Featured post

Drunk Driving & How It May Affect Your Life

No one plans to drive drunk, risking injury and putting lives at stake, but nonetheless, it happens every day. If you find yourself in this unenviable situation, it is important to call an expert to defend you, someone who specializes in Driving While Intoxicated cases. While you may feel confident that you are competent enough to defend yourself, there are very compelling reasons to hire someone with expertise in the legal field.

Laws vary from state to state, so it is important to know the DWI laws in your state. DWI, also called Driving Under Influence, or DUI, carries some hefty fines and penalties, so it is best to know what you are up against if you are arrested for driving DWI.

If you believe that you are guilty and plan on pleading guilty to a DWI or DUI offense, you may not need an attorney. It cannot hurt, however, to consult a specialized attorney just to see if you might have a defense. If you would like to fight the case, having a DWI attorney may save you time, money and heartache in the long run. Many factors will come into play in your case, including the results of the field sobriety tests you were given and what your blood alcohol content were at the time of arrest. If you have been arrested for DWI previously, that will also factor into your case. When in doubt of your rights, consult an expert. Even if you feel you have gathered all the evidence and feel prepared, it will be helpful to speak with a lawyer in case you missed important information or to confirm what to expect if you are going to plead guilty.

If this is your first DWI offense and no one was injured, the consequences of the guilty plea may be less severe. And whether or not a lawyer is representing you, a guilty plea is by far the most common result in DUI cases. If someone testifies that you were intoxicated, or your blood or breathalyzer tests indicate your blood alcohol content to be at least .08 percent, or you failed the any sobriety tests when you were pulled over, your chances of being found guilty are much stronger. These are the biggest factors used when a prosecutor looks to get a DWI conviction. This is where an effective DWI attorney can be of immense assistance.

lawWhile you may feel educated and competent enough to attempt a plea bargain with the prosecutor, there may be factors that make an attorney a necessity. If your blood alcohol content is just above the legal limit, an experienced DWI attorney might be able to plea the charge to something that carries a lighter sentence, like reckless driving. Also, a prosecutor is more likely to strike a deal with someone who has legal representation since they do not want to take their chances at a trial if they don’t have a strong case. If you try to bargain with the prosecutor and cannot come to an agreement, he or she will have no qualms about facing you in court. And while you may be a master orator, a legal professional has perfected that sought after combination of legal knowledge, experience, and negotiation skills. Hiring a lawyer with a respected, tough reputation may be enough to dissuade a prosecutor from taking your case to trial.

Other than representing yourself or hiring a DWI attorney, your other option is to have a public defender represent you in court. The public defender is assigned to your case and paid for by the government. This option is available for lower income clients but if it is determined that your income is not low enough, you will have to opt for self-representation or you will need to hire your own attorney.

Driving While Intoxicated or Under the Influence is a serious offense; one that can carry some harsh penalties including the loss of your driver’s license, numerous court appearances, restrictive conditions like an Ignition Interlock device, and possibly even jail time. In addition, you may have to pay for alcohol education classes, fines and even restitution is there is another party involved. While these are financial setbacks, there is also the damage to your reputation—some employers will not hire or will dismiss employees convicted of a DWI offense. All of these add up, financially, emotionally and otherwise, so if paying for a sharp attorney can help you avoid the severe penalties assessed for your crime, it would be money well spent, especially if the attorney is able to plea bargain to a lesser charge.

If you don’t accept the deal offered by the prosecutor—if one is even offered—and you feel that you can prove your innocence, you may go to trial, generally one with a jury. You can represent yourself, you can be represented by a public defender if you financially qualify, or you can invest in a DWI attorney for your defense. The reasons for professional legal representation might not be apparent, especially if you have a knowledge of the law; however, you may be skilled at washing windows, but an expert would catch the streaks and spots you would miss. This is true of a criminal defense / DWI lawyer—he or she can review the facts of your case, gather evidence to present, and duly represent your case in front of the judge or the jury, if it is a jury trial. The defense attorney has seen it all, and he or she may have previous information from another case that may benefit your case. Since the attorney is also versed in the rules of law, they may be able to find a mistake made by police during your arrest that will result in a lesser charge or the charge being dismissed altogether.

Finding an experienced DWI attorney takes some work but it can be well worth your time in the end. Ask friends, family and co-workers for recommendations and research the attorney yourself. A good reputation and outstanding results are earmarks of an excellent defense attorney. Remember, however, that someone whose practice is dedicated to DWI/DUI defense will have the most experience, but he or she might be more expensive than someone who also takes additional types of cases. Arrange a consultation with the attorney and ask about his or her courtroom philosophy and make sure you are comfortable with the attorney. If the costs associated with the defense is too high, see if you can set up a payment arrangement. While the cost may seem expensive to hire representation, it can wind up being costlier WITHOUT representation.

