Friday, July 30, 2010

trouvée: the schooner

This photograph is not inscribed. However, I am told it was taken on Owl's Head, Maine, in the summer of 1892. It is hard to believe this little scene was captured more than 100 years old, it seems so fresh. Ahhhh. . . some things never change. {click to view larger}

The gentleman and I are off to Maine early tomorrow morning. We will pick up my niece and nephew along the way, experienced beachcombers both.

Oh happy summer!

See you in a week. . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

summer cookin'

As you can imagine I have been doing everything I can to avoid cooking in this heat. So I have become a little obsessed with summer soups. Fresh flavors blended together, which once prepared can be pulled out of the fridge and quickly heated (or not!). And garlic, lots of garlic (!) seems to be the common element in almost everything I make. Of course the garlic scapes are gone for the season, but they were glorious while they lasted.

Here are some summer favorites:

* a bevy of garlic recipes
* green gazpacho
* sautéed zucchini
* and peaches!

Yum. What are you cooking these days?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

(un)mellow yellow

A few last bits from De Wiersse ~ the wisteria in bloom was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I have almost finished uploading all the Netherlands photographs (see here!). Just a few more to go.

Transitioning back to this side of the Atlantic. . . there was a little piece in this month's Elle Decor that caught my eye, about the reinterpretation of some of the rooms at Monticello (if you blinked you would have missed it). The dining room has had a most dramatic makeover ~ going from periwinkle blue to a vibrant chrome yellow. And for the first time, the second floor and famous Dome Room will be open to the public. If you are interested, there's a good post here with lots more information and some really fabulous photographs.

Friday, July 23, 2010

trouvée: the farmer's wife

"The farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife. . ." For some reason this photograph makes me want to giggle.

A few things:

* the Tenement Museum launches a new image database (really amazing, amazing stuff)
* Rokeby House ~ a stunning legacy or a family burden?
* and the Gettys in Tuscany (a different sort of legacy)

Gosh, it has been a busy week ~ reports to write, gardens to water, weddings to plan (you know, the usual). So I hope you'll forgive the spotty posting. I have a few goodies for next week though. Until then, have a wonderful weekend.

Oh, and do try to stay cool.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

wine and rosés

Here is a great idea for a bachelorette party: invite a bunch of friends, hire a van and driver, and spend a day in the Virginia wine country. This past saturday we celebrated my friend Hillary's upcoming nuptials amidst the vines with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just glorious.

Along the way I discovered a wonderful new rosé at La Grange winery. It smells just like strawberries, but tastes crisp and dry! I paired it with a bowl of José Andrés' Gazpacho al Estilo de Patricia, and a soft blue cheese. Perfecto!

Monday, July 19, 2010

night lights

In Washington you can almost set your watch by the summer thunderstorms. The heat builds all day, and the air become pregnant with electricity. Then POW! it all explodes in the evening. These photographs are from 11:00pm last night. The sky lit up with the most amazing pinks and lavenders.

Here's wishing you. . .

A peaceful night.

Friday, July 16, 2010

trouvée: sunshine

Time out for a trouvée! This one found in Texas earlier this year. Inscribed "too much sunshine" and printed by Hicks Photo Finishers, 3828 Georgia Ave. Washington, DC.

I saw two fabulous photography exhibitions in the Netherlands:

* In Atmospheric Light at Rembrandthuis
* and Amsterdam 1845-1875: The First Photographs at the Stadsarchief

They have since closed, but there are catalogues available in Dutch and English for both (available here and here).

Happy weekend. . . and enjoy that sunshine!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

long summer evenings

Long summer evenings in Michigan, when the sun doesn't set until after 9:00. You sip wine on the porch and steal occasional kisses from your gentleman. You eat from the garden and cook on the grill. You watch fireflies signal to each other as they slowly float across the lawn.

And you are thankful ~ because these are moments of pure contentment.

Friday, July 9, 2010

into the garden

De Wiersse. I am almost speechless. The property, which dates back to the 13th century, has been cared for by the same family since 1678. The house is lovely and its collections beautifully curated, but it is the gardens that stunned us with their elegance and complexity. Even on a rainy day, we felt our nerves calm and our hearts lift. Our normally fast-paced walk become an involuntary saunter ~ through fields of buttercups accented by modernist topiaries, wooded glens, and idyllic vegetable, fruit and flower gardens.

I have an airplane to catch, so I will leave you with a view through the asparagus to what can only be described as the most glorious kitchen garden I have ever seen. There is more to come next week from de Weirsse (however, if you haven't the patience, you may wander through some photographs here).

Happy weekend.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

green fields

Ahhhh. . . I am dreaming of cool summer greens. And fields of wildflowers that are anywhere but here. Because 102 degrees is much too much.

There is an extraordinary garden I am dying to show you (because I think it is time for a really good garden). Tomorrow, tomorrow. It will be worth the wait, I promise. There is a little something for everyone ~ from fields of buttercups and wooded allés to bowers of wisteria and espaliered fruit trees. Above is a sneak peek.

Until then. . .

Good night.

Stay cool.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

evening at rosendael

After a weekend of friends, food and fireworks, my head is back in the Netherlands. A little escapism from the horrible heat. . .

Today I am thinking of Rosendael. Architecturally, the house is a bit disjointed with a medieval keep and two 17th-century wings. Over the centuries it seems to have grown organically, added onto and modified in stages, rather than subjected to wholesale renovations. It has passed through only two families in its long history and is regarded as one of the most important houses in the Gelderland.

However, it is the landscape and gardens that truly make Rosendael a standout. Only a few miles from the German border, the terrain is hillier and more varied than most of the Netherlands. In the late 17th century, Daniel Marot was enlisted to transform the grounds into a stunning series of vistas, accented by decorative features and water follies (including the famous Bedriegertjes, or trick fountains). In the first half of the 19th century, J.D. Zocher the Younger was hired to redesign the grounds to something more picturesque. However, Marot's glorious shell grotto, painted pavilion, and fountains survive. Because of its proximity to the German border, the house and gardens sustained significant bomb damage during the Second World War. While the family tried valiantly to restore the property, it was eventually turned over to the Gelderland Landscape Trust in 1978. Since then the Trust has worked to bring the house back to its former glory, opening the house to the public in 1990. It is hard now to imagine such an idyllic setting in the midst of such violent warfare. But least we forget, the curator pointed out several books in the library, bullets still lodged in their spines.

More photographs here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

from vine to table

Well, if the hot weather is good for anything, it is tomatoes!

Hurrah! Our first summer salad of roof-top tomatoes (a medley of "Lemon Boy," "Cherokee," "Ace 55," and "Early Girl"). Served with local Virginia mozzarella, a healthy drizzle of Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. The fruits of our labor (literally). We shared them with our neighbors, along with homemade mint mojitos, cucumber salad tossed with lemon juice and dill, penne with spicy tomato sauce, and stuffing balls with corn, sage and rosemary. All the herbs came from the roof garden.

I hope you have something lovely planned for the weekend. Happy July 4th to my American friends! I'll be back next week with more from the Netherlands.