Garlic and Thyme Roasted Spaghetti Squash // @2souschefs

“We had our first taste of autumn weather in the Carolina mountains this past weekend. A brisk 64 degree weekend had us daydreaming about being basic with pumpkin spiced coffee, braised short ribs, roasted chicken (and the inevitable chicken stock simmering on the stovetop the next day), and football. Having one foot in the summer heat and the other in autumn weather had us wanting to roast something, anything, but to keep it light as to not get too ahead of ourselves. Our farmer at the restaurant helped plant the seed for this recipe when he brought in fresh spaghetti squash from his property just down the mountain.

Last we spoke, we talked about a man-made squash substitute for pasta. This week we are speaking of one made by mother nature. Spaghetti squash is a vegetable that once cleaned and roasted has a resemblance of angel hair spaghetti. Some restaurants use it as a gluten free substitute for spaghetti in dishes, however I think once added to other ingredients it can get lost and often overcooked. That is why we love using it as a side dish to just about anything, especially in the autumn and winter months. This recipe will make enough to serve for guests as a side dish.

A half sheet tray is something that we as chefs use daily and take for granted. It’s small size and versatile attitude allows us to use it for anything from roasting meats and vegetables to holding cakes slices for service. Known outside of the professional kitchen as a cookie sheet, one of quality will serve you a lifetime no matter how you use it.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash – cut in half and seeds scooped out

  • 4 sprigs thyme – cut in half

  • 2 cloves garlic – cut in half

  • 1 small shallot – small dice

  • 3 tablespoon chives – thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoon organic olive oil

  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Place two halves of garlic and four halves of thyme in each half of the spaghetti squash, drizzle each half of the squash with one tablespoon organic olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Wrap each half of seasoned squash in a sheet of aluminum foil and place on a half sheet tray or cookie sheet.

  4. Place in the oven and roast for an hour. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes.

  5. Remove the squash from the aluminum foil and remove the garlic and thyme.

  6. Scoop the squash from the skin into a bowl, add the shallots and chives to the bowl, and season with any additional salt and pepper.

  7. Place into a serving dish and serve.

Don’t Book Back // August Reading

last read…

I only got around to two books during the month of August. One I enjoyed and one that I wish I had not bothered reading. I will let you figure out which was which.

I blame my senior thesis advisor for turning me on to Bret Easton Ellis. Dr. Haley augmented my list of suggested reading material for my analysis of the yuppie and hippie movements with Ellis’ works in order to get a sense of the former. I read most of his fiction, save for American Psycho, and enjoyed nearly all of it. Hot tip: skip eating truffle macaroni and cheese while reading the torture scene of Glamorama.

I read White by Bret Easton Ellis. It is his first nonfiction book. I thought I would love what he had to say, but I find his brand of no-nonsense abrasive. Lots of critiques on coastal elites, snowflakes, and millennials, despite the fact that he remains in a live-in relationship with the latter-most. I tend to love memoirs and find them inspiring, but in the case of White, I simply found it to be exhausting.

For the same reasons I read White, I read Lips Unsealed: A Memoir. Like many xennials, I romanticize the late 1970s into 1980s, particularly popular culture. Bret Easton Ellis and Belinda Carlisle were only a few years apart and experienced a southern California upbringing during that time. While I related to Ellis’ more privileged upbringing, I deeply identified with Carlisle’s scrappy attitude.

The perfect antidote to White was Lips Unsealed: A Memoir. The Go-Go’s were one of my favorite bands growing up – still are – though from a few viewings of Behind the Music, I knew that they were not the nice five California girls that the marketing department of I.R.S. Records would have one think. Belinda Carlisle’s candid memoir did not hold back, nor did it present her struggles with addiction with rose-colored glasses. It is her candor that makes Lips Unsealed: A Memoir a fantastic read.

Thai Peanut Chicken with Zoodles // @2souschefs

Not to sound like we are late to the whole low carb party, but we kind of are. Trendy keto and paleo diets have been around for years and preach about the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet. Rather than a low carb diet, our personal philosophy is everything in moderation. Time to get off the soapbox and talk about food.

