Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Favorite Finds for Easter

To be honest, I feel very silly writing this post because I know almost nothing about Easter. Being Jewish, I've never celebrated Easter!

That being said, I still have a love for cute bunnies and anything in pastel, so here's a round up of my favorite things this year if I were celebrating Easter!

1) The cutest floral cupcake decorating kit {link}

2) A perfect addition to your Easter brunch table {link}

3) I am dying to add one of these Mosser Glass cake stands to my collection! {link}

4) Chocolate marshmallow eggs in the loveliest shade of blue {link}

5) Lusting after these dessert plates {link}

Monday, March 30, 2015

Favorite Finds for Passover

Hi everyone! Hope you are having a great start to your Monday. Today's post is dedicated to Passover, a Jewish holiday that starts on Friday evening. 

This spring holiday marks the remembrance of Jews leaving Egypt as free men for Israel, after being enslaved by the Egyptians for many years. It's the story of Moses and the exodus of Jews from Egypt. 

Jews celebrate Passover not only by avoiding bread and leavened food, but also by hosting Passover Seders on the first two nights. Passover Seders (seder means "order" in Hebrew) is a ceremonial meal where Jews retell the Exodus story and drink a lot of wine. 

I did a round-up of some of my favorite Passover-related items that I found on the internet...for when you realize your Bubbie's seder plate doesn't quite cut it anymore. 

Tomorrow, I'll feature some favorite finds focusing on Easter!

1) Seder plate

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kale Lemon Pasta with Preserved Lemons

DSCN3855 Yesterday, we talked about preserved lemons. Today, I'm sharing with you a great way to use this unique condiment in a delicious and easy pasta dish.

One of the many reasons why I love pasta is because you can use up all of your leftover odds and ends and turn it into a wonderful meal. And that's exactly what this recipe does!

It's a lemony cream sauce pasta, but I promise it's not a heavy and gloopy sauce. The lemon juice and zest, in addition to the preserved lemon peel, elevates the dish and prevents it from feeling heavy.


DSCN3867 Kale Lemon Pasta with Preserved Lemons

Inspired from Smitten Kitchen

1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch of lacinato kale, chopped into one-inch pieces
3 lemons
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons preserved lemons
Ground black pepper

Cook pasta in extremely salted water (it should taste like the ocean) until your pasta is al dente.

Meanwhile, when the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium. Add the kale to the oil, and saute lightly. Add the juice from 3 lemons, in addition to 1 tablespoon of zest from your lemons. Then, add the heavy cream, and let it simmer to thicken the sauce.

Sauteed KaleDSCN3851

When the pasta is al dente, drain the water, reserving a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pan with kale and cream sauce, in addition to the cooking liquid. Continue cooking on medium for a minute or two longer. 

Turn off the heat, adding the cheese, preserved lemons, and ground pepper.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons My best friend Vivian brought me a special treat this winter, bags filled with Meyer lemons! Her parents have a Meyer lemon tree and didn't know what to do with all of those lemons, so she brought some over to me.

Instead of whipping up a batch of lemonade or lemon bars, I decided to make preserved lemons. Preserved lemons are basically pickled lemons, and according to Wikipedia (the font of all knowledge), preserved lemons are a popular condiment in Indian and South African cuisine. You actually serve the preserved lemon peel, not the flesh.

There are lots of reasons to love preserved lemons. First, they provide a nice tart and briny punch to whatever you add them to. Secondly, it allows you to take advantage of Meyer lemons even after they're out of season. Oh, and they are easy to make. Always a plus in my book!

I'll feature a recipe tomorrow showing you how to use these preserved lemons!


Preserved Lemons

Recipe from NPR

4 lemons (ideally organic!)
4 tablespoons of salt
Juice from 4 lemons, plus more to taste

Wash and scrub the lemons well. Quarter the lemons almost completely through, so that the lemons are still attached at the stem. Stuff each lemon with a tablespoon of salt, and close the lemon. 

Put the lemons in a sterilized canning jar, and squeeze the lemons down so that they are squashed together. Leave the jar out for 3-4 days, allowing the skin to soften. 

Then, add lemon juice so that the lemons are completely submerged. Close the jar and leave in a cool place for at least a month. 

Before using, scoop out and discard the pulp, and rinse the lemon peel under the tap to get rid of any extra salt. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Favorite Finds: Brown Water Coffee

Brown Water Honduras Coffee Beans Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I am a coffee snob. Part of me hates the fact that I insist on non-Starbucks coffee and I have a preference for Blue Bottle over Four Barrel. If I am going to spend the money on coffee, I want it to be exactly to my liking!

Now, what if I told you that you could get coffee-snob approved beans in addition to helping someone get access to clean drinking water? It's a no-brainer, right?

