Archive for May, 2012

French breakfast radishes

photos: m&j

Spicy, light, delicious, but also a little bit decadent and such an easy and sophisticated accompaniment to cocktails before a meal – these French breakfast radishes are super crunchy with just the right amount of kick. The butter is unsalted and softened overnight before it is potted. And the sea salt is hand-harvested from Jacobsen, of course (thanks again, JJ, for the great gift and also for reminding us of this fab serving suggestion)!

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Brideshead Revisited

© Miramax Films, 2008

Just at the height of our Downton Abbey withdrawal, this gem from 2008 reappears and satisfies with all the splendor, drama and “upstairs” British finery we’ve been longing for – based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh. Upon second viewing, we’re once again struck by the lushness of the setting, the wonderful taboo of the story and sheer magnificence of the truly disgracefully wealthy in the earlier part of twentieth century England.  Beautifully directed by Julian Jarrold and starring Matthew Goode, Emma Thompson and Ben Wishaw who a year later went on to star in one of our all-time faves, the glorious Jane Campion beauty, Bright Star. Its chock full of everything period and pretty you want in a drama about obscene inherited wealth and class, including a perfect unseemly, disturbing underbelly. Enjoy!

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lilacs and lilies

photos: m&j

This oddly early and overly warm spring has our favorite posies coming at us all at once and in full force – and almost an entire month sooner than usual! Heady, inspirational and almost overwhelming to those of us who may, indeed, have been bumble bees in another life (as Mr. Elliott likes to say). Thank you, dear Barb for sharing these gorgeous blooms from your lovely garden – we can’t imagine a more appreciated or a more beloved gift!

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sweet, old gal takes a big, long trip!

photos: m&j

This amazingly textured (and tattered) fabric sampler, dating back to the year 1748 just came to us via a dealer in the UK and somehow got “miss sent” to India on the way to New York City! We were so happy that the piece finally arrived intact, considering the extended journey (not to mention the single sheet of tissue it was wrapped in within the envelope). And we are pleased to report it is no worse for the wear, whatsoever, and has found a permanent place in our props collection. How amazing that a 7-year-old did this precise and lovely handiwork? Just mind boggling.

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Brooklyn “twee” artisanal products

food photos: m&j  artisan portraits: Jonathan Nesteruk for New York Magazine

After reading the New York Magazine cover story last week about the exponential rise of “twee” artisanal products coming out of dear and near Brooklyn, NY, we realized – not only did we want all of them – but we also already had a pretty fair share of these “food nerd items” on hand in our own pantry. And we happily recommend them all!

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simple crowd pleaser dessert

photos: m&j

A recent foray deep into the world of Häagen-Dazs has given us a whole new appreciation for the confectioner’s handiwork (not that we didn’t already each have a few pints of the stuff on hand in our freezers at all times, anyway). But they really do offer some truly perfect dessert items – like their milk chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bars. If you’re a milk chocolate person, nothing is better. For a fun and effortless dessert, consider whipping out a box of these and serving one to each guest with a shot of bourbon – we prefer Blanton’s. It’s a nice individual treat and the whiskey warms the body up when it must eat ice cream during these occasionally chilly & damp spring nights (which we must).

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NYC gardenia cutting garden

photos: m&j

With three gardenia plants growing currently at our place on 16th street (some given as recent birthday gifts), we are truly spoiled when it comes to having sweet, heady posies on hand (and at nose) virtually at all times. They need lots of sun and water, but are otherwise quite easy and we’ve had luck keeping them alive over the winter – which is always a happy surprise. An occasional handful of coffee grounds makes them extra happy). These three cuttings in a hanging glass votive holder from our favorite shop of the moment, Haven’s Kitchen makes a pretty nosegay anywhere in the house, especially when entertaining – and so much nicer than just lighting a scented candle!

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April Supper Club!

photos: m&j

On April 24th, we had the complete pleasure of joining a group of close friends and even a few adventurous family members (go A. Wright & Patsy!) along with our dear new friends at Haven’s Kitchen for their second ever Supper Club event. With food imagined and prepared by husband and wife chef team Andrew Lentz of Lincoln and Shaunna Sargent of Indie Food and Wine and Betto – we knew the evening was going to be something special. And it was that and so much more. The festivities began with a signature negroni cocktail downstairs in the cooking school kitchen with passed hors d’oeuvres, including miniature lobster sandwiches, chicken liver mousse on crisped toasts and fried fresh pea risotto balls – yum!  Then the forty of us headed upstairs for a rustic Italian meal prepared with organic and locally sourced sustainable fare and wine parings that had our mouths watering from the instant we sat down. The Antipasti was a fantastic panzanella of young beets, celery, charred onion petals, tender herbs fresh as fresh can be, house made mozzarella and Barolo vinegar with an Anselmi II Ceppo Prosecco NV. The Primi consisted of one the best raviolis we’ve ever tasted – blushed with fresh beet juice, these delicate pillows were stuffed with silky potato, pecorino romano and spicy black pepper, dressed with a lovely charred asparagus and paired with a 2010 Ocone “Flora” Falanghina. Secondi was a particularly well cooked pollo fra diavolo with braised radiccio and escarole salad and a 2008 Occhipinti “Siccagno” Nero D’Avola. And, finally, we stuffed our last bit of room with a lovely Dolci – rhubarb torta with ricotta gelato – wow! Another stellar evening burned into our tastebuds and our memories – which would be a bit nostalgic and bittersweet to look back on now if we weren’t already gearing up for the next Supper Club on May 17th (with chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern fame – can this honored new tradition possibly get any better?) … keep you posted!

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Ngoc Minh Ngo’s book party

iphone photos: m&j

We were invited to a lovely event at the upper west side West Elm store to celebrate the publication of the super-talented Ngoc Minh Ngo’s gorgeous book, Bringing Nature Home (floral arrangements inspired by nature). And with arrangements by collaborator, Nicolette Owen of awe-inspiring Little Flower School fame abounding, it was a true feast for the eyes – thank you for the invite and for the wonderful inspiration, ladies – and what a glorious way to ring in the season!

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micro arugula in micro pots

photos: m&j

Taking advantage of this warm weather, we started growing our own favorite salad green – micro arugula – in some tiny pots we’ve been saving for just the right tiny crop. Already quite peppery and delicious – the trick will be will be actually keeping them around to enjoy a bit visually (perhaps on a lunch or – even better breakfast table as an edible centerpiece to enjoy with one’s soft boiled egg!) before harvest time.

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