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quick pickled jalapeños

December 23, 2013

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About three or four years ago, Whitney laughingly asked me one night, “Are you sure you’re not pregnant?”

I was so surprised that it took me a minute to process his question and reassure him that no, I was not pregnant.

But what prompted his query?  The fact that I had gone from a casual jalapeño eater to finishing 3 jars in the course of a month.  I was planning entire meals around them, eating them as after-dinner snacks, and taking them in a ziplock to have with my lunch at work.

While I’ve slowed down on my pickled jalapeño intake, I still really enjoy them.  And once you see how easy (and cheap!) it is to make them at home, you’ll want to keep a jar in your fridge all the time.

There’s so many more uses for pickled jalapeños than just as nacho toppings.  Serve them with scrambled eggs, on sandwiches and burgers, in baked potatoes, with roasted chicken — any dish that needs a little kick.

Or be like me and just eat them out of the jar.

Quick Pickled Jalapeños

1 c water
1 c white vinegar
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
10 jalapeños, sliced

Put the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Add the jalapeños and immediately turn the heat off.  Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes, until the jalapeños start to lose their bright green color.  Fill a jar with the jalapeños then cover them with the pickling liquid.  Store in refrigerator for up to a month.

tuesday things, vol. 19

December 17, 2013

instamy favorite instagrams this week

A few things I’m thinking about, reading, or loving right now:

  • A collection of lovely and funny reflections on The Kids’ Table, especially poignant at this time of year.
  • This is my new favorite YouTube video of all time.  I can’t even handle the cuteness.
  • I never took Art History in college, but I’m pretty sure these tips will help me pass as an art expert.
  • I am so glad the English language is catching up to my bad grammar.  Because duh.
  • A French cafe is charging their rude customers more.  Ironic much?
  • I love photo roundups.  Here’s Reuters collection of the best photos of 2013.
  • And the best NY Times Modern Love columns of 2013.  (reading each week’s new Modern Love = one of my favorite parts of the week)
  • And to round out the theme of roundups, here’s The Atlantic‘s Most Notable Global Stories of 2013.
  • Jobs in computer science are growing at twice the national average, but only 12% of computer science degree holders are women.
  • This makes me wish I lived in a place where it snowed more than once every four years.

xoxo

tuesday things, vol. 18

December 10, 2013

instagrammy favorite instagrams this week

A few things I’m thinking about, reading, or loving right now:

xoxo

festive tunes

December 9, 2013

My mom is in town visiting and she’s in the kitchen testing out recipes for her holiday party.

She’s making dulce de leche-coconut bars and these beef tenderloin bites are about to go into the oven:

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(Of note, I may not fit into my pants tomorrow.)

Anyway, we wanted to put on Christmas music, but Jennifer was a grinch!  She said she didn’t want to listen to it because it is so repetitive.

And actually, she’s right.  It’s only December 9 and I am already tired of Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

Enter Holidays Rule, my new favorite collection of Christmas tunes.  Have you all heard it?

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I wanted to tell you about it just in case you haven’t — everyone from Paul McCartney to Fun. to The Civil Wars is on the album singing traditional Christmas songs with their own twists.  Its perfect for an evening at home in the kitchen or at a big holiday party.

Merry, merry!  xoxo

chicken pot pie with cheddar-thyme crust

December 6, 2013

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Most of my girlfriends from growing up are spread out around the country – from San Francisco on one coast to Charleston and D.C. on the other.  Sometimes we go a year or two between visits, and it really makes me sad not to have them in my day-to-day life.

In between my best friend Court having her first baby and becoming pregnant with her second, we had one of those long, wonderful evenings filled with wine and catching up and laughter and more wine.

But women cannot survive on wine and love alone.  We also shared an amazing chicken pot pie that night.

As soon as I got back to Houston, I set about trying to recreate it.  I think what I really wanted was to recreate our time together and to combat the longing to be nearer each other, of course.  But this warm, comforting pot pie is a pretty close second.

Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar-Thyme Crust

Filling:
4 bone-in chicken breasts
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2/3 c white wine
3 1/2 c. chicken broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 egg yolks
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. flour

Melt the butter in a large dutch oven and add the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and place two of the chicken breasts in the pot when the butter begins to bubble. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes then flip and cook the other side for 5 more minutes. Remove to a plate then add the other two chicken breasts and cook for 5 minutes per side. Remove the remaining pieces of chicken to the plate.

