Tag Archives: Charles P. Rogers
Post by Mark T. Locker.
We have a great deal of cooking competitions here in the United States, full of weird editing to make the judges look super mad and the contestants look super dopey. Lots of drama; the more, the better. Catty female cooks and cocky male ones. Most of those shows are just too much for me. I like “Chopped” and the ones where they make awesome giant jack-o’-lanterns. But you know what I like even better? “The Great British Bake-Off”. The title pretty much says it all. It’s British! It’s all about baking!
Twelve amateur bakers face off in three daily challenges: first round is the signature challenge, in which the contestants bake a tried and true recipe they make regularly. Next is the technical challenge, wherein they are given a recipe with only general directions and must rely on savvy and know-how to succeed. Third is the show-stopper. Given a general theme, they are to make something that not only tastes great but looks amazing.
The contestants are a wide range, from an older Scottish Navy man to an adorable girl of seventeen named Martha, who always has a smile on her face. It’s fascinating from a cultural perspective as well, with Bakewell tarts and savoury biscuits and all manner of supremely British concoctions. The hosts are charming and funny and the two judges, who are top-tier bakers in their own rights (Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood) are honest but kind.
PBS is currently airing season five and it’s quickly become my favorite show to watch to unwind at the end of the evening. If you love baking, or competition, or are and Anglophile, definitely give this show a watch.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Do you have a dream bedroom? Perhaps you fantasize about sleeping in a canopy bed with rays of natural light streaming in through tall casement windows. Or maybe you prefer a dark, masculine space with rich red wall covering, deep mahogany floors and formal damask drapery.
You probably have a distinct vision in mind when it comes to your ideal room. Sweet or sassy, quaint or ordinary, bold or soothing, no matter your personal taste, if you’re a design aficionado like me, you more than likely appreciate even the most unconventional rooms.
Talk about a view! This oversized Los Angeles bedroom extends out to the deck, which overlooks the ocean. The room has no ornamentation and doesn’t need it. The exterior becomes part of the interior.
There’s nothing mundane about this bedroom in New South Wales, Australia. From the dark paint on the walls to the whimsical wicker headboard, pendant lights, and the unusual accessories, the space strays about as far as from conventional as you can get.
What is it? A micro-bedroom? A mini-loft? It’s a space-saving bedroom in Manhattan’s East Village that’s pretty darn clever, if you ask me. The room may be compact, but sure looks cozy.
“Zen minimalist” is what the designer calls this space, and with its exposure to the great outdoors and Asian influence, I can see why. Designer Vivian Dwyer wanted to “insert modern elements into this house of the earth.” The bedroom has an adjacent open bathing area and faces giant redwood trees at the rear of the property.
Post by Alison Hein.
If I close my eyes, I can smell tangy citrus mingling with the aroma of warm butterscotch. A feathery light, golden yellow cake appears in my mind, glistening with a sweet drizzly glaze, sparkling with lemon zest – my mother’s unique and lovely Lemon Bundt Cake.
My mother, Evelyn, cooked with the hands of her mother before her, and her mother’s mother before that. Flavors, methods, timing so ingrained, memories and tradition moving seamlessly from generation to generation. No written recipes required.
So, while I like to imagine I am the kind of baker who can exactly replicate flavors from memory, my cake is a second runner up to Mom’s. Nevertheless, this cake is permeated with pure, fresh lemon juice and intriguing bits of tangy rind. Nothing more than a dusting of powdered sugar is needed to finish this moist, golden bundt. If you like, a sweet confectionary glaze with just-squeezed lemon juice is also lovely sometimes.
To make the glaze, pour some powdered sugar into a bowl (start with ½ cup and make more as needed) and add just enough lemon juice to make a thick but pourable substance. Pour the liquid on top of the cake, and allow it to drizzle down the sides a little without touching the plate. When set (wait at least 30 minutes), the sweet, drippy patterns are nearly irresistible and add a touch of elegance to this simple cake.
In the morning, delicately toast a slice or two and serve them with hot tea or coffee for a memorable breakfast in bed.
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
Juice and grated rind on one lemon
1½ teaspoons lemon oil or lemon flavoring
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in lemon juice, rind and oil. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to batter, alternating with milk, stirring gently after each addition until batter is thick and creamy. Pour batter into greased tube pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before inverting. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or cover with lemon glaze.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Toiles –– also called Toile de Jouy –– got their start in mid-eighteenth century Ireland, and shortly thereafter became increasingly popular in France and Great Britain. The decorative fabric is most often cotton or linen printed with pastoral or colonial scenes.
The factory of Jouy-en-Josas, near Versailles, became famous for toiles. The notably French fabric usually comes in a white or cream-colored background, with the pattern printed in a different color, such as black, red, blue, green, brown, or beige.
Many decorators have a love for toile wallpapers, specifying them in baths, dining rooms, libraries, and just about any room in the house.
You’ve probably noticed toiles grace the pages of magazines, and liven up furnishings, windows, and walls of showhouses. Used mostly in traditional rooms, the classic textile has made a comeback in the past 10-15 years. One of my favorite spaces in which I’m fond of toile is a bedroom. These five sleep spaces look lovely in Toile du Jouy.
What a gorgeous guest room. The toile-upholstered walls, bed, and window seat should almost be overkill, but the amount of pattern works well. Subtle green and white at its best.
Touches of toile make this bedroom feel inviting and distinctly French. Notice how the red and white plates continue the theme.
I can’t help but adore this crisp yellow contrasted with the dark wood furniture. Botanical prints marry well with the not-so-typical “unbusy” theme of this toile room.
Highly traditional and incredibly elegant, black and white toile sweeps through this large bedroom making a design statement.
Blue and white toile dresses up this bright Hamptons garage bedroom. Interior designer Anthony Baratta chose complementary patterns for the area rug, seating and artwork, creating a delightful, happy space.
Post by Alison Hein.
Artichokes, whose dusty green sharp-leaved plants protect their tender succulent centers, are actually a species of thistle. They are native to the Mediterranean area, and have been cultivated as food since at least the ancient Greek and Roman periods. Somehow, they made their way through Spain into France, then to the US in the 19th century – to California by Spanish immigrants and to Louisiana by the French.
If you’ve every painstakingly worked your way through dozens and dozens of spiky outer leaves to reveal the thistly choke-protected base of an artichoke, then diligently scraped away the tiny, splintery bracts to reach the exquisite, savory heart, and nibbled your way through that delicious, delicate orb, you’ll know why these thistles are beloved the world over.
These days, artichoke rounds can be purchased already cleaned and stacked neatly in cans making it simple to indulge in this delicacy on a daily basis. Artichokes are rich in antioxidants and low in calories. Gently warmed, topped with a poached egg and a sprinkling of buttered bread crumbs, Artichoke eggs make a tender, succulent breakfast in bed.
2 artichoke bottoms
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat artichoke bottoms in a slow oven and keep warm while preparing eggs and breadcrumbs.
Melt butter in heavy saucepan and continue to cook until browned. Add breadcrumbs and continue to cook until crispy, another minute or two. Set aside.
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.
Place each egg on top of an artichoke bottom. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.