Thursday, January 22, 2009

Baked Eggs with Tomato Sauce, Kale & Gruyere

This is the second time that I have made this recipe for dinner.  The first time was just after I read about it over at Domestic Reflections.  Since then I have continued to think about it, it was that yummy.  Tonight, at long last, I am making it again.   
Baked Eggs with Tomato Sauce, Kale and Gruyere
Jora, adapted from Metropolitan Home)

1 large onion, chopped
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, with juices
1 bunch cavolo nero, also called dinosaur kale and lacinato kale (do NOT substitute regular kale!)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 (or so) eggs
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

In a nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onion in the olive oil, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and juice and cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes (sauce can be made ahead and set aside).

Wash thoroughly and remove stems from kale. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add kale; saute until wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide tomato sauce among two to three 8-inch gratin dishes or ovenproof bowls (or one larger gratin dish). Using the back of a large spoon, make indentations in the sauce in each dish (one for each egg). Crack an egg into each indentation and season with salt and pepper. Spoon about ¼ cup wilted kale around eggs in each dish. Bake for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle the cheese on top of the kale. Bake a few more minutes until egg whites are set but egg yolks are still (slightly) runny, about 10 minutes total.

Remove from oven and top each dish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with toasted bread. Oh yeah, and some good red wine. Need that too.

{image from Metropolitan Home}

John Boos- a modern take on our old tradition

If I were renovating my kitchen, this is totally the one I would go with.

Still John Boos, but I found it here.

the tale of a chopping block: a tragedy

Before I was born my parents purchased a John Boos chopping block. The kind with legs and casters.  I feel like I spend my childhood sitting on that chopping block.   At some point after college, my parents passed on some of their things to me as the downsized to a smaller home. Among the treasures was the butcher block.  I was thrilled and it was my favorite item in the lot.  When Sean & I (and baby Isabel*) moved to Morocco, many of the family treasures that weren't going with us were bequeathed to my brother, Jamie.  Now we are home.  

Jamie has a lovely home filled with lots of great finds, but it's that chopping block I'm always eyeing.  Though they have offered us everything back - I would never!  I don't want to be called naughty things. 

Then, last weekend, as we were meandering through a flea-market-type-thing by our home, I saw it.  The identical John Boos chopping block of childhood fame!  For $150.  You can't buy a John Boos cutting board for that little.  Sean's eyes met mine.  He knew exactly what I was thinking.  I knew exactly what he was thinking.  We have no money, and if we did, the last thing we need is a large chopping block.  We left chopping-block less.

I couldn't get it off my mind.  I mentioned it to my mom and she said "Go get it now.  I'll send you the money."  Even Sean was wavering.  I started stalking the seller.  Doing drive-bys of his little stall at the flea market, calling the number that was posted there.  Nothing.  Finally, yesterday I spotted the guy during my afternoon drive-by.  He was talking with a nice woman but I interrupted them.  

"Do you still have that chopping block?"

"Nope, gone."

Then the nice lady pipes up, "That's what I came for too."

It's a sad tale.  Still, I don't believe this is the end of the story.  

The spark has ignited, the search will go on. 

*names have been changed to protect the innocent

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the Vegetannual

I just came across this poster while perusing Barbara Kingsolver's site.  It's by artist Richard A. Houser and it depicts the vegetannual described in Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."  The bottom of the poster (not shown in this image) displays the quote from the book: 

"Picture a single imaginary plant, bearing throughout the seasons all the different vegetables we harvest...we'll call it a Vegetannual."

The poster also shows which month most of these vegetables are harvested and would be available from a local farmer.  This poster serves as a great reminder of what we should be growing or buying, and when. 

It's available here.

reading & eating

I am really into food books right now.  I have been slowly making my way through thisthis & this:

And am itching to get started on this, this, this & this:

Yum.  What food books do you love?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Orla Kiely for Target

Just wanted to add my "yippee!" about Orla Kiely's imminent arrival at a Target near you (and me!)  I am so loving this umbrella of hers. Wouldn't it be perfect with my standard issue military rain boots that I got from our local Army surplus store?  A bit of the Wellie look without the price.

The Old Farmer's Almanac

My Father-in-law, John, likes to share interesting bits of information with me from time to time. Somehow we got on the topic of the Old Farmer's Almanac and John informed me that the hole in the corner of the magazine is for hanging it on a nail in your outhouse.  Now, neither of us have an outhouse, but he does have a great barn in New Mexico. Therefore, this Christmas, John became the lucky recipient of a 2009 Old Farmer's Almanac to hang beside his john at the barn.  

I had never browsed a Farmer's Almanac prior to this but found it full of lots of things that I never knew that I wanted to know about.

Wikipedia describes it as this:  a reference book that contains weather forecaststide tablesplanting charts, astronomical data, recipes, and articles on a number of topics including gardeningsportsastronomy, and farming. The book also features anecdotes and a section that predicts trends in fashion, food, home décortechnology, and living for the coming year.

side-note: Wikipedia also states that in 1858, Abraham Lincoln used a copy of a Farmer's Almanac to argue the innocence of his client, William ("Duff") Armstrong, who was on trial for murder in BeardstownIllinois.  Lincoln used an almanac to refute the testimony of Charles Allen, an eyewitness who claimed he had seen the crime by the light of the moon on August 291857. The book stated that not only was the Moon in the first quarter, but it was riding "low" on the horizon, about to set.  See?  Random, perhaps useful, interesting stuff.

another side-note: the term john, came to be used in America in reference to a toilet or "indoor water closet"  because it was first invented by a man named John Harrington.  The phenomenal facts just keep coming.

