Thursday, December 20, 2007

Totally Lazy Last-minute Holiday Shopping Guide

Last night I was shopping for spatulae at the Brooklyn Kitchen. I asked the owner what else I should pick up for my mom for Christmas and she said, "Egg pants!!" Wow, egg pants? It's really the gift for the cook who has everything. Here's some other ideas for Christmas gift housewares, from HSW to you.

Heart-shaped Egg Mold (tell the eggs to drop their pants and get in the pan)

Dear Diary Flask in a Box

Naked Men in Oven Mitts Magnets

Wine Glass Holder Necklace

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cocktail Party Turned Animal House and a Breakfast Miracle

I tried to have a classy holiday cocktail party -- cranberry-pear bellinis, artichoke dip, crudites, bourbon-pecan truffles, the works! And what happens?

Untitled from KneeniG on Vimeo.

My guy friends end up shotgunning tall boys in my kitchen, and the cops show up on a noise complaint. Hey-o!

After all this mayhem, I woke up Sunday "morning" sometime around 1pm having just dreamed a wonderful dream about the most delicious breakfast. I imagined a poached egg sitting atop a bed of creamy grits, smothered in hollandaise sauce and served to me in a stemmed dessert dish. "Wow," I thought, "that would be delicious. I will have to try making that when I'm not so hungover." I started to imagine it as the signature item in the cookbook I will publish some day.

I met a friend in Fort Greene for brunch around 2pm at this fantastic French place iCi. The restaurant specializes in local ingredients and incidentally is owned by former reality TV guy Laurent Saillard, from Bravo's The Restaurant. Well, what to my wondering eyes did appear on the menu? Poached Eggs with Grits and Truffle Sauce. When it arrived, the truffle sauce turned out to a more elegant sort of hollandaise sauce -- it was the breakfast from my dream (minus the dessert dish)!! Friends, it was a breakfast miracle.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 3

It's a special Christmas episode of Rock and Roll Recipe Radio, and I am joined in the kitchen by my friend Anna. She makes the hot toddys while I mix the cookie dough, we both lick the mixers, and I handle the balls. I mean shaping the cookies into balls. Here's the holiday playlist:

The Wedding Present - Step Into Christmas
Smoking Popes - O Holy Night
The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song
The Flaming Lips - Christmas at the Zoo
The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
Coldplay - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 3 - Dark Chocolate/White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Decorating with Wrapping Paper

Success with a decorating project! I wanted to frame two Audubon bird prints I found at an antique shop recently. I happened to have two metal Ikea frames with concert posters I was ready to retire, but the frames were way too large for the delicate little prints. Inspiration struck! Off to my favorite card and gift shop I went in search of some nice wrapping paper, and I was happy to find this antique-looking paper with shades of green that play well off the prints. After that, it was a cinch to cut the paper to fit the frame and tape the bird prints down in the center. Ta-da!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Turning Japanese (or Thai, or whatever, isn't it all the same?)

Okay, that was not actually my attitude when I decided to make a Vietnamese-style Thanksgiving side dish for my cousin's Chinese exchange student. I was just thinking Asian fusion, people. Does anyone really believe that this nice college girl from Shanghai would really be offended by my contribution of David Chang's beloved Momofuku roasted brussels sprouts to our otherwise pretty traditional Thanksgiving dinner? My mom told me Li Ting was a vegetarian, so I simply thought I'd make a veggie side dish with a little spicy kick that might appeal to the visiting exchange student. It's not like I was going to make a speech after the grace explaining how I welcome her to our country and please accept this gift of roasted brussels sprouts in the style of your people. I just love Momofuku's sprouts and wanted very much to eat them myself.

Leading up to Thanksgiving dinner at my folks' house in Chicago I was also starting to imagine the dinner scene from Sixteen Candles where Chinese exchange student Long Duk Dong is perplexed by the quiche and grandpa says, "You don't spell it, you eat it!" Only grandpa would be my dad saying something vaguely, though unintentionally, offensive about Asian people (like calling them "oriental"), and Molly Ringwald would be played by my best friend whose family was joining us for dinner and who was celebrating her birthday that same day.

