Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A white invitation...

As the white heat beats up my frazzled body, my mind dazzles itself in the sheerness of white: soft, draping, linen & airy. With all my Scandinavian jewels cooling my soul I yearn for the Midsommer parties, crisp cool sunlit evenings & casual social ways they effortlessly engage in.
So instead of commiserating, I'm consummating my love with an invite for all to an afternoon only an imagined moment away...

Travelling down the path you'll notice how cool you're skin already is. Notice I've not paved the way. This is my secluded respite & I'd like to keep it so.I hope you're dressed crisply, softly & comfy cozy. My dress is waiting for me. Wrinkles in linen spell relaxed, remember that as you dress, no fretting, understand??? My home?? Well it remains only in my head so how can I show it you. I can not, so instead imagine a cottage & a home nestled in a spot of heaven: gentile, gracious, filled in every trace of space with love & laughter. You'll never want to leave.
Iced white tea by the door, my stars, how kind, please help yourself.
I've placed flora blanca everywhere. Whats a ladylike invite without such trappings of decadence? There's even a few bouquets lounging, begging for you to take them home...you will.
How do like my dining room, the view through its French doors???? Intimate is always the way to go. I love laughter, chatter, this & thatter so expect a joyous time.

My silver, the china is vintage mixing & matching, through the only a love for what it is & a whisper in my ear .... "psst, buy me???" Monogrammed linens beg me as well & you'll notice your napkin is your initial.
Nibbles, no quibbles I've made one bite wonders. Could it be a tea without those lovely little sandwiches?? Noooo I've done plenty. Chevre with my fig jam, smoked salmon mousse & cucumbers (I prefer the Persians) & my Waldorf chicken salad. Cheese treats rare & wordly. Now a fun surprise: Prosecco with lemon sorbet a vino treat not too sweet. Ladies & libations always work so well together.
Dessert: did you think I forgot?? Me never!!! Coconut cupcakes, hummingbird cake, Aran's meringues kisses & my mother white almond bark: treats with icy drinks.

Shall we wander the grounds, your welcome to my hammock or another nook to retire or converse. As the day winds down & reality sets in, I'm sad to see you go, but I know you shall return. Think of this day often as you use your takeaway treat, monogrammed for you, softened by me & always this day will be cool to the touch of your skin, refreshing.

Images courtesy of Country Living, Martha Stewart, Skona Hem & Southern Living

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A week takes flight from the tips of my fingers...

Betwixt & between, scurrying for that last breath, I gulped this morning awaking to realize that the my grasp on the last week had somehow gone loose & whoosh...it had slipped from my fingers. I had so many posts planned & yet somewhere between Tuesday & breathless I let it all disappear.

I daydreamed a bit too much, missing my gardens, revisiting photos I use to find inspiration, now instead they comfort me in the blazing white heat of Arizona. I yearned for the largest popsicle ever..to lay upon & an escape hatch through my wardrobe to tranquility.

So my apologies, dear friends. I shall sleep strongly tonight & blog again this week with fever pitch on cherries, my love of red & blue everywhere, a white delight tea time event & keeping cool...so many steps to the top of feeling accomplished.
Have you ever lost an entire to with no idea where it went????

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pesto party, the basil's hardy !!!!!

Moving to Arizona changed so many aspects of my life but losing my gardening capacities was a difficultly I have yet to adapt to. Flowers, veggies, fruits & herbs dominated my warm season life & yet how ironic to live now in all warm season only to be surrounded by desert. However there's still basil.
Basil loves hot weather, drying out in between watering, heck you can ignore it. To be blunt; anyone can grow basil, so anyone reading should try. Tip one: buy seeds. A plant nowadays costs above 3.00 & for half that you can enough seeds to last a long time. The rest you can follow the directions on the pack. By the way Botanical Interests is my favorite brand. I've never had failure with their seeds.

So with Thai, flavored basil such as, lemon, lime, even cinnamon, & enough varieties to make your head spin, I say "Bon giorno genovese!!" & be done with it. Its classic, hardy & giving. Remember though to pluck from tender stems, taking the stem to ensure new growth & all before flowering. Now go create & eat.

