Saturday, January 30, 2010

Baked Vancouvers


Normally such a dessert would make me ooh and aah and then flip the page. I am generally not into a dessert with so many steps. Even though as a kid I watched plenty Love Boat episodes, with guests clapping as the waiter lit their dessert on fire. I even stated at the ripe age of 8 that as an adult I would make flaming desserts nightly.

There is one holiday where you can afford to spend a little more time on dinner and dessert. That’s right; Valentine’s Day is all about cooking for two. When you only have two of something you have the luxury of freezer space and can easily accomplish the different steps to The Food Network Magazine’s Baked Vancouver’s at your own pace.

I mean who doesn’t love cake, ice cream and rum and especially when it is on fire!

Baked Vancouver’s Recipe


• 1 12-ounce loaf chocolate pound cake
• 1 quart chocolate-chip ice cream, slightly softened
• 4 large egg whites
• 1 cup sugar
• Pinch of cream of tartar
• 1/2 cup white rum

Cut the pound cake into eight 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut a circle from each slice using a 4- or 6-ounce ramekin as a guide; crumble the scraps. Fit each piece of cake in a ramekin, then fill with the ice cream to about 1/4 inch from the top. Sprinkle with the cake crumbs. Freeze until the ice cream is hard, at least 1 hour.

Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are warm, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and beat the whites with a mixer on high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag with a round tip and pipe on top of the ice cream and cake crumbs to completely cover. Make a small indent, about 1 inch deep, in the top of the meringue, for the rum.

Brown the meringue all over (including the indentation) with a kitchen torch. Place the rum in a small pot over low heat until warm but not boiling. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and pour into the indentation in each dessert. Light the rum with a match. Let the flame burn out and serve immediately.

Friday, January 29, 2010

L'Oreal Elnett Obsessed

Product love.

I'm certainly not a beauty expert, but this Hip Hostess has to share my newest obsession with you. Once unavailable in the United States, L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray is now readily available in many stores. I've been reading about how superior this hairspray is to everything else on the market, but I was so skeptical. I have never really found a hairspray that I loved...and I certainly couldn't comprehend finding something that would be SO much better. Well I was wrong. This stuff is amazing!!

With an ultra fine spray and non-sticky finish, L'Oreal Elnett holds your hair in place without feeling like a helmet. Not to mention the fact that you can comb through it and it will still hold your waves in did they do that?!?

Now that I have this new not-so-secret weapon, I'm going to practice some of these 'dos for big parties. Before Elnett, my baby fine hair would have been a messy, frizzy, falling nightmare. Not anymore.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is that Wine Orange?


No, it’s not your eyes playing tricks on you. A relative newcomer to the wine circuit is “orange wines”. Although they have hints of orange essence, they are named that due to the color which ranges from dark orange to slightly pinkish.

The technical reason that the wine is orange is best explained by Eric Asimov who writes an article for The New York Times called Pour. He states, “Ordinarily, producers of white wine might permit a couple of hours or a day at most of skin contact. Pigments and tannins reside in the skins, and most producers want to avoid adding tannins and astringency to the wine. But these wines may be left to macerate with the skins for days, weeks or even months at a time, which lends the wine color in shades ranging from pink, to ruddy cider to in fact vivid orange. It also gives them a texture that is gritty, tannic or beautifully captivating.”

My tasting left me slightly undecided. I found the wine to be very unusual yet with a distinctive taste that kind of grows on you. It has a slight citrus and berry flavor with a bit of an acidic after taste. The truth is that after a couple glasses at 14.5% alcohol you soon forget all about the after taste.

The wine starts at around $18 and works its way upward. It is definitely worth buying a couple bottles to start off the evening, if only as a conversation piece.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Einstein Meets Julia Child

Foodie Function.

You can imagine my interest was peaked when I received an email with that subject line. Well it just so happens that a very cool event is occurring in the Big Apple on February 8th.

ELEMENTS is a ground-breaking, interactive dining experience open to the public where top chefs, winemakers, coffee roasters, and master mixologists will display and explain the physical and chemical changes that occur in food when exposed to the natural elements of fire, water, air, and ice.

Guests will experience amazing new taste sensations such as Smoking Salmon Shots, Carrot Caviar, and my absolute favorite a Mozzarella Balloon (which is said to burst with the essence of roasted garlic). Holy cow...this sounds so flippin' cool!!

If you are going to by in NYC on the 8th, definitely consider attending. Tickets are $150 and include all of your food, drinks, and learning experience. Check out all of the details here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

You, me, and champagne makes three
This photo doesn't leave a doubt that the groom and groomsmen were having a good time.

Forty Sixth at Grace
Check out the how-to on these adorable edible shortbread cookies
A Great Full Day
Insert yourself here.

My dinner for tonight!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Edible Snack Bowl


I saw this edible snack bowl made out of Chex snack mix in the latest Food Network magazine. To be honest, I am not sure what I think? On one hand it is kind of a cool novelty and might add some “wow” factor to your snack table.

However, I might be frustrated if I saw Chex mix and wasn’t able to eat it until the dip or other contents where gone. Then would I want to eat it after everyone dipped their munchies in it?

I’ll let you decide. Should snack mix be an objet d’art or should it remain just a salty treat?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Classic Movie Night

Impromptu Party Inspiration.

You don't always need an excuse to get your friends together. But I do find that having a theme for the regular Saturday night hangout session makes things a bit more festive. So while perusing through a book that was given to me over the holidays, "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," I thought it would be fun to have a classic movie night.

Now while I love all classic movies, they don't necessarily translate well to all modern audiences...which is why I chose The Marx Brothers' Duck Soup. Its fresh and funny even today. And it's short (in case someone is really not into black and white with a bit of campiness).

Here's a little inspiration board for what I'm thinking to mix up a typical Saturday night:

The Movie Poster is a great focal point and inspiration for the night. The bold colors and typography can easily be integrated in other areas.

I strongly believe you don't have to make absolutely everything from scratch for a party. So for this party, we'll order in Peking duck and all the fixings. It ties into the movie title, it's delicious, and easy!

Because having a funny item or two for photo ops is not a bad idea, this chocolate cigar is very Groucho Marx and makes a good take-home item too.

This movie was released in 1933, so we'll enjoy a classic 30's drink. The Side Car.

Another funny party prop, mustaches on sticks (also a la Groucho), will certainly make for some fun.

If I'm feeling extra fancy and ahead of the game, I might borrow this idea for invites.

And for dessert, we will serve chocolate chip cookies...and I'll be sure to let my guests know that we're serving them because the original Toll House recipe introduced the same year as Duck Soup.

I think this sound like fun, don't you think?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weekend Cocktail


Since I previously posted about my love of Firefly Sweet Tea vodka, I will admit that I have not tried to venture from my beloved Jon Daley (lemonade/sweet tea vodka concoction). But since I am a Facebook friend with the Firefly peeps, I happened to see this gem come across their posts. I am totally stoked to give this a try over the sounds just heavenly. Feel free to try it as well.

Black Tea Mojito

Mint leaves
Blackberry syrup
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
Club Soda
Lemon Slices (garnish)
Blackberry (garnish)

Muddle mint leaves, blackberry syrup, sweet tea vodka, and splash of club soda. Garnish with lemon slice, fresh mint sprig & fresh blackberry

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birkin Bag Cocktail Napkins

Party Linens.

I ran across these napkins on CasaSugar and thought it looked like a great addition to a bridal shower or ladies luncheon. The colors are bold and the graphic is simple yet still makes a statement.

The cost is $52.00 for 8 napkins. One of the great things about this product is it provides a bold color palette with lots of variety, an instant theme and they are made of cotton for reuse.

Check out these napkins at Supermarket.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hot Lips Soda

New find.

As a hostess I am always looking for new, unique additives for our events. When I started hearing a buzz about Hot Lips soda, I decided to check it out.

The Portland Oregon based company produces fruit sodas made from real pulp. Consumers say, “It is like drinking something made from real fruit, not chemicals.”
The lineup includes: apple, pear, raspberry and boysenberry. The product was only available in Oregon until recently when they opened an online store.

It could be a big hit at your next event and the Hot Lips name and brand make it perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inspiration.

Desire to Inspire
Two words. Drool worthy.

Not Without Salt
Some might be afraid of Bacon Caramels. I am not.

I’m loving the Amsale bridal collection. Thanks for sharing Jo!

