Taking over the world, one apron at a time...


Emotional Toast.

What does a surprise run-in with your ex, an attempt to mend a broken friendship and having to let go of something that you wanted to do anything but-- in twenty four hours get you?

By yourself, at three thirty on a Wednesday afternoon, without toast because you've already filled the position.

The last six months, if you've been reading along, have been heavy on the emotional for this little apron maker. I haven't posted anything in quite a while. It's not because nothing worth writing about was happening, in fact, it's been just the opposite.
Everything was happening. All at once. So much was shifting, changing and giving way that it was impossible for me to register and comprehend each individual event in full. Never mind try to make sense of it, articulate it only to send it flying through the interweb-e-sphere. All of the dramas mashed themselves together into one giant blur.

Insert yoga breathing here.

That's what I did. I dusted off a gift card to my chant-y sing-y yoga class that I'd been sitting on all year and hauled my emotional pigpen swirl-y self to class. I did breath of fire, I tried to clear my karma, I stuck my tongue out when the teacher told me to, I did a lot of crying under my scarf in meditation and I sang the Sunshine Song at the top of my lungs. I knew that I needed to let everything happen the way it was meant to. I was not to try to control, force or push anyone or anything. I practiced letting go. I tried not to be scared. I let myself shed everything that no longer fit. An old friend. A new relationship. A place to live. Even my clothes were falling off of me. Buttons bailed, my zippers made the decision that half mast was much much better than up OR down, my straps broke up with me and almost always in public.

Insert yoga breathing here.

I tried with all my might not to get arrested for indecent exposure or get caught up in feeling bad about the perceived bad that was happening. I concentrated on my new skin, if you will, that I was sure would appear any day. I gave the world my best brave face and added a smile for good measure. I told myself that I was okay. I was.

Things got better with a bike. My first bike since I lived in Maui. Then a perfect apartment that was everything I'd asked the universe for and right near my favorite coffee shop. Then came some new friendships. There were girl dates and boy talk. Fitness classes and glasses of wine. Hugging, kissing and maybe some cuddles.

I practically danced my way to my happy little coffee post yesterday. And that's when it happened. I came face to face with an old hurt. An unresolved, old hurt. I shook like a leaf. Not here. Not now. NOT HERE! I walked into a wall trying to escape. I pulled myself together. I faced my hurt. I talked, Hurt listened. Hurt talked, I listened. Hurt doesn't hurt so much any more. I let it go.

By sundown, I was neck deep in another conversation. The broken friendship. Friendship talked, I listened. I talked, Friendship listened. I said the hard stuff. All of the unflattering stuff I'd needed to say. Friendship let me. Then I let it go. Friendship and I may just be okay.

Cut to sunrise and a conversation I didn't see coming at all.

Let go Maggie.
It's gonna be alright.
I'm going to be okay.

Insert yoga breathing here.

I'll just make three eggs instead of six.
And a big pile of potatoes.
No toast.


Water, Water, Everywhere...

"You have to go home right now." Chad said, his jeans soaked through to his shin bone. "Your house is flooding!"

There I stood like a three years child, at the corner of Hayworth and Santa Monica Boulevard, blinking back at Chad.
Not moving.
My fight or flight response mechanism was still uploading..

It was forty five minutes earlier that I had been struck by a bolt of crippling anxiety that, upon leaving my house for work, I'd forgotten to lock the gate. The gate is the only thing that separates my dogs from turning into road kill in the canyon. There had been workmen coming in and going out all day to repair a nagging leak above the entry way of the house F For Food and I share. I opened the gate, I closed the gate but, I could not, for the life of me, visualize myself locking the gate as I left for the last time. Elliott was out of town on what was meant to be a nice relaxing vacation with her friends and family, so calling her was not an option.

And, with Elliott out of town, it meant that the responsibility of not burning the joint down sat squarely on my shoulders, a feeling as uncomfortable to me as built in shoulder pads. It is alleged that, on occasion, I leave the house for a lovely afternoon of errands with the iron set to steam. It has been suggested, on occasion, that I refrain from child bearing.

But back to the point..

I'd left for work two hours prior to my electric pang of panic. I called for backup from the only other person in Los Angeles with a key to my gate. Unable to persuade him to saddle up his white horse, I gave in and tried calling Elliott, no answer. 
Blasted time zones!
I began pacing. My chest tightened, crushing my lungs in it's grip. I began to sweat. I tried to squeeze the image of squished puppies out of my racing thoughts. The room began to spin. 

An idea, An idea, An idea, An... CHAD!

