Friday, July 24, 2009

Best Soup I've Ever Had...Seriously

I love living in Charleston, it is beautiful and charming and all the things that a city of 300,000 should be but man is it hot in the summer! Last night while taking my adorable dog (Carolina) for a walk I was trying to mull over what I would make for dinner. Cold Soup sounded like just the thing...and when I came across this recipe from Emeril Lagasse I raced to the store for the ingredients. Seriously one of the most impressive soup recipes I've ever had. Yum. Hope you enjoy!!


6 pounds cucumbers (about 6 cucumbers), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (12 cups)
2 yellow bell peppers, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
3 to 4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups plain yogurt
3 cups sour cream, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


Combine the cucumbers, bell peppers, green onions, jalapenos, cilantro, mint, dill, garlic, Essence, salt, cayenne, yogurt, 2 cups sour cream, olive oil, and white wine vinegar in a large bowl. Working in batches, puree the ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Transfer the soup to the refrigerator until well chilled, at least 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup, with each bowl garnished with a dollop of the remaining sour cream and some of the minced chives.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lovely Weekend

I’m sentimental. It goes beyond keeping old love letters, concert tickets, and whatever one hides away for rainy days. After living with the same person for three years it was difficult to move and leave that life behind. I had kept everything down to bar tabs at The Bowery Hotel. Luckily, my old roommate is even more nostalgic and comes to visit frequently. He swears it’s the charm of the town, the tennis, and the beach. Whatever his reason I’m always happy when he walks through the door. Having never had a brother, I imagine him to be my adopted sibling. This weekend was spent reminiscing over our shared adventures in the city that never sleeps and how far we’ve both come in a year. Here are some pictures of the sunset we saw on Sunday night and dinner out with my parents!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My perfect outfit...

YSL knocked this one out of the park...I'm wishing for (Chicago) cold weather to justify the coat...

Oh Snap

Just click to enlarge...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Given my vast collection of photographs...

A wall like this one might be in order. It makes me so sad that many of my favorite photographs are sitting in storage.


Of a place to wear a dress like this...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

To Quote a Quote...

Everybody Here Wants You

I feel remiss for forgetting two of the best “beach” music artists. How could I have a 44 song playlist without Otis Redding’s Sitting on the Dock of the Bay & Jeff Buckley’s Everybody Here Wants You (seriously one of the sexiest songs ever written). I was reminded of my omissions last night when I arrived at my friend’s beachside home, where Jeff Buckley was blasting. All cities have traditions, but I have to say South Carolinian's have some pretty fabulous ones. The weather channel called for thunderstorms, so my friends called for Frogmore stew, key lime pie, ice cold beverages, and great dance music. Sitting on the back porch watching a major storm roll in off the ocean wasn’t a bad way to spend the evening…and now the recipes.
6 quarts water
3/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning TM
2 pounds new red potatoes
2 pounds hot smoked sausage links, cut into 2 inch pieces
12 ears corn - husked, cleaned and quartered
4 pounds large fresh shrimp, unpeeled
Bring water and Old Bay Seasoning to boil in a large stockpot. Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Add sausage and cook for 5 minutes more. Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes. Drain immediately and serve.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 (12-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cups key lime juice
1 tablespoon key lime zest
1 pint half-and-half
Fresh lime slices. for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press the mixture firmly into bottom and up sides of a 10-inch spring form pan. Bake for 8 minutes and let the crust cool completely before spreading the pie filling over it.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cream until slightly thickened. Gradually add the sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Add condensed milk and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in lime juice, lime zest, and half-and-half. Once the mixture as reached desired flavor and consistency, gently spread pie filling over cooled crust. Cover and freeze for 4 to 6 hours or until firm. Cut into wedges and garnish with fresh lime slices, serve cold.

We've come a long way...

This is a long post, but trust me well worth the read!

I remember being astonished when my Civil Procedure teacher told us that Sandra Day O’Connor graduated 3rd in her class from Stanford Law and upon graduation was not hired by a single firm thus forcing her to go back to work on her father’s ranch. This interview conducted by the New York Times encapsulates how far we have come as a country, and how far we still have to go.

