You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2009.

I only ever used to eat miso soup when I went out to dinner. There was something mysterious about it that made me think I could never make it at home. Something that had to with the fact that I had no idea what exactly miso was. Looking it up online didn’t help. According to Wikipedia, it’s made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a special kind of fungus. Definitely not something I can imagine doing in my kitchen. But that was before I realized you could buy miso paste at the grocery store.  I’m now in love with making miso soup myself­—and, unlike in a restaurant, at home you can be creative and tweak the soup to your liking. So far I’ve only gotten as far as making this recipe from the website, 101 Cookbooks, and if it’s the only miso soup I ever get again, I’ll be happy. It’s really more than just miso soup—it’s loaded with hearty, nutty soba noodles, tofu, and fresh spinach, cilantro, and sliced scallions. The result is a meal that’s fresh tasting and totally satisfying.  The exact recipe is here.

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Even though we’re all online these days, I like to believe the printed word will never go out of style—and that includes recipe cards. There’s something sentimental about a recipe card, written in the hand of someone passing down one of their favorite dishes to you. That’s why I was happy to discover that Cosa Verde has a recipe card that you can download for $5 and print as many copies as you like of. Use them for yourself, for friends and family, as hostess gifts, etc. The 4×6 inch cards have space for the recipe ingredients and instructions on one side, while the reverse side features a lovely illustration of whisks in gray and robin’s egg blue. The card design is sent as a PDF file via e-mail, and comes with printing instructions and paper recommendations. $5; cosaverde.com.

Table runners are a quick way to give your dining room a makeover without spending a lot of money—especially when said runner is on sale, like the one pictured here. Created by Scandinavian artist Lotta Anderson, this contemporary yet earthy aqua design would work well in any season. I love that the fabric is linen, which gives it a natural feel (it’s also machine washable). Anderson is based in Brooklyn (she has a store in Boerum Hill) and, if you’re design-savvy yourself and live in NYC, she’s holding a workshop on surface printing on March 21. On sale for $35 (marked down from $69) at jansdotter.com.

Did your significant other forget to buy you chocolate for Valentine’s Day? (Ahem.) Or maybe you just want to treat yourself to some chocolaty lovin’, or stock up on gifts for friends. Really, you don’t even need a reason to click here and get a box of organic chocolates by VivaTerra, each with its own inspired design. (I already ordered mine.) The box of six includes ingredients like pistachios, dried cherries, and cocoa nibs. On sale for $5 (marked down from $16) at VivaTerra.

If you have a record of killing plant life (such as myself), perhaps the best way to bring the outdoors inside is through some creative decor. These garden-inspired dinner plates will certainly do the trick. The bold green and white pattern would be gorgeous with white table linens for a sophisticated, natural look. Or, I can imagine a place setting with pink linens for something a little more…tropical? The plates are made of glass.  A set of four is on sale for $29.99 (marked down from $38.95) at wrapables.com.

This past year I’ve become obsessed with reusable shopping bags to the point where my local grocers don’t even reach for a plastic bag after they ring me up, and instead wait for me to whip out my own (though they never offer to fill it, and I end up having to do that job myself, unlike with the plastic bags…which I don’t get).  But what about when you’re going to pick up a few bottles of wine? The idea of them rolling around and clinking against each other sounds like a recipe for disaster. So I like the idea of a reusable shopping bag just for bottles. The bag pictured here is designed by Reisenthel, a 30+ year old German company known for its functional designs. It also comes in two other colors–black and floral.  $12.74 at reusableshoppingbags.com.