 

Featured post

corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija

I evicted a longtime resident of my To Cook list this week with this corn chowder. I have no argument with traditional corn chowder — it has cream, bacon, and potatoes and thus would be impossible not to love as soup or salad — but I adore to the point of boring everyone around me with my gushing, Mexican-style corn either elote-style (on the the cob rolled in butter, mayo, lime juice and coated with salty crumbled cotija cheese and chile powder or a chile-lime seasoning blend) or esquites-style (all of the above, but in a cup). This corn chowder attempts to celebrate the best of both.

making a mess of the kitchencutting kernels from the cornassistantblended and whole corn kernels

I started with a classic corn chowder using whole and blended fresh kernels, onion, garlic, milk, and cream but added some jalapeño and chili powder for flavor and used cooked black and small red beans instead of potatoes for bulk. Then, right before you eat it, because I am fully of the conviction that finishes are what make a soup, you make a rich street corn-like dressing with mayo, sour cream, cheese, and lime and dollop it right into the center of the soup. Squeeze more lime all over, shake on some chili powder and finish it with fresh cilantro and, if you’re not sure you’ve gilded the lily enough (or, perhaps, have children still viewing this meal skeptically), bake some corn tortilla wedges into chips.

Read more »

bakery-style butter cookies + the new book is here!

Today my second cookbook, five years in the making, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites, at last leaves my noisy, messy kitchen and, perhaps, makes its way into yours. I am, as ever, a nervous wreck. I hope you love it. I hope you find a new favorite recipe (or 5) in it.

smitten kitchen every day

I hope you make the granola biscotti and have them on hand for breakfasts and snacks for weeks; I hope your weekend is filled with sticky toffee waffles and breakfast potato skins. I hope you make a big batch of the dressing and the crumbs tonight for the kale caesar right away and keep them in jars in your fridge so that you can make more every night, as we do for weeks on end throughout the year and when you need a break, move onto the sushi takeout cobb. I hope you’re as excited as I am that there’s a soup section this time (including a mini-matzo ball soup that’s completely vegetarian and a grandma-style chicken noodle soup that’s cozy and economical and the only way I’ve made it since). I hope you find that the artichoke galette tastes a whole lot like that retro parmesan artichoke dip and it’s not an accident; I hope you don’t roll your eyes when you read about Debröd (but I’ll understand if you do); I hope you see why I make that herby baked camembert for every party and probably always will. I hope you’re excited that most of the mains are vegetarian again (halloumi sheet pan roasts and puffy dinner pancakes and a wild mushroom shepherd’s pie) but the meat dishes are ones I couldn’t shut up about (meatballs marsala with buttered egg noodles, street cart-style chicken and rice and short rib carnitas). And I hope you know that one of the most bonkers parts of this book is the Party Cake Builder, 7 different one-bowl, dead-simple cakes and 4 easy frostings (think: The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake and then some) you can mix and match and present as cupcakes or sheet cakes or layer cakes without a lot of planning because I know — believe me, I know — most birthday cakes are made with love, devotion, and good intentions, but also at the last minute. And I hope you’ll see why I think the cookie section has some of my favorite recipes yet, because we’re finally going to crack the code of those bakery cookies so they at last taste even better than they look.

smitten kitchen every day (hidden cover)

Read more »

sausage and potato roast with arugula

I realize that if you want to toss some sausages and vegetables on a sheet pan on a weekday night and roast them to crispy, self-seasoned blister, there are innumerable ways to do it. I’ve fiddled around with this broccoli and chunks of sausage; I’d intended to try a version with cherry tomatoes and garlicky croutons before my tomatoes went south. You may not need a recipe.

what you'll needlotsa shallotsready to roastan interruption arrives

But for me, so much of weeknight cooking is a random suggestion that pops into my feed that doesn’t have to be overtly revolutionary, just something I hadn’t considered before and immediately want to make before anything else. In a moment, I go from lethargically considering a bunch of options I’d rejected on previous evenings for various reasons to mentally calculating how long it will be until dinner and wishing it was now now now. Finding these moments is my primary cooking interest.

Read more »

chocolate olive oil cake + more book tour!

Two weeks from today, my second cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites will be leaving warehouses* to reach bookstores or perhaps your front door (if you’ve preordered the book) and I cannot believe it’s so close now. Last month, I shared the trailer for the book and told you all about the book tour that begins the day the book comes out and I promised additional cities would be added. Today is the day! The book tour page — see it in full right here, or click on the image below — now includes Minneapolis, Atlanta, Montreal, Kansas City, Denver, Boulder, Tulsa, Maplewood NJ and an additional book signing in New York City, in addition to the events already planned in Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles.

The book launch will be right here in New York City two weeks from tonight at Barnes & Noble Union Square. Amanda Hesser of Food52, New York Times, and James Beard Award-winning fame and I will chat, and a book signing will follow. Prepare to spot all sorts of Smitten Kitchen Family Members, eager to share stories about what a terrible cook I was as a kid.

Will you come say hi? I hope you do. I hope we get to hang out.

