Flip a coin…

November 29, 2012

because you won’t be able to decide. Leucadendron and kumquat or Silvertree and succulent rosettes?  Both of these magnificent creations designed by Flora Grubb and Susie  Nadler of Flora Grubb Gardens will make quite a simplequietmodern  statement this Christmas whether you’re  keeping it for yourself or gifting it to someone special.  How much fun to inject some of this modern California artistry into a traditional mid-west or east coast setting?  With either of these choices it will be a  Christmas you ( or the recipient ) won’t soon forget.  I’ve got the quarter….OK , call it!


Skirting the issue…

November 26, 2012

here is never the answer. Neither is an old bed sheet tossed around the base of your Christmas tree.  Enter this woven tree skirt. It does the job of camouflaging the tree stand, and it does it with simple quiet style…especially if you are going the natural route. Around the base an untrimmed fir as illustrated…you are done and done. Or, if you must, dress it in simple white lights and a sprinkling of cones. Lovely.


“City sidewalks,

November 23, 2012

Busy sidewalks *… you know the rest of the lyrics.

But,  did you know that  “It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.”  ?  When time is at a premium and tedious chatter seems never ending this idea is simply good to know.

Check out Susan Cain’s complete manifesto here.   http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/sixteen-things-i-believe/

* Silver Bells by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans


Brussels Sprouts?

November 20, 2012

Absolutely! Aside from being a nutritional gold mine, these “baby cabbages” are your perfect green vegetable to accompany the big bird this Thanksgiving. Before you scoff or turn up your nose, forget those “boiled to within an inch of their lives” Brussels Sprouts you may have been forced to choke down as a kid. These, simply oven roasted with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of coarse salt and ground pepper ( at 400 degrees for approximately 30-40   minutes, giving a quick toss halfway through ) are the ticket. In fact, even die-hard ” haters” have been known to polish off what’s left, so make sure to prepare enough. If you’re thinking that these might be too simple try tossing in a handful of toasted walnuts and a drizzle of boiled apple cider syrup to satisfy your need for complexity.

For the boiled apple cider syrup bring two cups of fresh pressed apple cider to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat slightly and continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally until cider has reduced to 1/2 cup. Simple.

Double Duty

November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving dinner. The plates are barely cleared and the Christmas decorations are already being hung. That said, my suggestion for an effectively decorated Thanksgiving table are well thought out to provide not only the right look but shift into double duty in the following few days. Here I’ve started with a study in brown and white. Shapley Bosc pears with their rusty sueded skins… an assortment of walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts providing their varied shades and texture and oak leaves and pinecones scavenged in the yard round out a simplequietmodern fall story. Perfect whether you’re dining in the afternoon or later into the evening with the addition of some candlelight… a couple of  handfuls for a table of four or a couple of arm loads to deck out a larger table for 12 or more…this look is very accommodating. Then as the weekend progresses, the nuts are for snacking when set around in bowls with a conveniently placed nutcracker and the pears can be poached or roasted and served up with gingerbread for an additional sweet treat…while you’re… umm…setting up the tree?

Where are my keys?

November 14, 2012

In this bowl…by the door. A  simplequietmodern solution to one of life’s great annoyances. Place this bowl from Manor Fine Wares …cut , hollowed and polished from a large river rock…on your entry table and the mystery is forever solved.  And, with plenty of room for your sunglasses as well. Done and done, a two-fer! Or, perhaps it could be put to use in your dressing area as a receptacle for your watch and  pocket change. Surely this would be a most welcome gift for someone on your list this Christmas so you might as well order up two. 


I don’t love brunch…

November 11, 2012

but I love the idea of serving a modern Salade Lyonnaise for breakfast or even whipping up a batch of pancakes for dinner.  Also known as Frisee with lardon and poached egg is where we’re going to start. Frisee, which runs neck and neck with my other green fave~ Arugula~ is the bitter green of choice. For a single serving you’ll need 1/2 bunch of Frisee washed and torn, a slice of hearty artisan bread grilled or toasted and rubbed lightly with a clove of garlic, a slice or two of crisp thick cut bacon ( from the Whole Foods meat counter preferably), a poached egg and a splash of warmed Maple Vinaigrette. To present, plate the grilled bread, top with the frisee that had been tossed with the Maple Vinaigrette, next the poached egg and finish with the placement of your bacon, coarse salt and ground pepper to your taste. Done and done. How easy was that? Add a bowl of clementines or pears and a pot of coffee and you might just want to entertain friends with this, eh?

The Maple Vinaigrette is simple: 2 Tablespoons General Use Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup ( Dark amber Grade B preferred). Whisk it up…that’s it.