Author Archives: charlesprogers
Breakfast in Bed: Michele’s Star-Studded Eggs
Post by Alison Hein
We recently invited my cousin Vin and his girlfriend Michele to our home for dinner. We are just getting to know Michele, yet she seems to know me pretty well. She gave me the perfect gift. It was wrapped in dark brown paper, tied up with a jaunty ribbon, and adorned with a silver star cookie cutter.
Inside the wrappings I found A Jug of Wine, a cookbook written by Morrison Wood in 1949. Well- thumbed and lovingly stained, the binding was bulging from personal recipes tucked inside – Fresh Tomato Pudding, Chrissie’s Oven-Fried Chicken and Zucchini Soup. Michele had no idea that some of my favorite cookbooks are garage sale finds with hand-written notes in the margins advising me to “use less sugar”, “stir longer than suggested”, or even “awful. Skip this.”
A Jug of Wine calls for wine in every recipe, but I figured, what the heck. The alcohol cooks out and just leaves the flavor, right? Hard-boiled eggs filled with a mixture of sweet Madeira-flavored mushrooms, tangy green onions and fresh parsley sounded intriguing. Morrison suggests placing the filled eggs on toast rounds, but I decided to use Michele’s cookie cutter for an amazing, star-studded breakfast in bed.
2 mushrooms (about ½ cup chopped)
½ green onion (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Madeira wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons butter
½ teaspoon breadcrumbs
4 thin slices of bread, toasted and cut into stars, rounds, or other shape
Place eggs in small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and cook for one minute or so. Turn off heat, and let eggs remain in hot water for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Immerse in cold water and carefully peel eggs.
Slice eggs in half at the center, so yolk openings are round, rather than oblong. Carefully slice a little bit off the end of each egg half, just enough so the egg white can rest flat on a plate. Scoop out yolks, chop finely, and place in small bowl. Set yolk and prepared egg whites aside. Clean and finely chop mushrooms and onion. Add to chopped eggs. Add parsley, Madeira, salt and pepper to eggs as well, stirring in gently.
Melt 1½ teaspoons butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add egg mixture to pan and sauté over medium to medium-low until mushrooms and onion are soft, about 5 minutes. Stuff prepared egg whites with mushroom mixture, sprinkle them with breadcrumbs and dot with remaining butter. Place one stuffed egg on each toast round and put on baking tray. Broil 6 inches from heat until gently browned, about 30 seconds. Garnish with parsley and fresh fruit, if you like. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Eggs can also be served cold. Simply chill the eggs after stuffing and omit the breadcrumbs, butter and toast.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Morrison Wood’s Mushroom Stuffed Eggs
Bedroom Design: Simple Bedroom Shelves
Post by Laura Cheng.
My bedroom is easily cluttered. Items somehow drift from the kitchen and living room into the bedroom. The laundry is never where it should be. Clothes pile up and stray socks are strewn outside the closet hamper. Why is it that adopted dogs can be taught to sit and fetch, but my partner cannot be taught to put work socks into the hamper? Does it really require that much more effort to open a closet door? As a result, my bedroom philosophy never loses focus on any available minimalistic options. Anything to de-clutter the clutter is considered. Nothing is more simplistic than a simple line. Translated into bedroom furniture, a shelf above the bed can be an ideal solution to display art, photos and books without making a large footprint in the bedroom.
A wall to wall shelf above the head of the bed is used in this bedroom to display a collection of photos. One drawback to a shelf is that it is an open storage solution. This means it could easily backfire and actually increase bedroom clutter. The use of the same color frame is essential here. It keeps the look neat and tidy even though the photos may be different sizes and of different mediums. The real estate of the room is increased with the additional overhead space. Furthermore, using a colored shelf adds interest and a fun splash of color to an otherwise drab and grey bedroom.
There’s nothing wrong with natural shelving though. The right type of wood can be just as aesthical. I really like shiny and sparkling things. hint hint diamonds. All this bedroom shelf is lacking is a nice coat of shellac or lacquer to bring out its true brillant potential. As it, its varying shades of au naturale takes minimalistic design to another meaning. What’s really great about shelves is that every household probably has the materials they need to put one up and the cost of materials is relatively cheap.