Q: At your confirmation hearings in 1993, you talked­ about how you hoped to see three or four women on the court. How do you feel about how long it has taken to see simply one more woman nominated?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: My prediction was right for the Supreme Court of Canada. They have Beverley McLachlin as the chief justice, and they have at least three other women. The attrition rate is slow on this court.

Q: Now that Judge Sotomayor has been nominated, how do you feel about that?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I feel great that I don’t have to be the lone woman around this place.

Q: What has that been like?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: It’s almost like being back in law school in 1956, when there were 9 of us in a class of over 500, so that meant most sections had just 2 women, and you felt that every eye was on you. Every time you went to answer a question, you were answering for your entire sex. It may not have been true, but certainly you felt that way. You were different and the object of curiosity.

Q: Did you feel that this time around from your male colleagues?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: My basic concern about being all alone was the public got the wrong perception of the court. It just doesn’t look right in the year 2009.

Q: Why on a deeper level does it matter? It’s not just the symbolism, right?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: It matters for women to be there at the conference table to be doing everything that the court does. I hope that these hearings for Sonia will be as civil as mine were and Steve Breyer’s were. Ours were unusual in that respect.

Q: Did you think that all the attention to the criticism of Sotomayor as being “bullying” or not as smart is sex-inflected? Does that have to do with the rarity of a woman in her position, and the particular challenges?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I can’t say that it was just that she was a woman. There are some people in Congress who would criticize severely anyone
President Obama nominated. They’ll seize on any handle. One is that she’s a woman, another is that she made the remark about Latina women. [In 2001 Sotomayor said: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”] And I thought it was ridiculous for them to make a big deal out of that. Think of how many times you’ve said something that you didn’t get out quite right, and you would edit your statement if you could. I’m sure she meant no more than what I mean when I say: Yes, women bring a different life experience to the table. All of our differences make the conference better. That I’m a woman, that’s part of it, that I’m Jewish, that’s part of it, that I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and I went to summer camp in the Adirondacks, all these things are part of me.
Once Justice O’Connor was questioning counsel at oral argument. I thought she was done, so I asked a question, and Sandra said: Just a minute, I’m not finished. So I apologized to her and she said, It’s O.K., Ruth. The guys do it to each other all the time, they step on each other’s questions. And then there appeared an item in USA Today, and the headline was something like“Rude Ruth Interrupts Sandra.”

Q: It seemed to me that male judges do much more abrasive things all the time, and it goes unremarked.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the notion that Sonia is an aggressive questioner — what else is new? Has anybody watched Scalia or Breyer up on the bench?

Q: She’ll fit right in?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: She’ll hold her own.

Q: From your point of view, does having another woman on the court matter primarily in terms of the public’s perception, or also for what it feels like to be in conference and on the bench?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: All of those things. What was particularly good was that Sandra and I were different — not cast in the same mold. Sandra gets out two words to my every one. I think that Sonia and I will also be quite different in our style. I think she may be the first justice who didn’t have English as her native language. And she has done just about everything that you can do in law as a prosecutor, in a private firm and on the District Court and the Court of Appeals.

Q: Do you know her well or a little bit?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I know her because I’m the Second Circuit Justice. So I go once a year to the Judicial Conference.

Q: What do you think about Judge Sotomayor’s frank remarks that she is a product of affirmative action?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: So am I. I was the first tenured woman at Columbia. That was 1972, every law school was looking for its woman. Why? Because Stan Pottinger, who was then head of the office for civil rights of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, was enforcing the Nixon government contract program. Every university had a contract, and Stan Pottinger would go around and ask, How are you doing on your affirmative-action plan? William McGill, who was then the president of Columbia, was asked by a reporter: How is Columbia doing with its affirmative action? He said, It’s no mistake that the two most recent appointments to the law school are a woman and an African-American man.

