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Classic French Vinaigrette



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I have tried and failed to duplicate that French vinaigrette – the real kind, the Paris kind – for years now. When we went to Paris in July, I made it my mission to figure it out. Every place we went that served something with the right flavor, I asked them what was in it. Vinegar and olive oil were usually the response, until one waitress hooked me up. This. This is the one.

  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. good whole-grain dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 c. EVOO

1.Combine vinegars with the shallot and garlic. Let sit for 15 minutes – this mellows the flavors and sweetens it, somehow? It’s awesome.

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2. After 15 minutes, whisk in the mustard and the salt and pepper.

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3. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the EVOO until combined.

4. Taste and season. Serve with just about anything.

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Classic Pesto


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When I lived in Boston, I was part of a cooking club with some of my girlfriends, and the first thing we ever made was a Pesto, which I instantly fell in love with. There’s something so perfectly end-of-summery about it, and while it doesn’t keep all that long, you can freeze it in an ice-cube tray and then pop out little ice-cube portions of pesto whenever you get a craving. Brendan and I found these enormous, gorgeous bunches of basil at the Farmer’s Market on Friday, so I threw together this pesto. We’ve been eating it all weekend. Pestoooo.

CLASSIC PESTO (Makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed (just leaves, not stems)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 C. EVOO
  • good pinch kosher salt, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon, to taste
  1. Toast the pine nuts. Just put them in a skillet over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking pretty frequently to rotate them. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
  2. Add basil leaves to a food processor (there’s no getting around having one of these to make pesto) along with the garlic and pine nuts, and pulse a couple times until it’s combined.IMG_0687

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Add cheese, pulse again until combined, scraping down the sides with a spatula. With the processor running, slowly add the EVOO until it’s all blended.

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3. Season with kosher salt and a squeeze of lemon to taste. We’ve had this on pasta, toast and as a base for a breakfast sammie. So good.

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  • A postscript – August was…interesting. There’ve been some real moments and challenges, but all I can say is how grateful I am for all the people in my life who love me, especially the support of Brendan, my family, and Pam and Mark G. I know I’ve been posting a lot less, but I had to take a break for a little while to kind of get my voice back. September is going to be one of the most decisive months of my life, but I’m going to keep writing through it. Lots to come. xo

– Fin –

After a week of some of the best days of my life, we headed down to Bordeaux for wine-tasting and villa-staying. THIS PLACE.

We stayed at Relais Franc Mayne, which is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever stayed in my life. Waking up in the morning and opening the windows onto the vineyards was like being in a dream.

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Most of St. Emilion sits on top of caves. The limestone has been mined and going underground into them was seriously trippy.

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Our first tasting was at Chateau Canon, which is owned by the Chanel family. Afterwards, we went to the oldest winery in St. Emilion, Couvent des Jacobins. The hostess was lovely and the wines were out of this world. Sometimes I think about the fact that this is an actual job and wonder why I didn’t know about it back in college. Dream life.

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My mom, making a wish for my dad.

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I mean, even the bathroom at that hotel was amazing.

And the dinnerrrrr we went to that night. Good grief. Wild mushroom risotto with local black truffles, crispy sea bass with root vegetables, and that dessert platter!!!

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I really think I could be totally fine with coming down to a breakfast like this in a setting like this every day of my life.

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The next day was so special. We’d been chatting with Alice, the communications liaison at Chatea Rauzan-Segla, for months. She’d been so helpful in setting up tours and details for us, and she was even lovelier in person.

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Wine tasting in that little tower room overlooking the vineyard was such a moment.

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And lunch. I averaged about 20,000 steps a day, and barely ate any carbs, so ended up actually losing weight on this trip. Goddamnit, France, you’re magical.

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After touring Chateua Pichon-Longueville, we headed to Le Grand Hotel De Bordeaux.

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Colly and I had dinner and walked around a bit – such a cute city. The next day we headed back to Paris.

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Mom finally got her ham and cheese on a baguette!

