The Pink Flower Snapchat Filter Cake or why Cardamom and Rose make me swoon.

Darlings,

Happy Summer, my personal favorite season.

One of my favorite things about summer is outdoor entertaining. I just love having friends over when the sun is still high in the sky,  cooking a big dinner, pouring endless glasses of rose and drinking them through dusk and spending the night around a fire-pit.

Darlings, even though I don’t love dessert, I do believe that if you invite someone to your home, you can’t leave them hanging after dinner. You’ve got to leave them with a sweet something. And in the summer, it’s a bit tricky because you don’t want to overwhelm the gentleness of the stars and the fire and you don’t want anything to be too heavy on a warm summer night, and it obviously has to be complementary to Rose. Or else, what’s the point.

That’s why I love this cake – it’s spongey and elegant and creamy without being heavy. It’s my take on a cake with a storied background – a Persian love cake is based on the tale that once upon a time, a woman fell in love with a prince and she baked him this (well a much more traditional version of this) filled with magical powers to make him fall in love with her. It worked and thank goodness, because this cake is truly magical.

I happen to really really love the flavors of Iran – which makes this a perfect cake for my home. I also love the fact that those who aren’t familiar with Iran’s cuisine get a serious surprise while experiencing the unusual combination of flavors such as cardamom (also said to be an aphrodisiac, if you are truly using this cake for it’s historical purposes), rose (which, darlings, is one of my all time favorite flavors) and saffron (I keep a few threads in the house, always, just in case).

IMG_3504
This cake is the food version of this snapchat filter – it just makes everything better. And yes, darlings, I am always halfway to “duck face” and have been since birth. I hope you won’t judge too hard. 

Now, this is the recipe that I use when I have a few hours before people will eat it. If I had more time, I’d use a candied rose petal garnish and more traditional pistachios instead of berries. But in the summer, I like the tang of the berries against the savory spice of the cardamom and silkiness of the saffron.

 A Maine variation on a Love Cake 

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 14 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 Tsp. finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 Tsp. cardamom

Frosting

  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. Rose Water
  • 2/3 c. powdered sugar
  • few threads saffron
  • berries for decor.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Prepare 2 8″ cake pans with canola spray and flour.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and 7 Tbsp of the sugar in a large bowl.
    • Add yolks to the dry mix until smooth.
  • Beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form
    • Add the remaining 7 Tbsp of the sugar to the egg whites and continue to beat until it becomes thick and shiny.
  • Fold whites into the existing batter in 2 sections.
  • Divide batter between two pans and bake for 25 minutes.
  • While cakes are baking, make your frosting.
    • In a large bowl, beat your whipping cream, powdered sugar, saffron and rose water until stiff peaks form, refrigerate.
  • Cool cakes for about an hour and frost! Frost the flat side of your first cake and put the flat side of the second cake on top. Use the rest of the frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Add berries for garnish if desired.
  • Chill for at least an hour or so.
IMG_3494
Notice the lettuce leaf on the top left – we had tacos for dinner! 

More soon darlings,

xoxo lcf

ps – Happy Summer!

May feels nothing like Cabaret or please just let me have my preferred rosè.

Darlings,

It is the middle of May. Can you believe it? The winter – supposedly over! Can you even believe it? If history was any indication, my mood would have switched from sassy to just a little less so two weeks ago. However, during this, my fifth spring in Maine, it isn’t. It’s cold. We’ve had a few days of sunshine, but somehow it feels like the real warmth can’t make it this year. It’s wet, it’s grey.

And the only way I like my May to have anything to do with grey is if it’s Joel Grey welcoming me to May like he does to the cabaret, telling me to leave my problems outside, that inside is warm and welcoming and full of beauty and debauchery.

 

So I’m trying to will it, as I do every year. I’ve switched over my closet from all black to white and blue. I’ve let the lions mane embrace it’s natural form. I’ve started shaving my legs (regularly, you know). I put the seedlings in the raised bed. And we’ve been sleeping with the window open (and the heat on, and an extra blanket.)

And I’m willing.

And willing

And willing.

And all I can really say is…Let the sun shine.

Also, darlings, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Treat Williams. What a hunk.

But there’s really only so many times I can spin the Hair soundtrack before le hubs wants to kick me out of the house. So let’s be positive for a second (ridiculous, I know) and think about one of the best things that will happen, once you know, the sun shines.

Rosè. 

Well, darlings, first thing is first. Aside from having a regular reason to get a pedicure every 2 weeks, rosè is probably the best part of summer. And of course, I am a total snob when it comes to rosè.

I like my rosè bone dry, from Provence, and not a shade darker than the blush of a ballet slipper.

To me, it’s not rosè if it’s not from Provence.

To me, a rosè by any other name does in fact smell too sweet.

It’s rosato, rosado, white zindfandel (god forbid).

