Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 4:37 AM
Monday, December 9, 2013
I went to the Greening of The Great House at Castle Hill in Ipswich, Mass. yesterday. It was festive and full of Christmas cheer, which helped me get into the holiday groove. Maybe it was the live band playing tunes, or maybe it was the cookies they were handing out in the grand kitchen! Being a grand house, it also got me in the mood for the next season of Downton Abbey. The "greening" part was that local florists and greenhouses each had a room to decorate in whatever festive fashion they wished. Most were a bit off the mark, compared to other years, IMHO. But it was still fun to see.
One highlight I'm always thrilled to see when I sweep through the rooms of Castle Hill is a pencil portrait of Mrs. Crane, sketched by John Singer Sargent! I swoon whenever I see it.
all photos, Dan Ryan and Diane Carnevale
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 11:41 AM
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 6:54 AM
Saturday, December 7, 2013
This chicken chorizo, bean and kale soup is one of those quick soups I tend to make on the fly, with no written recipe to go by. I don't know about you all, but when I make soup I never use exact measurements anyway—the ingredients just don't need to be precise. One of the reasons that I started taking photos of foods I've cooked is to just to help me remember my crazy one-time creations like this soup! I used the ingredients below, plus a clove of garlic and some chicken broth. See loose recipe below photos. It's a really rich and hearty soup that's packed with so much good stuff it'll make you want to flamenco dance... Olé!
Here's how to make it: In a soup pot, add a splash of olive oil and brown the Alfreso brand Chorizo chicken sausages (all natural and no chemicals!). Remove and set aside to cool. In the same pot sauté diced tomatoes until they break down and begin to fall apart. Add in diced onions and sauté until clear, then add in minced garlic and cook for a minute more. Toss in a teaspoon or two of pimentón (a Spanish smoked paprika), the beans (canned is fine if you rinse them well, or if you've thought ahead to soak your beans overnight, even better), sausages (slice them first), and add enough chicken broth so it just barely covers it all and looks, well, soupy! Cook for 15 minutes or so. Just before serving add in some chopped kale leaves, which will wilt with the heat of the soup. How fast was that?
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Seeing Boston's Restoration Hardware flagship store all lit up at night like a golden treasure gives me goosebumps—it's so gorgeous! If you're a regular reader of this blog you know I lust over all thing RH.
This photo of the store got me thinking about the Palladian architecture of the building, and I remembered a great book I once read called Palladian Days, about an American couple who buys and restores one of the few original homes that was designed by Renaissance architect Andreas Palladio in the Veneto region of Italy. Only a handful of these 16th-century villas by Andrea Palladio survive, but his symmetrical style will live on forever.
A Fibonacci spiral approximates the golden spiral using quarter-circle arcs inscribed in squares of integer Fibonacci-number side, shown for square sizes 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and 34. It's sort of over my head now but when I was an art student in college I used to understand it!
Below is a sketch by an ancient Greek
named Marcus Vitruvius Pollio
that illustrates this golden ratio.
It's the same golden ratio that Leonardo da Vinci
used when proportioning out his Vitruvian Man.
Below are books of
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 4:47 AM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
I can't bear most flower bouquets from the market—I'd rather just one kind of flower en masse, or a few different flowers in the same color. But sometimes I even step outside of the box further, and go a little crazy. I made these wild and unusual flower arrangements for T-day using orange tulips, brussels sprouts, long green chili peppers, orange habanero chili peppers, asparagus tips, grapes, ivy and bittersweet twigs. In between the two white boxed vases were a loose cluster of orange persimmons and lime green osage orange fruits. Why be normal? Hmmm… Maybe something with red pomegranates for Christmas...
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 4:08 AM
Sunday, December 1, 2013
So what does crack pie taste like? One of my favorite sweet treats is that part of making chocolate chip cookies when you blend the brown sugar and butter together. Two ingredients, nirvana. Well that's what this pie tastes like. Be warned though, that although there are healthy oats in the pie, it also has two whole sticks of butter. Making the pie is an interesting two-step process where you bake a mix of brown sugar, oats and butter in a big sheet pan like a giant oat cookie, then crumble that up to make the pie crust. Then more brown sugar, butter and eggs are mixed for the filling. Bake and the pie comes out all oozy, gooey and ridiculously good.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
Got leftovers? Me too. I think I might enjoy a leftover turkey sandwich more than the actual Thanksgiving meal, and I'm absolutely certain that everyone's idea of the perfect leftover turkey sandwich is quite different. What's your style? Should it be with cranberry sauce or without?… On white, wheat or rye?… Toasted?… Grilled?… Warm and open-faced with gravy? … Avocado-cheese-tomato-sprouts?! OK, I'll stop—I know the list could go on and on. One of my favorite turkey sandwiches is actually pretty ordinary, with just whole grain bread, a slathering of Hellman's mayo, and maybe some Boston bibb lettuce. But another one of my favorite turkey sandwiches is with the ingredients you see above, made with cranberry pecan bread, cranberry mustard, goat cheese, a few extra pecans for crunch, and some arugula leaves. Wicked good sandwich!
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 1:37 PM
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
These pillowy sweet potato gnocchi are packed with fiber and beta carotene, which kinda sorta almost makes up for the fact that they've been anointed with a maple cinnamon brown butter sauce with sizzled sage leaves. Get the recipe by Giada DeLaurentis here. Dan made this yummy treat, and I helped by forming the gnocchi. We had a little production line going—he formed the small dough balls and put them on a sheet tray, while I rolled them each over my palm against a wooden ridged pasta cutter. Those ridges are essential to catch all that delicious sauce with!
The gnocchi would have perfectly good on its own, but we had it with a rosemary, apple cider brined pork loin roast with a Calvados, apple, onion sauce, and a green salad with apple cider vinaigrette.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
+ + +
This is another in my series of Oscar Wilde witticisms. In my humble opinion, O.W. was one of the cleverest men in literature. Loved him! Click on the red Wild about Wilde label below to read more Wilde witticisms.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
I really like these three crazy colorful images together. Their bright and happy colors makes me smile. From the top is Matisse's La Gerbe cutout painting, Sarah Midda's striped French sketchbook cover, and a piece of Mexican Otomi embroidered fabric.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 4:00 AM
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
styled as Frederic Leighton's Flaming June
Oh seriously, is this not perfection? Grace Coddington, creative genius for Vogue magazine, and Annie Leibowitz, photography genius for Vogue, have done it again. They have placed beautiful actress Jessica Chastain smack dab into iconic paintings in the December issue of Vogue. As soon as I saw the cover I knew exactly what they were up to. The creative duo styled Ms. Chastain in scenes that pay homage to several famous paintings, including classics by Frederick Leighton, Gustav Klimpt, and Vincent Van Gogh. The cover photo, where JC is all golden and luminous while swathed in a flowing, squash blossom colored Olivier Theyskens dress, is my absolute favorite. Here are some other faves from the issue. Read more in depth details here. Genius, and very well done.
styled as Félix Vallotton's Le Retour de la Mer.
styled as Gustav Klimpt's Portrait of Ria Munk III
styled as Vincent Van Gogh's La Mousmé
styled as René Magritte's La Robe du Soir
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 11:46 AM
Monday, November 18, 2013
Patty pan squash are good sautéed whole, quartered or sliced when they are small, but when they get a little bigger, such as the ones shown here, they are perfect for stuffing with anything your imagination can come up with. To make these I cut the top off of the patty pan squashes, hollowed out the inside with a melon baller, stuffed them with a mix of cooked quinoa, sautéed onion and summer squash, grated carrot, arugula, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, then I put the cap back on and baked in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes.