Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All The Best Brunches Have Them

The Best Bloody Mary You'll Ever Have (courtesy Cup of Jo)

Last weekend, my best friend Eleni came down from Boston to visit me. It was a real treat, as Eleni's a doctor and often has trouble getting away. Naturally, we decided that Sunday brunch was in order. And to me, brunch always means a Bloody Mary. I love the spicy tomato-y texture and how the plethora of garnishes make me feel like I'm eating healthier than I actually am. My favorite versions in Philadelphia are those at Farmicia (a local haunt, and scene of Sunday's brunch) and Rittenhouse Tavern (which I visited for the first time about a month ago, and whose Bloody Marys are the yardstick by which all others will be measured going forward). 

Surprisingly, as much I love these comforting concoctions, I've never made one at home. That's all about to change though, as I've decided that this holiday season will be the one in which I master the Bloody Mary myself. It'll take some practice, I'm sure, and a lot of tasting...(but thankfully, I'm up to the challenge). Here are the recipes I'm planning to try -

Brunch in a Cup (by Mrs. Lilien)

Sriracha Bloody Mary (by White on Rice Couple)

Do you like Bloody Marys? Who makes your favorite version? Any recipes of your own you'd like to share? 

Images as linked above

Friday, November 30, 2012

Foodie Friday 11.30.12

Lemon-Thyme Bruschetta

Today’s Foodie Friday post is dedicated to one recipe: Lemon-Thyme Bruschetta. I had something similar once at Colonie in Brooklyn and it’s been on my mind ever since. I made this version for the first time on Thanksgiving, and was so smitten with it, that I made it again two days later, for a “Friendsgiving” meal. It’s easy, quick, and best of all, super delicious. So, bookmark it, pin it and file it away. You never know when you’ll need an appetizer at a moment’s notice. (Two notes - Season with lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. I added half a lemon more of zest to mine. Also, use the best ricotta you can find. It truly makes the dish.)

Movie Magic

Russian Buildings

How gorgeous are these painted backdrops from the film AnnaKarenina? What I wouldn't do to have one of these on a wall in my home! Can you even imagine?? Originally available on One Kings Lane, they are now sold out. {Sigh}

It’s probably just as well, though… How ever would I choose??

Train Landscape

Blue Room

St. Petersburg Church

Ballroom Columns

Fantastic, right? Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The One That Got Away

This little beauty from BHLDN is my dream wedding dress. It is sold out. And for the last two weeks, I have been trying to find a replacement for it. To no avail...

If you, or anyone you know, has one that they would like to lend or sell, or any leads on where I can find one, please take pity on me and let me know. (Otherwise, I may be forced to subject you all to the constant bemoaning of my loss.) And really, who needs that? :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday's Word 11.14.12

Not quite an onomatopoeia, skinship is nonetheless, a highly evocative word; one that brings to mind the nuzzling of glowing, baby-fresh skin and that sweet inhale of love that exists between a parent and child. It’s a word that represents a bond born of a tie so close, that the touching of skin is an assumed and deeply essential part of the relationship.

This Wednesday’s Word is dedicated to all of those who have recently become parents, and to all of those who have the joy of experiencing skinship first hand.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Foodie Friday 11.9.12

Chocolate Eclairs

At this point in our relationship, I think it's only fair that I tell you - I am a chocoholic. And not one of those that sneaks their addiction either, no... I will blatantly feed my urge right out in public. But don't get me wrong, I do have some control. For example, I do not have to eat a whole cake in one sitting. One large piece, maybe two (if it's breakfast time), will suit me just fine. And I'll even eat desserts made without chocolate... sometimes. But ultimately, my heart belongs to the cocoa bean; and the darker, the saltier, the gooier, the better!

Here are some recipes that get my sweet-tooth aching and my heartbeat racing...

Like most self-respecting chocoholics, I love chocolate chip cookies. In fact, I could probably do a whole post on the tasty morsels, all on their own. (Maybe another time?) But for today, I'm going to stick with this one recipe, the granddaddy of them all. I mean, seriously? Nutella, brown butter, sea salt, and chocolate?? Oh, yeah...

S'mores Cake
I mentioned what a fan I am of the ooey, gooey, right? Well, this recipe takes the cake (literally) - with graham crackers, ice cream, chocolate, and toasted marshmallows. Definitely drooling over this one.

Salted Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies
Chocolate and coffee have always been a killer combination, and these cookies do this dynamic duo proud. Best grab a bit of milk and hunker down...

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Caramel Sauce

Another pairing that's tough to beat is chocolate and caramel. (Don't these little cakes sound perfect for winter's first snow?) Yummy!

These tasty-looking treats have been on my radar since last Spring. (Which apparently, is not a season that you can find caramel squares in the store.)  With the advent of colder weather though, I'm hoping my luck will change. If not, I'm taking to the internet, because these are a definite must-try for me!

What's your favorite chocolate treat?

Images: as linked above

Casa Orlandi

This project presented a fascinating dilemma for its architect/owner, Sabrina Bignami of b-arch studio. How do you take a neglected 18th century palace guesthouse, restore it, layer in elements of contemporary design and still remain true to the historical integrity of the house?

Located in Prato, Italy, a famous textile city close to Florence, Casa Orlandi had been unoccupied for twenty years when Bignami purchased it. It was neglected, but filled with beautiful frescos by Luigi Catani, one of the premier Tuscan fresco painters of the day.

From the beginning, the architect’s restoration intention was to use a light hand, and not to remake anything that did not already exist. To that end, the frescos, many of which had been covered over with a heavy layer of white paint, were lovingly restored by a friend, an expert in the field. The floors were saved and preserved, but not patched or replaced. Partially missing details were left as they are, and accepted as the result of time. The casings, in all of their fragile lightness, were kept in their original state.

Yet, restoration was only one of the goals of this project. The architect wanted to acknowledge Italy’s historical legacy, but also its great contributions to the world of contemporary design. She did so, by introducing modern elements into the space, and by working to create a successful dialogue between the two, something she feels that Italians often struggle with, ideologically. She mixed "marchè aux puces" pieces from around the world with recognizably modern objects, but always in an intentionally impermanent manner.  As a result, none of the contemporary pieces touch the walls, and all can be moved or replaced, at whim or over time, as the house evolves. In this respectful way, she has both honored the house and enlivened it.

Exquisite, don't you think?

Images: 1-9, 10, 11, 12-13

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hallows’ Eve Libations

The Spellbound Cocktail, courtesy of coco + kelley

Here on the East Coast, Halloween is an especially frightening time, thanks to Frankenstorm.  Many areas are still without power and coastal damage is immense, causing some cities and states to reschedule the holiday altogether. Luckily, Philadelphia was not hit as hard as many other areas, but for me, a quiet night at home still feels like the most fitting way to observe this scarier than usual occasion.

My prescription for a stay-at-home celebration of moderate proportions? A festive drink, a pumpkin-stuffed meal, and a classic scary movie (think The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, Psycho, and the like.) For those without power? Up the creepy-shadows factor with lots of strategically placed candles, substitute a Ouija board (or rounds of monster-themed Scrabble) for the movie, and double up on the drinks. (You've earned it!)

Here are a few of my suggestions for the evening...

Ginger & Apple & Bourbon

Sherwood Forest Cocktail

Campfire Martini

Blood Orange Manhattan

However you decide to celebrate, here's hoping that your Halloween is (safe) and happy! Cheers!

Images: as linked above.