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Spring Salad with Berries, Walnuts, Goat Cheese

April 16, 2013


by Emily
berry walnut goat cheese saladBetween my Fennel, Pear, & Walnut Salad and this new post, I must be on some sort of spring salad kick. With fruit (other than citrus!) starting to come available again and sunnier skies and warmer temperatures, salads sound and taste so good again. Perfect on its own for lunch or a light dinner or paired with pretty much anything, this salad can turn into your spring and summer side staple. Apart from incorporating leafy greens into my diet, I am also a big fan of salads that call for fruit without being overly or unnaturally sweet. Swap out walnuts for cashews or pecans, the goat cheese for feta, and the berries for anything in season and you have yourself the most flexible salad recipe ever. Enjoy!

Spring Salad with Berries, Walnuts, Goat Cheese
1 bunch mixed greens (I used a mixture of spinach and kale), washed, patted dry and de-stemmed, if necessary
1 handful blueberries and raspberries (or whatever you have on hand)
1 handful raw walnuts (or cashews, pecans)
crumpled goat cheese

For the Dressing:
1 clove garlic, smashed
lemon juice
olive oil
dash of mustard
kosher salt & pepper

In a medium-sized bowl, rub garlic around bowl’s interior, set aside. Whisk together equal parts lemon juice and olive oil in the coated bowl. Add a dash to a tablespoon of mustard and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Place mixed greens in bowl and toss with dressing to coat. Add walnuts and berries and continue tossing. Top with goat cheese and enjoy!




The Friday Find: The Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich

April 12, 2013


Last year husband went to the Masters at the “most beautiful place on earth” for the “best vacation of his life.” So much for the honeymoon in paradise! Sadly he’s back at home watching in on TV again this year, so I’ve decided we’re having Pimento Cheese sandwiches for lunch to make him feel a little bit better about it.


The only food photo husband will ever take

It seems the actual Augusta National Pimento Cheese Recipe is a highly guarded secret. But from some internet sleuthing, I’ve found one that seems to be a popular recreation. From the picture taken of the authentic sandwich, it looks to me like the secret is keeping the Pimento Cheese nice and simple – nothing fussy, sharp cheddar, mayo and pimentos on white bread. Have an Arnold Palmer to drink for extra golf fun. (You might need to add a splash of vodka to stay entertained by the golf on TV if you’re like me.)


Apparently sandwiches are still a steal at $1.50 at Augusta National!

Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, via Your Southern Peach

makes 2 sandwiches

4 oz. extra-sharp Vermont yellow cheddar, finely grated (1 1/2 cups)
Half a jar of pimento (3 oz.), drained, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Texas Pete pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup watercress sprigs, tough stems discarded, if desired.
Mix everything together in a medium bowl. Spread half of the pimento cheese on each of 2 slices of white bread. Top with 2 more slices of bread. Cut into triangles if you feel the need to make them cute, but men will likely disapprove.

notes from Your Southern Peach, which I thoroughly agree with:

Be sure to use a good quality cheese and grate yourself.
After dicing the pimentos, press them in a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
To serve Augusta National style, use simple white bread.
Arnold Palmer
Pour equal amounts iced tea and lemonade over ice. A splash of sweet tea vodka is nice if you really feel like celebrating.

Mexican Black Beans and Rice with Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette

April 10, 2013

by Elizabeth

Or, how to turn leftovers into something “inventive.” As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to get better about cooking with what I have on hand more often. And more often than not, I have leftover rice and beans in the fridge. We eat a fair amount of mexican at home (healthier than going to Mi Cocina 3 times a week I tell myself), hence the rice and beans surplus. Plus they are easy and healthy sides. Generally, we just reheat them and eat them as they are (shocking, I know).


But the thought of eating just beans and rice for a meal is awfully boring. Inspired by this month’s Bon Appétit, I decided to fancy up the leftover beans and rice for an easy lunch. Of course feta and avocado make everything better, but the best part of this dish is really the dressing. The tangy lime and spicy peppers really added the missing zap of flavor beans and rice beg for. This lunch was actually filling and satisfying than I expected, even for a die hard protein at every meal girl like me.

Mexican Black Beans and Rice Bowl, inspired by Bon Appétit

serves 2 – easily split

2 cups cooked black beans (see below)

2 cups cooked brown rice (see below)

1 avocado, chopped

4 tablespoons feta cheese

quick pickled onions (soak 1 sliced red onion in 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt)

Lime Jalapeño Garlic Vinaigrette (below), to taste

Really complicated. Divide the warmed beans and rice into two bowls. Top with the avocado, feta, onions and vinaigrette.