Q: And was that you?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I was the woman. I never would have gotten that invitation from Columbia without the push from the Nixon administration. I understand that there is a thought that people will point to the affirmative-action baby and say she couldn’t have made it if she were judged solely on the merits. But when I got to Columbia I was well regarded by my colleagues even though they certainly disagreed with many of the positions that I was taking. They backed me up: If that’s what I thought, I should be able to speak my mind.

Q: Is that another example of how you’ve worked with men over the years?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I always thought that there was nothing an antifeminist would want more than to have women only in women’s organizations, in their own little corner empathizing with each other and not touching a man’s world. If you’re going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers.

Q: You sent me an article by Michael Klarman, a Harvard law professor, that was about ways in which you and Thurgood Marshall were effective as litigators. Klarman pointed out that you were very good at influencing a male lawyer’s brief without making him feel that you had taken over the case. Is that something you learned to do? Was it a conscious approach?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think it was a conscious approach. If you want to influence people, you want them to accept your suggestions, you don’t say, You don’t know how to use the English language, or how could you make that argument? It will be welcomed much more if you have a gentle touch than if you are aggressive.

Q: Do you think women have to learn how to do that in a different way from men sometimes in the workplace?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I haven’t noticed it. There are some very sympathetic men.

Q: Is it an approach that you still use with your colleagues to try and have a gentle touch?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, or to have a sense of humor.

Q: Do you think if there were more women on the court with you that other dynamics would change?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think back to the days when — I don’t know who it was — when I think Truman suggested the possibility of a woman as a justice. Someone said we have these conferences and men are talking to men and sometimes we loosen our ties, sometimes even take off our shoes. The notion was that they would be inhibited from doing that if women were around. I don’t know how many times I’ve kicked off my shoes. Including the time some reporter said something like, it took me a long time to get up from the bench. They worried, was I frail? To be truthful I had kicked off my shoes, and I couldn’t find my right shoe; it traveled way underneath.

Q: You are said to have very warm relationships with your colleagues. And so I was surprised to read a comment you made in an interview in May with Joan Biskupic of USA Today. You said that when you were a young lawyer, your voice was often ignored, and then a male colleague would repeat a point you’d made, and other people would be alert to it. And then you said this still happens now at conference.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Not often. It was a routine thing [in the past] that I would say something and it would just pass, and then somebody else would say almost the same thing and people noticed. I think the idea in the 1950s and ’60s was that if it was a woman’s voice, you could tune out, because she wasn’t going to say anything significant. There’s much less of that.But it still exists, and it’s not a special experience that I’ve had. I’ve talked to other women in high places, and they've had the same experience.

Q: I wonder if that would change if there were more women who were part of the mix on the court?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think it undoubtedly would. You can imagine in Canada, where McLachlin is the chief, I think they must have a different way of hearing a woman’s voice if she is the leader.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the academic research on the effect of sex on judging. Studies have found a difference in the way male and female judges of similar ideologies vote in some cases. And that the presence of a woman on a panel can influence the way her male colleagues vote. How do these findings match your experience?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I’m very doubtful about those kinds of [results]. I certainly know that there are women in federal courts with whom I disagree just as strongly as I disagree with any man. I guess I have some resistance to that kind of survey because it’s what I was arguing against in the ’70s. Like in Mozart’s opera “Così Fan Tutte”: that’s the way women are.

Q: We started by talking about the idea of three or four women on the Supreme Court. Could you imagine a Supreme Court that had five or six or seven women on it?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, we’ve had some state Supreme Courts that have had a majority of women.

Q: Do you have a sense of what that would be like to actually work on and how it would be different?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: The work would not be any easier. Some of the amenities might improve.
Q: Do you think that some of the discrimination cases might turn out differently?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think for the most part, yes. I would suspect that, because the women will relate to their own experiences.

Q: That’s one area in which outcomes might actually differ?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes. I think the presence of women on the bench made it possible for the courts to appreciate earlier than they might otherwise that sexual harassment belongs under Title VII [as a violation of civil rights law].