At Last

Today is a great day in America's story.  It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican or lost somewhere in between, like me. What does matter is that today something is about to occur that is long overdue.  

Welcome Obama family!  

I will continue to pray for blessing, wisdom & grace for you and your administration.

{image found at}

Monday, January 19, 2009

Raspberry Pecan Muffins

I got this recipe from my Food to Live By cookbook.  Everett*, my little one, has eaten all but two of these muffins in the past 24 hours or so. To say he loves them is an understatement. (That's his little paw in the photograph.)

{makes 12 standard size muffins}


butter (for greasing muffins cups unless you are using cupcake liners)
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup of canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
2/3 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen, unthawed & unsweetened)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter 12 standard size muffin cups or line them with cupcake liners.

2. Place the flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine well. 

3. Place the egg, buttermilk, oil, and zest in a small bowl and whisk to combine well.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Gently fold in the raspberries and pecans.  Do not overmix the batter or the muffins will be tough.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the batter. 

4. Bake the muffins until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 20 - 25 minutes.

5. Let cool for 10 minutes.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent

Martin Luther King, Jr. - remembered

Today we honor a great man.  Not a perfect man, of course.  But a man that gave us much to choose from in terms of inspiration and admiration.  A minister, an activist, a civil rights leader and human rights icon.  A great orator.  The youngest male recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.  A force in the ending of racial segregation and discrimination.  A man who chose the methods of civil disobedience and non-violence.  One who ended his lifetime fighting poverty and opposing the war in Vietnam.  A man who spent himself on behalf of others.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."

"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

"Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Today I honor this man and His enduring dream.  Thank you, Reverend King for daring to dream it.

{image found at Africa Within}

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dwell Studio Chinoiserie

This bedding is such old news, so why am I still so not over it?  Does that mean it's true love?

Perhaps someone will valentine it to me this year?

He can find it here.

**update: Jennifer, who does PR for Dwell Studio just let me know that they will be introducing new Chinoiserie pillows in different sizes and brighter colors, next month.  I'll be on the lookout for those and post them as soon as I spot 'em.**

Mary Jane's Farm B & B

Sean and I have always shared a dream of opening a small hotel.  We have spent endless hours imagining the where and what and how. This dream feel like it is a looong way off, if it is ever to be at all.   After I came across Mary Jane Butter's Bed & Breakfast, I thought- now this, maybe we could do.  

Her bed & breakfast is merely a series of wall tents with wood floors that have been done up 'farmstyle'.   Read: fabulous sheets, no electricity.  The tent comes with an outdoor firepit & kitchen, and a shared outhouse, & shower house.   

Of course Mary Jane also owns the adjoining organic farm which really makes the whole thing worthwhile.   That part would have to be a long way off, too. 

At least I can go visit hers' in the meantime.  

Friday, January 16, 2009

thank you, Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth, a great American painter, died this morning after 91 years of life.  He is the man responsible responsible for the painting that I chose as my banner for this blog.  Though this painting, Christina's World, may be the one that he will be most remembered for, he leaves behind a large body of exquisite work.  After reading these quotes by Wyeth, I was struck by how they, nearly as much as his work, are telling of the man behind the brush.

"I don't paint these hills around Chadds Ford because they're better than the hills somewhere else. It's that I was born here, lived here — things have a meaning for me."

"I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future — the timelessness of the rocks and the hills — all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it — the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show."

"I think anything like that — which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone — 
people always feel is sad. Is it because we've lost the art of being alone?"

I feel grateful for your perspective, Mr. Wyeth.  For showing us another form of beauty. 

Thank you.

Nie is back!

We've missed you, girlfriend!  

Thrilled you are back.

Frye Boots - family heirlooms

Some people leave their daughters jewelry.  Should my daughters be blessed with size seven and a half feet, I will be leaving them boots. Not just any boots, mind you.  Frye boots.  Frye Company is the oldest continually operating shoe company in America, since 1863. These people know what they are doing.  Not only do they make beautiful footwear of exceptional quality, but they also have figured out a way to have an almost universal appeal.  

My Frye obsession began a few years back, and since then I have noted their boots in places such as Sundance and Garnet Hill, and then over Christmas I spotted some Frye's in Urban Outfitters. That's an enormous range.  I can't help wishing that they weren't quite so popular.  But since the secrets out, I may as well publicly add myself to their list of admirers.

They ain't cheap, but they will last through your lifetime and well on into your daughters'. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

i love this braid

My husband is surprisingly good at doing hair.  His adorable sister, Sara, is always calling him before she goes out to say - "Could I run by and have you do my hair real quick?"  It's an astonishing, random talent.  Yet, when I asked him if he could give me the braid in this photo, he tried...he really did.  But it was not his best work.  He said that the tricky part is that the bottom portion is french braided while the top side is just a regular braid.  

Try, try again, I say.

He may just have to work on it 'til he gets it right. 

{image from Ali Loves' Flickr via Oh Happy Day!}

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brooke, a bride

I have a dear friend, Brooke, who I got to know and love during our time together in Morocco.  I also got to watch her relationship with a great man, Justin, begin and grow in that time. On January 2nd, these two were married in Nashville.  It breaks my heart that we weren't able to be there.  I have been living vicariously through their lovely photographs and I just had to share some of them here. 


Congratulations, you two.   

God is sharing His beauty with the world, through your lives entwined. 

{Brooke & Justin's excellent photographer was Michael Howard, you can find him here}