My friend/boss Chad was at work, too, but Chad had wheels and Chad was willing to put them to work to ease my concern so that I could focus on my job and not the number of hungry coyotes in Laurel Canyon.
I handed Chad my key dressed up like toilet paper(long story) and he promised to make sure that my babes were snug as bugs in rugs behind a secured gate.
What Chad was to discover was a mess of a different color.


I snapped out of stun.

"You have to go home NOW!"

I unglued my cowboy boots from the cement, flew back into work, grabbed my purse and keys and bolted to my car.

I can report that there are two things in this world that do not go together.

A Gas Pedal.

I can't honestly say that I remember the whole drive home or whether or not all four wheels were touching the pavement the whole time. What I can recall was the sound coming from the inside of my house as my trembling hands tried to connect the toilet paper key to the gate lock. I'd heard that sound a hundred times hiking through the rain forests of Maui. It's called...


It was the sound of a waterfall coming from the inside of my house. I was outside. At the gate. By the street.
When I connected key and lock, I ran towards the sound. It got louder and louder. My blood felt colder and colder.
Once inside, there I was... face to face with my very own waterfall. No plane ticket necessary. It was in my foyer. It was a scene so unbelievable that it's possible Tom Sawyer floated by on his raft as I opened the door.
I splashed my way in. My boot clad ankles felt the drag of resistance in the pool of water that occupied three rooms of my house and was making it's way into the bedrooms. I looked around wildly. Where are the dogs?!
I splashed through the hallway to the living room and found them huddled together shivering, wet and eyes the size of saucers. I scooped them up, promised them it would be O.K. and brought them to higher ground. My bed.
Olivia and Eduardo safe from the rising tide, I could shift my focus.

The water valve.

I enlisted the help of a neighbor, made 17,000 phone calls to Elliott, who made 17,000 calls to the landlord, who put us in touch with the house handyman, who, once he was done taking an a nice anecdotal trip down busted pipe memory lane, helped me locate the valve.

I turned the knob furiously until I heard the house let out a sigh of relief  .... or was that me?

With the water swept out, the floors mopped and buckets arranged to catch the last few stubborn leaks from the now gaping hole in the ceiling, the house no longer resembled a dyslexic Noah's Arc.

A damp chill still hung in the air.

To remedy that, I built a fire in the fireplace, wrapped the pups in blankets and took off my waterlogged boots.  Everyone and everything on their way to being warm and dry, I set off to the kitchen the quiet the growl that had taken up residence in my belly. After the chaos of the evening I craved something easy, simple and hot.  This six ingredient dinner fit the bill.

Oh, and just incase you were wondering, I did remember to lock the gate.
Thanks Chad!

Casareccia Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil
(wading pants optional)

- 2 cups casareccia pasta (sub strozzapretti or fusilli)
- 2 cups halved baby heirloom tomatoes seasoned with s&p
- 1 cup hand torn basil
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (recommend Terroni's house oil)
- 3 large cloves of smashed and roughly chopped garlic
- S&P

Boil pasta, in salted water, for two minutes less than package directs, a little under al dente. Strain and run cold water over it to cease further cooking. The pasta will cook more in the pan later.

In a large sauce pan, saute the garlic in the oil over medium heat until garlic begins to look translucent.
Add seasoned tomatoes. Turn cut side of the tomatoes down and stir occasionally for about ten minutes or more. With a gentle press of a spoon squish the tomato guts out. If they don't give way easily the tomatoes need more time.
Add pasta.
Stir to coat each piece with the olive oil/tomato sauce.
Add basil.
Season to taste.

Stay dry my friends.
Maggie Mae


Detour to K-Town.

Admittedly, I'm not the world's most graceful handler of detours. I like to know where I'm going and when. And how long it will take to get there.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, is doing it's best to school me in the art of the alternative route. Case in point, The L.A. Marathon.

Every Sunday I have a standing date with my girlfriends, Emily and Kendra, to go to yoga. Not just any old yoga either, Power Yoga. It's hot, it's hard to breathe, and it's one of the best things that has happened to me this year.

It affords me time, each week, to see my friends. We chatter nervously on our mats before class, catching up on the week's highs and lows. After class, and after we've changed out of our soaked yoga clothing, we toast to each other's athletic accomplishments with OJ-free Mimosas at brunch(to Emily, "What a beautiful half moon pose you have..", to me, "way to not fall off your mat today").

The yoga gives my overworked mind a break and a chance to focus on something other than my troubles of the real or imagined variety.
And, it is lifting my bum to heights unattainable for me even when I was in my twenties.

