Monday, October 31, 2011

Lady in Red

Perhaps it won't come as a big surprise that my favorite color is red. Crimson, scarlet, vermillion, all these shades make me really happy. So do shoes. And for whatever reason, red boots have been on my mind for fall. I think they would make a fun, peppy statement which wouldn't be too loud if done in a burgundy or cherry red for day time, and a great statement at night time if done right. What do you guys think?

This pair named "Lady in Rad" from ModCloth is just darling and only $39.99. My inner, fashionable Robin Hood really wants these:

Although to be honest I'm not sure about the length of the boot shaft. According to the details, it's 7.5" in height.

This pair named "Jordan" from LuckyBrand via is more subdued and better for kicking around in all types of weather. It will set you back $71.99 but I love the brass accent on the heel:

This next pair called Mavenue is from Nine West and I can only find it in this color ("Burgundy Suede") from their website.  They're on sale for $104.30--why that extra $0.30 is necessary I'm not sure, but they'd be a sexy statement for either day or evening. They have an inside zipper in the same burgundy tone on the other side. If anyone wants to get me an early Christmas present I would recommend these. Oh, by the way, I'm a size 8 ;).

Next up is "Paully" by a brand I've never heard of--Lumiani. Also via, these are $64.99 and while they're not what I would choose to wear, they do look like they could work with anything from a conservative style to a more artsy, eclectic look:

This next pair is a purrrfect (yes, I went there) blend of fun and sexy! The "Qupid Porter Bootie" from DSW would definitely add a lot of sass to your night on the town and is totally affordable at $44.95! If you are thinking of getting me two Christmas presents...I'm still a size 8, hahah.

But I've been favoring boots that don't come up to the knee so far. To round things out, I'm going to give you two boots I totally approve of in red that show it is possible to do a tasteful red boot. And then one example of something you should never, ever wear unless it's your first day working the night shift.

First up Via Spiga's Piper Boot from Nordstrom. Expensive at $249.90 (which is 30% off I might add), it is a great example of a classy, restrained, and fitted red knee-high boot. 

On the really high end of the scale is MiuMiu's super sleek, sexy (and sensibly named) Two-Tone Suede Boot available at Nordstrom. While I covet these, they are totally out of my college girl budget at $990. I'm really digging this two-tone combo though. For those of you with sticker shock, it does make sense that Miuccia Prada's (yes, that Prada) other brand would have very high price points: 

Finally, as promised, what not to wear:

You may be surprised to find out, as I was, that these "Blondey Boots" come from none other than Nine West! Originally retailing at $168.00, you can find them at the very affordable price of $39.99 at

There, all done obsessing over red boots (for now). Hopefully you're inspired to go out and get a pair of your own (or buy me a pair!). If you do get a pair, let me know and I'll feature them in this post =). 

Resisting any jokes about painting the town red...happy shopping!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Epic Sandwich Time!

Hi everyone,

I'm really excited about this post! This sandwich is delicious and making it was the fulfillment of a craving long-deferred. I first saw it on TV in late July/early August sitting at home in Texas with my mom. With steak, guacamole, melted cheese, refried beans, and good bread, it was love at first sight--I resolved to make it and eat it. Well, three months later, I made it, and golly was it good!

Being one of the more fancy, delicious, and longer dishes I've made thus far in terms of entrees, I decided to post it first before anything else. Excitingly, it's also delicious as a stand-alone steak.

This is Pati's picture first with its cutesy border:

This is my rendition:


Messy and hard to keep together as a sandwich, but totally delicious.

About two weeks ago I decided that the time was ripe for this Epic Gourmet Sandwich. My friend Axel had cooked me dinner a few weeks ago and it was my turn to cook for him. I also decided that my boyfriend might like an epic sandwich, seeing as how it is a universal truth that all men love sandwiches. I kid, though I've never met one who didn't! He got roped into being my sous-chef, as you will see below.

The recipe is as follows, straight from Pati's Mexican Table:


Makes 4 to 6 generous tortas or sandwiches of about 4" length

1 1/2 lbs flank steak
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil

4 teleras, bolillos, petite baguettes, or baguettes sliced into 3 to 4 inches and cut in half
6 ounces Monterey jack cheese, muenster or mild cheddar
1 cup gucamole (see below)
1 cup refried beans (store bought or homemade)

Marinate the flank steak with the soy sauce, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary and black pepper. You may marinate it anywhere from 1/2 hour to overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and sprinkle with salt when you are ready to cook it.

Preheat the grill pan or grill at medium-high heat. Once it is hot, place the meat and let it cook anywhere from 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on how well done you want the meat. You can drizzle any extra marinade right over the top of the meat while it cooks. For medium, its closer to 4 minutes per side, for over medium, closer to 5 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the heat and place it on a cutting board. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, slightly covered. Thinly slice across the grain.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the baguettes, teleras or bolillos in half lengthwise and place in a baking sheet. Spread about 3 tablespoons of refried beans on the bottom half of each bread. Cover with about 3 to 4 tablespoons shredded cheese. Place in the oven and let the bread crisp and the cheese melt, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Top the pepitos with a generous amount of the thinly sliced meat and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the guacamole. Place the tops on top! Eat while hot.

Makes over a cup

2 ripe avocados, halved, pit removed, meat scooped out and mashed
3 scallions, about 2 tbsp, rinsed, tops removed, white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, optional
3 tbsp jalapeno or serrano chile, more or less to taste, minced (seeding is optional)
2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
Salt to taste

Gently mix ingredients in a bowl or molcajete and serve. It can be prepared up to 12 hours in advance if covered and stored in the refrigerator.

