holidays

Carin’s Paper Party

by Joanna on December 15, 2014

carinspaperpartyAre you one of those people who sends out cards every holiday season? I always try to be, but it seems like my intentions get the best of me. That’s why I was delighted to discover the Etsy shop of my college friend Carin, called Carin’s Paper Party. Not only are her adorable holiday cards available in paper form, but they are always available as a download!

Here’s what that means: You can save on shipping time by downloading her awesome Hanukkah artwork and printing it yourself. Perfect for all those last-minute people out there (read: me). Oh and my personal favorite? The adorable doxie menorah design shown above.

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{ Images via Carin’s Paper Party }

 

 

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Hopscotch

by Joanna on December 11, 2014

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It’s that time of year again—gift-shopping season! I’m always on the lookout for gift-giving sources and my latest favorite is Hopscotch, a London-based online boutique. They believe in good design and have stocked the shop with some gorgeously hand-picked pieces. The mix is a curation of products from the U.K., along with works by international designers and vintage pieces from Europe. From yummy fragranced candles to linen pillows and pastel pens, they make for some truly unique gifts.

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 { Images via Hopscotch }

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Three Bean Tuscan Stew

by Anh-Minh on December 5, 2014

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As a special treat during the holiday season, Melina Hammer is not only sharing a delicious recipe with us, but also filling us in on some of her favorite handmade goods. —Anh-Minh

The scene: winter picnic, fireside. Friends, comfort food, and the beautiful objects that enhance our lives.

In sharing this month’s delectable recipe and in the spirit of the giving season now underway, I wanted to feature some goods I love, curated by the fine folks at Scoutmob. Scoutmob champions independent makers (over 1000 of them!): from bitters to handmade art prints, block-printed textiles to handmade ceramics. I’ve loved the quality and variety available (read: addicted) for almost two years. Many a story has included props sourced through them, and I have given lots of *great* unique gifts.

The handmade goods you’ll find are all small-batch quantity, made in the USA, by real people. Scoutmob also has fantastic customer service, which in this era of internet-based buying, helps them stand apart. Their customer service was a major selling point for me a few purchases back, when I needed something customized and found out I could have it just as I needed. And shipped to arrive in two days!

The perfect-in-a-hand ceramic “quail egg chili” bowls set the stage for my three bean Tuscan-inspired stew. Jessie Lazar makes contemporary heirloom pieces and her workmanship is delicate yet unfussy. With my stew … Why settle for one when you can have the amazing textures and flavors of three? Specifically, savory and buttery great northern, flageolet, and cannellini. YUM.

For the cheat’s soppressata cheesy breads, this gorgeous solid walnut board made the perfect backdrop. It’s the century-old board you’ve always wanted, at the beginning of its journey.

And to lay it all out, lolling the afternoon away with amazing food and friends, the colorful and hand-woven rug by Re:loom made the transition from kitchen prep to afternoon enjoyment a no-brainer. These rugs are made from donated fabrics (no two are alike), created by low-income families working towards self-sufficiency through initiatives like this one. While you find beauty in a lovely product such as this, you’re additionally helping support people refine a craft and earn a sustainable income. Winning all-around!

Now, for the food …

I’m a sucker for a great stew. This one can be made vegan or with chicken stock, up to you. The combination of textures and deep savoriness, along with a bit of spice, makes this a steady go-to in my home. You can use canned beans in a pinch, but the texture and flavor of cooked dry beans is meaningful. Given they play a starring role in this recipe, try dry beans if at all possible.

The added delight of cheesy breads to the stew makes everyone’s face brighten. It’s even in the name! These are so simple to prepare, it’s kinda dangerous … Invite your friends, present them with these, and they will thank you between enthusiastic mouthfuls. :)

Three Bean Tuscan Stew

 Serves 6-8

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 7-9 small carrots, chopped (if you can find heirloom varietals, it makes for an even more beautiful stew, especially since we eat with our eyes first)
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 1/2 cups dry cannellini beans
  • 1 1/2 cups dry flageolet beans
  • 1 cup great dry northern beans
  • 1 head garlic, divided 2/3 and 1/3
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rosemary, quills picked and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chile flakes
  • good olive oil

Cheat’s Soppressata Cheesy Breads

Serves 6-8
  • 6-8 good quality sandwich rolls
  • zest from one lemon – use organic as you’ll be eating the skin
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 5-7 thin slices soppressata or other hard salami
  • 1/3 head garlic (from above)
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • freshly cracked pepper

Soak each of the dry beans in enough cold water to cover by two inches, and in bowls large enough for them to double in volume. After soaking 6 hours or overnight, drain and rinse each, then transfer to a large heavy bottom stewpot. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Add enough water to cover with an inch or so extra. Add two or three bay leaves, and if you’re one to save parmesan heels (or a similar hard cheese) in the freezer, add a few to the beans as they cook. If you’re not, start doing it! Cheese ends impart great depth of flavor to any soup or stew, and there’s no extra cost to you in doing so… you already bought and enjoyed that cheese and here, it gives its final gift. I store mine in resealable bags in the freezer. Once you accumulate a few, have at it! Turn heat to high to bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook beans on a low simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until beans are tender.

