just cooked.
  5. Remove the shrimp to a platter, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook the shallots for 2 minutes, until they become translucent, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the flavorful shrimp bits. Add the garlic and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots and garlic are soft and just starting to color. Turn the heat back to high, and add half of the cherry tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Taste for seasoning, and cook a minutes, stirring often.
  6. Toss the quinoa with the parsley and basil. Place the quinoa on a giant plate. Cover the quinoa with the yellow tomato confit and the shrimp on top. Peel the shrimp if you prefer. Serve with lemon for juicing.

Songs on Repeat: Lenka’s Everything at Once

Currently digging the sweet and pithy songs from Australian songwriter, Lenka. This one is adorable like the others and just puts me in a good mood. It has not even been a week and I have listened to her entire album, Two, on repeat numerous times. She has another self titled album but I enjoy the truth and softness of the second one just slightly more so. It is hard to choose! I found her music was just the perfect thing to listen to between the stress of the end of the semester and getting my wisdom teeth taken out. Or you know, just for fun for all of you stress-free music fans out there.