Friday, July 27, 2012

Beet It

I must have been about seven years old, but I can clearly remember sitting at the dining room table crying over a helping of beets.  We were required to ask permission to be excused from the table and any food left on the plate was reason for denial of the request.  My brother, having already choked down his beets, was laughing at something on TV in the living room.  I thought my torture had ended at bedtime when I was finally dismissed from my uneaten beets.   

They reappeared on my plate the next night. 

I've never much eaten them since.

But watching the national news the other night, Lester Holt interviewed Yoko Ono about her new film project called #SmilesFilm.  You can tweet a photo of you smiling and the collection of smiles will be assembled and the confluence of smiles will change the world.  Lester asked her what John Lennon would think of the Smiles Project.  They cut to a video of John and Yoko singing and John's words spoke to me.  

"All we are saying is give beets a chance."

Having been "called" by John Lennon, I went to the farmer's market
last weekend and picked up a little purple bundle.
I have to admit they're quite beautiful.

I always loved the greens.
They were boiled, as I recall it, and served with vinegar.

I thought I would do them two ways.  If I hated one, I'd still have the other.

Way 1:  I spiralized about 1/3 of a vidalia onion.

I peeled two beets with a vegetable peeler and used a spiralizer attachment
that made wide, flat strips of beet kind of like fettucini.  

I sauteed the onion for a few minutes, added the beets and sauteed about five minutes.  Add a little salt, pepper, butter (or Earth Balance) and I called them done.

Way 2:  I prewashed the greens really well and cut them in about thirds and set aside.

When the beets were about done, in another pan, I fried one sliced clove of garlic in about a tablespoon of oil and added the greens, tossing them around a few minutes until they're wilted but still a little crunchy.  Splashed on a little vinegar and I was ready to eat.

Beets two ways:  Beet "fettucini" with sauteed beet greens, garlic and vinegar.
Beets two ways.

Beet fettucini with wilted beet greens, garlic and vinegar served with a little dill sour cream.

I have to admit.  I really loved the beets.  They're really sweet.  And alongside the greens with vinegar, there was a sweet-sour thing going on that was really nice.

Beet "fettucini" with chicken apple sausage

I had the remaining beet for lunch the next day with a chicken-apple sausage and a peppered little sour cream.  Again, really enjoyable.

So if you think you hate beets, send Yoko a smile and give beets a chance.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Design Trend: Peeling Bedroom Walls

It seems that peeling bedroom walls are huge right now!

According to Anthropolgie, I'm right on trend. 

Let's see what other inspiration they can provide.

The caved-in ceiling look.  There's a DIY project I could tackle.

The tousled covers.  No problem.  I'm a master at that.

A little vintage wallpaper with an old wedding dress adds a little romance.

And look at the masterful editing. 

Not a single Gustavian nightstand, gourd lamp or ikat window treatment cluttering up the space!

No ceiling fixture.  Just a hole.  The bling is left to the viewer's imagination.

Apparently you can even place the bed right in front of the bathroom door now!
I never would have come up with that idea on my own.

Anthropologie:  Thanks for the inspiration!  

I thought I was going to have to start from scratch on the bedroom
but it seems I'm almost done!  ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spiralized Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

In the summer heat, I'm always looking for creative ways to make dinner without turning on the stove.  Last summer I did a post on zucchini pasta made with my new spiralizer and I thought this might be fun to try on the grill.  It not only worked, I've had it almost every night since.

You can find a link to information on the spiralizer on the old post, but this is what it looks like.  These two medium-sized zucchini (courgettes for my friends across the pond) will make enough for my dinner tonight with leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Raw zucchini "pasta."

I drizzled a little olive oil on the zucchini and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  I think I'll add a little pesto and chopped tomato for a fresh summer version.

A little grilled foccacia with garlic butter on the side sounds good too.

I always find it works best to grill bread when it's dry.  You've really got to watch it like a hawk on the grill.  It'll char in a few seconds.  I crush some garlic and toast it in a little olive oil on the stove and then add that to some softened butter.  Add the garlic butter to the bread after it comes off the grill.

I grilled the zucchini in a mesh grill pan.  I got this from Williams Sonoma a few years ago and it's great for grilling things like tomatoes, green beens, broccoli and Brussel's sprouts.

