Breakfast in Bed: Homemade Ricotta Cheese on Grilled Bread

Post by Alison Hein.

One recent morning, groping around in my fridge for the usual breakfast fare, I came up empty-handed. No eggs. No cheese. No juice. Well, wait a minute. I did have one quart of whole milk and a couple of lemons. Add to that a few slices of French bread from last night’s dinner, and an image begins to form in my mind… Rich, homemade ricotta cheese, still warm from the stove, slathered on buttery golden bread, generously sprinkled with tangy lemon zest.

Ricotta cheese is astonishingly easy to make. You’ll need whole milk, and some lemon juice or vinegar. And, although it can be made without, a little cheesecloth and a candy thermometer make the process even easier. Some people like to add cream or buttermilk for a richer flavor. Add salt or not, and let the cheese rest longer for a heavier feel. I encourage you to try it a few times, then hone the recipe to your taste. So nice to cook with – add some to an omelet, or your favorite Italian dish.

Turns out necessity is not only the mother of invention, but sometimes the genesis of a simple, rich and tangy breakfast in bed.

Equipment
Cheesecloth
Candy thermometer
Ingredients
1 lemon (2 tablespoons juice)
1 quart whole milk
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
4 slices French or Italian bread
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation
Using a lemon zester or grater, remove one to two teaspoons of lemon zest. Slice lemon in half. Juice lemon and set lemon juice and zest aside. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth and place in sink.

Pour milk into heavy saucepan, and stir in salt. Place over medium heat, until milk reaches a temperature of 180° to 185°. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let milk mixture sit for one to two minutes, until curds and whey separate. Carefully remove curds with slotted spoon, and place in cheesecloth-lined colander to drain. Discard whey. Allow curds to drain for at least 10 minutes, up to one hour. (The consistency of the cheese will become firmer with longer draining time.) Place in bowl and refrigerate if not using right away. Fresh ricotta will last several days in the refrigerator.

To grill bread, melt butter in heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add bread slices and cook until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes. Spoon equal portions of ricotta onto bread, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon zest.

This recipe can be easily increased to make more cheese – use the same proportions, up to one gallon of milk.

Makes about ⅔ cup ricotta cheese, and 2 servings of grilled bread.


 

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Bedroom Design: A Lesson in Geometry

Post by Laura Cheng.

Move over triangles and squares, there’s a new shape in town. Polyhedrons are the new rage and its not hard to realize its appeal. The reason why I love geometric design is because it’s an oxymoron. The design is both retro and modern. It can enhance the bedroom with its clean, structured lines or draw attention to its unexpected, unsymmetric shape.  It can relax the formality of traditional furniture and bedding choices.

Geometry is everywhere. Lately, polyhedrons have been used as inspiration for many angular lamp designs. This one is sold by the Land of Nod, which just goes to show that even toddlers can get a geometry lesson on flat faces and straight edges. However, to make it easier for them to understand, the term has been simplified as “Between a Rock Lamp Base”.  It comes in silver, white, and gold; gold being my favorite (see previous blog about “Going for the Gold”).

Source: http://www.landofnod.com/between-a-rock-lamp-base-gold/f10706

On a nightstand, it stands as a beautiful and functional sculptural piece. If you’re really into replicating the look of this room, keep reading. Even timepieces can be transformed into a case involving geometry.

 


Source: http://www.landofnod.com/between-a-rock-lamp-base-gold/f10706

A classic alarm clock shaped as a polyhedron is the perfect complement to a modernly styled polyhedron lamp. Although out of production, the Retro Hexagon Clock by Pottery Barn adds instant vintage glamour and intrigue to your nightstand tablescape. A resin and pearlized material to the clock will maintain a coherent balance between the shiny surface of the lamp base.  Look for Bakelite clocks designed with updated details and mechanisms on your next trip to the flea market or antique store. And if you haven’t heard of eBay, then call me. We need to talk.


Source: http://jgkitchens.blogspot.com/2009/03/tick-tock-tick-tock-its-soon-time-to.html

Can you count the polyhedrons in this picture? Technically, polyhedrons are 3 dimensional objects. However, exceptions are always made in geometric design. In design 2+2 does not always equal 4. There is no right answer.  Another reason to love geometric design!  This geometric lattice wallpaper absorbs all the attention in this bedroom.  The key green color is repeated in the trim to help break up the busy pattern. Other primary colors like black and white keep the focus on the main attraction.

Source: http://www.bellemaison23.com/2011/11/timeless-trend-lattice-geometric-prints.html

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Bedtime Stories: Where’s Waldo?

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford.

