Monday, April 30, 2012

The New Kid On The Blog, May 2012: La Tartine Gourmande



Okay folks, ready for new blogger of the week, part 2? This one will blow you visual-type peeps away! I was clicking around Modern Kiddo's list of  "Sites We Love" and found my way to BĂ©atrice Peltre's gorgeous La Tartine Gourmande.  I knew immediately that she was my next featured blogger when I couldn't stop pinning her photos! Bright, charming and captivating, the images seem to embody the person - they look modern and urban (she's a young Mom living and working in Boston) yet a little bit country (Bea confesses to being a lover of nature and the outdoor, raised in the countryside) and definitely French (yes, born there)! Checkout her blog and her book of the same name.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On The Way, Week 3

Spring! {1} Starbucks, Airmont, NY {2} Tuxedo Library, Tuxedo, NY {3} Tuxedo Train Station, Tuxedo, NY {4} Lake Mombasha, Monroe, NY {5} Annabelle, Chester, NY {6} Benjamin Moore, Montvale, NJ

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Temptation


Should I share with you one of my embarrassing little secrets? I may have an empty fridge, Mother Hubbard-like cupboards and nothing but air in my bread box but I WILL find something to binge on! I was in this sitch the other day when I got the craving so it was Google to the rescue! I was looking for something I could make with the basics I had on hand: butter, flour, sugar, eggs and maybe a spice or two. All I had to do was search for "cookie recipe" and - voila - I found Sugar-y ones and Peanut Butter-y ones, Spice-y ones and Oatmeal-y ones that all fit the bill. And in fact it was these soft oatmeal guys that caught my fancy. But wait - here's where I pumped it up: with dried cherries! Yes, I had leftover dried cherries in my nearly bare cupboard - doesn't everyone? They should - these were so good that the few remaining, when I headed off to Maine, came along with me!

Molasses Cookies w Oatmeal & Dried Cherries
* Adapted from All Recipes.com
Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
3 T molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups McCann's Irish Oatmeal
1 cup dried cherries

Directions
In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and molasses. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and cherries. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.  

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a fork.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: my addition of molasses make these cookies more chewy than soft. When you first start to bite into one it may seem hard but after a split second they literally start to melt in your mouth!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The New Kid On The Blog, April 2012: Modern Kiddo

I must admit to you that I am a very atypical blogger. Number one, I do not think I have much in my life that anyone would be interested in hearing about. Number 2, I try to avoid surfing other blogs too much (I'm sorry but I tend toward obsessive-compulsive so I need to practice avoidance)! But I DO love discovering, exploring and digesting good/pretty/informative/fun sites. To ease this conundrum, instead of wandering about the web aimlessly, haphazardly, I have been exploring with a guide. I have been using my favorite bloggers to lead me to others. Last year Joy The Baker introduced me to Shutterbean. Now Shutterbean has recommended Modern Kiddo to me. Thanks, ladies..not only am I loving this great round-robin, but this new-blogger-of-the-moment approach has also provided me with new content ;o) Please, visit Alix & Dottie, aka Modern Kiddo. If you do it right away you might even win a prize! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On The Way, Week 2


I had a few days off this week so the journey includes some interesting things I found right near my home. I toured west of Chester...Ridgebury, Slate Hill, Johnson. Old towns, some are new again, some - are not. All provide a window into the past. Worth seeing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pizza!

It occurred to me that when I recently posted about the great tips Martha Stewart shared on making authentic pizza at home I didn't talk about the recipe. I've since made these pizzas a few times and, more so with each attempt, the technique has proven to be nearly foolproof. I say technique because I don't really use a recipe. I just gather up whatever ingredients strike my fancy, eyeball the quantity based on the size of my pan and get to prepping. My current favorite adds goat cheese, roast chicken and caramelized onion to the classic margherita pizza (tomato, basil and mozzarella). Now I know you are already turning up your nose at those onions - or maybe it's the goat cheese that has you rolling your eyes. But trust me - these are amazing additions to pizza. Try it - you'll like it! Here's a quick how-to:
1. PREP: Preheat the oven to 500; coat a 10 inch cast iron pan with oil; take 1/2 pkg of pre-made pizza dough out of the fridge; put a large pot of water to boil (to skin the tomatoes); add a little olive oil to a medium saute pan.
2. GATHER: 1 large red onion sliced evenly; 1 shallot, diced; 3-4 gloves of garlic, diced; 5-6 plum tomatoes, skins removed; 1 handful of shredded roasted chicken; a few ounces of fresh mozzarella, shredded; 2-3 tablespoons of  goat cheese; a small handful of shredded fresh basil; salt, pepper, dash of sugar.
3. COOK: Saute the red onion in olive oil over low heat until evenly brown and very soft (maybe 30 minutes), set aside. Saute shallot and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent (10 minutes), add chopped tomatoes. Simmer until the sauce is no longer watery, stir in basil, salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
4. ASSEMBLE: Place the dough on a floured surface, turn over to coat dough and your hands in flour. Gently work the dough into a large ball - flatten slightly to form a patty. Let it rest on the floured surface a few minutes, then gently stretch the dough, by holding the patty vertically, letting gravity pull it down. Continue to stretch the dough until it fills the cast iron pan. If necessary let the dough rest again, then finish patting it towards the edges and corners.
5. BAKE: Spread the dough with enough tomato sauce to cover. Place over medium low heat for 4 minutes. The edges of the dough should just barely be starting to brown. Place the pan in the oven for 3 minutes. Take the pizza out of the oven and scatter all your toppings over the tomato sauce. Return to the oven for 8 minutes. The mozzarella should be melted, a little bubbly and beginning to brown.
6. ENJOY: Slide the pizza onto a plate, cut into quarters with a pizza wheel and serve piping hot!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On The Way, Week 1