Open shelves above the head of the bed is a controversial topic, especially if you reside in areas where mother nature just will not allow it. In that case, there is always the possibility of pushing it aside to another wall. I really like this creative bedroom fabric shelf idea. It’s a catch all for everything that may find its way into the bedroom.
Bedtime Stories: Civil Rights Stories for Kids
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier.
Using simple but powerful words and beautiful images, the story of Dr. King’s fight for equality is recounted here.
This book, which won the Coretta Scott King Award, the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award and a Caldecott Honor, tells of the life, struggles, death and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. written in simple small sentences and accompanied with notable quotes from Dr. King himself, all the major moments of his life are told in a way which will be easily understood by children young and old.
Bryan Collier’s collages are strikingly beautiful and bring together photographs and illustrations in a truly eye-catching manner. Often a bit bleak in color, there are occasional flashes of color like bursts of hope in the struggle for equality. This excellent recounting of the life and death of Dr. King makes clear the depth of the struggle, the bravery of those who risked their life for rights, and the legacy this man left behind.
When Marian Sang: the true recital of Marian Anderson. Pam Muñoz Ryan; illustrated by Brian Selznick.
Straightforward text, accompanied by song lyrics and illustrations by Brian Selznick, this rich book tells the story of singer Marian Anderson’s struggle as a beloved black singer in a racist America.
Born in 1897, Marian Anderson was immediately singled out for her singular voice. As an African-American, this was a complicated thing, as her voice was loved by all who heard it, but because she was black she could not perform many places. Like many black performers of her time, she traveled overseas to make a name, as Europe in the 20s was not as discriminatory.
The text of this book is at once condescending and complex. These are heavy topics to cover in a book for young children. Caldecott-winning illustrator carries the book. Were it not for his rich illustrations, the book wouldn’t be half as good as it is. The way Marian Anderson helped shake the racial divide was significant and it is well addressed in this book. Culminating with her historic performance in front of the Lincoln Memorial, the book successfully shares the frustrations and accomplishments of her life.
Movies in Bed: Hart to Hart
Post by Josh Zinn.
This week, dear readers, I happened to stumble across a deliciously romantic love note written by one of the last true romantics—and star of ABC Television’s hit series “Hart to Hart”—Mr. Jonathan Hart. Rather than spend too much time telling you why his namesake show is, perhaps, the greatest achievement Aaron Spelling ever brought to the small screen, I will allow Mr. Hart’s delicate blossoms of handwritten affection to illuminate what was truly an unbreakable love. May we all know such passion…
My Darling Jennifer,
They say time flies when one is having fun; when it’s two, however, all bets are off…
I can still remember the moment I first saw you, my eyes gazing in disbelief as some ethereal creature stepped outside of Chanel and changed the channel in my heart to a station called LOVE. How beautiful and glamorous you were that day, beckoning me with your cinnamon eyes as if to say, “Yes, I will be your beloved. Just put a diamond on my hand, a Bentley in my grasp, and, darling, I’m yours.” I said yes to the angels that day, knowing my prayers would soon be answered.
Here we are now, forty years later, and nothing has changed. True, our tennis matches may have grown a bit shorter and our naps a little longer, but you still radiate an essence of femininity and grace that eclipses all the stars in the sky, not to mention all the starlets surrounding our palatial, Tudor-styled Beverly Hills home. I’d say, at my age, I should start considering writing a bucket-list, but this lucky fella’s bucket is already overflowing with amour.
Do you remember, darling, the time we saved Freeway, our beloved dog, from an addiction to the drug-laced Doggie Chow that was slowly transforming him into a vicious attack mongrel? Or the week we vacationed down in Colombia and ran afoul with a drug cartel that held a vendetta against you for exposing their dastardly cocaine trade in the column you write for the Rodeo Drive Weekly? And of course, who could forget how you saved my life when we were investigating those goombas that had taken control of Barry’s Hotheads, the hottest hair salon this side of Doheny? Using your ringlets to stop their ringleader, I’d say you put those criminal careers into a PERManent state of retirement, my darling.
