The new issue of Veranda magazine arrived yesterday with the cover story titled “Living with Art” and that reminded me that it was time to make an art post. Their inspiration was the following quote from Henri Matisse, huge in my admiration pool of artists. “Art should be something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue.” The painting that inspired them is titledLarge Red Interior, currently on view at the MoMA in NYC. It made me think of my own Matisse replica, Still Life with Sleeping Woman, that I purchased from the gift shop at The National Gallery way back in the late 1980’s. I was a young mother at the time, and it reflected perfectly how I often felt at the end of the day. It has been a staple on my desk for all of these years; now it inspires me to pick up my head and get on with the tasks at hand!
I have a deep appreciation for my collection of original art (more on that soon), but two rooms in my home feature replicas as well…the Matisse plaque in my kitchen, and the living room TV screen saver featuring an image of Gustav Klimt’s Fulfillment. I’m slightly obsessed with Klimt! I’m beyond thrilled to be attending the inaugural exhibition at the new Hall des Lumieres in NYC next month, titled Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion. Follow the link and check out this new exhibition space featuring immersive art exhibitions in a digital art center. It is housed in the historical former Emigrants Industrial Savings Bank. This is brought to North America from Culturespaces, France’s leading private manager of museums and cultural heritage sites. This is certain to be one for the memory bank!
School Days, School Days, Dear ole Golden School Days…Children arrive home “hangry”. So have this prepped and ready in your fanny pack (I hear they’re making a comeback!). I suggest forgetting the pecans for your grade schoolers, but that version may be nice for a dinner party app for friends, also fun to sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar. Just thinking out loud. Food is meant to temp as well as to nourish. Perfect snack. Afterall, Life is Too Short for Dull Food! Go Bake it!
1 stick butter, sliced 2 cups coarsely grated extra sharp cheddar cheese 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 t kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on top 1/4 t cayenne pepper 1 cup all purpose flour Garnishes may be powered sugar, pecan halves, sliced olives, thyme leaves.
Combine butter, cheeses, salt, cayenne, and flour in food processor. Pulse several times until crumbly. Process 30 seconds more until a mass forms. Transfer dough to sheet of parchment paper. Roll into log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in the parchment and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chilled dough into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange on parchment lined baking sheet. Top with preferred garnish if you like. Bake 12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Immediately sprinkle with salt. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Wafers can be stored in airtight container for up to a week.
This cheese wafer is the good-time, slice and bake cousin of the cheese straw. Keep a log of cheese wafer dough in the fridge, and in 20 minutes you have a delicious little treat. Dough may be wrapped in parchment, then in aluminum foil, then placed in zip top freezer bag. It may be frozen for 3 months.
This house on “the Forest Hill” was packed with energy and festive events last week. I had the five year olds for Grand and GrandDad Camp, a childhood friend here from Shaker Heights, and the Queen Peggy’s 95th celebration of life! And in the midst of it all, the children managed to create a wonderful bread concoction! It’s play time, so follow the trail below…
16 oz round sourdough bread Stick of butter 2 t minced garlic 1 1/2 t Italian seasoning (or equal parts of dried basil, parsley, and oregano) 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 3 Tbs chopped parsley, divided
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the bread on non stick sheet pan. Cut a grid on the bread by creating vertical cuts, stopping before you hit the bottom crust. Repeat the cuts in a horizontal manner. Place butter, garlic, seasoning, and half of parsley in small sauce pan. Heat until butter is melted. Drizzle butter into crevices of bread. Gently stuff cheese deep into crevices of bread, and sprinkle of top. Wrap bread in foil to cover. Bake 10 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 12 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve.
Hellodie from the great ENC…I want to introduce the older son of my dear lifelong friend Michѐle. I trust that you will learn more about him as the blog expands and he contributes more often with a more contemporary (read that as younger!) offering. This Friday heads up gives you time to study his recipes for two French Toasts, grab the ingredients, and bake it all up this weekend. Prep it for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner…Home Grown and Orchestrated like a Beautiful Symphony…That’s our Clark! And Now…
In his words: Hey I’m Clark – I’m 23 and live in Washington DC. Food has played an important role throughout my life whether eating out or cooking at home. Now that I have my own kitchen, I’ve been focused on developing new recipes and flavors as I cook to sustain and entertain.
