Recipe | Thai Turkey Meatballs in Green Curry

February 24, 2014

green curry thai turkey meatballs and green beans served over rice with cilantro and lime The first time I made this recipe, the only kind of green (or red or yellow, for that matter) curry I was familiar with was on a Thai take-out menu. Not only had I never cooked with curry paste, but I had no idea what I was looking for on the Asian market shelves lined with jar after jar of labels I couldn't even read. Needless to say, I felt a little out of my depth, for the relatively new cook that I was.

So that first attempt was a little lackluster, but I knew we had a potential winner on our hands. It wasn't until I understood the flavors more - and became a better cook in general - that I felt more confident to make changes and substitutions to suit our tastes. Perhaps even more importantly, it took my dear British friend who knows a thing or two about curries to point me in the direction of a better curry paste. With the right amount of heat and a bit of veggies thrown in for a more balanced dinner, I have worked out a recipe for one of our go-to meals. Just mix up my favorite cocktail accompaniment - a Kentucky Mule - and it's the perfect night in. Here's to more nights like this, now that I finally have my Berlin kitchen nearly complete!

Kentucky Mule bourbon ginger beer lime cocktail with green curry thai dinner

Green Curry Thai Turkey Meatballs

1-1/2 lbs/680g ground turkey
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp + 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste, separated, plus more to taste
2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 + 1/2 cup green onions, white and green parts finely chopped, separated
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
salt to taste
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 14oz/400ml can coconut milk
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups chopped vegetables, such as green beans
3 cups cooked rice
cilanto, chopped green onion and lime wedges, for garnish

In a medium bowl,combine turkey, ginger, 2 tsp curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, egg, 1/3 cup green onion and cilantro, mixing well. Heat peanut oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and fry up sample of meat to taste. Add more curry paste and salt if desired. Form into one-inch/2.5cm meatballs and cook in oil until all sides are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside in a covered bowl. Lower heat to medium. Add 1/2 cup of green onions and minced garlic to the fat in the pan and stir until soft, about five minutes. Add can of coconut milk and scrape up any brown bits from bottom of the pan. Whisk in 2 or more tablespoons Thai green curry paste and lime juice. Taste and add more curry paste and lime juice as desired. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Add green beans and meatballs back to pan, cook covered for a few minutes for flavors to meld and vegetables to soften. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro, green onion and lime wedges.

Serves six.

green curry thai turkey meatballs green onion and lime green curry thai turkey meatballs cooking in pan green curry thai turkey meatballs green curry paste packaging

Adapted from this recipe.

Shoe storage fit for a shoegirl (& other apartment progress)

February 21, 2014

new shoe storage ikea billy bookcase plus pax closet Isn't it funny how when things start to take off in one area of your life - for example, those writing and creative opportunities you have been looking for finally materialize - the other areas that have been stagnating - say, a problem-ridden new apartment - start to come together, therefore demanding more of that precious attention you want to be dedicating to the former thing? Perhaps it's just me and my mediocre time management skills, but lately I have felt distracted from my personal projects in light of progress on the home front that has been begging for my attention. Not that I should be complaining, mind you, it's hard sometimes to drum up the necessary creative juices after focusing on cleaning, installing, organizing and the general business of settling into a new home that has been so slow to move forward in recent weeks. Just the natural ebb and flow of life, I suppose.

While the apartment issues have not all been solved (workers are coming on Monday to start work on some of the basics, you know, like re-cutting baseboards to actually accommodate the swing of a door and attaching the hardware on windows so that they can actually be opened), some notable wins have meant cause for celebration. First, we finally got our deposit back from our old apartment (well, the first big chunk of it anyway), allowing us to make another big dent in our to-buy list for the new place. Upon hanging our first mirror and finally having color-coordinating rugs in the bedroom, something shifted for me. It was as if the dark cloud of pessimism I had been feeling from the state of our new apartment finally started to lift. I'm pretty sure I will never be enamored of this place as much as I was for our amazing apartment in Wiesbaden, but I know now that with the patience to see my design visions through, I will love the home that we create within these walls. I also think that my new shoe storage, or more importantly, display, has done wonders for my happiness level (a 39€ Ikea Billy bookcase floor model score). The organizing freak and shoe lover in me have blissfully come together, not to mention that more of my beloved footwear gets consideration when planning my daily outfit. Now they all get the love and attention they deserve.

The other monumental happening was finally getting someone to come out and look at our un-operating cooktop. My poor husband, who had tried countless times to get the thing working was vindicated when the guy explained it wasn't the cooktop at all, but that there weren't enough live wires in the wall for the hook-up. Nice, huh? So he jury rigged some new wiring, cautioned us against having all burners and the oven on at the same time (thinking it might be time to finally invest in that fire extinguisher...) and now we can cook. My poor pots and pans have sat untouched for so long, not to mention my cooking mojo that has all but gone into hibernation, I only hope I can muster the desire to jump back into the kitchen as if I haven't been on this two month hiatus from preparing real, regular meals. I have two unread issues of Bon Appetit waiting to get me inspired, so get ready kitchen, 'cause I'm comin' back to you. Spaghetti night was just the beginning...

spaghetti night with newly working cooktop

A little love for my new home this Valentine's Day

February 14, 2014

Liebeskind Berlin heart tee_horizontal Since my love affair with Berlin is still in the early you-make-my-heart-race stage, this Valentine's Day I'm celebrating not only the warm and fuzzies I feel for my husband, but for our new city as well. As with any relationship, there can be ups and downs - and boy, has there been - but when all is said and done, Berlin has shown us as much love as we have shown it. I realize the intense feelings might fade on our current urban dream, but I hope we will always find a way to work it out and keep on loving each other. Here's to you, Berlin. Happy Valentine's Day!

