Friday, January 29, 2010
I thought we were going to Paris for our honeymoon, I really, really did. But a few days ago, we were looking at my parent's timeshare book and all the awesome places we can visit, and friends -- we have been swayed.
Now our thoughts are floating to Hawaii, Thailand, Spain and more.
Peter and I like to say to each other, "Whatever we decide, it will feel like the right thing." We say this about a lot of things, like whether we should have sushi or Thai, go skiing Saturday or Sunday, look for a new apartment or stay put, and the answer is usually, "Whatever we decide, it will feel like the right thing." It's a surprisingly reassuring answer. You can do no wrong!
The problem was, we could not decide. The options were too good, and they all felt like the right thing. I can imagine a fantastic vacation in all of those places. They all feel like the right thing. So we put in a bid for Spain, France, and Hawaii resorts, and we may add more to the list. Fate will decide for us! Scary, but kind of fun, right?
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
From the Writer's Almanac:
Edith spent much of her childhood in Europe, and she enjoyed writing, and published some of her poems. She completed a novella called Fast and Loose when she was 15. But when she was 17, it was time for her "coming out" in society. And when she was 23, she got married to a wealthy man named Edward Wharton. With him, she could enjoy the lifestyle she loved, time to travel and time to write. But the marriage was an unhappy one. Edward did not understand his wife's literary or intellectual interests, and throughout their marriage he drank more and more. Edith was depressed, and so she focused even more on writing and publishing her first book, a book about architecture that she wrote with Ogden Codman Jr.: The Decoration of Houses (1898).Well, her marriage is certainly not a model for me, but I love her house. And that seemed as good a reason as any to love her and want to hold our wedding reception there.
The house was in shambles a decade ago, having long served as a dormitory for the neighboring Shakespeare and Co. actors. When the restoration team got to work, they decided that they wouldn't try to recreate the home as it would have looked during Wharton's time, but instead honor her avant-garde design sensibilities and decorate the house as she might have during modern times. Hence the leopard carpet.
The three rooms above are where we'll serve dinner at our reception (with most of the existing furniture replaced by dining tables).
Oh, I get so excited looking at these photos!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
After I graduated from college (almost five years ago – I can’t decide if that makes me feel old or young) I moved into an apartment in
Slowly my palette changed. I began to crave spicy food. Like an addict, the more spicy food I ate, the spicier I needed it to be to get my fix. Today, few spicy things scare me.
Julie and I are not on the same spicy food page. Flavors that I find mild she finds very spicy. Luckily, that is a problem that hot sauce was designed to solve. I like to keep three different sauces in the fridge at a time, so I can vary the flavor according to the dish (that’s not weird, right…?)
For a while Julie has been telling me that I would find it fun to make my own hot sauce. I agreed, but never did anything about it. Last week I was picking up a few things at the market and saw a display marked “hot peppers.” My curiosity was piqued. “I like hot things,” I thought to myself. And they had me. I’m not always the discerning consumer I pretend to be.
I bought twenty serrano peppers even though I didn’t know how to turn them in to hot sauce. I also bought two poblano peppers, because the sauce had to have more than one ingredient, right?
At home I chopped up the peppers and a medium onion and sautéed them with a little oil and salt for around fifteen minutes. Julie got home from work around minute seven, and quickly asked, “Why does our house smell like peppers?”
“I’m cooking peppers,” I responded. I’m also quick and witty.
Julie put her face over the pot of peppers and inhaled, a mistake, as it turns out. It sent her into a coughing fit. “Are you okay?” I asked, trying to conceal my delight that I was on the right track to an awesome hot sauce.
She was okay. She did not smell the sauce again.
After the fifteen minutes, I added around three cups of water. I let it all cook for another fifteen minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the water was almost gone, I took it off the heat and put it in a food processor. I added a little more salt and pepper, and some dried basil. I remembered once eating a spicy green curry at a Thai restaurant that had basil in it, so I copied them. I pulsed the sauce a few times, and then added small amounts of white vinegar until it reached the consistency I was looking for.
That’s it. It turned into a tasty hot sauce. My first taste of it was vinegar (reminiscent of a salt and vinegar potato chip), but that was quickly replaced by heat. It was a good heat, not as intense as I was hoping for, but still, nice. For about four dollars worth of peppers, I made enough sauce to fill up an old pickle jar.
Update: Four days later, the taste of the sauce is coming together. The vinegar taste is gone, and the heat was not so immediate. Instead, it is slower and less intense. It creeps up on you. Right now I’m eating it with tortilla chips, and it tastes like a hot salsa. Definitely spicy, but next time I’d like it to be even hotter. Any tips?