We stayed at Hotel du Louvre, which is where I stayed with my parents when they came to visit me when I lived in Paris. I love this place. Those balconies!! We went out to do a little shopping and then stopped for dinner at Cafe de Flore, which needs no introduction. Ended up sitting next to Ivry Gitlis, who flirted relentlessly with my mom and was generally adorable and charming.

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When we came back to the hotel, we had a little rose on the balcony and waited for about 30 minutes for the staff to bring up ice, which never came, so we left to go to Willi’s Wine Bar. Willi’s is a classic and used to be one of my favorite places when I lived there. It’s so cute and the wine is (obviously) amazing. Rose for days!!!

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When we came back that night, I just stood on the balcony for a long time and watched the city go by below me. I don’t know when the next time I’ll be back here, and I really wanted to soak it all in.

Sleepy sisters and Paris morning views.

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My mom and my sister went shopping, and I went for a run around my old neighborhood to have a little moment at some of my favorite places. This ended up being more emotional than I thought, and when I was sitting at the boat pond I was pretty overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. I thought about who I used to be the last time I was here, and who I am now, and how grateful I am for all the experiences and people that have happened in my life over the past 15 years. As a 21 year old living in Paris, I had no idea what was in store for me. I’ve lived in some of the best places in this world, shared such happy moments with my family, raised millions for children’s charities, maintained friendships going on close to 20 years now, and have really just lived my life. At 36, I’m grateful I’m happy. I’m in love with the greatest guy I’ve ever known, I’m surrounded by a community and people that mean so much to me, the people I love most in my life are healthy and happy themselves, and there’s so much on the horizon. Paris puts things into perspective for me. This trip was no exception.

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Finally, after one last day of walking around to some of our favorite places, we headed home. I got emotional in the airport, hugging my mom and telling her that this had been one of the best weeks of my entire life. I just couldn’t be luckier and I couldn’t be happier that my mom and my little sister and I got to spend that time together. I’m getting teary-eyed just writing this! Paris strikes something really fundamental for me, and it recharged me in a way I forgot about. I’m proud to be this 36 year old woman, but I needed a shot of that 21 year old girl I used to be.

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Not going to lie, it was tough to come home. But coming home to this and the arms of the man who I love most of all made it easier. Here’s hoping I’ll see you soon, Paris!

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Paris, Part Deux

…In which my mom and sister go to the Chanel Couture show, we meet Terry de Gunzburg, sit next to Lenny Kravitz at lunch, enjoy the Musee d’Orsay and travel to begin some serious wine-tasting in Bordeaux. 

Pretty much everyone should start off their day like this. La Maison Favart has one of the best and prettiest showers I’ve ever experienced in their Carmen suite, and a breakfast worthy of the same adjectives.

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And then, NBD, my mom and my sister went to the Chanel Couture Week show. Seriously unreal. The crowd was amazing, the show was completely over the top (so I hear) and my mom got to cross one of the top items off her bucket list. I hung out for almost an hour after dropping them off to people-watch (who were among the best-dressed crowd of my life) despite being dressed in neon workout gear and enduring a solid 45 minutes of papparazzi screaming at me in French, ‘GET OUT OF THE SHOT!!!”  Oh, settle down, crazies.

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Paris, Part Un

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I haven’t been back here since I was 21 years old, but it didn’t take long for me to remember why this is my favorite city in the world.

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Angelina’s has the world’s best hot chocolate, and their salads aren’t too shabby either.

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The boat pond in Tuilleries is my favorite place in the world. I could (and have) sit here for hours and just soak it all in.

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My old street!

My mom and my sister, to make a very long story short, were invited to the Chanel show during Couture Week. I’ve rarely seen my mom more excited than when their invitations (which, without question, I’m sure were more expensive than the cost of an entire wedding) were delivered to our hotel.

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The Hinchey girls a Paris!

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Oooh, la la

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Honestly, I don’t know why I always seem to get so lax about posting during the summer, but it’s probably because there’s so much more going on.

For example.

Late Sunday night, I got back from a 10-day trip to France with my mom and my little sister. We spent a couple days in Paris, went down to Bordeaux for wine-tasting, then back up to Paris again. I used to live there in college, and I hadn’t been back since, and honestly, I forgot about how much that city makes me feel. Everything is so vibrant and beautiful and exciting and – most importantly – grounding in a way I can’t even fully describe. Paris brings out the best in me.

