Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Barefoot Contessa Dinner

Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, is one of our favorite chefs on TV.  Her recipes are classic with a twist and always delicious! Try these Italian themed recipes: Chicken Piccata, Roasted Garlic Potatoes and a Pear and Apple Crisp!

Chicken Piccata
  • 4 split (2 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • Good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Sliced lemon, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

  • 3 pounds small red or white potatoes
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Pear and Apple Crisp

  • 2 pounds ripe Bosc pears (4 pears)
  • 2 pounds firm Macoun apples (6 apples)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Topping:
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
    • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Peel, core, and cut the pears and apples into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch oval baking dish.

    For the topping:

    Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
    Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.

    [Photos and Recipes from Foodnetwork.com and Ina Garten]


    Monday, December 28, 2009

    Look of the Week: RIHANNA

    Achieving comfort and chicness together can sometimes pose quite a challenge. Kudos to Rihanna for mastering the airport look! Her look appears effortless and she really knows how to travel in style. The leopard accessories and the military style coat paired with liquid leggings are a great ensemble. The bag is Maia N ivory leopard print bowling python bag.


    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    The Culturistas Cha Cha Handbag Giveaway!!

    The Culturistas are giving away this Cha Cha Handbag: The Lola Mini Clutch.  Cha Cha handbags are designed by Lori Chalmers who strives to make eco-concious and affordable handbags!  She has a great collection priced under $100 as well as gorgeous high end handbags.  The Lola Mini clutch is made from salvaged leather and has organic canvas lining.

    Entourage City Tote

    Cha Cha handbags are favorites of celebrities like Lady Gaga and Fergie and have been featured in magazines like Lucky.

    Stella Mini- Leather Shopper

    To enter the contest: please leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite thing you've learned from the Culturistas!

    Make sure to use a valid email address and include theculturistas@gmail.com in your address book so we can contact you if you're the winner. Comments must be posted by 5 pm PST on Saturday January 2nd to be eligible to win. The winner will be announced on January 3rd. One lucky winner will be chosen at random. Open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!!

    Please note: this contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner Katia!

    Shop at Cha Cha now: ChaChalifestyle.com You will get 15% off by typing in the coupon code "culturistas" at checkout!


    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    How to revamp your Office Wardrobe: For Men

     Photo: Carter Smith
    GQ Magazine has a great this month about how to revamp your office wardrobe.  So for our fabulous Culturisto readers- here is some of their advice!  For the photo above: wear a pocket square!! And make it interesting in a plaid print!  Other great accessories to wear at work: tie clips, cuff links, or a nice watch.

    Brown is the new Black!!  Instead of pairing your suit with the normal black belt, black shoes--- try brown! It will instantly add a bit of 'cool' to your wardrobe!

    Instead of the basic light colored shirts- try something bold!  Wear a bright colored shirt with your traditional suit.  Let the color do the talking and tone the rest of your outfit down.

    Don't be afraid of the three-piece suit! We here at the Culturistas are huge lovers of the three piece suit. It adds a classic elegance to anyone's wardrobe- plus you still look very put together with no jacket!

    All Photos: Carter Smith
    Model: Paul Walker

    Read the rest of the article here: www.GQ.com


    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Style Profile: Chuck Bass

    Chuck Bass, played by Ed Westwick, is a fashion risk-taking member of the Upper East Side social elite.  He often wears flamboyant outfits, including bright colors, bow ties, argyle and suits.  We love his crazy personal style because it always keeps us entertained!

    This past season on Gossip Girl, Chuck has been channeling Gordon Gekko from 'Wall Street.'  He wears french cuff shirts with white collars, suspenders and slacks.  To dress like Chuck: don't be afraid of bright colors!  Orange, purple, red and blue are all favorites of Chucks.  Other key pieces in Chuck's wardrobe: trench coats, three piece suits and fun accessories like scarves, bow ties and suspenders.

