The Day After

The kitchen bathed in glorious Fall light.

Did you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Feast? I hope so! We certainly did. As you can see, the “dry run” flowers I bought over a week ago from the Farmer’s market lasted beautifully. Gerber daisies might not be the chicest bloom on the block but they’re like the good, steady husband of the flower kingdom-long lasting, reliable and always there when you need them. No flaky boyfriend type flowers to be found in mid November anyway-unless of course one is willing to pay dearly-but what else is new with flaky boyfriends??

We cooked a massive ham, scalloped potatoes, steamed brussel sprouts and candied bacon sautéed in lashings of butter, and my husband & younger son made a banana cream pie from scratch. In between the 700 games of football on yesterday. It was awfully sweet, in more ways than one. They made a crust my husband described as thicker than a deck of cards, but seriously, how bad can graham crackers, sugar and butter taste?!

We also had gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the market that needed to be eaten quickly so I thought this delicious, Hawaiian inspired tomato, fresh pineapple & garlic chip salad would be nice with the ham.

Recipe from Food & Wine magazine HERE

Tomatoes the size of steaks. yum.

I concocted a glaze for the ham by heating Hediard’s Red Currant  fine jelly until it melted, then adding freshly (and this is a must) squeezed orange juice and Cointreau to taste.

OMG. I can’t begin to tell you how good this is, especially for being so ridiculously simple. I’m sure Martha would sieve those bits of orange out before serving, but whatever. This would be divine with Cornish game hens & duck as well.

If you cannot find “Hediard’s” red currant jelly, I’m sure Wilkin & Sons would be good too.

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After dinner and dessert, there was a rousing game of “Scrabble” in which my father took umbrage at me using the letters “H” & “O” to spell “Ho” (to make two words for 15pts)

Dude, it’s a word;

 Merriam-Websters Dictionary; Ho (used as a call to attract attention, sometimes specially used after a word denoting a destination): Westward ho! Land ho!
2.
(used as an exclamation of surprise or delight.)
or, according to;

A word Santa Clause says three times when he sees your wife, mother and sister together in the same room.

Ahhnnd we laughed…well, I did. Dad was not so amused.

So another Thanksgiving has come and gone and we all know what that means…

Are you partaking of “Black Friday”??   I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do less, but I will definitely be supporting “Small Shop Saturday” again this year. If we don’t all do the same,  I fear every main street in every city and town across America will soon look exactly the same. It’s starting to get that way already. More importantly, small, local shops are owned and run by our friends and neighbours- let’s do everything we can in this tough economic climate to help them stay open.

Christmas gift ideas coming soon.

You don’t actually expect to see them more than a month out do you?!

PS.   Please check out my piece in the December issue of “C” Magazine this month :)

Ho Ho Ho!

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Friday Favourites (#19…ish)

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Garden Dahlias are all tight and gnarly from lack of vitamin D

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Phew! Busy week… and believe me  “Busy” is not really a word I like to employ in August.

Then again, not sure the coast of California got the “Summer” memo as we’re thick in FOGUST here. I hate to complain

(busted, that’s so not true- I’m first out of the box when it comes to complaining about the weather)

but whatupwiththis???

 Looking forward to going to NY and soaking up some delicious heat and humidity. Buhring it!

I’ve got my restaurant list primed and as you can see, the packing process (and I do mean process) has begun.

 The men in the house all tease me as packing for them happens in the last possible minute and takes oh, aprox.  35 seconds of said minute.

 Just to look in their suitcases frightens me.

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Once I packed for a 3 or 4 day trip and put each and every “ensemble” together from soup to nuts, wrapped them all individually  already on a hanger.

God that was brilliant.  It was the best thing ever that I’ve never done again.

One of the things I’ve come to realize as I get older is that instead of becoming more decisive, I’m going in the opposite direction, and I’m not just talking about packing.

Not really liking this at all- any tips for overcoming??

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Anyway, I digress…

Friday Favourites is back!

 Those new to the blog please do not look for any common thread here, these are totally random;

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I have a new favourite way to cook fish;

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Wrap it in rice paper and fry. It gets crispy on the outside and stays oh so moist on the inside.

