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DJ's Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and a Citrus Vinaigrette
Arugula (I buy Olivia's Organic from Whole Foods)
Goat Cheese - a mild variety in log form
Beets (LOVE BEETS brand from Whole Foods, they are pre-made and so easy)
For the Dressing:
1/2 cup orange juice (or 2 oranges squeezed)
2-3 small shallots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon EVOO, plus 1/4 cup EVOO
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
Dice your shallots. Saute until transparent in the 1 tablespoon of EVOO over medium-high heat. Set aside off of the heat. In another saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the juice by about half, or until it thickens. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, combine in the Cuisinart with OJ, red wine vinegar, and salt. Mix until well-blended. With the Cuisinart running, slowly add the olive oil and emulsify! Set aside.
I have eaten this salad with a chicken dish and also as a compliment to homemade pizza. It's versatile and for those people who love goat cheese the nuts really kick it up a notch. Additionally, the light citrus flavor of the dressing cuts the bitterness of the arugula and enhances the taste of the beets. As usual it's all about the components marrying together and complimenting each other!
This will be a perfect and quick salad to bring to that special Labor Day BBQ!
Kiki's Quick Panzanella:
1 large cucumber (or a couple small ones)
Grape Tomatoes or cherry ones (we pulled a couple out of our garden tonight, yum!)
1 Green Bell Pepper
Basil - a healthy handful
Mozzarella balls, quartered
1/2 a baguette, baked in the oven until nice and crispy ( I always buy these, cut them in half and freeze it - so quick to thaw and its accessible in a pinch)
Sea Salt/Pepper to taste
Directions: slice and quarter the cucumber, same with the tomatoes (enough so you equal parts of each). Cut the green bell pepper and throw that in the mix too. Chop the basil, toss in. Add the mozzarella balls. Pull the bread out of the oven and cube it. Don't forget the crumbs too - they add texture and who doesn't like them?? A couple nice turns on the ground sea salt and pepper. Mix all of the ingredients until you have a well rounded assortment. Pour olive oil all over, probably about 2 tablespoons (?) and same with Balsamic (except a little less). Mix again. Add a little more salt/pepper. Taste. Add a little more of the EVOO and Balsamic until the bread has soaked up all the goodness and is a little soft on the inside, but still crusty on the outside. YUM. Serve in a bowl with a BIG TALL GLASS OF WATER (or wine if you didn't' run 10 miles like I did - haha).
I had to include pictures of my two sous-chefs (Milly on the left and Barley on the right)....well let's face it the only reason they were right by my side is because they love tomatoes more than I do!!! Don't worry - they didn't go hungry!
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cookies until they are lightly golden on the edges - depending on the heat of your oven it should take approx 15 min, rotate sheets halfway through. Transfer to racks and cool thru. While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate on your stove top or in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. In another bowl whisk together confectioners sugar, peppermint extract and enough water to make the consistency a little looser then paste. With a knife, spread chocolate on one side and your mint glaze on the other side. Sandwich together! Careful - they will slide a bit, so do them fast and pop them in the fridge to set for 10 minutes! Result? Cookie HEAVEN and the perfect Mint Milano.....as seen below (this one lasted just long enough to snap a picture...soon it was in my belly!)......
I always stack my cookies (separated by wax paper) in a Tupperware container. If these don't fly out of your kitchen the day you make them than they will last up to 7 days when stored in an airtight environment. The key to these cookies is making sure each bite, each morsel, each tiny little delectable piece of mint/chocolate has a hint (just a hint) of sea salt! It will give you a rich, savory, sweet combination that will leave you wanting for more....and more....and more......
a mouth-watering kiki
Pea Pesto by Giada De Laurentiis, modified by Kiki
For the pesto -
One 10 oz bag of frozen peas defrosted
One garlic clove
1/2 cup Parmesan/Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
One teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
for the crostini:
One day old baguette (whole grain or regular)* if you don't have day old than put your fresh one in the oven on 300 for 10 min or so until crust is crispy
olive oil for brushing
carton of cherry tomatoes, diced
pinenuts toasted (eyeball the amount, I like a lot so I am generous)
Pulse together the peas, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper in the food processor. With the machine running, slowly add in the olive oil until it is well combined which takes a couple minutes. Set aside.
Preheat your grill (you can also use a stovetop griddle pan) on medium-high heat.
Slice your baguette into 1/2 inch pieces.
Brush both sides with olive oil.
Grill until golden on both sides which takes 1-2 minutes. I like mine with little dark grill marks, but it's all personal preference!
Spread pea puree on top of each piece (to your discretion, probably about 1 tablespoon if I had to guess).
Add tomatoes and pinenuts, again to your liking.
When ready to serve, squeeze fresh lemon liberally over each one.
Yields approx 30-40 pieces.
ENJOY your 4th of July!!
My friend Parker, who always has her finger on the pulse of what's current, reminded me today of a fantastic blog that's written by a very famous woman. Known for her many roles in movies and in the spotlight as a fashionista, Gwyneth Paltrow launched a blog called GOOP (http://www.goop.com/). It's an insightful look at all of her thoughts and ideas, from fashion and food to travel and spirit. No pretense, just a unique glimpse into her all encompassing world! Sign up for her newsletters and have a serendipitous moment when you receive a new email from your bff, Gwen. For one brief second it's like you're friends....well.....maybe not, but close enough.