WHAT TO MAKE FOR VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER

Listen up- nobody has the cash to eat the lukewarm prix fix at the chic
little spot in that cool part of town these days. Everybody knows it's
amateur night at the restaurants on any holiday anyway, so why not nest and
make your sweetie a meal he/she won't soon forget.

I have never even attempted this dish but I have always wanted to. It's from
Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook and I have always thought it such a
sexy meal- coq au vin- Decadent. Comforting. Rich. Wine soaked. And classic.
(Just like vous..including the wine soaked for most of us). I would post a
picture of it but coq au vin is not so photogenic really. But Bourdain is.
Man is he cute.

Here is the recipe...enjoy it in all its French traditional goodness...maybe
you will be braver than I and make this dish your latest conquest. Put on
something saucy, dust off the Serge Gainsbourg on vinyl, and make this dish
sing...your other half will LOVE your tenacity...there is a lot of prep
involved so its a lot like foreplay- a little patience goes a long way....XO

Coq ­au-vin
Adapted from the Les Halles Cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain
1 bottle/1 liter plus 1 cup/225 ml of red wine
1 onion, cut into a 1-inch/2.5 cm dice
1 carrot, cut into 1Ž4-inch/6-mm slices
1 celery rib, cut into 1Ž2 inch/1-cm slices
4 whole cloves
1 tbs/14 g whole black peppercorns
1 bouquet garni (2 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig parsley, 1 bay leaf wrapped in
cheesecloth and tied with a string )
1 whole chicken, about 3.5 lb/1.35 kg, ³trimmed² ­ meaning guts, wing tips
and neckbone removed
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbs/28 ml olive oil
6 tbs/75 g butter, softened
1 tbs/14 g flour
1Ž4 lb/112 g slab or country bacon, cut into small oblongs (lardons) about 1Ž4
by 1 inch/6mm by 2.5 cm
1Ž2 lb/ 225 g small, white button mushrooms, stems removed
12 pearl onions, peeled
pinch of sugar
Equipment:
3 large, deep bowls
plastic wrap
fine strainer
large Dutch oven or heavy ­bottomed pot
tongs
wooden spoon
small sauté pan
small sauce pan
1 sheet parchment paper
whisk
deep serving platter
Serves 4

DAY ONE
The day before you even begin to cook, combine the bottle of red wine, the
diced onion (that¹s the big onion, not the pearl onions), sliced carrots,
celery, cloves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni in a large deep bowl. Add the
chicken and submerge it in the liquid so that all of it is covered. Cover
the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

DAY TWO
Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry. Put it aside. Strain
the marinade through the fine strainer, reserving the liquids and solids
separately. Season the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. In the
large Dutch oven, heat the oil and 2tablesppoons/28 g of the butter until
almost smoking, and then sear the chicken, turning it with the tongs to
evenly brown it. Once browned, it should be removed from the pot and set it
aside again. Add the reserved onions, celery, and carrot to the pot and cook
over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden
brown. That should take about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix well with the wooden spoon so
that the vegetables are coated. Now stir in the reserved strained marinade.
Put the chicken back in the pot, along with the bouquet garni. Cook this for
about 1 hour and 15 minutes over low heat.

Have a drink. You¹re almost thereŠ
While your chicken stews slowly in the pot, cook the bacon lardons in the
small sauté pan over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the bacon from
the pan and drain it on paper towels, making sure to keep about 1
tablespoon/14 g of fat in the pan. Saute the mushroom tops in the bacon fat
until golden brown. Set them aside.
Now, in the small saucepan, combine the pearl onions, the pinch of sugar, a
pinch of salt, and 2tablespoons/28 g of butter. Add just enough water to
just cover the onions; then cover the pan with the parchment paper trimmed
to the same size of the pan. (I suppose you can use foil if you must.) Bring
to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated. Keep
a close eye on it. Remove the paper cover and continue to cook until the
onions are golden brown. Set the onions aside and add the remaining cup/225
ml of red wine along with salt and pepper and reduce over medium-high heat
until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Your work is pretty much done here. One more thing and then it¹s wine and
kudosŠ

When the chicken is cooked through ­ meaning tender, the juice from the
thigh running clear when pricked ­ carefully remove from the liquid, cut
into quarters, and arrange on the deep serving platter. Strain the cooking
liquid (again) into the reduced red wine. Now just add the bacon, mushrooms,
and pearl onions, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and swirl in
the remaining 2 tablespoons/28 g of butter. Now pour that sauce over the
chicken and dazzle your friends with your brilliance. Serve with buttered
noodles and a Bourgone Rouge.

I need this.

