Fab Friday – Hurricane Irene Edition

When I moved up north, it was the implied understanding that Mother Nature could send all the Nor’Easters, Snowmageddons and all that fun wintery crap with the agreement that I was never to deal with earthquakes or hurricanes ever again. Tropical storms – meh – they happen – but when both an earthquake and a hurricane impact Philadelphia within a week, I want the number of the fool here who irritated Mother Nature so badly she’s changing the scheme of the weather.

So – let’s jump to a few things that will make a gal happy, shall we?

Fab Friday - Cooking in Stilettos


1. If you looked in my shoe arsenal, you would see I have a penchant for booties – especially lace up heeled ones like these Sam Edelman Rowin booties that are new for Fall 2011. Plus – with the impending flood warnings for Manayunk, well, the name is appropriate as well… *sigh*

2. I’ve decided that since Mother Nature is so insistent on making the houses rattle and roll, that perhaps I should look into investing in new dinnerware for when this weather drama is over. I will never forget Colin Cowie’s advice to use the “good dishes” just because – as he had lost some favorite pieces in a earthquake years ago. I’m over the moon about this Camden dinnerware from Crate and Barrel and plan on getting mix and match pieces in all three shades!

3. Whenever I see a mini-baker, I always think of Single Serving’s Manouschka.   This ruffled baker from Anthropologie is beyond adorable and it’s the perfect size for individual portions.  Love the ruffle detailing and the coral shade.

4. I will be making good use of this lovely All Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker from Williams Sonoma while the wind and rain cause a ruckus outside.  I don’t care if it’s still August, this gal will need to make some comfort food for the weekend and I think Pork Tinga or Short Ribs might be on the menu. I cannot say it enough – this slow cooker is one of my best culinary investments ever – next to my knives and my Le Creuset.

5. I already warned that this was going to be a “Canning in Stilettos” weekend – and I finally succumbed and added yet another canning book to my arsenal: The Art of Preserving from Williams-Sonoma. I plan on making the Mixed Berry Jam, Dijon Style Mustard and maybe another recipe if all goes well – the Chipotle Ketchup looks like a viable option or should I go with the Cinnamon Applesauce? Hmmmmm – decisions decisions.

East Coasters – stay safe out there – This Irene gal is not one to play nice in the sandbox.  Hunker down and tell us what has you obsessed this weekend!  

Is That Olive Oil Really Extra Virgin? Lawsuit Alleges Otherwise.

I am one that believes in credibility – and if you are a trusted brand and say that your olive oil is extra virgin, well then, I tend to believe you.  Especially when we are paying top dollar, right?   How upsetting it was to learn that consumers have been duped, as discussed in a lawsuit filed by various restaurateurs and prominent chefs against some leading olive oil brands.  Allegedly, many well known brands including Bertolli, Fillipo Bario, Colavita and Pompeian have been selling olive oil branded as extra virgin but, according to the lawsuit, they were anything but.  Even Rachael Ray’s beloved brand has been named as one of the olive oil offenders.

Currently filed in California and seeking class action status, this lawsuit is in response to a UC Davis study which showed that many olive oils that sought “extra virgin” status for mark-up purposes, clearly were not.   It really has to make you think about what and where your ingredients come from and if they are, indeed, what they allege to be.

You can read more on the lawsuit HERE.  After all this hoopla, I think that I will be purchasing my extra virgin olive oil from the Italian Market in Philadelphia.  At least there I know they sell the genuine product.

“This Kitchen Represents Success”

This Kitchen Represents Success

[Photo via The Rachael Ray Show]

I will never – stress NEVER – have a bad thing to say about Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay or Carter Osterhouse ever after what I saw on Monday’s episode of “The Rachael Ray Show.

Long story short – there is this amazing teacher here in Philadelphia, Mrs. Stephenson, who teaches Culinary Arts at Frankford High in Northeast Philly known as Room 325.  Well, if you know that area of Northeast Philly, they need a little help – especially the schools.  Rachael Ray,  her staff and a few special guests went above and beyond, making over Room 325’s entire kitchen and bistro, the Culinary Arts program students received scholarships from Rachael’s charity, Yum-o!, and as an added bonus, the students had a class taught by the one  and her entire kitchen got an amazing makeover, the students got scholarships and the class got one heck of a substitute teacher – Bobby Flay.

Mrs. Stephenson is one of those tough love teachers and gives her all to her students.  She’s been teaching for over 40 years and rules the kitchen with an iron fist – preparing her students for the real world.  To see Rachael’s team and charity go all out for this woman and spotlight some amazing Philly people was heartwarming.

If you have a minute, check out some of the videos and the story HERE.