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Best Book Covers

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I am very guilty of judging books by their covers. I often peruse book shops and let a gorgeous cover magnetically pull me to it. Often enough, the cover is a good indicator of the content inside. Most recently I was drawn to Worn Stories. I’m also smitten by the three covers above. The Vacationers is written by my friend Emma Straub so I’m bias but I am beyond certain I’d be swooning over the cover whether or not I knew Emma. Nobody is Ever Missing is another stunning cover, one of many designed by the talented Charlotte Strick who I had the pleasure of working with on my illustrative series of illustrations for Rachel Cusk’s novel in issues 207-210 of the Paris Review (and here’s a great interview with her on it’s nice that). The Woman Destroyed cover by Peter Mendelsund led me back to his site which is a treasure trove of stunning work.

Buzzfeed included Emma and Charlotte’s covers in this great round-up.

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Paddington Bear for IFC Mall, Shanghai

Paddington bench IFC Shanghai
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I was happy to oblige when IFC Mall in Shanghai asked me to create a design for a special celebration of Paddington Bear’s 65th anniversary and the holiday season. The design is featured on special benches throughout the mall. I decided to focus on Paddington’s iconic and impeccable style. He’s so well known for his wellington boots, jacket, scarf, hat and suitcase. I added a bit of holiday flare as well as a jar of honey which I know would make the bear himself very happy. If you are in Shanghai, check it out and take a seat.

A few years ago I did another project for IFC Mall in Hong Kong, illustrating style legends for a big exhibit. Here’s the video.

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I have food on my mind. I’m nursing like crazy and that makes me hungry. I’ll never ever lose my post-pregnancy weight if I eat every time I’m hungry.

My last post was a crispy tofu recipe from my mom. I also emailed some pals and asked them to share some easy recipes and I got a ton of really good and simple ones and even some funny suggestions like “I have this amazing recipe called seamless.com but it’s pretty complicated so maybe you guys should work up to it?” from my friend, author Gemma Burgess.

Another friend Aran Goyoaga is one of the most talented cooks, bakers and photographers in the world and maintains the gorgeous site Canelle et Vanille. You can’t see all the comments on the last post because I’m having a problem with the back-end of both Maquette and my portfolio site so stay tuned for that to be fixed.

In the mean time I want to share Aran’s ideas because they’re beautiful, hearty, and definitely something on my agenda for this blustery autumn and impending winter. Plus, Thanksgiving is coming up and these two recipes would be perfect! Thanks for sharing Aran. XOXO.

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meringue with a layer of rose-flavoured cream topped with pomegranate jewels

I’m on the hunt for some yummy and easy recipes. I usually throw veggies into the pan and stir-fry them with sea salt, pepper, olive oil and some herbs and serve with pasta, quinoa or rice and a protein like tempeh or tofu. When I first had Vivian friends dropped off some yummy dinners for our family such as veggie lasagne (thanks Liz Libre) and the ingredients for assemble-your-own soft tacos (thanks Linsey Laidlaw). Having prepared food in the fridge makes life so much easier. You can just grab it, heat it up and serve.

Last night I went to my favorite event of the month, articles club. We talked about these articles: On Cooking for Others, Why I’ll Never Cook Again and What If You Just Hate Making Dinner? They inevitably led to scintillating conversations about our familial food histories, motherhood and guilt, how we run our own family’s meals and our tips and ideas for fast family dinner. So I thought it would be fun to share some recipes with each other and get some ideas cooking (both literally and proverbially).

I want simple recipes with less than 5 main ingredients, preferably stuff we might already have in the fridge. I’m hoping for pretty healthy ideas with a protein (as I’m a vegetarian). I can’t wait to hear the club’s ideas. If you have any you’d like to share please do so (on your own blog and leave the link here in the comments or just share an outside link).

One of the article’s club girls works for Apartment Therapy and touted their site The Kitchn. I definitely plan to do some hunting and gathering there. Do you have a favorite site for simple, yummy, healthy recipes?

Here’s my mom’s Crispy Tofu with Sesame Asparagus or Green Bean recipe:

A coating of panko is the secret to these ultra crispy tofu triangles. A delicious sweet and tangy dipping sauce accompanies the tofu… 4-6 (4 as a meal or 6 as a snack )

Ingredients:

  1. extra firm tofu
  2. 3/4 hoisin sauce
  3. 4 Tb seasoned rice wine vinegar
  4. 3/4 tsp. Asian chili garlic sauce
  5. 2 lg eggs
  6. 4 tsp Asian sesame oil
  7. 2 cups panko
  8. 1/2 c cornstarch
  9. 5 TB corn oil
  10. 1 lb. asparagus or green beans (trimmed)
  11. sesame seeds
  12. salt

Prep:

  1. Slice the tofu crosswise in half and then on the diagonal so each piece of tofu yields 6 triangles. Arrange triangles on thick layers of paper towel and put paper towels on the top and press out the water.
  2. In a small bowl make the dipping sauce. Whisk hoisin, vinegar and the chili sauce..set aside.
  3. In another bowl beat the eggs with 2 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Put the panko and the cornstarch on large pieces of waxed paper. Dredge each triangle of tofu in the cornstarch, shaking off the excess then in the egg mixture and then in panko, setting the triangles on a plate as you finish each one.
  4. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large non stick skillet over med high heat. When the oil is hot add as many triangles as fit into the pan and cook turning once until golden and crisp. abt 2 min per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle lightly w. salt.
  5. Wipe out the skillet add the remaining Tb of oil and return to med high. Add the asparagus or green beans (that the campers have snapped the ends off) and cook 3-5 min. Add the remaining 2 tsp sesame oil and toss. Sprinkle w. sesame seeds.
  6. Serve the tofu with the dipping sauce on the side.

(author’s note: We recently did the same recipe but instead of pan frying the tofu, we baked it in the oven and it was still very yummy…just not as crispy.)

Above is one of my food illos (done for Stella Magazine).

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Have a happy weekend!

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My baby Vivian is nearly 2 months old now and already such a solid member of our family. It’s hard to believe she’s still technically considered new. It’s amazing the way humans adapt so quickly to new environments, new relationships, and other changes. Sometimes we get anxiety about how things are going to be when we see a change on the horizon but then change comes and becomes engrained in our lives in such a way that we could not imagine what life was like before. Right now there’s so much to rejoice about. I feel so very lucky to have my family and friends in good health, a flourishing career, and only good things on the horizon.

I hope your weekend is full of love, laughter, silly dancing, and perhaps a pancake breakfast.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”–Voltaire

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