December 30, 2008
December 29, 2008
Leftover Smoked Turkey, Broccoli and Black Bean Soup based on the George's at the Cove recipe
Pasta a la Norma (eggplant, tomato and basil)
Not for sure, but I want to do Fondue after Joslyn wrote about it (problem is, I don't have a fondue pot....maybe we can eat it really fast)
Untitled from domestic reflections on Vimeo.
Somehow C-Man still manages to catch the limelight....
December 28, 2008
Then. There is the very, very cool mix my friend Adri put together for me. With Adri, whose musical tastes are varied and all-around dynamite, you never really know what you're going to get. So when she gave the CD to me, I wondered: Is this going to be a musical trip down memory lane for us (we go way back)? Some sort of tribute to music she knows I like? Well, yes, sort of to both, but more than that, it has become my ultimate chill music for this lazy, homey, family and friends-filled week. Oh. And this song? It is for sure my fave.
December 24, 2008
So, instead, I prepared something kind of short and sweet (to me anyway). I'm really going out on a limb here, because I don't write poems. But I like them very, very much. Many months back I was quite inspired when I read George Ella Lyon's beautiful poem Where I'm From. I also read other people's poems which followed her template (like Bleeding Espresso's and Susie J's). At first, I thought, how can a poem be based on a template? That's sort of cheating. But then, for some reason (probably because I realized I couldn't write a poem to save my life), I felt this overwhelming desire to write my own version of Where I'm From. I've never showed anyone this poem or even told anyone about it. Anyway, here goes. You'd better read it quick, because I'll probably take it down once this wine wears off!
Where I'm From
I am from strong black coffee softened with cream, from Malt-o-Meal, and all good things baked from foaming, living yeast.
I am from a gardenia bloom sweetly decorating the eve, the tomato plant rich with ripe fruit.
I am from cooking and eating and sharing and loving, for all that is one where I come from, from the quietly classy Mary Lou, loving and soft Great-Grandma Ruth, and the gentlest of men, Jacob August.
I am from sharp tongues and sarcasm and sometimes judgment too, but also a love of adventure and language and quick wit.
I am from true believers, those needing answers with sharp edges, demons unknown, and from a quiet, peaceful place that does not ask questions.
I am from a green, small Oregon town, one of simple people, Croatia and also the all-American Mid-West, bubbling fruit pies with the flakiest of crusts (a prized trait) and coffee cake and smoked turkeys….all of us kids picking at the crispy yummy bits.
From Grace, who lost her own mother at just two years and went on to a lifetime of caring for others.
I am from a box of love letters written by my grandfather, flying through enemy fire, living a world away, reassuring and doting on my grandmother even then, seducing her at times. The foundation of a family to come.
I am from these places, not here anymore, but here because I am.
December 22, 2008
In the meantime, I thought I would share this handy visual aid and link, which the lovely Courtney featured on her blog. Hangover help from around the globe!My own personal remedy? An Emergen-C and a couple of Advil right before bed and a Double Double with an extra super huge Sprite with lots of ice the next day. Any other good home remedies?
December 19, 2008
In case you were wondering, this is where B and I would sit and have our "muchas tequilas" each night while watching the sunset.
OK, who wants to go with??
December 17, 2008
Chicken Noodle Soup
Salad from the garden (greens, carrots, radish) with homemade croutons and Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette ("the brown salad dressing" as C-Man calls it)
Grilled Italian Sausages
French Onion Soup
Dinner with friends
The Chocolate Babka from Russ and Daughters in NYC is To. Die. I like to send this to new moms, especially, as they are needing the extra pampering and calories. If you have never tried Babka, please do. There is a reason Jerry and Elaine and George had that big fuss over it.
I still never tire of a box of Royal Riviera Pears from Harry and David. They are around a lot more than they used to be, so some would say there are not quite as special, but hot damn. They are the sweetest, juiciest, prettiest (not to mention biggest) pears you will eat all year. I like when they come all by themselves, without any chocolate or nuts or dried fruit to distract.