    Chuck in his Prep School Uniform

    Ed Westwick in "GQ"


    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Look of the Week: Ed Westwick

    Ed Westwick is the Culturistas 'look of the week' this week!  The Gossip Girl star did some holiday shopping this past Thursday in NYC at Armani Exchange.  He sports his trendy leather jacket and purple jeans with a sweater, jewelery and black boots.  He looks effortlessly cool and lives up to his fashionisto reputation as Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl! ! Check out a style profile on Ed's alter ego, Chuck.


    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Avatar and Sherlock Holmes Premiere Fashion

    Ashley Greene, Blake Lively, Zoe Saldana, Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr, Rachel McAdams and Jessica Szohr attended the "Sherlock Holmes" and "Avatar" premieres this week.  Trends: 3 piece suits for men. Lace and sparkles for women!


    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Recipe of the week: Curried Sweet Potato Latkes

    If you are looking for a new way to spice up your holiday menu this is just the recipe for you. It takes a traditional Hannukah dish, potato pancakes and gives you an alternative spin with an Indian flavor. Not only are potatoes tastier but also a bit more nutritious. Preparing this dish should take approximately 30 minutes.


    * 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    * 2 teaspoons sugar
    * 2 teaspoons curry powder
    * 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1 teaspoon brown sugar
    * 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    * 3/4 teaspoon salt
    * 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    * 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    * 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    * 1/2 cup milk
    * 4 cups grated peeled sweet potatoes
    * Oil for frying


    * In a small bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Stir in eggs and milk until blended. Add sweet potatoes; toss to coat.
    * Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into oil; press lightly to flatten. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown, adding oil as needed. Drain on paper towels. Yield: 24 latkes.

    Bon Appetit!


    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Catherine Malandrino Fall/Winter Sample Sale

    What: The Catherine Malandrino sample sale hosted by Savvy & Co featuring the Fall/Winter 09 collection.

    Where: Metropolitan Pavilion
    123 West 18th Street
    New York, NY 10011

    When: Monday 12/14/09 10:00 AM- 9:00 PM
    Tuesday 12/15/09 8:00 AM- 8:00 PM
    Wednesday 12/16/09 8:00 AM- 8:00 PM

    Up to 80% off retail priced merchandise!



    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Look of the Week: Jessica Stroup

    Jessica Stroup, the ever so stylish actress from the CW's "90210" was radiant at the In Style Golden Globes party at Nobu in Los Angeles last week. Her metallic skirt and blazer are Jenni Kayne and the clutch is Gucci. With edge, chicness, and elegance, we think she is positively stylin!


    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Seasons Greetings from Uncooked!

    A great and now somewhat old fashioned way of spreading a little love and holiday cheer is through a card. We came across Uncooked, a NY based greeting card company whose sassy and snarky cards have us humored, touched, and almost offended at the same time. They are having a huge sale right now ending January 1, 2010 so hurry up and buy a bundle! Why not send your mom a sardonic Christmas card or your bubbie a sassy Hannukah greeting. The Culturistas are bringing old school communication back with UNCOOKED!




    The Culturistas


    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Restaurant Profile: Square One Dining LA

    Square One Dining is a little restaurant in an odd section of Hollywood that you might pass right by and never know of it's epicurean delights.  Except if you drove by on Saturday or Sunday mornings when a line forms out the door.  And trust me it is worth the trek to East Hollywood and waiting in line to taste the food.

    From Top Left: Two scrambled eggs with toast, salad and canadian Bacon.  Brioche French Toast with Strawberries and Whipped Cream.  Breakfast Sandwich with sausage patty or bacon, two scrambled eggs, frisee, tomato and aioli.  Lunch Chicken Sandwich with portabello mushroom confit, truffled aioli, gruyere cheese, arugula and shaved red onions.

    The breakfast and lunch specialties will surely have you talking. The ingredients are fresh, the food creative and delicious and the ambiance is quaint and friendly.  The prices aren't bad either! They utilize organic, local, and small farm produce when possible AND all of our meat products are hormone free.  All great reasons to support this restaurant!  

