Monday, October 28, 2013

In the Red: Coating & Roasting

...And, we're in the red...
 It's Monday again--How did that happen?!
Well, not to brag, but it's a gorgeous Monday morning, because I'm contently typing at a beach-chic desk, overlooking the sunrise and palm trees here in sunny, 75-degree-weather, Rosemary Beach, Florida.

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Mexico, back to NYC, to Connecticut, to Lake George, to Vermont, back to NYC, to New Jersey, back to NYC, and now, this.
I know, I know. I can hardly keep up with this Carmen SanDiego either with all of the traveling I've been doing as of late. But, hey, no one likes a Whining Whitney, and I've been encountering this whole concept of "good problems to have" these past few months. I'll shut my trap.
But, as a lady about town, I do have a legitimate grievance.

Oy vey!
The domestication conundrum.

I'm not quite my mother.
I failed to inherit her undeniable knack for spontaneously whipping up and effortlessly concocting the most delicious of dishes.
And, not only do they taste unearthly, but they're visually stunning as well.
The pressure!

Today, we're talking...
No, not turkey! Not just yet, at least, eager beaver.
We're talking RED.
It commences with the dressing.
The process of dressing, that is, which is the tastiest element, I think we can collectively agree upon.

Coating the RED...
Skirt:
This full-circle, pleated ASOS punch-y red skirt...
with
 a vintage camel-hued, wool cape with a collar

that I scored from a vintage store for a mere 40 bucks.
Capes are reigning the cooler seasons as of right now, and I'm a huge advocate for them. Since they do exude bygone eras and that timeless-style, vintage stores carry the widest variety of them and for extremely reasonable prices for the quality. Hey, it beats a mass-produced H&M or Forever21 copycat anyway, although I'm not knocking their well-priced and overall trendy stock. But, wouldn't you prefer the real deal?
I know I do.
This cape--I may never take it off.
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Ark & Co cream blouse with backless detail (not shown)//ASOS red full-mini skirt with golden button detail (similar here)// Vintage cape//  long rustic gold stone chain necklace (Artists and Fleas market in Williamsburg)//Chanel handbag with metallic disk logo// Proenza Schouler cateye sunglasses// oversized rock rings//Julie Vos moonstone & 24K gold bangle (gifted)// stacked Kate Spade various square and circular gold bangles, option 1, option 2, option 3//Kendra Phillip gold textured cuff (gifted)

Shoes?
Take your pick.
Ladylike pumps or casual smoking loafers.

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I wore both, the Antonio Melani (old) tiger print heels as well as the Dolce Vita black and red slippers,  which transitioned me throughout the day of Lucky Magazine's FABB (Fashion and Beauty Blogger) Conference, chock-full of activities and seminars.

Also, I switched to a Zara printed and embellished blouse, unbuttoned it a bit, took off my longer necklaces, and added a separate statement necklace (re:more bang!)  for the evening by Prima Donna, which offers TONS of affordable, of-the-moment accessories. This necklace costs a mere $22.99! Steal, Lucille.
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Roasting the RED...
Grapes:
with
winter veggies and quinoa.

I mean, I struggle a bit with my culinary profiency. Struuuuuu-gggggggle. Actually, cooking, I can somewhat stumble and taste-test my way through it...as long as the recipe doesn't consist of an extensive list of obscure ingredients that one should never and would never purchase or keep in the pantry. But, even more so, I do NOT enjoy--Ok, I shiver at the premise of-- this whole measuring every. single. item., despite owning the appropriate measuring tools. It's too tedious.
This girl has plenty more to do, honey.
I have larger fish to fry.
 I like to keep it easy pea-sy unless there's some upcoming, incredibly pivotal event for which my pride forces me to buckle down and take this whole game-face, recipe-following, from-scratch cooking thing seriously. I'm one-hundred-percent cool with dropping veggies and whatnot into a pan, drizzling some olive oil, shaking some spices around, and sliding a baking sheet in the oven. You know, the basics. I'm not entirely incompetent. My grandfather was a chef. All of the women in my family- grandmothers, aunts, etc. have all worn that domestic goddess and queen of the kitchen crown without even double-checking the cookbook. It was genetic, as if passed through the bloodline. I can function, I can, but I suppose that I don't necessarily have a reason to put forth a great deal of time and energy into cooking just yet, considering I am out and about almost every day and night, hobnobbing. It's difficult in New York. We don't always have the space, the time to shop and prepare, and it's pretty darn expensive, still. The never-ending list of near and far options, from hole-in-the-wall, unpretentious neighborhood gems to destination, critically-acclaimed, and of-the-moment, 8-month-long-waiting-list restaurants, pulls you out like a magnet.
Why not embrace the city that never sleeps chooses to sleep? The problem is, though, that you could spend all day, every day bouncing from one place to the next, blowing every last penny on some of the most fascinating, delicious and curious bites in the world, covering any and all cuisines and even "fusions" among them, but you're a hamster on the wheel, flicking up cedar chips. You'll never actually make headway. More just flood in, others close, or re-create themselves. Bottom line, though,  I don't have a reason to exert myself and slave over a hot stove all night in the name of delivering a hot, intricate meal...for me to pseudo-enjoy.
Due to my aversion to that whole precise-measurement-process, I suppose the majority of baking is a no-go. That's a scientific process. Temperatures, chemistry, etc. No, thank you. Hall pass.

Throughout the years, I consistently ensured that I had an incredibly gifted laboratory partner for a reason. I was playing dress-up with the goggles and oversized lab coats, enthralled by the blow torches, and generally have a jolly-good-time while someone else deciphered those experiment instructions.
Now, that's a partnership I can get behind.

So, unshockingly, the oven has become a newly-found kitchen comrade. I flip a switch, press a few buttons, and place a tray on the rack. Then, I'm free to dress up, albeit no goggles, and frolic as I please.
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Roast the darn grapes.
They ARE the dish.


Brussel sprouts, halved
Sweet potatoes, thinly sliced in chips
Red seedless grapes, halved
*Cauliflower and Cubed Squash would also make additions or substitutes*
olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, apple cider vinegar, cracked pepper, sea salt, thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon
quinoa (red or white)
vegetable broth
sunflower seeds

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice sweet potatoes, and half the brussel sprouts and grapes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, apple cider vinegar, cracked pepper, sea salt, thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon.
Yes, cinnamon!
Toss the vegetables in, and with clean hands (Yes, dirty Harry/Harriet), begin mixing around.
Scoop out with a spoon and onto a pre-sprayed baking dish.
I roasted these vegetables for a total of about 30 minutes, turning them a few times throughout.
Once they're a perfectly golden color, pull the tray out, and drizzle with the remaining oil mixture.

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In the meantime, I cooked some quinoa in vegetable broth, cracked pepper, and cinnamon (again!).
I topped the quinoa with the roasted winter vegetables--the grapes REALLY are the dish, adding a perfect amount of sweetness--and I topped it off with some roasted sunflower seeds (I purchased mine from Trader Joe's).
Delight.

Right now...
Get into RED.

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