As it turned out, Li Ting couldn't join us after all, and my friend's birthday was impossible to forget thanks to a massive Mayflower cake she baked for the dual occasion. And I'm not too sure the members of my meat and potatoes eating family cared much for my fish-sauce soaked sprouts, but dammit I liked them!

(Yes, those are little pilgrims made out of Teddy Grahams)

In other Asian cooking news, last night I cooked up a dish of ginger soy salmon with coconut chili spinach. It did a miracle on clearing out my stuffy nose and throat, but word to the wise-- after working with Thai chili paste and cutting up chili peppers, be careful what sensitive body parts you touch with your spicy fingers. Yeeouch!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 2

In the spirit of fall, I decided to make some cozy, harvest-y food. Plus someone challenged me to make lasagna. Tune in to the link below to hear me fumbling around in the kitchen with organic butternut squash, lasagna sheets that stick together, and layers that I get out of order thanks to too many glasses of wine. Or just tune in for the music below:

Neil Young - Harvest Moon
R.E.M. - Me in Honey
Iron and Wine - My Lady's House
Nick Drake - At the Chime of a City Clock
Pela - Lost to the Lonesome
Smashing Pumpkins - Crush
Pavement - Elevate Me Later

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 2 - Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna

Check out the recipe I was working from (and straying from) here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Erotic Cakes

My lucky friend celebrated her birthday last weekend with THIS BIRTHDAY CAKE:

(image courtesy of Strach)

The only thing that would make this cake more perfect is if he was dressed in a slim-fit grey cardigan.

(image courtesy of my brain)

Awwww hell yeah

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Rocking Out and Eating Out with Yo La Tengo

It's an especially great time for people who love both food and rock and roll. People like me. I've talked about Kara Zuaro's indie rock cook book, there's a link on the left to Post Punk Kitchen, and hopefully by now you've heard about Dinner With the Band, an online TV show that's brought NYC bands like Pela, Grizzly Bear and Matt & Kim in the studio to cook and to rock out.

Good food and good rock and roll meet again in the fall issue of my favorite free magazine, Edible Brooklyn. The regular feature, The Brooklyn Fridge -- in which Edible Brooklyn visits a prominent Brooklynite and dissects their 'fridge -- features Yo La Tengo bass player James McNew and his Red Hook apartment kitchen. A Brooklyn resident since 1991, McNew elaborates on his favorite places to food shop and eat in the borough I call home. I cranked up "Cherry Chapstick" on my iPod and let the drooling begin as I read this great little article on the train to work.

Read the full article by opening the pdf here. Or pick up a free copy of Edible Brooklyn around town.

**Update** I ran into James McNew at a bar in Park Slope shortly after posting this. I said (hopefully not too creepily) "I, uh, read all about your kitchen." To which he said, "It's a great place." We both nodded in agreement. I love living in Brooklyn.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 1

As you may know by now, enjoying music is a major passtime of these two homewreckers. So tonight I'm debuting a new feature for Home Sweet Homewrecker called Rock and Roll Recipe Radio. Basically this is a chance for you to join us in the kitchen, try out a new recipe, and listen to some music while we cook. Listen in by saving the link below, or just check out the recipe (thank you Everyday Food) and enjoy this soundtrack.

Peter Bjorn & John - Objects of My Affection
Archer Prewitt - Good Man
Kid Sister - Damn Girl
The Klaxons - Atlantis to Interzone
Beastie Boys - Time for Livin'
The Thermals - Our Trip
The B-52's - Downtown
Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube
Stereolab - Retrograde Mirror Form

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 1 - Scallops and Pasta!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kitteh!! :(

So, this happened:

My visiting kitty also mangled several other house plants, unrolled and shredded all the toilet paper, stole one of my loafers, and tore up the arm of my couch. Thankfully the couch was one of my curbside finds (eew, a loveseat from the curb? I know, I know), so this just might be life's way of telling me it's time to buy a "real" couch.

I don't think I'll be getting a cat any time soon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bald Britney Cake

I just got this message from our cake baking & decorating friend Melissa, and well, I'm speechless:

Hey all!

