Archive for October, 2011

Tricks for some….and treats for others!!
October 31, 2011

OK, I think this may be my favorite Jack-o-lantern so far this year….violent, well yes, a bit…but come on…it’s Halloween!! And not too hard to do…assuming you have an axe blade you can plant in his little pumpkin skull.

All you need is an evil laugh soundtrack.....Ha-ha-ha-ha....

This one’s good too….

maybe too much work????

And I found a great fun treat for the kids…(thanks Baltimore Sun)…’s the recipe.

Halloween pizza!!

This is super easy to make….just needs some storebought sugar cookie dough for the crust, some candy corns, chocolate, and gummy worms….and think how cool your kids will think it is. If they’re not impressed…stop spoiling them.

Wheeee...let's stop doing news and dress up in costumes!!

I was watching the Today Show this morning against my better judgement…their Halloween show is my least favorite. Serously, I really don’t like this show. I know, I know…why do I watch? I don’t know. Heaven forbid something serious happen during this hour…you’d have someone is the costume of a bride or a prince, telling you about something horrible that happened.

But I digress….poor, poor Savannah Guthrie..that girl got the dirty tricks this year. SHe is paying her dues, seriously. While Ann Curry gets to be the adored and beautiful Kate Middleton…

…and Natalie Morales is the glamorous Pippa Middleton

….Savannah is ….wait for itPrince Charles, big ears and all.

I watched her…. thinking that she is a really good sport, but I don’t think she liked it much….The woman below in blue(never could figure out who she really is-do you know?) was complaining about her costume of a pregnant Victoria Beckham, Savannah replied dryly, “Well, at least you’re a girl!”

I feel you sister…and on national tv, too. Maybe next year, you”ll be the princess.

The perfect day off…..from toes to Zoe…
October 27, 2011

Ok, I had a couple of days off this week…in the middle of the week…with nothing really planned for those days. Unusual for me. And lovely. And for at least one of those days, I think I put together the perfect  schedule….Step one: start the day nice and slow…

A little iPad, Today Show, and green tea....bliss!

Step 2: a little tv….got to watch Regis and Kelly….can I say I will miss Regis? They have this odd, cranky chemistry that is gonna be hard to replace with someone younger and cooler.

Oh Regis...waxing poetic over something....

Step 3: Take daughter to lunch….always good to catch up with my girl. She had the gumbo…I had the grilled salmon salad(and a glass of wine-at lunch!)

Good eats in Langerman's...

Step 4: Pedi at About Faces in Canton.

How decadent is a mid-week, mid-day pedi??

My toes really needed some attention, and I had a gift certificate to pay for it. How fabulous is that?

the color: "You Don't Know Jacques"

Step 5: Make another cup of tea at home, and catch up on magazines and catalogues. They’ve been waiting patiently… for a look-see, or the recycling bin.

Neiman Marcus gift book.....oooh, lovely.

Step 6: Lazy girl’s dinner…carrryout!Went to the new Manchurian Rice in Harbor East….they were pretty fast. Chicken and mushrooms, and Mongolian Beef…both delish(served on real dishes of course…all the better to fool you with).'s good they have a powerful fan system.....

Step 7: Glass of wine and catch up on Rachel Zoe Project…..

Oh,'re a Mommy(with a baby in Chanel!)

This show is my guilty pleasure that I can only watch alone, or with my daughter…who understands me. I mean, it’s so MAJ…..obvie.

Step 8: Go to bed a little early and read my other guilty pleasure….The Faefever Series by Karen Moning. Seriously, I’m a little ashamed of liking these books so much, so don’t tell anyone. Please.

Sweet…and spicy….You asked for it, Stein’s Sweet Potato Soup
October 24, 2011

There was a neighborhood bonfire and soup/stew cookoff this past weekend…and while I didn’t get my offering there in time for the judging…I thought this soup was a real winner…Stein’s Sweet Potato Soup, a recipe from the Stein Erikson Lodge in Park City Utah. But what makes this one different is the addition of chili peppers. Sweet, and spicy…just the way I like it.

Yes, it's just as fabulous as it looks....

 Stein Erikson is a former alpine ski race and Olympic gold medalist….born and raised in Norway…he won the gold medal in the giant slalom in 1952, and was considered skiing’s first “superstar”. But he headed for the U.S., and opened the Stein Erikson Lodge in Park City-here. I was lucky enough to stay there  for Great Country Inns, back in the day. Drop dead gorgeous place(if you are ever in Park City, go see it, and have lunch)….and the food there absolutely rocks it.  Stein was a really interesting guy to interview (and not bad to look at, let’s be honest).