(This works equally well just sauteeing the zucchini in a pan. You can keep it a little al dente/crunchy or saute it a little longer so it's more like spagetti squash. )

The grilled foccacia with garlic butter, dusted with a little sea salt.

I could live on this! 

Once the zucchini is heated--it doesn't need to cook very long at all--I add about a tablespoon of pesto and one chopped tomato per serving. 

And dinner is served.

There will be some wonderful zucchini, tomato, pesto broth at the bottom of the bowl so be sure to save enough bread to soak it all up. 

What can I spiralize next?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Darby Road, Waltham

Darby Road.  It's a not a road; it's a store. 

I wouldn't normally do a post on a place that was recently blogged about by designer Katie Rosenfeld but I'm pretty sure our audiences are different and I SO love this store in Waltham, Massachusetts, I wanted to share it.  

Let me just show you a little bit of their selection.

The main store has a wonderful selection of antiques...

...and new furniture beautifully reproduced to look antique....

...Persian rugs...

...unique one-of-a-kind items...

...and decorative accessories.  

I must have startled this wood.  It was petrified.

Need a 7-foot pond yacht?  Yup, they've got it.

How about this amazing circa 1880 faux bamboo English chest?

Detail of trompe l'oeil bamboo.  All I can say is je t'aime!

This would make a great DIY project for an old dresser.

A custom zinc "farm" table with great base made of old wood.

Reproduction sawbuck table.

Mid-Century French end table.

Great vintage brass lamp.

They also have a nice selection of antique Chinese furniture and pottery.

More pottery.  I love the pair in back with the Greek key design.

The owner, Jon, also has a great eye for art.  I'm really intrigued by this piece which I thought had a real Rockport or Gloucester feel and looks quite skillfully executed.  It reminds me of Edward Hopper's paintings of Gloucester.  I took this home for $150 and I'm looking forward to researching the artist.

But wait, let's go check out their warehouse around the corner.

The warehouse is stuffed to the gills with more furniture, lamps, rugs and accessories.  

This Louis Phillipe chest with marble top is really handsome.

Lots of very Darryl Carter-looking pieces. 

Love this.

A few Swedish Gustavian chests.  I've always wanted one of these.

Someone PLEASE go buy this antique Danish chest!  It's so unique.

Detail of painted surface and brasses.

How about an antique French bibliotheque?

Detail of painted chest in warehouse.

I've long felt that Boston antique stores were missing good furniture.  Now I know where it all is.  There's some great inspiration here and I'm ready to start with a new plan for the bedroom.

Darby Road is open seven days a week; the outlet is open Saturdays and by appointment.  Tell them I sent you!

1395 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02451

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remember the bedroom?


So here we are.  The bedroom problem only started with the bed breaking.  When the bed leg broke, it scratched the paint off the floor.  I started pulling at the scratched paint to discover it didn't adhere to the turquoise paint underneath.  It peels off like a bad sunburn.  I think the only cure at this point is to have it sanded down.  

Somewhere in the process of trying to make the room more sophisticated, it's lost its joy.  I much preferred the fun color on the floor, the wallpaper and the funky furniture.  It lost its groove.

Oh, and the walls are also peeling.  

These aren't places I plastered over but new places where the many layers of paint are just cracking and peeling off the plaster.  I suspect a moisture problem and, if it is, I know the culprit.

Most of the peeling is in the vicinity of this old chimney.  The chimney is no longer used for anything and it's slated to come off.  When the kitchen is remodeled, there will be a double window placed over a new sink in the kitchen right where the chimney is.

Taking it down won't be a big deal but it mushrooms into a much larger project.  The chimney goes through the eave of the house so that would have to be replaced, the roof would have to repaired or replaced, the siding would have to be fixed and the new window should be put in.  I first need to get a variance to replace the window.

I think I need to lick my wounds a little longer and figure out what I'm going to do with this mess.  It's summer, it's hot and I have no inspiration.

* * * * *

In other news, I've gotten a CRAZY amount to traffic recently on my old Tom Ka Soup post all because of the photo on Pinterest.  It's amazing the power of that Pinterest.

Over 11,000 hits and counting.  To capitalize on the success of that post, I'm working on a sequel:  Tom Ka Soup (The Vegan Remix).  After a little testing I think I've come up with a delicous broth that makes you not miss the fish sauce.  It's a little hot for a soup post but I'm really enjoying working on the food photos.