Monthly Archives: June 2010

Summer look

Ms. S&C plans to keep it simple this summer. More than anything, she just wants to be comfortable. It is far too hot for anything else. Far too hot.

As for her wardrobe, Ms. S&C has in heavy rotation a Mossimo maxi dress she picked up at Target last year (it’s green and very similar to this one). She also still truly loves these studded sandals she found over at Zappos.

Flowing dresses and flat sandals help keep her comfortable. So do drinks with ice.

When she finds a concept she likes, she happy to stick with it. Here are a few other items that will bring her comfort during the blazing months of summer. First, there’s a long knit dress from Garnet Hill. This maxi-style dress is made of super soft cotton, so it is — yes — super comfortable. Style is not sacrificed for comfort, however. The twisted shoulder straps give the dress an unique detail, and the fitted bodice and v-neck front (and back) flatter any body type. Plus, what great colors and prints!

Ms. S&C’s favorite summer look: soft, flowing dresses paired
with comfortable sandals

Paired with the dress are metallic sandals from Piperlime. Big selling points: the silver flats have a little extra padding for extra comfort, love the woven detail, and they are ridiculously inexpensive. To finish off her look, the lovely dangly earrings are from Anthropologie (and are the same ones she picked out for her “Style in the City” party outfit).

Ms. S&C wants to know: What will keep you cool and comfortable this summer? Share your wardrobe and drink ideas below.

Happy Summer! (If only it weren’t so damn hot.)

posted by Ms. S&C

Back to School with Top Chef

For all of us Eric Ripert fans out there, the last episode of Top Chef DC was nothing to celebrate. The dreamboat French chef/semi-regular judge did not make a cameo. Still, this week’s show offered a few interesting twists, turns and snippets of drama.

  • It seems that the confidence level for this particular group of chefs is off the charts. I hope they take the advice of guest judge Sam Kass, White House assistant chef, to “leave your egos at the door and just get to work.”
  • Is anyone else already getting a bit tired of Padma’s DC puns? This week’s Quickfire, for example, is the Bipartisandwich. It is a silly name for a silly challenge, which ties two chefs together in one apron and gives them use of one hand each to create an exemplary sandwich. This week we see another win for Angelo who, partnered with Tracy, created a flounder sandwich with an herby salad.
  • The elimination challenge is very au current: create a school lunch with $130 for 50 kids, working in teams of four. The goal here is to bring awareness to the First Lady’s initiative to end childhood obesity in a generation.
  • Fun fact: Tom Collichio comes by his love for food honestly – his mom ran a school lunch program for 20 years!
  • In an episode twist, the losers get called into judges’ table first. I think everyone’s relieved to see that Angelo is on the bottom rung – but given his immunity, he’s safe from elimination. His team gets no love for their lack of veggies, while the other lowest scoring team garners criticism for a blah chicken breast with sherry jus and a sugar-full pudding. But the criticism isn’t coming just from the judges: The teams start slamming each other on the judges’ floor – bad form! Ultimately, Jacqueline – who was in the bottom two last week – loses for her unhealthy and grainy banana pudding with strawberries.
  • Kelly wins for her pork carnitas tacos, made all the healthier by homemade oatmeal tortillas. Her teammates helped her out with a black bean cake with crispy sweet potatoes; roasted corn salad, and caramelized sweet potatoes with chocolate sherbet. The judges loved the colorful plate and the creative use of veggies, not to mention the tasty tacos.

Kelly’s winning dish of Braised Pork Carnitas Tacos
with Pickled Onions & Cilantro

Considering the target audience for this particular challenge, I’m looking toward some alcohol-free options for our Top Chef Drink Pairing. And with this week’s Mexican inspired dish, I think some Agua Fresca is in order. AKA “fresh water” in Spanish, agua fresca is essentially water infused with a smooth fruit puree. Easy, refreshing and perfect for a summer day. Just puree any soft fruit — melon or mango are some good options — and push through a sieve until super-smooth. Mix with water (1.5 cups puree to 3 cups water), some lime juice and a smidge of agave nectar. Yum!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Hail to the Chef

Hooray for three reasons! (1) New season of Top Chef. (2) It takes place in DC! (3) Eric dreamboat Ripert is a regular guest judge — that means we get to see him every week on the “Culinary Supreme Court,” as Padma Laskshmi referred to judges’ table. Padma also said Washington, DC, is a city full of “idealists, visionaries and ruthless powerseekers.” What do you all make of that description?