Now listen darlings, this is not a Champagne/Cava/Prosecco situation. Rosè in fact has nothing to do with provence, but instead with process. Rosè can be made from skin contact (most utilized, skins are discarded after 1-3 days), saginee (liquid is bled after a few days ), or blending (which is pretty much illegal in France *except for sparkling rosè* when it comes to their rosè).

But darlings, little ever has to do with fact. It’s all about opinion. And to me, on this subject, I know what I like. My favorite every day rosès are easy to drink and go with just about anything you would deign to eat from May to September.

original-201202-a-wines-15-under-bieler-pere-et-fils-rose
Bieler Pere el Fils Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose is a good one and with a price tag of just about $11, you can’t go wrong.

 

Oh, one other thing darlings, this magnificent beverage deserves to be served very chilled in one of two glassware options. You either give me a tumbler full or you serve it in the most delicate stemware you have. I’ve been known to refuse a glass of rosè if the wine glass is too thick. Again darlings, I know what I want. When it comes to rosè at least.

We use these in our house:

nattie-white-wine-glass
Nattie White wine glass, Crate and Barrel, $3.95

Again, doing things the right way doesn’t always mean the expensive way. I mean, usually it does. But sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyway darlings. More on summer soon. I promise.

xoxo

lcf

Gwen as a Permanent Idol, Sappy Songs Sung Significantly and Pie or why can’t Sunday be Neverending?

Good Morning Darlings,

It’s Sunday and a little rainy here. So I thought I might write to you about a few things that have been keeping the rainy day blues away from me for a while.

One newer, one not as new, and one, well timeless. Well actually darlings, I would say that all of these things are timeless, so let’s begin.

Number One: Gwen.

Darlings, you can have Beyonce. Perhaps it’s sac-relig for me to say, but I don’t need Beyonce. I don’t need Beyonce because I get all my girl power from Gwen, I always have. I like Gwen’s version of feminism, which might be watered down to some, but is perfect for me. It’s not that I don’t believe that “leaning in” is right for some people, it’s just not for me. I like Gwen’s version of feminism because it’s not so overt, and to me it speaks louder than screaming it.

And darlings, I’m not saying that Gwen is a beacon for women’s rights, but I am saying that she’s been singing to me since I was about 9 and taught me a lot about what it means to be a strong woman, but also why vulnerability is a part of that strength and how we can use that to our advantage. She talks about love lost without placing blame, she talks about the dreams she has and the life she imagines for herself all the while knowing that these dreams might not come true. She’s kind of real, that Gwen. I like that since I’ve been listening to her sing, her emotions become her. She’s not angry – she’s strong. 98fd5583c33e425183483b5856490026

No Doubt got me through every heartbreak and unsavory life experience. But Gwen made me understand just how OK it was to march to the beat of your own drum. I’ve never been normal, and although I think I have mostly my mom to thank for that, Gwen made me understand just how cool that was. And of course I love Gwen for the reasons all other little bit left of center, kinda sorta punk rock Girls did and do. She embodies this innate ability to maintain a incredibly strong personal style while her aesthetic continually changes. Because every time her aesthetic changes, it’s not for anybody else. It’s genuine, and that’s how her own style continues to permeate our culture. And my life.

I think this photo is from Spin magazine. I don't have an actual credit - I'm sorry!

PAcktoUGumdsw24oI92jpzXto1_500

 

But darlings, it’s not about her style or reminiscing about the good old days of the horn section. A few months ago, my girl Gwen released a new album on the heels of her divorce. And I have to say, I’ve never been too blown away by her solo music. I like it, but it doesn’t really make me feel much. Well, except for a few tracks here and there – let’s go back 11 years to the last solo piece that really made me feel.

Now fast forward to 2016. Gwen gets hurt (let’s remember the last time Gwen really got hurt resulted in Tragic Kingdom) and she makes an album in what feels like 16 hours. And it’s really really really good.

33711dd4ece36550e3324ba6538fa48a.1000x1000x1

Listening to this album is like drinking a perfect Petite Sirah from the Russian River Valley. To me, there is no silkier liquid than a perfect Petite Sirah from that particular region. And unlike so many other wines, it feels like with every sip, this varietal gets better and better.

Every track on this album makes me feel something. And yes, it’s pop, but it’s really really really good pop, darlings. The album makes sense. It’s got that vulnerability that I was speaking of before, that vulnerability that so many female artists feel like they can’t have any more. But here, the vulnerability is strength and finding the ability to take control of what’s next. She doesn’t apologize and she doesn’t place blame. She is just a woman trying to make sense of what that means. And it’s interesting because she’s mourning the loss of a life defining relationship while cautiously engaging in something new and exciting, but real (not that I’m a fan darlings).

Anyway darlings, if you need a little cry and a little uplifting, this is your album. It’s pretty perfect.

 

Number Two: Alan

I love Alan Cumming. Darlings, you know this – he always ends up on my best dressed list and you know, he’s just such a rare renaissance man – with the most exquisite ability to entertain.

And with the February release of Alan Cumming sings Sappy Songs, it’s almost like he’s in your living room with you, singing you the songs that you sing to yourself when you think no one is listening. And wouldn’t that just be so wonderful?