I hold on to this time with my best death grip. I hate missing class.
And wouldn't you know it..
today I missed class.

Partly the fault of an alarm malfunction, also known as -I didn't set it, but mostly because the entire city came to a halt to make way for the marathon this morning.  It's participants make their way from Dodger Stadium, 26 miles to Santa Monica, where my class lives. What it meant was that the city was divided into two halves, north and south, and, that I couldn't get down off my hill.  I shook my fists at the sky(and at you runners) and then I recalculated.

I wouldn't be able to make it to yoga but I could attempt to travel to the East, to the other side of town. I rerouted my directions and gave my Sunday plans a new destination. As I loaded myself and Olivia into the car I sent out a hope and a prayer that I wasn't on the verge of making a terrible decision. My gamble was on the 101 and that it could safely and swiftly deposit me in Koreatown where Elliott's mother was holding the third installment of her baking extravaganza known as La Weekend, in the lobby of the Ancelle building.

The highway part of the 101 moved freely, it was the exits that made me shudder. They were jammed for miles. I nervously took a place in a long line of automobiles headed for the Western exit and crossed my fingers that the 1/2 mile wait would be painless. I inched along slowly, visions of cream biscuits dancing in my head. I tried not to panic or turn my fingernails into nubs. Forty five minutes later I was rewarded for my patience with rockstar parking outside of the Ancelle building and I made my way into the lobby.

I was welcomed by the seductive smell of freshly brewed coffee.

As they adjusted from sunlight to indoor light, my eyes zeroed in on this week's spread. Since the menu changes each week I wasn't quite sure what I would find.

Elliott and Fred were already camped out with Eduardo and Besito. Olivia joined them.

The Beatles cheerfully sang their way out of an iPod dock and filled the room.

Ellsworth was just finishing up her cup of coffee as I walked in and handed me her mug(the coffee is free at La Weekend if you bring your own cup).
It saved me a dollar, a dollar that I could invest in the sweet and savory treats Kathy Emerson and Annie Boxell artfully arranged across a clean, white tablecloth.

My eyes, wide and unblinking, traveled along the table. There were baking dishes with Bene Breakfast Quiche and Buttermilk Pie. I peered into a jar full of Left on Reds, cream biscuits with pimento cheese in the middle. There was a basket of Cafe Breads, pie plates featuring Byrd's Spiced Apple Cake, Divvy's Carrot Cake, Brownies and Sweet Potato Pie. My eyes settled themselves on Lavender Lumples. Kathy's lumples are one part creamy biscuit mixed with one part blueberry muffin, dipped in sugary white frosting. I was no stranger to her lumples and no fool either. I started ordering. They were my first purchase and the last of the lumples, so, I thanked the traffic gods for my fortunate timing.

Next I ordered the Byrd's Apple Cake, a Brownie, a slice of Divvy's Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting(Hellooo Lactaids), and double slice of Buttermilk Pie.
To Go.....

While Annie tallied my goodies, I helped myself to the coffee and was excited to see that they'd included a non-dairy creamer option for the likes of me. I settled on the floor in a sea of mini dogs(pups are welcome at La Weekend) and took one last look at the gorgeous lumple in front of me. What happened next, I can't say exactly, all I know for sure is that I came out of a dizzying cloud of all things delicious to find not a crumb left behind on my plate.

I was licking traces of frosting off of my fingers when I spotted my friend Andy walking into the lobby.
Suffering from a budding baked goods addiction that took hold of him last week when he crossed paths with one of Kathy's Lavender Cupcakes, Andy, too, braved the mean marathon'd streets of Los Angeles to make it back for his second week of La Weekend. And for a lavender fix. Less than thrilled to hear that I'd wiped out the lumple supply, he more than made up for it by ordering a full week's worth of pies and biscuits, putting my stash to shame. Andy explained that he'd only made it to Wednesday with what he'd purchased the previous week and that was, simply put, unacceptable.
Impressed by Andy's style and buzzing from my coffee, I was flooded with a wave of pure happiness that rivaled my post-yoga high. I promised myself that I'd make up class tomorrow and that I'd see everyone back at Gramercy Dr. next week.
After class of course...

Oh! And I sold two aprons at La Weekend. How's that for a little detour in my Sunday plans?!

La Weekend
701 Gramercy Dr.
Los Angeles, California
9am-2pm Sundays
(Saturdays Coming Soon)

See you there!
Maggie Mae


If it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck...

How come it's not a duck?!