Q: Can I bring up the Ricci case, brought by the New Haven firefighters?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: This case had some very hard elements. It was a bit like the Heller case, which involved the Second Amendment. [Last year, the Supreme Court found that Washington gun-control laws that barred handguns in private homes were unconstitutional.] For that, the plaintiff was a nice guy who was a security guard at the Federal Judicial Center, and he had to carry a gun on his job, but he couldn’t carry it home. And in Ricci, you have a dyslexic firefighter. Which is just exactly what you should do as a lawyer. I mean, that’s what I did.

Q: It’s true, it’s a very good strategy. He was a very sympathetic plaintiff. And it was important that the city had already given the test that the white firefighters scored high on and the black firefighters did not.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes. And the city weights the written and oral parts of the test 60-40, and says: That’s what the union wanted, it’s been in the bargaining contracts for 20 years.
I don’t know how many cases there were, Title VII civil rights cases, where unions were responsible. The very first week that I was at Columbia, Jan Goodman, a lawyer in New York, called me and said, Do you know that Columbia has given layoff notices to 25 maids and not a single janitor? Columbia’s defense was the union contract, which was set up so that every maid would have to go before the newly hired janitor would get a layoff notice.

Q: What about the case this term involving the strip search, in school, of 13-year-old Savana Redding? Justice Souter’s majority opinion, finding that the strip search was unconstitutional, is very different from what I expected after oral argument, when some of the men on the court didn’t seem to see the seriousness here. Is that an example of a case when having a woman as part of the conversation was important?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think it makes people stop and think, Maybe a 13-year-old girl is different from a 13-year-old boy in terms of how humiliating it is to be seen undressed. I think many of [the male justices] first thought of their own reaction. It came out in various questions. You change your clothes in the gym, what’s the big deal?

Q: Seeing that Souter wrote the opinion in Savana Redding’s case reminded me of Justice Rehnquist writing the majority opinion in Nevada v. Hibbs, the 2003 case in which the court ruled 6-3 that the Family Medical Leave Act applies to state employers, for both female and male workers. Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote in his opinion about an idea you have been talking about for a long time, about stereotypes. He discussed how when women are stereotyped as responsible for the domestic sphere, and men are not, that makes women seem less valuable as employees. I wonder if one of the measures of your success on the court is that a male justice would write an opinion like this?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: That opinion was such a delightful surprise. When my husband read it, he asked, did I write that opinion? I was very fond of my old chief. I have a sense that it was in part his life experience. When his daughter Janet was divorced, I think the chief felt some kind of responsibility to be kind of a father figure to those girls. So he became more sensitive to things that he might not have noticed.

Q: Right. Chief Justice Rehnquist once said that sex-discrimination claims carry little weight. And he quipped at the end of a case you argued, when you were a lawyer, “You won’t settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?” Do you think he was affected by working with you and Justice O’Connor?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I wouldn’t attribute it to one thing. I think I would attribute it to his court experience and his life experience. One of the most moving statements at a memorial service I ever heard was when
Janet Rehnquist’s daughter read a letter that she had written to her grandfather. The closeness of their relationship and the caring was just beautiful. Most people had no idea that there was that side to Rehnquist.

Q: You have written, “To turn in a new direction, the court first had to gain an understanding that legislation apparently designed to benefit or protect women could have the opposite effect.” The pedestal versus the cage. Has the court made that turn completely, or is there still more work to be done?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Not completely, as you can see in the case involving whether a child acquires citizenship from an unwed father. [Nguyen v. INS, in which the court in 2001 upheld, by 5 to 4, a law that set different requirements for a child to become a citizen, depending on whether his citizenship rights came from his unmarried mother or his unmarried father.] The majority thought there was something about the link between a mother and a child that doesn’t exist between the father and a child. But in fact the child in the case had been brought up by his father.
They were held back by a way of looking at the world in which a man who wasn’t married simply was not responsible. There must have been so many repetitions of Madame Butterfly in World War II. And for Justice Stevens [who voted with the majority], that was part of his experience. I think that’s going to be over in the next generation, these kinds of rulings.