We have not cut anything completely out of the diet but have greatly reduced the amount of carbohydrates and simultaneously raised the number of veggies we have on our dinner plate. A new-ish ingredient that has helped out greatly in our efforts is the zoodle, a clever hyphen of zucchini and noodle where you spin a squash into rotini-like shapes. You can use a zoodle anywhere you can use regular pasta, but after discussing it with Andi we came to the conclusion that a zoodle would be perfect to swap out with the soba noodles in our Peanut Chicken recipe. We changed up the peanut sauce a touch to help let the zucchini shine through the richness of the recipe.

This quick and easy dish is perfect for a weekday night dinner for two people.

Making a zoodle is rather difficult if you are trying to make it by hand; believe me when I say I’ve tried and it did not go well for the zucchini or the dish. A vegetable spiralizer is a must when making any type of zoodle. Look for one that suctions to the countertop which will make your life that much easier it eliminates the need to chase the device all over the counter.” – Joe

 

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 0.5 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 2 teaspoon cilantro – chopped

For the dish:

  • 2 chicken breasts – skin and cartilage removed, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion – diced
  • 3 clove garlic – minced
  • 1 medium sized crown of broccoli – florets removed and stem chopped down
  • 1 zucchini – spiralized

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

  2. Set a large skillet to medium high heat and add two tablespoons olive oil.

  3. Add the chicken to the skillet and brown on all sided, or for about five minutes.

  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet, turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, garlic and broccoli. Cook for three to four minutes or until the broccoli is tender.

  5. Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the sauce and bring everything to a simmer.

  6. Add in the zoodles to the pan and bring to a simmer once and stir. Remove the pan from the heat.

  7. To plate, use a pair of tongs to scoop the chicken and zoodles and place into two bowls. Use a spoon to scoop the sauce into each of the bowl, top with more cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Counting Down to the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale

Let us get this out of the way. None of the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale items are must-haves, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Food? Water? Oxygen? Those are life essentials. Elsa blouse? Mila shift? Those are luxuries and we are lucky to live in a world where scoring a frock on markdown is our biggest problem. I am not here to lecture; I just urge y’all to keep a little perspective during this tough and trying time.

That said, I have my eye on a few items that I would love to see pop up on the After Party Sale. And if they don’t, I will be signing off. As I say about the #Nsale (shudder), if you would not normally purchase the item, you are not saving money on a sale.

No secret that I love the Goop x Lilly Pulitzer. I bought the mini dress and blouse via Goop when they went on markdown. The collection supposedly sold out on the Lilly Pulitzer online store, but you know what other collaboration did? The Eugenia Kim collection but it magically became available and I was able to score the bohemian headscarf on the 2017 August APS. I am holding out that I will be able to score either the ball skirt or maxi dress, and if neither, the Maisie shift, as the style is a dead ringer for the Goop version.

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My world (and that of every other gal topping six feet in height) was rocked when Lilly Pulitzer released shift dresses and shorts in longer lengths. I was so amped that when I heard the news, I immediately drafted an impromptu blog post despite the fact that I was riding in the passenger seat on a cross country road trip and we were somewhere in Nebraska and reception was spotty at best. The answers to my prayer to Lilly Pulitzer for a more conservatively cut shift landed two of the styles on my After Party Sale radar. These earrings have been on my radar for a second and as such, I will be keeping an eye out for those as well.

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Shopping Moratorium 2019 | 231/134

last…

I am particularly proud of the restraint that I exercised during the Ralph Lauren additional 40 percent off clearance. Cut to me purchasing two one hundred percent cashmere sweaters for one hundred dollars a piece. Keep in mind that these are were both originally four hundred dollars each. I am amped for autumn and if these shades of red and goldenrod do not scream “pair me with a pumpkin spice latte,” then I don’t know what.

My husband and I – mostly I – have been in hot pursuit of finding new accent pillows for our living room. We just installed new art in the living room and along with earth tones, the major color in the piece is blue. With that we are taking advantage of the redesign, albeit as minimal as it is, to change the color story in our living room.

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Crawfish Etouffee // @2souschefs

Lucky for us, we serve some of the nicest guests one could ask for at the restaurant’s culinary bar. Just this past week a regular from New Orleans came in and gifted us with straight from the bayou crawfish tails. The obvious recipe answer was to make crawfish etouffee.

