store pillow update…

New merchandise in the store right now.. check it!

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available here


New Zealand.. via Instagram

A collection of photographs from our month long trip down under….

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vegetable pot pie

New Zealand is home to the savory pie (ok and I guess Australia too), a personal fav and something everyone grew up on, fortunately there are some pie companies here in NYC now that I can get a fix, but it sure was fun making my own, vegetarian of course for Mr Weiss 🙂

Vegetable Pot Pies (I used 5 inch diameter personal pie tins) makes 4.


2 1/2 c flour

1 tsp salt

2 sticks butter (1 cup) cut into pieces

1 egg (beaten)

1 tsp cider vinegar

7 tbsp ice water

In a cuisinart (or in a bowl with pastry cutter), blend flour and salt together, add butter and pulse until butter is reduced to size of a pea.  Transfer to bowl and make a well in the center, mix egg, vinegar and wate, pour into well and mix together.  Gather dough by hand and knead until it comes together. Divide in half, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 mins.Cut each dough disc into 4 equal portions.  Roll out into roughly a 7 inch circle carefully fit into bottom of each pie pan (you should have 4).

1 c lentils (rinsed and picked over)

1 onion medium dice

2 cloves garlic minced

1 medium sweet potato cubed

1 zucchini cubed

1/4 large head cauliflower cut into small florets

2 carrots sliced

2 stalks celery sliced

1/2 box button mushrooms (5 oz) sliced

1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)

2 tbs each chopped parsley and oregano

1/4 c butter

1/4 c flour

2 cubes “beef style” bouillon (which has actually no meat in it) dissolved into 3/4 c water

1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

Heat oven to 375F.

Cover lentils with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until cooked but still slightly firm, about 25 mins. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat saute the onion and garlic until soft about 3 mins, add zucchini, sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots, celery, mushrooms and cook until all the vegetables are tender and brown, and all liquid from mushrooms has evaporated, about 20 – 25 mins.  Add the canned tomatoes, fresh herbs and large pinch of salt and pepper.

Meanwhile in a small pot melt butter, add the flour and cook 1-2 mins stirring constantly until flour turns a light nutty brown color, add stock and stir until slightly thickened, add to veggie mixture and stir to combine.

Roll out pastry to fit into your individual pie pans (or you can make one 9 inch pie) divide filling equally, cover with pastry top and crimp edges, brush with egg and bake for 30-35 mins, until golden brown and bubbling.

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Piccalilli… chow chow

I totally grew up on “chow chow”, cheese and pickle sammies were a school time favorite so when I stumbled across this British recipe to make your own, I had to give it a shot.  It’s pretty authentic and tastes exactly how I remember it to be.  Nothing like fresh baked bread, a good smear of butter, generous portion of piccalilli and a good hunk of cheddar to make a great sandwich.

Piccalilli (adapted from here)

1/2 a medium sized cauliflower cut into small florets

1/2 cup salt

7 cups water

1 large onion cut into medium dice

1 medium cucumber cut, seeded, cut into medium dice

1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup malt vinegar

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 c superfine sugar

1 tsp pickling spice

1/4 c all purpose flour

2 oz butter (1/2 a stick)

2 tsp tumeric

1 1/4 tsp mustard powder

fresh pepper

Dissolve the salt into the 7 cups water.  Add all the vegetables (cauliflower, onion, cucumber, capers).  Put a plate onto the vegetables to make sure they stayed submerged in the brine. Cover and keep in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next day: remove the brine and vegetables from the fridge, drain and rinse the vegetables well. Place the rinsed vegetables into a pan, cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Place the two vinegars, pickling spice and sugar into a large stainless steel pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.

In another pan, melt the butter, add the flour and stir thoroughly. Cook gently, over a low heat, for 2 minutes taking care not to burn the flour. Strain the spiced vinegar and slowly add to the butter and flour, it will thicken immediately,  add the turmeric, mustard powder and black pepper stir well. You should now have a brightly colored, thick sauce.