Darlings, I have a confession to make – when I was 16 I met my soon to be first boyfriend at an Avril Lavinge concert. I was there kind of as a joke, I didn’t pay for the tickets, obviously. Now, I look back at that moment in time and the relationship in general and laugh. But for a while, I couldn’t believe that the song that was playing the moment I met this guy was “Complicated.”  I couldn’t tell anyone that, what a way to lose cred. But really and truly – Alan Cumming covers it on this album and I wish I knew then that we shared such a guilty pleasure, because, well, I guess it at least makes it something of a high brow guilty pleasure.

But what I love the most on this album is the incredibly emotional cover of “And So It Goes,” by Billy Joel. Darlings, you know that as a Mid Atlantic-er, I have no choice but to love Billy Joel more than most things in life. But this. This is such a completely captivating version of an already, well, sappy, song.

Buy this album now and listen to it always. But listen to it especially when you want to know that there is someone else out there who wants to sing Miley Cyrus to an audience (just, you know, much better than you or I, darlings).

Number Three: Spring Tease Berry Pies

Darlings, you know how much I loathe the winter. Although this winter was not very terrible, it was long and seemingly keeps getting longer. It’s still too cold to not shiver in the morning and all of my navy and whites are sitting longingly in a rubbermaid tub in our upstairs hallway waiting for me to move them into the closet. But darlings, I just don’t know when that will happen.

So really, I thought I might take matters into my own hands. And even though I had no business doing so (these berries certainly aren’t REALLY in season for some time), I did it anyway.

To celebrate a dear friend visiting for 12 hours and to will summer to please, please, please let me get what I want, I made some berry hand pies. And they were delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe with you darlings – it’s just so easy (too easy, really) and delicious.

Simple berry hand pie

INGREDIENTS

1.5 c. chopped strawberries

1 c. chopped blackberries

Zest from one lemon

1 tsp. grated ginger

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 pre-rolled pie crusts (I mean, you can make your own, but yesterday, I just didn’t feel like it)

1 egg, beaten

METHOD

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, mix your berries.

blackberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the mix of berries, add your lemon zest, ginger, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cornstarch, sugar and salt.

gingerbowl

Put the mixture aside and let sit for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, roll out your pie crusts, and cut out circles about 6in in diameter – I used a small bowl as my guide.

When you have as many circles as your dough will yield, bring back the bowl of berries and let’s start putting these babies together.

piesenroute

Each circle of crust should get about 3 tablespoons of filling. Lubricate one side of the circle with a little water to help adhere. Cover the filling and attach the ends to each other – use a fork to ensure closure.

Brush the top of each pie with a bit of beaten egg and vent each pie with three slits.

Place the pies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn the baking sheet 180 degrees and bake for 20 minutes more or until golden brown.

handpie

Enjoy.


handpiesBut don’t forget to share with your friends!

So enjoy your Sunday, listen to some tunes and why not make a pie or two?

xoxo lcf

Everything in life is finite or why the most important things in life are family and linguine.

Darlings,

You know what makes me so absolutely happy? The fact that it is almost May. That’s right – it’s almost time for white pants, sailor stripes and a never ending irresponsible smattering of freckles on noses all across America.

But what doesn’t make me so happy is when it snows just a few short days before said May appears.

I’ll tell you a story darlings – I was at home in Philadelphia (which, yes, even after living here in Maine for five long years, I consider home) for Passover.

It was a glorious long weekend, full of 72 degree weather, Bravo marathons with mom, lots of quality time spent with friends and family and a quick trip to NY for work. The sun shined every day, the animal statues in all the squares served as the perfect jungle gym for center city kids and I even had a quintessential Philadelphia moment when Questlove and I reached for the same handle at the neighborhood fro-yo place. No joke, darlings.

But when I returned to Portland, which is a lovely city in it’s own right, it was snowing. And darlings, I’m not talking some cute late season flurries, I’m talking Narnia. In just a 300 mile span, the weather changed my mood from happy to sad.

Well, darlings, maybe it’s not just the weather. Maybe it’s because I just turned 30, but this trip really put life into perspective – what matters. And I think it’s something so simple. Family matters.

Maybe the mortality complex kicks in at 30, but this trip home, I realized that family as we know it is such a finite entity. That although by nature, families grow and take new shape, they can never stay the same as you remember them.

Constant change in both growth and decline, as we are born and we die. Even in life, there are such ebbs and flows that how could we ever expect something as precious and close to stay? And darlings, I’m certainly not opposed to change, but I do believe that sometimes we don’t realize what is standing in front of us until it’s gone, or so Joni Mitchell would have us believe.

The cultivation of these relationships over the years – those who start as family, your mother, your father, their families – is I think the most important. Growing into new relationships with each person as our lives change, as our minds change and as our souls grow – this is what is so important. And of course, when I say family, I mean at the most basic level those with whom we have some kind of nurtured tie, be it genetic or purposeful in another way, but also is meant to include those with whom we have chosen to surround ourselves with over the course of our lives.

