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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Before and After

These are always fun and since I am in the midst of my own before and after I thought this appropriate. Enjoy!





Friday, July 29, 2011

FOR SALE in Argentina!!!

Ever go house hunting when you know very well you are not in the market to buy?? I do it ALL the time. If there is an Open House sign and the house is visibly appealing to me I will pull right over and run in. I have to say some of my very best decorating ideas have come from going into these houses. I am especially prone to go into antique houses, since I live in one myself, I am always interested in how people worked in modern kitchens, pools etc. This house is in Argentina and listed by Sotheby's International. It grabbed my eye for the wonderful use of color and texture. ENJOY!!

This colbalt blue is absolutely amazing. Now this room isn't going to work in most houses, but an accent of this color and or an accent wall certainly would and what a splash! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Delish Dish

All receipts by
Baked eggs with double smoked ham, potato and fennel2 eggs
2 slices ham
1 roast potato, sliced
4 mini roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 baby fennel, finely sliced, tips reserved
Meridith dairy feta and the marinating oil
toast to dip

Distribute the ham, potato, fennel and tomato in a shallow bowl, small baking dish or large tapas dish
Crack eggs on top and drizzle with feta, extra marinating oil and season with salt and pepper

Bake at 220C for about 10minutes until you can see the whites have set, yet the yolks are still runny, remove from oven and garnish with fennel tips
Perfect to eat just with a fork and toast to dip

Giant couscous salad with pinenuts, lemon zest and pomegranate
Moghrabieh -they swell to double the size so judge accordingly to how much you want as a finished salad
chicken stock (use vegetarian if you prefer)
toasted pinenuts
a lemon; zested and then juiced
pomegranate seeds
spanish onion
red chilli
Extra virgin olive oil
Add the giant couscous to enough stock to cover and gently simmer until it is just cooked, a little al dente as the Italians would say is ideal
Drain and while still warm dress with 1/3 lemon juice to 2/3 EVOO, salt and pepper and the roughly chopped herbs
Add all the other ingredients and toss together, taste for extra lemon juice and serve at room temperature
Perfect for a balmy evening like last night.
Chilli chocolate dipped cherriesChocolate and chilli is no revolutionary idea, both originally from South America, the flavours have a strangely alluring relationship together.
Just melt the chilli chocolate (in the baking aisle) or infuse your own if you're feeling fancy (but getting the portions right scares me!), make sure your cherries are straight from the fridge, dip in the hot chocolate and lay out on baking paper lined trays.
Refridgerate until set and firm. Eat as soon as possible.

Baked black figs with gorgonzola dolce and Parma prosciuttoCut the figs into quarters and stuff with a generous wedge of gorgonzola, gently form into the fig shape again and roll in a little blanket of prosciutto. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a grind of white pepper. I find you don't need to salt these as the cheese and ham gives plenty of seasoning to the fig.
Bake in a slow to moderate oven until the prosciutto is crispy and the cheese is hot and molten.

Delish Dish

Chopped Greek-Style Salad with Red, Yellow, and Orange Bell Pepper
(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

Salad Ingredients:
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise (or use diced fresh garden tomatoes)
1 European cucumber (or 2-3 small regular or Persian cucumbers)
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut in half (I use pitted olives)
1/4 cup chopped red onion or sliced green onion (optional)
1/2 cup diced Feta cheese (or more)

Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing
(or your favorite dressing, for South Beach Diet use dressing with less than 3 grams sugar per serving)
1 tsp. dried oregano


Mix oregano into salad dressing, set aside.

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, or dice garden tomatoes.  Peel cucumber in strips, leaving some green stripes lengthwise.  (For small garden cucumbers or Persian cucumbers you may not need to peel.)  Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, then in slices. Remove seeds from peppers and dice peppers in 3/4 inch square pieces.

Dice red onion or cut green onion into 1 inch long pieces.  Drain olives and cut in half lengthwise.  Cut Feta into cubes about 1/2 inch square.

Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and olives and toss with desired amount of salad dressing. (You may not need all the dressing.) Stir feta cubes into salad and season with fresh-ground black pepper.  The salad can be served immediately, but I like it best when the ingredients marinate for an hour or two.

Shaken Nectarine Vodka Chillers!
In mason jar 
I started by peeling a nectarine then blending it in my food processor until it was silky smooth. Then I added about 3/4 of the pulp into the mason jar.  I topped the pulp with one shot of vodka. Mine was just regular vodka, but a fruity, flavored one would be fantastic in here! Next I added a few raspberries on top. Ice filled the jar about 3/4 of the way up, and cold club soda topped ‘er off. Pop the top back on the jar and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE. Add a sprig of mint and drink.