*Note; If you like to leave the skin on your fish (like moi- it’s so good for you) I would suggest quickly flash frying the skin side just to crisp it up before wrapping in the rice paper.

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This recipe from Food & Wine magazine couldn’t be easier or more delicious.

 I substituted coconut oil for canola for a slightly more exotic flavour and that version was great too.

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Please excuse food stains on recipe :)

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While we’re speaking of food, have you tried the frozen garlic Naan bread from (my man on the side) Trader Joe’s?  It’s SO good!

Slather with olive oil and pop in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. (4 naans to a package)

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Reading;

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So after my recent post asking what everyone is reading (and once again, thank you very much for all the wonderful recommendations!) I read “Sarah’s Key”. I must be totally honest, as is my curse when it comes to books- I liked but didn’t love it. Yes, I agree that it’s hard to put down and the main story of Sarah and her family is heart-breaking. My issue was the back and forth of every chapter from past to present which, in my opinion, kept  me from being totally immersed in the story.  I didn’t really love the “present”  style of writing either :(  Sorry, I know I’m  in the minority. The “voice” of the narrator was so much more affecting in the “past” chapters.  I would definitely see the movie as I love Kristin Scott Thomas and can imagine the meshing of past & present might be more subtly achieved in film.

If you haven’t read “Suite Francaise” by Irene Nemirovsky I would highly recommend it, it’s an incredible book; a memoir of the German occupation of France uncovered by the author’s daughters long after her death.

Watch trailer for “Sarah’s Key” HERE

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One book I have pre-ordered on Amazon and can’t wait to read;

It arrives early October.

This book follows Fuller’s first memoir of growing up on a Rhodesian farm; “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” – another wonderful read, and sorry, but could there be a title that I can identify more with than “COCKTAIL HOUR UNDER THE TREE OF FORGETFULNESS”??!

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Save The Words…

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While I’d hardly describe myself a Wordsmith, I do sometimes lament what feels to be the gradual passing of gracious language in the digital age.

This is a fun little site where you can “Adopt A Word” that has seen more popular days.  If the word that appeals to you doesn’t cry out as you pass the cursor over it, it means the word has already been adopted, so be happy for it.

Of course I couldn’t resist “Slimikin” (a small slender being) and then, got a little greedy and also adopted the word;

I think it’s going to come in really handy.

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And lastly,

My Favourite Pooch!

 I just had to share this photo of my sister’s beautiful dog “India” celebrating her 8th birthday and waiting ever so patiently for her “Birthday Treat”

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“When can I eat mom??”

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Happy Weekend Everyone!

PS. I’m composing a post on High Tea- if anyone has recommendations for taking tea in NY besides The Plaza, please share!

(I know Laduree is opening on the upper east side but I believe that isn’t until September)

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WHAAT?? July Already?!

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Summer table settingSlim Paley Photo

Lunch with my friend at the beach house last week

Who do I speak to around here about getting time to slow down just a bit??  I’m turning into the Old Person who keeps saying “I can’t believe it’s (insert time, day, month) already”  Whatupwidat?

But here we are, July 2nd already and lo and behold  “June Gloom” has lifted as predictably as an old stripper still going through the motions.  OK, maybe not the prettiest analogy, but hey, it’s GORGEOUS outside and I want to get down to the beach!!  (speaking of old strippers :) )   I hope the weather is also playing well wherever you may be.  Before I head out, I wanted to share two absolutely delicious recipes that are perfect for weekends (prep ahead), or any time this summer.  The first is new and great and the second is a tried and true gazpacho from 2009, which I’d saved in my files from Food & Wine Magazine but is actually available on their website.  God I love technology. Sometimes.  FYI; This recipe is not to be confused with the Grape & Almond Gazpacho I shared back in October 2009 HERE

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Summer saladSlim Paley Photo

