Thursday, December 6, 2012
Monday, August 2, 2010
Without Ina Garten's sense of adventure - she had no former food experience prior to buying the Barefoot Contessa store - I hate to think of where my cooking might be. May she inspire us all in the kitchen, and beyond...
Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
3/4 pound linguine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minces garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (always loving a "kick", I almost double this)
Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.
prep time: 20 minutes
serves 3 people
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Monday, October 19, 2009
I have always loved to eat, and so I would cook (order out more than cook to be completely honest, but occasionally cook as well). But only recently have I discovered that the kitchen is first and foremost a place of creativity. Now I can't stop cooking. It goes without saying that I can't stop eating either. I'm like Julia Child's character in Julie & Julia, diving into whatever dish I've just made, each bite resulting in more enthusiasm than the last. Although I wasn't a huge fan of the movie (I was disappointed with Julie's character - she didn't seem to really enjoy the fruits of her labor) it has changed my life. Julia Child was so right on the money (and money she did make) when she decided butter is the secret to culinary bliss. I have never so completely agreed with someone on any matter. Unfortunately, besides making everything better, butter also makes something else bigger. So, my new found love affair also means a new membership at the "Y".
I recently made these dishes and they were absolutely scrumptious compliments to each other. Each recipe encompasses all that is wonderful about food and autumn to me. Sweaters and blankets, crisp, cool evenings, lazy Sunday afternoons (is that football I hear in the background?), and yummy, yummy eats. Thank you W.T. Harris for borrowing $1,500 in 1936 to open the very first Harris Teeter in my lovely adopted hometown of Charlotte, NC and for this delicious spaghetti squash recipe 73 years later (I snagged it from a recipe suggestion card in the produce section!). And thank you Chef Donald Bariskman of Charleston's Magnolias for years of birthdays and brunches, and this heavenly version of whipped potatoes.
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
1 (2-lb.) spaghetti squash, cut, seeded and steamed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until soft, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
Scrape cooked strands from the squash into large bowl. Fluff with fork. Preheat broiler.
Add onions, basil, salt and pepper to squash strands. Toss well. Place mixture in a 1-quart oven-proof baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Broil 4 inches from heat for 2 minutes.
6 cups large roughly cut peeled russet or boiling potatoes (I used red, and left the skin on)
6 cups cold water
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup half-and-half
6 tbsp. butter
Put the potatoes, water, and 2 tbsp. salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Place the cream, half-and-half, and butter in a small saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Reserve warm.
Drain the liquid off the potatoes and return the pan to the burner. Steam dry the potatoes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and put the potatoes through a food mill with a fine screen or a potato ricer.
Carefully blend the warm cream mixture into the potatoes. Season with the remaining salt and white pepper to taste. Using a whisk or a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip up the potatoes.
Makes 5 cups
Monday, October 12, 2009
I accidentally took a lengthy hiatus from writing. I think life requires them sometimes. In this case however, it was more than a break, it was more like a spiritual sabbatical. My soul very much needed time to refresh and rejuvenate, to just "be". I think it is very telling that I chose the quote in my last blog entry before signing off for a bit.
I am very appreciative for the now simple (and I stress "now" because this wasn't the easiest concept to grasp) understanding that I simply won't always understand. This wonderful, beautiful state of self understanding, acceptance and appreciation has been a direct result of the adventure life has created for me. Although sometimes filled with just as many "downs" as "ups", it is worth every beautiful breath.
I chose this picture by Abby Sharp because of nothing more complicated than the fact that I love it. If I could capture the feeling life inspires in me in an image, this is what it would look like. It makes me smile. It's how I feel on the inside. I am so grateful for who I am today, and am looking forward to becoming the person I will be tomorrow, ups, downs and everything in between.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
As a young girl, I often dreamed about being a mermaid. All grown up, I admit that sometimes the image of being free as can be, swimming under the deep blue sea, playing endlessly with other exotics is still an attractive alternative to the daily grind.
