Brrrrr, It’s Cold

January 23, 2022

Shoveling’s done, dinner’s in the oven, fire’s going and you’re about to get your binge on. All that’s missing is a quick comforting snack on this bitter cold Sunday afternoon. Me, I’m thinking about making two. Not only because they compliment each other perfectly, but because I had all of the items on hand and I couldn’t decide between them …Blistered Shishito Peppers and Pizza Fritte.

 

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Heat up a couple glugs of oil in your favorite cast iron skillet until shimmering and toss in your Shishito peppers. Fair warning, they will sputter and pop. A quick turn and blister the other side, drain on a paper towel and hit with a sprinkle of coarse salt. Then while the pan is still hot add more oil to about 1/2″.  Tear off nice size pieces from a ball of pre-made pizza dough, pull and flatten slightly and fry in hot oil. Turn when the bottoms are golden and fry on the reverse side. Drain, sprinkle with coarse salt and serve with a drizzle of hot honey.

photos: gp

 

 

Takin’ a minute…

January 13, 2022

on this cold, gray day to do a bit of daydreaming and sort through some inspiration for upcoming projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top to bottom:

Vintage midcentury Italian fixture by Stilnovo   photo via Plastolux

Modern landscaping   photo via: Remash Tumblr 

Vintage modern Paul McCobb Planners group desk  photo via Plastolux

Simple concrete courtyard   photo: Remash Tumblr

Public art installation at the London Fruit and Wool Exchange   photo via Plastolux

Vladimir Kagan Korduda Sofa   photo via Plastolux

A gorgeous heart oak cube…perfect.   photo via Plastolux

Vintage 60’s Platner Lounge Chair reimagined in Zebra.    Photo via Plastolux

Minimalist Palm Springs residence by the Kaplan Group   photo via Plastolux

 

 

 

 

New Year,

January 9, 2022

new outlook. It’s always great to start the New Year armed with what you need to tackle whatever comes your way. A new yearly calendar ( yes, old school ) a handful of new Uniballs and black Sharpies and a crisp blank journal is where I always start. That’s pretty much all you need to do a quick jot of your goals, plans, and inspiration, contained for easy reference. That covered, maybe hone and old skill or develop a new one to help you work your way through the day smarter, not harder. And, if you’re still working from home, maybe treat yourself a little and up the business casual with some cashmere…a classic crew neck sweater for the waist up...cashmere sweatpants from the waist down. 2022, we’re ready for ya.

 

 

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photos 1 & 3: gp

Happy Anniversary to…

January 6, 2022

simplequietmodern. Yep, ten years down and ready to dig into number eleven. As always, you know what I say about any celebration…there’s gotta be cake. To be sure, there will be cake at some point, but for now I’m thinking a glass of something festive to toast and a box of sparklers will have to do the trick in these uncertain times. It’s not a time to be gathering and I’m not about to polish off a cake by myself. For now I might just dream about cakes from the last decade that are contenders.

 

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After the bubbly, from the top:

What’s more festive and modern than a naked confetti cake?  Photo: Bon Appetit

Maybe something simple. It doesn’t get any simpler that chocolate cake with with white frosting.

Mocha Layer Cake with Sour Cream Ganache?  I feel a nap coming on. photo: the Hungry Mouse

I’ve been looking for an excuse to make this cake for years. Cake and meringue baked together and stacked with whipped cream. And, did I mention it has walnuts in it? Maybe this year.

Or perhaps this showstopper created by my friend, architect Kirsten Johnstone. Yes, please. photo: Kirsten Johnstone

Photos: gp unless noted.

 

Wake Up

January 1, 2022

It’s a brand new year. And, with that, comes the hope of a better year. Not too much to ask, is it? Before we get started we might need a little sustenance on this long holiday weekend. Any of the following are easy to pull together in just a little time and pair nicely with a glass or two of something sparkling. Happy New Year!

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From the top:

Pop that cork, it’s time to start cooking. Champagne or Prosecco straight or with a festive splash of peach or pomegranate juice will get things started.