Great skiier....and really nice guy...

But I digress, back to the soup….the recipe is pretty easy really. The most complicated part is roasting and peeling the chili peppers(and that ain’t hard).

Pretty simple, really....

Ingredients are listed on the recipe above. You simply saute the carrots and onions together for a while, add the chicken stock and the sweet potatoes and cook until tender(and I added a bay leaf and a big clove of chopped garlic).

SImmer the potatoes for 20 minutes or so until tender...

When everything is tender, stir in your roasted peeled chilis…

Roast at 400 until blackened, then sweat them in a paper bag. Peel.

Simmer a few minutes, and puree the batch, season to taste. Dat’s it. If it’s still not hot enough for you(and sweet potatoes can take some heat), add a splash of Sriacha or Tobasco. Done. Slurp. Enjoy.

Yummo to the extreme....

Near the finish line…..and little weekend history!
October 21, 2011

Beautiful, hand engraved

Ok, I took another trip to Chaudron Glass yesterday(my glass was finished a day early by the “man upstairs“)….better known as Derrick Chaudron, 5th generation of the Chaudron family to work in the family biz. And I didn’t even go around the block a few times looking for Lovegrove Street, but I did get a better look at the place inside….wow, they do some amazing work, like the gorgeous piece you see above.

narrow streets allowed fire to easily jump buildings

Derrick told me..they’re on an alley, because Chaudron has been in this old carriage house since 1931…which would have of course, had an entrance in the back, not on the main street. Before they were at this location, they burned down in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, which destroyed much of the city over two days!(20 banks burned down, but the vaults held and not a penny was lost!)

melted glass that contains wood and nails from original location

And this is Chaudron’s souvenir from the Great Fire. Incredible. They’ve been around since 1901…so yeah, they have some experience in glass and mirrors. Here’s what my  doors look like(unmounted)….

Pretty, yes? I love...

And the construction guys are back at my house today….finishing up all the details(shelves, towel racks, etc.) and redoing some tile work that didn’t come out quite right…which they were really nice about. Next week….I’ll show you the finished product…I hope I’m not jinxing the whole thing by saying it will be finished today!

It's soup weather!!

Have a fab weekend all…the forecatst looks gorgeous, so do something outside and enjoy the weather, make some butternut squash soup(doesn’t that sound nice?)…or sweet potato…yum. It’s gonna be soup weather. And come home safe…’cause we miss you!

Getting Glassy-eyed….
October 18, 2011

Welcome to Chaudron Glass....

Ok, you know about the ongoing bathroom project…the one about 6/7 finished…it still is by the way.  One hangup is cabinet doors for some shelves, built into the wall….you can’t leave them open, with all your personals in there. So I have the doors….the same cabinets that are in my kitchen, but in white. But they’re just a frame.

Something like this....only in white...

Considered mirrors in them but have decided instead on glass.  Glass with a little attitude.  I saw online a place called Chaudron Glass, on Lovegrove Street. On the map I saw it was pretty close to work, so I drove over at lunchtime. But finding it was another matter altogether(the gps kept insisting I had reached my destination)…. because this is what Lovegrove “Street looks like. Yep, it is an alley…with a name.

Welcome to Lovegrove "Street".....

Saw the sign on the wall you see above on the first picture, but not an entrance per se… none that looked very welcoming.

Please, come inside...if you dare....

So I called and said, “Ummm, I’m here, I think….but where do you go inside?” A woman replies, “See a door with a keypad and a ringer?” I replied that I did. “Buzz the ringer, someone will come to get you“….very Russian mafia, yes? Love the tag art.

But Chaudron is the real deal…

This is what the workroom looks like(my handbag and Ray-Bans on the table)...

Here were my finalists of glass…..

All so pretty, but I only need one...

Love the seeded glass.....

Love the old "drugstore" look of this....

But the pattern called "rondele" stole my heart....

This is what it will look like after the glass is frosted...that takes a few days...

Herman does the ciphering, old school....

I asked Herman could the glass be finished by Friday…he replied, “I’ll have to ask the man upstairs about that.”  He did not mean God…there really is a man upstairs who sandblasts and cuts the glass. Herman came back with, “There a very good chance it will be finished by Friday“. And on that resounding qualified note, I left the doors there.  I’ll post a picture of the final cabinets doors and what they look like…oh, and if you have an old mirror that needs re-silvering, or glass or crystal or stained glass that needs a fix….Chaudron does that too. I think I really love this place.

Love the sign....

Real Funky…in a good way…exploring Kurt Corner
October 14, 2011

Hey, it's Kurt Corner!! Where the hell am I???