Although I made a resolution to be more economically minded, Roberto Cavalli’s silk halter dress can certainly remain an inspiration. At the beginning of May I will head south to Montego Bay to celebrate my step-bother’s wedding at the incredible Round Hill Resort. Don’t I wish I were packing this little number for one of the weekend’s dinners and dances
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The blissfully happy couple.
Fresh, and simply elegant flowers: a key ingredient to
making sure your wedding isn't (gasp) overdone!
An outdoor seating lounge that I personally would enjoy
have at home.
I loved that most of the seating near the dance floor were
bar stool height, making it easy to chat and catch-up
with other wedding guests.
Hanging lanterns from the plantation's live oak trees
added a bit of extra magic to the evening.
Love is in the air. Although October is now famed to be more popular than the month of May to say "I do", wedding bells have already begun to ring. One of my oldest and, most certainly, dearest girlfriends just made a trip down the isle in Charleston, South Carolina. Spanish moss, the gorgeous grounds of Lowndes Grove plantation, and beautiful weather (despite sleet and chilly temperatures only days before), made for a truly perfect day.
If asked what the secret to such a wedding is, I feel certain the bride would answer her wedding planner. Kristin Newman, of Kristin Newman Designs, her right-hand lady in waiting, Morgan Young, and their entire crew were lovely. Always busy securing each exquisite detail in the background, but never making their presence fully felt, they are the epitome of true professionalism. Not one single worry was left for the bride, groom, their families, nor their friends.
Making a lifetime commitment to one man may be easier than sifting through all the event planning firms available today. If you happen to live in the south east, give Kristin a call. If she can't personally help you, I'm sure she would be more than delighted to suggest someone who can. http://www.kristinnewmandesigns.com/
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I love to read. I love to get lost in an author's world, transported to a completely different place, all the while snuggled under a cozy blanket (or poolside under the warm, golden sun!). I constantly found myself in trouble as a child. Ditching whatever homework, or chore I was supposed to be doing, I would hide for hours with Nancy Drew, or some other mystery.
Today, if asked what my most prized possession is, I would reply that, other than my family photographs and heirlooms, my most favorite thing is my collection of books. Reading a book is like acquiring a friend. You are on a journey with the story, have spent hours getting to know the ins and outs and details of its existence. When the journey ends I have never been able to bare giving my new friend up. Over the years, as one might imagine, my collection of books has grown. One day I hope to have a room covered with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, so that all my "friends" may find comfort. This day has yet to come. In the meantime I think these turquoise Foo Dogs would do an excellent job of guarding my most prized collection, and make wonderful bookends while doing it. Available at Pearl River, they suggest a story all their own.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
My brother took me to Gregory Colbert's Ashes and Snow exhibit at the Nomadic Museum on my 28th birthday. The experience left me breathless. I keep the exhibit's program opened and pinned to this image at the very top of my inspiration board. If this photograph is any clue to what the rest of his video and photography exhibit have in store, you must go given the chance.
We can always count on designer Michelle Smith to brighten our day! Never have I needed it more than right now. With March 1st right around the corner and damp, cold rains threatening to turn to snow, Mother Nature seems to be snoozing on the job. I think my sanity would be instantly restored with just one palm tree - just one! Alas, no tropical foliage in sight (at least not until my trip to Charleston next weekend!).
Milly's cheery, bubble gum colored Carnival dress may just chase my case of the drearies away. It's no wonder Michelle was the first American to be sent from fashion house Hermes to intern in Paris.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Normally, anything “marquise” gives me a strong case of the willies. Stephen Webster is so talented however, that he has taught this girlie a new trick. They can indeed be glamorous if incorporated into one of Webster’s edgy designs. His 18 carat champagne quartz marquise is over the top. Brilliantly set over mother-of-pearl, this pendant is so sexy I’m envisioning it with an unbuttoned safari-inspired silk button down and nothing else. Casual cool has never been so wickedly hot.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
With our new president, and new awareness has come a new era. Lifestyles of the American people are changing (and if they aren't, they certainly should be). Excess and unnecessary expense is not the desired path anymore (I know this statement is going to get me into trouble in some future blog post, but for now, I'm trying to make a point). And, as our First Lady has already demonstrated, one thing that shouldn't be effected - despite a more than turbulent economic time - is our sense of style as a nation.