Brown Water Coffee ships you coffee within 72 hours of roasting, so you get the freshest and best tasting coffee possible. I just ordered their Honduras San Vicente coffee, and I am loving the result. It makes my morning commute so much better to have a delicious and hot cup of coffee with me!

For every bag of beans that someone buys, they provide clean drinking water to an individual. I wish they had more details on exactly what their one-for-one model entails, but I do like their social mission. This year, they are working on a clean water project in Nicaragua. I take for granted that I have clean drinking water, and enough clean drinking water to make delicious coffee.

Check out all of their coffees here!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Puerto Vallarta!

View from Garza Blanca
Hi everyone! I am sorry for the lack of posts last week. I went to Puerto Vallarta, was delayed heading home, and then was only home fore three days before leaving for DC for the weekend. It's been a very hectic two weeks.

I'm writing this post from the Atlanta airport right now. Outside it's gray, dark, and rainy, but I'm inside looking at these photos from Mexico which are just filled with sunshine and color...the perfect start to the first work week of Spring!

View from Garza BlancaView from Garza Blanca

Z's family and I went to Puerto Vallarta for a few days to relax and soak in the sun. We stayed a resort south of the city that had a great view of the ocean and beaches. We laid out by the pool, spent some time paddleboarding, and ate a lot of guacamole!


I particularly loved the flavored waters and juices the resort would distribute to everyone. My favorite was a honeydew, lime and mint combination that was simply delicious. I'm definitely inspired to create more interesting non-alcoholic drinks like this.

Melon, lime, and mint water

We also had to order a few tropical drinks, mainly because I've had "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" stuck in my head for the past few weeks.

Piña Colada
PooltimeWe also went out for an amazing dinner to celebrate Z's sister's birthday at a restaurant called Cafe Des Artistes. They brought out a very traditional ceviche, but then we enjoyed delicious French food the rest of the night. They sure know how to celebrate a birthday!
cevicheCevicheRoasted FishCapreseRoasted Tomato and Leek RavioliDessert & SparklersDSCN3705

What family vacations have you enjoyed recently? Where do you want to go next?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend Links!

Hi everyone! I am in Mexico this weekend with Z's family and we're getting some R&R. Snorkeling is on the schedule for today! Hope you have a relaxing weekend as well!

Find out about how the artisanal toast craze started with Trouble Coffee. {link}

Food52 came out with a new podcast, and it is great! {link}

Shared these great maps of the US with my teammates at work {link}

Hello, dream job and kitchen! {link}

This print is great, and I want everything by this artist! {link}

If the major cities were made of food...{link}

Floral spirits for your next cocktail party {link}

Reading this book and I love it. {link}

Beer + politics + taxes {link}

Wishing this group would create an SF outpost! {link}

Wanting this shirt from Kit & Ace {link}

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Caramel Chicken

Caramel Chicken

There are lots of reasons to make this easy dinner dish, but the most important reason is the sauce. The sauce is incredibly addicting. It's a slightly sweet, vinegary, and gingery sauce studded with golden and caramelized garlic cloves. I could (almost) drink the sauce.

Caramel Chicken

This caramel chicken recipe from Bon Appetit is one of my favorites. It's easy to make– Z and I made this on a weekday night! Paired with some brown rice and a simple kale salad, it made for a delicious dinner.

Caramel Chicken
I'll admit...it's pretty easy to pick up Asian-inspired takeout in a mystery brown sauce. But you're left with mystery cuts of chicken in a thick and even more mysterious sauce with MSG. Next time you are tempted to get takeout, make this Vietnamese-inspired chicken dish instead!

Caramel Chicken

Caramel Chicken

From Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and thighs
Kosher salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 slices 1/4" thick of peeled ginger
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oil in a large and wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt, and working in two batches, cook the chicken until golden brown and crisp, 6-8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. 

Add garlic to the pot, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to the plate with the chicken. Pour off the fat from the pot. 

Return pot to medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup of water, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add sugar, stir to dissolve, then cook until the mixture thickens and turns dark amber in color. Carefully add the vinegar.

Add ginger, broth, soy sauce, and then chicken (skin side up) and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Make sure chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to another plate. 

Bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot, and toss to coat. Top with scallions and serve with rice!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Restaurant Raves: Souvla

I love cooking at home, I really do! But every home chef eventually needs a break from the kitchen. One of my favorite things about food is it's ability to help foster community. Restaurants are a key part of that. Imagine the Mission without Tartine and the taquerias!

So, in the spirit of community, good food, and good value, I'm going to start showcasing some of my favorite restaurants here on Hilary Stone Soup.

Today's restaurant, Souvla, is one of my newest obsessions. Whenever Z wants to go out to eat, I almost immediately suggest eating at Souvla.

