Thursday, June 30, 2011

Design | Melt

JJAAKK is an independent graphic design studio with a passion for creating work that speaks for itself. Specializing in packaging systems, identities and posters for clients both big and small, JJAAKK strives for design solutions that are bold, fun, intriguing and above all, smart.

Project description from JJAAKK's site:

From Packaging and logo design for a gourmet chocolate shop. The classic characteristics of melted chocolate are used throughout, providing a tantalizing glimpse at the wonderfulness contained within.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dish | Shrimp Po'Boy

The past two weeks has been a bit hectic so I haven't had time to post much. A good four days of that was a little vacation to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs with my fabulous friends Henry and Taylor. 110 degree weather, poolside, and too many delicious cocktails to count. It was just what I needed!

I'm happy to be back now. Ryan just got home from working in Europe so I actually have someone to cook for these days. San Francisco has been beautiful lately, but yesterday caught me and I'm pretty sure everyone else off guard. It was a gloomy day to say the least. I needed some spice in my life! I decided to attempt this recipe I had seen a few weeks back in Bon Appétit after going out to lunch with my friend Chelsea at Just For You Cafe where we had twin lunches of Lemonade and Shrimp Po'Boys.

SHRIMP PO'BOYS  |  Recipe inspired by Just For You Cafe and Bon Appétit June 2011

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (about 36), peeled, deveined
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 8"-long French rolls, split horizontally
Rémoulade or mayonnaise
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Sliced tomatoes
Dill pickles
Hot pepper sauce

1  |  Whisk first 8 ingredients in a small bowl to blend. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to side of a heavy wide pot. Add enough oil to measure 2". Heat over medium heat to 350°.

2  |  Meanwhile, place shrimp and 2 tablespoons spice mix in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Pour buttermilk into another medium bowl. Whisk flour and cornmeal in another medium bowl. Dip seasoned shrimp briefly in buttermilk, then coat with flour mixture. Working in batches, fry shrimp, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

3  |  Open rolls and spread cut sides with rémoulade. Top with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and shrimp. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

I served cornbread and roasted garlic red potatoes with rosemary on the side.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Design | The Reel Catch

Sometimes I miss being a student. I remember working on such fun and interesting packaging projects that unfortunately tended to be unrealistic in execution. This project comes from Edinburgh College of Art student Jesse Harris. I think shes done a great job at keeping circumstances such as cost and production in mind by sticking to a simple and elegant black and white finish.

Of the project, Jesse says:

"The name, which I came up with, is 'The Reel Catch.' I created the companies manifesto which focuses on sustainability but also trying to make the packaging look as original and as high quality as I could. I aimed to produce an identity and packaging that would showcase the produce as being from a sustainable source. The imagery comes from paper cuts of fish shapes/parts that aim to communicate a clean, simple design aesthetic when combined with the typography and materials used."

Design | Plant Your Dreams

I thought this was pretty cute. "Plant your Dreams and let them Grow" is the title of Greece based designer Sophia Georgopoulou self-promotion project and her wish for 2011!

The actual tulip flowers and their unique names (e.g. "Red Emperor", "Pink Diamond", "Sweetheart" etc.) inspired the designer to create a series of ecological and interactive packages containing tulip bulbs. The packages were sent as gifts to friends and clients and offered them a unique experience by telling them to "Plant their Dreams", take care of them and see if they will grow (and come true) the following year. The illustrations created on the packs were inspired by the name of each "unique" tulip and were drawn by hand.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Design | Crown Maple Syrup

Product design is a real passion of mine. It's challenging and the boundaries of packaging are constantly changing. I like these kinds of posts because I get to combine my love of food and design. I found this handsome maple syrup on Lovely Package.

Designed by Studio MPLS:

“Studio MPLS created a distinctive brand identity and visual brand language for the world’s first brand of super-premium maple syrup. Evoking the natural elements that abound in the majestic stands of Crown Maple sugar maples, the brand communicates the fusion of natural goodness of the real maple syrup and the sophisticated state of art production techniques that make it the purest maple syrup on earth. Graphic iconography influenced concept package design, secondary packaging, and collateral.”

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Design | MOS: Jethro Haynes

This just makes me smile. London based agency Studio Output collaborated with illustrator and model maker Jethro Haynes to create this playful piece. Some would probably say that the "liquid" treatment on the type is ridiculous, but it's that kind of detail and creativity that really makes this project shine.

Studio Output is: "A diverse team of inspired, inspiring and creative people working in every medium. Indeptendently owned, we operate as one team across two friendly, thriving studios in London and Nottingham. We are proud to work with some of the most high-profile, interesting and innovative clients around, who appreciate our collaborative approach and the stunning results it achieves."

Project description from Studio Output's site:

Continuing our new proposition for the Ministry of Sound Club - 'anything can happen' - we were delighted to get the opportunity to work with talented illustrator and model maker Jethro Haynes, for this latest series of folding Saturday Sessions posters.