It has been beautiful weather this week. Spectacular, really. Seems my whining about no spring, winter to summer, blah blah blah was totally uncalled for. It's early, but I've had the top down a few times already. I've driven a little more slowly, taken the long way home more often. Consequently I've been appreciating the places I live a little bit more. Some of these roads are ones I travelled daily back in the late 90's when I first worked here. It's easy to take it for granted. But that would be a shame. Instead I'm trying to take particular notice of the things I pass everyday. Thus begins a weekly series about inspiration and appreciation, a few shapshots at a time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Font Project 1

Okay so there's no color here. And no, I'm not going to tell you that artisty/design schooly thing about white really being a combination of all color. That's crazy. But the sentiment here is a little bit about a colorful life. A guy I dallied with for awhile - a quirky guy who loved to talk - said something like this to me and it stuck. He was a computer geek who was making a living hopping boat to boat as a commercial fisherman in the Pacific Northwest. We emailed frantically for a few weeks - Graham loved words and wordplay and was - as you might expect - given to deep thought and introspection. This sentiment struck me as being one of those little gems that you could keep in mind as you go about your day-to-day life. I have a few of these. Another was something my Dad used to say about humility. Maybe I'll design a piece based on that too. Then I have one I like to quote about desire. What these little ditties all have in common is that they tend to humble you a bit. And that is NOT - in this brash, uncensored and outspoken world we live in - a bad thing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Like Switzerland


It's a funny thing about the glory of color. It can be bright. It can be dull. It can be loud or it can be quiet. The power in the story of color is in the telling - how each author combines the same elements in oh so different ways. My most recent approach to color at home has been about accents. I've done the fancy fabrics, the fully coordinated room, the casual thrown together look. I liked each - very much - in its time. But this new approach satisfies visually, emotionally and mentally since it also panders to my penchant for organizing. In spring the living room is porcelain blue with taupe and ivory; summer = shades of lime and chartreuse; fall, of course, features the rusted and bronzed tones of autumn leaves; Chrsitmas has its muted reds and greens to coordinate with all the Santas and trimming. The key is that the permanent features - walls, sofa, chairs and floor - are all done in neutrals from ecru to taupe to chestnut and wenge. Every 3 months I go about swapping out pillow covers, drapes, area rugs and accessories to fill out a look completely different than the last. I carefully select pieces, either from my stored collections or bought new, to create the perfect tableau on the mantle. I assemble and document the various pillow sizes and shapes, covers and inserts so there are always choices for the club chair, sofa and side chairs. I iron endless yards of silk and cotton, ensuring the appropriate fabric in all the right colors are ready for their call to duty. A decorator's dream and heaven for an obsessive-compulsive nutcase like me! Yet one innocent visit to a nearby style shop and I am contemplating throwing it all overboard, for my life in color is not always what its cracked up to be. A recent trip to Anthropologie and I was bitten by the color bug. It's not, of course, the first time I've been there. One of the first outposts of this interesting and unique chain thrived within 5 miles of my house in Glen Cove. And it's not the first time I've been smitten by the goods they carry. Smitten and bitten! Really? Anyway as I was saying this recent shopping trip, for reasons indeterminate, has me feeling that my rooms are a bit boring...safe...blah! That has never really bothered me before. I have always chosen what makes sense for my lifestyle over the gorgeous, impressive, wow-inducing stuff in magazines. I suspect my discontent now has something to do with - first - being unemployed and  - second - with being employed in a non-design position. Maybe I am feeling ... design-deprived! That day at Anthro sparked the creativity that I have abandoned as of late. So I am contemplating revamping my entire approach to decorating. I want to buy every little thing I see and like. I want to have sheets and towels and pillows and drapes and rugs that are a wild riot of color and pattern. I want to use ALL my dishes, in ALL their colors ALL the time, rather than choosing which single color to pair with my white basics! I want to buy an artist’s original painting that brazenly boasts bold splashes of color and texture rather than an orderly and elegant landscape or still life! I want to go crazy. I am reading more color me katie. I am fascinated by bleubird's fabulously cinematic wedding. I used to be put off by the color riot, but now, maybe...just maybe...