Thursday, June 27, 2013

Living Room: Update

"after" but more like "in progress"

As you may remember from this post, I've wanted to change the TV situation in my living room for quite awhile. It may have taken 4 months, but I've finally begun the process and purchased two pieces for the living room (and given away the old Ikea piece). The bookcase is from Crate and Barrel, but I got it for over 50% off at an outlet store, and the dresser is an antique from the early 1900's that I bought at the Chelsea Antique Garage. As a side note, the Antique Garage is quickly becoming one of my favorite places and I've found some pretty amazing deals there, so if you're near NYC, go!

While far from done, hello crazy picture hanging out in space in the top right corner, the change is already making me so happy. The room feels instantly bigger and brighter, a huge thing in tiny NYC apartments, and I can't wait to style all those shelves (and maybe buy a thing or two for them too, of course ;). I'll be sure to share pictures once it's truly done, and maybe even a whole apartment tour, but for now, these in process pictures will just have to do.

xx Molly


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Eggplant Sliders

For years I have been experimenting with making a healthier eggplant. Recipes frequently instruct cutting, salting, resting and rinsing which I deem unnecessary. Recipes also frequently instruct frying which gets to the nitty gritty of my quest. For years I brushed with olive oil and baked, grilled, or dipped in bread crumbs and baked. While brushing with olive oil used less oil than frying it was still oily. I've tried simply baking, roasting, broiling or grilling and ignoring oil at all, but that left the eggplant tough. Finally, I figured it out!

First I use my new oil limit, which is one tablespoon, and fry about six cloves of finely chopped garlic until golden. This is important! Let the oil cool a bit. I then add a strong veggie broth and the easiest way to do this, if you haven't made your own, is to double or triple in strength in one cup of water those salt-free, vegan Rapunzel veggie cubes. I add my new best friend---Aleppo chilies, a freshly ground black pepper/cayenne blend and perhaps some other herbs according to my whim.

After boiling it a bit I dip the cut eggplant, flip and dip again. A nearby cookie sheet covered with parchment paper eventually goes into a 350 oven filled with my eggplant for about ten minutes per side.

I doesn't matter if you're making horizontal or vertical slices that are thick or thin. You can cut thick slices into cubes. The resultant eggplant is tender, tasty, and ready for your next step which may be these sliders.

Now, the sliders are simply an assembly process.

On toasted mini whole wheat pitas spread pesto. Add an eggplant round then a slice of tomato. Sprinkle some cheese---your favorite, perhaps Daiya mozzarella type. A little oregano and basil would be good. Put them back in the oven to melt the cheese. Eat each one in two or three bites.

xx Mama and Molly

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quote of the Week

Hope you have a happy and magical weekend.

xx Molly

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Champagne Variations

If you're looking for some easy and delicious ways to spice up a glass of champagne, look no further. This past weekend my parents were visiting and we had plenty to be happy about, so we decided to pop a bottle of Veuve and celebrate. Of course champagne is delicious all on its lonesome, but with liquors and syrups it can be equally good. We tried, St Germain, an elderberry liquor and favorite of mine, Domaine de Canton, a ginger liquor, and rhubarb, mint, and honey simple syrups. So, so yummy. My favorite new discovery was the rhubarb syrup in champagne but a splash of mint syrup and ginger liquor was pretty amazing as well. 

xx Molly

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Sunday Brunch at Home

We usually save most of our restaurant dollars to spend during our visits to Molly and her fiance in New York. Even though we enjoy exploring the huge diversity and incredible quality of the restaurants in NYC, my family still enjoys Mama's vegetarian cooking. So, on our last visit I gathered some groceries and made brunch with the help of my terrific sous chefs.

xx Mama and Molly

I brought:
green asparagus
white asparagus
fresh peas
heirloom tomatoes
100% whole wheat pizza crusts, individually sized
bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls)
blue cheese

Sunday morning while Molly and Alex were still sleeping Anthony and I went to a green market on 114th Street and Broadway and bought:
garlic scape pesto
fresh fava beans
baby kale
parmigiana cheese
fiddlehead ferns

I've taught Molly to keep a few things stocked, so we used:
frozen homemade pesto
Aleppo chilies
veggie bullion cubes

It was a marathon and we made the veggie sauté by:
Roasting the mushrooms on a jelly roll pan with a spritz of olive oil from a

Creating a very flavorful broth with the veggie cubes, some pepper and the Aleppo chilies that we used to barely cook the cut asparagus, fiddleheads, shelled peas and shelled and skinned favas; then added the mushrooms.
Plated the melange on top of a bed of the baby kale with a little piece of blue cheese on top of it all.

In the meantime we:
Toasted the four pizza shells in the oven.
Sautéd the ramp bulbs in a tablespoon of olive oil. Then added the greens.
Sliced the tomatoes.
Broke the bocconcini.
Spread the garlic scape pesto on two of the shells and the basil pesto on the other two.
Topped the basil pesto with the tomatoes and then the bocconcini.