Avocado BLT with Fried Egg And Chipotle Mayo

  • 4 slices bread, lightly toasted
  • 2 handfuls lettuce
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • pepper to taste
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 2 eggs, fried
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle mayo (1 chopped chipotle chili in adobo mixed into 1/4 cup mayonnaise)
  • Build
Caprese Pizza
  • 1 pizza crust, either homemade or storebought
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (**see note below**)
  • fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces (also goat cheese would be delish)
  • handful of fresh basil, torn into small pieces or julienned
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (or the temperature specified on your pizza crust, if storebought).
Lay your pizza crust on a floured work surface.  Lay the halved tomatoes evenly across the crust.  Top with your desired amount of mozzarella cheese.
Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 12-16 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.  (Or you can bake it on a pizza stone, following the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking temperatures/times.)  Remove pizza and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.  Garnish with the torn fresh basil and serve immediately.

Slow Cooked Porchetta with Macadamia Nut Pesto

2lbs Pork shoulder or butt (use a tenderloin if you are going to grill it)
1 red onion
10 garlic cloves
1 tbls dried Sage
fresh sage and oregano, chopped (handful each)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 stem of fresh rosemary, chopped
salt, pepper and seasoning salt
1 cup red wine
Dice the onion small, saute in a drizzle of olive oil to soften. Add the finely diced garlic, dried sage and red pepper flakes, continue to cook over medium low heat about 3-4 minutes to soften the garlic. Add in the fresh herbs, salt and pepper, remove from heat and cool.

Pound out the pork slightly, add the stuffing mixture over the pork and roll up. Season the pork well (add more seasoning than you think you need) and place seam side down in the crock pot. (If you want to grill it, secure the rolled pork with kitchen twine and finish it off on the grill at this point.)

Add 1 cup of red wine to the pork in the crock pot, place the cover on, set the temperature to low and cook for about 8 hours. Use two forks to shred the pork. Allow the pork to soak up the extra juice, it will make the sandwiches so good.
Scoop the pulled porchetta onto buns and drizzle with the macadamia nut pesto. 
Macadamia Nut Pesto
1/2 cup toasted Macadamia nuts
2 large garlic cloves
2 tbls fresh sage
2 tbls fresh thyme
1 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in small food processor, blend the ingredients while slowly drizzling in the olive oil. If you need more than 1/2 cup to reach your desired consistency, try using a little white wine or water so that the pesto is not too oily.  Add salt and pepper as needed for taste.
The BEST cold cucumber soup
(Serves 1 as main dish or 2-3 as an entrée)
(Adapted from a copy from a magazine for which I don’t have the info. Sorry!)
  • 1 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp salted herbs (I buy this ready-made at my local grocery store)
  1. Add all the ingredients to your food processor and blend until nice and smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. This step is crucial as it really changes the flavor and consistency of the soup.
  3. Serve chilled and garnish with a few slices of cucumber and sprigs of fresh dill.

Crumb Cake (from Cook's Illustrated)

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon table salt 
tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon table salt 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg 
1 large egg yolk 
teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/3 cup buttermilk

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish. 
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.  

Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

taste spotting

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boating in Style

For the true yachtsman newer is not necessarily better, but a well built boat makes the ride that much sweeter. Harbors from Nantucket to Greece are overly filled with what I love to call "Plastic Fantastic" Overly large yachts built for looks instead of craftsmanship, but search a little harder and you will find the real Diamonds of the sea. Here are two stories; one of an older boat who was given a gentle face lift and another of a new boat that was built with love. Enjoy and happy sailing!!


Juno is a 65 ft schooner built in Martha's Vineyard by famed boat builders Nat Benjamin and Ross Gannon for a  Manhattan couple. "Purists" as they call themselves, what you won't see is a boat made out of fiberglass or metal. Instead, their boats are made with wood imported from South America and teak from the Far East. All of the metal fastenings,gears and rivets are made in America and whenever possible they buy local.
 They are a dying breed of boat builders that are schooled in the technique of handcrafted boats.  

Northwind II

Built in 1966 this yacht has been loved by a Greek shipping family since purchase in 1970. This 150 ft yacht was made by hand "
Burmese-teak paneling banded with 22K gold, are the work of Maison Jansen, the august French decorating firm that left its sumptuous stamp on the Kennedy White House and the Shah of Iran’s Niavaran Palace before closing up shop in the ’80s." AD
Designed by Camper & Nicholsons and built in Gosport, England this company continues to be one of the leading yacht builders in the world. The owners returned the yacht to Camper & Nicholsons in 2006 for much needed restoration work, but demanded the charm remain the same. When the company suggested modern updates, such as satellite and telecommunication devices  the owner said he did not want to see a single piece of equipment calling it "a tacky status symboI." So, he came up with an idea to have C&N camouflage the equipment inside a former exhaust funnel and rebuild some of the structure around it in fiberglass. Turns out fiberglass is conductive to radio waves and C&N now uses this idea as an option on many of their yachts. The owners have said this boat lives between   England, Greece and "where she may go" but by no means is this a vessel for fancy parties or weekends in Monaco. Instead, they fill it with their children, grand children and friends. Sounds perfect!

This wall paper was copied from the original wall covering installed in 1966.