Starting with the premise that the legendary MOS sound system was created as a mutant strain on a lost tropical island (you've seen King Kong, right?) the three images track the progress of the giant bass-bins as they break free and start their epic journey to the Elephant & Castle, SE1. The stunning set was sketched, built and photographed over a period of days. It was also featured as the cover image of Design Week, fronting an article about the sophistication of current club flyers.

See more of Jethro's amazing work at Début Art.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dessert | Blueberry & Cream Tarts

This is another shout out to Sara Morris at Sprouted Kitchen! These little gems are ridiculously delicious! I've already eaten 2 of them in the last hour.

BLUEBERRY & CREAM TARTS  |  Recipe inspired by Sara Morris at Sprouted Kitchen

1 8-oz. Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
1 Egg, beaten
6 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
Zest of one large lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries
Lemon zest and powdered sugar for garnish, optional

1  |  Preheat oven to 375°F.′Unfold the the puff pastry and roll over it with a rolling pin about three time, just to thin it a bit.

2  |  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter or top of a mason jar, gently cut out circles and put them on the parchment.

3  |  Using a paring knife, score a 1/4” thick circle border inside each tart cut out. Brush the outer edge with the beaten egg and sprinkle each with a bit of sugar (1 Tbsp. between all of them). Bake on middle rack until golden and puffed, about 14+/- minutes.

4  |  In the meantime,mix the cream cheese, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons honey until fully mixed and a bit fluffy. Put it in the fridge.

5  |  Remove the tarts, rescore the circle and press down gently on the middle part to flatten. Allow them to cool about 5 minutes.

6  |  Dollop about 1 tablespoon of the creamy mixture in the middle of each tart. Put the blueberries in a bowl. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon honey in the microwave for 15 seconds to loosen it, pour over the berries along with the last tablespoon of lemon juice and toss to coat. Pile a hefty spoonful of berries on top of the creamy mixture. Serve at room temperature. *Garnish with fresh lemon zest and a sprinkle of powdered sugar if you please.

Dish | Risotto with Shrimp & Asparagus

What a perfect day yesterday turned out to be. It's June-Gloom around here - or "2nd winter" - and I was craving some sunshine. If it's cold in San Francisco you can usually count on it being warm everywhere else. I spent the afternoon at Stinson Beach with Henry and Alyssa. Stinson is roughly 30 minutes north of San Francisco and it's a picture-perfect little beach town nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by hills and wildflowers. Warm weather, good friends, and the breeze on the beach inspired me to make this comforting dish for dinner.


5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped thyme

1  |  Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add asparagus and simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking, then drain. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered.

2  |  Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed.

3  |  Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture and briskly simmer, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is creamy and tender but still al dente, about 18 minutes.

4  |  Stir in shrimp and cook until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in asparagus, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, parmesan, parsley, and pepper to taste.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Design | cla-se: Sita Murt

The obsession with all things Spain is still going strong! I found this project by Barcelona based design studio cla-se on Design Work Life and was instantly sucked in. Hot pink hand written type... I love it! It's bright, bold, and modern.

The first Sita Murt popup store opened in Sitges for three months last summer. The aim was to create an identity that combined the concept of a popup store with Sita Murt’s corporate identity. The project shunned the standard graphics of the world of franchises and instead painted directly onto the walls using a hand-painted typeface in fluorescent ink. Hand-painted sketchbooks with sketches and different messages were also added.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dish | Chicken, Green Bean, Corn, & Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I can't wait to eat this for lunch tomorrow! This salad was perfectly fresh and came together in such a short amount of time.

CHICKEN, GREEN BEAN, CORN, & ORZO SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE  |  Recipe inspired by Jeanne Thiel Kelley

1/2 cup orzo
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves
12 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups fresh yellow corn kernels (cut from 2 to 3 ears of corn)
3 green onions, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)

1  |  Cook orzo in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, 6-8 minutes. Drain; cool. 

2  |  Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet; cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Cool, then cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water to cool; drain. Transfer beans to kitchen towel; pat dry. 

3  |  Mix orzo, chicken, and green beans in large bowl; add corn and green onions. 

4  |  Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, marjoram, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in small bowl. Press with back of spoon to release flavor. Whisk in vinegar, shallot, and mustard. Pour over salad in bowl; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide chilled or room-temperature salad among plates. Sprinkle with goat cheese. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Design | The Armoury

The Armoury is a historic pub, based in South London. Following a recent change of management, The Armoury required a strong identity, a suite of promotional materials and eye-catching signage, to help drive business to the newly refurbished drinking establishment. Steeped in history, the new Armoury identity references cannons produced by the old local mill, whilst 19th century paintings set the scene for famous battles during that time. The new identity has been brought to life across loyalty cards, stationery, menus, signage as well as an iconic swing sign complete with a 3-dimensional cannon ball!

The branding was handled by UK based design studio Purpose: a brand communications consultancy specialising in brand identity and marketing communications.

"Our strategic, design and production skills enable clients to communicate more effectively - to stand out, to connect, and to prosper. We’re 33 strong - we’re independent - and we’re listed in the Design Week league table of Top 10 UK Creative Award winning agencies."