Everlane the short sleeve shirt

wardrobe: the short sleeve

This summer calls for the simplest short sleeve shirt and Everlane has made the perfect one.  It’s nice to have a button up that you don’t have to tuck in for those times you don’t want to show the waist line of your pants/skirt.  Keeping it untucked also helps with the ventilation. The straight horizontal edge makes this okay.  And because the shirt has a short torso (but falling short of ‘cropped’), it looks great with a pair of high waisted shorts when you’re out of the office.  Plus, since it is 100% cotton it’ll keep you feeling fresh in the muggy summer heat.  Whereas, polyester and silk tend to get clingy and hate to say it (smelly) in this weather.  I also love the A-line detailing of the shoulders which softens up the edges and gives it a modern European touch.  Not to mention, $48 for a well constructed 100% cotton shirt is a pretty good deal for something you’ll probably have on heavy rotation.

pan seared ravioli

Recipe: Quick Pan-Seared Ravioli

Since I don’t really have the time to be making ravioli from scratch, I was trying to think of ways to cheer up pre-made ravioli.  I drew inspiration from east asian methods of pan frying dumplings, and voila! was able to whip up this tasty dinner in just 15 minutes that you wouldn’t guess was from the freezer aisle.

You’ll need:  pre-made ravioli (I used Buitoni’s shrimp scampi ravioli since it was on sale for $2.50), 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 red onion chopped roughly, 1 riped on the vine tomato roughly chopped, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons EVOO, roughly chopped basil (or other herb), salt and freshly ground pepper, and grated cheese (optional).

Gently boil the ravioli for 6 minutes with a splash of EVOO in the water to prevent sticking.  Then combine butter and EVOO in large non stick pan.  When hot, add onions, garlic, and cooked ravioli (pat dry with paper towel first).  Make sure the ravioli is in a single layer so that it can sear evenly.  In about 1 minute, turn each ravioli over.  It should be slightly browned and crispy.  Add lemon juice, tomatoes, and chopped basil over top.  Generously season with salt and pepper.  After another minute, remove only the ravioli with tongs to plate.  Now toss around the remaining veggies with a flick of the wrist to integrate all the flavors for 30 seconds more, so that the onions and garlic are slightly charred.  Pour the veggies over the ravioli and sprinkle with grated cheese (parmesan ideally, but I used cojita since I had some on hand).

Wardrobe: Summer Staples

summer 2014 wardrobe

Lately, I’ve been paying attention to the foundational pieces in my closet, getting back to basics…this new ‘haul’ is a bit normcore, it includes all my new essentials:  the transport tote from Madewell in dark navy, these made in Germany narrow arizona Birkenstocks in black for walks in the park, classic keds in black leather for any time, lisa marie fernandez byzantine bikini top, and these super affordable effortless tanks from H&M that go with everything.  I feel a bit giddy knowing how much use I’m going to get out of each of these.

If you hadn’t already noticed, Birkenstocks are back.  It started with Celine, Kate Moss, the Olsen twins, then zara, j. crew, and many other retail stores started making knock off versions.  It became so popular, the German company had to recently expand production to keep up with demand.  The black ones are pretty much sold out everywhere except Zappos if you opt for the Vegan leather version which happens to be $40 cheaper and just as comfortable.  Susie Bubble did a great piece on this shoe craze when she was invited to tour the factory last fall.  Anyway, I’ve been getting a lot of use out of them and my fallen arches are glad they’re back.

Recipe: Pan Seared Scallops with Basil Garlic Whole Wheat Pasta

Pan seared scallops basil pasta
This made for a quick summer lunch that felt light, healthy but still very filling.  It’s probably essential to watch the Alton Brown video on how to properly sear scallops which entails careful attention to timing. The pasta was surprisingly good too, which I kinda just winged with some leftover basil leaves.  The bay scallops were just $6 dollars at my local market.