Q: Let me ask you about the fight you waged for the courts to understand that pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I wrote about it a number of times. I litigated Captain Struck’s case about reproductive choice. [In 1972, Ginsburg represented Capt. Susan Struck, who became pregnant during her service in the
Air Force. At the time, the Air Force automatically discharged any woman who became pregnant and told Captain Struck that she should have an abortion if she wanted to keep her job. The government changed the regulation before the Supreme Court could decide the case.] If the court could have seen Susan Struck’s case — this was the U.S. government, a U.S. Air Force post, offering abortions, in 1971, two years before Roe.

Q: And suggesting an abortion as the solution to Struck’s problem.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes. Not only that, but it was available to her on the base.

Q: The case ties together themes of women’s equality and reproductive freedom. The court split those themes apart in Roe v. Wade. Do you see, as part of a future feminist legal wish list, repositioning Roe so that the right to abortion is rooted in the constitutional promise of sex equality?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Oh, yes. I think it will be.

Q: If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist legal agenda?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

Q: When you say that reproductive rights need to be straightened out, what do you mean?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: The basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman.

Q: Does that mean getting rid of the test the court imposed, in which it allows states to impose restrictions on abortion — like a waiting period — that are not deemed an “undue burden” to a woman’s reproductive freedom?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: I’m not a big fan of these tests. I think the court uses them as a label that accommodates the result it wants to reach. It will be, it should be, that this is a woman’s decision. It’s entirely appropriate to say it has to be an informed decision, but that doesn’t mean you can keep a woman overnight who has traveled a great distance to get to the clinic, so that she has to go to some motel and think it over for 24 hours or 48 hours.
I still think, although I was much too optimistic in the early days, that the possibility of stopping a pregnancy very early is significant. The morning-after pill will become more accessible and easier to take. So I think the side that wants to take the choice away from women and give it to the state, they’re fighting a losing battle. Time is on the side of change.

Q: Since we are talking about abortion, I want to ask you about Gonzales v. Carhart, the case in which the court upheld a law banning so-called partial-birth abortion. Justice Kennedy in his opinion for the majority characterized women as regretting the choice to have an abortion, and then talked about how they need to be shielded from knowing the specifics of what they’d done. You wrote, “This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women’s place in the family and under the Constitution.” I wondered if this was an example of the court not quite making the turn to seeing women as fully autonomous.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: The poor little woman, to regret the choice that she made. Unfortunately there is something of that in Roe. It’s not about the women alone. It’s the women in consultation with her doctor. So the view you get is the tall doctor and the little woman who needs him.

Q: In the 1980s, you wrote about how while the sphere for women has widened to include more work, men haven’t taken on as much domestic responsibility. Do you think that things are beginning to change?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: That’s going to take time, changing that kind of culture. But looking at my own family, my daughter Jane teaches at Columbia, she travels all over the world, and she has the most outstanding supportive husband who certainly carries his fair share of the load. Although their division of labor is different than mine and my husband’s, because my daughter is a super cook.

Q: Can courts play a role in changing that culture?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: The Legislature can make the change, can facilitate the change, as laws like the Family Medical Leave Act do. But it’s not something a court can decree. A court can’t tell the man, You’ve got to do more than carry out the garbage.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Ultimate Summer Mix

The Perfect Summer Mix

Sometimes there are days at work where you just know that the phone calls will drift in and out with such irregularity in infrequency that it is OK to let your mind wander to the far reaches of your brain. Today is one of those days. This morning was spent confirming the attendance several people (finally) for my upcoming focus group. However, I knew that the afternoon was floating slowly by, with little or no real purpose. It has been an interesting summer. Having been used to the hustle bustle of The City the slower pace of the south is still taking some readjusting. That being said this afternoon was a welcomed break, and provided a huge relief! For a while I feared that I might be the only attendee at my upcoming Darkness to Light focus group. In celebration of some minor successes, I’ve decided to make the ultimate Summer 2009 Mix. It seems tragic that I am still listening to one I made back in 2005.