I also really love the tropical fruit hamper from Manhattan Fruitier. There is nothing like a taste of the tropics in the dead of winter. A very sweet and classy friend of B's sent this to us a few years back and we just stared at it for days it was so beautiful.
A box of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. If you think all dried beans are the same and there's nothing swoon-worthy about them, get thee to the Rancho Gordo website and order some. They make a huge difference in taste and texture, plus they have all sorts of varieties you can't find anywhere else. Nice gift baskets too. Grown in beautiful Napa, California.
December 15, 2008
The following would be a few things lurking around my Wish List 2008. If I were super fancy, I would make a collage like this or like this. Alas, I am computer illiterate and have no idea how to use Photoshop, so you are going to have to suffer through my list item by item.
I lost one of my favorite basic gold hoops about a month ago. Life just hasn't been the same.
At long last, I am ready to take the skinny jeans plunge. I had been so reluctant for so long. Until I found these. They. Are. Perf. Best denim wash I have ever seen (I'm super picky about this), and I am loving the whole mid-rise thing. Does that make me too much of a mom? Kiehl's Creme de Corps is my favorite body lotion. And I am just about out.
I really need this cookbook. I make so many recipes from it that I get from other sources. Nobody does vegetables better than Ms. Waters, in my opinion.
Angie has these Prep Bowls by Mario Batali. They also serve as measuring cups, and nest for easy storage! Baby J chewed on these for two days straight during our visit.
They just started selling coffee beans from the best coffee bar on the planet....Rome's Sant' Eustachio.
In 2009, I am going to start having Soup Parties. Easy to prepare, casual, intimate. My kind of entertaining. I'm going to need a bunch of these soup bowls.
December 13, 2008
Be sure to check Fabulous Stationery out if you are looking for invitations, new address cards or personalized stationery (the couples' versions are especially nice).
December 12, 2008
Did you at least watch it until you got to second 54? Their chemistry is palpable. If you are forgetting what that looks like, go back and check it out.
I mention all of this because I saw over at A Cup of Jo that Mr. Murray has been crashing house parties in New York and hanging out with much younger hipsters. This slightly odd behavior doesn't bother me. It's his edge that I like. Especially if he wants to come crash one of our parties. Mr. Murray, are you out there??
It was so lovely seeing everyone. We had food from Waters, much of it the same as at our Summer Solstice Party, and the same band played for us. Much prosecco and pomegranate was consumed. Thank goodness it was a warm-ish December night and we were able to be outside on the roof.
One of the unexpected hits was a plate of cookies my friend Danica snuck in. (I told her not to bring anything! But she just had to show up the caterer!) Everyone was seriously swooning over these things. At least four people asked me to get the recipe, and several more asked her directly.
Now, Danica is no stranger to this blog. I shared her most excellent Strawberry Pie earlier in the summer, remember? She is an insanely good baker. That magic touch I wish I had. My grandmother had it too. *sigh* But, lucky for us, Danica is such a nice person she went home and emailed me the recipe (while "working off her buzz before bed") and told me to give it to everyone who was asking her for it.
The thing I really liked about these cookies is that they actually taste like peanut butter. So many do not, in my opinion. Without further adieu, I give you.....
Danica's Peanut Butter Kisses!
1 c butter (softened)
1 c. peanut butter (creamy)
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 375. mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Mix together sugar and butter then peanut butter, then eggs one at a time until creamy. Add vanilla. add 1/2 flour mixture combine well. Then add the rest, mixing well. Should have a sticky dough. roll into balls, cook 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and place kiss in center of hot cookie (off of cookie sheet so it doesn't melt and lay flat so it doesn't lean).
Danica says she always adds a "bit more peanut butter, and takes out a bit of the sugar and flour" when makes her batches. Sorry, I guess that's where the magic touch thing comes in. Let me know how yours come out!