Souvla is a Greek-inspired casual dining spot in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. During dinner and lunch, they have four main offerings: feta-brined rotisserie chicken, roasted lamb leg, pork shoulder, and a sweet potato vegetarian medley. You can get any of these in a gyro sandwich or in a salad, all under $15.

My personal favorite is the chicken salad. The salad comes with delicious roast chicken (perfectly moist and seasoned) with orange slices, pickled red onions, pea shoots, and delicious Greek-inspired ranch dressing. The salad is addicting. When I think about the perfect salads I've had in my life, this one makes the short list.

Souvla's received a lot of press lately from Bon Appetit Magazine and others, but Souvla is worth the hype.

Plus, the space is just gorgeous, right?

-Get the chicken salad
-Hayes Valley, San Francisco

All images courtesy of Souvla

Friday, March 6, 2015

Le Weekend!

Happy Friday! This week has seemed hectic with performance reviews at work and planning out the month. I had intended to make hamantaschen this week in celebration of Purim, but that didn't happen at all. I did book a fun trip though for next week! This month will be filled with lots of traveling, so I am going to try and get in lots of SF plans this week. I'm visiting some new bakeries, seeing old friends at a party, and getting our apartment in order. 

To get you to 5pm happy hour time, here are some links for the weekend. 

Loving this article on Paris, pastry, and Japanese. {link}

I just purchased this facial cleanser from Beautylish, and I loved the experience. {link}

Dying to try this "good for you" ice cream. {link}

Also wanting to try this "ice cream cleanse". {link}

Off the Grid lineups are out for 2015! I love these food truck festivals. {link}

For all the Hello Kitty fans in SF. {link}

A great round up of events in SF this month. {link}

Where to find the best coffee in the sky. {link}

This portrait session made me smile. {link}

Excited to listen to this podcast over the weekend. {link}

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Endive Citrus Salad with Avocado and Goat Cheese

Endive Citrus Salad I've been keeping this recipe a secret from you for quite some time now. I originally made this endive citrus salad back in December, and I immediately was smitten with how easy this was to make, yet it looked so impressive!

For those of you bundled up in lots of snow and cold weather, this light and citrusy salad is a burst of sunshine. It's the type of salad I would imagine eating on a white-sand beach, with a pina colada in my hand.

Endive Citrus Salad
I initially intended to make this salad for Z's and my Chanukah party--we put out a huge spread of appetizers (including latkes!) for friends, and this salad was supposed to be on the menu. I ended up not having enough time to make these between everything else that was going on (latkes were my top priority), but I made this salad a few days later and loved loved loved the results.

This endive salad looks so fancy--I love the idea of serving it at a cocktail party! But it's so delicious and easy to make, don't be surprised if this becomes one of your new go-to dinner options.

Endive Citrus SaladEndive Citrus Salad Endive Citrus Salad with Avocado and Goat Cheese

Recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen and Jose Andres

3 oranges (I used one blood orange and two navel oranges, but I also really like Cara Cara oranges in this)
2 heads of endive
2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Flaky sea salt

Cut the tops and bottoms off of your oranges. Cut the peels, including the white pith, off of the oranges. Slice between the membrane and the orange segment so you can release the orange segments. Chop the orange segments once or twice so that they are not too big!

Trim the endives and add them to a platter. Place a spoonful of orange segments into each endive. Add a little bit of avocado and goat cheese to each endive.

Drizzle the endives with vinegar and olive oil, then sprinkle with pepper and salt to taste. 


Monday, March 2, 2015

Favorite Finds: Forage

I feel really guilty. I've had a really good secret now for quite some time, and I haven't shared it with you yet.

You see, Z and I receive a bag of ingredients packaged in dry ice, along with instructions for making delicious meals. But not just any delicious meals....meals from places like Bar Tartine, Grammercy Tavern, Alta, and SQRL that can all be made at home in under 20 minutes!

Meet Forage. Forage takes care of the meal planning and prepping for you. Almost every meal in a restaurant can be made in 20 minutes, and they are making it easy for you to do this at home as well.

Overall, the food is amazing. They provide high quality ingredients paired with easy-to-follow recipes. Every recipe we tried met the "20 minutes or less" criteria, which is big plus during the work week.

Want proof the recipes are easy enough? Z actually made me dinner thanks to Forage! I was coming home late from work, and I asked Z if he could start dinner. By the time I got home, dinner was ready on the table.

Forage is certainly more on the high end ($15 per person per meal), but it makes for a fun date night. I love seeing what restaurant dishes I can make at home thanks to Forage.

Order Forage here: https://www.forage.co/?ref=2f1aea4fdd

All photos from Forage


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