Monday, June 29, 2009

Foolproof Gazpacho

I was recently reminded by a friend that given the name of my blog I should consider adding more recipes! When I began this a few weeks ago I intended to make it all about cooking, which other than photography is my true passion but alas all the work I've been scheduled for has gotten in the way. I guess I have not included much about myself, as it turns out I am originally from Ohio (Cincinnati) but moved to NYC after completing an art and lit degree from Miami University. I finished my masters in education from Pace and taught a group of wonderful Autistic students in Brooklyn for three years. I moved to Charleston a year ago (this past weekend) to attend law school. This summer I am working for a wonderful organization called Darkness to Light that educates adults so that child sexual abuse can be prevented. But enough about me, here is one of my favorite summer recipes-hope you enjoy! 

  • 4 or so lbs of field ripened tomatoes 
  • 1 quart of quality tomato juice  (I use Looza brand)
  • 2 firm, fresh cucumbers
  • 2 firm, fresh green bell peppers (you could use red or yellow)
  • 2 smallish fresh red or white onions
  • 3 or 4 handfuls of fresh herb (parsley, basil or oregano)
  • 1/2 cup of quality red wine vinegar (not balsamic!)
  • 1/4 cup of quality olive oil (or more to taste)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or more, but be careful)
  • 3 teaspoons of salt (or more to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper sauce (optional) OR
  • minced jalapeno (optional)

  1. Open an ice cold beer or pour yourself a glass of chilled white wine.
  2. Put a large pot of water on to boil and place a colander in your kitchen sink.
  3. Wash the tomatoes and cut a small "x" at the stem and stern of each tomato.
  4. Peel the cucumbers, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and chop them into large chunks.
  5. Peel and core the bell peppers and chop then into large chunks.
  6. Peel the papery skin and first layer of flesh off of the onions and quarter them.
  7. Flatten the garlic with the blade of your knife, remove the peel and mince. Set aside in a small bowl.
  8. Finely chop the herbs and set aside in a small bowl.
  9. Pour the vinegar into a measuring cup.
  10. By now, the water should be at a nice boil. Set your kitchen timer for 2 minutes, and place all of the tomatoes into the boiling water. After the timer beeps, remove the tomatoes to the colander in the sink. They will need to cool there for at least 10 minutes before you peel and seed them.
  11. I assume you have a food processor, if not, manual chopping would be better than a blender. Place the cucumbers in the processor and pulse until each piece is somewhere between the size of aquarium gravel and sawdust - do NOT puree. Place the cucumbers in a large glass mixing bowl. Repeat the process with the bell peppers and then the onions.
  12. Pour in 2/3 of the bottle of tomato juice and mix well with a wisk or slotted spoon. Add the vinegar and then follow with the olive oil. Add the herbs and stir them in as well.
  13. Return to the tomatoes in the sink. Have another large bowl at the ready. Peel each tomato using your fingers, break them apart, scoop out the seeds and remove any tough white bits. Put the remaining flesh and pulp into the large bowl. Repeat with each tomato.
  14. Process the tomatoes until finely chopped, but not pureed. 5 to 6 one second pulses should work. Add the tomatoes to the large mixing bowl.
  15. Add half of the garlic and stir well. Taste the gazpacho. If you can taste garlic then don't add any more. I love garlic, but the flavor intensifies every day the gazpacho is stored, so be forewarned. Treat the salt, black pepper,  and hot pepper just as cautiously. You can always add more at the table.
  16. Add additional tomato juice to achieve the desired consistency. You probably won't use the entire quart. Make Bloody Mary's with what's left over.
  17. Refrigerate the gazpacho for at least two hours. I usually transfer it to a plastic pitcher so we can just pour a bowl whenever we like.
  18. Serve with garlic toast and olive oil at the table.


The perfect summer outfit part II

I adore this first outfit found on Elle's Street style...and thought that something similar could be created using the second dress featured as a basis...Happy Summer!

Monday, June 22, 2009


If you have not seen this delightful movie then run don't walk to your nearest theater. I laughed, cried and in the end was very touched by this story which serves a a gentle reminder to us all that it is never too late to seek out your own adventure.
A young Carl Fredrickson meets a young adventure spirited girl named Ellie. They both dream of going to a Lost Land in South America. 70 years later, Ellie has died. Carl remembers the promise he made to her. Then, when he inadvertently hits a construction worker, he is forced to go to a retirement home. But before they can take him, he and his house fly away. However he has a stowaway aboard. An 8 year old boy named Russell, whose trying to get an assisting the elderly badge. Together, they embark in an adventure, where they encounter talking dogs, an evil villain and a rare bird named Kevin.

Inspirational Words

President Barack Obama's signature on a wall in a health classroom at Southwest High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he attended a town hall meeting on health care, June 11, 2009. The physical education and health staff left a note asking the President to sign the wall for future students to see. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama on Flickr?

This may be old news, but did you know that the White House has an official photostream on flickr? It is updated frequently and gives some interesting insight into the lives of our new first family! Check in on the White House goings-on and the see the Obamas in all their style and grace, here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A favorite store...