OK, this may be the perfect thing for the weekend…It has some funk “in a good way”(you’ll hear more about this later), good food…no make that great food, a destination not too far away, …and just a wee nod to soft porn(maybe we should dub it food porn)at the end. I figured that would catch your attention. You people.

There’s a place you have to visit….I have come to know Kurt Corner, because Kurtie-boy is a friend of mine who absconded from the city years ago, and moved lock, stock and barrel to the Eastern Shore. Just scraped us off. Oh, and he also happens to be a genius filmmaker, and he’s pretty funny to boot(and maybe a future in the soft porn industry, who knows). Occasionally ribald(look it up). And living in the country with perhaps too much time on his hands….he has created Kurt Corner.

does this look freakin' delicious or what?

And while I watched this week’s episode”Bay on a Bun”-watch here(listen close for funky in a good way)…I laughed out loud at the end and even applauded a little(and I was by myself). And then I had this overwhelming desire to visit Ocean Odyssey. And I was hungry.

So give yourself a treat, hey you’ve earned it….drop by the Corner(it’s not like “the corner” here in Baltie) and explore the place…and the off the beaten path mind of Kurt(that’s an understatment). You’ll be glad you did.

Hey, forget the calories and have a Bay on a Bun this weekend, do something nice for somebody you don’t even like that much, forgive someone you’ve been holding a grudge against(secret grudge is the best)…and come home safe….’cause we miss you!

In Search of a Perfect Thing….
October 13, 2011

Sometimes life is like burned sweet potatoes...

Here’s one of the things I love about my job….the fact that once the day is over….the clock rings 6:30pm(ok it doesn’t ring, but you get the idea)…..I can scrape that day off.  Just shake it off and move on. Those newscasts are over..O-V-E-R…and you can’t get any of it as a mulligan…no matter how much you would like to. It. Is. Done. And the next day you get up and attempt once again put on the perfect newscast(which is like looking for  a pearl at the bottom of the ocean).

So even though you seek perfection everyday…you rarely find it…wherever you are.  Sometimes the recycling crew just doesn’t finish the job….and you have to haul what they left back home. Sigh.

Come on guys, can't you just take it all???

Sometimes you drop almond butter on your white blouse and have to CUT OFF  the dirty bits with scissors, because spot cleaning ain’t getting it. Barbarian, I know.

Snip snip...luckily this blouse lends itself to editing....

But there are some perfect things in the world…Pumpkin pie ice cream…yes, it is as good as it sounds…

Delicious, and perfect....

A tree as it puts on a lovely orange dress….

Lovely, and perfect....

A gin and tonic, made with Hendrick’s gin  and cucumber slices….

Refreshing, and perfect....

Dinner, with a pretty view….

Gorgeous, and perfect....

Baby Girl’s fluffy belly fur….♥♥♥.

So fluffy, so perfect....

What are your perfect things?

Hot Stuff…. Is Sriacha the new king of condiments??
October 7, 2011

The condiment for chili sauce...

Ok, let me just say that I have seen Sriacha sauce sitting on the tables of many Thai restaurants(though it’s actually made in California at Huy Fong Foods), and never tried it.  It just looked….so RED…so incendiary….so….dangerous??? Oh, the shame of that cowardice….and the time lost.

A puree of fresh red jalapenos, vinegar, garlic powder, sugar and salt….I now use Sriacha constantly. In Maine, I made(more like made up) something I saw on Joseph Leonard’s menu(my son’s fav restaurant in the west village)….roasted brussel sprouts Sriacha. So I humbly offer my own version. Wash, trim and half your sprouts….and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Oh, my beloved Kitchen Aid roasting sheet....

Toss them with olive oil and salt….and spread out cut side down on a roasting pan. Ok, they don’t all have to be cut side down, but it pleases my sense of order…you know it is. Flip over about 15 minutes in and give them another 10 or so in the oven, until they look like this.

All nice and golden....lovely...

Sriacha time!! Squeeze it on…you can always add more later, if you like really hot stuff….

Toss them to coat evenly, and serve to delighted eaters!

Love the bits of red chili sauce on the pretty

Even if you think you don’t like brussel sprouts(and I kinda always avoided them, as I had only experienced the oversteamed, drippy, dreary variety-ugh)….these will be a revelation. Seriously. They’re that good.

It’s Friday people! SO put some Sriacha on something this weekend….(a recipe follows for Sriacha Wings….my Friday gift to you-oh, and mayo mixed with Sriacha makes a nice dipping sauce)….be nice, don’t throw rocks, maybe buy a pumpkin…and come home safe, ’cause we miss you!