This was the first girls’ trip my mom anIMG_9909d sister and I have taken in a really long time, and we had a blast. We had experiences, dinners and wine among the best of my life, scenery that could have been out of a movie and I also got some serious quality time with two of the people I love most in the world.

This post is a two-parter, for sure. It may actually end up being a three-parter, since I just spent 40 minutes editing pictures and I’m not even to Bordeaux yet (and I’m still on Paris time, which means it’s 8.18 p.m. EST and I’m exhausted.) Happy Bastille Day, France!

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Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie




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Ohhhh, the Nutribullet is just about the best thing I’ve ever purchased in my life. It makes eating (or drinking, I guess) healthy the easiest thing ever. Brendan and I have a smoothie every morning, and if I don’t, I feel like I’m missing something all day long.  This smoothie tastes as if it has 4 times the calories than it actually does.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE  (makes 1)

  • 3 ice cubes
  • Almond milk (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. honey (I’ve been using Newkirk Honey, which is locally made and 100% incredible)

Blend everything together really well. Serve with a straw and enjoy.

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How To: Poach an Egg

(I look really pretty in the screenshot above. I know.)

I don’t know about you guys, but poaching an egg always seemed really intimidating to me, until I actually tried it. There are a couple little tricks:

1. Make sure the water is at the perfect temperature – not boiling, just gently bubbling

2. Add a tiny bit of white vinegar to the pot while the water is warming

3. Once the egg is in the eye of the tornado, leave it alone. After 2 minutes remove it with a slotted spatula and gently touch the yolk to make sure it’s set but still pretty wiggly.

Enjoy on just about anything, but one of my favorites is eggs benedict in all forms. The recipe in this video is a fantastic smoked salmon and polenta eggs benedict with a lemon-dill hollandaise sauce. Thanks for your video editing, JBG!

Lasagna with Kale and Bechamel



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Lasagnas are a labor of love, especially when you do them right. When I take the time to make one of these, especially when it’s entirely from scratch, I double the recipe and freeze another one, just because they take so much time and effort. And then, on days when NEPA misses breaking the record for coldest day ever by one degree, and I’ve spent the day before with a wicked stomach bug that made me feel like I was dying, barely slept because of it, woke up at 2.45am for a 4am taping of morning show (with Ryan Leckey, who, admittedly, I love) at the hospital, then coordinated five more interviews – one of which includes scrubbing up (?? in? what’s it called when you just observe) with a reporter and photographer for a VERY graphic, and incredibly advanced, knee replacement surgery – and am now waiting to connect the final interview of the day so I can just take a freaking nap already, do you know what I do?  I take that second lasagna out of the freezer and start letting that beautiful thing defrost. This is homemade with love right here – my Mom’s meatsauce, noodles from scratch, a nutmeg-y bechamel, some kale and fresh parm…dinner’s going to be the best part of this day.

LASAGNA WITH KALE AND BECHAMEL (Makes one 9.5 x 11 inch delicious pan of lasagna) Continue reading

Chinese Pork Dumplings


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If I could pick one food to eat for the rest of my life (pasta is a given), it would be these. I love dumplings, especially the really good ones. Unless you live in a city, good-quality dumplings are really hard to find – most of the ones I order around here are either too thick, not flavorful enough, or some sort of variation on Asian pierogies.

That said, these are fantastic. Perfect consistency, great filling, light and super tasty. Brendan and I made them together, and it was amazing how many of them we got out of 1 lb. of pork. I gave in and stuck to the basics with this recipe, but I’m already planning what version we’re going to make next. These were a really fun kitchen project, AND they froze really well too. Who needs city Chinese food?? Ok, me. I do. But when I can’t have it, this is a pretty great substitute.

CHINESE PORK DUMPLINGS (makes a ton. Freeze whatever you don’t make in an airtight container)

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • Pot Sticker wrappers (I found these at a little Asian specialty store)

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, scallions, sesame oil, salt & pepper and minced ginger. Mix to combine.

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