Just thought I'd forward my newest around, I had a feeling people would be into this one. It is, of course, our girl britney mid head shave. I made it for my sister's birthday.

And just in case you fools forgot, Go there and leave me funny comments please, cause I like to feel loved.


ps--around the sides of the cake it says "Bald Britney Says Happy Birthday!".

pps--i got the image from a cookie, so i cheated a little (ie didnt draw britney freehand or anything)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I'm going to have this little guy living in my apartment for a week. He assures me he won't pee on my floors or mattress, or shred my bedspread. We'll see about that. But how could I say no to this little face? Aaaaggghhhh, kitteh!!

Monday, September 24, 2007


For a recent wine club gathering, I decided to pair my French rose with a homemade ceviche. Roses apparently go with just about everything (which makes sense -- they're red, they're white), so it seemed like a fine time to try my hand at ceviche, something I'd never attempted but which I've been fostering a taste for between trips to the Red Hook ballfields and a visit to the coast of Peru.

Now here's a photo of the ceviche mixto I had at the fancy oceanside Costa Verde restaurant in Lima.

And here's my ceviche. Not quite so fancy, but pretty darn tasty for a first try. Below is the recipe I used (thank you Emeril).


Ingredients needed:
  • 3/4 pound very fresh white fleshed ocean fish, such as cod
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (about 2) minced serrano peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup small diced avocado
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into thick strips and fried until crisp
  • Lime wedges

Cut the fish into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a glass dish with the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain the fish and add the peppers, tomato, avocado, onion, cilantro, olive oil, and salt. Fold gently to mix. Serve with some fried tortilla strips, thick cut, garnish with lime wedges.

Yield: 4 appetizer portions

Of course, wine club was hosting some twelve or so people that night, so I tripled the recipe and then some buying 3lbs of cod at the fish market. I then carried the fish to the bar, because I'm not one to miss happy hour, where I stuffed it in the cooler behind the bar until later.

When I got home, I set to work dicing the cod. I quickly discovered that cod can be very, very full of bones. Not wanting to kill any of my wine drinking buddies, I dug into the cod one strip at a time and yanked out each and every bone. This took about forty five minutes and left flakes of cod buried deep under my fingernails. Thankfully, this was the hardest part (well, that and juicing eight limes by hand), and once I added the citrus and a splash of the canned pepper juice (per the suggestion of the gentleman who sold me the wine), the ceviche pretty much took care of itself. It was a hit at the party the next night!

So proud was I of my debut ceviche, I brought a little container along to the beach the next day to impress my foodie friend Dan. Now, I don't know if it was the walk carrying my fish to the bar where I stopped to shop for gift chocolates and nuts along the way. Or if it was the forty-five minute commute by bus lugging a cooler to the wine club meeting. Or maybe the little container of ceviche leftovers baking in the sun inside a sort-of-cool cooler at the beach. But maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised when Dan (and bless him for being such a good sport) hoisted a fork of ceviche up towards my nose to show me A WORM wiggling its way out of a chunk of fish. OMG. I've never seen something so disgusting come out of my own kitchen creation.

Apparently the ceviche really was good though, because after flicking the wormy piece of fish into the sand, Dan continued to eat what was left. What I lack in food sanitation sense, I just may make up for in taste.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Casserole Crazy

I'm thinking about entering this. I've never invented my own casserole, and in fact the only original recipe I've ever concocted is the one that found its way into Kara's indie rock cookbook. But I certainly enjoy eating casseroles having grown up in casserole country (aka The Midwest). I am a little intimidated by the rules that say you will be BLACKLISTED if you register and then don't show. I think I will spend next week trying out some ideas and see where it gets me before the Oct. 10th registration deadline. Wish me luck, and please leave me some recipe ideas in the comments!

Oh! And did I mention, Ted Allen is one of the judges? He's like the cool gay uncle I never had.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Homes Away From Home: Where I Slept on my Summer Vacation

As summer 2007 winds to a close, I thought I should recap some of the places I called home when away from home. Let's start south of the equator, where it was not, in fact summer at all.

The Hotel Presidente - Aguas Caliente, Peru

With its standard issue, wooly alpaca blankets and staticy TV with maybe three channels, mostly soccer, The Hotel Presidente was a welcome oasis after three rather frosty nights sleeping in a tent high in the Andes. While tent camping included such amenties as a cow standing just outside the toilet tent, curious children chasing dogs through our campsite, the late night sounds of a fellow camper's vomiting, and a "jacuzzi" (a plastic bowl of luke warm water for us to wash the dust off our face and hands), the Hotel Presidente had something much better: a shower! Sure it had no shower curtain, but it had partially warm water and Johnsons Baby Shampoo in little packets.

In all seriousness though, the Presidente had magnificent river and mountain views from our balcony and a very adorable llama painting above the beds. Plus it was conveniently located nearby Machu Picchu and offered super strong coffee at the continental breakfast. Which we enjoyed at 4:30 am when we woke to catch the bus. So actually my time at Presidente was mostly showing up, taking a long bath, taking a nap, and then leaving to climb another mountain.

My Friend Sam's Family's Cabin - The Adirondacks, New York

Unless you are pals with Sam or any of his cousins or siblings, you won't be visiting the family cabin. But take my word that this is a true family treasure with bare wood walls, a big roaring fireplace, several rooms with cozy beds for at least ten people, and a big deck full of Adirondack chairs and hammocks for relaxin'. Among the family ephemera (dating back five generations) was an impressive bear skin rug, caught and skinned, supposedly, by some relative pictured here.

Best thing in my bedroom, beside the bunk beds and a poster from the 1980 Olympics, was a Bill Cosby vinyl record. It was like a time capsule from my own childhood.

The Standard - West Hollywood, Los Angeles

I'm writing to you now from my very retro/utilitarian room at The Standard, seated in front of an enormous mirror wearing the white hotel robe. Not because I just got out of the bright orange shower, no, just because it was hanging in the closet and I like to try everything.

The Standard is an older hotel with a lot of cred for being "the" place to stay in West Hollywood, though apparetly not as hip as the Downtown location with its rooftop pool. Still, the WeHo Standard is where the ladies on Sex and the City stayed, and it was featued in Oceans 12, and it has a girl in her undies hanging out in a glass case behind the reception desk, so I'm still pretty impressed. As advertised on the website, the lobby features floor-to-ceiling shag carpeting (which sounds gross actually, but is somehow sorta neat) and every room has a baby cacti. I don't think I've seen a single person here over 40 unless they were in some entourage following a band around the pool or the cocktail bar.

But how does the place measure up as a home away from home? Well without a doubt it looks cool. The colors are bright and the decor is minimal. But minimal just doesn't jive with my personal style and I'm left feeling pretty uncomfortable in my utilitarian surroundings. Thankfully the utilitarian, hospital-motif bed's pillows are comfy and plentiful, which also helps drown out the thumping bass seeping into my room from the lobby below. The milkshakes in the 24 hour diner are excellent, but avoid the hotel bar unless you prefer table service vodka and Red Bull and care to watch girls give their boyfriends lapdances.

Not sure how I feel about the giant silver beanbag chairs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dumpster Diving: Part 2

Park Slope has great trash on its curbs, and once again I found a nice piece on my way home from the bars. This robins egg blue chest of drawers was the perfect size to be my new nightstand in my cozy little bedroom. Nevermind the mysterious goo dripped down the front that I tried but failed to scrub off. Let's just call it shabby chic!

A Series of Homemaking Malfunctions

I was very excited to find textured brown curtains on SALE at Ikea last week, and I picked up a pair for my big living room windows. A pair. Not two pair, which is the necessary number needed to keep my neighbors from watching me pussyfoot around my apartment in my undies. I realized this while stuck in traffic on the NJ Turnpike and there was no way I was turning back.

Last night I nuked a mini quiche on my new bright red plates and discovered that they are not, in fact, microwave safe.

This morning the paper lantern that I hung with care from my bedroom ceiling came crashing down. Apparently those sticky 3M hooks aren't hefty enough to hold an entire lamp.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Apartment: Bathroom Decor

Over a month in the new apartment and I finally have some progress to share. Naturally I tackled the smallest room first. A set of sage and pink towels were the inspiration for my new bathroom's color scheme, as was a pink candle adorned with a little deer. I just so happened to find the corresponding "Enchanted Forest" shower curtain to match the candle on - and on sale!