Buffalo Chicken Wings with Sriacha
  • 2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings (12 to 15 wings)
  • 1/4 cup (more if desired) Huy Fong Foods
    Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. of Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
  1. Split wings at each joint and discard tips.  Pat dry.
  2. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour;
    turning halfway through cooking time.
  3. Combine butter, Huy Fong Foods Sriracha
    Chili Sauce
    , salt, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Dip wings in hot sauce mixture to coat completely. Dive it!

the zen of bathroom remodeling… and other tales from the palace(as in Blenheim)….
October 5, 2011

Shower floor is pebbles...white subway tile on the walls...

Well, a number of you have asked how the bathroom remodel is coming along….and truly, by now, I thought it would have been long finished. We are now a week past due date. The bath is functional, by which I mean you can take a shower, you can brush your teeth at the sink, you can go to the loo….but some detail work remains on the tile and the ceiling lights, no shelves are up to put anything on…so I’d say we are 7/8 there?

I have gone from being a little frustrated…to wanting to stomp my foot… that it wasn’t finished in time. But now that my house guests leave in two days, I have retreated to that Jamaican “Soon come, man” attitude.  I’m not upset, or angry, or anything really. It will be finished when it will be finished. Very zen, yes? Oh…but there is one thing. remaining monies stay in my pocket until it’s done. All. done.

Guinness shirt...of course....

Oh, and here’s a little tale about the people staying at my house…the Shelleys, as I’ve told you are 84 and 79, I think. They grew up in England…Harry in London, and he and his Mum were shipped out to the countryside when he was just a boy, when the  London Blitz  began in 1940( he actually was dug out of his house after it was bombed there…not injured). He said it was the most amazing scene you can imagine at Paddington Station….hundreds and hundreds(maybe thousands) of women and their kids milling around taking trains to who knows where? They didn’t know where they were going, but when they got off…people who lived in the towns just came and picked out people to stay with them(the clean and tidy were picked first of course). And there they stayed until it was safe to come home.

Inside Blenheim Palace...very posh...

But that’s not the story! On a walk one morning, Harry shared something I had never known about him(and I’ve known him for 30 years)….that his grandfather was head coachman for Winston Churchill’s Father.

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

And Harry’s grandmother was in the room when Winston was born in 1876…part of her duties at Blenheim Palace, as head housekeeper! Very upstairs, downstairs…yes?

Insanely good!! I think we had been talking about Downton Abbey-here, the insanely popular British costume drama( season two is airing right now in the UK so I downloaded Season 1 from iTunes and LOVE.) It jogged his memory I guess.  SO if you haven’t seen Season 1…get it together, so you can be prepared for season II which begins here in the U.S. in January. You will NOT be sorry! Here’s glimpse at the trailer for Season II.

Lunch for 12 and other insane tasks….
October 3, 2011

Even tho Harry is 84, he still walks several miles a day.....

I think I mentioned I was expecting houseguests in this past weekend who will be with us through Friday…The Shelleys took us under their wing when we moved to Balaltimore long ago, and while they moved back to their native England some years back….they still come to visit “across the pond” as they say. They were  like a wonderful aunt and uncle…my kids adored them.

Tick tock, tick tock guys....

I was worried a bathroom being redone wouldn’t be ready in time….and while it was functional(you could use the toilet, shower and sink…there  was still plenty of work to do..shelves not installed, no place to hang towels)..etc…it was “kinda” finished. I was NOT happy about it, but there it is. The best laid plans….

Setting the scene for a party!! Love the different chairs(tho was from necessity!

But we had a great lunch party Sunday afternoon, for 12 people. I just love long Sunday afternoon lunches, where people can talk and hang out at the table, for several hours. We had shrimp and grits…one of my fav dishes for lunch(or dinner or breakfast for that matter)….

Oh, and a little Tobasco or Crystal sauce, touch of Worchestershire

It starts with a base of red and green peppers, some tomatoes, butter, and kielbasa…shrimp added at the last.

Twelve plates, check.

Wine(of course), check.

Flowers(unlike Madonna, I love hydrangeas), check.

Table set, check(ordered these killer pine cones on Ebay!)

marinated olives and pistachios for nibbles, check.

But let me be honest, I often order desserts to take some of the stress off of having a dinner party.

Coconut cake with lime curd filling...yummo...

I love to cook, but baking anything more serious than brownies or the NY Times plum torte, is too much for this girl. A former neighbor started a company called Butter Catering(everything is better with butter, right?)….and she made for me the most luscious coconut cake with lime curd inside…and a a very dense chocolate flourless torte. They were just AMAZING. Thanks Mary Gill! You’re a lifesaver!

This is serious chocolate....