Those relationships where the essence of the relationship has grown as each individual has, those are the relationships that find a way to continue to fit and serve a purpose in life – no matter how far apart, or how long it’s been. These are the relationships in life built on the foundation of soul and made even stronger by intermittent tangible interchanges.

Maybe I’m having a hard time articulating it, darlings. What I mean to say is that as I get older, I’m realizing that it’s not just our lives that will end some day, it’s our lives as we know it, and that, I think, is much more difficult to come to terms with.

And all we can really do in the meantime is enjoy those with whom we choose to surround ourselves, and understand that each of those people have had a hand in who we’ve all become. I am a Jewish woman – a writer, a cook, an admirer – but none of these things have defined me as much as the decades old or very new relationships that I choose to keep and have purposefully maintained. This is what matters.

It’s so simple, but it’s too complex.

And so, to celebrate the (hopeful) onset of the renewal which Spring (supposedly) brings, I thought I would entice you with a simple, yet entirely complex dish which is perfect for the nights where it is just a little too cold to eat outside, but you couldn’t possibly eat another piece of anything roasted.

Spring Pasta #1

Ingredients

1 lb linguine ( darlings, I know that there is rice pasta and corn pasta and spelt pasta, but I really really think that your run of the mill Barilla is the best option for this dish), cooked a bit past al dente

1/4 c. Dill, chopped

1/4 c. mint, julienne

1/4c . basil, julienne

4 cloves of garlic, minced

6 oz chevre, unflavored

1 lemon, juiced

Salt

Good Unfiltered Olive Oil

Method

Darlings, would you believe me if I told you all you have to do to achieve this zippy, tangy and sweet pasta dish is to cook the pasta and mix it with the rest of the ingredients while it’s still hot so that the garlic mellows a bit and the cheese melts and coats it?

 

Well, believe me. That’s all. See – so simple, but so complex.

I hope to write more darlings.

xoxo

lcf

On naked ankles, covered arms and knowing what you want.

Good Evening Darlings,

So sorry to drop the ball last week. I’m working on a big project at work and honestly if I had updated at all, it probably wouldn’t have been much to read.

But here we are, darlings. Oscar night. One of my favorite nights of the year – although this year, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve hardly seen any of the nominated films (I did, however, see The Big Short which was incredible).

And you know that this year, I’m trying to be a nicer person and see the positive in things (although the meditation lasted for about the first 5 days of 2016 before I realized I had other things to do first thing in the morning). So you won’t see any overly negative or worst dressed lists this year.

I mean. Except for this. I’m just going to leave this here:

GettyImages-512916086_master.nocrop.w1800.h1330.2x
Auf Wiedersehen

But this red carpet heralded a great number of showstoppers. I was really blown away by the amount of looks that not only were stunning, but also interesting.

Let’s start somewhere I usually deign to go – bright colors on the red carpet.

Darlings, I don’t know if I’ve said it out loud (or written) before, but I am usually unimpressed by bright colors on the red carpet. I know you can tell as most all of my best dressed picks are usually either black, white, navy or jewel toned. But I have to tell you, these two dresses really captured the excitement of a bright color at such a big event.  I am most impressed by both the simplicity and purposefulness of the silhouettes.

In a more neutral tone you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the shadows of the fold that Munn’s cape-ish sleeve makes, nor would you really be able to see that Theron’s beautiful skin is as much a part of the look as her dress is. In a neutral, these details get lost. And although they are details, they are anything but small. Knowing how to wear color well is certainly a talent, something that many mere mortals aren’t good at, but also something that a lot of celebrities can’t actualize in an effective way.

Anyway, these two get my vote tonight, for their looks, but also for proving me wrong.

Next, I’d like to talk about Pharrell.

PharellGettyImages-512918422_master.nocrop.w1800.h1330.2x

I’ve given Pharrell a lot of slack in the past for his red carpet looks. I mean I think he wore shorts one year. But darlings, when you are a man it’s hard to stand out in a sea of perfectly tailored black (well, navy too – my personal fave) tuxes. And I happen to find bare ankles not only incredibly sexy, but also a way to wear a trend that still nods to the formality of the occasion. I like the shawl lapel, the bare ankles and the imperfect bowtie. It seems like a most appropriate look for a musician at the Oscars.

Darlings, you know what I really love? Simple black dresses.

I love these two looks for very different reasons.

Jennifer Garner is one classy broad. I respect the fact that although this is the first year she is showing up to the red carpet without “the love of her life,” Ben Affleck, she remains ladylike and austere, in the best way possible.

Although I haven’t read the interview yet, it seems that she got very candid with Vanity Fair, saying about Affleck: “He’s the love of my life. What am I going to do about that? He’s the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He’s just a complicated guy. I always say, ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it.’ But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.”