I can't believe that I have not posted anything about John Derian before as it is my favorite store, well, anywhere. A friend of mine might be taking a trip to New York and it would be criminal to not visit this charming space. One day I hope to have at least a tea set by Astier de Villatte, the lovely french terracotta pottery carried by John Derian.

Counting Sheep...

...would be so lovely in this space. Is it the huge industrial window, the calming greys, or the fantastic black and white prints? Who is to say but it definately works. The chair is something (I'll ask my friend Lucy for identification)


What a wonderful headboard...

This reminds me...

Of my friend Matthew James' old yellow lamp...

Great Collaboration

Alexander Girard will be launching a collection at Urban Outfitters in July! The Alexander Girard for Urban Outfitters collection will consist of bed linens, printed cushions, drapes, shower curtains, a few original classic Girard prints and more.


This cake looks delicious, and I love the chef's blog!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some Wonderful Spaces

"Books are a hardbound drug with no danger of an overdose, I am the happy victim of books. " - Karl Lagerfield

I share his passion for books [especially the over-sized coffee table variety], one that was a very costly habit when shipping them from NYC to Charleston upon my most recent move. Included is a list of my top eleven most beloved books in my somewhat over-sized collection.

1) On the Beach by Richard Misrach
2) Collect Raindrops (first edition by Nikki McClure)
3) Analogue by Zoe Leonard
4) The 2008 Whitney Biennial Exhibition Catalogue (my friend Abbe worked on the exhibition)
5) The Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney
6) A collection of Pablo Neruda poems given to me by a professor
7) New Masters Pictorial Encyclopedia from the 1920s, I found it on 7th and C hard to believe someone was going to throw it away
8) Half Past Autumn by the late Gordon Parks a personal hero of mine
9) The French Laundry Cookbook, I haven't made a thing out of it but it is the epitome of a beautiful cookbook
10) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (my favorite book period)
11) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (I can't wait for the movie)

Loving this outfit too

My friend Leslie and I have this theory that French men just dress better, take a look at the shoes and I think you'll agree.

perfect summer outfit

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Over-due recipe

2 large red or golden beets (about 14 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
1 1/4 pounds
Fresh Egg Pasta
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets individually in foil; place on baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Open foil carefully (steam will escape). Cool. Peel beets; finely grate into medium bowl. Add ricotta cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in breadcrumbs.

Roll Fresh Egg Pasta dough into sheets according to recipe. Place 1 dough sheet on work surface. Using 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut sheet into 7 rounds. Transfer rounds to lightly floured baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough for total of 56 rounds.
Sprinkle 2 smooth kitchen towels with flour. Place 8 pasta rounds on work surface, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic. Place small bowl of water next to work surface. Spoon 1 teaspoon beet filling onto half of each round. Dip fingertip into water and dampen edge of 1 round. Fold dough over filling, pushing out as much air as possible and pressing edges firmly to seal. Transfer to prepared towels. Repeat with remaining rounds. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until frozen solid, about 6 hours. Transfer ravioli to resealable plastic bags.)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat and stir in poppy seeds; keep warm. Working in batches, cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until cooked through, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to skillet with melted butter; toss to coat. Divide ravioli among 8 plates; sprinkle with Parmesan.

Market Tip The flavor, color, and texture of roasted fresh beets is incomparable, so don't even consider using the canned variety. When choosing beets, select bunches with bright, glossy leaves attached.

Longing for...

Equal parts clever and melancholy, the latest from Camera Obscura is an affectionate lyrical romp through everyday relationships and routines, backed by pop elements explored on their previous album, Let's Get Out Of This Country. Loved by fans of Belle and Sebastian, The Smiths and the Lucksmiths - all with good reason


Matthew Brannon right now, whose art I first saw at the Whitney Biennial last year. Matthew Brannon’s work turns on the opposition—and ever-mounting imbrication—of art and design. After an early stint as a painter, he began to draw his inspiration from those printed materials that mediate everyday life in late-capitalist, early twentyfirst- century America, from posters and advertisements to promotional flyers and take-out menus. But if Brannon’s iconography conjures mass-produced, throwaway sources, his methods are laboriously handcrafted, even old-fashioned: screenprint, letterpress, and lithograph works, often executed in a limited palette and consistent in their graphic rigor. His art seems on first glance disarmingly direct. But as one turns to the text paired with his images for explication or illumination, disorder intervenes.


