Author Archives: charlesprogers
Breakfast in Bed: Chestnut Poached Eggs
Post by Alison Hein.
When new inspiration is needed in the fashion world, designers look to the past. Suddenly, “retro” means “in style,” hemlines swing dramatically up or down, and department stores are filled to the brim with tie-dyed or shoulder-padded outfits.
So, I thought, in our new gluten-free, paleo world, why not apply this concept to food? You may recall I very recently shared a recipe for Chestnut Pancakes, a gluten-free, earthy delight. Since that time, I have been doing a lot of research. You may not know that this country was once filled with mighty Chestnut trees, tall giants reaching as high as 150 feet, and as broad as 14 feet in diameter. Sadly, blight destroyed 3.5 billion American Chestnut trees during the first 40 years of the 20th century.
A lot of information, I know, but here’s where I get back to food – many older American pre-blight cookbooks contain recipes for chestnut dishes. I turned to one of my favorite old cookbooks by Sarah Tyson Rorer, published in 1912. Sure enough, I found (old) new inspiration and adapted this Chestnut Poached Eggs recipe from her original.
Roast chestnuts and purée them yourself, or take the easy route, and purchase canned. The purée quickly cooks to the consistency of hot cereal, like cream of wheat or rice. Topped with a steamy poached egg, a scant portion of rich, nutty chestnuts is surprisingly filling.
So why not give something “new” a try, for a retro, yet in-style breakfast in bed?
NOTE: Good news! Several foundations are working hard to develop blight-resistant varieties, and to restore the American Chestnut to its natural habitat in our Eastern forests. Many chestnut growers are popping up on the West coast as well. If you would like to read more about chestnuts, take a look at my chestnut article (http://mixerupper.com/2012/08/01/chestnuts/ ) .
1 ½ teaspoons butter
½ cup chestnut purée
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of white pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon dried parsley, finely crushed
Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add chestnut purée, milk, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth, and heat until warmed through. Mixture will be the consistency of hot cereal such as cream of wheat or rice. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm while poaching eggs.
Eggs should be as fresh as possible for perfect poaching. To poach eggs, fill a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover eggs (3 to 4 inches) and heat until very hot and simmering, but not boiling. Break eggs into individual small dishes. Or you can use an egg poacher. Carefully pour the first egg into the simmering water. Immediately use a wooden spoon to wrap the cooking white around the egg yolk to prevent the white from feathering. Repeat the process with the second egg, and cook for about four minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still soft. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain. Trim edges if necessary.
Spoon chestnut mixture evenly onto two small dishes. Top with poached eggs, dust with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Bedroom Design: Mapping It Out
Post by Laura Cheng.
When I was young, my parents had a large wall map of the United States in the office with thin, flagged pushpins of all the places that we had travelled to. Year after year, it was a wonderful sight to see the map overcome with pin holes, sometimes running out of room to insert a pushpin where the cities were close together (ie Fort Worth and Dallas). Maps make fantastic bedroom décor because they remind me of my past travels, or unique places that I have yet to travel to. Besides the memories they elicit, I drawn to their intricate designs, which bring a striking graphic artform into the bedroom.
Traditionally, a map is framed onto the wall. However, when shopping for map décor, I like to think off the wall. Map motifs can be found on headboards, as a welcome surprise in a nightstand drawer, and even handsomely stitched on a quilt.
This headboard is transformed into a statement piece with decoupage medium. The bold colors of the map make it one of a kind furniture item. This bright, vibrant visual is made the center of attention by keeping the rest of the bedroom fairly simple. By choosing a map of an area with personal interest, you can go to bed dreaming of all the places that have been travelled or will be travelled to.
For a more subtle integration, install “map liners” in your nightstand drawers. Each time you open them, you will be reminded of great places. A favorite paper map can also be adhered to the bottom and sides of a drawer as an unexpected and novel way to decorate your bedroom. If you don’t already have a favorite map, it’s a great way for wanderlusts to start collecting them on their next trip. Or for those homebodies, skip the been there done that, and join your local AAA. If you’re a homeowner, get a survey of your home. If you’re a programming print the Matrix screen saver. Maps can be of many things, including blueprints and even so much as cryptic computer code.
For an unforgettable memory, get a custom stitched map quilt. For $450, the creative folks at Haptic Lab will design you a limited edition quilt of a major city. I am partial to this one of New York City.
Movies in Bed: Inspector Lewis
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Yes, mum. No, mum. Sorry, mum.
Is that the sound of a child being scolded by his mother? Nope, that’s just how some folks say “ma’am” across the pond! One of those somebodies is Robert Lewis of the Thames Valley Police. You how it is with those working-class Northerners.
I just began watching Inspector Lewis about a week ago, and even though I never seem to find time to watch a full-length movie, I manages three of these 90-minute BBC mysteries in just the past seven days! Paired with younger, best boy, cerebral partner Sergeant James Hathaway, they are the Odd Couple of Oxfordshire.
What I like about these BBC mysteries is they have none of the flash and overwrought special effects. And, best of all, the Who don’t do the intro music. There is the wonderfully subtle British humor, plenty of murder, and lots of English plodding about. It’s great to watch right before bed because it’s not TOO exciting!
Things We Like: Art Deco Design
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
I love all things Art Deco, and you’d be crazy not to. For me, art deco elicits nostalgia from an era since gone. Art deco architecture is nothing short of grand, and it’s the style I imagine high rollers in the 1920s living in: well-traveled, well-built, and wanted.
Art Deco remains popular still today, and its influences can be seen in almost all types of design: architecture, interior design, fashion, and art. However, art deco is perhaps most easily associated with architecture. Indeed, many of the world’s most famous buildings are Art Deco inspired: The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an old Art Deco building, ideally constructed in the 1930s (when deco was used extensively throughout the United States), you’ve got it made. However, these architectural gems are becoming increasingly scarce which leaves most of us with the next best thing: art deco inspired interior design.
With a little creativity and patience to wait for the right vintage piece, an Art Deco-inspired bedroom design is very doable. The most permanent ways to bring deco into your bedroom would be with new, geometric crown molding painted in metallic silver or gold, marble wall panels, and elaborate ceilings. However, these more permanent changes would mean you really have to commit to the eclectic art deco theme.
If you’re looking for an easier way to bring art deco into your bedroom, furnishings are a great place to start. Armoires are very common in Art Deco bedroom, which also gives you more storage space. Mirrors are also typical in deco design. And while it’s perfectly fine to use wall mirrors, mirrored furniture and sunburst shaped mirrors are more clever ways to introduce the reflective element into your design. Mirrors also help smaller rooms feel open, which is a plus if you live in the city.
If you’re short on Art Deco inspiration, SampleBoard has an excellent blog post about getting into art deco design. You can also look for pictures of the interior of the Empire State building, or the Paramount Theatres in Oakland, CA. Both of these are prime examples of art deco at its finest. You can also search for photos of old train stations, which were primarily built in the art deco style.
Do you have any art deco design tips? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Breakfast in Bed:Frank’s Frittata Italiana-Mexicana
Post by by Alison Hein.
It’s one thing to have wonderful neighbors you enjoy spending time with. It’s quite another thing when your wonderful neighbors invite you to spend a few days with them in luxurious Water Mill, NY. Nothing says summer like the glorious beaches, amazing mansions, and tempting shops of The Hamptons. We enjoyed several days in Ann and Frank’s company – sailing, sunning, shopping – peppered with plenty of good wine and food, and topped off with great conversation.
I was so pleased with myself when I came up with this great idea to repay them for their generosity – I would ask Frank to create a recipe and prepare breakfast for my blog post! 😉
Frank, an accomplished and inventive cook, decided to blend two cultures in one substantial frittata, artfully mixing the flavors of Italian fried potatoes and Pecorino Romano with Mexican guacamole and salsa. The result? A savory, spicy masterpiece that thrilled with each bite. A gorgeous presentation, just right for honored guests.
Bravo and Olé! Recipes courtesy of Frank Falconieri.
We skipped the breakfast in bed this time, and enjoyed our luxurious Frittata Italiana-Mexicana poolside, Hamptons style.
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or equivalent tubed cilantro paste
1 lime, peeled with pith removed
1 jar sliced jalapeño peppers (1 tablespoon juice + 3 pepper slices)
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons hot or medium hot salsa, drained
1 teaspoon kosher or large-grained sea salt
Coarsely chop cilantro and place 1 tablespoon in blender, set second tablespoon aside. Peel lime, slice, remove excess pith, and coarsely chop. Add lime pieces to blender. Add jalapeño pepper juice, pepper slices and salt to blender. Pulse briefly 2 to 3 times and set blender bowl aside.
Peel, pit, and coarsely chop avocados and place in medium bowl. Add onions, drained salsa, remaining tablespoon of cilantro and salt. Mash with a potato masher for a textured consistency. Stir in blended cilantro-lime mixture. Adjust taste according to preference.
1 tablespoon high-heat olive oil
1 – 1 ½ cups sliced, pan-fried or roasted potatoes (enough to cover the bottom of pan)
½ cup grilled or boiled corn kernels
7 eggs (extra large or jumbo)
1 tablespoon good quality virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 10-inch tortillas (in dairy section of most supermarkets)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup salsa
A few sprigs cilantro
Pour high heat olive oil into a 10-inch ovenproof heavy frying pan, and place on stove over medium-high heat. Preheat broiler. Add potatoes to pan and spread to cover, pressing down slightly. Add corn, distributing evenly on top of the potatoes. Allow to cook until set, about 5 minutes.
While potatoes and corn are heating, break eggs into a large bowl, add virgin olive oil, and whisk until smooth and thickened. Pour eggs gently over potato-corn mixture (do not stir), cover, and continue to cook until eggs are set around the edges, about 5 minutes. Generously sprinkle top of frittata with Pecorino Romano. Place frying pan under broiler, about 5 inches from direct heat and broil frittata until eggs are firm and do not jiggle, about 3 minutes.
As the frittata is broiling, place a separate, large frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray, and brown tortillas lightly on both sides. Place one tortilla on a large platter. Spoon enough guacamole over the bottom tortilla to cover, spreading pizza sauce style from center to rim. Gently free and carefully slide the frittata onto the guacamole-covered tortilla, then top with the remaining tortilla. Recommended garnishes include sour cream, salsa, and cilantro. Serve immediately with guacamole on the side.
Makes 6 servings.
Tip: Use the best serrated knife to cut, since warm tortillas tend to shred.