So losing the love of your life in such a public way, that seems like it would be terrible, and that one might prefer to show off too much leg, too much cleave or wear something completely out of character. Not Jen. She chose to subtly mourn the loss of this chapter of her life by completely killing it in black. And darlings, mourning looks and I imagine feels much better in Armani.

Now, Whoopi’s look I love because it is just so regal. And Whoopi is royalty. She looks like Whoopi and she looks comfortable. And darlings, you know I love a sleeve on formalwear.

I also just love Whoopi. And I especially love Whoopi in Corrina, Corrina. 

 

But I digress.

Let’s talk JLaw for a second.

jennifer-lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior. 

The first thing I thought of when I saw this dress was Gwyneth’s goth disaster from 2002.

o-GWYNETH-PALTROW-WORST-OSCAR-DRESSES-570.jpg

But looking at them again, side by side, I realize they aren’t that similar. And that I really do like the entire look JLaw’s got going on.

Now darlings, this is kind of shocking because as you know, I am not a fan of Gwyneth’s and usually I’m not a fan of JLaw’s. Except in American Hustle. I freaking loved her in that. I usually find her “I’m just like you” schtick to be grating and her wildly public friendship with Amy Schumer to be obnoxious.

Ladies, We get it, you like to talk about farting and sex. 

To that I say, in the immortal words of Gina from Empire Records,:

CBJ9ToVVIAAG7gI.jpg

But I really thought that this look worked for her tonight. While I’m still shocked that she’s up for an award for Joy, which was pretty disappointing as a whole, I think maybe she’s now such an old pro at being nominated that she can go a little casual. Tonight she looks a little bit more like: “I’m here to drink champagne” and a little less like “this gown is so big that I’m definitely going to remind people how down to earth and normal I am by tripping on my way up to the stage.”

The best part of the look, though? the hair. It’s just so beautifully simple.

I love love love her platinum lob and depending on how much chutzpah I have upon entering the salon next Saturday for the last time in my 20s, I might just say DO THIS (don’t worry Mom, I probably won’t).

But let’s talk about something with less caveats. In fact, let’s talk about some things with no caveats. 

Let’s talk about my favorite looks of the night. 

Margotrobbie
Margot Robie in Tom Ford. Photo: Jason Merritt Getty Images.

You knew I would choose this look, didn’t you darlings? It’s right in my wheelhouse. It’s so perfect, I don’t have much to say about it at all – other than of course, how beautiful is this woman and how perfect does she look in this gown?! A glowing golden statue. Even her face is perfectly neutral and just golden enough.

And then we’ve got Amy.

AyPoehlerAndrewGN
Amy Poehler in Andrew Gn. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty. 

Ok Amy, here’s the deal. Your hair is making me crazy. But you are wearing a bedazzled caftan with kimono sleeves to the Oscars. So you know what? All is forgiven and You win and can I please have that dress?

But my favorite look of the night?

GettyImages-512875412_master.nocrop.w1800.h1330.2x
Dede Gardner in ???

Dede Gardner is a producer and the president of Plan B entertainment which produced The Big Short (which as you can see above, I loved).

I happen to love female producers and cite one in particular as a mentor, idol and friend. They are decisive and strong willed and physical and work so hard to create so much magic behind the scenes. And although I’m sure Dede has plenty of people working for her and that her days of running are behind her – she’s still making magic.

I love this dress because she is a powerful woman and she dresses the part. This is not a girls dress, this is not an actress’s dress – this is a woman’s dress. She looks like a modern day Cleopatra, and she should. This is a dress for winning.

This whole look screams I know who I am, I know what I want and I know how I’m going to get it – As a producer, as a woman, as a human being.

 

Anyway darlings, that’s it for now. Until next award season…just kidding…until Wednesday when we’re talking risotto and 30th birthdays.

xoxo

lcf

five years.

Darlings,

Five years ago (plus a few weeks), I started this blog. It was a whim – needing something to fill some time, to burn off some creative energy, to say things to the ether that I didn’t have anyone to say out loud to.

But five years is a long time. So much has changed. Five years ago, I was on the verge of 25, doing the most ridiculous job in the world, studying to get my masters in education, in the middle of a marriage crisis and an affinity for drinking too much wine on school nights. You, darlings, have been with me through my last summer at camp, through leaving Philadelphia, through starting a new life in Maine, through taking a job that would ultimately become my career (well aside from talking to you, darlings), through the last half of my twenties, through countless red carpets and meatball variations.

When I started this project, I really had no idea what I wanted it to be, and I still don’t. Some days I question if it makes sense to continue on, with no real goal in mind…but I think that’s the whole point of it – it’s my stream of conscious and it comes and goes. And even though a lot has changed in five years, so much has stayed the same – my love of red lipstick, experiments in the kitchen, Saks and my mom.

I think more than anything, this gave me a voice to the ether and now the ether isn’t just an ether – it’s you, darlings. And as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. And even if you don’t keep reading, I’ll probably keep writing.