Topped the garlic scape pesto with the ramps and parmigiana.

Popped the pizzas in the oven for the cheese to melt.
Sat down and feasted like vegetarian kings then went out and walked the rest of the day to work off brunch.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Target Pants and Shirt, Free People Sunnies

Before venturing out on our Citi Bikes, the boy and I visited Smorgasburg, which is part of the Brooklyn flea and food markets. We went to the DUMBO location, which apparently stands for "down under the Manhattan Brooklyn overpass," a fitting title considering we really were right under the bridge. The market itself consists of a bunch of food vendors, both fresh and packaged, and a location right on the waterfront, perfect for a picnic. We had Indian chaat, or snacks, and an ice cream cookie, all making for a perfect Sunday morning.

xx Molly 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tacombi at Fonda Nolita

Funny enough, I think one of the things that New York City is really lacking in is great Mexican food. We've found a couple we've enjoyed here and here, but overall there just aren't that many, or maybe I just haven't found them yet? Either way, I was happy to discover Tacobmi for its casual vibe and yummy tacos, many of which are vegetarian friendly. We will definitely be on our way back soon.

xx Molly

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

CSA Update

Yesterday we had our first CSA pick up of the season and boy are we happy. For about $35 we got a whole host of organic fruits and veggies including: swiss chard, curly kale, baby mix lettuce, thyme, sage, arugula, cilantro, dill, radish, spinach, garlic scapes, yellow onions, and strawberries. Now we just need to figure out what to make with all of it! So happy we joined a CSA this year.

xx Molly

What Mama's Cooking: Quinoa, Tofu and Mushrooms

This is a recipe I created to incorporate more mushrooms and onions into our meals following the advise of Dr. Joel Furman. He says eating GOMBS: greens, onions, mushrooms, beans and berries, and seeds is an anti-cancer formula. I incorporated quinoa because I had recently expanded my use of various grains. Dr. Furman, I learned that quinoa is more correctly a seed rather than a grain.

xx Mama and Molly

2 cups quinoa, rinsed
2 cups if using quinoa
3 porcini broth, veggie broth cubes or a combination
12 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 portabello mushroom, chopped
1 cluster Maitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground pepper
1 container extra firm tofu, pressed then sliced

I find my tofu press indispensable!

Bring quinoa, water & broth cubes to a boil then cover & simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

In a non-stick pan: Sauté garlic & onion in oil until garlic is slightly golden and onions are transparent. Add mushrooms cooking until slightly moist and golden. Add sliced tofu to pan pushing aside mushrooms so the tofu comes in contact with the pan and moisture, then flip tofu so it is cooked about 3 minutes per side.

Serve quinoa topped with tofu then mushrooms.

This has become one of my husband's favorite meals. What do you think, Dr. Furman?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Citi Bike and The Brooklyn Bridge

Target Pants and Shirt, Anthropologie Shoes, Free People Sunnies

Have you heard about the new bike share program in New York City? The concept is similar to many European cities, and DC, and the city has installed bike stations throughout much of mid and lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. With a 24-hour pass you can ride the bikes for 30-minute intervals without additional charges, so as long as you get to a bike station, check-in, and get a new bike before your 30-minutes are up, you can pretty much ride around all day for roughly $10 per person. Eager to give it a try, this past weekend the boy and I decided to ride across the Brookyln Bridge, and overall we had a pretty pleasant experience. There are still a couple kinks that need working out, some of the stations in Brooklyn weren’t working and we sometimes had to get multiple codes for a new bike before one would actually work, but we rode all afternoon without much hassle or much expense. In a city where our apartment is far too small to store bikes, we can definitely see ourselves using these from time to time, now if only they would add stations above 59th street...

xx Molly

That's the Empire State Building in the distance

Monday, June 10, 2013

Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic

About a week ago, I had a girl’s day where we all attended the Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic. While there technically was a polo match involved, the day was mostly dedicated to dressing up in sundresses, packing and eating a picnic lunch, and, of course, drinking champagne. It was such a fun day with the ladies.

xx Molly 

Old Navy Dress (old), Free People Sunnies

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Veggies

It seems to me that I’m seeing mentions of roasted chickpeas, and the recipes to create them, more and more frequently. Some recipes roast them with spices and/or herbs, with or without oil. This recipe uses a little oil. At the Indian grocers I buy channa - remember chickpeas, garbanzos, cecis and now, channa - already dried (dehydrated really) without oil and seasoned with spices to eat as a protein-packed snack.

For myself I took the roasted chickpea plunge when I found this
recipe for "A Main-Course Salad with Spinach and Chickpeas" in the New York Times. Yum, roasted veggies and farmer's market fresh spinach, and herbs and spices add many micro-nutrients, too.

I made the slightest change and added double the cumin and chili powder, but I could have added even more. Perhaps two cans of chickpeas would have been better, too.

Never before have I made a yogurt dressing and it was delicious, but make sure to mince the garlic finer than I have pictured because that size chop took a lot of effort to turn it into a paste.

xx Mama and Molly