Pesto...easy right??? Definitely, use a processor, use a mortar & pestle...hmmm notice the words similarities?? Well it is where the origins comes into play. By the way I've done it both ways & there is a difference: the pestle doesn't bruise the leaves & retains its truest flavor but really who has that much time. My pesto secrets are toasting the pine nuts, GOOD parmigiano reggiano always sea salt &...&..my Nicolas Alziari olive oil. Sssshhhhhh. Ironically its French buts this oil is soo wonderful. Now if you're looking for a bolder, fruitier oil flavor then by all means, use it but I prefer my basil to shine so I use my liquid gold. Yum, yum is this not heavenly????

Here comes the fun... add O California port balsamic, jalapeno, walnuts, lemon juice & zest whatever floats your boat.

I make aioli verde for sandwiches, throw a tablespoon into hummus, lighten its consistency for salad dressing, dollop over creme fraiche for a quick dip, Lordy I can go on & on like the basil in the pot seems to be...exploding. If you do wish it to keep... airtight glass jar & olive oil on top to seal, but really make it as you go & truthfully a little pasta, a glass of prosecco & life is good.

My other stand by recipes are simple. An heirloom caprese salad using fresh room temp tomatoes & buffalo mozzarella, the Alziari oil, sea salt & a bit of pepper. Use romas so it less seedy but add the sweet grapes, stretch the color palette & go nuts. I love purple Cherokees too.
Sometimes I switch the cheese for an herb chevre, it really lends itself well to the heirlooms. I've also done a splash of lemon to brighten it up when the tomatoes are less acidic as some heirlooms can be.

My other is Pesto Ricotta Pie. I first found the recipe in Country Living & retooled it a bit, leaving the pine nuts whole , adding to the pie later. but seriously how pretty is this? The rough edges of the phyllo cascading out did me in & yup I using my scissors too, to make the great edging but sometimes tearing it roughly looks great as well.
My last word is quality. I've always believed quality over quantity in life which is why I'll always tell you to get the best. Sure the reggiano & buffalo mozzarella cost more but you're using it as an accent so a small amount is only needed.
Til then sit back, eat & enjoy a favorite view of mine.

Images courtesy of Country Living & skona hem

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whimsy for Wednesday, the week & forever....Amen!!!!

By now its rather apparent that I'm a sucker for cheery, whimsy & color as much as the touches of traditional. I love to look under & beyond the norm. Sometimes its dirt cheap & believe me, I do a little happy dance when it happens. More often though its a bit out of my range or it goes on my " I won the lottery!!!!" list.
Stray Dog Designs falls somewhere in between & for that I'm grateful. Some of their designs are affordable, some a dream or the right 6 numbers out of reach, but either way. I believe we all require a bit of their whimsy.

I first encountered them years ago when they're box arrived at the boutique I was running & after the bubble wrap revealed they're hand painted metal treasures, was smitten for good. The box set had me at hello & the quality level kept me there (I had a rep for being "the picky bitch" when it came to quality control. It was an insult from a lousy company that I wear still as a badge of honor.) By the way wouldn't this be a cute cake!!

Their lamps, whether its the Sam Buffet , the Buttercup or the Stephanie floor lamp, are so fun but then can you imagine going further down the yellow brick road & adding an artichoke or a pink bird as icing on that whimsy cake. Chandeliers...saving the best for last....

Holidays are a favorite in fact these trees go well anywhere (my little Hailey still yearns for a set in her bedroom), but its their ornaments that slay me. Are these not the ultimate in whimsy & to boot I'd use them all year. They giggly whisper, hang me anywhere, glue me to a frame, the murmurs are endless.

Finally the chandeliers. How cute is this play on the traditional . Did I mention they have other color & shade styles???

I love the Wavy Gravy fixture but when you add their flower magnets it just becomes fantastic. I see it over my breakfast table, memories cascading off the edge. How could this not make you happy.

For me this it. I love this piece and know when I find the right room I'll add a few colorful birds to the mix.

Now for all you whiteaholics out there...Mimi I'm thinking directly of you....they actually have a HUGE selection of the blanc too, not to mention glass, ceramics, even furniture, all just as lovely but this is where my heart resides at Stray Dog.

Add some whimsy to the rest of your week in any way possible!!!