Showing newest 11 of 24 posts from November 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 11 of 24 posts from November 2009. Show older posts

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Use it or Lose it!


Do you have handed down tablecloths that are so precious that they have remained in the dark for generations?
A hand embroidered napkin with a razor sharp 
crease that will never see the light of day?
Whiter than white pressed runner 
not given a chance to run?

Take your good linens out,
as above,
these cherished heirlooms 
should be enjoyed and loved.
My mother kept all her linens packaged safely away,
waiting for a 'special occasion'
afraid one of her six kids would spill something on them and 'ruin' them.
One of the saddest things about clearing out their house
after they passed away, my mom at 69 my dad at 73, 
was that that 'special occasion'
never came.
Those treasured linens remained in drawers
 or in boxes 
never to hear the laughter of a joke well told, 
the clink of champagne glasses,
the here-here to an exceptional toast...
Never had a spot of tea.
Never a taste of cranberry dressing.
How sad.

I now use all my cherished items, 
whenever the opportunity arises.
Why Wait? 
Not to sound morose 
Today could just be the last day of your life,
not the first.

plus most stains come out
 with a little salt and club soda anyway!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Enjoying a very thank filled Thanksgiving at my best friend's home, Barking Dog Farm, in the Berkshires.

Jeremy smoked this turkey the other day. He's a good dancer.

We are about to pop the raw bird bird in to the oven.
I love this holiday!
What's not to love?
Great Food
Awesome Friends and Family
Multiple Pies
Lots of Dogs
Many Thanks!

Wishing you all the best!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Operation Santa

Well it's 5:42am and I am just heading to bed, 
I have been up all night like a busy little elf
shopping for 28 kids online. 
Mostly coats, snow boots and pajamas.
I am a secret Santa for Operation Santa Bronx
This is my second year and a big one at that!
My husband's company is sponsoring a whole classroom which is more than exciting
as these kids have nothing, less that nothing and could use just about anything.

Especially a warm coat and sturdy boots for winter. 

Principal Torres from PS55 in the Bronx was at the event tonight 
where they handed out the kids' "Letters To Santa" 
(I wish my scanner worked on this computer....arrrr....they are priceless)

He was telling us stories about how some kids don't even have socks.
One home visit he had, to a child's apartment to see why he wasn't doing his homework, discovered the child did not even have a table to work on.
Or eat on.
That is IF he has food to eat.


Come on. 
This should not be happening 25 miles away from Greenwich, CT
my hometown,
one of the wealthiest communities in the world.

We can make a difference.
YOU can make a difference.
If you are in the area and would like a letter
please let me know.
If you are in the area and can't spare any money how about some of your time?
God knows I am going to need a LOT of help wrapping, making tags,
and gathering last minute goodies.
Please help.
This is what CHRISTmas is all about ladies and germs.
Trust me it feels really good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fine Friends and Good Wine

Last night one of my oldest, dearest friends was here for dinner.

She lives out in California now, back at the winery where her family produces some of the best wine in the country.  If you find yourself out in Sonoma County, please stop by Benziger Winery for a tour, you won't be disappointed.
Tell them Abby sent you.

She brought over a couple delicious bottles for us last night which we enjoyed with a mini-thanksgiving feast of cornish game hens with stuffing (embarrassed to say they were Perdue birds individually packed in the bags that you cook them in), 
green beans with slivered almonds (precut in bag, microwaved with a little water topped with butter), 
roasted rosemary potato wedges (sliced in to wedges tossed with salt, pep and rosemary...roasted at 400 forever) and gravy (made with juices from inside bags and a little flour). 
Surprisingly, this was a very easy meal to make and great way to stretch your stomach for the upcoming feast on Thursday!

Wish I had some photos of the dinner, was too wrapped up in the dance of getting everything together at the last minute and just spaced it... 
but I got a shot of dessert.
Again very simple, made an 8x8 tray of Giardelli's brownies (excellent!), cut them up into 1" squares, served in these lovely cups with some whipped cream, some slivered almonds and a little port.

Here is a photo of the table as I found it this morning. 