Lime Jalapeño Garlic Vinaigrette

(enough for 2 servings)

2 small cloves garlic, minced

8 slices pickled jalapeño, minced

zest of one lime

juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons lime olive oil (regular olive oil will work too)

Black Beans à la Liz

Drain most of the liquid off of one can of black beans. Pour into a small pot. Add approximately 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and smoked paprika. Heat until warmed through. For thicker consistency, I sometimes mash about half of the beans up with the back of a spoon or fork. Taste, and add more seasonings if necessary.

Brown Mexican Rice à la Liz

For 1 cup quick cooking brown rice, add to cooking liquid (chicken broth is better than water): 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon onion and garlic powder. A dash of cumin is nice too. For boil in bag varieties, I at least double the amount of seasonings, since not all of the water needed is absorbed into the rice.

Fennel, Pear, & Walnut Salad

April 9, 2013

by Emily

fennel pear walnut salad

Having never been any kind of fan of licorice, I am shocked how much I enjoy fennel these days. Roasted or raw, I think fennel has a nice, subtle flavor that pairs well with everything from fruits (dried or fresh) to polenta. I wanted to recreate this salad after having something very similar at 606 R&D in Brooklyn the other weekend. I can’t seem to find it on their current menu (perhaps a special?),  it was certainly memorable. Pleasantly fresh and simple, this is a great early spring salad that will happily compliment pasta dishes, meat, or even a vegetable tasting menu.

Fennel, Pear, & Walnut Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
inspired by 606 R&D in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

1 fennel bulb
1 ripe pear
handful of walnuts, toasted
lemon juice
olive oil
dash of mustard
kosher salt & pepper

Thinly slice fennel bulb and loosely arrange on a plate or serving dish. Cut pear into wedges or matchsticks and sprinkle on top of the fennel. Whisk equal parts lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Add a dash of mustard and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Dress salad to taste and add toasted walnuts. Enjoy!

I decided to leave this salad cheese-less, but goat cheese, blue cheese, or even Parmesan chips sound like a wonderful addition.


The Friday Find: Kitchen Gadgets

April 5, 2013

We love handy kitchen gadgets in our kitchens, especially those that are multi-function, reasonably priced, and don’t take up a ton of drawer or counter space. This Friday, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites, complete with the Deux Maisons stamp of approval! Happy weekend menu planning and cooking!

Emily’s Favorites

kitchen gadgets

Silicone Spatula – my friend Kathryn – an exceptional cook – gave this to me for my birthday one year and it is, by far, the most used tool in my kitchen. I can saute, scrape, and flip all with one handy tool! Highly recommend.

Garlic Peeler – another friend Catherine – also an exceptional cook! – showed me the wonderful world of quick garlic peeling with this handy little silicone loop. Roll garlic cloves in this clever device and save yourself the frustration of garlic peeling tedium.

Liz’s Favorites

Microplane – I seriously use this every day. Not only for cheese (which is obviously a priority 🙂 but also for garlic, shallots, ginger, citrus zest, chocolate, etc. Anything at all that you want super finely minced or shredded.

Quarter Sheet Pan – Not the sexiest of kitchen items, but I also use this almost every day. Since I’m usually just cooking for two people (or one as the case may be when brussels sprouts are involved), this pan is the perfect size for a few servings of roasted veggies, 2 chicken breasts, a tenderloin, a few strips of bacon, reheating leftovers, or even a petite tart or baked brie.

Greek Layered Dip

April 4, 2013

by Elizabeth


Our friend Elizabeth (another one, not me sillies) celebrated her recent birthday at her family ranch in the hill country – where I became re-obsessed with succulents. This was back in early February, when nature was still teasing us with the possibility of an early spring. In fact, it was 80˙ out and we were laying out by the pool. It was glorious. We were also eating, a lot. Because that is what girls do when left alone in the country for a weekend. We carbo-load for all those strenuous “hikes” (aka 5 minute walk) down to the river.

Her mom generously stocked the kitchen for us and left us this incredible Greek Layered Dip. It was embarrassing how fast we devoured it, really. We all love hummus, but add garlicky cream cheese, olives, tomatoes and every other “Greek” topping imaginable and you might have the best dip ever. It also tastes like summer to me (maybe because when eating Greek food I like to imagine I’m in Mykonos) and is a perfect patio sitting and rosé sipping snack. So now that finally, two months later, it might actually be spring, it’s time for more Greek layered dip. And I wish that I could share a big dish of this dip and a toast with my co-blogger on her birthday today! Happiest of birthdays to Emily!!


