Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Looking for a quick recipe to make for your family?  and I'll bet you even have all of the ingredients in your pantry.  (Sorry, no picture this time.  By the time I remembered to take a pic, my family had finished it off.)  Enjoy!
p.s. I doubled the sauce because my family loves extra sauce--it was great
Baked teriyaki chicken
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 skinless chicken thighs
1.In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the cornstarch, cold water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and ground black pepper. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.
2.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
3.Place chicken pieces in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush chicken with the sauce. Turn pieces over, and brush again. (I poured half the sauce over the chicken for the first 30 minutes and then poured the rest of the sauce for the last 30 minutes.)
4.Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn pieces over, and bake for another 30 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Brush with sauce every 10 minutes during cooking.

Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Wow, it's been ages since I've baked cookies.  But the dried cherries stashed in the pantry were calling my name saying, "Please do something yummy with me before I'm no good for anything!"

Doesn't it drive you crazy to toss things that are obviously well-past expiration date because they are out-of-sight-out-of-mind?

I thought the combination of oats and dried cherries would provide just the right zing. And then I noticed the bar of white chocolate also stashed in the pantry and thought that would add a bit of sophistication.

The recipe is the basic oatmeal cookie recipe from the back of the Quaker Oats box, adding whatever else suits your fancy to dress up these humble cookies.  Yes, the combination of oats, dried cherries, and white chocolate was super.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup dried cherries chopped
white chocolate bar chopped 
Heat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and dried fruit, chocolate, etc; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I've been slowly refreshing a few tired items in my home.  Two over-stuffed, well-worn chairs from my Mom's house were the recent models for a makeover.  Stashed away in back rooms with sheets tossed over them, it was time for a little update both in fabric and in style.  Tragically, I do not have a "before" picture (don't you just love "before and after" pics?) So, you will have to use your imagination.  


Picture this "before": green and peach striped fabric, back cushion beaten down after years of serving as a snuggly spot for a small dog, body of chair very tight, skirt a tad too short.

I wanted a bit of a slipcovered look without the looseness and wrinkles of slipcovers (though I don't mind a bit of wrinkles, do you?)  The new fabric is an unbleached linen-cotton blend. Simple, unadorned.

The "before" chair would have shown arms that were flat in the front with piping, one short pleat on the two front corners,  and more piping around the perimeter of the skirt.  I wanted an updated look so I asked my genius of an upholsterer (Mike Redhorse, love him) to remove the piping around the arms, add pleats on the front of the arms, and add two pleats (one long, one short) on the two front corners of the chair, no piping at the base.  Done.

A softer, higher back was needed (down and feathers) and three pleats on each rounded corner (love those).  Done.

The back of the chair is fitted and then slightly flairs at the pleat, mimicking a slipcover.  I also wanted the skirt slightly longer than the previous chair.

Voila!  Updated, refreshed, and feeling brand-spanking new (with a reduced-priced John Robshaw pillow perched atop).

Friday, April 8, 2011


Okay, after reading about this exhibit I'm ready for a quick trip across the Pond.  Who's in?


The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900

Portrait of Mrs. Luke lonides, William Blake Richmond, England, 1882. Museum no. E.1062-2003. Portrait of Mrs. Luke lonides, William Blake Richmond, England, 1882. Museum no. E.1062-2003.
Sponsored by
Bank of America Merrill Lynch logo

2 April - 17 July 2011

Admission charge
This is the first major exhibition to comprehensively explore Aestheticism, an extraordinary artistic movement which sought to escape the ugliness and materialism of the Victorian era by creating a new kind of art and beauty.
The well spring of the 'new art' movements of the late 19th century,  Aestheticism is now acknowledged for its revolutionary re-negotiation of the relationships between the artist and society, between the 'fine' and design arts, as well as between art and ethics and art and criticism. Aesthetic sensibilities produced some of the most sophisticated and sensuously beautiful artworks of the Western tradition.
Featuring superb artworks from the traditional high art of painting, to fashionable trends in architecture, interior design, domestic furnishings, art photography and new modes of dress, this exhibition traces Aestheticism's evolution from the artistic concerns of a small circle of avant-garde artists and authors to a broad cultural phenomenon.
The exhibition will feature paintings, furniture, ceramics, metalwork, wallpapers, photographs and costumes, as well as architectural and interior designs. Included will be major paintings by Whistler, Rossetti, Leighton, and Burne-Jones. Architecture and interior design will be represented by the works of Edward Godwin, George Aitchison, Philip Webb and Thomas Jeckyll, among others. Art furnishings designed by these and others, including William Morris, Christopher Dresser, Bruce Talbert, Henry Batley, and Walter Crane will showcase not only the designers and manufacturers they worked for, but also new retailers, such as Liberty's.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Here are a few quick reviews:

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
This is Bauermeister's first novel and the story opens on the first night of a beloved restaurant's cooking school. Each chapter focuses on one of the students with a continuing thread of the class itself.  I cared about the characters in this book and its sweet storyline. Sometimes a happy story with pretty writing is just what is needed.

I did find the writing to be a bit over-wrought. As you can see in the excerpt below, the writing is descriptive.  But so many sentences are just like this making me skim over these types of passages to get to the story.

"He placed the pot on the stove and listened again, as the water heated then boiled, rising like a little, contained tornado through the grounds until the coffee gurgled into the upper chamber and the kitchen filled with the smell, riding on the steam, pure and strong, like the first shovelful of dirt after a spring rain."  The character is making espresso.

But if you are looking for a quick, uplifting read (and like a lot of adjectives), you will enjoy this book.

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter - Phoebe Damrosch

Damrosch writes about her experience as a server at Chef Thomas Keller's New York restaurant, Per Se.  This is the sister restaurant of the famous French Laundry.  Reading about the behind the scenes of the opening was fascinating.  The amount of time and money spent on food is hard to comprehend (Chef's tasting menu, ten course meal = $295, service included).  The months of training leading up to the opening are intense and the writer does a good job building the pressure. The staff is trained and tested to know the history and varieties of French and Italian olive oil, cheese (goat, cow, sheep, blue), butter (the names and locations of the cows who produced the milk for the butter), mushrooms, caviar, etc. 


I skimmed through the passages of the writer's personal life, my interest was in the restaurant and floor activities of the wait staff. If you care about this sort of thing, it will be worth your time and it is a quick read.

Perfumes: The A-Z Guide - Lucia Turin and Tania Sanchez 

Recommended by Mary's Library, this was a fun read.  Turin and Sanchez are a husband and wife team that review perfumes.  Their book covers over 1800 perfumes and their descriptions made me laugh out loud.  Usually they were spot-on.  For instance, I happened to have several samples of fragrances on hand so I sat down with the book in my lap, smelled the fragrance, read its review and then smelled it again.  Here's my favorite description:  "A heavy overripe floral like the smell in your leather purse when you've had a banana in it since yesterday" (that would be for Prada and it was spot-on).

Turin and Sanchez rate each fragrance on a scale of 1 to 5 stars - 5 stars meaning out of this world.

So, after reading this book, what new perfume did I choose?  Two, both Chanel: Cristalle  (rated 5 stars) and No. 5 Eau Premiere (rated 4 stars).  I love them both.