I know what you may be thinking: this isn’t a story! There’s no words! There’s no plot! It’s just a bunch of busy pictures! Yes, well be that as it may, this is my book review and I can do what I want! Anyways, this is a new discovery for my four-year-old and he loves to look this book over every single night.

I never got into these books as a kid but they are pretty fun to look at. For one thing, I didn’t realize that there are a few regulars on every page. There are a couple that we look for in each new setting. There is the the lady Waldo, and she’s okay. But Felix’s and my favorite is what we have dubbed Evil Waldo:

There is also a wizard and a whole bunch of silly other goings-on on each page. Although we are likely to already know Waldo’s whereabouts on half the pages, there are so many different things to look for, stories to make up, and Where’s Waldo books that I think we will be entertained for a good long time with this series.

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Movies in Bed: Fantasy Island

Post by Josh Zinn.

Picture, if you will, a time before the Internet. An innocent world that beckons with the promise of adventure and mystery, without the ability for its treasure trove of secrets to be divulged, pinned, poked, or liked by people in caftans whose explorative minds have been numbed by multiple mouse clicks, Judge Judy, and the soothing reliability of their favorite microwave fettuccini alfredo. Hold in your mind those precious memories of pay telephones, travel agents, Tab cola, and oversized women’s shoulder pads that helped define what it meant to be “on the go” when people still needed to leave their homes in order to satiate their fetishes and desires. Remember, “Ze plane! Ze plane!” and the hope it brought that some washed-up B-list actor could—in between mortgage-paying appearances on The Love Boat and Hart to Hart—find a glimmer of happiness in a temporary, entirely unsustainable setting.

Like a Jurassic Park for those who prefer lust and lingerie to lizards and Laura Dern, Fantasy Island revels in the fact that people desire what they are unable to attain in their day-to-day lives. For some, this might be a healthy version of a tater-tot casserole or a discount on nachos at the movie theater; for others, it’s a torrid affair with a vampire or disco lessons with Charo. Regardless of what its guests desire, however, Fantasy Island’s job is to make the impossible possible by promising the fading stars of yesterday a paycheck for tomorrow and by counting upon the dissatisfied lives of its viewing audience and their unquenchable thirst for an existence where clean Corningware is not considered a measure of happiness.

Sadly, the modern world no longer has much of a place for a Ricardo Montalbån-hosted tropical island where Don Knotts can become a sex symbol or women like Florence Henderson can uncover the power of their womanhood by fighting against the curse of a Don Ameche-led Satanic cult. Now, with the secrets of the world at our fingertips, people can simply find a web page, user group, or chat room that gives them the sense of normalcy and belonging that Fantasy Island may have once provided—it’s all the payoff, without the worry that Mickey Rooney or Milton Berle might show up in a Speedo.
Akin to a Make-A-Wish-Foundation for neurotics and hedonists alike, Fantasy Island captures a pre-internet moment in time when the world had yet to fully comprehend the scope of its depravity or its ability to write Twilight fan-fiction ad infinitum. It is an oasis of sin in the sun, accessible to even the most secretive of suburbanites.

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Bedroom Design: Best Bedroom Colors

Post by Kyle St. Romain

Choosing the best bedroom colors can be a difficult task, especially if it’s the first time you get to choose the color of your bedroom. Most apartments and rental homes leave the bedroom walls white, and for very good reason: white goes with everything. However, white can be boring, especially the drab white landlords use. If you’re ready to add some color to your bedroom, I’ve compiled a list of the three best bedroom colors and why.

1. Neutrals
Many people hear neutral colors and think, “boring,” but this doesn’t have to be the case. Neutral colors create an ideal backdrop to frame the rest of your bedroom design against, and are more forgiving for novice designers. They also work well with different designs, which allows you to easily update the décor of your bedroom without having to repaint. Included in the broad category of neutrals is everything from white to gray, which is actually a lot. Take a trip to your local home improvement or paint store and see for yourself: you’ll be surprised how many different shades of white you can choose from.

2. Earth Tones
Earth tones include the more muted shades of brown and green. Remember, you want to feel relaxed when you enter your bedroom and lime green probably isn’t the best way to conjure that feeling. Earth tones make it easy to envision what colors to incorporate in your overall design too; simply think of what colors you’d find in a forest. Bright red is an excellent color to use for your statement piece with an earthy palette, just doesn’t overdo it.

3. Blues
The number of shades of blue you can choose from can be overwhelming. To help narrow your choices, first decide between light and dark blue. Dark blue will create a deep, mature feeling in the bedroom, while light blues are generally considered more light and airy. Use white to accent your blue walls. White floorboards, headboards, and furniture contrast nicely with any shade of blue.

What do you think is the best bedroom color? Let us know in the comments below.

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