It's been a couple of strange months. Perplexing, Busy, Emotional, and rolling by like a freight train with bad brakes. I recently managed to open up some time in my otherwise packed schedule, presumably, to sew. I needed some free time to welcome creative energy back into my life. Think that's how it's gone down..?
MMnMMn, Nope.
Instead I have been reckless with my time, hemorrhaging money and ignoring my better judgement. It hasn't been all bad though. I have spent time (and half of my paycheck) wandering through Anthropologie also known as Apromiseofabetterlifethanyoursheadquarters.
I managed to clock some serious hours at Coffee Commissary drinking my favorite Ethiopian pour over and eating my new favorite breakfast from the Egg Slut truck (Pancake Tacos!). I wrote half a dozen unfinished blog posts while leafing through countless food related magazines.

I spent an entire day making a brisket for friends, just for fun. Elliott and I spent a glorious warm, sunny afternoon inside and baking together and I elected to spend some of that precious time with someone that made me laugh.
The thing I wrestled with the most engaging in these fun-but-less-than-responsible-because-I-should-be-taking-care-of-fifty-other-things activities is that very little in life ever turns out the way you think it should. The big conundrum is what to do about it. Ideally we are able to roll with the punches, gracefully. Turn lemons into lemonade. Shake it off. Get back on the horse. Shift gears, etc. And though I am capable of seamlessly shifting gears in a standard transmission, in my life it's a little more.....shall we say.. grind-y and lurch-y.

In the last two months very little has turned out the way I thought it should, whether it was in relation to what I identify as my Home, to recipes or to my personal relationships, there have been some pleasant surprises and inevitably there was a disappointment or two.  In some instances I needed only to shift my perspective a little bit and others I had to let go completely.

Kenny Rogers sang it best, "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run". And while the country crooner was right, his poker turn life lesson serenade did little to clarify HOW you know. I don't like to give up on things. More specifically people. As a result I am often busy trying to find a way to make something work rather than trust my gut and leave it alone. I have stayed in toxic relationships too long on account of this habit and I've been fortunate to have had some of my most rewarding friendships because of it, too.

Invariably in budding relationships there is a moment where you begin to suspect that a person or a situation is not what you thought it was going to be.
What do you do.
Do you stick around for a while and see if you can find a way to figure it out or do you fold 'em and walk away? What if with a little more time spent, peeling back someone's layers, you are rewarded with getting to know an amazing, entertaining, complex person that makes your life feel richer. What if you invest precious time and energy into something that was never meant to be, resulting in a bit more emotional baggage than you had before.

The same catch-22 exists in the kitchen. I have been experiencing this first hand because I have spent my spare moments chopping, braising, sauteing and baking.

Instead of frolicking about in the sun on a surprisingly warm February day, Elliott and I spent it inside and in front of the oven. We attempted a recipe from a girl whose whole blog is dedicated to The Attempt. And whether she succeeds, fails or gets drunk, she posts it. She reminds me that while not everything turns out the way the picture illustrates, all is not lost, it can even be more fun or just plain funny. Inspired by this concept and a whole bunch of borrowed-from-the-neighbor's-tree oranges, we tried our hand at an Orange Cake. Somewhere in our collaborative baking effort we took a wrong turn and our orange cake didn't turn out like we expected. Much more dry than any cake should be, I was about to give up before it dawned on me that this "cake" seemed more like cornbread. So I spread a little butter on it and drizzled it with honey and changed my 'tude. Our cornbread-cake was not so bad after all.

photo courtesy of F For Food

Next up was a Buttery Crab Bread Pudding recipe that I saw in Food and Wine magazine that included a picture I salivated all over. My lactose challenged digestive system gave a preemptive groan in response. I immediately bought a box of Lactaids, tied on my on my apron and attempted to make it for myself and my friend- the one who made me laugh.

The bread pudding didn't look like I expected. I followed the recipe directions, they seemed off. I made adjustments, more crab here, less butter there, a touch of lemon zest and then into the oven. After the proposed baking time the bread pudding still looked too wet. I left it in longer. After twenty more minutes it still didn't look like the picture promised. I left it in longer. At 10:45, close to an hour past the suggested baking time, I was marginally more satisfied with it's appearance but more importantly I was pretty sure I was going to starve to death so I took it out and served it up.

I'd killed it.


I'd ruined the bread pudding because it didn't look like I thought it should. It had potential, it could have been sublime if I'd let go of what I thought it should have been and let it be what it was supposed to be. But I'll never really know for sure.