And maybe I’ll even put pen to paper and start putting a cookbook together. Or a lifestyle guide for those who don’t believe in lifestyle guides. Who knows?!

Anyway, I know this is a lame Monday morning post, but I’ll leave you with another one of my undying loves, Gwen Stefani, who doesn’t age, can perpetually bleach her hair with no repercussions and who has changed over the course of her career, but somehow still maintains the punk rock ethos that made me fall in love with her 20 years ago.

 

So thank you, darlings, for listening. You’re truly the best. 

Here’s to five more years of food, fashion, vice and sass, darlings!

xoxo

lcf

Food/Fashion/Vice: Passion fruit makes everything better.

Darlings,

When I first started this blog FIVE YEARS ago, there was a section called: Food/Fashion/Vice to which I have decided to return.

I think that Fridays hence forth shall be Food/Fashion/Vice Fridays, sound delicious, darlings?

Food

images
Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. Well, that’s not entirely true because it kind of tastes like a tangy guava. It does, however, have a mouthfeel like no other. What I love the most about passionfruit is that the uglier it is on the outside, the sweeter it is on the inside. When you smell this weird wrinkly pod, you get a whiff of the tropics that even bain de soleil can’t give you. And it’s so much fun to eat. You can eat it straight from the pod (my preference) or add it to anything to make it even better.

Fashion

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 8.12.56 AM.png
Jimmy Choo, Abel. White Patent Leather.

 

Maybe it’s because the ground is covered in snow, but all I want right now is a pair of perfectly shredded boyfriend jeans, a navy blazer with elbows holes and a pair of white patent leather pumps. The most ridiculously unwearable shoes outside of a towncar in LA. But they look so good, darlings, don’t they? Even better with blonde hair and a tan.

Vice

ilegal-mezcal.jpg
Ilegal Mezcal 

Darlings, I fucking love Mezcal. I’ve loved it for a long time, but lately I’ve been especially digging it. Perhaps it’s because I quit smoking (ALMOST A YEAR AGO!) and I need to get that smoky fix somewhere. For the uninformed (and darlings, let’s be honest, I kind of do this for a living, so I know more than the average darling about agave based spirits) – mezcal is tequila’s smokier sibling. Mezcal is made from the maguey plant (a form of agave) and often attributed to Oaxaca, although unlike tequila, mezcal does not have a definitive provenance.

Culturally, however, mezcal is most at home in Oaxaca.

Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien, también” is a famous Oaxacan saying – loosely translated to “For all your ills, mezcal, and for all that is good, also.” 

I love this saying and vow to use it more often in life. 

The mash for mezcal is made of the hearts of the Maguey leaves, roasted over hot rocks – this is essentially what gives it the smoky flavor. And then you have the joven/blano, reposado and anejo varities – dependent on how long they’ve been aged.

Anyway, somehow Ilegal finds a way to be smoky and smooth all at once. I really really love their product and although I’ve had many mezcals, this one seems to always take the cake. I always come back to Ilegal.

So in summation, it looks like all of these things elicit feelings about warmer weather, tropical lifestyle, sunshine and an ocean that is warm enough to swim. Go figure.

Happy Weekend darlings.

xoxo

lcf

 

Sardines or why looking into the face of your dinner is important.

Darlings,

We’ve discussed how I believe that people’s fear of cooking comes from the inability to just jump in and do it and never is that more apparent then when you ask people about cooking fish at home.

Most give you a look of grotesque disdain or else ask if you mean fish sticks. Even some of the best home cooks I know shy away from cooking fish at home. I think it has to do with the smell. Or perhaps it’s the perception that the fish spoils easier than other proteins. Or maybe because a lot of people didn’t grow up eating fish, let alone fish at home.

But fish, it’s so good for you. It’s such an important part of a carnivorous diet. It gives you the satiety that red meat or poultry does, and it does so much good for your skin and hair and nails.

I ate a lot of fish growing up – my dad cooked fish, as did both of my grandmothers – so it was never an unknown entity to me. We never ate anything crazy – salmon, whitefish of different kinds, lobster, crab, the normal stuff.

It wasn’t until we moved up here and wild, sustainable, fresh fish was so widely available that I really started experimenting with anything crazier than that above. But when we moved here – the world was our oyster (pun intended, darlings).

One of the fish that le hubs ate a lot as a kid, but that I had only really known in the context of tomatoes and tins was sardines. But when le hubs brought them up, I thought I might seek them out and experiment. That was 4 years ago.

One of my favorite things about them is that they are fish, and they look like fish. I think it’s important to be able to eat things in their whole form and to understand that what you’re eating was once a living thing, not just a perfect filet. I’m not saying you can’t just eat a perfect chicken breast once in a while, but I am saying that if you are going to eat it, you should also be OK with the fact that once upon a time, it was a cute, tiny chick who grew into a chicken who was slaughtered so you could coat it’s breast in tomatoe sauce and mozzarella cheese and eat it over a bed of gluten free pasta. So when you eat sardines, you know exactly what you are eating. You have to stare into the eyes of your nights feast. And as macabre as that sounds, I think it’s tres important, darlings.