While the beans cook, cut across the top of the head of garlic (enough to reveal the cloves inside). Nestle it in a sheet of aluminum foil and dress it in olive oil. Fold the garlic into the foil and place in a baking dish. Do the same—foil and oil—>with the jalapeño. Roast the two in the oven for as long as you cook the beans, then remove and set aside to cool.

Once the bean mixture is ready it will have absorbed much of the water. Now you have a flavorsome broth. Pull out the cheese ends and discard, and transfer beans to a large bowl. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper and set aside.

Return pot to burner, medium heat. Add a couple good glugs of olive oil and add the onions stirring occasionally. As they start to become translucent, add in the celery and carrots, as well as the rosemary and chile flakes. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or so. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

I cook the vegetables separately from the beans because I prefer them to retain a little character. If they were to cook with the beans, they would be mush. To experience the creaminess of the beans, contrasted with the toothsome veg adds another yummy layer.

While the veggies sauté, place into the bowl of a food processor: 2/3 of the roasted garlic—use your fingers to press at the base and the cloves will slide out—2-3 cups of the cooked bean mixture, the roasted jalapeño (minus its stem), and the chicken stock or water. Pulse until you have a creamy mixture. This will add body to the stew. Empty the pureed mixture into the pot, along with the bowl of cooked beans and their liquid and give it all a good stir. Place the lid on top and simmer at lowest heat while you prepare the cheat’s cheesy breads.

For the cheesy breads, stir the zest and mascarpone together to incorporate. Place the rolls onto a baking sheet, and divided evenly, slather a the mascarpone onto each roll.

Mash the remainder of the roasted garlic in a small bowl. Tear the soppressata and place onto the rolls. Spoon the roasted garlic over top next, and add freshly cracked pepper. Finally, pile mounds of gruyere over each, dispersing evenly.

Place the tray into the oven and bake for 7 minutes or until everything is melty and sizzling. Turn oven to broil and place tray on top rack. Broil for 2-3 minutes for a good golden crust.

Remove from oven. Use a spatula to transfer breads to a serving board. Serve stew alongside, and enjoy the feast! Any leftover stew can be refrigerated for up to one week.

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{ Images by Melina Hammer for Anthology Magazine }

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Today we’re sharing our fourth and final installment of Claudette Carracedo‘s The Mother-Daughter Project; the series has been a sweet reflection leading up to Mother’s Day. It’s easy to focus solely on the particular phase a relationship is in at present, but the breadth of these relationships is a good reminder of memories from the past, as well as a look into the years to come. If you missed week one, two, or three, spend some time reading them this weekend. Thanks for sharing these with us, Claudette!

From Claudette: Vickie is my wonderful mom. This past year has been one of her most trying. I’m constantly inspired by her courage, strength, and perseverance. Making her laugh makes me happy.

From Claudette: It never ceases to amaze me how our pets play such pivotal roles in our lives. They are family. And like family, they help us through both our trials and tribulations. Hearing how Tupelo was there for Romy at a time she needed it most was just heartwarming. Romy’s incredible wife, Heather, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She underwent a lumpectomy, 6 month of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, followed by 5 weeks of radiation.

From Claudette: Michelle and Maiya have one of the sweetest mother-daughter relationships, filled with crazy amounts of kisses, hugs, and love. And a lot of silliness. But don’t be fooled, this little 5-year-old is a big fan of Star Wars and can probably out-quiz you if challenged!

{ Photos by Claudette Carracedo }

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Today brings us to part three of Claudette Carracedo‘s The Mother-Daughter Project. In honor of Mother’s Day on May 11, we’ve been sharing installments of the photos Claudette captured of relationships between women of all ages. This week’s are particularly heartwarming, and a good reminder of how sweet a bit of humor between a mother and daughter can be. If you missed the previous installments, be sure to check out week one and week two.

From Claudette: Laurel, an old classmate of mine, along with her family adopted beautiful Dieulane from Haiti in 2012. And wow. This little girl has such a cheerful and energetic disposition. I’m positive it is a result of being welcomed into such a warm and loving family. When leaving the studio I asked Dieulane for a hug to which she replied: “I’m a big fan of hugs!”

From Claudette: Michelle, a lawyer, and Margaret, a retired pharmacist who immigrated to Canada at the age of 21, have an inspiring and dynamic mother-daughter relationship. Clever, bright, and quick-witted. During our session, we went from Margaret insisting on re-combing Michelle’s hair to having brief discussions on vegetarianism, photography, figure skating, and religion. According to Michelle: “We use to go to the library together almost every week to find books to read, starting before I could barely read. She says she was desperate for me to learn to read so I’d sit quietly and not be such a pest.”

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