1) Elton John - Bennie and the Jets
2) MGMT- Electric Feel
3) Prince-I Wanna Be Your Lover
4) Arcade Fire- Rebellion
5) Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle- Don’t Kiss Me Goodbye
6) Spoon - The Way We Get By
7) M83- We Own the Sky
8) M.I.A.-Paper Planes
9) Little Brother, Median & Symbol - Right Here
10) Jay Z - Girls Girls Girls
11) Paul Simon - 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
12) The Smiths- Ask
13) Van Morrison- And It Stoned Me
14) The Rolling Stones- Beast of Burden & You Can’t Always Get What You Want
15) The Red Hot Chili Peppers- Scar Tissue
16) Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
17) Nightswimming-R.E.M.
18) Pink Floyd- Comfortably Numb
19) The National- Fake Empire
20) My Morning Jacket- Just One Thing
21) Modest Mouse –The Ocean Breathes Salty
22) Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing
23) Led Zeppelin-Fool in the Rain& Hey Hey What Can I Do
24) Elton John-Tiny Dancer
25) The Eagles-Hotel California & Take It Easy
26) The Beatles-Imagine
27) The Band-The Weight
28) The Arcade Fire –Wake Up
29) Al Green-Let’s Stay Together
30) Barry White – Oh What a Night for Dancing
31) French Kicks –Young Lawyer
32) Don Henley-Boys of Summer
33) Shiny Toy Guns-Le Disko
34) Bill Withers-Use Me
35) Allison Krauss & John Waite- Missing You
36) The Police-Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
37) Jane’s Addiction –Jane Says
38) Rilo Kiley- Portions of Foxes
39) Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
40) Air Frace No Excuses (although the whole CD is perfect)
41) Phoenix- Love Like a Sunset Part I (also perfect CD)
42) Grizzly Bear – I Live With You
43) Loyal Divide- The Tease
44) Sigur Ros- The Nothing Song

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chocolate Cake & Banana Cupcakes!

Last night my dear friend Mariah and I went to Oak to enjoy some Lillet and Brett's lovely Chocolate cake! After almost working our way through this decadent and dense chocolate creation, I began thinking about the power of sugar! After all it was my second dessert of the day, I've got a bit of a love affair with all things sweet. It is really quite the addiction!
My after lunch dessert was a simpler but a no less delicious treat. A homemade chocolate chip cookie from Sugar, with mint chocolate gelato. YUM! It seems that after all this sugar, the only thing I could think of was more sweets...which leads me to the best recipe for banana cupcakes that I've ever been given. My brilliant and beautiful friend Leslie made these sweet treats for my 25th Birthday. It was quite the celebration and these were the perfect finale. Trust me, if you love bananas foster you will want to try this cupcake rendition.

Banana Cupcakes:
Sweet-smelling, dense, and moist, these cupcakes don't really need a frosting -- it's just icing on the cake! And yes, they really do taste good made with olive oil. These cupcakes are good keepers; they stay moist for up to a week. Yields about 20 cupcakes.

Hands-on time: Cake: 15 minutes; Frosting: 10 minutes Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes Cooling Time: at least 15 minutes

Wet Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup plain yogurt

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Coffee or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee or 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (I used 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; if the frosting is too thick, you can add milk until it's your desired consistency)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two standard cupcake pans with liners, cooking spray, or butter.With an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the wet ingredients until smooth and creamy, a minute or two. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix at low speed until smooth. Spoon the batter into the cupcake pans, filling each cup about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

** For Bananas Foster cupcakes (a la Leslie), caramelize banana: slice one banana. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a non-stick pan over medium to low heat. When butter foams, turn heat to low and add banana slices. Cook until banana carmelizes, then carefully turn. Make sure to cool these before you place them on the frosting, or the frosting will melt and ooze. Place on frosted cupcakes and drizzle over with caramel sauce. Voila!

The 4th, at the White House

Stunning shot, thanks flickr! Mr. and Mrs Obama watching the fireworks over the National Mall.

The Legend of Goat Island

There is a tiny barrier island, only 200 yards off the Isle of Palms, where legend still lingers. It is called Goat Island. In the early ’30s, a man and his wife lived there in self-exile without electricity or water, choosing to turn their backs on civilization forever. Goat Island remains a place of rustic solitude - a precious, slender slice of land beyond the reach of street lights and bus stops.

