Thursday, August 28, 2008

Food For Thought Thursday: Chocolate Souffle

There are some days when only something deeply and decadently chocolate will do. It's been raining since Tuesday night and people, today is one of those days. Now, I've never made chocolate souffles, but I've heard they are notoriously difficult but so worth the trouble. Aran at Cannelle-Vanille has a great recipe. While you're in the baking mood, be sure to check out her other recipes.

Chocolate Souffle
130 grams cocoa powder
350 ml water
1 vanilla bean, split
40 grams 70% chocolate, grated
70 grams egg whites
pinch of salt
75 grams sugar

10 grams sugar
20 grams 70% chocolate, grated
softened butter

Brush softened butter over all sides of the ramekins you are going to use. Make sure you brush applying vertical strokes. This will allow the souffle to rise straight up nicely. Mix the grated chocolate and sugar and pour into one ramekin. Turn so all sides are coated with this mixture and dump the excess into the next ramekin. Once they are all coated, refrigerate them until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and the vanilla to a boil. Turn heat off and let it steep for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve it for another use. Return the pan to the heat and bring to another boil. Add half of the cocoa powder into the boiling water and whisk constantly until all the cocoa has been absorbed. Add the rest and whisk constantly for about 3 minutes or until it thickens. Remove from heat and transfer the cocoa paste into a large bowl.

In the meantime, whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt. When they are almost fully whipped, add the sugar slowly, in batches. Let the meringue whip to semi stiff peaks.

Add the meringue into the warm cocoa paste and fold gently until no more white streaks are showing. Fold in the grated chocolate.

Spoon the souffle batter into the ramekins. Fill to the top. Bake in a preheated 350F degree oven until they rise. The time will depend on the size of your ramekins. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gold List: Everything Looks Better By Candlelight

Happy Wednesday, Dear Readers! Have I got a very special treat for you today. I had the pleasure of interviewing the fabulous Tamiko Hargrove, president and creator of the luxe candle collection, Helen Julia. I'm a long time admirer of the Helen Julia line and I know you'll enjoy them as much as I do.
The lovely Tamiko
DE: Tamiko, tell us a bit about your company, Helen Julia.
TH: The name Helen Julia was inspired by my grandmothers, Helen Hargrove (my
dad's mom) and Julia Calderon (my mom's mom). These two women have helped
shape me into the woman I have become and without them I would not be here.
So, what better way to thank them for their existence is to name my candle
company after them.

I've always been a fan of fragrance and craft since I was a child. I love
using my hands in a creative way to make people feel beautiful whether
spiritually or physically (I used to be a makeup artist as well).

Helen Julia's Candle Collection was created to spiritually take you away
from the daily chaos and stress that surrounds us. You're not just
purchasing a candle when you purchase a Helen Julia Candle. Each candle
inspires distinct moods; rich in meaning and memory. The names of each
candle intrigues your curiosity to want to learn more; in addition to the
beautiful packaging that's like no other candle company.

Helen Julia's candles are also 100% Soy Wax for a cleaner burn to the
DE: How do you come up with your fragrance combinations? The Sexy Suede
and Pink Diamond sound heavenly.

TH: I'm inspired by the memories that are created behind every holiday and
season we experience. This is how my fragrances and candle descriptions are
created. For instance, Sexy Suede was inspired by the thought of a cold
winter night sitting in front of a fireplace with a blanket, cuddled up with
a significant other while enjoying "the moment". Sexy Suede Soy Candle is a
unisex scent (Vanilla Sandalwood scent) for him or her. Pink Diamond was
thought of during Summer when reminiscing of my childhood. It's a very
girly fragrance (Cotton Candy Scent) while still feeling like an adult when
burning this candle.
Sexy Suede, a sensual Vanilla Sandlewood fragrance
DE: You've recently launched an exciting partnership with Apartment 48.
How did that come about?

TH: The Partnership of Apartment 48 and Helen Julia is really a "people come
into your life for a reason, season and/or lifetime" story. I was and still
am a returning customer of Apartment 48 home design boutique. The unique
items that are sold in the boutique becomes addictive to keep going back to
find out what's new! The owner of Apartment 48 purchased my candles at
wholesale to sell in his store. The candles did so well, he came up with
the idea to launch his own candle line and used Helen Julia as the
distributor. And so, Apartment 48 Candle by Helen Julia was born! The
scent is Jasmine and Lychee. It smells delicious!
Pearl Drop, a refreshing Citrus Grapefruit scent
DE: How can our brides include Helen Julia candles in their wedding?
TH: Brides can incorporate Helen Julia candles for their events in several ways.
1.) Brides usually have a bridal shower and bachelorette party to celebrate
the next chapter of their lives. What a perfect way to thank your bridal
party and guests for their support in helping "you", the bride, celebrate
one of the happiest days of your life by giving them a Helen Julia Candle as
a gift. Helen Julia offers personalized ribbon for each candle. We can print
whatever you'd like on the ribbon for the candle of your choice.

2.) While most venues for such events do not allow scented candles to burn during your special event, Helen Julia also offers unscented candles for display to add
to your color theme. Helen Julia candles are packaged with their own colored
ribbon. All of Helen Julia's soy candles are available in two sizes.