Now as you get dressed in the other room for yet another lavish “Save the Condor” fundraiser being held at the Finkelstein estate, I sit here at my desk and wonder what new adventures await us. It seems as if it were just yesterday that Max, our ever-faithful butler, departed for a sake-swilling poker game in the sky. Though it was a difficult transition for us, we did embark on a learning journey TOGETHER as we traversed market after market searching for our favorite pâté and ever-reliable Pinot Grigio. It was rough, yes, but we discovered we could make it on our own and that, while Max may be gone, the sumptuous taste of beef bourguignon need not be lost to heaven as well.
I imagine people will talk about us when were gone, too. It was always so intrusive at the time, having those cameras following us as we took time out of our busy Hollywood lives to investigate the numerous crimes perpetrated against our friends and colleagues. At the time, I could have never imagined their footage would become a time capsule of our relationship, tracking the moments of peril and passion that seemed to ooze from our well-tanned pores. The only shot I cared about was the one that involved getting you home safe and then getting you in bed. Lucky me, then, they were there to capture the afterglow.
My darling, not even the blonde, buxom jewel thieves known to stalk the annual cruises we take to the Maldives could sway me away from your siren call. I have braved schizophrenic stalkers, murderous mummies, and devilish denim designers to keep you in my sights and in my sights is where you’ll stay.
Yes, darling, when we met it WAS murder, however, the only thing that died was my loneliness.
Things We Like: Asian Inspired Bedroom Design
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Asian inspired design embodies most of the traits I look for in a bedroom: minimalistic furnishings, clean lines, and an overall feeling of tranquility. While Asian inspired design can take some careful planning to pull off, especially when you’re designing a bedroom, the rewards can be bountiful.
To help you achieve Zen in your bedroom, I’ve put together my top five cornerstone elements of Asian design.
Several weeks ago I discussed the different ways to achieve balance, which is one of the main principles of design. To recap, the three types of balance are: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, and Radial. Asymmetrical can be difficult to implement, but it creates the most visually interesting space.
A common example of asymmetrical design in the bedroom is the use of differing nightstands. When planning an Asian inspired bedroom, you may try to include a single nightstand on one side of the bed and an iconic sculpture (e.g., Buddha), or decorative lamp on the other You may also use two of the same nightstands, and place different objects on top of either.
2. A Touch of Nature
Asian inspired design almost always includes natural elements, such as the use of stone and wood for your furnishings and floors. A natural wool rug can also be a nice addition to an Asian themed bedroom. While it is against the general principles of Feng Shui to include living plants in the bedroom, a small plant in a large bedroom may be perfectly acceptable; it all depends on your particular space. Orchids and bamboo are two examples of smaller plants that you can incorporate in your Asian inspired bedroom.
3. Chinoiserie Furniture
Chinoiserie is the French word for “Chinese-esque,” and represents a style of furniture that emerged in France around the 18th Century. Often Chinoiserie furniture comes in dark lacquered colors with painted decorative scenes. Replicas should be easy enough to come by, and the sky is the limit if you’re planning to use real antiques. When selecting furniture for your Asian inspired bedroom, aim to keep it simple. This furniture tends to be very ornate, and you can quickly overdo it and make your bedroom feel busy.
4. Clean Lines
Clean straight lines, coupled with circular décor are what will help tie the look of your room together. Rectangular platform beds, and long straight furnishings will help keep your eyes on level. To keep the look interesting, you can include circular motifs throughout the room. The circle is an important symbol in Japanese culture, and is associated with Zen and enlightenment. Circular mirrors and sculptures are a great way to spice up the straight lines of your bedroom.
Asian inspired bedrooms imbue a sense of minimalism. An uncluttered bedroom is essential to capturing the serenity that you should feel while in your bedroom. This is a prime example of, “less is more.” It can be easy to go overboard with purchasing interesting objects to decorate your bedroom with, but think of this as an exercise in self-restraint. If you can follow this singular rule, you’ll be well on your path to enlightenment!
These are just a few of the major points for designing an Asian themed bedroom, and the possibilities are almost limitless. The Asian cultures are diverse, and you may either choose to encompass a sort of melting pot of Asian design, or stick to one country or culture exclusively. Most importantly, designing an Asian themed bedroom should be fun.
What do you think are the essential elements of Asian design? Share your thoughts in the comments below.