Fathers & Daughters

With Father's Day fast approaching I have been thinking alot about the relationship between fathers and their daughers and how truely blessed I am to have my Dad! I have so many fond memories of my childhood but at the top of my list today

1) Taking naps in the hammock with my Dad on summer afternoons
2) Riding our lawn-mower with Earl
3) Picking all my Mom’s tulips to surprise her with a big bouquet (this would NOT be in her top 10 list)
4) Reading The Night Before Christmas with my Dad & Mom on Christmas Eve (which I still make them do even though I'm gasp 26)
5) Playing dress up in my Mom’s closet, also something I haven’t gown out of
6) Going to the Art museum to look at the Monet's (they were my favorite)
7) Baking cookies with my grandparents
8) Building sandcastles with grandma Thompson and grandma Lewis
9) Playing in the garden with Grace
10) Playing in my grandmother's creek with my "boys" (cousins) who I absolutely adore

"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. "

Monday, June 15, 2009

Movie Recommendations

Hors de Prix: "She only dated men with money...until she met a man with a heart"

Plot Summary: Through a set of wacky circumstances, a young gold digger mistakenly woos a mild-mannered bartender thinking he's a wealthy suitor. On the Riviera with her elderly provider to celebrate her birthday, Irene slips down to the hotel bar when he falls asleep on her. She mistakes barman Jean for a well-healed guest and he encourages the deceit by taking her up to the Royal Suite for the night. A year later the same thing happens but this time her lover finds out and disowns her. Now knowing Jean is indeed a barman of little means doesn't stop her from continuing to live in style until his money is gone. He soon finds himself in Irene's business with older and worldly-wise Madeleine, and though Irene also takes up with a new paramour the two of them keep in increasingly close touch.

Le scaphandre et le papillon: "Let your imagination set you free"

Plot Summary: The true story of French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he'd only visited in his mind.


In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining Czech underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick's one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan....

Congratulations... my very talented friend Susannah Tisue whose fabulous ceramic cake was featured in Time Out New York

Sure to get a laugh from some college friends...

This perfectly encapsulates the way I

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Charleston Farmer's Market

Every Saturday Charleston holds a lovely farmers are some photos I snapped and a recipe I tried after buying some delicious broccoli

2 tablespoons
olive oil
1 small
onion, chopped
garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup
chicken broth (I use Oxo)
1 bunch
broccoli, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon
lemon juice
1/4 cup
parmesan cheese, grated
200 g
pasta (I like whole wheat fettuccini or spaghetti)

In a medium saucepan cook onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat until onions are soft. Add chicken broth and broccoli and bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper. Cover and boil gently for about 10 minutes, or until broccoli is very tender, stir occasionally. Place broccoli mixture in a food processor or blender with lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Pulse a few times until smooth. Toss pasta and sauce together and serve.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A favorite poem

Alas it is late, and I am headed to bed but not before I post a final poem in honor of a very good friend's birthday (Happy Birthday Alex).

The useless dawn finds me in a deserted street-
corner; I have outlived the night.
Nights are proud waves; darkblue topheavy waves
laden with all the hues of deep spoil, laden with
things unlikely and desirable.
Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals,
of things half given away, half withheld,
of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act
that way, I tell you.
The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds
and odd ends: some hated friends to chat
with, music for dreams, and the smoking of
bitter ashes. The things my hungry heart
has no use for.
The big wave brought you.
Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily
and incessantly beautiful. We talked and you
have forgotten the words.
The shattering dawn finds me in a deserted street
of my city.
Your profile turned away, the sounds that go to
make your name, the lilt of your laughter:
these are the illustrious toys you have left me.
I turn them over in the dawn, I lose them, I find
them; I tell them to the few stray dogs and
to the few stray stars of the dawn.
Your dark rich life ...
I must get at you, somehow; I put away those
illustrious toys you have left me, I want your
hidden look, your real smile -- that lonely,
mocking smile your cool mirror knows.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Headed into Work

I'm headed into work for the night, I hostess at Langdon's and thought I would share a picture of my new place of employment.

Inspired by Freeman's

Today I was feeling inspired by one of my favorite meals at one of my favorite New York restaurants. If you are ever visiting the city make sure to seek out Freeman's Alley, an inspired take on early American cuisine in a simply charming space.

Below is my interpretation of their poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, and cheddar cheese grits
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups regular grits
16 ounces Cheddar, cubed
1/2 cup milk
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces grated sharp white Cheddar
4 Tomatoes
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 large whole eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 4-quart casserole dish.
Bring the broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the grits and whisk until completely combined. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grits are thick, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cubed Cheddar and milk and stir. Gradually stir in the eggs and butter, stirring until all are combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the white Cheddar and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

To make the roasted tomatoes Preheat oven to 400 degrees F if you have a lower oven, if not the 350 degree oven will be sufficient. Toss the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan. Arrange tomatoes cut sides up, then bake in lower third of oven until softened, about 30 minutes for tomatoes.

When the grits and the roasted tomatoes are finished put the grits in the bottom of a serving dish, then place the tomatoes on top, and place in the oven (turned off) to keep warm while finishing the poached egg.

To poach an egg, pour enough water into a 10-inch nonstick skillet to measure no less than 1 1/2-inches, place over high heat, and bring to 190 degrees F. Add the vinegar. Gently crack each egg into a custard cup. Lower each cup into the water until it touches bottom and gently pour in the egg. Cook for 4 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain the temperature. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, 1 at a time, to a tea towel lined plate. Trim the edges of the white with the side of a spoon and serve immediately over the grits and tomatoes. Enjoy!