3.) Last but not least... Dawn Easters brides will be in "The Know" of the
latest products by Helen Julia for your events.
The I Do candle, a gorgeous rose bouquet scent
DE: So, what's next for Helen Julia?
TH: What's next for Helen Julia are room sprays and a second candle collection
titled "The Tuxedo Collection" with new packaging and luxury, upscale scents. These items will launch Spring/Summer 2009! We look forward to introducing you to these new products and are very excited about the expansion of Helen Julia, Inc.!
Magnolia Bliss, a southern magnolia scent

Monday, August 25, 2008

Keep Your Cup Full

I know you've heard it said, if you're working from a full cup, you will overflow and have more to give to others. When it comes to my brides, I always tell them not to get overwhelmed by the planning. That's what I'm here for, after all. Brides (and grooms) must take care of themselves and a little pampering never hurt anyone. Two of my favorite places in the city are La Bella Dona and Metamorphosis.
Pedicures are must when rocking those fabulous Manolos!
An organic sugar rub will keep your skin soft and silky. I can already see your glow!
Bubble baths are my favorite...rose petals, those wonderfully fizzy balls and a little milk...Can't get any better than that.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday's Escape: The Mystique Oia, Greece

HAPPY FRIDAY, EVERYONE! This week has been a very busy and exciting one. I am thoroughly in need of a vacay and since I can't jet off at the moment, a visualization is in order. I came across the ultra-luxurious Mystique in Santorini. Perfect location for a destination wedding. I was telling a friend of my dream vision for a wedding and Oia seems as if it was tailor made.

"Situated on Oia’s famous cliffs, the stylish Mystique features dazzling views of clear blue equatorial waters, the volcano, and the Aegean Caldera. Surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, our resort’s island-style design pays homage to nature in a climate of unabashed luxury. Our ideal location is just 18 kilometers from Santorini Airport and 20 kilometers from Athinios Port.

18 suites and villas are spread across more than 2,000 square meters, providing a sensorial experience in surroundings of understated elegance. All accommodations are lovingly handcrafted from wood, local stone, and glass with enticing patterns carved into the walls. Antique textiles and plump, luxurious towels will wrap you in their warmth and comfort.

Spend the day beneath the clear blue sky in our outdoor infinity-edge pool. Slatted wooden decks that lead to the plunge pool are surrounded by sun beds for the utmost relaxation. Gather together for a casual drink or delicious meal at the Aura pool bar, the Charisma gourmet restaurant, or Secret wine cave.

Mystique is a natural, exclusive retreat reserved for only the most discerning of travelers."
The hotel is built into the cliffs...
Stunning whitewashed exterior echoes the famous Greek architecture.
I am such a water baby, this infinity pool is incredible!
A moonlit dip after the ceremony festivities, lovely
Cool white and cream interiors, ideal after an afternoon in the sun
That view is just dreamy...
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I keep putting off having friends over for Sunday brunch but this recipe may give me the push I need. Enjoy!

Frittata with Potato and Bacon
adapted from Everyday Italian

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil

In a 9-1/2 inch diameter nonstick ovenproof skillet, cook the bacon. Remove to drain on a paper towel and wipe out the skillet. Heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the potato, garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté over medium-low heat until the potato is tender and golden, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese, bacon and basil to blend. Stir the egg mixture into the potato mixture in the skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the egg mixture is almost set, but the top is still runny, about 2 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler and broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from the skillet and slide it onto a plate. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve.

*Picture and recipe courtesy of Working Woman Food

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Alternative Love

So, what's a bride to do when she isn't the typical bride? Pink roses and a lace gown just aren't her style and she's so not into traditional engraved invitations. I came across these cards on MadeByGirl and they're incredible. I can so imagine Jennifer tweaking the design to fit a wedding paper suite. Picture the design throughout the wedding, on the programs, save the dates, even on the dance floor! And I know the perfect girl for these...skull and crossbones tattoo and all.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

For The Cool In You

In my opinion, no household is complete without a well-stocked bar. After all you never know when friends might pop in, in desperate need of a cocktail. Let your style to shine thru with these beautifully sculptural decanters. Some are strong, others are sexy and very femme, but all are definitely cool. Cheers!
The Claudia by Yeoward
The Rosenthal Cone
Rosenthal Angle
Ralph Lauren Muroka Pitcher
Nambe Tilt
Rosenthal Drop
*Pictures courtesy of Saks

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday's Escape: Hotel Sacher Salzburg

I'm feeling a bit decadent today and in need of a little "old world" charm and grace. One country that embodies those feelings to me is Austria. There are so many wonderfully grand hotels, that it was hard choosing just one, but for you, dear readers, a sacrifice was made. When I think of Austria, one famous resident comes to mind...Mozart. Located along the banks of the River Salzach, is the impressive Hotel Sacher Salzburg. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Food For Thought Thursday:Summer Watermelon

What would summer be without watermelon? One of my favorites, hands down. The quintessential summer fruit can be enjoyed by the slice, in a salad or a frozen treat. Choose your favorite and have some fun in the kitchen before they go out of season.
Watermelon Salsa courtesy of Eating Out Loud
Watermelon Salad from Cave Cibum
Watermelon Yogurt by Eating Out Loud

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blending Two Worlds

After visiting Dubai last week, I started thinking of what a bride from that region may where. What I came upon was pure magic! One of the things I love about asian and middle eastern weddings is the use of color. The brides are not shy about using color to their advantage and I could talk for days about the jewels! So imagine my excitement when I came across Indian designer Suneet Varma. His designs bridge the gap for brides who want a white gown but one that reflects their heritage. It's about blending two worlds and the result is incredible.

Monday, August 11, 2008

And Baby Makes Three

I just received news that a good friend is expecting a wonderful addition to her family in a few months. The father-to-be is at a loss as to what would make the perfect gift for the expectant mother. I suggested he could never go wrong with a little blue box. Tiffany has the most adorable Baby Carriage Charms which can either be worn on a necklace or bracelet. or blue??

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