That made me smile.
Nice reminder of the fun we had last night. 
Old times, goods friends and fine wine. 
Enjoy your upcoming week, may there be lots of that in store for you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Heroes Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Did you ever know that you're my hero Hearos

you're everything.... everything.....I think I need.
I thank God for you Hearos, the wind beneath my sleeping wings.

I can now sleep through the night using just one of these bad boys in my left ear, right ear pretty much stays on pillow.

As a light sleeper I wake up throughout the night:


the snap of a branch when those damn deer are enjoying a little nighttime noshing on my hostas 

The jingle of Cheddar's collar when he jumps up to investigate said deer.

 My husband's gentle, delicious snoring floating like beautiful clouds over my wide awake head.

Don't get me wrong, 
I get a lot of stuff done when I wake up at 3am. 

Ahem, like blog posts. 

But this girl gets real tired around 3pm 
and doesn't have the luxury of naptime.
Did you know Martha sleeps about 4-5 hours a night?
Explains a lot right?

Hearos. My Heroes.
and the reason my posting yesterday was about 4 hours late

Saturday, November 21, 2009

You Don't Bring Me Flowers....Anymore...

Love that cheese-ball song

Now that our garden has been put to bed
fresh flower arrangements are a thing of the past. 
That doesn't mean I don't have lovely bits of nature
gracing our tabletops.

Some shiny apples in a cool mid-century German bowl
Also double as a healthy dessert!
Porcelain eggshells
in a Simon Pearce bowl
grace our foyer year round.
Bittersweet branches in a 
bronze trumpet vase.
Those antlers are ones the Cheddar brought home.
He loves to prop too.
I love autumn leaves tossed about the dining table
bringing the outdoors in.
This is a little more controlled and something I plan on
doing on our Thanksgiving table along with
oak leaf 'place cards' with monikers in silver pen.
I gathered these oak leaves on a hike with Cheddar,
bunched them all together (stem side down) and jammed them in this handsome old stein.
Make sure you keep leaves a safe distance from
open flames! 
Firemen are hot but I don't need them coming to our house 
because our dining room is on fire (again)
This old stein in one of my favorite things, it was obviously someone else's as they had it stapled together to repair a crack long ago.
 I think that just adds to the character of the piece. 
Like smile lines.

What on your table makes you smile?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thank FULL for Love

A week after Veteran's Day, this past wednesday,
 I went to my good friend's house for a girls' night in.
Her son Donald is overseas protecting us and
she wanted to honor him and the other troops by sending them some fun stuff.
She hosted a care package party.

Everybody brings something to send off to our troops overseas, 
In this case - her son and his platoon.

So far from home.

What do you send?

Love I say!

Once again Love Rules the Day!

Sending anything is sending love.
I sent all my favorite DVDs. 
If I need to see
 I can always run to Blockbuster!

In this season of 
thanks and giving
please consider giving a minute of your time to send a note to our troops.

Those kids are far from home
and could use some love.

Especially a mother's love.
Thanks Lizzie
pulling it all together 
and sending off some
care packages
overflowing with
~and for raising such a fine example of a man~

Thank you for sending the postcards to our unit! While soldiers routinely grab all the snacks, toiletries, magazines and books out of care packages, it is the letters, cards and postcards with heartfelt messages that mean the most and truly remind us that the folks back home care and appreciate what we do.

Thank you for showing that support. Have a great week and keep up the good work.
- A member of the Military Police

This is the top of my stove right now. Left hand side: Rare Dutch Delft 1945 tile made to remember the Operation Chowhound-Manna food drop missions features RAF Lancasters dropping food with woman and child waving flag below. April 29-May 5, 1945. Their dreams came true. Middle is a turkey mold, two sided. I am going to try some butter molds with that this year. Pray it comes out alright. Far right is a picture I drew for my mom when I was about 4. That's her on the right, praying, my dad on the left also praying and a thanksgiving turkey in the middle.  I don't think the turkey's prayers came true but I hope yours do!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who You Callin' Turkey?!

A week
Have you figured out your menu?
I need some good recipes for sides...