Top Chef returns for a seventh season and they are on location
in Washington, DC!

The first episode started off on the roof of the Newseum and showcased great views of our fine city. Filmed during the Cherry Blossom Festival, the episode finished off at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium with a reception for young, successful Washingtonians. (Um, Ms. S&C assumes her invitation was lost in the mail?)

In case you’re in need of a recap, here are a few highlights from the first episode:

  • The Quickfire Challenge was a mise en place relay. The cheftestants had to peel potatoes, brunoise onions (my new culinary term for the day), break-down chickens, and then — for those that made it that far — cook a dish with said ingredients. Kenny showed off his mad knife skills, but it was arrogant Angelo who came away with the win.
  • For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs created a dish that reflected where they are from: dishes included everything from Chesapeake rockfish to Pennsylvania lamb to deconstructed borscht.
  • Angelo came away with another win with his arctic char and bacon froth. Hippie John was sent home for his store-bought puff pastry and his maple-focused dessert that lacked actual maple flavor.

Angelo’s winning dish: Arctic Char with Pickled Shallots,
Chillied Tapioca & Smoked Bacon Froth

For the Top Chef Drink Pairing: I’m going with this Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. This is actually the first Riesling I’ve ever tried (over 10 years ago mind you). And I remember it because it used to be part of the Bonny Doon Vineyard (that funky, eclectic winery out in California, with cool, artsy labels), which I like quite a lot, mostly because of their funky, eclectic way. The Pacific Rim Dry Riesling is crisp, dry and mineraly, and has flavors of citrus. A very versatile wine, it complements both seafood and smokey bacon flavors nicely. And you can usually find it for less than $10 bucks.

The Top Chef Drink Pairing is a reccurring feature on the S&C blog where we recap each episode and pair the winning dish with a cocktail, or other suitable beverage.

posted by Ms. S&C

Bourbon in the summertime

Ms. S&C’s recent love affair with bourbon has been well-documented: bourbon mojitos, bourbon with clementines and apricots, bourbon with grapefruit. (And with Miss Mojito’s help, the list goes on and on.)

When two of Ms. S&C’s favorite friends announce they are moving to Colorado — and throw one last goodbye bash — how does Ms. S&C celebrate? With bourbon cocktails!

Inspired by an abundance of mint growing in her friends’ backyard — and an earlier conversation about bourbon (specifically in regards to organizing a team for Bourbon Chase 2010) — Ms. S&C was on the hunt for a refreshing new cocktail containing these choice ingredients. She ran across the Bourbon & Peach Smash over at Imbibe Magazine. Reminiscent of a fancy bourbon and ginger, it incorporated fresh, seasonal ingredients (there’s really no excuse for anything else this time of the year). And it was perfect. She’s convinced bourbon can be enjoyed year-round: bourbon in the morning, bourbon in the evening, bourbon in the summertime.

Ms. S&C’s love affair with bourbon continues. A clementine old-fashioned during the winter, mojitos during the spring — and now, a peach ginger smash for the summer.

Bourbon & Peach Smash
adapted from Imbibe Magazine, serves one


  • Ice
  • 2 slices fresh peach
  • 4 or 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 slice fresh ginger (pickled ginger is also okay)
  • 1 oz. infused simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 oz. fine bourbon (such as Buffalo Trace)
  • Ginger ale (preferably a higher-quality brand that doesn’t contain sodium and added preservatives; think Whole Foods and the like)


For the simple syrup: bring to a boil, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, handful of mint leaves and peels from two peaches. Stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool completely and strain mint leaves and peach peels. You’ll be left with a syrup with a lovely pinkish hue.

