Chop Chop

November 12, 2017

Whether it’s prepping Thanksgiving dinner or simply assembling a turkey sandwich the next day there’ll be plenty of slicing and dicing going on. Why not pair your favorite chefs knife with this solid walnut Greenware cutting board by Jose’ Reguerio. Having the right tools makes any undertaking easier. Having beautiful tools simply elevates the experience to a new level.

Also available in solid Maple. Photos: http://joseregueiro.com/greenware/

 

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That was easy.

December 3, 2014

You showed me your “ugly” and, well…boo hoo for you. All of the pics I received looked pretty good. And, trust me, I’ve seen some”ugly”. The random entry I’ll be addressing here is lovely. Even though the homeowner sees this space as a “catch-all” after a cross-country move, it is full of beautiful furnishings, art and comforting neutrals. The one item that seemed out-of-place to me was the rug. While seagrass is a great choice, the size is not … it’s too small. Here’s an opportunity to play off the graphic placement of the framed pieces with a bold anchoring base. Enter Flor. A larger area rug made of tiles in their Modern Mix recycled carpet could just be the thing to breathe new life into this familiar collection. Continuing to keep things neutral with the gray or taupe mix is one safe direction…but choosing a bold sweep of color, like the red , will most definitely ring in the holidays with style. Complimenting the bowl of glass orbs with a single large sphere of spicy carnations will add some unexpected panache. By ordering online you’ll be laying this down in plenty of time for your holiday entertaining. That was easy… so, who’s mixing up the Brandy Stingers?

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If the modern check isn’t a fit, perhaps bold hoizontal stripes in an oyster white and espresso brown? All available options can be seen here.http://www.flor.com/splitsearch/index?order=relevance&dir=desc&q=modern+mix&search_submit=Search

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Red too traditional for you? This orb of carnation heads would be simple quiet and modern if done in snowy white.

Top two photos: the homeowner, bottom two photos:gp

 

Pumpkin Spice Overkill

November 24, 2014

Too much of a good thing when gaining popularity and then randomly applied everywhere…well, that’s just too much already. “Pumpkin spice” is the perfect current example. Starting in September it flavors everything from a latte’ to caramels to anything that doesn’t move and back again. Nothing  has missed being hit. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, just a hint of the aroma could trigger a bit of nausea. Let’s keep the warm Autumn spice thing going and yet reel it in simplequietmodern  style, editing the spices down to one….say Ginger. Fresh, dried or candied…Ginger can add its distinctive spicy warmth and sweetness to cocktails, desserts or savory dishes alike without being cliché.

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Whole hands of fresh ginger root might add additional interest to your bountiful tablescape this Thanksgiving. I think I’ll pick up some extra myself to compliment my arrangements of Bosc pears, mixed shelled nuts and oak leaves.

During the weekend a bit of ginger will elevate the pears poached for another dessert from everyday to holiday.

Ginger syrup made from fresh or crystallized ginger can be added to a glass of Prosecco, Cava or Champagne for a gingery pre-dinner cocktail or added to a glass of soda for a delicious home-made ginger ale.

Home made fresh cranberry sauce could not be easier. Adding a little grated fresh or minced crystallized ginger  to the mix brings a fresh unexpected note.

Crystallized ginger presented alongside dessert allows even those who are too stuffed to indulge a little something  sweet that also acts as a perfect digestivo. A couple of pieces with coffee is just enough sweet for me after a Thanksgiving feast. You might even try dipping candied ginger into dark chocolate if you’re in the mood to gild the lily.

 

photos:gp

 

To Whet, Not to Sate

November 10, 2014

Appetizers. A savory little something to the whet the appetite…a prelude of what’s to come. On Thanksgiving there is always plenty, so the idea of keeping these little bites simple makes sense. With a cocktail or a glass of sparkling wine there could be no better paring than Frico…a baked Parmesan crisp. If these were any easier in fact, they’d make themselves. And, only one ingredient…parmesan cheese. Pre-heat your oven to 375 and drop tablespoons of shaved Parmesan cheese onto a parchment lined baking tray. Spread the mounds to a uniform thickness approx 3″ in diameter. Bake the trays one at a time for about 8-10 minutes, watching closely, until golden. Remove trays from the oven and cool slightly before moving the Frico to a rack to cool completely. These can be made a few days ahead and stored in an airtight container getting one task out-of-the-way earlier in that busy week. Why not check the fridge, turn on the oven and knock out a batch now?  Think of it as a little taste test for the holidays ahead.

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New Years Eve?  Going out on Amateur Night?   Yikes!…no.  A small gathering in with friends could be the perfect simplequietmodern plan. A few small plates and something sparkling in the beverage department will easily satisfy with a minimum of stress. If you whip up some tasty Greek meatballs during the week you can freeze them and reheat while your guests are enjoying their first beverage. Add some pita, tziki…and a big Greek salad, all easily prepared earlier in the day (or even better…ordered and picked up “to go”). Don’t forget the Baklava for a sweet note and you are done, done and done. How simple was that? You’re welcome.grkmtbllsingr6Fgrkmtbllsflr5Fgrkmtbllsdn2Ftzikimtblls2aFGrkmtbllrcpeBubblefluteF

This Greek Meatball recipe was fromhttp://www.sauceandsensibility.com/?p=1639, really,give it a try.

really simple, really impressive. A basic Choux pastry flavored with cheese, Gougere is the savory version of a cream puff. Traditionally served with Champagne or a glass of wine, these two bite wonders are perfect for holiday entertaining.  Make ’em now…freeze ’em…pull ’em out and reheat when you need ’em…anytime someone stops by or pops a cork. 

Small plates…

December 14, 2012

Appetizers…Bocas…or simply snacks, a  single  hor d’oeuvre or an assortment can be a prelude to dinner or actually be dinner. Grazing for me has always been preferable to the large meal. “Befores and afters” make for simple uncomplicated entertaining during the holidays.  Small plates , when given a little thought before hand, can be gathered or prepared ahead in many cases leaving you free to enjoy hosting a smart soiree without a pocket full of Xanax. The relaxing task of preparing one item, quince paste for example, can be done a few days in advance and the accompanying bread, Manchego cheese, olives and Marcona almonds can be gathered in one quick stop at the market. Some wine and perhaps something of chocolate  and you are ready to entertain a handful of friends on the fly any night of the week.

I used the recipe for the Quince Paste ( Menbrillo) here:http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/membrillo_quince_paste/