This morning I found myself sitting under the dryer with enough tinfoil on my head to be mistaken for a U.F.O. communication devise, and a divinely thick (roughly eight inches if I had to say) stack of Hearst Publication's finest. Salon day has become my magazine catch-up day. With every turn of the page the same trend in accessories stared back at me; geometrics, geometrics, geometrics. While I won't be dedicating my entire spring to one style, I have fallen in love with this brass necklace from the Bombolulu Workshops in Kenya. Available from the uber socio-conscious website, Ten Thousand Villages, this necklace was created by blind and physically disabled artisans in Mombasa. It is so beautiful, I wish I had designed it myself.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Autumn is here and with it, for me, comes this bizarrely intense desire to cook. Although I've progressed a long way from the days of old when my college boyfriend accused me of being incapable of boiling water, I'm by no means a Nigella Lawson (despite owning her cookbook, Domestic Goddess). So, all my guests come this fall, have full permission to reach for these beautiful little salt and pepper shakers without first giving the fruits of my labour a taste. All is forgiven in the name of design!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
- Leo F. Buscaglia
I really adore this quote. We are, after all, here to live out loud. And I think at some time or another, we could all use it's wisdom as a little reminder...
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Although I am a huge fan of statement pieces, sometimes I crave something sweet and simple. This little 14 kt vermeil peacock feather from Gorjana will do just the trick on days when wearing a light, flirty sundress. It is summer after all, and now more than ever, life should be taken not so seriously. Of course, that doesn't mean this little charmer can't stay in your jewelry box long after day light savings. Keep it around for Sunday morning coffee dates with girlfriends, accenting the deep-v in your favorite over sized cashmere sweater that looks anything but frumpy.
Monday, July 14, 2008
The light, airiness of this room appeals to me. In a way it reminds me of the living room in the house we grew up in. My mother, perhaps one of my biggest style influences, missed her calling. I'm not saying she wasn't a truly fabulous fashion editor during her years at Vogue and Glamour magazines, but her true passion lay in interior design. In her version of this room, she effortlessly mixed antiques passed down through the generations of our family with modern, minimalist pieces she herself designed while living in Asia. Along the walls, she commissioned secret bookshelves, accessible only when pushed in the right spot, which she filled from floor to ceiling with issues of Vogue magazine! One of my favorite details was the white grand piano we had in the corner of our living room. The entire top was covered in 5" x 7" black and white photos of family. Included was one particularly sassy photograph of my maternal grandparents, walking arm in arm on their way down the dock to board a ship to embark on their honeymoon. In it, my grandmother looks the epitome of chic, wearing a floor length leopard fur coat, and my grandfather looking so handsome in a double-breasted pinstripe suit & a fedora, slanted ever so casually. Their era was the definition of fashion divinity.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
The little guesthouse I have come to call home is perfect in every way. I especially love the open feeling possible only from the multiple french doors in every room. A favorite of mine since childhood when my mother had them installed in every possible wall of the house, they invite the outside world in. Each room's doors meet and open out onto two decks in my current residence. Although I love the sunlight that trickles in through the unusual surrounding bamboo and oak forest, I am aware that too much sun exposure is never a good thing. So, off I went, on the hunt for something to shield me from those dangerous rays. Et viola, the sun parasols from Pier 1! Like the handsome china in my last post, these blue & white umbrellas will go with ANYTHING. Put it on your deck, patio or beside each chair by the pool. They will beckon to you to come sit, relax, and pick up that book you've been meaning to begin...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Ahhh! I want! I need! And how could I not? Slouchy, yet sophisticated. Funky, yet classically fabulous. Bone, horn, and metallics. Three of my absolute favorite things. I don't care if I would lose my keys forever in it. Every second searching for them would be worth one of these babies!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I have always been a fan of simple, yet elegant, white dinnerware. The main reason being it allows me the freedom to get as creative as I want with the rest of my table decorations when entertaining. Everything goes with white, and if I want a bit of pattern, I can add it with dessert or salad plates. If not, then I can glam it up with table linens. Although still an advocate of understated white, traditional blue china can also compliment many a dinner party theme. The above set, available at Neiman's and dare I say on sale, is a smart, eclectic take on a more conservative matchy-matchy pattern. Accessorize your table with canary yellow or peony pink napkins. If going for a more sophisticated, demure look, try a crimson red reminiscent of the shade used in China to celebrate the New Year. Your guests will no doubt raise their glass to toast in approval!