Pour the thick sauce over the drained vegetables and stir well making sure all the vegetables are coated in the sauce. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Keep for at least one week before opening, once opened the jars must be kept in the refrigerator, unopened the jars will keep for at least six months in a dark, cool place.


fig, sour cream and yogurt popsicles

I first saw this recipe here… but have been waiting to find figs that had a nice red interior before making them.  Totally worth the wait… these are spectacular, when I first made them I didn’t quite have enough sour cream so supplemented the required amount with yogurt, now I’m not sure I would make it any different.

Fig Popsicles

1 1/2 c milk

1/2 c sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 1/2 c sour cream (or 1/2 c sour cream + 1 cup yogurt)

5 figs thickly sliced

Add the milk and sugar to a small saucepan and gently heat until sugar is dissolved. Scrape in the vanilla beans seeds, sour cream (+yogurt) and whisk until smooth.  Remove and cool in fridge for about an hour.

Pour about 2 inches into bottom of popsicle mold and freeze until almost set, about an hour. Insert sticks and sliced figs evenly into molds, fill with remaining mixture.  Freeze until set. ENJOY!


roasted red peppers

I got given a a whole canning system.. and by this I mean, a huge pot, some tongs, a funnel, magnetic lid lifter and some canning jars, it’s not something that I would have bought myself, but I’ve always been intrigued by canning but put off by the thought that its probably “a long complicated, annoying process that takes too much time.”

Well…. its not really that big of a deal.. so you have to sterilize the jars (5 mins boiling) then process them according to recipe. Most cases 15 mins, remove with tongs, cool on racks. BUT from what I’ve tried so far… totally worth the effort, these are the best roasted peppers I have ever tasted. So get canning!

Roasted Peppers (adapted from here)

4 lbs mixed peppers (about 8 – 10 large)

1 cup bottled lemon juice

2 cups white wine vinegar (5% acidity)

1 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic sliced

1 1/2 tsp salt

First you need to remove the skins from the peppers. To do this they need to be charred off, if you have gas,  the easiest way is to turn on all the burners and put 2 or 3 peppers directly on top of each burner… rotating to evenly blacken the skin. Remove to either a zip lock bag or bowl covered with clingfilm to steam of the skins.  If you have electric stove,  place peppers on a baking sheet directly under the broiler and rotate evenly to blacken.  When cool enough to handle peel, remove seeds and stems and pull or cut into strips.

Heat lemon juice, vinegar, oil, garlic and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until just boiling.

Evenly pack the peppers into clean sterilized jars. Pour marinade over, removing any air bubbles with a knife, leaving 1/2 – 3/4 inch head space in the top of each jar,wipe clean and seal.

Process in a water bath for 15 mins.. turn off heat and leave another 5 mins in the water.  Remove, cool and let rest 5-6 hours before using. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

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outdoor furniture…

The agonizing search for affordable outdoor furniture is in full swing!!  Unfortunately its not as easy as you would think.. the deck is essentially a blank slate, since…

1. we doubled the size of it

2. the old outdoor table smashed to smithereens in a high wind and I proclaimed NO GLASS OUTDOOR FURNITURE.. after spending hours upon hours picking safety glass off the lawn.

Hence the search… I can’t decide on style, I love MODERN MODERN and more modern, my house however is not modern… so I really need to swallow it and find something that suits the style of the house and is also something I like. The other shocking realization is that most outdoor furniture is quite expensive!! Thinking you can just randomly pick something half way decent up for cheap is proving to be not possible… well so far.  I only really have one thing to consider when buying, there must be some weight to the furniture as our little house gets some high winds and that shit can blow the hell around. So weight is a must!

This is what I have scoped out so far…

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1. West Elm Montauk Nest chairs… looks super comfy love the round barrel shape. On sale right now for $499.00 down from $799.00, which I think is pretty expensive for what it is.