The Making of an Epic Sandwich

I took a trip to the Shaw's in Porter Square for the necessary ingredients. Since I'm not in Texas anymore I did not expect to find bolillos or teleras, but I also couldn't picture this luscious sandwich on a narrow baguette. Shaw's had a great alternative in the ambiguously named "French bread" loaf which you see about a third of in the picture above. It was nice and soft on the inside and crisped really well on the outside.

The flank steak was an adventure. It was really expensive, $17.98/1.75 lbs. I asked the nice meat section specialist for anything cheaper, similar to flank steak, and he said, "Everyone asks me that when they come in and ask for flank steak and see the price. But if you want flank steak, there ain't nothing like it. It's top of the line. You pay for what you get." Ok. I bought the flank steak.

I also decided to purchased serrano peppers because I know they pack more heat than jalapenos, and went with Monterrey Jack cheese because mild cheddar is boring and muenster seemed less Mexican, hahah.

The one thing I forgot: refried beans. I couldn't believe it, but as my guests said, the beans would have been too much. It was a really dense sandwich.

I made the marinade about two hours in advance and put the steak in the fridge. Cleaning the meat was an experience, especially with dollar store kitchen knives. I've never had to clean such a nice piece of meat so I was worried about messing it up. Thankfully, it came out okay. When I was done it was probably 1.5 lbs, which was just enough for 3 very hungry people.

Me and the meat

I had my sous-chef help me out with the guacamole, since we discovered in NYC this summer that we make good guacamole together.

We followed the above recipe this time, though we added about 1/2 more of an avocado and less cilantro because I chopped it less finely than Pati would probably recommend. I only used two of the serranos (I left the seeds in because I like a big kick), a perfect amount when chopped this size:

Those are the scallions to the left, and the serranos in the middle. Bling optional.


Rock out with your guac out!(...?)

After the guacamole, I sliced the French bread in half horizontally and then cut it into thirds. I laid about five pairs on a baking pan (after preheating the oven to about 400 degrees because I'm not sure my oven really did 350 when it said 350) and covered them with chopped up strips of Monterrey Jack. I don't have a picture for it, but I left them there about 7-10 minutes while I seared the meat to get the cheese bubbly and golden and the crust hard and crispy. Side note: This is a great, delicious snack on its own. I call it...Cheese Bread.

Then it was time to sear the meat. I turned it up to medium-high heat and seared each side for about 4-5 minutes to get a medium rare-rare finish on the meat. I had to cut the steak in half due to the size of our frying pan, so one steak came out more rare than the other but we all thought it was okay.

Be sure your pan is HOT before you put the meat in, otherwise you won't get a nice char on the outside.

Be sure to let the meat rest for about 5 minutes before serving to preserve tenderness and moisture. Otherwise all the juices will bleed out and the meat will be dry. These are the lessons I learn from watching Chopped obsessively.

The steak at rest. It looks so peaceful.

Next, I pulled the bread and cheese thirds out of the oven. While waiting for the last half of steak to rest boys and I dipped extra hunks of bread into the guacamole and the marinade left in the frying pan. DELICIOUS. I was really impressed with the marinade. It makes a delicious steak on its own.

Finally, it was time to assemble the sandwiches. DIY guacamole, steak. I recommend cutting the steak a lot thinner than I do here, but it was tricky to do with cheap knives.

The final product:


It didn't stay together very long because I cut the steak a bit thick and the bread was a bit overlarge, but eating it with your hands somehow made it extra satisfying for me. If you try it out, let me know how it goes! Flank steak can easily be substituted for some other kind of meat, but avoid frying pan steak because it won't sufficiently absorb all the wonderful flavors of the marinade.

So there you have it, folks! That is how you make an Epic Sandwich. Or Epic Steak, because it's just such a delicious marinade and such a great cut of meat. I am also permanently indebted to Pati's Mexican Table for introducing this sandwich to me. God bless cooking shows.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flash Sale Shoppers Beware!

While procrastinating instead of working on a paper due Monday, I found this article from the New York Times warning about blind faith in flash sale sites like Gilt or RueLaLa.

The takeaway point is to double-check prices with sites like or because they are often cheaper than on flash sale sites. However, all these kinds of websites tend to be cheaper than the original retail price in store or merchandise ordered from the vendor directly. An easy way to double check prices is to search for the item name and brand in Google, then click "Shopping Results for X".

I've had a similar experience with Salemail. I wanted some BCBG pumps on sale, listed at about $50. I decided to Google them on a whim and found them for $20 on! They ended up being too big so I gave them to my friend Miranda as a Christmas present, but they were really nice:

Happy shopping!

What is this blog?

Hi everyone,

Thanks for reading =).

This blog will center on food and fashion, not necessarily in equal amounts. What will I talk about?

Well, food will (mostly) consist of food that I cook plus recipes, food my roommates cook plus recipes, food I want to cook, wine and beverage fun, and things I do to improve my house's dining hall offerings.

In terms of fashion, I'll include anything from what to do if you want a job working in fashion, to trends I like/don't like, to fashion inspiration/mood posts, links to other folks' blogs and websites, and maybe my own outfits (or things I wish I were wearing).

That's the basic idea for this blog. Other subjects will probably pop up from time to time.

One last thing: Spaghetti in Heels. One, I love spaghetti. Over the course of my life, my diet has at multiple points been about 90% spaghetti. Two, I love heels. Therefore, Spaghetti in Heels.