This real wedding features more amazing work from Ariella Chezar

I love this Morrocan wedding blanket. Such a stylish and cool tradition.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Photo courtesy of Elephant Journal.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cara Cara

Food Find.

I love fresh fruit. I even think that a perfectly ripe piece of nature's goodness can top the fanciest of desserts...and that's coming from a self-admitted chocolate addict.

With that being said, I have noticed over the last few years that it has been more and more difficult to find a really good orange. They are always a bit dry or bland. What is more disappointing than going through all of the effort to peel an orange, pick off the excess pith, and then bite into a tasteless piece of nothing? Yuck.

The one shining beacon in my quest for worthy citrus has been the Cara Cara orange. A type of navel orange, Cara Cara's have a rosy pink flesh that is similar to grapefruit...but the taste could not be more different. Low in acid and slightly sweet, I have rarely found a Cara Cara orange that I didn't think was amazing. And they are in season right now.

To find the perfect Cara Cara orange, make sure that it feels heavy for it's size (which means it's juicy) and smell it to make sure that it has a potent orange scent. Then peel and enjoy!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sponsor Love.

Wedding Paper Divas
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. These invites are the perfect way to announce your party.

Moments of Elegance
These elegant and stylish Sweet Shoppe Candy Boxes would be a welcome addition to any event.

The Celebration Shoppe
This train-themed party gear is the perfect for any kiddo.

Bride and Groom brownie pops are adorable (and delicious) favors.

Purple is still a hot color in design...and these invites certainly fit that trend.

Luna Bazaar
These vintage inspired glass bottles are available in a variety of colors and would be great in a reception centerpiece.

Baby Gifts - Baby Baskets
This chic silver plated train bank is a gift you would never outgrow.

My Party Favors
This is a great gift for the wedding party members or any vendors that you want to extend a special thanks.

Wedding Paper Divas Weddings
Vibrant colors are the theme for new 2010 WPD invites. And I am loving how cheerful this Bahamanian themed invite sets the tone for a carefree wedding.

Wedding Favors Unlimited
Monogrammed boxes that do double duty as a place card holder and a place for favors.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cold Weather Entertaining


So the holidays are over and you have been spending an inordinate amount of time cuddled up on the sofa in your Snuggie. It is really easy to fall into a post holiday funk. However, cold weather entertaining is some of the easiest to pull off. One pot meals are hearty, warming and delicious.

Also, people are looking for an excuse to spend a little less time with the remote. The following recipe for White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet from Woman’s Day is the perfect tasty, simple dish. Just serve with a loaf of fresh bread, red wine and a light dessert such as panna cotta.

With the meal being casual it opens up the night for games, movies or you could ask everyone to bring their wackiest gift received over the holidays for some good laughs.

Whatever the activity, the night will be filled with great food, great company and great laughs.

White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet

2 tsp oil
3 links (10 oz) Italian sausage
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
3 cans (15.5 oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed
2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1⁄2 cup water1 tsp dried thyme leaves

Seasoned Crumb Topping
2 tsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
2 Tbsp each grated Parmesan and chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.
2. Heat oil in a 5-qt pot over medium heat. Brown sausages on all sides until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove to plate.
3. In fat remaining in saucepan, sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes.
4. Cut sausages into 1⁄4-in.-thick slices. Add sausages, beans, tomatoes and their juices, water and thyme to saucepan. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until heated through and flavors are blended.
5. Topping: Toss oil and garlic with bread crumbs; spread on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, tossing once, until toasted. Cool slightly; stir in Parmesan and parsley. Serve topping with cassoulet.

Serves 8.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Desperately Seeking Sugar


It's funny how one can become obsessed over a little detail that many would find silly. Right now mine is sugar cubes. When I was in Paris a couple of months ago, I became enamored with the little individually wrapped sugar cubes at one particular cafe. Because I thought it might be rude to ask them if I could take a handful, I just smuggled one little cube to use as research for when I got home. So far it has lead me to nada.

The prized cube that I smuggled is from Beghin Say and was wrapped in a delightful little Provencal printed paper. While I can find a million sites that offer the cubes sans wrapper, my little packaged sucre is nowhere to be found.

The only design friendly alternative that I could find were these wrapped Absinthe sugar cubes. They are packed a little more loosely for maximum melting in the anise flavored liquor, which might be nice. What do you all think? Is this a suitable substitute?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Link Love.

Tuesday Inpiration.

Etsy-The Wedding Collection
Flattering bridesmaid dresses in every color that you will want to wear again and again.

Sweet Paul
Update your décor for 2010 with this swanky chandelier.

If becoming a culinary goddess is on your list of resolutions…check out 13 must have kitchen tools.

Erin Ever After
I know we are not suppose to covet…but c'mon this is gorgeous.

Creature Comforts
These DIY paper bird cages would be a great addition to any event.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Accepting New Sponsors

Would you like to sponsor Hip Hostess in the New Year? We are accepting new blog sponsors for the upcoming months. Our hip, devoted readers love to read about design-forward small businesses and etsy shops. If you are interested, you can reach us at (amber at hiphostessny dot com). Thanks so much!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lighten You Linens

Visual Decluttering.

I like to do a lot of reorganization this time of year. When you are seeking solace from the cold in your home, you want you life as decluttered as possible. So when reading organizing tips in January's Better Homes and Gardens, I was so pleased to see a tip that I've been following for years: Buy only white towels and bedsheets.

There are many reasons that this works well. (1) All white creates a cohesive spa-like look to everything throughout your house. (2) All white towels and sheets pretty much match if you end up with an odd man out over time...which I always do. (3) When the inevitable stains occur, just bleach the heck out of everything and they are right back as good as new. (4) When you decide it is time to change the paint color in your bedroom or bathroom again, your linens will always match.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cranberry Ginger Jazz


Around 2pm everyday I have an ice-filled Diet Coke as a pick-me-up. One of my resolutions is to cut down on soda and add low calorie fruit and vegetable juices into my daily routine as a substitute.

In this process I have tried a few brands from the store but found nothing has really knocked my socks off. I decided to take baby steps and start with the Cranberry Ginger Jazz from Health Magazine. Now, I realize that diet ginger ale is a soda but it is a different color than Diet Coke and I get the added health benefits of Cranberry Juice and folic acid from Orange Juice.

Plus it is delicious, and if I am having an especially trying day, I can easily turn it into a before dinner cocktail with a splash of vodka. Even though I didn’t cut out soda all together, I added a drink with more versatility, health benefits and beautiful color. Maybe I should rename it the Denial.

Cranberry Ginger Jazz (19 calories)
4 oz. Diet Ginger Ale
8 oz. Diet Cranberry Juice
1 oz. Orange Juice

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year - New Calendar

Desktop Decor.

Every January I look forward to getting a new desktop calendar for the upcoming year. This year was a difficult choice with all the creative calendars out there. I ended up with an InkSpot Workshop Limited Edition calendar (shown below). The graphics really capture the fun moments I look forward to each month, and the colors are happy and vibrant. Listed below are a few of the others that came in a close second.

Suzy Jack

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year, New Food.


So against my better judgment and countless articles in my fitness magazines, I ate a lot of junk over the holidays. It's like an addiction to cookies, cheese, dips, and anything non-nutritional. It was great while it lasted, but I must now come to my senses and embrace healthy food and lots of gym hours.

Since chicken breasts are pretty inexpensive and healthy, I like to cook with them a lot in January during my weight-whittling period. The only downside of this poultry, is that it can get old real quick.

To spice things up, I've been looking for new recipes. Here's one of Real Simple's best from 2009...I can't wait to add it to the rotation!

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Tomato Salad

1 6.5-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 baguette slices, toasted (optional)

1.Mix the artichokes, Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of the thyme in a small bowl.

2.Cut a 2-inch pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast. Stuff a quarter of the artichoke mixture into each pocket. Rub the chicken breasts with 1 teaspoon of the oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3.Heat a grill or grill pan to medium. Grill the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes per side.

4.Mix the tomatoes, shallot, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the remaining oil and thyme in a large bowl.

5.Slice the chicken, if desired, and serve with the tomato salad and baguette slices, if using.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Sunday Suppers
This bright table makes me smile on this gloomy COLD day!

A Cup of Jo
Here’s to making the most of a rainy day wedding…lovely shots

The Purl Bee
I think this easy DIY garland would get me out of post-holiday entertaining funk.

Design Dress Décor
This Madeleine Wedding cake is oh so Parisienne and oh so lovely.