I also love that I can sing this all the while:

 

The Little Mermaid just so happens to be my favorite Disney movie, and this just so happens to be my favorite part. Maybe that’s telling in some way, darlings, but let’s not project, not tonight.

So I want you to go out, buy some fresh sardines and try this recipe. Your wallet (they are super duper cheap), tummy and hair/skin/nails will thank you.

IMG_2623.jpg

SARDINES

Ingredients

1 lb Sardines (4-6 whole sardines), butterflied and gutted

1 lemon, cut into half moons

1/4 c. bread crumbs

2 tablespoons oregano

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

 

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt, to taste

Olive Oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine bread crumbs, parsley, onion, oregano and garlic.
  3. Arrange fish in an oven safe dish and stuff each one with a slice of lemon.
  4. Cover fish with bread crumb mixture.
  5. Give it a hit of olive oil.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy your new favorite meal with an Israeli salad, some orzo and maybe a leafy green or two.

 

xoxo lcf

On Yeezy Season 3, or maybe Kanye is this generation’s Warhol…but probably, most very likely not.

Darlings –

On Yeezy Season 3:

Darlings, do you think that Kimye has something on Anna Wintour? Do you think that they found a picture of her eating a donut and have threatened to share it with all of society if she doesn’t publicly support them in all of their ridiculous cultural initiatives. Because I can see no other reason that #HBIC Anna Wintour would sit at Madison Square Garden for two hours and watch women in dystopian spandex stand still, follow “rules” (see below) and listen to Kanye’s new album in it’s entirety. No other reason than the threat of public humiliation through carb consumption.

Ca9nTcUXIAAU8mD
credit: @manvsparty (twitter)

Darlings, you know how I feel about the Kardashian klan – I applaud them for figuring out a way to make enough money that they will never have to worry about money by doing the things that they are good at – being pretty, being insane and playing the system.

I find people that go on and on about how they are what’s wrong with American absolutely dreadful. In fact, I think that they really and truly define the American Dream, just like any other great/polarizing American family – The Jacksons, The Kennedys…the only difference is that they won’t need an unfortunate mini series made about them, because they’ve been proactive and have done it for themselves.

But just because I think the Kardashians have it all figured out, doesn’t mean that I think that Kanye deserves any of the fame he has in the fashion world. I can’t really comment on his music because I just don’t have the critical chops for that (although I will say, darlings, check out the below mashups).

I’m also not going to make any critical comments on the fashion itself, because although it is not to my taste and in fact, looks like my gym wardrobe if I used RIT brown to dye all of it, I imagine that a lot of people said similar things about Andy Warhol to what I’m thinking about Kanye – it’s not fashion, it takes no talent, it is political, not fashion. Well I guess now you know how I feel.

But darlings, Warhol was actually doing something different. He was a renaissance man before it was de rigeur to be a renaissance man. And his work changed the perception of the mundane into something grander, a reason for “stopping to smell the roses.” And although he really did foreshadow our generation of “me” with his famous quote “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes,” Warhol himself seemed to often be on the sidelines of his mass, to be the most passive one in the group.

Warhol as a new world authority was so much different than Kanye’s desire for authority.

Warhol [was] among the great masters of passive power. Although it proclaimed its independence at every opportunity, the youth culture of the Sixties was by and large composed of very dependent people who couldn’t bear to face that fact…In his passive presence, security and recognition seemed to make no demands. Warhol dominated all, while seeming merely to look on. Sweetly and shyly, in the language of a five year old, he could make or break at will. As with a monarch, proximity to the famous presence was everything. And just as Warhol could bestow that presence, he could also take it away. Put it this way: Warhol became famous by ceasing to be a person and becoming instead a presence. He became a phenomenon; the phenomenon Andy Warhol, who in his muteness and passivity seemed to be a being without needs. (Stargazer: The Life, World and Films of Andy Warhol, Stephen Koch)

So let’s talk about the man himself, not his fashion, not his thoughts on Taylor Swift -because that’s what his real passion is. Himself.

Honestly, darlings, he believes he  himself should be the next creative director of Hermes so that he can “bring more beauty to the world,” has chosen to only shine the spotlight on himself through this latest endeavor.

First and foremost, choosing to host a fashion show at Madison Square Garden could possibly the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever heard – especially considering that most shows are cramped and uncomfortable and certainly haven’t shared a stage with some of the greatest talents of the last century.

Because fashion shows are not really for entertainment, they are for business. Before they became the place where celebrities got photographed taking photographs of the show, they were places for editors and buyers to come understand the next seasons trends, to educate themselves so they could educate their readers, their customers.

