For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.
These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.
*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
click on architecture. the rest of it is a little too inaccessible for me. But the tree houses! the prefabs! oh my word. observe:
and if you haven't discovered it, check out manhattan-nest.com.
The boy is a CHILD (a sophomore maybe at NYU) but is both brilliant and hilarious with impeccable taste and none of the terrible snobbiness that afflicts many design bloggers. He just is, and I love.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Your delicious little leaves deserve the utterly minimal effort of a homemade vinaigrette, and they deserve to be dressed ahead of time, lightly. You wouldn't want your host putting you out in front of guests naked, would you? (Maybe you would. I don't know you.)
Nothing worse than tossing your own salad (stop it!). Individual salad bowls do not have the room to do it yourself at the table, so some leaves are covered and others are dry. Totally unacceptable.
If you are a remotely interested cook, and I mean remotely, you probably have everything you need on hand: It's three parts good olive oil to one part acid - vinegar or citrus, or a mix of the two. That's it.
Got it? pour three tablespoons of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon acid -- balsamic vinegar is sweet, red wine vinegar less so, cider vinegar works on and on. OR squeeze in a lemon (not the whole thing, just a tablespoon, or maybe a hair less). Whip it together with a fork until its thick and cloudy (this is called emulsifying... the natural way). That's it. You're done. Less time than opening the fridge and plunking that nasty cold bottle on the table.
You can gussy it up with all sorts of stuff -- I usually add a touch of Dijon mustard (not regular mustard). You can grate in citrus zest. The juice of a tomato. A wee bit of honey. A tiny bit of coarse salt. Lime juice (fresh only). You can put in grated ginger and replace a little of the oil with sesame oil (then add in just a splash of soy sauce). Minced garlic. Minced shallots or scallions. But let them all float in a sea of three to one, olive-oil to-acid.
Put this mixture in the bottom of a salad bowl. Not too much -- too much and your salad is limp and wilted and you don't taste any green. Put your cleaned greens on top (I am partial to JUST greens -- a mix of baby lettuces, especially arugula, maybe purslane, snipped herbs -- basil, tarragon, dill -- edible flowers for gorgeousness (try the lavendery basil flowers you snip off your herb garden). Toss gently, scooping up from the bottom. As the leaves touch the bottom of the bowl they will get a nice touch of dressing.
If the salad is too dry, add a bit more, toss gently.
BANISH THE BOTTLE. In this case, it shall be I who thank you.
("You're welcome, Pam!")
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
OK, I know I promised Special Face But I have a Half-Assed Craft to Share: Industrial Swing Arm Lamp
I also like things cheap.
So I hied on over to Fragers Hardware, most fabulous hardware store in the US, and started piecing together copper pipes, elbow joints etc. Then a nice lady found me a lamp kit and I searched and searched and finally found a silver-tipped lightbulb -- necessary so as to avoid blinding.
(yay I'm back!)
(I got the copper to tarnish/go verdigris with a mix of salt and vinegar. didn't take but an hour or so to turn green)