Liebeskind Berlin T-shirt

Valentine's Day in Black & Gold

February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Chic in Black & Gold
Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that can make single people and those averse to all things saccharine-sweet and cutesy feel very left out. While I am partnered up, I can definitely identify with the latter category. Why does a day dedicated to love have to be only about romantic relationships, obnoxious color combinations and candy that is probably better suited as sidewalk chalk than professing adoration? There must be a better way. A chicer, more grown up and even more practical way to celebrate. Stay in with some great take-out and a movie on the couch rather than go the traditionally overpriced set menu restaurant route. Instead of expensive, ubiquitous jewelry, buy your sweetheart something more unique that doesn't break the bank. I'm still not sure what we will do for Valentine's day, but I've found a handful of things in a super chic color palette that might even convince those most cynical among us to feel the love (hint, hint).

Shoes | I have always told my husband that in my case, shoes are a girl's best friend. Who needs another piece of jewelry when there are so many beautiful footwear options out there? These gorgeous gold zippered chelsea boots and gold buckled boots would make me melt much more than diamonds. Lovely little flats with a special gold accents couldn't hurt either.

A Cozy Sweater | I can't imagine a better way to say 'I love you' than with a chic and cozy sweater. It's like a permanent hug. This one's chunky knit and side zippers have me especially in love.

OK, OK... Jewelry | That most expected of all Valentine's gifts doesn't have to be all that expected, or expensive. This sweet little geometric ring and leather ID bracelet are both under $25 and are simple enough to add to one's daily jewelry lineup. For something more extravagant, this investment Michael Kors watch is a classic that's certain to last a lifetime.

Bags | Whether it's a little French-inscribed evening bag for a night on the town or a golden tote to toss things in for a weekend away, a new bag is just the way to say 'honey, let's go somewhere'.

Travel | Speaking of going somewhere, there's nothing like a real trip for the ultimate statement of romance. Stamped with a lighthearted, iconic phrase, this passport cover says 'honey, let's really go somewhere'. Bonus points for a ticket to a fabulous location tucked inside.

Music Monday | Katie Herzig

February 10, 2014

Never one to be on the cutting edge of music, I often stumble upon artists who have actually been around for years, floating just under my radar. The plus side to this is that I almost never get sick of these new-to-me songs, as my ears are not constantly bombarded with with them on the radio and every other television commercial (not that I really listen to the radio or watch TV these days...).

Katie Herzig is one such musician to catch my attention and I must say, her latest album - albeit, three years old at this point - has just the happy, upbeat vibe I've been needing lately. The fact that we share the same name and hail from the same state may or may not have affected my affinity for her music. Either way, she's rocking my headphones right now. So until her new album Walk Through Walls comes out in the spring, I've got The Waking Sleep on repeat.

Berlin apartment progress: It's the little things

February 7, 2014

berlin apartment_bar tray with liquor It's funny how quickly those big dreams about being settled, unpacked and decorated a month after moving into a new place dissipate in the face of reality. On top of this, so many things went wrong for us that it's been hard to break the cycle of despair about the state of our place. But after making some impactful progress - installing shelves and light fixtures, changing up some color schemes and generally carving out little nooks free from boxes and clutter, with some of my favorite belongings accessible and on display - I'm holding onto these little things as hope for the changes yet to come.

So while the lights and curtains that went up may not be the ones I want for the long haul, and the hallway is piled high with boxes filled with things that have no hope of finding a home in our significantly downsized apartment, not to mention that pesky cooktop that still isn't working, having a dedicated place to drop our shoes after coming home or seeing all the spines to my lovely hardbound classics on our swanky new shelves helps calm my anxiety that there is no end in sight. It provides some optimism that all the the glorious plans I had for making our Berlin home everything we want it to be will actually happen. So whenever I start to fret, I sit on our beloved leather couch, take in my long-sought after pink living room and enjoy a cocktail from our newly reconfigured wine rack/bar tray (why had we never thought of this before?!), realizing that it's pretty darn good so far. Here's a little peek at some of the progress we have made... but there will be much more to come.

berlin apartment_bathroom art and new shower curtain berlin apartment bedroom light and curtains berlin apartment kitchen black wall and new shelves
berlin apartment_kitchen new hood over stove berlin apartment_entryway table with shoes
berlin apartment_tv console and movie shelf berlin apartment_living room wall shelves with books

Orla Kiely for Clarks shoes

February 5, 2014

Orla Marianne_Orla Kiely for Clarks UK Orla Matilda in green_Orla Kiely for Clarks UK
Orla Mary_Orla Kiely for Clarks UK Orla Maggie_Orla Kiely for Clarks UK
Orla Milly_Orla Kiely for Clarks UK Orla Milly_Orla Kiely for Clarks UK_shoe bottom
After several days of fever, flu and Felicity marathons, my mood has started to resemble Berlin's winter weather: grey and a little sad. But today's brilliant blue skies and sunshine - not to mention a lifting of the chills and an inability to eat much more than table crackers - have lifted my spirits in ways I desperately needed. A long way off from bare legs and open toes, I still can't help but take this bright dose of vitamin D and dream about the seasons ahead in which it will shine with regularity. And what better way to imagine oneself in warmer months than coveting bright, fun footwear that is not covered in mud and crusted with salt?

The recent discovery of Orla Kiely's collection for Clarks has me feeling much the same as today's weather: optimistic about the coming sandal season and excited to shed the many layers we have all been buried under for months. While the collection is a bit '60s-inspired for my current urban streetwear tastes, it's hard not to be won over by Orla's simple, graphic flowers and punchy color palette. Don't even get me started on those classic stem-print soles! I suppose those green sandals could be the perfect way to keep my grey and black wardrobe tendencies from feeling too morose this spring...

all images via