If you were lucky enough to have been gifted a Panettone  for the holidays, now’s the perfect time to turn it into French toast and serve it up with a big bowl of Cara Cara oranges. Done.

Chilaquiles are a always a fun way to start the day, or the New Year. Rick Bayless will walk you though it here. http://www.fronterafiesta.com/cook/starters-snacks-a-light-meals/355-chilaquiles-with-salsa-and-eggs-

One of my super simple favorites that I don’t make often enough is Salade Lyonnaise. A slab of artisan toast topped with a salad of frisee’, a poached egg and some beautiful thick bacon. My Maple Vinaigrette is easy enough: 2 tablespoons general use olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple Cider Vinegar, 2 tablespoons dark amber maple syrup. For any special breakfast, brunch, lunch or light supper, this is hard to beat.

photos: gp

Clearly,

December 29, 2021

with all that’s going on in the world….yes, more bad news. We have apparently run out of colors! Imagine that. Which brings me to Very Peri, Pantone’s pick for color of the year 2022. Very Peri, a color that the Pantone Color Institute created specifically for this annual honor. Didn’t we already have a Periwinkle? I thought we did. And, if memory serves, it was a distinctive member of the Crayola collection for decades. Will we be seeing this ” new ” shade everywhere next year? Who knows. My guess is that it will follow in the footsteps of Pantone’s flop of 2015…Marsala. Remember that dud?

 

If you’d like to learn more about Very Peri, read the words of Leatrice Eiseman, extolling the qualities of this new hue. Fair warning…it’s a snooze fest.  https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2022

Very Peri photo: Pantone.com

Crayola Periwinkle photo: ColumbiaCoatings.com

If you’d like to revisit Marsala…https://simplequietmodern.com/2014/12/18/marsala-a-swing-and-a-miss/

 

Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

December 25, 2021

If more churches looked like this there would be an end to the myriad excuses used to get out of attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The genius behind this renovation is British designer John Pawson. His collaboration with architect Jan Hobel, through their careful and deliberate refining and editing, has created in this 1,000 year old church near simplequietmodern perfection. You can almost hear the angels voices.

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Of all the holiday posts of the last ten years, this was my favorite. I decided to repost it now as I was reminded of how healing a space could be in it’s stunning simplicity. In yet another year of Covid, however you spend the day, be healthy… be careful. Merry Christmas.

photos: http://blog.thedpages.com/john-pawson-a-new-language-in-church-architecture

 

 

Mixed Emotions

December 22, 2021

While I hate the coming of the first day of Winter, I do love what follows. Today marks the day of the year with the least amount of daylight…the Winter Solstice. Good news is that tomorrow will be another story. From this point on, each day will have an increased amount of daylight leading us directly to Spring. And, that my friends is worth celebrating. Tradition would have us festooning the place with evergreens, lighting candles in doors and building a roaring fire outdoors and gathering together to embrace hope within the darkness. A good idea once again while the newest Covid variant threatens to squash our holiday plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the top:

A simple votive candle placed in a bubbled glass vase casts a magnified and magical glow.

If you are lucky enough to find my absolute favorites, white tulips, buy them. There is nothing else like them to draw our thoughts to Spring. White Fringed and Parrot varieties are particularly special.

I do not need an excuse like the Winter Solstice to stoke up a bonfire, but it doesn’t hurt.

You might take a modern turn at using a supermarket Poinsettia as a cut flower. White for the Solstice would be my choice.  Photo: Gardenista

A hearty warming dish like this Farro Porcini Risotto Comes together quickly and would be a fitting addition to the celebration. I added a little shortcut to this already simple recipe from Martha Stewart, https://www.marthastewart.com/312975/farro-and-porcini-risotto, by using 1/2 jar of  Trader Joe’s Pesto Alla Genovese with the parsley and toasted walnuts and an additional splash of olive oil.

Doing appropriate double duty, this white Helebore variety will play nicely with your other seasonal decorations before being planted outdoors to grace the garden with the season’s first blooms next year.