You’ll need:  About 8 medium to large fresh bay scallops, big handful of basil leaves, 5 garlic cloves, 4 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of butter, 1/4 of a box of whole wheat thin spaghetti, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Start cooking your spaghetti in salt water with care not to overcook; probably better to undercook because it will continue to cook when you saute it later.  Meanwhile, combine the basil, garlic, 2 tablespoons of EVOO in a food processor til chopped finely (but not pureed).  With a large frying pan, sear your scallops a la Alton Brown, when done, set aside on a plate.  Now wipe down the pan and on medium-high heat, add about two tablespoons of the basil sauce to the pan and let sizzle for about 45 seconds.  Then add the pasta, toss around for 3 minutes, season generously with salt and pepper.  Turn off heat and let the pasta sit in the pan undisturbed for 2 more minutes to get a nice crispy texture on some of the pasta.  And finally, plate it all with the scallops.

Apartment: DIY Lamp with Copper Pipe

copper pipe DIY lamp

I’m pretty satisfied with this weekend DIY project.  Made a cute simple lamp in the corner of my living room out of copper piping and an edison lightbulb.  All the supplies were bought at home depot for a total of $46 from the piping and lighting sections.  On the left is a copper pipe cutter.  I will spare you the instructions since it’s pretty intuitive.  The glow from these vintage-y bulbs are flattering to every skintone, has the hue of candle light but enough brightness to light a small room.

Copper Pipe Lamp DIY

(on the left is a copper pipe cutter $14; alternatively you can custom the pipes with a saw)

Home: Avocado Mint Candle

avocado mint candle

This candle is amazing!  The smell is subtle and interesting.  Who would have thunk avocado and mint go well together?  The lady at Anthro was gushing about this candle and now I can see why.  Also, the container is very unique and cute, and when it’s all done I’ll probably use it as a pencil holder. [$16 Anthropologie]

Recipe: Filipino Adobo Chicken

When I heard that this recipe was considered by many to be the best chicken recipe in the world, I had to try it.  Plus I wanted a good excuse to try out my new ceramic cast iron skillet.

adobo chicken

You’ll need:  3 lb organic chicken cut into 8 pieces, 8 cloves garlic, 1.5 cups coconut milk, 1 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water, 4 bay leaves, scallions.  Served with cooked white rice.

photo (6)

Combine soy sauce, water, vinegar, bay leaves, chopped garlic, and 3/4 cup of the coconut milk into the skillet.  Bring to boil.  Then add chicken and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes cover.  Flip the chicken over a couple times during this process.  You can either let the chicken marinade in this sauce over night, or like I did, roast just the chicken on very high heat 450 degrees in the oven for 15 minutes or so on a baking sheet.  Meanwhile, add the rest of the coconut milk to the sauce, and reduce the sauce until you have about 1 cup of liquid.  Serve with rice.  Drizzle sauce over the chicken and sprinkle a bunch of sliced scallions over top.  I still think Jamie Oliver’s milk chicken is a little better, but this is a close second.

Recipe: Fusilli & Veggies

ImageThis simple vegetarian pasta recipe by Mark Bittman was surprisingly delicious.  I’ll definitely be making this one again and again.

You’ll need:  4-5 cups cooked whole wheat fusilli pasta, corn kernels from 3 ears of corn, 2 cups of diced zucchini, 1 medium onion chopped, 4 cloves of garlic minced, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon leaves, one handful of cherry tomatoes halved, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, generous pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, a really large frying pan or large dutch oven, and 30 minutes.

Cook the whole wheat pasta in really salty water, reserving some of the pasta water for the end.  Heat your pan, add 2 T of EVOO and cook the corn for 5 minutes til slightly brown.  Add the diced zucchini and push it down so it touches the bottom of the pan, cook for another 5 minutes.  Add 2-3 pinches of salt and pepper, onions and garlic.  Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the tarragon leaves and tomatoes, stir and cook for 5 more minutes.  Turn the heat off.  Add the pasta along with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, stir well.  The pasta should be glistening with olive oil, season again generously, each fusilli should be speckled with freshly ground pepper.  You can add a spoonful of pasta water if it all looks too dry at the end.  This is supremely yummy and healthy too. Enjoy!