Add slice peaches, mint, ginger and simple syrup in a cocktail glass and muddle vigorously. Add bourbon and fill glass with ice. Top with ginger ale.

posted by Ms. S&C

Summer Shoe Report Back

After scouring the Internet and a few fave shopping spots for the perfect pair of comfy summer flats, Miss Mojito opted for not one but three options. Apparently, I was on the hunt for neutrals: all of the latest additions to my shoe family are in shades of beige, brown, tan and bronze.

For super casual summer nights, I’ll look no further than this duel-tone pair of Nine West sandals (far left). I love the mixture of dark and light brown with the silver hardware, and they’re wonderfully comfy.

My second pick was a bit less successful on the comfort scale. I love the look of these Urban Outfitters gladiator sandals (center), but the back strap rubs the ankle in a most unfortunate manner. Band-aids are clearly in order to make these cute shoes tolerable.

And finally, we have the work-appropriate, metallic peep toe flats by Bandolino (right). I’m a huge fan of the coppery crackled finish. Since it’s hard to find a pair of flats with a sole that’s thick enough for true comfort, I snatched up this pair in a flash.

I can’t seem to put my cursor on close approximations of the Nine West and Bandolino pairs, but I found mine at DSW.

Now all I need is a fresh pedicure and I’m good to go! Happy summer shoe shopping to all!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Apologies and promises

Ms. S&C apologizes for her intermittent blogging. She’s sorry for the lack of new content. There are the usual work-that-pays-the-mortgage excuses, and then there are a few other unrelated-but-delightful-distraction excuses (a danger of having too many hobbies) that have turned her attention elsewhere.

Despite her recent S&C blog absence, she posts updates and comments on Twitter. You can also keep up with her activities on the S&C Facebook page (which includes pictures from the “Style in the City” party and pictures from a very cool sherry-inspired fashion show she attended in the same week).

Ms. S&C promises to return to regular blogging very soon. One reason: she can’t be more excited for Top Chef DC! Eric freakin’ Ripert joins as a regular guest judge (you remember our crush on him, right?), and there will be episodes involving Speaker Pelosi, concession stands at Nationals stadium, and the C.I.A. Hooray for DC! Another reason Ms. S&C promises to blog soon: she is preparing a specialty peach bourbon cocktail for a friend’s going away party this weekend. Rest assured the S&C test kitchen is in full swing trying out new cocktail recipes.

More soon!

posted by Ms. S&C

Frozen Summer Treat

Miss Mojito spent a recent Friday afternoon bidding farewell to a coworker at a work party. This coworker is particularly well-known for his affinity for what we call “girly” drinks, so I clearly had to make one in his honor.

What makes a drink “girly”? Typically, it’s marked by a mix of super sweet flavors, bright colors and lots of fruitiness.

I thought that a strawberry daiquiri would fit the bill – it uses seasonally appropriate ingredients while combining the perfect pink color with a sweet and fruity drink. But I didn’t want to mess with the hassle of transporting a blender and blending up batches on site at the party.

That’s when I remembered the Red Rooster. It’s a combo of cranberry juice, vodka and sugar that’s mixed together in a large, flat tray and frozen overnight. What you’re left with is a granita: a slushy cocktail treat that you can scrape into glasses and serve with spoons. My mom served these as a Thanksgiving treat, but I figured that the granita principle would transfer well to the strawberry daiquiri concept. The perfect, cool treat for hot summer days!

Miss Mojito preps her strawberry daiquiri granita


Strawberry Daiquiri Granita
Serves 8-9


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 32 ounces strawberries, hulled
  • 20-24 ounces white rum
  • Juice of two large limes


Bring water and sugar to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until mixture thickens and reduces by about half and you’re left with a simple syrup.

Puree strawberries in food processor (in two batches if necessary) until no chunks of strawberry remain. If you’re looking for a smooth texture, strain the strawberry puree. (Personally, I skip the straining step.) Add lime juice to puree.

Pour puree in a 9×13 baking dish – preferably one that comes with a lid. Pour in rum and cooled simple syrup and stir to mix. Cover (with aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid) and freeze for at least three hours, stirring occasionally.

The finished product will be a big, messy, slushy pan of fruity goodness. Use a large spoon or ladle to transfer to cups, and serve with spoons or straws.

Posted by Miss Mojito.