First up, herb-baked eggs, a la Ms. Garten.
(As usual, apologies for the crappy shadow-laden iPhone photos. If there's one thing I learned on New Year's Eve [albeit in a champagne-induced haze], it's that I need a serious tutorial on how to use our Canon point-and-shoot. [I'm looking at you, Sara.])
Eh hem. So in the very late evening of New Years day, James informed me that oh, at 8:30 the next morning, we were having two of our friends over for "bagels and cream cheese." Said two friends are some of our very best, live all the way across the country (and Pacific Ocean, as a matter of fact), and thus we only see them once a year, plus, they were flying back home that night. So no. We weren't just going to have "bagels and cream cheese." Sorry.
(PLUS, about a year ago, I had purchased a bunch of the above-pictured dishes at a closeout sale, and have been dying for an excuse to use them.)
Cue Ina's herb-baked eggs. The recipe can be easily adapted, required nothing that we didn't already have in our fridge, took barely any time to make, and the result was way more exciting than the usual egg dish. I think it to be the perfect dish to make when having only a few over for company as it can be prepared ahead of time, and while mimosas are being poured, you stick the dishes under the broiler for seven minutes, and voila. Dippy egg perfection. (Toast to dip in the eggs is a non-negotiable.)
My other go-to dish when having an impromptu brunch - mixed berries. Probably not even worth including in this post, but the colors are too pretty not to. I should note that on New Years Eve, my dessert was a glass of raspberries and blackberries with a mint leaf - so simple, and yet always so delicious. So I was still in a berry type of mood, even though they are clearly not in season right now.
Also served at our last minute breakfast - store-bought coffee cake, mimosas, coffee, toast, and yes - the illusive bagels.
Next up - Ina's roast loin of pork with fennel and sautéed cabbage. (What can I say - when in doubt, I always go with Ina.)
Over the holidays, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and our nephews came to visit for a night. Usually when they visit, we keep it pretty simple and go out to dinner, but as James' mom always makes it a point to cook a nice meal for us when we visit, I wanted to return the favor.
I had plans earlier in the day and thus knew I would need to keep the menu super simple as I wouldn't have a ton of time to devote to cooking, so a roast something was a given. And tired of my go-to roast chicken, a roast pork tenderloin - with fennel, potatoes and carrots - was the next obvious choice. It came out quite tasty, and I'm told that the mustardy crust is what made it. (I admit to not be a huge pork fan, and thus only had a small piece.)
In addition to the vegetables, I felt we needed something else (as did Ina apparently, as the entire two-item menu was copied from a Barefoot Contessa television episode), and sautéed cabbage sounded pretty easy. Let me tell you - if you've never had sautéed cabbage, you are missing out. It was QUITE delicious and needed nothing more than a little salt and pepper.
Pretty Paper Goods
Time for a second cup of tea (it's that type of morning - and miraculously, Sammy is still sleeping!) and a change in topic. Though I refuse to make any concrete resolutions or goals in 2012, one thing I'd like to accomplish is to add more wall art to our home, whether that be through photos, actual art, or just some pretty pictures. And over the holidays, I made a bit of progress.
In my quest to add a bit more "formality" to our home, and because Sammy has the cutest little profile, I decided to have a silhouette made. (Rather, I found a seller on Etsy who did them in a way that I liked, then heavily hinted to Queenie that it would be a fantastic birthday present. Luckily, she takes hints very well.) This will be hung on one of our naked living room walls in the midst of what I hope to make into a gallery-style wall, so stay tuned for those efforts.
Next, I have had this picture -
- saved in Pinterest for quite awhile. I absolutely loved it but as I don't have many cool colors (or any blue) in my home, I decided to not buy it for myself, and instead, to gift it to each of my sisters for Christmas. (I still want it for myself.) However, upon purchasing it, I came across this picture (from the same Etsy seller) -
- and immediately HAD to have it. (Merry Christmas to me?) The colors are exactly what I want to use in our kitchen, and our freshly painted walls were just begging for some wall art.
Speaking of Christmas gifts for yours truly, amongst many other goodies, my sister - knowing (and sharing) my love for all things paper - gave me the adorable note pad, pictured below on the left, from Rifle Paper.
The notepad is clearly adorable and I absolutely love it. I had heard of Rifle Paper before, but didn't think about them too much until a few days later, I came across these prints - also from Rifle Paper - via one of my favorite blogs, The Neo-Traditionalist.
And now - now, I'm obsessed. I absolutely MUST have everything that Rifle Paper has ever made! Just look!
I have a weird love of all things watercolor-esque, and this just further fuels that love. And thanks, dear sister, for the forthcoming drain on Sammy's college fund so that I may have pretty paper.