Update: Just came across this on the New York Times online:
I like that you can make it the day before as we will be traveling to the Berkshires
but especially like that I can rename it 
'Corky's Rutabaga and Pear Puree'
How often do you get to say rutabaga?
roooot ahhhhh bay gaaaaa.
When will you ever be able to say Corky and Rutabaga in the same breath again??!
I'm sold.

Corky Pollan’s Turnip and Pear Purée

2 large waxed turnips (rutabagas), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 Bosc pears, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons bitter-orange marmalade (Trapist, Hero or Chivers)
1 teaspoon dried ginger (not fresh)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or to taste)

1. In a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and the turnips. Boil until almost soft, about 20 minutes.

2. Once turnips are soft, add the pears and continue to cook until tender. It’s better to overcook than undercook. Drain the turnips and pears well and return them to the pot on stovetop, heating until dry.

3. Place turnips and pears in a food processor. Add the marmalade, ginger, salt and a couple generous twists of pepper. Purée until smooth. If the purée seems dry, add a tablespoon or so of orange juice.

4. Turn out into a casserole dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. The purée can be made a day in advance and refrigerated, and then heated in a 350 oven for an hour.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Warm Your Soul

This is the recipe I give away more than any other.

Maybe because it is so easy to make
all skill levels can handle it.

Maybe because it takes minutes
so even the busiest will give it a try.

Maybe because most of the ingredients are right in your pantry so you can whip it up without a trip to the market.

I took a gig as a food stylist a long time ago and this was the recipe I had to 'test' for the production co and the chef.
I was hooked, with the recipe, not food styling. 
I'd much rather prop the food than make it!

In a saucepan saute some diced (med dice) onion in a little olive oil, until it is translucent. 
Maybe a minced clove of garlic if you are feeling it.

Add tomato soup, according to directions and servings needed.
Muir Organic makes a delicious one.

When soup is about boiling add some Barilla bagged dried tortellini, basically a small handful of dried pasta per each cup of soup.
(I love all things Barilla, just finished up a shoot for them ~ molto amore!)

Cook for a little longer than time stated on bag 
(I usually like my pasta al dente but in this case it is better somewhat swollen and mushy)
Right before you serve, toss in some fresh spinach 
(you can also use drained and thawed frozen spinach but I try to always have some fresh in my fridge for salads and cooking)
Stir and Serve.
Top with some shaved parm.
This is the best lunch for a chilly day. 
Really warms the soul.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tin is IN!

As I mentioned in my last post I am propping a cookbook - 
so in the past few days I have been pulling props
 that I think would work well with the chef.

Old friends like these.

I have always like the way food looks in rustic vessels. 
Like brownies in a graniteware pan. 
Lamb shanks and artichokes in an antique copper pot.

These pieces have real history and speak to me.

If this cookie sheet could talk...
can you imagine all the love that somebody's Grandma baked up on this baby?

How many garden delights were bathed in this old colander?

As my sweet mother would say:
"make new friends but keep the old,
one is silver and the other is gold"

Tin is my old friend too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Prop Project

 Pulling props in the barn yesterday, finding the perfect stuff for a cookbook I am working on,
 I unearthed this nice tray that could be great with just a little tweaking.

LOVE LOVE LOVE shooting cookbooks. Mainly because you can crank the music while working and in the end you have tactile proof of your efforts.

I digress.

Back to the tray.

 I bought it for a dollar at a tag sale a while ago.
Loved the shape of it but was not crazy about the stenciled design,
especially that bed of reindeer moss the ladies are perched on. 
If those are in fact ladies, they could be aliens at a renaissance fair.

First I lightly sanded the design, sorry past crafter!, so the paint would adhere better.

Then I taped it off with some painting tape and paper towels, 
wipe with a damp cloth to remove sanding dust.
I wanted to keep the gold stripes, they seemed original to the piece and added a bit of elegance.
Using black matte spray paint 
(I like the kind used to repaint BBQ grills)
I sprayed over the design.

Here it is, already at work, holding some of my friend Jeremy's pear brandy
in a sweet decanter complete with a lady apple topper.


I will certainly use this in the new cookbook.

Without the design it is like a blank canvas, 
just screaming out for some cool props.

not too bad for a dollar and a little effort huh?
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