Monday, May 12, 2008
It is still some what of a mystery how my fashionista, NYC born and bred mother and intellectual, L.L.Bean "dungaree" wearing father decided to become a pair. Lord only knows just what my father's family thought when he first brought her home to New England. His sister's favorite memory of my mother probably sums it up. Apparently, while waiting in the Madrid airport to fly home to Bombay, where American Express had us living, my mother not knowing what to do with me (my nanny had gone off to the bathroom) tucked me into her large hobo. My aunt, appalled, protested the move by claiming you simply could not put a baby in a handbag. Without batting an eyelash, my mother casually replied, "Well, if Gucci isn't good enough for her, I don't know what is".
I have more than a few friends who currently have little miracles in the oven, or just welcomed them to their world. Although not available for me when my mother needed it most, Gucci now offers the best looking baby carrier by far. Whether on Mommy or Daddy, the classic double G logo has never looked better. And after all, it's never too early...
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Anya Hindmarch's Laverne Leather in natural clutch! I'm thinking that if you receive this sexy number, you may want to stress that you need a night on the town to go along with it. I have a friend who keeps teasing us with a possible Mu-Mu themed party. Darling, I'll be the one in the corner with my all white, floor length vintage Oscar de le Renta, this divine little diddy and a martini to match. Mommy just might be out for the night!
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
A weekend of luxurious pampering at the Boca Raton Resort in Florida! I fell in love with this place the moment I saw it's pink, Moorish exterior. The most expensive hotel ever built in it's time (1926), the BRR was intended to be the "greatest resort in the world". With it's intriguing history, eccentric visionary (Addison Mizner was known for greeting guests with his pet monkey in tow, hence the appropriately named, Mizner's Monkey Bar, located off the lobby), and 1920s, Mediterranean influenced interior, I knew I would never want to leave. The cool, crisp white lobby, lined with ornate palm inspired columns and Spanish-Gothic archways made me want to immediately re-decorate my house upon returning to Charlotte (my dream home will one day be a tribute to it's airy, tropical decor). One visit to their website and I guarantee you too will be wishing you were strolling it's lush, tropical grounds, sipping the resort's signature key limeade (you can hardly imagine how delectably delicious it is unless you've had a glass) after a lavishly decadent treatment from Spa Palazzo (inspired by Spain’s Alhambra Palace, of course).
These sensational diamond studs from Dana Rebecca Designs! Elegant enough for evening, yet subtle enough for day-to-day wear. Richly deserving of the praise she has so far received, Dana acquired her passion for designing as a third-generation jewelry artist. Influenced by her many travels to the far corners of the world, each piece is a dazzling interpretation of the places she has visited. One can especially see how Dana's time living in India has left an impressionable stamp on the designer.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
A gold and pave diamond bracelet from Marco Bicego's Siviglia Collection! Brought up in the Veneto region of Italy, Marco developed his skills as a gold artisan in his father's workshop. Today he successfully combines old world Italian craftsmanship with exquisitely unique, modern designs. The result is a line that embodies the pure essence and beauty of a successful, cosmopolitan woman. This ideal accessory for casual summer dinners is also perfect when on the run. Leave your cuffs and bangles at home and wear his twenty strand, hand engraved, 18k gold bead and pave diamond bracelet with jeans and a plain white tee instead.
