February 2013

Killing 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.28.13 The Killing Field

Hope is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops—at all,


And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard,

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm,


I've heard it in the chillest land—

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb—of me.

Robert Browning —
So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon/ Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!
Jar 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.25.13 No Woman, No Cry

The trick to tear-free slicing? A very sharp knife and good skills. Shallots are a bit less pungent than their humbler relative, but the value of a good sharp knife cannot be overrated when it comes to virtually any repetitive cutting task. I never tire of using shallots in my cooking. They create a deep, slightly sweet flavor base and become soft and velvety much quicker than onions. They're also delicious raw, adding a mild bite to salad dressings and slaws. A quick soak in ice water first diminshes their intensity somewhat. But perhaps my favorite way to eat them—fried—is inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine, where the shallot runs rampant. They make an addictively crunchy topping to everything from rice and noodles to soups and salads. What you may not know is that you can fry up a mass of them and, once cooled, store them in a sealed glass jar, where they will remain crisp for quite a while.
Jack Donaghy —
Good God, Lemon!
Zest1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.22.13 Hot Links: February

Unless you live in a land of perpetual sunshine—or you're from down under—this time of year can get a little bleak. Every year I remind myself to schedule a vacation in February, and every year I forget. Last year we did make it to Hawaii in March and next month we're lucky enough to have another family vacation in Antigua, so there's sunlight at the end of the tunnel. It's bloody cold here and that makes it tough to get the exercise I need. I go to yoga twice a week, jump rope in the screened-in porch and get out in the woods when the snow is right for snowshoeing or it's not too icy to hike. I never thought I would say this, living in paradise as I do, but I miss the gym. After three years upstate, it's clear to me that I have to be more disciplined about my fitness. Generally, if I don't get moving first thing in the morning, it just won't happen. And that's not OK. Especially at 50, with both feet planted firmly in middle age, it's crucial to get the heart pumping and the muscles firing on a regular basis. Whatever your age, you'll actually experience fewer aches and pains, feel more energetic, sleep more soundly, have more radiant skin and look better in jeans. When life hands you lemons...
Sister Parish —
I think everyone must have a first memory of some house, some room, a vivid picture that remains deep down in them forever.
Snowy house 790 xxx
photos by george billard

2.20.13 Home Rooms

A bit more about our little homestead. We've put in a lot of work over the last 7 years, transforming a place that was decidedly ramshackle, with questionable bones, into our own private paradise. I found this cottage just at the time I met G, so a major undertaking I had thought would be a solo project turned out to be a challenge built for two. (Still thanking my lucky stars!) Why not buy something new and pristine, you ask? Well, money, for one thing. Plus I was looking for something in this area in order to be close to a good friend (who wound up selling his place, but that's another story) and this was well-situated and truly the best of the bunch I saw. And I just envisioned the possibilities, I guess. Remember, at the time I was single and it was intended to be a weekend place, so I didn't think I needed lots of space. But when Prince Charming entered, he immediately financed the construction of our pride and joy: the screened-in porch.
Matsui Basho —
Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
Eldred interior 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.18.13 Inside Story

It occurred to me that you never get to see inside our little cottage, aside from a quick peek at the bathroom we renovated. We had the white brick fireplace built to replace the wood-burning stove that was here originally. Inspiration came from a Swedish book on fireplaces that I found in the mid-90s in a vintage book store in Illinois and carried around optimistically for a decade. We also stained the floors and ceiling beams a deep espresso brown and gave the walls a coat of white paint. My aesthetic is defnitely inspired by my Northern California upbringing, with lots of earthy colors and organic textures. (I recently received this book as a gift and was instantly nostalgic.) Mixed in are assorted works of art, ceramics, elements from nature and pieces collected on our travels, including several Berber rugs from Morocco.
Percy Bysshe Shelly —
Soul meets soul on lovers' lips.