One of my favorite summertime events occurred this past weekend: Yoga in the Outfield. Invoke yoga studio organizes the annual event and they did an amazing job. It’s a rare opportunity to take a yoga class in the middle of a baseball field. Yogis of every practice level come together to sweat under the sun and do a collective tree pose. You can’t beat it and I look forward to it every year.
This is the second year that my friend Annie has joined me and I’d like to think Denver is smiling down on us as we namaste. I met Annie through Denver and she has helped me carry on her spirit of adventure.
My Pilates friend, Emily, also participated and she was one of the lead instructors last year. She is a fourth grade teacher by day and yoga teacher by night. I had always seen her around Invoke and thought, “I want to be friends with the girl in the colorful yoga pants.” Now we see each other every week at Pilates and we re-created our signature pose that the Indianapolis Indians ended up using in their marketing for the event.
Yesterday was the first edition of Cookbook Club, which is the result of a pitch I sent to a national food writer for a client. The writer asked if I knew of any local supper clubs in Bloomington and Indy. After a little googling, I discovered that while there are a handful of supper clubs, a group of foodies in Bloomington have a super exclusive cookbook club. Once I latch onto an idea, there’s no turning back.
The idea is simple: each month a cookbook is chosen and then the club selects a day to have a potluck with recipes from the chosen book. You just have to be a fan of eating and spending time with good people! I also mixed it up a bit and chose a chef for the first one so that their recipes are online and you don’t feel forced to buy the cookbook. I collect cookbooks for fun, but I’d never ask anyone to spend unnecessary money to participate.
I have a soft spot for Ina Garten, so she was our inaugural chef. Who doesn’t want to wear custom-made Oxfords, live in the Hamptons, and have a husband that adores you?
My friend Lauren made roasted cherry tomatoes in olive oil with basil that she got from the farmer’s market at City Market. AMAZING. They were as sweet as candy and I could’ve eaten all of them. Ryu was our gracious host since he has a kickass patio view of the city. He made the best lemony green beans I’ve ever had and I plan to re-create these on the daily now.
I made pot roast, roasted asparagus, and Ina’s outrageous brownies. I cheated on the full beef recipe because I am no Ina and life happens. I was lucky to get away during lunch to pop it in the crockpot. That said, I did not do the veggies or the brandy, but after 7 hours in the crockpot, it was fall-apart delicious and no one noticed. Besides, I was extra generous with the amount of wine that the recipe called for.
The brownies really are outrageous and because our main course was so healthy, we had no qualms about picking at the bowl of brownies at the end of the night. An obnoxious amount of melted chocolate is what makes these gooey in the middle and I had to bake mine longer than 30 minutes due to the size of pan that I used, but they turned out perfectly.
Our original group of ten dwindled down to the four of us last night, but Cookbook Club was still a success! The small group was ideal for the test run and I am already thinking about the theme for the next one.
Now onto Rothy’s! After walking five miles downtown one day while wearing adorable, but painful ballet flats and beating up my feet, I decided to give Rothy’s a try. They are pricey, but I had heard good things and the entire shoe is WASHABLE! I waited until I found a coupon code for $20 off (see below for the same deal) and I am so glad I splurged. They’re comfy and go with anything. I wish I had gotten the pointy toe, but the round ones are cute too. I chose a raspberry / pink color and it is a nice alternative to my other flats. Let me know what you think – I still love my All Birds sneakers for comfort, but the flats are more practical for work.
Rothy’s also recently received some love in the NYTimes, What if Your Environmentally Correct Shoes Were Also Cute?
Ina’s Company Pot Roast
- One (4-5 pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- All-purpose flour
- Good olive oil
- 2 cups (4 carrots) chopped carrots
- 2 cups (2 onions) yellow onions
- 2 cups (4 stalks) chopped celery
- 2 cups (2 to 4 leeks) chopped leeks, white and light green parts
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 cups good red wine
- 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
- One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 3 branches thyme
- 2 branches rosemary
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Read more here
Ina’s Basil Parmesan Aioli
Ina’s original recipe is a true aioli. You emulsify egg yolks until it looks like mayo. However, this makes me nervous for a dinner party, so I use store bought and then fancy it up. I’ve made this a few times and it’s all about eyeballing it to taste. I failed for cookbook club and forgot the aioli, but the beef was good without it.
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mayo (I like the Kraft kind made with olive oil)
Ina’s Green Beans Gremolata
- 2 lb. French green beans (haricots verts) or regular green beans
- ⅓ c. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ⅓ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ c. toasted pine nuts
- 2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
- 4 tsp. finely chopped garlic
- ¼ c. olive oil
- Kosher salt
- black pepper
- Heat covered 7- to 8-quart sauce-pot of water to boiling on high. Add green beans and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. While beans cook, fill large bowl with ice and cold water.
- Drain green beans well and transfer to bowl of ice water; stir until beans are completely cool. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Green beans may be refrigerated in resealable plastic bag up to 3 days.
- Prepare gremolata: In medium bowl, combine parsley, Parmesan, pine nuts, lemon peel, and garlic.
- To serve, heat oil in same sauce-pot on medium-high. Add green beans; cook 2 minutes or until hot and coated with oil, tossing. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with gremolata, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teasppon pepper; toss until well coated.
Ina’s OUTRAGEOUS brownies
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 1 pound plus 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 6 extra-large eggs
- 3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
- 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Melt the butter, chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. You can also do this in the microwave if you’re careful and melt it in one minute increments. I live life on the edge.
Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.