LL Bean Heritage tote. My wasp envy = I love LL Bean. Always have. Don't you
love how everything now is called "Heritage" that's cool and a bit rough?
Seems to be the new catchphrase for brands trying to rebound and retool. All
this goodness for $199. Dig it. First spotted on uncrate.com. Now etched in
my cranium for eternity. Here's what I would put in there:

A dog eared copy of Catcher in the Rye
A map of Istanbul
An ikat patterned cashmere scarf
A pair of Persols
A moleskin notebook
Some lavender scented stationary for letter writing and a really nice pen

Yes. A shameless romantic. Shoot me. Or at least this bag makes me think I
am.

RIP ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

This is so sad...I can't believe he is gone. Such a huge talent. I have
posted this pic before but it's one of my all time favs shot by La Chapelle
so many years ago...also striking is that Isabella Blow, featured in this
photo as well, also took her own life 3 years ago and was a dear friend of
McQueen. The mind puzzles on how two such talented and brave spirits could
be so deeply unhappy...RIP Alexander. We will miss your wild take on
fashion- nobody can take your place.

Check out Land's End these days...

I unsheathed my March In Style last night (which thank goodness is page
chunky once again) and was intrigued by Land's End's new print campaign,
which made me go their website celebrating their new line called Land's End
Canvas 1963 (think it launched in November of 2009). Can't really believe
how functional chic their new line is- it clearly speaks to the J.Crew/Gap
customers among us (and is derivative of both brands), but like how they're
trying to capture a new generation of customers with this line. I myself am
a huge devotee of basic pieces you can purchase and wear again and again. I
may be in the minority of people who get super excited about a black skirt
or a great white button down, but these are pieces I can't really live
without. I have traditionally thought of Land's End as a place to get a bathing suit
if you actually swim. Meaning devoid of any sexiness or style but super
functional, comfortable, and good quality. I'm rethinking that as we
speak...prices are nice too...starting point at about $15-$200. I couldn't
find much about who is designing for them now, but I dig. I really do. Also
goes back to my "authentic" point the other day as Land's End is a real
brand for real folks. Knitting. Hot Chocolate. Land's End. You know how that
story goes...maybe it's authenticity with a modern/urban twist we are all
after. Check out the line for 'yoselves below:

http://canvas.landsend.com/canvas/index.html

LOVE ON MY MIND...

With Valentine's Day coming up (as well as my wedding anniversary), I give
pause here to salute coupling and comingling everywhere. I came across these
photos of Bianca and Mick on their wedding day and there has not been a
chicer bride since. True they are not growing old together (which by the
looks of Mick lately is a good thing), but their stylish and sexy wedding
fashion lives on in infamy. More hot couples later. I am in love with love
today, just as long as its attired in vintage YSL.

HOT CHOCOLATE + KNITTING

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how the pendulum of communication
is swinging towards all things digital and social media and how we've lost
some things that are really lovely because of it. That's all cool but can't
help but wonder if there will be a backlash to that or some sort of
"correction" for folks who like to touch and feel and relate in a more human
way. My friend mentioned the success of sites like Etsy as a perfect remedy
to those feeling disconnected from the homemade and handmade these days- or
at least something that feels "authentic" or real or made with TLC.

While I was reading New York Mag online today, I came across this article on
the owner of City Bakery and how he is having a night of knitting and hot
chocolate- knitting has been popular for a while but this particular
combination was striking to me as something that felt homey, real, and quite
the opposite of all things digi. I am not at all suggesting we abandon our
Four Square, Twitter, Facebook and whatever we need to communicate with each
other these days, but this is just so damn sweet and harkens back to a time
when a cup of hot chocolate and a knitted afghan were somehow enough to make
us happy. I know its a bit warm and fuzzy, (literally) but I'm craving that
these days...and loving Manny the Marshmallow.

http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/02/maury_rubin_sees_connection_be.html

What does one wear to an apocalypse?

We all know 2012 is coming. It could, of course, be a portal for
enlightenment or a new age for us poor souls witnessing our deep and
abysmal descent. But I digress- if it really is the end of civilization as
we know it, one question is particularly striking: what does one wear when
the world is ending? Or better yet, what does one wear après apocalypse- to
forage and hunt and loot and pillage and simply SURVIVE?

I myself would probably be outfitted in clothing from All Saints, a UK brand
who just opened an outpost right here on Miami's Lincoln Road. Everything
has a deconstructed, post genocidal toughness that reminds me of Mad Max
meets Rick Owens. The clothes are tough and raw and sexy- think urban armor
for a new age. I dig. I dig a lot. Even if the end is not near and we are
forced to bear more seasons of "Keeping up with the Kardashians", these
clothes are crazy stylish and will protect you from looking like everyone
else. And that in itself is enlightening.

http://www.us.allsaints.com/

Really?

Andre Leon Talley to be a judge on "America's Next Top Model"? Hmm. Seems a
bit pedestrian for him don't you think?? As in choosing models who will most
likely end up in the Spiegel catalog? And how will his velvet Edwardian
caftan fit at the judging booth? How how how? Discuss.