I feel like the potential of French Toast often gets overlooked as an exciting dish because most restaurants don’t offer much variety around it. From my experience, most places that serve French toast don’t do it justice and I think that can be attributed to a few things. For one, assuming it’s a breakfast place, they are probably putting out high volume of orders. Often times this can result in thinner slices and drier toast, understandably due to the need to conserve portions and put out orders quickly. Another reason might be because better restaurants often only serve French toast as a breakfast item, allowing it to get overlooked as a featured dish. Whatever the case may be, I definitely prefer making it at home because you can control all the flavors and variables that go into the dish.
French toast can be so much better if you just take the time to soak the bread enough to yield a soft fluffy result instead of a chewy dry texture. Here are two recipes that can help you step up your French toast and get creative with the flavors.
Cardamom French toast (sweet)
Ingredients: Custard dip Coconut milk – 1-2 cans 2 egg yolks Mirin (can replace with sugar or honey) Cardamom – 1-3 tablespoons Cinnamon – 1 tablespoon Freshly ground nutmeg Vanilla extract – a few drops Coconut extract – a few drops (optional)
Other Loaf of challah or brioche Butter Sliced almonds or other crush nuts Poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional) Citrus zest (optional) Mint (optional)
Toast: Step 1: Combine all the custard ingredients to until they are mixed well. Adding the miring or sweetener to the custard will help the toast to caramelize when cooking Step 2: Cut bread into 1.5 inch slices (you need thick slices up to 2 in. If you want) Step 3: Soak bread in custard; make sure it gets fully coated on both sides and soaks up the liquid Step 4: (medium to high heat, 5-7) Add a knob of butter to a nonstick pan and let it get hot – the butter should be bubbling before you put the toast in Step 5: Set the toast in the pan and let it sit until the bottom starts to brown and crisp up, then flip and let the same happen to the other side.
Syrup/custard reduction: Take the remaining custard and put it into a small pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Add in more mirin (or other sweetener) and let it simmer uncovered so it reduces into a thick paste. Add more nutmeg/cardamom to taste. Once the custard is at the desired consistency, turn off the heat and mix in the nuts.
Plate the toast and top with your syrup reduction, citrus zest, poppy seeds and mint (or whatever else you would like)
Garlic & onion French toast (savory)
Ingredients: Savory custard dip Coconut milk – 1-2 cans 2 egg yolks Garlic cloves (a couple) Garlic powder Onion powder Any other herb/spice mixes (thyme, oregano, etc…) Salt
Other Loaf of challah or brioche Onions Zucchini Herb yogurt sauce Butter
Caramelized Topping Step 1: Slice onions and zucchini into thin pieces Step 2: Add sliced onions and zucchini to a sauce pan with some oil and salt to taste Step 3: On medium heat, cover with a lid and let them cook down, stirring once in a while until they caramelize (add a little butter or deglaze if needed) Step 4: (Optional) You can add different flavors to the caramelized onions like curry powder or paprika
Toast: Prep steps: Mince garlic Combine all the custard ingredients and mix well. (Optional but better) Heat custard to a brief simmer to bloom the garlic & herbs, then let cool in the fridge until room temp again
Step 1: Cut bread into 1.5 inch slices (you need thick slices up to 2 in. If you want) Step 2: Soak bread in custard; make sure it gets fully coated on both sides and soaks up the liquid Step 3: (medium to high heat, 5-7) Add a knob of butter to a nonstick pan and let it get hot – the butter should be bubbling before you put the toast in Step 4: Set the toast in the pan and let it sit until the bottom starts to brown and crisp up, then flip and let the same happen to the other side. Step 5: Lay down some type of sauce, plate the toast and top with the caramelized onions and zucchini
Notes: This dish is great paired with a light salad or mixed greens You can use cream too; I just prefer coconut milk In the picture I used leftover beef that I had from lunch but to keep it simple, I just used caramelized onions for the recipe You can customize most of the herbs, seasonings and flavors that go into this to make it your own
Hello Hello and Happy “FRInally” to One and All! This is a post to make you, your taste buds, and your tummy smile. I bet you have all of this right at your fingertips. So go create a simple little weekend appetizer guaranteed to delight.
…Not to sound all broken record blah blah but please remember to wash your hands, wear your mask, and put your energy where it will multiply, not where it will be drained. You’re welcome for that little life hack! 😉
French Baguette, sliced 1/2” thick
Olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing, divided
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place baguette slices on parchment lined baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil lightly.
Brush generously with Caesar dressing.
