One cannot think well, love well, sleep well…

…if one has not dined well.

Thank you for putting it so perfectly, Virginia Woolf.

They say to be successful in the blogging world, you should write about the things you love. My intentions for Uglyspots and this blog is to do just that. I’ve never really wanted to quit my “day job” and blog full-time for money, I just really want to share a little or a lot (depending on the day) of the things that I love.

I love design…specifically in the craft/stationery realm. I love parties…themed parties with all their intricate details, favors, special touches. I love people…supporting them, encouraging them, etc…new people, old people and (special place in my heart) people in need. And finally, I love food…cooking, learning new recipes, challenging myself, eating (LOVE eating!), great restaurants, great dinners at home and really, really great photos of food…food is so artistic and beautiful…and the sharing of a meal with others (people I know or don’t know) is one of my most favorite things in this entire world.

Some of the richest conversations and experiences that have impacted me so, forever changing who I am, have happened over great meals. Today I wanted to inspire you by showcasing some of my most favorite chefs/food bloggers from around the web. These are weekly, if not daily, reads for me and I hope you are inspired by their art and their recipes as well:

Cannelle et Vanille

This might sound silly to most of you, but Aran’s photos have literally brought me to tears before…I’m not even kidding. Her recipes are amazing (most use ingredients that I’ve never heard of, but I’m learning) but her photography of her food is absolutely breathtaking. I am super excited about her first cookbook to be published in the fall 2012. All of her recipes are gluten-free due to her diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and  Meniere’s Disease. So if you are living the gluten-free life or considering a healthier eating regimen, I would highly recommend trying her recipes featured here on her website.

a la mode

…because life really DOES taste better with ice cream. This blog features the beautiful photography of Rick Poon, a Los Angeles-based photographer. We share a love interest of eating at fun restaurants and taking photos of our food…um, however, I cannot even begin to put our photos of said food in the same category…his are spectacular. He’s also got some fun recipes…click here for the recipe of the risotto with poached egg and bacon pictured above. PS…have I mentioned my love for bacon…it runs deep, ya’ll…pretty much one of the main reasons I’m not vegetarian…not kidding:)

Orangette

I’ve written about Molly Wizenberg before on the blog and featured her book, A Homemade Life, and her Pasta with Fried Proscuitto, Parmesan and Butter recipe. I love love love this lady and her words…the personal life stories she recounts in her book using recipes from her past are truly magical. She also owns a restaurant, Delancey, with her husband in Seattle…which I will definitely visit the next time I am in the upper west side of the US of A.

Sunday Suppers

Last but not least, one of my most favorites, Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers. Not only does she take fabulous photos of food, she also is living one of my dreams…Sunday Suppers are combined cooking/dining experiences, pairing friends and food. She hosts classes in a loft in Brooklyn, NY, that feature local Chefs. “The food is market fresh, local and organic and the approach is to create seasonal and fresh meals together.”

THIS is what I want to do…such a perfect blend of two things that I love…food and people. Karen hosts these classes for folks to come prepare, cook and eat some of the most exquisite recipes I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t just stop with the food…she incorporates beautiful floral arrangements, place settings, designed menus and details and then usually includes a take-away of some sort…this is one of my favorites:

Honey Fromage Blanc

One day, I will host my own supper club like this…hopefully one day soon when I can get my stuff together. How fun would that be?! So I hope you can spend some time perusing these fantastic blogs and if you have any favorites of your own to share, do so in the comment section…I am always looking to add to my collection of food blog favs.

Happy Thursday!

Foodie Friday: Recipe Reveal

Happy Friday to you all! I am so excited about today’s recipe, but first, a little background information. In all my blog reading last year, I came across this wonderful foodie blog called Orangette by Molly Wizenberg and immediately added it to my weekly rotation. It just so happens that she published a book, A Homemade Life, in 2009, and I just happened to have purchased said book last year without even making the connection!! I’m about halfway through the book (I hate to read, I know that’s terrible but I do…even when I love the book) and the recipes in the book are to die for! Here’s a wonderful description from Amazon.com:

In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother’s pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won’t be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots.

I truly love this book and encourage you all to go and get it…now:) Okay so one of the recipes from her blog that caught my eye and my stomach’s eye is the Pasta with Fried Prosciutto, Parmesan, and Butter recipe. I know what you’re probably thinking…it doesn’t sound very challenging. Well, for me, some of the very best recipes that I had tried and loved are some of the simplest with the smallest amount of ingredients, but its the symphony of ingredients and the simple directions that lead to a truly yummy meal. Don’t get me wrong, I am always up for a challenge, but let’s get real…who in the WORLD has time to come home from a full day’s work to cook at 20 ingredient meal that calls for items NOT found at your local super market. In my mind, those are the once-a-month-just-to-be-adventurous kind of meals. Don’t worry, Foodie Fridays will feature a couple of those, but mostly I am looking for the simple and delicious. Okay, okay…enough intro…on to the recipe:


Pasta with Fried Prosciutto, Parmesan, and Butter
Adapted from Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta

4 oz. prosciutto, sliced 1/8 inch thick
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt
About 4 ounces dried pasta, preferably egg tagliatelle
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Fill a deep pot with water for the pasta. Salt the water well. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil.

Cut the prosciutto into narrow strips – about ¼ to ½ inch wide – and then cut the strips into short segments, each about 1 inch long. Warm the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the prosciutto, and season with a tiny pinch of kosher salt. Cook until the prosciutto has lost its raw color, but not long enough for it to brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the water boils, cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain it – but not too thoroughly; you want the noodles to still be coated with some moisture – and turn it into the skillet with the prosciutto. Toss. Grate a little Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, and toss again. Serve immediately, with more Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

So…who’s going to join me and make this over the next couple days?? Let me know if you liked it…what challenges? any ingredient substitutions or additions? Come on, ya’ll, let’s eat!