And darlings, I’m not stuck in history, I know that the purpose of a fashion show has evolved from Coco Chanel’s inaugural idea of clothes looking better on women than hangers to the travesty that is The Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

So for someone to say that he’d like to be creative director of one of the most important fashion houses of our life, he has to learn to be a creative director of a fashion house, not a curator of his own life and talents. They are not the same thing. This was not a fashion show, it was a show of narcissism. It was a way for him to be the center of attention, to pay (or have Adidas pay) his way to a mic where he got to name drop all of the people who give him any cache as a fashion professional.

The poor proletariat that actually paid for a ticket (like thousands, darlings) to this mess may have expected a concert or something. And instead they were treated to this new album, played from a laptop and a bunch of women acting as an example of what you need to be able to do in order to afford rent in New York City.

It’s a shame because I think that if he stuck to doing the things that people think he’s good at – music, random acts of scene stealing – it would make what he does do all that much better. It’s kind of like when J.Lo creates a line for Kohls. You know what J.Lo? Shake your booty, sing some tunes, look way too good for your age. But don’t half ass a line for Kohls where the seams are already coming undone before you even get to the pastel haired teen asking you if you have any coupons (ALWAYS).

Look, darlings, creativity is creativity. And even though I loathe this guys narcissism, it’s completely possible that he just feels like he is too good to contain within his own system and needs to share ALL of his thoughts with the world (I mean, same could be said for me). And I’m not going to feel bad for opining on his showing. But I do feel bad for opining on his desire to create if in fact it does come from a good place.

Perhaps I am most critical of this event because it is so indicative of the world in which we live – the world where being good at just one thing is not enough. The world where success is measured by the amount of names you can drop. Where just achieving is no longer enough – over achievement is the new average.

And where you apparently need to go into 53 million dollars of debt in order to do what you want to do.  So yea, Kanye, he’s just like you and me, darlings.

xoxo lcf

 

You say winter, I say Fuck off. Or let’s Shakshouka.

Darlings,

 

Winter is here. The snow, the cold, the bundling up, the dry skin, the static-y hair, it’s all here. And sometimes it feels like we live in a storybook. But most days, it just feels annoying.

I’m not entirely sure how I ended up living in one of the coldest places in America. Well, I know how – but I’m often dumbfounded by the fact that we have lived here this long and that I have made it through so many winters without actually going insane.

Every winter I swear that it’s the last, refuse to buy any new warm weather gear, and start researching places where I can go and make a living enough to pay Sallie Mae and have a roof over my head by selling hollowed out coconuts by the ocean.

But darlings, as you know, I am often a traitor to my generation, so I will most likely never do that. I will most likely live the rest of my life on the east coast where the winters are horrible, the summers are sweaty and the springs and falls are kind of perfect in the most Rockwellian way.

And so, you get used to the way the seasons manipulate your mood, your wardrobe and your relationships. And you learn how to manipulate them right back.

One of my favorite ways to manipulate a winter night is with a little Shakshouka. A dish with multiple background stories, my first brush with it was in Israel where they say it rivals hummus and falafel as a national favorite during the winter. It has roots in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt. And it very well may be my most favorite meal for when things get really cold and thus really down.

It’s basically peasant food – eggs poached in spicy tomatoe sauce. Some nights I get fancy and add some feta, but most nights it’s really about the spicyness of the tomatoe and the richness of the egg yolk mixing to make even the coldest nights feel a little better.

Last winter when I was essentially living out of hotel rooms in New York, I would often order shashouka from the nearest middle eastern restaurant and sit in my fluffy, white hotel bed with a robe and wet hair and just gorge. I always feel like finding something at least somewhat healthy to eat your feelings helps. Then even when you have a lot of feelings (and darlings, I ALWAYS have a lot of feelings) you can eat them all.

Shakhouka, as told by LCF 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 bulb garlic, peeled and cloves sliced

1 onion, sliced thin

2 jalapenos, sliced in rounds

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons coriander

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 eggs

Olive oil

Salt

METHOD

  1. Let’s make some zhug. Zhug is an Israeli hot sauce and it’s the base for my shashouka. So get some olive oil hot in a pan (cast iron is probably best). Throw your garlic, onions and jalapenos in there and saute until onion is translucent.

IMG_2561

2. Take cooked onions/peppers/garlic and pulse them a few times in a blender or food processor until blended almost completely. It will look something like this:

IMG_2563.jpg
I know it looks gross, but it’s so good.

3. Add tomatoes and spices.

IMG_2566.jpg4. Stir until combined and let simmer for 40 minutes. Salt to taste.

5. Add eggs and cover for 6-7 minutes until poached.

IMG_2568.jpg6. Serve with whatever you’d like, but you know my default is avocado. So that’s what we had last night.

IMG_2569.jpg

Now darlings, this is a spicy Shakshouka. I need the spices to awaken my tastebuds, my lifebuds, all of it. As always, this recipe is but a suggestion – make it your own. It’s super easy to change the flavors a little. For instance – red peppers are de rigeur, but I wanted more heat, so I swapped them for jalapenos (certainly not traditional).

Darlings, I hope you are keeping warm, surrounded by people you love, food that tastes good and a show/book/song that makes you happy.

xoxo

lcf