Tuesday, June 23, 2009

fiori di zucca & other things

I am off tomorrow morning for a little vacation. Heading north, and unplugging for a few days. For now, I leave you with a bit of culinary inspiration ~ greens from issue 3 of Jamie magazine (I just want to lose myself in those pages!). And, how cute is that zucchini (from the sunday market)!?

Speaking of zucchini, Greer has been frying up some fiori di zucca from her garden, with "just a simple pastella with flour and water and a spray of salt before biting down." However, if you feel like something slightly more sinful, you might try this.

Ok, be well. Type to you later.

P.S. You can catch me over here today (thanks Little Augury!).

Monday, June 22, 2009

welcome summer

What better way to welcome summer than with a mass of flowers? Or in my case, fresh tomato salad, a glass of rosé, and a new iPhone. I lingered on the roof last night until the sun finally set on the longest day. There is something magical about midsummer's night ~ or is it just that Shakespeare has forever romanticized it for us? What do you think?

And not to miss: Little Augury is celebrating the season with a fantastic summer reading series. Be sure to check in daily because you never know who is going to stop by with a bit of literary inspiration, or what goodies "little a" will give away!

Friday, June 19, 2009

trouvée: the gardener

This is my dad in the late 1940s, in his parents' garden in Ireland. He apparently liked to dig up the potatoes and check on their development. While he is somewhat less interested in root vegetables these days, he still likes to garden.

Some links:

* Paula McCartney
* a few botanicals
* and some interiors

Happy father's day to my dad! And a wonderful weekend to all. Summer begins on sunday.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

scenes from a picnic

No weekend outing would be complete without some seriously good food (and a few vintage cars!). I always love pulling out the old Polaroid for a picnic...and letting the good times roll.

Speaking of food:

* looking for the perfect summer dish?
* how do I get invited to one of these Sunday Suppers?
* and, are you feeling adventurous? because this is not your grandmother's ice cream!

Happy thursday to you all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

historic house tour: poplar forest

A bright, sunny (and typically steamy) Virginia Saturday marked the last of the house tours for the season. A very hardy group of six (including our favorite architect) set out for a 4-hour drive to Poplar Forest, the country retreat of Thomas Jefferson. Located some 90 miles south west of Monticello, near Lynchburg, Poplar Forest served as a refuge for Jefferson: “I have fixed myself comfortably, keep some books here, bring others occasionally, am in the solitude of a hermit, and quite at leisure to attend to my absent friends,” he wrote to Benjamin Rush in 1811. He began construction on the house in 1806 and (as with Monticello) continued to work on it until his death in 1826. However, the main hexagonal block of the house was for the most part complete by the time Jefferson decided to add an east wing of offices in 1814. In typical Palladian fashion, Jefferson intended there to be a west wing, though it was never constructed. The house is flanked by two ornamental mounds of earth and necessaries (which look more ornamental than necessary), and a sunken lawn extends out from the south façade of the house.

Over the years the house suffered a devastating fire and several generations of alterations, so the current structure is a restoration based on exhaustive architectural investigation, archeology, and Jefferson’s own meticulous plans and writings. “When finished it will be the best dwelling house in the state, except that of Monticello; perhaps preferable to that, as more proportioned to the faculties of a private citizen,” he wrote to John Wayles Eppes in 1812. Indeed, Mr. Jefferson, it is one of the finest I have seen.

For a bit more, see Stefan’s fantastic post, and my flickr. Special thanks to Mr. Rudder for providing the perfect quotes and inspiring me to make the journey south.

P.S. I couldn't resist posting the obligatory southern magnolia, even though that particular tree wasn't even a seedling when Jefferson inhabited the house. He of course preferred poplars.

Monday, June 15, 2009

green, green

Bright sun and beautiful greens at the market yesterday. It was one of those days where I filled my bag with far more than one person can possibly consume. But, I like a challenge, so we'll see what I can dish up this week. Peas made their debut...and I am dying to get my hands on a certain potato salad recipe with fresh peas and dill (G!).

Overall, a fantastically busy weekend ~ and I have lots to share. So, more tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

bathing beauties III

Uninscribed and undated, but looking sassy with a camera. In Santa Monica, maybe?

The friday links:

* floating or falling? (artboards in Kansas City)
* Touched by Fire (more here)
* and Rinne Allen's new site

Weekend plans include: a little retreat (!) and some sun bathing (hurrah!). Here's hoping yours is a happy one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

dark and lovely

Yesterday morning I was woken by a huge crack of thunder as another dramatic storm slammed into Washington. Yet another chased me home in the evening, dark clouds casting a green tinge over the city. Funny weather.

Speaking of green ~ for those of you who love the idea of a lemon verbena gimlet, but don't have a ready supply in the backyard, a friend of mine suggested trying this version with basil.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

summer evenings

Summer evenings are made for strolling. The shadows are long and the temperatures mild. People sit outdoors on their stoops, sipping cold drinks and smoking cigarettes. And afterwards, a glass of wine, or perhaps a lemon verbena gimlet?

A few lovely things:
* an update from Greer ~ the first home-grown salad!

And as the newspaper man yelled at me this morning: "welcome to your tuesday!"

Monday, June 8, 2009

al fresco!

Summer meals al fresco ~ this weekend was full of them. The rain finally cleared out and we were treated to blue skies and warm temperatures. On the menu was homemade quiche Lorraine and tomato salad with fresh basil and asparagus. Cherries made their debut at the market ~ and they didn't last long! Neither did this raspberry buttermilk cake, which I made saturday morning (it didn't even stick around long enough for a photo session!). Very pretty, and so easy to make.

I hope you all had a yummy weekend.

Friday, June 5, 2009

bathing beauties II

Inscribed: "To Brother / This is my girl friend Phyllis and myself getting ready to take a dive. Isn't my bathing suit cute. / Shirley / 7-5-30." Can't remember where I found this...maybe in Maine. Don't you remember the youthful excitement of a new suit?

Some friday photo links:

* lantern slides (thanks jg!)
* the Factory
* and some Stacks

Have a great weekend. I do hope the sun will make an appearance.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

rain, rain

We have had a dramatic week of weather here in Washington. Huge dark thunder clouds and monsoon rains. My apartment faces west, so I get quite a lightening show as the storms roll in. I have been sticking close to home, enjoying a new cookbook, and taking the opportunity to get some stitching done.

Things brightening my day:

* Cannelle et Vanille
* ginger lemon cremes (with my evening cuppa)
* and a $4 find at the used book store!

More tomorrow...until then, be well. xo.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I have been organizing old photos and came across this one, which I have posted before. But, it reminds me that gooseberries are on the way. They are always really cheap at the market because no one ever seems to know what to do with them. Well, lately I have been a bit obsessed with chutney, and so when I stumbled across this recipe, I thought it sounded too good not to try:

Gooseberry Chutney

3 lbs of gooseberries
1 lb of sugar
½ lb of onions
1 pint of vinegar
½ pint of water
½ oz of salt
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Top and tail the gooseberries, and chop roughly. Finely chop the onions; then cook with the berries in the water until they are softened well. Add the remaining ingredients, then simmer until the chutney becomes thick, stirring occasionally. Bottle while still hot, and cover immediately.

Monday, June 1, 2009

summer weekends

My weekends are slipping into a happy summer routine of apartment renovations and sunday morning outings to the farmers' market, followed by evenings at home, cooking. Sometimes, staying close to home feels really nice, even if it makes for quiet posts here on the blog.

Naturally, I am feeling domestically inspired these days:
* World of Interiors (the June issue ~ gorgeous)
* and anticipating Jamie, issue 3 (hurry up Borders!)

Happy monday!