Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dear Fall, I Love You

Have I told you how much I love Fall? Next weekend I'm making the boyfriend take me to the pumpkin patch/apple orchard like I do every year. You better believe there will be a Fall-filled post! Happy Fall everyone. Now go have a pumpkin spice latte!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Entry Way Help

I need help completing my entry way! I would love for my kitchen island to stop collecting mail, dog leashes, shopping bags, etc. Here's what's on my list: a funky rug, preferably striped, a small table, a mirror to lean on the small table and a catch all bowl for keys and mail. Is this too much to ask?? The space is very small, but I want it to be welcoming. I love this look above. Below are some of my top pics.

All West Elm. I know, I'm obsessed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cara's Engaged!

While Cara and I were making soup all night, her boyfriend, Nathan was scheming. Nathan proposed to Cara the next day. I couldn't be happier for my long time best friend and her fiance! Cheers!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Favorite Fall Soups

It's getting chilly in Chicago, leaves are falling, I'm wearing my favorite big comfy sweaters and gorgeous pumpkins are blanketing the farmers markets.

This weekend my friend Cara and I decided to stay in, pop in a chick flick and make two of our favorite soups. Hope these warm you up this fall. For best taste make and enjoy with a best friend!

Thai Corn Chowder from Food Network Magazine

  • 4 Ears of Corn (best from the farmers market in early fall)
  • 2 cups diced red skin potatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (I use light)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 radishes thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime plus wedges for garnish
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced

Cut off the corn kernels; set aside. Combine the cobs, 1 cup potatoes, 1/2 cup scallions, 1 tablespoon ginger, the garlic, peppercorns and 5 cups water in a pot. Smash the lemongrass, if using, and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

About 10 minutes before the broth is finished, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a separate pot. Add the remaining 1 cup potatoes, season with salt and cook until slightly soft, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and the jalapeno; cook 1 minute. Add the corn kernels; cook until the vegetables are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Strain the broth, pressing out as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Add 2 cups of the strained broth to the potatoes and corn; bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, basil and mint; season with salt. Stir until simmering. Remove from the heat and add the radishes, cilantro and lime juice. Top with diced tomato and the remaining 1/4 cup scallions and serve with lime wedges.

This next one is a bit hardier. The perfect dish to come home to after a long day.

Potato Leek Soup with Cheddar and Dill from Food52

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (preferably home made)
  • 4 cups peeled, cubed waxy potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sharp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill and additional for garnish
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Add the leeks and a generous pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat until soft. Sprinkle the flour over the leeks and stir until coated. Cook for a few minutes, then add the stock, potatoes, and mustard, stirring until the mustard dissolves into the soup. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Turn the heat back on low and add the cheese, stirring well until it melts into the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the dill just before serving, stirring it through. Sprinkle additional dill on top of each serving.

Friday, September 3, 2010

West Elm Artist Event

Last night my bestie shopping/Chicago event-going buddy, Lauren and I attended the West Elm Artist event featuring the work of Michael Francis. We loved the art, the food and beverages from Goose Island (Sophie is my new beer obsession- and it comes in a gorgeous bottle!), and of course, West Elm itself. Here are some photos from the event.

This butler tray may have make an appearance in my home in the very near future!

I love how they utilize the ceiling as additional visual space.

And in other, related news, I finally purchased the West Elm Tulip chair in honey leather. It is everything I hoped it would be and more. Here it is in my home!