Midwinter ’22

December 19, 2022

Midwinter. Odd name for the Winter solstice which is actually the first day of the season. Call it what you will, it is absolutely my most favorite of days. It marks the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight but signals the slow, steady increase in daylight hours as we move into spring. Sure, it might not seem like a big thing to you but trust me, if you live anywhere near the Midwest, you will immediately notice that the sky has not gone to pitch at 4:45 in the afternoon. There is a feeling of hope…yes, that spring is just one season away. So, celebrate with me if you care to, with anything ( hell, everything ) that reminds you of spring… and relish every extra minute of daylight. Tradition would have us festooning the place with evergreens, lighting candles indoors, building a roaring fire outdoors and gathering together to embrace hope within the darkness. To follow are just a few of my favorite  ways to celebrate, from candlelight to a roaring fire to every and any white bulb flower mixed in with winter greens and other white seasonal selections. Something hearty and herby for dinner finished of with a lively Winter cocktail and the celebration is complete.

 

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Porcini and Farro Risotto

 

Brandy Stinger. The perfect Solstice cocktail. Equal parts Brandy and white Creme de Menthe on the rocks. Done.

 

photos: gp

 

On your mark, get set…

December 12, 2022

make! Now or later, it’s time to start thinking about those holiday sweet treats. While it’s easiest to just pick something up at the market, it’s just a little bit Grinchy. None of my favorites below are complicated or involved. If you make the decision to limit your selection to just one or two, the process is not only doable but will be greatly appreciated by all you share them with. As you work your way down the list you will find that there are simply no bad choices.

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Espresso Hazelnut Cookies

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Bourbon Balls

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Simple Shortbread

Molasses Cookies

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Candied Orange and Ginger Bark

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Nut Horns

photos: gp

 

 

In all things…

November 23, 2022

give thanks.*

 

 

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As I look through the last 10 years of simplequietmodern I think of some of my favorite holiday posts.

Top to bottom:

Free for the taking, perfect dried oak leaves to gather and scatter across your Thanksgiving table or attach later to adorn a holiday gift.

Locally grown and pressed apple cider. There is nothing like it. And, I like it even better with a shot of bourbon.

The best gathering table ever as seen on Gardenista. 

My favorite Thanksgiving table … rusty Bosch pears, gathered oak leaves and assorted nuts in their shells.

So much better than pumpkin pie, this roasted Hubbard squash pie. Trust me, it’s worth the added effort.

Cooking up a storm for the holidays needs the right equipment. The perfect start is this linen apron from Fog Linen.

Pink in the Fall? Yes, yes and yes. The perfect compliment to all of your assorted naturals and browns.

A step up from an apple cider and bourbon cocktail…the classic old fashioned.

Besides holding a warming Chai Latte, the Heath Ceramics Tall modern cup makes the perfect receptacle for a cluster of fragrant garden roses, like these Polo.

Pilgrim Modern anyone?  Yes.

Leftovers almost better the second time around. Assorted roasted vegetables topped with poached eggs hit the spot on the long holiday weekend.

What a simple weekend getaway for any of the winter holidays.

Elf has got to be playing or streaming somewhere. Wrap yourself up and settle in for the night. The guests have gone.

 

*Thessalonians 5:18

 

Into The Darkness

October 10, 2022

As we move into Fall the shadows grow longer and the days get shorter. Preparing for the long descent into Winter I find myself  thinking about things I can’t do without. And, when there is a choice to be made, I most always go to black. Ticks all the right boxes. Done and done.

Top to bottom:

My ” go to”…any day or everyday… a black cashmere crew neck. photo: Naadam

Looking ahead to next Spring when a new paintjob on the house is in order. While it’s already dark, I think I’d go even darker. Photo via Remash Tumblr

I can’t get this table by Chiara Ferrari outta my head. Perfect.  If you know who took this pic let me know.

Celebrating his tenth year just like simplequietmodern, Baby Hambone Jaxon 3000. The best assistant ever. photo: gp

My first generation Aeron chair just got a tune up and is ready to take me forward in absolute comfort. Photo: Herman Miller

Just what you need to take you through a long cold Winter of soups and stews, this Crane cast iron Dutch oven. Photo: Heath Ceramics

Keeping everyone in barefoot comfort well after Labor Day has passed, Gobi II. The perfect take on my favorite Chukka. Photo: Vivobarefoot

My first flatware purchase was Ward Bennett’s GAP pattern in stainless, and I’ve been using it for longer than I’d care to say. If I do move onto something new, this will be it. Photo: Heath

With the holidays approaching I might suggest this upgrade to your apron wardrobe. You can’t go wrong with black linen. And, if you’re carrying in, dust it with a pinch of flour and hide the takeout containers.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that this Saarinen table is my favorite table ever. Any size , and until now, always in white. This recent introduction in black has a firm grip on me though. Equally stunning, the two In my mind are running neck and neck.  Photo: Knoll

Too Hot to Eat

August 2, 2022

Sometimes it’s even too hot to cook. But, you have to eat, right? When I ran across this recipe it ticked all the right boxes… simple, fresh and summery. While a hot August night calls for something refreshing, this New Potato Salad with Soft Green Herbs fit the bill. Add a bit of grilled protein and finish with some cool seasonal fruit and your done. All that’s left is to sit back, relax and count the Fireflies.