Greek Layered Dip, adapted from Dana Volk via

serves 12-16 for an appetizer

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (alternately you can use 4 ounces of cream cheese and 4 ounces of greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of dried Italian Herb seasoning
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ cups of prepared hummus
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped tomato or sun-dried tomato
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives (I used plain black and it was still delicious)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions
Pita chips or crackers

Mix cream cheese with lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Spread across the bottom of a 9 inch pie dish (or other shallow serving dish). Top with hummus, followed by tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta and green onions. Serve with crackers and pita chips, or, you know, eat it with a spoon.

Simple Sides: Cornmeal Crusted Potatoes

April 2, 2013

by Emily

polenta crusted potatoes





For Thanksgiving brunch, I served Gwyneth Paltrow’s crispy lemon potatoes. While they were absolutely delicious, they took me much longer to roast and crisp up than the recipe called for. While I love those pan fried lemon potatoes with jalapeno as a quick alternative, I really prefer a crispness that only the oven seems to offer. On the heels of Christina Tosi’s suggestion of using corn in recipes to provide a great depth of flavor, I was so glad to come across yet another lovely alternative for crispy potatoes. Perfect for brunch (I made them for Easter) or a simple side at dinner, these potatoes crisped up so nicely and took a very reasonable amount of time to make. I definitely think you should give them a shot at your next brunch or dinner feast!

polenta crusted

Cornmeal Crusted Potatoes
via Simple Bites

2 pounds (about 6-8 medium)
1/4 cup polenta or cornmeal (not quick cooking)
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary leaves
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled

Cut each potato in half, then in half again, and again in half until you have 8 even chunks. Place in a medium pot with 1 teaspoon salt, cover with cold water and place over high heat

Bring potatoes to a boil, then lower the heat slightly and boil for ten minutes. Meanwhile, preheat to oven to 425°F.
In a small bowl, mix together polenta, salt and pepper. Drain potatoes well in a colander. In a medium bowl, sprinkle with polenta seasoning and toss gently to coat.

In a large (12-inch) cast iron pan or heavy-bottomed skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. When small bubbles begin to rise (but before oil is smoking) and oil is very hot, add rosemary and garlic. Stir carefully with tongs for a minute.

Add seasoned potatoes all at once to the hot, fragrant oil and arrange them with your tongs so that they are evenly distributed around the pan. Place the skillet on the bottom shelf of the hot oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven carefully and turn each potato so the crispy side faces up. Return to oven for another five or ten minutes.

Remove potatoes from oven and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a serving platter. Sprinkle with fresh chopped rosemary, if desired, and serve at once. Cool, then strain and reserve the oil remaining in the pan for another use.

The Friday Find: Happy Easter!

March 29, 2013

Happy Easter weekend friends! Is anyone hostessing this Sunday? We love a light (er) midday meal for Easter, roasting a leg of lamb or whole ham just seems to take to much time after egg hunts and church. Eggs of some sort and cute dessert seem to be a requirement for Easter brunch, but we also love to include lots of spring vegetables and fresh flavors.

Casual Easter Brunch

Cheddar Brunch Biscuits with store-bought ham and preserves

Herb Baked Eggs

Spring Panzanella

Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette

Easter Basket Cake

C Wonder Round Up: Chinoiserie + Gold

March 26, 2013

I dropped in C Wonder the other day and there are lots of new, fresh things in lovely, spring colors with extremely approachable price tags. Their faux shagreen, bamboo, and chinoiserie details are fun takes on the classics, and we are loving many of their new home decor pieces, especially the aqua and gold touches…shocking! Take a look at some of our favorites and get to shopping!

C Wonder Round Up

Shagreen Textured Ceramic Plate

Bamboo Salad Servers

Bamboo Embossed Frame in Gold

Pierced Ginger Jars

Printed Chinoiserie Pillow Cover

Decorative Lacquer Boxes

The Friday Find: Bedside Table Styling

March 22, 2013

We met Emily Henderson several years ago at a HGTV lunch we attended related to the ever-so memorable Nate Berkus (“Berkus-Circus”) taping in New York. While we were certainly out of our element when HGTV did mini on camera interviews of the bloggers, Emily is completely at ease with herself, and knows how to manage that camera. Impressive, no?!

So fast forward to 2013 and Emily Henderson is hosting a Bedside Table Styling competition on her Facebook page! So why not enter? Here is our Emily’s entry:

emily henderson submissionYou can vote here for Emily’s bedside table!

And then check out some inspiring pictures of other bedside tables we love! Whether you tend towards the glam or the rustic, you’re sure to see something you like. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

EPSON MFP imagevia House Beautiful

via Bon AppetitJohn Robshaw’s home via Bon Appetit

via House Beautiful 1

via House Beautiful

via Apt TherapyEmily Henderson’s own home via Apartment Therapy