A Few of My Favorites - 08.01.14

080114 1. It Was Always You: I will admit upfront that no album will ever be able to top Songs About Jane, but I have been a consistent fan of Maroon 5 ever since. Their upcoming album, V, is being released on September 2. The newest single, It Was Always You, seems to be a slight departure from their normal sound but I am excited to hear what the rest of the album sounds like. This song has been on repeat in my car for the last week.

2. Mercer 5-Panel Cap: I own quite a few MBS caps, but this has been my go-to in recent weeks. The more and more I wear 5-panels, I have absolutely become a fan. If you don't own one, go over to Sean's website and order one, they're great!

3. Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon: When I first tasted this bourbon I could not stand it. It was way too harsh. However, a few days ago I tried it with ice cubes instead of whiskey stones and it completely changed the experience for me. The ice slightly watered down the bourbon and made it smooth and full of flavor. Definitely glad that I gave it a second chance.

4. Nutella Crepes: This weekend a few childhood friends and I are going to a crepe place in Evanston to catch up. It reminded me of the time I spent in Paris and the many Nutella crepes that I ate while walking the City of Lights. Can I go back?

5. Chicago Lakefront Trail: I am embarrassed to admit that this past week was the first time I ran outside since moving into Chicago. What happened? I used to run outside 6 days a week! Living in Lincoln Park, I am lucky enough to be close to the Chicago Lakefront Trail and enjoy amazing views while I get my workout in. If you are a runner and live in Chicago - I pray you take advantage of this amazing trail!

Fennel & Garlic Shrimp

The past few days I have been trying to mentally and physically preparing myself for the next couple of weeks - the 4th of July, a wedding, a week-long vacation to Door County! Summer always seems to end up being a catch-22: you have so many things that you plan to do with your time - get into shape, go to the beach, read more - but at the end of the day, it seems as if time moves by that much quicker during the summer because we are filling our free time with so many things. Despite this all, I have found myself excited to post an entry on SMAK every day. Yes, some nights that requires me staying up much later than I'd like, but I have gotten into a grove that seems to be working and that I actually enjoy. Plus, I can't leave anyone hanging who actually follows the blog regularly (thank you if you're one of these individuals!). I have found myself spending quite a bit of time at my parents' house this week. I am not sure if it's the comfort of a familiar place or the ease of not having to commute back into the city after work, but last night was my first night at my apartment this week. And it appears as though this weekend is going to be much of the same.

I love cooking with my mom because she loves to cook just as much as I do! Pour a heavy glass of red wine and the two of us could spend hours in the kitchen!

Fennel & Garlic Shrimp

My mother is a huge enthusiast of Ina Garten. It would be safe to say that she owns a majority of her cookbooks. She stumbled upon this recipe for fennel & garlic shrimp and we decided to give it a whirl. Look at these photographs now, the dish appears as though it would be a lot more difficult than it actually is. The time-consuming aspect is simply the prep work - chopping the ingredients, etc.


As we enjoyed the meal, I got the intense sense that it had French inspiration. Now whether or not this is true, I have no idea. But I could picture myself sitting at a small bistro table in Paris eating the shrimp and shoveling the leftover ingredients onto a slice of French bread.

What about you? Have you had any dishes that have created a visceral experience? One that transports you to someplace completely different?


Fennel & Garlic Shrimp Recipe from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof Cookbook


6 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup chopped fennel bulb, fronds reserved 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves) 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 pound (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled with tails on 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon Pernod 1 teaspoon fleur de sel 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper French bread for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the fennel and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender but not browned. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook at a very low sizzle for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic just begins to color.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, add them to the pan, and toss together with the fennel and olive oil.
  4. Spread the shrimp in one layer and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes on one side. Turn the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, until they're pink and just cooked through.
  5. Off the heat, sprinkle with parsley, 1 tablespoon of chopped fennel fronds, the Pernod, fleur de sel, and black pepper.
  6. Serve with bread to soak up the pan juices.