I am a huge fan of certain Cajun favorites, so much so in between visits home where we fill ourselves on the local flavor, I sustain myself and my husband by making these Mississippi Delta delicacies. On days where work is going to be especially busy and I know I’m going to be tired when I get home, I typically prepare food before heading into work for a reheat later when we get home. I was so excited to devour the etouffee when we got home that night that I almost forgot the finished dish photo.

Some may say hot sauce is just hot sauce and that they all taste the same. We say otherwise. Besides Slap Ya Momma, a southern favorite dried chili mixture, Tabasco is a staple in our house. The vinegary brightness along with the heat from the peppers makes it perfect accompaniment to gumbos, etouffee, or even tacos!” – Andi

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 yellow onion – chopped
  • 2 celery stalk – chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper – chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – minced
  • 1 12 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • 1 cup of long grain rice

Directions

  1. In a pot with a lid, bring two cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add in one cup of rice and reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for ten to fifteen minutes or until the rice is soft and tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. In a large, heavy bottomed pot (not an aluminum one), over medium-high heat melt the butter.
  4. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly to make a light-colored roux. This should take about six minutes. It should have a nice light golden color to it when it is ready.
  5. Add the chopped onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and translucent. This should take about eight to ten minutes.
  6. Add the can of diced tomatoes and bring back up to a simmer for another two to four minutes.
  7. Add the chicken stock and crawfish tails and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until thickened. This should take another five minutes.
  8. Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire. Serve over the cooked rice.

Bow Way, Bow How

Though many associate the bow neck trend with the current first lady’s bright pink Gucci blouse of choice for an October 2016 presidential debate, my mind goes to a different time frame.

The year 2000. A different presidential election with much more {relatively} palatable candidates, George W. Bush versus Al Gore, monopolized the headlines. Pop culture-wise, Charlie’s Angels starring Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore was a major trend driving force that autumn. To capitalize on the franchise revival, TV Land aired the OG series around the clock. I distinctly remember taking half of the day off of school after a dentist appointment and drifting off into the nap in the middle of a Charlie’s Angels marathon.

The costume designers outfitted the original girl power trinity, Farrah, Jaclyn, and Kate, in copious bow neck blouses. The trend can be traced back farther. I think the costume designer must have been inspired by Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’ style as I have found historic photos of the iconic first lady in which she is wearing the trend.

Along with an updated razor-cut Farrah Fawcett-inspired feathered ‘do and the metal chain belt (DO YOU REMEMBER THE CHAIN BELT? ANYONE?! I distinctly recall the Banana Republic Factory Store that I worked at in high school carrying them and the guy who brought me to my Junior prom who also worked at BRFS encouraged me to purchase one, albeit I resisted.), the bow neck blouse was pushed on consumers during the autumn of 2000. It was in every magazine and in every store and there was nothing anyone could do to avoid it. Not that I did not like it! I remember advising a friend from high school to buy and wear a hot pink knit shirt adorned with a bow on a date.

Trends are cyclical and the bow blouse is officially back. Not that I ever cared about the trend being “out.” I still love the bow neck blouse so much that I purchased a 2009 Milly version off the secondary market circa 2016 and wore it all the damn time, including on the blog. Bow blouses are back and the ones below are proof.

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Thirty Minutes or Dress

I have never been there, but it is hotter than hell in Washington DC this summer. This is my eleventh summer in the District and I recall some toasty moments throughout the years.

2008: Wearing a black BCBG jersey dress to a job interview and working up such a sweat between the Metro and the office that I had to duck into the next door Barnes and Noble restroom and soak off the pool of sweat on my back with paper towels.

2010: Looking for a new apartment in the city. I did not have it in me to sweat it out on the sidewalks so I settled for a studio on the West End. I continued to live in the pad for six years because I could not bear the thought of having to apartment hunt or worse yet, move in the heat again.

2011: The sesquicentennial of the Civil War brought me to several battlefields for work events. After returning to the office from Manassas, I kept my office light off and made an iced peppermint tea. I do not think I left the office that evening until the sun went down.

2012: Wearing the jacquard dot J.Crew pencil skirt that Michelle Obama made famous and chafing like hell on my walk home from the office. By the end of my commute, my legs felt as thought they were in a straight jacket.

2015: My window air conditioning unit in the aforementioned West End studio quit. As it was the weekend, the property manager initially refused to fix it. As I am quite knowledgeable about DC landlord / tenant law, I knew that the property management company was obligated to fix it as the temperature exceeded 85 degrees. Email sent, unit replaced.

