Archive for June, 2012

poached guinea eggs and pea shoots

photos: m&j

Our farmer friend, Jaime Lamond’s White and French Pearl guinea hen eggs were a fabulous treat, poached (perfectly – thank you, Amanda Hesser and your awesome youtube video) on toasted Eli’s Health Bread and served over fresh, flowering pea shoots. As mentioned in our earlier post, the diminutive eggs have a high yolk to white ratio and very hard shells (you really have to give them quite a little whack). But once you break through to the golden richness inside, the rewards are plenty! Always check eggs by submerging in a large bowl of water: if they stay at the bottom and don’t float up, they are fresh and good to be enjoyed. Thanks again, Jaime, for these truly special and super delicious, little brunch stars!

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kitchen inspired paintings

images: Heather Chontos

We just adore these food and kitchen inspired works by our good friend and sometimes collaborator – prop & set stylist and artist, extraordinaire, Heather Chontos. These and other delightful works are available on her site and blog, milk farm road. Her talents are a constant source of inspiration to us both.

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an armful of June peonies

photos: m&j

What a lovely surprise to see these beauties out in full force at the Union Square Market this Saturday with this unseasonably warm, early season we’ve been having. We grabbed all we could carry and have been reveling in them ever since!

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freshly foraged morels!

photos: m&j

We’ve been so excited to order our freshly foraged morels ever since we first read about Earthy Delights  – the wonderful wild harvested/foraged food company out of Michigan – back in March. And have been anxiously awaiting both morel season and a coinciding break in our work schedule to plan a shipment of wild fungi/cooking day. And the experience was a blast from the moment we started talking mushrooms with Chef David and Stefanie at Earthy.com. They told us that, because of all the crazy weather we’ve had this year, the blondes had peaked a few weeks early (sad!), but that we were just hitting peak black morel season now and that they were hoping to get a really tip top shipment of freshly foraged mushrooms within the next 24 hours and that we should call him the following afternoon to discuss. This is our type of detail – happiness from the get-go. And just look at these stunners – with wrinkly little honeycomb structures that conjure up ancient civilizations, the French countryside and even elves, if we’re completely honest. We’re planning to make a simple vegetarian dish with fresh asparagus and butter and just enjoy the pure love of this oh-so-special taste. We recommend you do the same – hopefully, Earthy Delights will still have a few left for you!

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El Bulli: Cooking in Progress

© Alive Mind Cinema, 2011

This documentary about famed Spanish Chef and food provocateur, Ferran Adrià and his legendary El Bulli (now, sadly shuttered) just blew our minds. Creative to the point of “avant garde” as Adrià puts it, this food is not for everyone. And much of it seems less like food than science. But it is definitely art. And watching this documentary about the creation and coming to life of one of the last season’s menus of what many called “the greatest restaurant in the world” is completely engaging. The personalities alone in that kitchen are worth the trip. Our favorite quote from the film: Ferran Adrià to his sommelier – “Our problem is, there are a thousand combinations. At the moment, the taste doesn’t matter to us. That comes later. At the moment, what matters is whether something is magical, and whether it opens up a new path. And later, in the restaurant, the dishes are created. Constructed. Now it’s more research and there is more research with creativity.” Simply riveting.

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the artistry of Caroline Swift

photos: m&j

Not only have we been waiting two months for this package to arrive from Spain (sadly, another mishap with our beloved USPS), but when it finally arrived, it contained the most phenomenally gorgeously wrapped little parcels inside that we had to do a photo shoot before we even opened the packages. Caroline Swift, an amazing artist in Spain who works with porcelain makes every detail so incredibly special – even her embossed wrapping paper, stiff white twine and hand made porcelain hang tags are a delight to behold in person. And the super delicate, ghostly, white-on-white items within – all we can say is “wow.” We are huge fans and so lucky to be able to own and now shoot with some of her work. Many thanks for the inspiration, Caroline – you have definitely made it into our inner sanctum!

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Cooking in the kitchen with Wallis

photos: m&j

When we came across this vintage cookbook at an antiques shop, we just had to have it – Some Favorite Southern Recipes of The Duchess of Windsor is a collection of down home Southern American fare, culled by this now infamous non-Brit for her friends and others in the United Kingdom. As we scan the pages, we wonder how home cooks and entertainers in England were really enjoying her Smothered Chicken, Waffles & Syrup, Picked Watermelon Rind or Crab & Okra Gumbo. But it does, however, seem quite possible that her Frozen Tomato Salad and Tipsy Charlotte were quite popular in 1958 when it was first published. This one’s a real gem, not to mention what a fabulous hostess gift it will make if one is ever invited to the home of Madonna!

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last giant magnolia bouquet

photos: m&j

We are so sad to report that Chelsea’s Landing, our beloved family home in St. Michael’s, MD is in the process of being sold. So this will be our last summer there. And, though the official sale is good news for the family, it is oh-so-bittersweet.  Afraid you’ll see a lot of posts from the fabulous 17 acre grounds and garden, waxing on with less-than-faint nostalgia about the last time we’ll see, smell and taste each ripe, gorgeous fruit, vegetable, crab and flower as the season progresses. This Memorial Day weekend, it was giant Magnolia blossoms – and how lemony and heady they were. After trucking them back to the city, the scent has delightfully filled the entire apartment. We will miss you in all your glory, enormous flowering tree ! More to come …

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eggs delivered fresh from the farm

photos: m&j

How lucky are we to have a couple dozen of these gorgeous chicken and guinea eggs delivered to our studio, fresh from Jaime and Jenna Lamond’s farm Upstate in Philmont, New York? Very lucky, indeed! The conventional eggs are from a mixed flock of New Hampshire Reds, Golden and Silver Laced Wyandottes, Barred Rocks and Ameraucanas. The smaller, pointier eggs are from White and French Pearl guinea fowl – a wonderful breed of layer that is a little less tame than your average chicken, but prized for their rich, little (high yolk to white ratio) eggs and their tick controlling abilities, as well as their slightly wilder brooding habits. Jaime says his guinea hens occasionally use the laying boxes in the coop with the chickens, but mostly tend to lay in clutches in high weeds or in the multiflora rose bushes that grow all around their farm. Jaime says, “I’ll hear them doing their laying call out far away from the coop, and then we’ll have to stamp around in the thorns looking for the nest.” The ones we were fortunate enough to have delivered came from a clutch he found last Sunday behind the woodshed. So incredibly charming – a hen that enjoys smelling the roses is a hen we can relate to! Thank you so much, Jaime for this amazing late spring, farm-fresh treat.

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flower foraging in Litchfield County

photos: m&j

We are hard pressed to imagine a prettier place on earth than Litchfield County, CT in springtime. And there’s no prettier spread in the county than our dear friend Alicia’s 1808 colonial with all its textured finery, abundant and truly special offerings. Thank you, A for the spectacular feast for our hearts, stomachs and eyes and for letting us take home a few flower-filled “doggie bags” for our week in the concrete jungle xoxo. p.s. the much-coveted arrangements include; double lilacs, pink weigelia, helleborus, “knockout” pink roses, lilies of the valley and stars of Bethlehem.

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