The many self portraits of Vincent Van Gogh.
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!
Thursday, November 28, 2013
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
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
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.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
My favorite John Wayne film, one that I've seen very often, is The Quiet Man, set in Ireland and co-starring the sassy and fiery Maureen O'Hara. Wayne's character is Sean Thornton, an American ex boxer who returns to his family's land and falls for Ms. O'Hara. (Fun fact: When Dan and I visited Ireland, we bought Aran sweaters at the same Galway shop that provided the custom costumes for The Quiet Man.) Wayne always seemed to have a warmth and genuine spirit in his roles, and never more so than in The Quiet Man.
“Courage is being scared to death,
but saddling up anyway.”
Click on the gorgeous portraits label below for more gorgeousness!
Friday, November 15, 2013
Red–yellow–blue... the primary colors of the color wheel. This simple salad is one of my favorite combos. It's made with garnet pomegranate seeds, golden mangoes, and indigo blueberries, and the recipe is from British Kitchen Goddess Nigella Lawson. All that sweetness is balanced with a judicious squeeze of mouth puckering lime juice. So good to look at and so rich in antioxidants. Sometimes it's the simple things...
Click on the 'fruit salads' label below
to see more crazy fruit salad combos.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
I made this quick watercolor sketch of our porcelain berry vine... the vine that we just chopped down to three feet. It grows like mad all season and really needs to be shown who's the boss. Isn't the color of those turquoise and purple berries astonishing?! I may transplant it next season to another spot where it can grow wild and free. Or maybe not. Read more about our porcelain berry vine in a post from a few years ago by clicking here.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
This French pizza was cooked quickly in a scorching 550° oven, so the crust was über crispy. So what makes it French? It has a smear of crème fraîche, which adds a super creamy feel, especially when it melts and commingles with Gruyere cheese. It's also made with lightly caramelized onions that were cooked slowly in, umm... bacon fat, and big dices of Canadian bacon, so it's doubly smokey and trés luscious. Although it includes these sweet caramelized onions, the pizza should not be confused with a French Pissaladière, which is a savory tart made with caramelized onions, anchovy, and olives. Click here to see one I made in the summer of 2012. The link also shows how to caramelized onions. Vegetarians, just skip the bacon fat and ham and shake in a dash of liquid smoke to get that rich, smokey flavor.
Here's how to make it: Flatten your pizza dough out thin, into 8-10 in rounds—use a rolling pin if it helps you. Then spread a thick layer of crème fraîche on the dough, add caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, diced canadian bacon, and salt and pepper.
Cook it quickly in a preheated, 550° oven for just 8-10 minutes (preferably on a pizza stone if you have one), until it starts to brown and bubble. Slice and enjoy. It's great with a big salad with autumn fruit in it, like pears or apples.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
These are the waning, wheat colored stalks of our miscanthus giganteus sinensis plants—giant ornamental grass. See those subtle shades of pink hiding in there? Gorgeous.
To see more colors, click on the "color inspiration" label below.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Dan took these breathtaking photos from Castle Hill on the Crane Estate this weekend. Are we not lucky to live on this beautiful North Shore of Boston? Such magnificence! The Trustees of Reservations have been busy on a three-year restoration of the trees lining the grand allée that rolls down to the sea. When we were married at Castle Hill in 1993 the old Norway spruces then were well over 30 feet tall, but old age and strong winds had made them look ragged, so they chopped them all down and planted new ones. The photo above is the section of trees that is closest to the ocean. The statue is one of the last of a line of them that flack easy side of the allée.
Below is the view of Crane's beach—
on the right of the grand allée.
The ocean is almost a cobalt blue!
Below is the backside view on the drive up to Castle Hill, overlooking Fox Creek, which winds through the marsh like a serpent.
Below, leaves covering steps in
one of the Italian Garden.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
To see more colors, click on the "color inspiration" label below.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I learned so much from Charlie Trotter's Kitchen Sessions show on PBS. He was a passionate culinary trailblazer and transformed ingredients into gorgeous culinary masterpieces with precision and panache! Read more about Charlie's life and career here. Hope he's up there somewhere sipping champagne with Julia and Escoffier.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
We first tasted an onion tart in on a warm autumn day in Colmar in the Alsace region of France, at a restaurant with tables right on the edge of a canal. Flowing heaps of colorful geraniums spilled over windowsills of enchanting homes and reflected on the river water as we drank our Riesling wine in cute green wine glasses. In those languid days, the air was always buttered with sunshine and anticipation, as it was on this particular day, when the waiter brought a warm onion tart for me and a charcuterie plate for Dan. Both were delectably memorable. When I got home from the trip I searched for an Alsatian onion tart recipe to make and I came across the one shown here. It's perfect with a salad made with apples because the tart and sweet flavor profiles balance perfectly with the rich tart. I dress the salad with my favorite autumn apple cider vinaigrette. I make this Alsatian onion tart just once a year, always in the autumn, and preferably on a warm day where we can sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy it—and reminisce about that warm autumn day in Alsace.
The canal in Colmar, France
Slowly brown the onions.
I put fresh thyme into the pie crust
and blind-baked it before filling.
And voilà—Alsatian onion tart!