It is this sense of mystery and unknown in the midst of a controlled society that has created the “Legend of Goat Island.” It began long ago and has been passed down through generations of locals who sometimes share it with worthy tourists. I’m not a native, but I was lucky to discover the truth in it.

The legend of the Goat Man began in 1931, when a Charleston butcher, Henry Holloway, and his wife Blanche, decided to free themselves form the rules, regulations and stresses of modern day society. Repelled by the intrusion of what was labeled as “progress,” the Holloways retreated from the real world as we know it, into a timeless, peaceful life of seclusion on their own deserted island - an island whose only inhabitants were a herd of goats.

There, alone, in a driftwood covered hole in the ground, sheltered only by palm fronds, they claimed squatters’ rights over the island - the sole living heirs to the virgin paradise of Goat Island’s undeveloped beaches and marshlands.

Even though the Goat Man and his wife only lived 200 yards from the shore of the Isle of Palms, they shunned the developers and life on the far side of the waterway. They learned to naturally accept what God provided them with, drinking rainwater and eating the natural vegetation underfoot. They lived in solitude under the aimless canopy of tree limbs and palms on the tiny island that provided them shelter in the rainy seasons, shade in the hot, sweltering summers, and firewood in the deathly chilling, wet island winters.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July on Goat Island

I hope that everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! It is one of my favorite holidays mostly because it centers around food, family and friends! I spent my 4th with some lovely girls from law school on the magical Goat Island. I'll post more about Goat Island later, but for now here is one of my favorite recipes (great for outdoor picnics and events). I fashioned it after a more complex version from the exquisite NYC restaurant Tabla.

Watermelon Salad

1 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Cups Watermelon, cut into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes
3 Cups Arugula
2 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves
1 Cup Fresh Mint, coarsely chopped
1/2 Cup Pistachio Nuts
1/3 Cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Mix vinegar, lemon juice and salt together. Whisk in olive oil.
Toss watermelon, arugula, baby spinach, mint and pistachios in dressing. Top with feta and cracked pepper

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Winter Garden

There are periods in your life that can’t be explained or recounted to show the magnitude of the impact they had on your life. If you are lucky there are people with you to share in the journey. These people become more than just your friends; they are inexorably linked to specific memories, places, and smells. One such period for me, was my semester in Luxembourg. For such a tiny country, it lives big. The professors were brilliant and passionate, the castle we studied in straight out of a fairy tale and the weekends of travel glorious. It was the first time in my life I realized that there was this huge adventure out there just ready to be grabbed. I have wondered since what would have happened if I wouldn’t have gone? Would have had the courage to live in New York, or the confidence to know I could conquer law school? Opening my old AOL account this morning I found an email from my favorite Luxembourg restaurant and all the memories and questions came flooding back. I spent hours upon hours in this restaurant with my (still) best friend Megan. We spent her 20th birthday upstairs working our way through one of the most decadent 4 course meals I’ve ever had (and a few bottles of champagne). It was also the first time that I realized how much I loved food. Wondering the Christmas markets, buying fresh produce and taking frequent trips to Paris (it is only 3 hours away) I learned what it means to really love and appreciate food. I hope you enjoy the pictures, the first are of Miami University, the place I left behind to go on my grand adventure. The next are of the castle in Luxembourg where I studied, and finally some pictures of my lovely restaurant Chiggeri and my beautiful friend Megan.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peace Love & Chocolate

A new amazing blog from the creator of Vosges Chocolate. The recipes are killer...I mean come on how delicious do the bacon, chocolate pancakes look?! I'll make them this weekend and document the result.

Omnivore Books

Maybe one of the best links I've posted since starting this blog...what a charming little store. Omnivore not only carries an amazing assortment of new cookbook titles, but also a fabulous array of vintage cookbooks not only from the US but the UK as well. I can only imagine how cute these books will look tucked on the back of my vintage 1960s buttercream yellow bike! I just bought the bike yesterday and am still completely enthralled with my new purchase. As soon as I get the basket attached I'll share some pictures!