Also, a big shout-out to my best girly Helena. She ran the whole show last night. *kiss, kiss*
December 11, 2008
Just a couple of mine are:
leila and ben
This list is by no means exhaustive, just a smattering of the things I like: children's items, letterpress, linens, prints, jewelry and gift-y items for girlfriends. So steer me (and everyone else) in the direction of some other fabulous sellers or items!
December 10, 2008
"Fur has existed ever since the 17th century."
"What is it that causes the teens to kill themselves? It could be many things: Stress with family, depressed with any topic, a relationship gone wrong, clowns, old people, having a baby and drinking makes this pain even stronger."
"There is no good proof or evidenct that jurors take sides when it comes to sentencing a criminal."
"Men like beer. Women like vodka. It's a fact."
“Many wonder why would an individual gamble if they are away that this could risk their families financially. Well, why the hell not?”
"For animals to become extinct when this was their home before humans came is a sin."
"If marriage was meant for same-sex then why are we alive today?"
"These days Heart disease kills more people than AIDS, Malaria, War and diabetes."
"By the end of the day, there are hundreds of dead animals piling up because these lipsticks have toxic chemicals."
"Committing crimes is like doing homework, a person is always supposed to do their homework and they know what happens if they don't do it, detention."
"There is a solution to handguns that does not require banning of anything except for maybe a television or two."
"The earth takes time to produce the food we waste and so we waste the time earth spent for us."
"A few years before the song ("Surfin' USA") came out, a group of surfers from the North ventured down to Camp Pendleton to find a surf spot that they heard was amazing. After they fought their way through the U.S. Marines and the jungle, they reached the break called Trestles."
"How hard is it to have safe sex? The answer is not hard."
“Computers will soon come to the point of getting smarter and teaching humans everything there is to know about life and history even though computers are not human?”
“Cultures change by time and some people need to get that in their minds.”
“Muslim women should be treated like goddesses, highly respected and on a pedestal.”
“This claim is like baking a cake with expired milk – just awful!”
The only problem I can see with that menagerie of cookies is: Where? To? Start? I thought I might contact my favorite food editor at the magazine, Ian Knauer, and ask him which of the recipes were his favorites. I figured he had a hand in testing all those recipes, right? He reported that he loves the boubon balls (from 1980 -- doesn't that just seem like a recipe from 1980??), palets de dames (madeleine-type cookies with rum-soaked currants, from 1952), Dutch caramel cashew cookies (1972) and the Biscotti Quadrati al Miele e alle Nocce (a.k.a. honey nut squares....2003).
I personally have my eyes and heart set on those jam-filled Trios pictured above. So, there you have it. Get baking!
photo courtesy of gourmet.com.
p.s. Someday I will have to tell you about the time I got to meet Ian and his awesome wife Micheli when they came to town a couple of months back!
December 9, 2008
Luckily, I am feeling about 50% better today, which means: I am still in tons of pain, but I was able to roll and then slide off the bed and into a standing position, nurse Baby J unassisted, make oatmeal for my family, and actually check email. And I am feeling beyond grateful today.
Specifically, I am grateful that I am not a person who has chronic back problems (this is a first for me) -- or chronic pain problems of any kind. I know several people who deal with something like this on a consistent basis, and boy, do I have about a thousand times more empathy for you guys. Lying on your back all day, unable to move your head from side to side is: 1. Painful. 2. Scary. 3. Incredibly Boring.
I am also so grateful for B. I can't imagine being a single mother or a mother with a husband who travels a lot. My kids would not have gotten out of their cribs yesterday if B had not been there. I am not exaggerating.
I am grateful for my generally in shape, hard working body. We all have moments when we don't like our bodies (why can't you be a little tighter? a little thinner? a little taller? a little more like when I was 17?) But today I am thankful for everything it is. It lets me take care of my family and it gets me where I need to go. Really, what else could I ask for?