Read more »

quick pasta and chickpeas

Pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas) is one of Rome’s most iconic dishes, the only dish so essential that it shows up on both Tuesdays and Fridays on the informal meal calendar.* And while there are no two matching ways to make it (a fine excuse to spend as many weeks in Rome as it takes to try them all, if you ask me), the rough guiding recipe principles are fairly consistent: a sautéed base of garlic, sometimes onion, celery and carrot too, and seasonings to which chickpeas, water or chickpea cooking broth, and pasta are added. Some are a more brothy like soup, some blend some chickpeas for a thicker base, some more herby with rosemary or sage, some are light and others are heavy on tomatoes. And then then came Victoria Granof’s version that took the internet by storm over the last couple years as word of it trickled out from her Chickpeas cookbook (which goes so far beyond hummus in ways that only a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and famous food stylist would think of) in the lovely Short Stack single ingredient cookbook series.

what you'll needwhat you'll need

I bet you think this means it will be complicated. It is, in fact, the opposite. Granof’s version has 5 ingredients, I bet every single one is in your pantry right now, and takes 20 minutes, which is why there’s no making it just once. We all need more 20-minute dinner magic in our lives, so it’s not surprising that it’s already made the web rounds from Food52 to Dinner: A Love Story.

Read more »

chocolate tahini challah buns

Challah, that stretchy, rich, lightly sweet, braided glossy bread that’s brushed with egg and baked to an burnished burnt umber shine, like many great traditional foods, does not exist in a vacuum. While challah is a Jewish ceremonial bread, eating on Sabbath and major Jewish holidays, and is usually paerve (dairy product-free, so it’s Kosher regardless of what is being served), pulled away from the Judaic lens, it’s a close cousin to brioche and other enriched breads.

whisk wet ingredientsknead in flourready to risedoubled

And it is from this jump — challah is brioche-like; breakfast buns are brioche-like… — that I began making challah-ish breakfast buns last year. We adore them. They’re less rich and more fluffy than the usual gooey, rich and very sweet cinnamon rolls (which, of course, there is always a time and place for), they go well with afternoon coffee or tea, should you find yourself in the kind of civilized life where this is your norm (and please teach me your ways) but hardly abstemious. My two favorite fillings I auditioned were a sweetened cream cheese with jam (basically tastes like cheesecake) and a chocolate-tahini swirl. For a Food Network episode, we featured the cream cheese buns; they liked the story about my dad growing up in the Bronx and having cream cheese and jelly sandwiches from a local deli (as do I, less so that ridiculous face I’m making in the video still).

Read more »

pizza beans (cookbook preview!)

Good morning! In less than one month (28 days, not that I’m nervously counting or anything), my second cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, will be ready to leave warehouses and head to you or your favorite bookstore. A book tour will be quickly under way (I hope we get to meet!). And all of this means that today, I get to share two more awesome things:

1. Early copies of the book have begun to arrive at warehouses! While the book will not be officially out until October 24th, we thought it would be fun to send a few of these out right now. To you. For free. Because maybe being the first of your friends to get the book comes with bragging rights. Because we hope it’s worth the wait, and that wait (4.92 years) has been long enough. My publishers are giving away 10 copies each to U.S. and Canadian residents; use the links below to submit your name for a chance to win.

Read more »

marbled banana bread

Less than a week after I delivered the ostensibly completed manuscript for that my second cookbook (just 40 days now!), I received an email from someone was looking for a recipe for a chocolate-vanilla marble cake like the one her grandmother had made, one that had great texture and wasn’t too sweet. She said that no recipe she’d tried had achieved this, and could I help?

what you'll need
the batter begins in one bowl

I became obsessed; I loved the idea and I fiddled until I came up with a marble cake I loved, moist, deeply chocolaty in the dark swirls, but no throwaway blandness in the light ones… and then I added it to the book. Editors love this, by the way, almost as much as mine loved the ten recipes I swapped in in December and the three in January, and the introduction that I didn’t write until February. Seriously, just let me know if you ever want me to write that How Not To Write A Book Book.

Read more »

tomato bread + a bit about spain

Before we had kids — you know, when we got to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, or so it seems in glowy hindsight — we went on vacation whenever we found an intersection of cheap airfare and unused vacation time. Then (and I bet this isn’t an unfamiliar story) we had a kid and travel abruptly stopped. What with all of the upbeat stories of angelic children on airplanes, enthusiastically staying seated for 8+ hours and effortlessly adapting to new time zones and cuisines, I can’t imagine how, can you? Plus, between naptimes and nappies and strollers and sippies and snack cups, wouldn’t we just be spending a considerable amount of money just to find a new group of strangers to apologize for our kids-being-kids to?

las ramblas gaudi's casa milà black vermouth at bar kasparo
bar kasparo xurros/churros, xurreria dels banys nous xurros/churros, xurreria dels banys nous
first cortado barcelona hostal de la granota

Fortunately, a couple of years in, reality set in too: we’re parents, we have kids, we’re not getting any younger. We don’t wait to wait 20 years to see the world again, so going on kid-adjusted vacations is still better than staying home. I’m so glad we did.

Read more »

smitten kitchen every day trailer + book tour!

In 47 days, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites, my second cookbook, the one it took me five years to write so I’m definitely not freaking out about any of this at all, nope nope nope, will be ready to meet the world. And today, I have four awesome things to share in advance of its big day.

Cookbook Trailer! We made a video to celebrate the book — right in the middle of my kitchen. Everyone had a job (even Jacob and Anna) and I hope it is as fun to watch as it was to make.

Read more »