My enchanted forest bathroom was the perfect place for my horsey jewelry box (a souvenir from a trip to the Catskills) and a lightswitch plate that I decoupaged myself last fall. I propped a wilting plant in the window where I hope it finds new life. My "Träumen Von Der Südsee" framed German Hawaiian LP also found a spot on the wall since what is more enchanted than the sounds of a German Luau?

Strangely, I had to buy my own toilet seat, because for some reason the landlord didn't think one was necessary. Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Drool On Your Computer

Why are we such suckers for the things we want and cannot have? Why are we so attracted to a tease who plays hard to get? It should be no surprise then that we cannot get enough of the delicious images and links on Taste Spotting. Yummy things we can only stare at and daydream of eating.

I was pleased to see the addition of HSHW's own Boobie Cupcakes to the site.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And So On Cleannes

One of the promises I have made for my new apartment is to keep it clean! So one of my first excursions in the new neighborhood was around the block to the dollar store for a broom. I also picked up a dustpan and brush, but it wasn't until I got home that I realized how very bizarre the packaging was. I think this speaks for itself...


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Roadside Produce 1, HSHW 1

While I'm still hauling carloads of CDs, unused cookbooks, and clothes I haven't worn in two seasons over to my new apt, let me entertain you with some food talk until I can give the full new-apt-decorating scoop...

This past weekend found this homewrecker camping in the "wilds" of Long Island, in a pup tent pitched a few yards away from a dozen college kids drinking and carrying on until 3:30am. Twice I stumbled over in my jammies to explain to them the physics of campground noise and how it was making it impossible for me to sleep. Oh yeah, I'm getting old.

But I'm not here to bitch about a-hole campers, no, I'm here to tell you how I feasted on the bounty of Long Island's summer produce. Saturday afternoon, after visiting a couple of the plentiful North Fork wineries to sip on their wares, I squeeled with tipsy delight over all the roadside goodies as we drove by. Signs for "U-Pick Peaches!" and "Eggs!" and "Fresh Strawberries!" OMG. I ended up picking up a dollar's worth of fresh corn and a little basket of raspberries for $4.75. That night I did a bang-up job roasting the corn right in the campfire -- simply peel back the husk (but don't remove), tear out the silk, rub the ear down with butter, salt and pepper, then fold the husk back into place and tie it tight with a loose piece of husk. If the corn is fresh enough and not dry, it won't ignite when you place it on the coals, and soon you will have a nicely roasted ear of sweet, hot corney goodness.

For my next trick, I planned to make raspberry mojitos by muddling a fistfull of the ripe berries with mint I picked up on a bike ride to Fairway in Red Hook (pretty much the most glorious grocery store EVER). But when I checked on the berries this morning in the fridge, they are looking a little furry. Oh well, one fresh produce success out of two ain't bad.

photo by leslieannprice on flickr (thanks!)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Shopping Online 1:45am

At 1:45am Saturday night, after sipping whiskey and fruity concoctions at the neighborhood bar, I got the itch to shop. Next thing I know I was online bidding on this adorable ceramic bird on the Housing Works Thrift Shops auction site. I reasoned that any tipsy, late night shopping -- even shopping that contributes to my eventual fate as the "weird ceramic bird lady" (I have a small, but growing, collection...) -- that raises money for AIDS is totally a good thing. (Ok, not for AIDS, but more accurately: All proceeds from Housing Works Auctions goes toward helping solve the twin crisis of homelessness and HIV/AIDS.)

Thankfully I was sober enough, or too tired (whichever), to not immediately go into a bidding war over little blue bird when I was out sold. I did however bookmark the following items for my new apartment while poking around bleary-eyed at 2am. I move in a week-- a sudden decision I made, quite literally a week ago, to finally try living solo. Then I can fully indulge my homemaking itch in an environment that is mine and mine alone. Expect full HWH blog coverage of my new apartment decorating soon!

Kaiku Shower Curtain

Tuuli Pillow

Retro Tea Towels Set

Flora Prints