I recently wrapped up a pretty big DIY project--I made a desk!
After we moved into our new place, the Benjamin and I searched all over town for a desk. A lot of what we saw was out of our budget and the desks that were in our budget just didn't seem to fit quite as well with our style. So when I saw that Kate Miss of For Me-For You had made both a table and desk with simple steel hair pin legs, I emailed the images to Ben to see what he thought. He liked the desk and I decided I'd make it my project. I immediately ordered four 28-inch three-rod raw steel legs from Hairpin Legs, a metal shop in Columbus, Ohio (just as Kate Miss had done).
Sadly, those poor raw steel legs sat in their box in the guest bedroom for about four months... Every time I walked by them (and every time Ben saw them), I was reminded of how I wasn't following through on my project. (What can I say, I get excited about a diy project when it's still in the abstract and then I am daunted by it all ask once it's real. I'm not the only one, right?) Finally in October, I ordered a plank of wood from a company in Oregon. I was looking for the perfect plank and I found it during an online search. The folks at Perfect Plank Co. were super helpful--and the woman who takes the orders (I wish I could remember her name) more than walked me through the various types of wood they sell and how each would stain. She helped me figure out what would best meet my needs, and I ended up with their alder.
Finally around Thanksgiving, the Benjamin and I bought everything I'd need to complete the project--the sandpaper, the stain (we used Minwax in Antique Walnut Satin--we liked the look of it on For Me-For You), the latex gloves, brushes, etc. I was scared to death I was going to screw up the desk while staining the wood--mostly because I tend to rush through these kinds of projects once I start them. But I made a conscious effort to be careful and patient. I also made an effort to stay positive--I hate to admit it, but I can get pretty grouchy when I don't feel like I'm doing a good job.
I'm glad I was careful with the process (sanding and applying 3 coats of stain) because it paid off. I am completely in love with the finished project. I love the clean lines and simplicity of the desk. And I love that I made it with my own two hands! Well, my own hands and the Benjamin's hands--he helped to drill in the legs.
Our desk is my favorite piece in the apartment and our little home office is my favorite spot--it totally inspires me! I can't believe I'm putting this in writing, but I'm considering future diy projects...stay tuned!
How cute is this navy with gold stars lunch bag from J-Crew!? I found it while doing a wide search on the sale items. Oh, did I mention it's 30% off the sale price? I'm tempted to buy it...It would totally dress up my leftovers and snacks...
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and so today I'm baking pies (two pumpkin) and the Benjamin is making an apple cranberry crisp. Rather than make this post about the recipes we'll be using, I thought I'd post a few pictures that I've taken of the changing leaves over the last few weeks .
I cannot believe it is actually snowing outside! And not just snowing, but the snow is sticking. It's kinda early in the year for this to be happening...
Feeling inspired by the freak snowfall, I decided to make Heidi Swanson's Baked Oatmeal (it'll be breakfast tomorrow). Who am I kidding, it'll make a great light snack tonight.
I have been wanting to try out this recipe for months (!). I had seen it on multiple blogs this past spring--it was the recipe that everyone was talking about when Swanson's cookbook Super Natural Every Day pubbed. A friend made the oatmeal right around that time and recommended it, but I never got around to trying out the recipe while it was still cool out.
I would have forgotten all about this oatmeal, except that I asked my mom for Super Natural Every Day for my birthday.
I love this cookbook (thanks mom!). It totally lives up to its name--the recipes are approachable (read easy for weeknight cooking), healthy, and tasty. Ben and I have already made several of her recipes and haven't been disappointed, so I was excited to finally try out this one. Honestly, I knew it would live up to my expectations, but I didn't expect for it to exceed them.
It's the right combination of good foods and just might be my new go to breakfast.
[adapted from Super Natural Every Day]
2 cups/7 oz/200 g rolled oats
1/2 cup/2 oz/60 g walnut pieces, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup/2 oz/60 g natural cane sugar or maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups/475 ml milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch/1 cm pieces
1 1/2 cups/6.5 oz/185 g huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch/20cm square baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar, if using, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, if using, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.
Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the countertop to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries and remaining walnuts across the top.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar or drizzle with maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter.
It has been unseasonably warm and humid in New York, which has made for some really bad hair days and why-did-I-decide-to-wear-my-boots-today days. It's also made it difficult to figure out what to cook for dinner--throwing acorn squash or a brisket in the oven (which we're tempted do this time of year) sound like a terribly gross idea when it still feels like August out.
Since we were both tired of the same stove top meals we've had on rotation all summer, I started searching for something new. And that's when I stumbled upon a recipe for what may be the perfect transitional meal: an onion frittata! Why so perfect? Because it's light on the fork and heavy on flavor. It combines sage, rosemary and ricotta, which tasted like Thanksgiving to me (before you start thinking I'm just excited for the holidays, which I am, consider how sage and rosemary often find their way into the best stuffing recipes). Though we had to use our oven, which I was hoping to avoid because of the warm temps, it was only for a limited amount of time.
I adapted the following super easy recipe, which comes from Bon Appetit, via Epicurious. I omitted the basil, and used Pecorino Romano and a Spanish onion. The recipe should yield 4-6 servings, but we only got three out of it. It's that good! And did I mention it's quick and easy...Perfect for a weeknight!
Here's what you need and here's how you make it:
8 large eggs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
3 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
3 large fresh sage leaves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta
Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in egg mixture. Spoon dollops of ricotta evenly over.
Cook until frittata begins to set, about 2 minutes. Place in oven; bake until just set, 7-9 minutes. Slide the frittata onto a platter. Cut into wedges; serve hot or at room temperature.
Up close and personal with the onion frittata. This poor photo doesn't do it justice--believe me, it's delicious!
Yesterday we decided to check out a restaurant that NY Magazine recommended as one of the best in Queens: Mapo BBQ. After spending nearly an hour navigating the narrow, busy streets of Flushing (we rented a car for the holiday weekend), we finally located the Korean restaurant and found a parking spot a couple blocks away from it.
We were seated right away and ordered a couple Buds, before deciding on Mapo's specialty, grilled marinated short ribs (kalbi), and thinly sliced tenderloin. First, a waiter dropped off hot coals and a grill. Then, a few minutes later, a waitress arrived with the beef, which she set on the grill. I mistakenly thought each table was responsible for flipping the beef and started to play around with the tongs and meat, when our waitress came over, pulled out her scissors, took the tongs and showed me how it's done. I was enthralled.
As the meat cooked, other waiters brought out lettuce (to make wraps), marinated onions, kimchi bok choy and other kimchi vegetables, creamy corn, and this eggy custardy thing that you're supposed to eat with the corn (sadly, I can't remember what it's called). It was a whole heck of a lot of food that we were sure we wouldn't finish, but we did. The beef was super tender and--in a word--meat-licious. And the vegetables were so fresh! I'm totally going to introduce my friends to Mapo, now that it's on the map-o (ha! I could't resist.).
Actually, don't let that previous line turn you off--Mapo is definitely worth checking out, either by car or subway.
One of these days I'll take pictures with a nice camera instead of my iPhone...For now, these photos will have to do.