Before you decide…

October 30, 2012

what you’ll be serving this with you’ll have pecked away at the whole bowl full. Really, it’s that simple and it’s that good….hot or at room temperature. Toss the cauliflower florets with a drizzle of general use olive oil and a little s & p . Place on a foil lined baking tray and roast at 450 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until the florets are tender and golden. I usually give them a quick toss about halfway through. That’s it, dig in. If you have an extra five minutes you might try a quick light sauce of butter, garlic and capers…it’s a Martha touch so how bad could it be? And capers?  You may never eat cauliflower any other way again.

On Deck

October 27, 2012

OK…it’s getting cooler, downright chilly some days.  I don’t relish the thought of pulling out a winter coat…at least not yet. My favorite fall/winter garment of all time was a Jean-Paul Castelbajac ribbed cashmere sweater layered under a Merino knit vest with a channel quilted woven front. Both pieces were a tonal combination of winter white ( which was a look I had adopted for many winters before I crossed over to the dark side). There was nothing like it…lighter than a coat and warmer than warm…and I wore it …and wore it ….and I wore it. Now I think it might be time to resurrect some incarnation of that sweater for the cooler months ahead. But, darker this time. I was inspired by the this Rick Owens piece that brought to mind my earlier favorite so I set to researching an appropriate fiber, testing a swatch for gauge, weight and texture…and consulted my panel of experts. I think it’s a go… as soon as California Dreamin II is off the sticks.

Really, is this the look

October 24, 2012

you’re going for?  Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and you will be entertaining family and friends with 2 bare wires sticking out of your dining room ceiling… still. Pretty. Why is making this decision so hard when there is a simple solution…a  George Nelson Bubble Lamp. Classic, simplequietmodern (since it’s introduction in 1947) …and available in enough shapes and sizes to be the perfect lighting selection for a dining room of any size or style direction. Get the scale right and the quiet statement will be deafening. So there you have it, decision made.

The Fall Clean Up. In order to get the maximum beauty and enjoyment from your outdoor environment next year you have to extend a little effort now. Turn that afternoon of raking and picking up fallen twigs and debris into a little creative exercise. If you need to adjust things…remove a tree or overgrown shrub, come up with an effective plan to keep the deer from tearing the place up or plant some new tulip variety to usher in next spring… take the opportunity to make those adjustments or additions now. If everything seems to be in good order why not give some thought to your holiday decorations. A bit of well spent time now will make the whole process much simpler once the holidays kick into gear. Need a little incentive? How about  whipping up a sample batch of this  Boiled  Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail  by Lillie at Butter Me Up Brooklyn…just a smart little something to add to the special blend of sights, smells and tastes that are Fall.

If you’re lucky,

October 18, 2012

while out for a country ” color tour”  this month you might just happen upon some of these. What appears at first glance to be the remnants of a tennis ball “spill” along the roadside turns out to be one of my Fall fovorites…the Osage Orange. I look forward each year to collecting them for use as a seasonal decoration, filling bowls or vases with their bright chartreuse color and appealing texture. In a temperate interior they  can easily last for 2-3 months providing not only a great burst of color but naturally repelling spiders in the process.

It’s not too early

October 15, 2012

to get those holiday plans committed to paper. Lists for invitations, cards to be sent, ingredients to be purchased or projects around the house to complete…it’s all easier to accomplish once you have committed it to paper. That makes it real, do-able…and you have a punch list to strike off as each task is complete. By the time December 1st comes you’ll be so far ahead of the game you can easily roll with the punches of a changed plan, or relax with a smart cocktail as you await the magic.

Thinking outside the box…

October 12, 2012

can really only be achieved effectively when one is completely proficient at thinking inside the box.

Commitment issues?

October 9, 2012

No need…even if the seasonal forecast is eye-popping. When planning a living space keep it simple by choosing pieces you love and working the “givens” in such a way as to amplify their appeal. This floor for instance…classic walnut herringbone. Old, worn, patinaed…a perfect backdrop for the classic Eames shell chairs around a simple planked table lit with another mid-century classic, the PH4/3 designed in 1966 by Poul Henningsen. Important here is the selection of finishes…pale, clean, neutral…whites and mixed tonal woods…just waiting to be punctuated with a selection from the Pantone Fashion colors for Fall 2012. Add any one shade  for a time…in the form of accessory. A bowl of gold ornaments and large brown pinecones, some lavender glassware…maybe a hot pink runner or napkins…all can add the fashion spark  temporarily and cost-effectively…freeing you from any expensive long-term color commitment. When I see this pink it brings to mind the words of fashion icon Diana Vreelend. ” I love this pink. It’s the navy blue of India.”  Which of these ten colors will you be adding…and how?

When you have a craving for something like…pie, or a crisp, or a cobbler, but need it quick or are limited to only a few pieces of fruit on the counter, you have to get creative. With the late summer stone fruits everywhere, this dish works equally well with all of them, peaches, nectarines, plums…try them all. Today I had only two lonely nectarines and a taste for something comfortable. So I simply split them, lined them in a glass baking dish, sprinkled each with a little cinnamon, a squeeze of lemon juice, a good pinch of brown sugar. Then a quick crumble ( by hand, don’t pull out that processor) of a couple graham crackers and a drizzle of 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter. Pop them into a preheated 325 oven for 20 mins or so….the topping should be golden and the fruit tender when tested with the tip of a knife. That’s it! Simple, quiet and done! Eat them warm with a scoop of ice cream or room temp on their own.

The new BLT

October 6, 2012

Bacon Arugula  & Tomato…what could be wrong with that? It’s simple, it has bacon and it has Arugula!  The best possible ingredients are key. Take advantage of the abundance of heirloom tomatoes that are showing up on your desk or doorstep, treat yourself to some Whole Foods thick sliced  bacon from the meat counter and switch out the lettuce for a handful of organic baby Arugula. Stack it up on a nice chunk of Ciabatta, add a touch of mayo and a pinch of coarse salt and ground pepper and you are done, done and done. A glass of Prosecco… ( or even cider) and well, you’ve got the perfect Sunday lunch… or a great reward for raking the yard.