The last of the kumquats are disappearing off the shelves, which makes me really sad. I love the little guys, they’re like nature’s Sour Patch Kids (my favorite candy). Preserving them keeps them around all year long, though, and this kumquat and vanilla bean marmalade will allow you to enjoy them through the summer months.
In addition to their sweet/sour/bitter flavor combination, I love preserving kumquats because they’re one of the easiest citrus fruits to put up. Their skin is edible from the start, so they don’t require the same elaborate soaking and boiling ritual that oranges or lemons need.
If you’ll eat the marmalade within a few weeks, you can skip the processing part and just store it in the refrigerator. If you’re new to canning or need a refresher, check here.
P.S. Can we talk about how much I love this beautiful little tea cup? I really love little Japanese ceramic teacups, but I find anything that holds near-boiling liquid but doesn’t have a handle to be really impractical. I guess I need to start making pots of tea so I’m not pouring the incredibly hot water directly into the cup? Is that the secret?
“Some of my favorite places in Tokyo are in the basements of buildings. There’s a jewelry and bead shop that I love in the 2nd basement level near my apartment. The basements of Japanese department stores food courts of sorts where you can get everything from sushi to salumi to salads. A few weeks ago we went to a very good Michelin star restaurant that is in the basement of a building up the street. And my photo for this week is me creepily peeking down the stairs into an impossibly charming tapas restaurant that recently opened near our place.“
*I bought the book before I realized that all of the information is on their website, but I’m really excited about starting Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I love the thought of being able to bake my own bread without the amount of time that it takes to start from scratch!
*Dot & Bo is always a source of design inspiration for me. They have a great collection of wood & metal home accents, and this coffee table is the perfect combination of practical and beautiful. Particularly if you’re a sucker for beautiful, slightly impractical art books and cookbooks, like I am.
“This cupcake was one of the free treats at today’s free lunchtime Janelle Monae concert here in SF. The event was a celebration for Salesforce’s 15th birthday and I love the subtle and effective way they included their branding into the cupcake topper. (Janelle Monae herself is a pretty amazing treat, for the record.)
Another hilarious highlight from the week: this photo of my coworker and I in essentially the same outfit. Hazard of the job, I guess! (Head over to her new project Ginger Side of Life, a style blog about two redheads in the city!)”
* Offbeat Bride recently featured this gorgeous zoo wedding shot by Val & Sarah. I love the color, the joy and the international vibe.
* Need a quick refresher course on your knife skills? Front and Main (West Elm’s blog) recently offered up this cute, simple tutorial.
* I really, REALLY want to do this to my hair. Quick, someone talk me into (or out of) it!
Another tasty contributor post over at Oh So Pretty this week: a Dark Chocolate Irish Coffee!
Ricotta cheese is kind of like a backup singer. It’s there in your lasagne to add texture and creaminess. It works together with mascarpone to fill crackling cannoli shells. But rarely does it get to take center stage. There’s a reason for this: it’s a great vessel for other flavors and it’s texture can be a bit…grainy or dry, sometimes, especially the store-bought stuff.
It’s pretty clear that we love parties. Alyssa plans a bunch of parties and it won’t take you long to find plenty of ideas for swizzle sticks and party supplies, both here on the blog and in our shop.
So it won’t be a surprise to hear that I really just like holidays in general! With that ‘Pinch Me, I’m Irish’ holiday just around the corner, I started to think of my favorite St Patrick’s Day ever. It was probably the time I spent March 17th at an ex-pat bar in Shanghai with some of my favorite friends, lots of Irishmen singing and really cheap pints. There were green party accessories all over the place: tinsel and clover garland and hats that didn’t seem to actually belong to anyone, but were passed along from person to person.
The expected decorations are some of the best part of party planning- and they can turn any occasion into a party! I love the idea of celebrating holidays on a small scale, with a fun extra touch that is just as appropriate for a weeknight meal as it would be for a more elaborate party. I think that’s just what these cute and easy party straws are!
I am seriously into lists. I have 3 different apps on my phone for lists, and I use all of them for different things. In addition to those lists, I have a notebook dedicated entirely to my “to do” lists. I have notepads with specific list-making topics. It’s a problem. I’ve had Carla on the lookout for cute post-it note to do lists in the Target dollar bin in the Bay Area after I bought out all of the Targets in Northeast Ohio when I was there in December.
“It’s been a busy week full of testing recipes! There was one notable failure, involving quick pickled cucumbers. I followed a recipe from a preserving book that I really love and trust, but it completely let me down this time. I ended up throwing the entire mason jar full of soy sauce-saturated, inedible cucumbers down the garbage disposal.
There were plenty of successes, however, including the citrus carrots in my photo for this week. Just steam some carrot rounds, drizzle some blood orange olive oil over them, zest some lime and add salt & pepper to taste. They’re a bright, healthy winter side dish.“
*If you’ve ever tried to save a few dollars on booze by buying the cheap brand, then you’ll know how useful this post from The Kitchn is. They present a way to doctor cheap rum to make it more palatable.
*I’m really into single cup drip coffee right now. It’s huge in Japan, and even Starbucks has a line of disposable single-drip dispensers called Origami (cute, huh?). While it’s convenient, it feels pretty wasteful to use at home. I suppose this gorgeous porcelain version from Elizabeth Benotti Handmade Ceramics would make an adequate substitute…
*I love fried chicken, but I don’t usually go through the trouble of making it at home. Until Food & Wine published the recipe from Wayfare Tavern, one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants. This was one of the aforementioned cooking successes of the week. So, so good, and worth the effort. I’ll definitely make it again.
