eating this: steak au poivre


Apparently when my mom was pregnant with me, all she ever craved and screamed for was steak au poivre. She so fancy. I am not the best with meat. There have been few occasions when I’ve cooked steak for my boyfriend and we’ve sat down and said “holy shit that’s amazing”. I guess I’m better with fish. This was another one of those cases.

The sauce was really delicious, VERY strong and VERY peppercorn-y, but I’m not sure I’d try this recipe again. I think next time it’ll be Steak Diane.

The one time I ordered groceries online, I purchased one shallot. Well online, that means one POUND of shallots. I never thought we’d go through them all, but coincidentally everything I’ve cooked in the last two months seems to have shallots in them. This was the end of our bulk shallot stash. SAD FACE!

Steak Au Poivre
(adapted from The Spinning Plate)

2 thick-cut steaks
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup black peppercorns, very roughly ground
1/2 – 1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brandy (or cognac)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the steaks reach room temperature, season them liberally on both sides with Kosher salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy, oven-save skillet over medium-high. Once the oil just begins to smoke, set steaks in the skillet. Sear on one side until brown, 2-3 minutes. Turn off stove and flip the steaks.

Move the skillet into the oven, placing it on a lower rack near the flames. Bake until the finger test yields a medium rare, anywhere from 4-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak. Pull the meat out of the oven when it’s still rarer than you’d like, as it will continue to cook as it rests. Remove steaks to a plate and tent with foil.

Return the skillet to stove. Over medium heat, soften shallots in beef drippings and 1 tbsp butter. Deglaze with brandy, scraping stuck-on bits off the bottom of the pan. Add peppercorns, parsley, stock, cream, and Worcestershire sauce and simmer over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens and begins to pull away from the skillet. When your spoon can leave a trail, it’s ready. Season with salt.

Plate steaks. Pour any remaining juices back into the sauce. Spoon sauce generously over steaks. We served with brussels sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes.

mmmmmmmm… shallots.



making this: the little details


After being inspired by this image, and being lazy about painting the drawers on my rast originally, I decided to choose a coral color and add a little element of surprise when you open a drawer to get a tablecloth.

I had lined the drawers with contact paper while assembling them, but the unfinished pine doesn’t match the outside.

Because I had lined the drawers already, and there was no way I was un-assembling them, I painted all of the corners with my favorite go-to detailing concealer brush. It worked pretty perfectly.

After MANY coats of the coral paint, and multiple times I went “uh oh this is ugly”, once they were finished I became happy with them.

WOO! A shocking color surprise!


tech tour: un-cluttering our living room


A downside of living with a boy is having technology all over the place. We have our huge tv (he wants even huger) mounted above the fireplace. We have an xbox kinect on the mantle. We have an apple tv. Thankfully, Gideon has taken steps to keep things as hidden as they can be.

We built these shelving units from Ikea for either side of the fireplace to keep everything inside.

We attached these branch pulls from Potterybarn.

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making this: DIY perrier bottle turned vase


My boyfriend has an addiction to Perrier. NO PELLEGRINO (it has sodium). Only Perrier. Our fridge is always stocked. Decided I should start using them for something. And what’s easier than spraying things white…

1. bottle of Perrier / 2. flat razor blade / 3. goo gone / 4. white spray paint / 5. a paint pen that is made to use on glass and ceramics

SO! You start with an empty bottle of Perrier. I used large, but I’m going to try making one with the small size too.

I scraped off the labels with the razor blade. This part was so not fun. Once the labels were as gone as I could get them, I used a paper towel with goo gone on it to remove the residue. Then washed it off.

Take it outside and spray paint the hell out of it. Let it dry for hours and apply a second coat if necessary, but who bothers with second coats?

Once it’s super dry to the touch, bring it in and devote the next couple hours of your attention to tediously drawing a pattern on it. I had some Bravo shows on my dvr waiting for me. And that’s it!

