Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Alison Hein.
I was in the mood for something different on a recent morning, when I remembered a bunch of lovely organic, spring carrots I had picked up at the market. But carrots for breakfast? How does that work? Eureka! A carrot soufflé!
I decided on the sweet, rather than savory, route for these little treats. A touch of sugar and a sprinkling of aromatic spices creates a pie-like mood, and the lighter than air consistency melts on your tongue. So lovely to look at as well – fresh from the oven, puffed up and golden.
Make no mistake – your soufflés will fall. The trick (and hope) is to get them to the table (or the breakfast tray) before they do so. Carrot purée makes these a little denser than other types of soufflés, so you’ll have to be extra quick.
If you like, remove the sugar and spices and add some fresh thyme instead for a delightful dinner side. Or, do what we did and enjoy a breakfast in bed that’s just the right amount of different.
3 medium carrots
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs, separated
6 4-inch ramekins
Peel and chop carrots. Place in small, heavy pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until carrots are completely soft and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Use a food processor hand masher to purée carrots. Set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray each ramekin with cooking spray.
Melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add carrot purée and stir to mix thoroughly.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into egg batter. Fill each of the ramekins with batter – they should be about ¾ full. Tap the bottoms of the ramekins lightly on the work surface so batter fills the bottom, then smooth the top with a butter knife or offset spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until soufflés are puffed up and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Wide. Skinny. Horizontal. Vertical. Awning. Pinstripe. Stripes play a role in our everyday lives through the clothing we wear and the rooms we live in. When it comes to interior décor, there’s a host of ways to get creative with stripes. From walls to ceilings to upholstery and accent pillows, let’s take a look at six bedrooms using stripes in different applications.
Bold horizontal stripes make a statement on the walls of this kids’ room. It’s no surprise that this townhouse is located in Miami, as this colorful space boasts a real Florida feel.
A striped bench in a London loft introduces pattern and color in a predominantly white space. Coordinating pillows are just matchy enough. Also a stripe, the wood ceiling creates interest on a large surface.
Classic black and white striped wall covering sets the backdrop for this ornate headboard. Black and white can appear dated sometimes, but in this room, the color combo looks timeless.
Stripes take center stage in this Charleston bedroom through an area rug. Built-in beds and a window seat complete the efficient design.
Designer Liz Carroll worked her magic by using stripes on the ceiling of this sweet, mostly pink bedroom. A ceiling isn’t the most obvious location for stripes, but in this room, it works well.
A striped headboard and floral accent pillows make for a lovely combination in this Vancouver home. Simple and straightforward, this room is all about texture.
Post by Alison Hein.
I’ve recently begun experimenting with almond milk in my cooking and baking. Almond milk has a creamy texture and mildly sweet, nutty taste. It is dairy-free, contains no cholesterol, and is low in calories. Besides that, it is delicious! I completely understand why it is now so popular and available.
I’m entranced by the simplicity of this pancake recipe. The almond milk is sweet and rich enough that there is no need for sweetener or shortening. The texture, somewhat thicker than usual pancake batter, takes a little getting used to. But the end result is well worth the learning curve. Not as many bubbles appear (you’ll need to peek at the bottom of the pancakes while cooking), and the almond cakes will not brown as much when cooked.
I’ve been using my old cast iron pan for frying, which is so well-seasoned that I don’t need to use any shortening at all. Amazingly, I don’t feel the need for butter – a splash of maple syrup or chopped, fresh fruit seems just right.
Use almond, buckwheat or rice flour if you are looking for a gluten-free pancake option. Or, toast some almond slivers in advance for a nice, crunchy topping.
You’ll soon come to see why almond milk was a staple in medieval kitchens, and why it is a wonderful choice for breakfast in bed!
1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
Cooking spray, butter, or vegetable oil, for frying
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Whisk in the egg, then the almond milk, until batter is thick and smooth.
Heat a pan or griddle on the stove over medium to medium low heat. Splash a few drops of water on the pan to test the heat. The pan is ready when the water drops sizzle immediately. Add cooking spray or a small amount of butter or oil. (If you have a well-seasoned cast iron pan, you may be able to completely dispense with any type of shortening.)
Ladle about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each pancake, and spread out a little in the pan. Cook until small bubbles appear throughout the pancake, about 1 minute. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until lightly golden, another minute or so. Serve hot with real maple syrup or chopped, fresh fruit.
Makes about 8 3-inch pancakes.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.
Sometimes, the book you are after is unavailable so you grab whatever would be next to it on the shelf, just because. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning novel that was also made into a movie. I don’t know what it’s about because it was not available. What was available, however, was a novel he wrote a few years earlier called I am the Messenger. It was a Printz Honor book which means it should probably not be terrible. I borrowed it.
I am the Messenger is an unusual story of a young Australian named Ed Kennedy, an 19-year-old who drives a cab and in his free time hangs out with his friends playing cards and drinking beer, or drinking coffee with his dog named The Doorman. But all that changes after Ed accidentally foils a bank robbery. For a little while he is hailed as a hero. After things quiet down, he anonymously receives a playing card in the mail, the Ace of Diamonds. On the back are a list of addresses and times. Ed realizes that he is being placed in the middle of peoples’ lives as a messenger. Each time he fulfills the tasks, which he must figure out on his own, he receives another card in the mail.
There is a woman who is abused by her husband. There is an old woman who is lonely. There is a young girl who is strong but lacks confidence.
In the process of fulfilling these tasks, Ed finds new meaning for his own life. Instead of muddling through the days, he discovers that he can affect other peoples’ lives in positive ways. Something as little as buying an ice cream for somebody can have a powerful effect.
What makes the book work is the narrator, Ed. He’s cheeky and funny but also has a secret poetic side and can be disarmingly insightful at times. A truly interesting read for teens and adults about how sometimes you need a kick in the pants to move you in the right direction.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Over the years, I’ve learned that a casual room can be just as stylish as a fancy one. Silk tapestries and crystal chandeliers can look impossibly chic, but so can painted floors and an eclectic mix of furnishings. Here are five bedrooms that show how casual spaces can exude as much style as their dressier peers.
I’d call this bedroom Bohemian chic. The interesting mix of textiles and colors almost looks haphazard, yet all of the elements pull together nicely to complete the design.
This shabby-chic room exudes a casual elegance with the white floors and bed frames, not to mention the antique brick wall and blue and white wallpaper. If you guess the locale as New Orleans, you would be correct. This lovely space is in the French Quarter.
Most beach cottages boast a casual feel, and this Fish Camp beach house on the Florida panhandle is no different. The colored trim, quilted coverlet, white café curtains, and overall aesthetic of the room are uber casual, yet beachy and undeniably fashionable.
A Texas farmhouse bedroom takes on a casual feel even though some of its individual components are more formal. The four-poster bed. The floor length curtains. The gold textured art above the bed. All seem dressier in their own right, but when married with the other aspects of this room, they contribute to the overall casual style.
Exposed, rustic beams, wicker furniture, and loads of texture make this room ultra casual but still well thought-out. The designer utilized the space well, despite the funky layout.