“Working from home is such a treat. Not only do I get tons of work done without the two hour commute, but I can also throw on a face mask, do some laundry and make myself tasty mugs of tea all day long. The one downside is that my desk is packed between blog work and craft work and photography work and so I sit at the kitchen table near a set of slat windows. It’s certainly less of a problem in the summer, but today I wanted to keep the curtains closed to block out as much of the draft from the windy, rainy weather as I could and it was feeling a bit dark. Then I looked up and noticed I was missing a WHOLE BULB up there. 25%! I should find an ark and hit the hardware store.”
* In case you don’t know of Heather Sphor, you may want to check out her Instagram feed. Not only are her kids ridiculously adorable, but she puts together the best photos of her son James with the hashtag #whileyouwereatpreschool to show her daughter. Seriously, check her out.
* Speaking of desks: one day I will have this amazing DIY gold version. You could also use sequin fabric or even glittered scrapbook paper instead of the gold leaf- cheaper AND easier!
* Our friend Christina over at Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe actually made me drool a bit with this corn recipe she posted earlier this week. Everyone likes corn, right? In my opinion, this is a perfect snack/lunch/pre-dinner/meal substitute.
Definitely don’t miss our contributor post over at Oh So Pretty: a Clementine & Honey Fizz!
If you haven’t noticed yet, I love breakfast. ALL breakfast. There’s the kind during the week where you trudge to your office mini-kitchen and add some hottish water to your oatmeal or eat a cold bagel with some colder cream cheese. I mean, it sounds a little rough, but there’s still something about it that is just so cozy. Even better: the long weekend kind where you have time for something hot and savory or dripping in maple syrup.
9 times out of 10, if it’s breakfast and I don’t have to be at work, I’m making a chard omelette. My mom invented these several years ago: a simple filling of cooked chard, maybe with some onions, folded up in two eggs and topped generously with extra sharp cheddar cheese. Boy, do I love those omelettes. I’ve decided that it’s not enough to wait until the weekend for chard anymore and so I came up with this dreamy dish: Chard and Fried Egg Toast.
A few months ago, my sister and her family moved into a new house. She had just purchased a new bedroom set in gray and yellow and since I had painted a huge canvas a year or two ago that matched perfectly, I took it off my wall and brought it right over to her house (hope she liked it!) Since then, I’ve been dreaming up a new idea for the huge empty space above my bed, including colors and textures and the possibility of new furniture. I’ve now decided what will go up on the huge, new canvas above my bed (that project coming soon!) and today’s DIY is specifically intended to compliment that future project.
Copper as a decorative accent has gained popularity recently- should we blame it on the Moscow Mule? The drink’s signature mugs have certainly made their way onto lots of designer’s must-have lists. Since my bedroom gets a ton of early morning light, I envisioned some key copper items to reflect warm, happy, reddish tones. An easy add: this DIY decorative copper orb!
I spend A LOT of time on my cell phone on FaceTime. It’s the best (and cheapest) way to keep in touch with family and friends, since international calling can be pretty pricey (or has terrible quality, ahem *SKYPE* ahem). I talk to my parents every day, always during their evenings and my late mornings/early afternoons. This is not the time of day to sit somewhere and hold the phone in front of my face and just chat. I’m usually flitting around our apartment doing laundry, making myself lunch, working on a recipe or getting ready to go out and run errands. As a result, I end up propping the phone against the nearest right angle while we talk so I can have my hands free. It’s not always a very successful arrangement, and they usually end up FacePlanting at least once a day. It’s not good for my phone and it’s not fun for them!
There had to be a better option. Maybe a cell phone stand that I could keep handy and leave out in the apartment, given how often I would use it. The ones I saw in stores tended to be cheap looking or silly, or if they had any design class then they were fairly expensive. Surely I could come up with something inexpensive and attractive.
“If I could sum up my week in one word, it would be ‘Olympics.’ My productivity just goes out the window when the Olympics are on, summer or winter. I love the stories, the intense competition, the drama and the politics. It’s engrossing. I’ve even had dreams about figure skating. Scary stuff.
The photo is from Din Tai Fung in Shinjuku. It’s a Taiwanese dumpling house known for their soup dumplings. Two of their Hong Kong locations have been awarded Michelin stars and they have made the NYT’s Top 10 restaurants in the world list before. This particular location is in one of my favorite malls in Tokyo, and I just had to stop for a little snack after some shopping.”
*Matte nails aren’t exactly new news, but I keep finding new ways to use my favorite OPI matte topcoat (polka dots! stripes!). I am currently obsessed with my dark grey matte nails (inspiration Pin here). I’d show them to you guys, but my nails are bitten down to embarrassingly small nubs right now. I blame the tension of the Olympics.
*I lived less than a block away from The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco for TWO YEARS and I never had one of their famous Irish coffees. This POPSUGAR article shows you how to recreate their recipe and method at home. Just in time to perfect the recipe by St. Patrick’s Day!
“The only part of this photo (from yesterday’s DIY bud vase post) that bums me out is that you can’t see my favorite new nail polish color- OPI’s Berlin There Done That. It’s a purple-y, gray-y taupe that’s neutral while managing to be both conservative and different. With a big work week wrapping up and a projected weekend full of sunshine, I can’t wait to finish a book or two, make some hearty breakfasts while kitchen-dancing and do lots of laundry (which I love, seriously.)“
* In the sad news column, my adorable door mat (which never failed to make me smile) disappeared a few months ago while I was out of town. I’m blaming it on extremely high winds instead of potentially petty-theft prone neighbors (roll with me on this). I plan to make another version soon, but in the meantime I spotted this cheeky option on Amazon. Hello, adorable!
* Mint wedge sandals with a dainty heel and back zipper detail? OK!
Definitely don’t miss our contributor post over at Oh So Pretty: a Clementine & Honey Fizz!