I drew from the bottom up and kept wondering on every line if it was enough. Eventually, I just stopped. As you can see from the darkness inconsistency, the paint pen was a total punk. I had to shake it maybe a million times and ended up making a puddle of it to dip into like a calligraphy pen.

Next time, I’m going to use a glass etcher on the top to score and break off the rim.


crushing on… painted ceilings


So it’s a trend that’s been around for a while, and at one point we were considering painting our office ceiling red. Lately, I’ve been thinking about doing it to another room. Our bathroom was painted baby blue when we moved in. The walls and the ceiling for some reason. We’ve talked about repainting it because the color wouldn’t be our first choice, but because of the ceiling being painted too, it’d be a big thing. What if we just painted the walls white, leaving the ceiling painted!?





it’s a medicine cabinet MAKEOVER!


Has anyone bought this?

Don’t. It makes you crazy. It makes you want to redo your medicine cabinet. So I did!

Our medicine cabinet was cluttered, and ridiculously overstocked. The medicine cabinet does not need products we don’t use every day, let alone every week in there. I started by removing it all and only picking out the essentials. Then, I removed the labels on most of them. Sorry boyfriend.

And then… I painted it.

It took me about 15 minutes to decide whether or not to paint the shelves. But I went for it. I used leftover paint from my Rast Hack (Anvil by Martha Stewart).

Because we live in an old craftsman, windows are painted shut and all the paint jobs have been painted over and painted over. I totally should have sanded before painting. Oh well.

UGH. Now the problem with making the prettiest thing in your bathroom be something that is normally hidden behind a door is that you don’t want to close the door.


eating this: lime cheesecake


My hairdresser Stanley wrote a cookbook. Yes, he does hair AND food. I’ve had the cookbook for a year but this is the first recipe I got around to trying. It turned out super moist, but like he says in the book, it is better to serve one day after making for texture and taste. Well I actually think even 2 days is best.

The recipe was simple, I only had two obstacles! The first was my zesting! I don’t know my own zesting strength and always over-zest. But it tastes perfect in the cheesecake.
Um, thats WAY too much zest right?! OOPS.

The second was measuring 12 ounces of cream cheese. Ok, so the packs come in 8. This means I buy two 8-ounce packs. Then I cut one in half.
But is that half?! Which one is more half?! I had to Sophie’s Choice this one.

Lime Cheesecake
(adapted from Completely Delicious by Stanley Penner)

first layer:
1 graham cracker crust pie shell (9 inch)
12 ounces of cream cheese (he recommended for easier blending, warming in the oven for 5 minutes)
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lime
2 tb fresh lime juice
dash of sea salt

second layer:
12 ounces sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°. Blend the warmed cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with a fork. Add one egg and blend. Add second egg and blend again. Blend until smooth.

Add vanilla, lime zest, lime juice, and salt. Blend with a spoon.

Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake in the center rack for 30-35 minutes. When the outer edge of the cheesecake starts to split, it’s done.

While that’s baking, prepare the second layer. Blend sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.

Remove cream cheese pie from oven and pour the sour cream layer on top. Start pouring in the center and spread about in a circular motion with a spatula.

Continue to bake for 10 minutes more. Remove from oven, let cool, and then cover before refrigerating. Definitely wait a day or two for eating.


making this: it’s an office supply MAKEOVER!


What’d you do today? Spray paint all of your office supplies? Yeah, me neither. Yes I did.

How dare these objects be so useful and take up so much space on our desks but usually look so ugly! In theory, I’d like to buy some nice vintage ones like this, but there are like 5,000 other things I’d like to buy on etsy, so spray paint works. I wanted to mix things up and spray some white, some gold, but Gideon refused the gold as usual. So I decided my tape dispenser would be the lone gold.

Jeez! Taping these things up is a pain in the assssss.

The real show-stopper.

OMG White.

And VOILA. Our desks are 20% nicer to look at now!