 

 

A pound and a half of boiled new potatoes and 2 cups of assorted soft green herbs ( I used mint, dill, chives and parsley ) is the start. Blitz up a dressing of green onion, the juice and zest of a lemon, a splash of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Toss it all together gently. It’s that simple.

photos: gp

Ready to be put into use immediately is the Summer Seasonal Collection from Heath Ceramics. With Easter right around the corner it seems like a natural to get your order in now. This collection is available now but is sure to sell out quickly. I’m thinking the yellow pieces might be a great way to brighten the days while we’re waiting for Summer to finally arrive.

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top to bottom

A bit of forced rye grass with the addition of a cracked eggshell whispers Easter.

The Classic Heath Modern Cup in Sunflower

A bunch of pink hyacinths would feel right at home in that tall modern cup. And who wouldn’t love to receive the both as a gift?

Sunnyside Tea Towels will make cleaning up after Easter brunch a pleasure.

What’s Easter without the classic yellow Peep?

The Sunflower glaze on the classic Heath Budvase.

All Roads Grid napkins in Fuschia are part of the Heath Summer Seasonal Collection. These will surely get a workout from Easter through Labor Day.

Pink and Yellow. Something tells me with the way the last two years have been it’s a combination we might just be needing right about now.

Heath Plaza Dessert bowls and Sunnyside Napkins, also part of the Summer Seasonal Collection.

A big vase of forced Forsythia brings springtime right in to the table. It’s hard to beat.

All Heath Summer Seasonal photos by Heath Ceramics.

All other photos: gp

 

 

 

 

It’s Just The Sweetest

March 16, 2022

I’m talking maple syrup. And while it’s season and the trees are tapped and the sap is flowing I can’t help but think about all the ways I love to use it. I’m sure I can manage to slip it’s warm rounded sweetness into one thing or another several times a week. From sweet to savory, cocktails to dessert, maple syrup just adds that little earthy something that regular sugar seems to lack. I’ve noted below an assortment of applications that have become my simplequietmodern favorites over the last ten years.  Now let’s tap into that dark amber goodness.

Gently reducing maple syrup by half and adding fresh blueberries to warm is the perfect topping to your favorite pancake or French toast recipe. It takes the chill off the berries and keeps that fresh quality that is lost when they’re cooked into the pancake.

 

A tablespoon or two whisked into a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and apple cider vinegar is as good on a Salad Lyonnaise as it is my take on a shaved Brussels Sprout salad with Bosc pear, Bleu Cheese and Maple Cayenne Glazed Walnuts.

 

Don’t save these for the holidays. Maple Syrup Sriracha Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. Really, you might want to make a double batch and just call it dinner.

 

If you haven’t tried this Maple Cube from Tonewood  now’s a good time to get on it. A grate over fresh Spring berries can’t be beat.

 

Jack Daniels Maple Syrup Ketchup?  Yes Please.

As a snack, with cocktails, on a salad or as a gift these Maple Cayenne Glazed Walnuts hit every note perfectly.

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Substitute a tablespoon of dark amber maple syrup for the muddled sugar cubes in your next Old Fashioned and you won’t be making them your old way again.

Sometimes a little something nostalgic is just what’s needed. Maple Walnut Fudge reminds me of countless family road trips which honestly weren’t that much fun. Whipping up a batch without leaving home? Preferable.

 

photos: gp

 

American Modern,

February 16, 2022

now in black and white. Russel Wright’s American Modern dinnerware, a midcentury modern classic, is now available in matte black and matte white. The American Modern line has been gracing America’s homes since its introduction in 1939, in all of the mixed colors we’ve come to recognize and love. Everyone had their favorite in the offerings of coral, brown, gray, blue and chartreuse. But, somehow this re-issue of selected pieces in black and white brings to each a new level of sophistication. The 3 piece dining sets,  assorted serving bowls, plates and platters are now available to mix and match with your vintage pieces or use on their own. I’m thinking all black…or, all white. Time for a coin toss.

photos: Food52.com

As simple as…

February 10, 2022

1 2 3. You can carry in dinner on Valentines day, but make dessert from scratch. With just three ingredients and about 10 minutes time you’ve got the perfect Valentines Day treat, Bruleed Raspberries. Fill an ovenproof ramekin with fresh raspberries, top with a generous amount of sour cream and sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar evenly over the sour cream. Pop the ramekins under the broiler until the brown sugar starts to caramelize then serve it up. That’s it. Seriously. Make this.

 

 

 

 

photos: gp

 

 

 

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