Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mad Men Tart

Have you heard about this show called Mad Men? Okayyyyyy.... so maybe I'm a little behind the times because I just started watching it a few weeks ago. I kind of hate it, yet I Just. Can't. Stop. The sets! The clothes! The sexist remarks!  It's so much eye candy I spend most of the time grabbing screenshots, and sometimes while I'm waiting for Joan to return to the screen, I get to hear sweet little nuggets like this:

Mad Man 1 (about Peggy): "She's a lobster"
Mad Man 2: "Lobster?"
Mad Man 1: "Yeah, all the meat's in the tail".

I confess I may have repeated that joke about 45 times since I heard it. Who knew this show was going to be a comedy? Anyways, all of this Mad Men watching has inspired me to sew a slew of these retro aprons and add them to the shop. It's also inspired me to drink more cocktails before 10am; but don't worry, I always add a splash of coffee so's no one can say I have a 'problem'.  
(Why is Betty Draper such a b*&@h?)  Also, you can find more aprons  in other colors HERE 

To round out the Domestic Goddess circle I've included a tart recipe that I made the other day. It's insanely good and probably the only dessert I'll ever make again; amen, the search is over. It's also the REAL reason I've drawn the above avatar. I keep sneaking in the kitchen for another slice, and once you start photoshopping the pounds off there's no turning back. Better to just start with an idealized drawing from the get-go.

If I may make a suggestion- bake this for your very own chain smoking philandering Mad Man. While he's eating it ask pointed questions like "How did you like that tart?" or better yet, "Who was that little tart that answered your phone?" Broad statements such as "I'm sorry you didn't like the tart, I know how you prefer redheads" may also work well to prompt a confession. Or not.  It's only a tv show.

 Sweet Tart Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold or frozen unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk

1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the chunks of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. You should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Break up the yolk and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in a long pulse about 10 seconds until the dough forms large clumps.

2. As soon as the dough is processed dump it into a 9" tart pan. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don't press to much, or overwork the dough, just make sure the pieces cling together. With a fork poke holes in the crust so it doesn't puff up and shrink while cooking.

3.  To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down tightly against the crust. I use martha wrap and put the parchment paper side against the crust. If you use this there is no need to butter it.  Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. I usually make and freeze the crust a day before I  bake the tart. If baking frozen add 5 minutes to the baking time.

4.  Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature

Pear and Almond Tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

3 cups water
3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 medium-size firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled (each about 7 ounces) 
1/2 cup blueberries fresh or frozen (if frozen do not defrost)

Almond Filling
2/3 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
1 sweet tart shell, baked (recipe above)
Powdered sugar (optional)

For pears: 

Bring 3 cups water, sugar, and lemon juice to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add the pears. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until pears are very tender, but not mushy turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool pears in syrup. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For almond filling: 

1. Finely grind almonds and flour in processor. Mix in sugar, then butter and almond extract. Blend until smooth. Mix in egg. Transfer filling to a bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. I usually make this a day ahead and store it in the fridge. Try not to eat it all before you assemble the tart.

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread almond filling evenly in the cooled baked tart crust. Stem pears and cut each in half lengthwise; scoop out cores. Cut each half in half again, lengthwise.  Cut each quarter crosswise into thin slices. Gently press each pear quarter to fan slices but keep slices tightly overlapped. Slide spatula under pears and arrange atop filling like spokes of wheel with narrow ends in center. I only end up using 1 1/2 of the pears. The other half can be gobbled up right then and there.

3. Press the blueberries into the filling between the pears. 

4. Bake tart until golden and toothpick inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool the tart in the pan on a rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from the pan. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Cut tart into wedges; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

Stay tuned next week when I review this little show I heard about called The Soprano's. It's supposed to be pretty good.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

As The World Turns

Fashion tip #213: Match your clothing to your furniture for maximum stylish lounging. 

I loved this printed cotton fabric so much that I bought a couple bolts of it. The only problem is that originally it was purple and white, and if you've been paying any attention at all you will have noticed that I'm currently on a blue, pink, and red kick. I had a feeling that the print would still show through if I dyed it, so I dyed a few yards each Cherry Red and Evening Blue. I couldn't decide which I liked more, so indecision prompted me to use both colors together.

If soap opera's have taught us anything, it's that a memorable exit is just as important as ones entrance, so I opened up the back at the shoulder blades, and appliqued some of the contrasting flowers on to the lower back. This way you wont have to toss the remainder of your cocktail into anyones face, OR slam the door off it's hinges on your way out. You can just politely bid your adieu's and go. Unless of course you have just discovered that your fiance has a two year old love child with your estranged mother, pilfered your entire fortune, and crashed your yacht again...then by all means make a scene.

That not-so-random thought popped into my head because I recently heard that soap operas will be all but kaput within the next few years. I've never watched them as an adult, but as a kid they definitely provided many a good plot line which were played out by my dear friends Barbie and Ken and that little conniving slut Skipper. I also have fond memories of sitting in the kitchen with my sister Gail 'practicing' our soap acting skills by slamming full glasses of water on the table in utter amazement/disgust/anger over and over again until we had it right, or more likely; til we heard mom's car drive up. Then the mad rush to clean up the sopping wet floor before she could open the front door would begin.

Oh the memories. Thank you daytime soap gods for shaping my childhood and making me what I am today: The well dressed mistress of an oil tycoon, with a secret past and a penchant for sleeping pills and sequins. I kid, I kid. Sequins are scratchy and they chaff my armpits. The funny thing is it doesn't really matter where you put the punctuation in that long sentence up above. The oil tycoon is just as likely to have a secret past and addiction to sequins as much as his mistress is.

Sigh. Goodbye and farewell soaps. I pray you all go out with a proper crash, slap, or bang and finish with the dramatic close-up that you deserve.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Pinup and a DIY

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was pretty awesome, although both my kitty and I spent yesterday sick in bed watching movies and taking turns sneezing.

I just wanted to share these beautiful photos with you guys. My lovely friend Delevo did a photo shoot wearing one of my dresses and I am loving the fun pinup vibe! Besides being beautiful and photogenic she is a very talented musician/curator/and jewelry designer. You can find more of her jewelry here.
look at those muscular legs! Yowza!
For the next month you can get 30% off this dress by using the coupon code Delevo30 !

In other non-related news, I'm going to be doing some DIY blog posts for my friends over at Distinctive Fabrics. You can check out the first one here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lets slow this glamour train down for a moment, shall we?

 I don't know about you, but my life isn't just a series of parties,  premieres and 5 star restaurants.  Occasionally I have to run errands, go to a meeting, or  just water the plants. I've even been known to eat lunch at a mere 3 star establishment from time to time, none of which require fancy dress. That's where this little number comes in. I would live in this dress. I will live in this dress. It's comfy, crazy soft, shows off my guns, and doesn't even require a bra.

You can dress it down with a little sandal during the day, and at night just add some wedges and a pair of big chunky earrings. OR you can wear it with 6" lucite fetish heels and a dog collar. Who am I to tell you how to accessorize?

So friends, get used to seeing this dress because I have a feeling it's going to be part of my next summers daily uniform.

*Also, you may have noticed that my photos are getting better. The actual photos that is, not the modeling. This is due to Jesse's insistance that he takes my photos from now on. And rightfully so, they were pretty atrocious.