Celery, Grilled Grape and Mushroom Salad



  1. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the lemon juice, celery seeds, mustard and half of the garlic. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the almond oil until emulsified. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  2. In a mini food processor, combine the remaining garlic with the parsley, celery leaves and almonds and pulse until finely chopped. Add another 1/4 cup of the olive oil and puree to a chunky paste. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
  3. Light a grill. Brush the mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until tender and browned, about 5 minutes. In a bowl, toss the grapes with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until the skins begin to blacken in spots, about 3 minutes; line the grill with perforated foil if the grapes will fall through. Transfer the grapes and mushrooms to a large bowl and toss with the pesto.
  4. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter and drizzle with half of the dressing. Spoon the mushroom-and-grape salad onto the lettuce. Toss the celery with the remaining dressing, spoon it on top and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The dressing and pesto can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days.
PS. Note from me; What makes this recipe really divine are the grapes fit to burst with roasty-goodness and flash grilling the oyster mushrooms so they are slightly blackened and have some crunch.
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Recipe from Food & Wine Magazine, June 2011
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A vintage ice thermos and little aqua milk glasses filled with last minute grabs from the garden

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White gazpachoSlim Paley Photo

White Gazpacho

  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water until cool and drain well.
  1. In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups of cold water with the cooked cauliflower, bread, pine nuts, chopped garlic, sherry vinegar, chopped shallot, 1 cup of the slivered almonds and the coarsely chopped cucumber; blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and pulse just until incorporated. If necessary, add more water to thin the gazpacho. Season the soup with salt and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of slivered almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 6 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. Ladle the gazpacho into bowls. Garnish the soup with the toasted almonds and the finely diced cucumber and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The white gazpacho can be refrigerated overnight. NOTES One Serving 320 cal, 28 gm fat, 3.6 gm sat fat, 12 gm carb, 4.2 gm fiber.
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PS. Note from me;  This was quite garlicky so I would suggest maybe cutting back the garlic to 1 and 1/2 cloves or two SMALL cloves 
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Recipe from Food & Wine Magazine, August 2009

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summer dessertsSlim Paley photo

Now I’d like to say this Lavender Lemon gelato is home-made, but nope, I buy it from my local ice-cream & gelato shop that whips up all their delicious flavours fresh daily.

 If you are ever in Montecito, CA, you must stop in to SCOOP .  

Say Slim sent you :)

Happy 4th of July weekend Everybody!!

xox

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Mighty Nature

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A very wet morning

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As Mighty Mother Nature continues to flex her powers all over the globe, we are attempting to stay afloat here in Santa Barbara….

The rains have been epic, with more predicted in the next few days.

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Lilies outside of the library this afternoon

 

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Needless to say, everything is very green which is nice and seasonal,

However…

 

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We said goodbye to a dear old sentry this morning

 

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But I know that conditions are far worse in other places.

There are friends and family stranded all over the world, so I send good wishes and prayers for everyone to get home to their loved ones, where ever they may be.

 

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Courtesy of Slim’s English Countryside Correspondent

 

Meanwhile, back indoors…

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The lush Angel finally made her way from propping up the bar to a more dignified position  (just this morning!)

 

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Decorating has commenced

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Freshly cut magnolia branches await arranging on fireplace mantles

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and the Nature theme will be carried over to the Christmas table, including these reclaimed wood chestnuts from “Maison K” in Montecito,

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and these charming Hermes mushrooms I found at auction many years ago.

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And lastly, in keeping with the green theme, I’m going to share my latest favourite snack recipe with you;.

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Krispy Kale Chips

(trust me, they taste much better than they look!)

 

1 pound curly kale, stems and large inner ribs removed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic cloves minced

Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  In a bowl, toss washed and totally dried kale with all but 1 tablespoon of the oil .

Spread the kale on two baking sheets and roast in the upper part of the oven for about 15 minutes or until crisp. (Shift the pans from top to bottom 1/2 way through)

Season the kale with salt and freshly ground pepper and transfer to airtight container after it cools.

Lemon Yogurt Dip

I cup fat free plain Greek yogurt

1 tespoon finely grated lemon zest

2 table spoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove minced

The last tablespoon of olive oil

 

In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, minced garlic and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt & pepper and serve with chips.

(Recipe from Food & Wine Magazine)

 

Note;  We haven’t even tried the dip yet- the chips are so good on their own!!

If the chips lose their crispness you may pop them back into a low temp. oven for two or three minutes and they’ll crisp up again.  (If you have a food dehydrator (brilliant inventions) you can crisp the chips in that as well)

 

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Bundle up, stay cozy and Safe Travels!

xx

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