    Tip: If you hate waiting for a table try to go a bit later in the day- don't worry breakfast is served all day. 
    Tip: And get a table on the back patio- it's super cute!

    4854 Fountain Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90029
    t 323.661.1109


    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    Gift Giving Guide for Men

    Some great gifts for athletically inclined men include sports accessories (waterproof headphones, mini mp3 players, sneakers, a sports watch) sports equipment (a new golf club, free weight set) or even books about sports! Our ideas above would make great holiday gifts or EVEN birthday gifts! Great stores to shop: Niketown, Sport Chalet, Sports Authority or even Amazon.com

    For the Tech-savvy men in your life, here are some great gift ideas! From a bluetooth speaker set to  a charging valet for all their gadgets you are sure to find something for the guy who loves new toys.  Shop online for some great deals (amazon.com or the like) or go to stores like Best Buy, Frys or the Apple store.

    For the chic business man a nice tie or belt are always great options.   If you want to be more extravagant try a classic watch or new golf club.  Go to a department store like Bloomingdales or Nordstroms for a one stop shop.

    For the sophisticated guy appeal to his luxurious sense.  Crocodile and shearling slippers, a nice bottle of wine or a wine aerator.  Great places to shop are Cole Haan, The Art of Shaving, a Wine Store or a book store.


    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Crazy for CREMA

    After an evening of dining at Crema, your taste buds will be thoroughly aroused and your flavor for Mexican food truly refined. This romantic and unassuming restaurant is tucked away in the heart of Chelsea. With dim lighting and intimate tables, Crema is great for two or larger parties. If you arrive before 7 PM there is a 2 for 1 happy hour special and complimentary chips are served. This is strongly recommended for all you Recessionistas out there. The menu is somewhat pricey, so it is best to go after payday. Chef and owner Julieta Ballesteros has managed to present Mexican cuisine with a modern spin while maintaining old world flavors.

    Recommended appetizers:
    Quesos Flamidos- grueyere and mushrooms
    Alambres de Filete a los Cinco Chiles- filet mignon skewers with vegetables

    The last course blew us away with chef Julieta's sweet recommendations:
    Pay de Manzana- warm baked apple with cinnamon ice cream drizzled with caramel

    111 W. 17th Street
    New York, NY 10011

    WE love CREMA!


    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Look of the Week: Victoria Beckham

    Victoria Beckham takes her sons to the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills for dinner this past week.  She wore this great colorful mini-dress with very interesting pleats.  She paired her dress with navy platform heels and minimal jewelry.  We think she looks great!


    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Style Profile: Zooey Deschanel

    Zooey Deschanel is the Culturistas ultimate girl crush.  She is gorgeous, quirky, bubbly and has great style! She is also quite the Renaissance woman-- a successful actress, a musician with a band: "She and Him" and even a designer, designing a line of glasses for Oliver Peoples.

    She has a great vintage asthetic, often rocking the bow motif on her clothing and pretty one of a kind pieces.  Dress like Zooey by pairing dark opaque hose with matching shoes and a flirty/feminine dress.


    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Rodarte and Zac Posen for Target

    Two exciting Target collections are in the works! Rodarte's collection will be launching in less than a month! (Dec 20th) and now we hear Zac Posen is creating a line for target as well!! Let's hope both these collections are executed well. Posen's collection will be launching April 25th 2010 and will have pieces that fall anywhere from $14.99 to $149.99.


    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Look of the Week: Natalie Portman

    Natalie Portman looked gorgeous and colorful at the Cinema Society, Details and DKNY screening of her new film, Brothers at the SVA Theater on November 22 in NYC.  She wore a flattering Jason Wu dress with Christian Louboutin bag and Aldo heels. Love the color combos here, so fun!  Her film, also starring Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal comes out December 4th in the US.