The perfect finish to any Winter gathering might just be a classic Brandy Stinger… equal parts Brandy and white Creme de Menthe. In this case, on the rocks. Cheers!

except where noted all photos: gp

 

 

Deck Those Halls

December 15, 2021

Even if you’re still keeping a low profile during our second Covid Christmas, it’s important for our over all well being to keep those holiday traditions alive. Now’s the time to deck those halls and get into the spirit in earnest. Whatever direction you choose, do something…a string of lights…a vase of seasonal branches…a bowl of ornaments. The simplest modern touch can still say Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top to bottom:

A sheet of plywood, a string of lights and a few screws. Boom! My absolute favorite Christmas tree alternative. If you don’t have the space for a fresh tree, then this is the simplequietmodern next best thing. Photo: https://apairandasparediy.com/2015/12/diy-string-light-christmas-tree/

This wreath of simply assorted cones makes a lovely modern yet natural statement that could take you from Thanksgiving to the Spring thaw. photo: https://www.shopterrain.com/

Gettin’ groovy with a modern Christmas color scheme? These brightly colored glass ornaments can help inspire a vintage Christmas look be it the 50’s , 60’s or 70’s.  https://www.shopterrain.com/

A quick edit from a box of vintage mid-century ornaments will add some nostalgic modern charm. photo: gp

Like a Bertoia sculpture fabricated on a dime. These large 60’s looking stars are simply a handful of bamboo skewers stuck into a Styrofoam ball with the quickest spritz of gold paint. You could knock out a dozen of them and make a simplequitmodern holiday statement for just a few bucks. photo: gp

Nothing says simple and Christmas like an unadorned Magnolia wreath.  https://www.shopterrain.com/

If you have vases to fill, fill them simply and lavishly with the selection of one simple material. In this case, Ilex. These striking branches studded with bright red berries arranged in clear glass cylinders will certainly inject Christmas cheer into any modern interior. Photo: gp

More holiday color play, this time in a 60’s blue-green direction. I remember as a kid thinking this look was pretty swanky.  More solid color glass ornaments from https://www.shopterrain.com/ , the assorted vintage ornaments photo: gp

Look around. A big box of beautiful pine cones can be had for free if you know where to look. In my case it’s right outside my door. And, if the holidays have me running behind, a quick forage will fill multiple bowls, providing a simple natural beauty that only Mother Nature can provide. photo: gp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Treats

December 9, 2021

When it comes to the holidays, sweet treats seem to take center stage. They also seem to take over, as we hurry to try every new recipe or explore every popular new trend. We end up scrambling to gather our goods and eke out the time in the kitchen to get things done. Now, with both supply chain issues and increased prices throwing a wrench into the works, it might b a good time to limit your holiday offerings to just one  or two, just to simplify things. I’ve pulled a few favorites from the last ten years that will not only give you a a great result… no one will be disappointed.

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From the top

Nothing says simple in a holiday cookie than shortbread. Sugar, butter and flour plus a little simple decoration if you’d like and you’re done. https://simplequietmodern.com/2014/12

These classic nut horns are every grandma’s secret recipe. Until now you thought it was lost. You’re welcome. http://www.afriendtoknitwith.com/2016/12/mrs-donatos-nut-horns.html

Nothing says retro Christmas like a Bourbon Ball. This recipe from Garden and Gun magazine could not be easier.  https://simplequietmodern.com/?s=bourbon+balls

While you can enjoy these Maple Glazed Walnuts all year long, they are particularly welcome with a holiday cocktail. The original recipe can be found here, http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/

A spicy Molasses Cookie can’t be beat at Christmastime. Gild the lily if you must with a bit of raspberry or apricot preserves and turn them into thumbprints.

When I was having oven issues several years ago this amazing recipe for Candied Orange and Ginger Bark kept everyone happy. What’s not to love?…dark chocolate, candied orange, candied ginger and pistachios!  http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/candied_orange_and_ginger_bark.php

photos: gp