2. CB2 Acapulco Chair… all reviews say this is a great chair. $249.00 each, not a bad price, but they nail you on shipping $139.00… need to find a free shipping coupon or sale. Might be too light for my windy deck, not sure.

3. Restoration Hardware Wyatt Kinetic Lowback Chair. Love the look of this chair, would probably supplement with some fun colored cushions, on sale now for $245.00 which I think is pretty good considering Restoration Hardware items are pretty well made and this would be a solid chair. Shipping is $125.00. A definite contender.

4. West Elm Huron Chair… SWOON SWOON SWOON… now this is what I would really really want! It’s priced at $699.00… yikes! oh but how I love it.. also has a little ottoman and side table.  Of course its already on back order until September 2013 some time… wondering if I waited there would be any chance in hell it will go on sale???

5. West Elm Tillary Outdoor Sofa… Ideally I would love a new dining set, outdoor chaiz type lounger and a couple of chairs to put in a different area of the deck.. Yeah I know KA-CHING is right. This I think is a pretty good deal considering what you get. $899.00… but it was just on sale for about $749.00… would keep an eye out also on this one to see if it dropped in price again.

6. This picture I found online as some sofa inspiration, I would knock something like this up with some 2 x 4 and slat boards, outdoor foam and fabric (or get some Ikea or Target “bench” cushions) and BOOM.. you got yourself a stylish made to order sofa situation. Total cost estimate $350.00… although this is a wild stab in the dark.

7 & 8 are also inspirational pictures of different looks I love. I bought bamboo fencing from Home Depot for about $24.00 a roll and we wired that to the deck structure for some shade. Then added Smith and Hawkens outdoor filament bulb string lights for ambiance. $24.00 for 10 lights.

9. Ikea Angso table with 3 chairs and a bench… $459.00 for the set. Well you can’t beat the price, but for my windy spot the only question would be how heavy the furniture actually is.. “made from solid wood” could be lightweight or heavy. Will have to see this in person before committing.

10. Ikea Sundero table with 4 chairs and 2 benches… love this also and at $753.00 its a lot of bang for your buck. Same concerns as above regarding the Ikea furniture wood weightiness.. could be an issue.

So I am still looking, looking, looking… summer will most likely be over before I find what I want and what I can afford!

the three C’s…

So I bought this jar of Coconut Oil ages ago on whim after hearing a few people singing its praises, whether it’s in baked goods or being slathered on your body as a moisterizer, people seem to love this stuff. So I thought I’d finally give it a try after a few months of gathering dust in the pantry.

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c coconut oil

1/2 c almond meal

1/2 c unsweetened coconut

1 1/4 c light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 c chopped dark chocolate (or chips will do)

Preheat oven 400F

In a bowl of a mixer add coconut oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla, mix until well combined. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, unsweetened coconut, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add to mixer and stir to combine, lastly add the chopped chocolate and mix well.

On an un-greased cookie sheet roll roughly 2 tbsp loose balls spacing 2 inches apart. Bake 7-9 mins until brown around edges and bottom. Transfer to wire wrack to cool. EAT!

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counting down…

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fava bean salad…

I’m a big fan of the fava bean… ever since Hannibal Lector uttered the chilling words “fava beans and a fine Chianti” this year I am growing them, so I cannot wait to have them now grilled straight from the garden. This salad is inspired from a restaurant in the lower eastside I ate at recently, so good, I rustled up some favas and made this version the next night.

Fava Bean Salad

3 lbs fava beans (shelled, blanched and skins removed)

1/2 medium red onion finely diced (2 shallots finely diced)

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved, or quartered if large

6 sprigs of mint, stemmed and shredded

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1/4 cup shaved parmesan

If you don’t know the drill for shelling fava beans here’s a helpful link.

Toss together the fava beans, red onion (or shallot) cherry tomatoes and mint. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sherry vinegar and oil. Add to salad, combine, add parmesan and pinch salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread.

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