Lower the heat to medium-low and add the carrots, onion, and celery. Sauté for 7-8 minutes, until translucent and slightly browned, then add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add 3 tbsp. flour and the salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika, stirring until the flour and seasonings are absorbed then stir in the wine and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook for 2 minutes then add the chicken broth.

Add the chicken back to the pot and stir in the thyme. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, heavy cream, and last tbsp. flour. Whisk in 2 tbsp. of the vegetable and chicken sauce to temper it, then add the egg mixture to the dutch oven and quickly whisk it in until just combined. Cook for 5-10 more minutes.

Remove the chicken from the bones and shred. Add it back to the thickened sauce. Stir and taste for seasonings. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Crust:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/3 c. cold water

Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor quickly to combine. Add the butter pieces, grated cheese, and thyme and pulse until the mixture has a coarse crumb texture. Add half of the water and pulse, then add the other half and pulse until the mixture starts to come together. (If necessary, add more water 1 tbsp. at a time)

Turn the mixture out into a bowl and press into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

To assemble:
Fill 8 individual crocks with the chicken mixture or pour it into a 9″x13″ dish.

Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness. Either cut in into 8 rounds to place on top of the crocks or roll it in one rectangle to place on top of the baking dish.

Cook at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

tuesday things, vol. 17

December 3, 2013

instagrammy favorite instagrams this week

A few things I’m thinking about, reading, or loving right now:

    • Brillant! Here’s how to peel an entire head of garlic in 10 seconds.
    • “Selfie” was just named the 2013 Oxford word of the year, which makes this collection of historic photos turned into selfies even funnier.
    • In a world where only 11% of engineers are female, toy company GoldieBlox is on a mission to “disturb the pink aisle” and get young girls interested in science and math. Their video will have you cheering by the end.
    • A comical look at some of the absurd items in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.
    • I just heard about this book and am dying to start it.
    • I was really glad to read this since I failed so miserably the one time I attempted a juice cleanse.
    • Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Like, A LOT.
    • Talk about a lot of wasted time.

xoxo

christmas gift guide: stocking stuffers

November 26, 2013

cgg-stocking-stuffers

These gifts are all under $25, making them great stocking stuffers as well as perfect for office gift exchanges:

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1. Wine Tags – a cheeky way to present a bottle of wine.
2. Le Pen 12 Color Set – my favorite pens in a variety of jewel tones.
3. Grow Your Own Olive Tree – for those with a green thumb.
4. St. Jude Glass Knot Paperweight – well-designed and benefiting a good cause– a win-win.
5. Vosges Exotic Chocolate Bars – choose from flavors like bacon & chocolate, black salt & caramel, and sea salt & almonds.

stocking-stuffers-2

1. Emi-Jay Hair Ties – made from a soft and stretchy material that has been hand-dyed and knotted.
2. I Am Not A Paper Cup – good for the environment, insulated to keep beverages warn, and microwave & dishwasher safe.
3. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil – the convenience of a pencil with the application of a lipstick in a jumbo-size crayon design; instantly coats lips with rich pigment.
4. Teroforma Whisky Stones – chill drinks without diluting them.
5. Pagoda Note Cards – these stylish pagoda calling cards are a must for any Chinoiserie fan.

stocking-stuffers-1

1. Straws of Steel – durable and eco-friendly, they’re also dishwasher safe.
2. Lobster (or Crawfish!) Needlepoint Key Fob – gives keys a colorful personality.
3. Fern Vegetable Bubble Bath – made with pure and natural vegetable based soap, sweet calendula petals, and chamomile… all known to soothe skin.
4. Brass Pineapple Letter Opener – the perfect decorative accent to your desktop.
5. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment – a hydrating treatment that nourishes, protects, and plumps the lips.

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Check out the rest of the Christmas Gift Guides:
Wine Lovers
Cooks & Hostesses
Athletes
Dog Lovers
Bibliophiles
Whisky Lovers
Ladies
Gentlemen
Everyone

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