Toast 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Toss lettuce with remaining dressing.
Pile gently on each slice.
Top with shaved Parmesan.
Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Makes 12 thin appetizer slices.
Just a little post to enjoy until I can share the AMAZING floral arrangements we have been enjoying in Bangkok. Orchids. Orchids. Everywhere. AND, Karen and I are headed to a private three hour class with the chef here at Anantara in just a few minutes. More to come! Until then…
Recently I was yearning for a low, wide look for a few lilies I had on hand. All of my containers were too bulky for the task; so wandering around the house in search of something anything, it suddenly clicked as I entered my dining room. I borrowed pieces from my silver service and took them right into the sun-room and plopped them beside the sculpture by Jeff Kiefer. Set your silver free and use it all around the house!
Aww Lawdy. We had a VERY large time at the ECU/NCSU game and associated festivities this past Saturday at Ficklen Stadium….Yep, I’m Old School; it will ALWAYS be Ficklen Stadium to me, as My Sweet Dad purchased those 50 yard line tickets when it opened in 1963, and we are still enjoying them. Oh Yea! It was a fantastic game with lots of post-game food, games, and antics…shhhh…can’t share everything! Kicking off a slaw recipe perfect for any tailgating, post game, BBQ, or fried chicken dinner. Heck, this is perfect for any ole time. Go on…make yourself special and WOW your family and/or guests!
1 lb broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise*
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 t salt
1 t lemon zest
1/4 t ground red pepper
1 medium sized Napa cabbage, thinly sliced*
1/2 cup golden raisins
Cut broccoli florets into small pieces.
In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, onions, sugar, vinegar, salt, and lemon zest.
Add cabbage, raisins, and broccoli.
Stir to coat.
Cover and chill 1 hour.
*I used Light Canola Mayo.
*May substitute 16 oz package coleslaw mixture if you are in a real rush!
Serves 6 as a light side with pulled pork entree, or 12 on sliders.
Happy “After Labor Day”…which means fall IS coming and this heat will finally go away! As an appetizer feature at Peggy’s Mae Lew Farm Jubilee we served this yummy soup shooter! There is pure magic in these details. The rooster reminded us that we were on a farm, albeit, one glorious farm! Go grab some fresh white corn while it’s still available and make this great soup. It’s excellent for a light lunch as well. Use it people!
1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 green onions, white and tender green parts, chopped and separated
3/4 t ground coriander
3/4 t ground cumin
3/4 t chipotle chili powder
3 cups fresh corn kernels (if not available, use frozen white shoepeg corn, thawed)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat.
Cook garlic, white parts of onion, coriander, cumin, and chili powder.
Stir until garlic and onions are tender, about 3 minutes.
Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.
Transfer mixture to blender.
Add buttermilk, water, and salt.
Purée until smooth.
Chill at least 1 hour.
Serve chilled, garnished with green parts of onion and cilantro.
Makes 6 – 8 lunch serving sized bowls.
Or 20 soup shooters.
I adore cheese…and if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. So grab a mixture of sheep, cow, and goat cheese offerings. Serve it up with fresh seasonal fruits, dried apricots and cranberries, and a ginger snap or two. Crossing borders here with Humboldt Fog, a California goat milk cheese, followed up with Port Salut which is a semi-soft French cow’s milk cheese. Also served here is Brenton’s favorite, the semi-hard Manchego, made from the milk of sheep in the La Mancha region of her beloved Spain. For this particular tray, I rounded it out with a Dutch yellow cow’s milk Gouda. Rather spectacular. This presentation was for the umpteenth* one of my Mother’s 90th (XC) Birthday Jubilee Celebrations.
Umpteenth literally means an indefinitelylargenumberinsuccession. And that’s precisely how she celebrated this special birthday, party after party. Kudos to her…and us for the endless prepping of said parties! Self patting self on back…yep, that’s what my dear sister-in-law Su-Su and I are doing now that, after three full months, the celebrations are complete. Flowers and more yummies later! And that’s a promise, ’cause I’m gonna improve your future outcomes!
Need a really quick arrangement for a bare spot in your home for the Holidays. Tomorrow is Rush Rush Rush Day… So, stop by your garden center or floral shop and snag a cacti. Plop it in a ceramic, glass, or silver container…and voila! You better not watch, You better not cry, You better not pout, I’m telling you why…cacti, that’s why. Easy Breezy! See you on the other side of Christmas you all.