Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When dinner becomes breakfast. A couple of weeks ago I posted this pasta dish. The next day I took its elements and turned it into a tasty and quick weekday breakfast. 

A fried egg atop a piece of sweet, toasted raisin bread. A pile of bitter rapini (and a handful of peas for good measure) tossed about in a hot pan for just a couple of minutes. Leftovers gone wild.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last week The Bay hosted the women behind Rodarte, one of fashion's biggest names. They were adorable and lovely, mingling with top editors and also fangirls looking for autographs. The Sisters Mulleavy have managed to walk the line between high fashion and a more down-to-earth approach. When they're not dressing celebrities or the FLOTUS, they're launching collaborations with the likes of Gap and Target. Enjoy a blast of colourful fashion below and stay tuned to The B-Insider for an upcoming video of the event.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about pesto and the seasonal shift that forces our tastes to change as the days grow longer. I crave pasta year round, not willing to do without it, so that means adjusting heavy sauces and creams or replacing with fresh and lighter ingredients. 

Today I was in the mood for one of my regular go-to's, but felt like changing it up a bit. It could've been anything: Asparagus or the addition of a half-cup of pine nuts, maybe. Herbs. Lamb sausage and a swath of mint or some lemon zest. The possibilities are endless. I went with my stand-by (spicy sausage and rapini) but added peas for sweetness. And instead of the usual orrechiette, I snagged some fiorelli, with their fluted, crimped edges. 

Fiorelli with Spicy Sausage, Rapini and Sweet Green Peas

A couple of spicy Italian sausages stripped of their casings and pan-fried in olive oil until crispy and crumbled. Toss in a couple finely diced shallots and a few cloves of minced garlic. Put a pot of salted water on to boil while you chop a bunch of rapini loosely, without fussiness; add to your sauté pan, just until it wilts but not so long that it looses its crispness. A few moments before you stir-in your al dente pasta, drop a cup or so of fresh or frozen peas; the heat of the pan will cook them just enough. Toss with the pasta, adding more oil as needed. Salt and pepper to taste and a quick squeeze of lemon never hurts anybody. Chili peppers, maybe, a palm full of minced Scotch bonnets or a swirl of chili oil might be nice, too. Whatever you want. The whole process should take 15 minutes. 

Smack it with fresh parmesan and pair with a glass of bright white wine. The sweetness of the peas against the spice of the sausage and the bitterness of the greens --- springtime perfection.

From Scratch (January 31, 2012)
Presto, It's Pesto (April 17, 2012)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Last September, during the Spring 2012 shows, I spent a day with Nicholas Mellamphy. This was shot and written then, but makes its debut here (and here at The Bay's website; check it out for additional images and some in full, glorious colour) just now, in time for Spring, when these clothes will actually walk the streets instead of just the runways. I hope you enjoy this inside-peek into a very cool job. (And click here to see the rest of my time at the Spring 2012 shows. Backstage at Marc Jacobs and more!)

Nicholas Mellamphy is the Creative Director and head buyer for The Room, the Hudson's Bay Company's designer floor where socialites head for incredible clothes. He had a day chock-full of shows and market appointments where he'd view, select, and order the pieces he wants in The Room for Spring 2012. I got to tag along, noting at one point in the day that "This is your job!  And it's my job is to photograph you doing your job. We have ridiculously amazing jobs!!"

I met Nicholas on a sunny Wednesday morning, Fashion Week a day from its finish. We were to meet on 35th Street, at the new home of Jason Wu. Nicholas' first appointment of the day would be there, where he'd see the beautiful designs that stomped the runway days earlier. After catching-up with industry friends and settling into an Americano, he wandered the beautiful showroom and pulled the looks he'd loved in preview. As he built a rack of clothes he stood back to imagine them in The Room. He told me he likes to merchandize it there in the showroom, to get an idea of what it will look like in the store. He shuffled hangers and carefully placed a bold pink tweed next to a dress made of breathable, taupe nylon. He wondered if it needed more blue, so dashed to the section of the showroom with smokey silk florals. Two fit models (one classic, the other with a bit of an edge) rotated in and out of the showroom, paper dolls in gorgeous clothes. Nicholas snapped his own photos and took video of the movement of each garment. The girls would walk and turn and toss the clothes around to show their expert tailoring. A gorgeous citron gown, Nicholas thought, would be perfect for a certain notable Torontonian gal-about-town. So he'd take just one for now.

Then we were off to J. Mendel's show at the tents in Lincoln Centre where we were met by The Bay's Fashion Director Suzanne Timmins. It became a bit of a day in the life of both of them, as we dashed from uptown shows to showrooms in Soho (where both Thakoon and Jeremy Laing were on-hand to walk Nicholas through their collections). The day ended at the one of the buzziest shows of the week: Proenza Schouler. 

Oh, and It's no accident that this day didn't include much in the way of food: There's no time! This is fashion.