I wish I had not missed the spring window appropriate to wear these dresses. Right now, the DC climate is not conducive to anything with long sleeves. Give it a month, though, when the temperature cools and the District gets an onset of autumn and any one of these dresses can make a home in my closet.

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Shrimp and Artichoke Scampi // @2souschefs

“On occasion my father would help prepare the ingredients but rarely did he actually cook. One of his staples was shrimp scampi. I honestly do not know where he got the recipe from nor why only he would make it but what I do remember is my father slicing onions, garlic, and tomatoes fresh from his garden with this little old paring knife right next to the stove. Never did he use a chef knife for any of the prep work, just his trusty little knife.

When Andi and I were debating what to make for a light summer dinner, Dad’s scampi  popped into the conversation. The recipe was rather simple and classic in its preparation: pasta, garlic, onions, tomatoes, shrimp, wine, salt and pepper. We wanted to keep with tradition but put our ‘Chefy’ touch on it, so we added fresh parsley, lemon zest and juice, and marinated artichokes to the usual lineup of ingredients.  This will make enough for three for dinner, or two for dinner and a fight for the lunch leftovers, you choose.

Silverware is silverware, but a quality set of silverware will add a touch of timeless style to any meal. We play around with different styles, and have a whole drawer of random spoon shapes, but these from Reed and Barton we just love. We use them almost every day and can foresee them being in rotation for years to come.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces 60-80 count shrimp

  • 1 medium shallot – minced

  • 2 cloves garlic – minced

  • 2 Roma tomatoes – small diced

  • 0.25 cup parsley leaves – thinly sliced

  • 0.5 lemon – zested and juiced

  • 0.25 cap dry white wine

  • 1 – 8 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts – drained

  • 1 quarter sized pinch of whole wheat thin spaghetti

Directions

  1. Set a medium sized pot of salted water on high heat and bring to a boil.

  2. Once boiling, reduce to medium high and add in the pasta. Stir and allow to cook until al dente, or for about four to eight minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

  3. In a large skillet set to medium heat, add two tablespoons olive oil, shallots, and garlic. Lightly cook for one minute or until slightly translucent and aromatic.

  4. Add the shrimp and cook for two minutes, stirring the shrimp regularly.

  5. Add the wine and bring up to a simmer.

  6. Add the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Bring all the ingredients to a simmer for one minute.

  7. To plate place a serving of pasta in the center of the bowl, spoon a generous amount of shrimp and artichoke sauce over the pasta.

Don’t Book Back // My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by @racheldeloache

last read…

myfakefriend


2017 to 2018 was the year of the grifter. Billy McFarland. Yvonne Bannigan. Anna Sorokin. The latter’s narrative may have been the most outrageous and unbelievable. It certainly seemed to keep Twitter enrapt throughout the summer of 2018. I was one of the spectators who incredulously absorbed coverage of the con artist, from both the perspectives of Rachel DeLoache Williams and Neff Davis. I devoured both and when the former’s book was released, I immediately digested it too.

It is impossible not to get wrapped up and invested in Williams’ experience. Though she does mention growing up with trappings of privilege – summer vacations at Kiawah Island, studying abroad in Paris, a connection to Graydon Carter via a university contact – it was impossible not to be on her side as she detailed her scrappy climb up the career ladder. Growing up with the cards stacked in your favor only goes so far, and it was impressed upon me that it was her ambition that pushed her. Having spent the majority of my time in a southern town only to later relocate to a city, I related to her; I particularly identified with her post-interview routine of a hand written thank you to both the hiring authority as well as human resources.

The book opens with what likely the most uncomfortable hours in Williams’ life; her phone call with an American Express rep with a southern accent communicated to the reader how dire – and dangerous – the situation in which she found herself was. Her book discusses what led her to that point.

As a reader, it is impossible not to reflect on at what point one would personally draw the line should one find herself in the author’s shoes. I grew up in what I believed to be a lower middle class family and as such dutifully managed my budget and lifestyle. If you live small and within your means, you will always feel rich. Still, I wondered if Anna was so skilled in the art of manipulation that it would be impossible to avoid being pulled into her orbit once identified as a mark?


My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams