I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for September, 2011

September 21, 2011

Grilled kale salad with yogurt dressing and hazelnuts

OMG. I’m so into this salad right now. I’ve made it twice since my mom sent it to me in the mail last week. It’s a major keeper. I mean obviously. It’s an LA Times adaptation of a Gjelina recipe. These are to be kept close to the breast, people. We cannot misplace Gjelina recipes.

And do you know what’s better? It’s sooooo easy. I’ve been roasting the kale in a super hot oven, instead of grilling it. Much less fussy, if you ask me. And I’ve made a few teeny additions that I think kind of help it along.

Grilled kale salad with yogurt dressing and hazelnuts
Adapted from the LA Times & Gjelina

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts (skin on)
2 bunches Russian or curly kale, stems removed
1 handful of halved cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 500°.

To prep the kale. First soak both bunches in a sink-ful of water for 10-15 minutes so the bugs and dirt fall to the bottom. Then take each stalk out one at a time, and holding the bottom of the inner rib, pull your other hand up the stalk to quickly strip the leaves from the rib. So much easier than slicing the leaves away from the rib one at a time! I will never go back.

For the dressing. Add the yogurt, shallot, garlic, mint, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and red wine vinegar to a bowl and whisk together. Then add a pinch of sea salt and pepper and taste. Add more as you like. This makes almost double the amount of dressing you need for one recipe. But you won’t be sorry because it’s delicious on anything.

For the hazelnuts. Toast the whole nuts in the oven or toaster oven until they are nice and golden and the skins are cracking. Dump them onto one half of a damp kitchen towel and fold the other half over the top so the nuts are covered. Roll the nuts between the towel with your hands until the skins come off. Yay! ANOTHER great kitchen tip. I love this one almost as much as the kale. Chop hazelnuts loosely.

For the kale. Lay the kale onto a large cookie sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and toss as best you can with your hands. Put the kale into your super hot oven, preferably under the broiler (once it’s had a chance to wilt a bit). The kale will cook super fast and it’s totally fine if a few leaves get burned. Turn the leaves as they cook so that all pieces are nicely wilted.

Arrange the kale on a platter. Sprinkle nuts and tomatoes over the top. Drizzle dressing generously. Top with lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.

September 20, 2011

Bink & Boo newborn booties

These booties from Bink & Boo are just about as cute as they come.

Pretty sure they are worth the splurge. I would be v. tempted if I had a teeny one again.

Via the Lil Bee.

September 16, 2011

Child’s Own handmade softies

Isn’t this idea the cutest? You send in your child’s artwork, and Child’s Own Studio turns their creation into a plush friend.

Thanks Juliana!

September 12, 2011

How to make salsa verde

Here’s the delicious green version of my authentic salsa recipe. It’s so so yummy. And just as simple as the roja.

One note about quantities – I’m not exactly sure how many tomatillos to suggest. The ones in the store are really big, and so far I’ve only made the recipe with tomatillos from our garden, which are really small. I’m going to say that the larger size from the store is about half as big as a regular tomato, so if you need 4 tomatoes for the red recipe, let’s say you need 8 tomatillos for the green. Maybe 9 or 10 to be safe?

Salsa Verde

8-10 larger tomatillos, or like 20-25 smaller ones (see note above).
2 cloves garlic
1 green jalapeño
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro leaves
sea salt

The preparation is exactly like the first salsa recipe, but you substitute tomatillos for the tomatoes, use the other color jalapeño, and add cilantro.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rise them. Add the tomatillos and jalapeño to the pot and boil until all are soft enough to pierce easily with a fork.

Mash the garlic cloves in the Molcajete. Then add the cilantro and grind until a rough paste forms. Then add the jalapeño and combine, followed by the tomatillos – a few at a time.

Add sea salt to taste, and remember not to skimp!

Voila! Frickin’ delicious, people. DEE-LISH-US.

And if you’re tempted to buy a Molcajete, Jora found one at her local Mexican market for much less than Sur la Table. Thanks for the tip, J!

September 9, 2011

Recent Etsy wants

How about for Friday we all just window shop a bit? I haven’t trolled Etsy for a good while, but last night I got stuck, and here’s what I found.

Love this vintage linen wall hanging for a mod kitchen (the entire shop is amazing),
this bright potholder from Pamwares,
that beautiful blue skirt and blouse for fall,
these gorgeous garters would have convinced me to wear one for our wedding,
and I’m fairly certain I’m not going to make it through the day without purchasing one of these awesome necklaces.

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend. We have no plans (YAY), except dinner out with some friends. It’s going to be perfect.

September 8, 2011

Here comes fall

I have a little guest post up on The Littlest today, while the lovely Elizabeth is traipsing around Italy with the hubs. It’s about my favorite season.

Pop over and share your favorite fall activities, with or without kiddos, if you like!

September 7, 2011


Pretty sweet new site (or at least relatively new to me) that lets you buy and sell gently used, high-end baby stuff. There are lots of great cribs and strollers on there, people.

If there’e one thing I’ve learned about baby stuff, it’s that you do not NEED to pay full price for new things. Someone might have just what you want, in perfect shape, because it just didn’t work for them. But it will be your favorite thing you’ve ever owned. Or at least your baby’s favorite thing. Perfect example: our Bugaboo. It’s a fantastic stroller, but once we got our BOB when Dashiell was 4 months old, we put it away for good. We used it as a really fancy snap n’ go, and the bassinet as Dashiell’s bed, which worked out great. But for our lifestyle the BOB is a much better stroller. So had we not planned on handing it down to Melanie and Sky, (and then taking it back for baby #2), I might have considered selling it.

If you’re planning your nursery and/or registry, this one’s worth a click for sure.

September 6, 2011

On sale in the Pop-Up Shop… Eberjey!

I think this sale might appeal to every single one of you… Eberjey is on sale in the Pop-Up Shop for 40% off, peeps. I LOVE their pretty underthings and PJs, myself. Been wearing them for years. But they are a little on the expensive side so it’s a major score to see them on sale, especially when said sale is on 100LC. So biased, I know.

I’ll be shopping this shop for sure. Could really use a semi-sexy PJ update. Mine are all spitty and milk-stained, which is especially sad when you consider that my bebe is 18 months old and I quit nursing 2 months ago. New mamas, you TOTALLY deserve to be lounging around the house in PJs that make you feel slightly together. As opposed to how you actually feel in reality (aka not together at all).

Treat yourself ladies. New mamas, pregnant mamas, non-mamas. I’d be willing to bet that most of us could use an update to the intimates drawer. Check it out over here.

September 1, 2011

How to make authentic salsa

Finally! The salsa recipe emerges. You guys this salsa is legit. Authentic I guess would be the correct word. Our nanny Lucy is a superb cook (her mother owned a restaurant in Oaxaca and she cooked there as a young thing), so we are double double lucky because she not only adores Dashiell, and he her, but she also makes us treats from time to time while he is napping. It’s a very very good arrangement.

Her salsa in particular pretty much blew my mind. I requested a cooking lesson, and then had the genius idea to share it with the entire internet. Because doesn’t everyone want to know how to make the best salsa in the universe with only three ingredients? Yes they do.

I’m starting with salsa roja, because that’s the one I have more detailed pictures of, which I took as Lucy was making it. But I also have a killer salsa verde in iPhoto too and I will definitely post that one next week. I *might* even like the green version better.

Authentic salsa roja

4 tomatoes (vine ripe sauce tomatoes are perfect)
2 cloves garlic
2 red (ripe) jalapeños*

Special equipment: a molcajete. It’s kind of a big purchase, size and weight wise. But I truly think it’s worth it to be able to make salsa like this. AND you can use it for loads of other things too. I’ve heard. Lucy did make this with a cup and bowl the first time she made it at our house, but I can’t imagine how.

To start, bring the tomatoes and jalapeños to a boil in a pot of water. Cook until all are soft, and you can easily pierce both the tomato and chile with a fork. Remove from heat.

In the molcajete, crush the raw garlic cloves to a rough paste. Add the jalapeños (stems removed), and grind them up until both the garlic and chiles are bien molido.

Next add the tomatoes, one by one.

Remove the skin from each, then add one to the chile and garlic paste and mash it until it’s almost pureed.

Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.

Add a pinch or two of sea salt and taste. Depending on how salty you like things, you might need to add a bit more salt. Don’t skimp though, the salt really brings the flavors of the salsa together.

See? Easy breezy. It literally takes 10 minutes from start to finish. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat pico de gallo again. And, um, hello Christmas presents!

*(Note on jalapeños – they all actually turn red once they’ve been on the plant long enough. If you don’t have them growing out back, I think you can probably find red ones at the farmer’s market. Or you could substitute a different red chile. I fear that if you used green, the color of the salsa would be severely compromised.)