Lastly, I am thankful for the friends and family who helped out. It isn't always who you would expect, by the way. Maybe you assume one person would be there and another person wouldn't. You really find out who is a helper when you need it most. I'm looking at you, Jojo, Alice and Paula. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
One last thing. I took one flexeril yesterday and man, why would anyone get hooked on muscle relaxers? That thing, yes, probably helped my back some (not enough to be worth it, however). It gave me the worst dry mouth you could imagine, made me totally drowsy and incoherent, and caused me to burst into tears at totally random times. Like when I was talking to Paula on the phone: "I....ca-ca-ca-can't.....p-p-p-p-pick....uh-uh-uh-up......m-m-m-my...baby girl.....wahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!"
Anyway, hope you all had a better Monday than I did!
December 6, 2008
Now, in real life, you can pretty much understand everything C-Man says, but when he sings, you really can't understand the words. I think it's because he doesn't really "know" the words, he's just singing what he hears. Sort of the "el-uh-men-oh-pee"-as-one-letter phenomenon when you first learn the alphabet song. Wait. That didn't happen for you? OK, then, never mind.
Anyway, I thought I might include the lyrics to "Winchester Cathedral" because I realize it's not exactly the type of song you might have on your iPod.
The New Vaudeville Band
(Geoff Stephens, 1966)
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town
You could have done something
But you didn't try
You didn't do nothing
You let her walk by
Now everyone knows just how much I needed that gal
She wouldn't have gone far away
If only you'd started ringing your bell
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town
Oh-bo-de-o-do de-do- duh
Winchester Cathedral. from domestic reflections on Vimeo.
December 4, 2008
- Fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil on ciabatta
- Jack and pickled jalapenos (or roasted green chiles) on sourdough
- Gruyere and thinly sliced pear on French Bread
- Sharp cheddar on Trader Joe's Onion Rye with cornichons (a current obsession)
- The Grilled Cheese I Grew Up With: Cheddar on Orowheat Wheatberry Bread (always served with a milk and frozen banana smoothie)
I really want to try the combo in that gorgeous photo: Taleggio, onion jam and escarole on sourdough. What combo do you like? Also, do you call it "Toasted Cheese" like B and his family do?
photo credit: gourmet
December 2, 2008
OK, we all know those houses. The ones you walk into and feel....for lack of a better phrase.... "at home." (What can I say? It's early and the words aren't coming to me quite yet.) Those houses that "hold you," as friend Amy once described it. I can never quite figure out what makes a house have this power over me. The lighting is good, of course. The furniture, colors and accessories fit the place. It's comfortable, smells good, has nice outdoor space. But it's something more too. Because you all have been to a place that has all that, but still doesn't have the X factor, right?
Well, Angie's house just does it for me. The first time I saw it, I loved it and wanted to move in. It's simple and cozy, and it makes me want to curl up on her sofa, cuddle up under a throw, drink tea and chat with her for about ten hours.
architecture and design. She has some beautiful pieces from that period.
Now this, my friends, is a corner made for napping.
Caffe, anyone? Angie was born in Italy and her "doting signora" personality definitely comes through.
A sweet little spot in her office with the most amazing scented candle.
She has chosen some really beautiful saturated colors for her walls, like here, in her dining room.
I love the cow head hanging in her kitchen.
Nonna Rita working her magic in the kitchen. One step in the kitchen and you can almost smell and taste all the meals lovingly and expertly made for friends and family through the years.
Baby J wants to go outside. Shall we?
One of the greatest things about Angie's house is this courtyard in the front. Totally private and hidden from the street, it would be the perfect place to "take one's coffee" in the morning (as they say in Italy....). I crazy love that old mirror hanging on the left for some reason.
Of course, without a doubt, we had the most amazing food with Angie and her family, as usual. This is a cranberry almond tart.
Hope you enjoyed my first house tour! OK, who's up next??