As for my friend, that too went from something to something completely different than I expected. This time instead of trying to fix it I just had to let go. Things aren't always going to be what I think they should be and that's life. That's why I've got Kenny Rogers in my ipod, a sewing studio beckoning my return, a B.F.F. or two to have Girltime with and this no fail recipe to cushion the blow.

Gin and Juice.

  • 2 1/2 oz. Death's Door Gin
  • 1 Large Pink Grapefruit
  • 1 Small Borrowed-From-The-Neighbor's-Tree Orange
  • 1/2 Lemon

Find a big glass.
Add a few ice cubes, juice the fruit directly into the glass, pour gin on top. Watch Beetlejuice.
The End.
Maggie Mae


Tree of Life.

I haven't written a post in quite a while. I had my holiday post all ready for the month of December. I knew just what I wanted to say about the holidays in all of their shining glory and all of my Scroogedness this year.

Then I got the call.
My world is forever changed.

Sifting through the broken, or shall I say disassembled, Timex watches, crossword puzzles, piles of reading glasses, drawers of still-in-the-package tube socks(evidently my Dad had become a sock hoarder in his later years) and unopened packs of his beloved Kool cigarettes, I wanted to keep everything. Even the disgusting Kools that, more often than not, forced me to wear a snorkel mask out the window of the car on long road trips with my father.(it was pink)
I wanted it all. All of my Dad's belongings. Everything my father had touched, forever and ever. But, these things live on a mountain in Virginia and I in L.A. which means I can't. I can't keep it all. This tribulation has left me thinking about life, in all of it's fragility, about what we hold dear, what we pass on and what we leave behind.

In my life, I sew aprons.
They're just aprons.

Sure, I labor over the details of each one. Agonizing over each stitch. Hours spent pouring over the new bolts of fabric at Michael Levine's. To bow or not to bow. But, in the end they're not one of life's necessities, they are something you can opt to wear, or not, to protect your clothing while you are in the kitchen.
An apron.
However, my attitude has shifted.
This holiday a man called Jin ordered an apron for his girlfriend for Christmas. Pretty standard.
But then.. He ordered three more.
One for his sweet girl and two for her daughters. These aprons were all to be cut from the same cloth. Made just for them. Now I realize, these seemingly simple aprons will be a part of the fabric of the little girls' childhoods. They will wear them with their mother while they all work together in the kitchen. They will cook, they will laugh, they will make a mess, they will lovingly move a stray hair out of one another's face while rolling dough, they will talk about their days, tell stories, move together through family recipes- and they will eat. Together. The aprons will be a part of their memories for years to come.
It was this particular order that made me understand that as frivolous as they may seem, these aprons are something real, something tangible, that they can keep forever and maybe even pass on.
As for my Dad, I will always have him in my heart, I will always have crossword puzzles in his handwriting and this recipe, the one I was in the middle of preparing while I spoke with him for the last time.

Linguini and Clam Sauce

1lb. linguini
1lb. Live Manila Clams
2 cans baby clams - reserve juice
1 1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1 can or 6 anchovy filets, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 head garlic or 10 cloves, smashed
1 stick butter
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper
loaf of crusty bread

Boil pasta, for 2 minutes less than the package instructs, in salted water. Drain and run cold water over pasta to keep it from cooking further. Set aside.

The clams I used in this recipe were already clean thanks to the good folks at Whole Foods. Just have a quick look at yours before you use them. If they are sandy, soak and lightly scrub them before you use them, otherwise, ouch. No one likes to eat sandy pasta.
In a large pot or saute pan, over medium heat, saute garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil until you've scented the pan and the garlic begins to look translucent. Remove garlic, chop, set aside. In the pan add water, 1 cup wine, and clams. Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until they are all open wide. Toss any that haven't opened. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Pour the juice into a separate bowl.
Back to the saute pan, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 stick of butter, 1tbsp red pepper flakes, garlic, anchovies, generous pinch salt, fresh cracked pepper. Saute over med/high heat until anchovies dissolve. Add wine and fresh clam juice mixture to the pan. Reduce about 2 minutes. Add canned baby clams and linguini. Cook together about two minutes, salt and pepper to taste as you go.
Meanwhile put the canned clam juice and 1/2 stick of butter in a separate sauce pan with salt and pepper, 1/4 cup wine , 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes. Reduce. You can use this to dunk crusty chunks of lightly toasted bread in or if you prefer to make your clam sauce saucier.
When pasta is coated, stir in parsley then transfer to bowls and top with Manila clams.
Makes 4 generous servings.

Eat. Enjoy. Hug Someone.
Maggie Mae
For my Dad, who asked me to FedEx him Linguini and Clam Sauce.