Friday, May 2, 2008
A gift certificate to The Sitting Room, Charleston, South Carolina's newest furniture, design and gift boutique! Originally from L.A., Heather and Brady have transformed a charming 1950's farmhouse, with each room showcasing furniture, accessories, lighting, artwork, and gifts. The couple also offers design services for those that want to take full advantage of their cool, eclectic west coast style.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The perfect spring tote from Candace Romeo! Candy is constantly striving to out do her own standards of perfection. Born with a natural flair for effortless style, she designs classic pieces with a slight side of sauciness. Never take life seriously, but make sure you look fabulous doing so, may as well be her mantra. Her line of handbags, clutches, totes and accessories are made in the United States, a refreshing thought with so much scandal constantly plaguing the sweatshops of foreign shores.
Instead of the traditional one day celebration, I think our mothers deserve more. In fact, I think a count down is in order. Celebrate your mother, her mother, and their mothers before them. Celebrate The Eleven Days of Mother's Day.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
After an insane March of traveling back and forth between Charlotte and almost every where, I'm happy to be home once again! Unfortunately, the weather isn't reflecting the beautiful, deep blue skies and crystal clear sparkling aqua waters of the Florida Keys I left yesterday! Alas, what is a girl to do? To cheer myself up, I thought I would keep the Keys' spirit alive and celebrate the designs of E. M. Moore. My absolute favorite is his above Romanesque/Grecian cocktail ring. It brings to mind flowing empire waisted togas, sun kissed skin glowing from lounging all day long, and the joie de vivre of the Mediterranean.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I know, I know, we're too busy. There just isn't time. We barely have a free second to email our friends, let alone sit down and write a letter. Not to mention the fact that, unless we're fortunate enough to have a personal assistant, getting to the post office is possible only with the help of a miracle.
I just don't buy it. It's in this age of Internet that we desperately need to break away, sit down and put pen to paper! Of course, if we are going to allocate the three minutes it takes to communicate on paper, you know, the "old-fashioned" way, we may as well make sure it's done in style.
UNICEF has the most beautiful collection of cards (see the above images of mosques from around the world) and for only $10.00! And the proceeds go to UNICEF! What are you waiting for?!?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I found myself craving peonies yesterday. Their outrageously large size, layers and layers of lush petals, vibrant color, and fresh, sweet smell make me feel alive like no other flower. Sadly, they are out of season, and I found them no where (unless of course, I wanted to have them shipped in from New Zealand?)
Refusing to be totally robbed of the sensation they give, and that I was craving, I decided to take the inspiration they offered me and go with it! This is what I found...
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Miss Trish in Palm Beach
With spring right around the corner, it's time to think about sandels again. Miss Trish of Capri has long been one of my favorite shoes divas. The Molta is at the top of my wish list. If you can't make it down to Palm Beach for a visit into her fabulous store, visit her online at http://www.misstrishofcapri.com/
Monday, February 25, 2008
A friend and her husband recently offered me the cute little bungalow-it's a guest house of sorts-on their property. Knowing that I'll be moving out of the townhouse I currently share with two others, and into my own abode has given me spring decorating fever. All I can think about is the furniture, and ridiculous collection of precious nick-knacks I was forced to leave behind in a storage unit when I relocated to Charlotte from Charleston.
On a recent trip into America's greatest one-stop-shop (need I even say I'm referring to Target?) I found the above pillows, all insanely low in price, and perfect for the white slip covered sofa I plan on bringing up from storage. The Pagoda pillow is available in an array of colors, perfect no matter what your color scheme at home!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I just adore these little guys! I love to accessorize, and have been on the look out for good looking wine stoppers, to no avail. That is, until I stopped into Anthropologie yesterday. Classic, but with an air of, oh-so-important flirtatiousness (if it's not a word, it should be!), the ceramic stoppers will be a conversation point at your next Sunday afternoon wine and cheese get-together. Don't try choosing your favorite, bring home all three!