Basil Serrano Hot Sauce
You will need:
20 serrano peppers
2 poblano peppers
1 medium onion
Dried basil (maybe fresh would be better?)
Sauté the peppers and onion with a couple splashes of vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Let them cook until everything gets nice and soft, and inhaling their vapors makes you cough. Add about three cups of water, but I’m not sure the amount matters. Cook it in the water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the water almost disappears, about fifteen minutes. Remove from the heat and put it all into a food processor. Crumple some dried basil over the top of everything, and sprinkle in a little more salt and pepper as well. Pulse a few times, and then add in some white vinegar, a little at a time, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
Put it all in a glass jar that seals well. Store up to six months in the fridge.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I still have a giant roll of pretty papers from Crane, so I made this little heart garland a few nights ago to hang in the fireplace in the bedroom.
It is a bit cheesy, but I like looking up when I'm reading in bed at night.
Happy Friday, everybody!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I really love the look of the home they featured above in the October 2009 issue. Isn't that blue and white couch fabric pretty?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
I have four pin wheel sqaures just like that one, ready to be sewed together into a giant square. Then the mysterious quilting process shall begin!
Let's get a quiet "whoot!" for the weekend. It's been a long week, right? We're going up to the Berkshires and Peter and I are skiing with my little cousins Allie and Matt on Saturday.
Total aside about Allie: she is going to be a flower girl in our wedding, and she is so freaking excited. She got an American Girl doll for Christmas that she named Julie. Julie the doll has a dirty blonde bob and brown eyes. Familiar, no?
I have reached the height of my fame.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Kathryn M. Ireland rooms, can we hang out?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Well, of course I am honored that you will be attending my wedding. It will mean so much to me. Really. Much more than any gift will mean.
But that doesn't mean that I didn't have an awesome time at a giant Crate and Barrel on Saturday afternoon, clicking away anything that struck my fancy. I was there with three patient friends (who also happen to be three members of my lovely bridal party). They were so encouraging and helpful and funny, it made me love them even more.
See how powerful a registry can be?!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
There are four different wines in the case (three bottles of each). Pete takes pride in finding delicious, affordable, versatile wines. And lucky for us, he also loves to share.
Anyone else discover a yummy new wine lately?
Monday, January 11, 2010
"Yes!" I said. Kind of obnoxiously.
I know it's not everyone's favorite, and that it's sort of a made up celebration. But can I just blame my enthusiasm on a deep love of all things pink? And chocolate-based?
I found these cute ideas on Martha Stewart.com. (Where else?)
Friday, January 8, 2010
Well, Peter and I hit the six-more-months-to-go mark earlier this week. Wheeee! It's starting to feel not so far away. In the last few weeks, we've found our photographers, decided on bridesmaid dresses, bought Peter's suit and reserved space for the rehearsal dinner.
Pretty good, right?
Next on the list: music, flowers, transportation and, my personal fave, the honeymoon.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Except that we had no neighbors, because almost all the houses were empty.
We also went to the empty beach.
Isn't it strange to be wearing snow boots on the beach?
On January 2, we woke up to 8 inches of snow.
The house felt so cozy.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
1:00 PM: Arrive in the city and head over to Duck Fat for a bit of lunch. Have lots of trouble deciding what should accompany your duck fat fries. Curry mayo? Raye's mustard? Roasted garlic aioli? Curse life for being so hard. Then enjoy your fries and locally brewed Maine root beer to the utmost.
5:00 PM: Go to Grace for a drink. Try not to be weirded out that you are drinking a gin martini in the upper deck of a beautiful former church.
7:00 PM: Let's have another drink, shall we? It's vacation after all. This time, head to Hugo's. Sit at the bar, and nibble on some chorizo dusted pig ears and their delicious butcher's block of charcuterie. When the sweet bartender asks if you are walking to your next destination, it is so cold, can she call you a taxi? Try to look stoic and strong when your fiance insists that you will be fine. You are New Yorkers who walk everywhere!
Street and Company. Sip on gin and tonic, eat some local oysters, and share some buttery scallops. Everyone else at the bar works at another restaurant in Portland. Does everyone in Portland work at a restaurant?
11:00 PM: End the night with a beer at Gritty McDuff's. Feel old, but tell yourselves that Portland must be a very young city to have so many fresh-faced 21 year-olds around.
11:30 AM: Head over to Hot Suppa! for brunch. Eat that famous corned beef hash -- it will live up to the hype. Any place that has the enthusiasm to include an exclamation point in their name must be great.
3:00 PM: Head a little bit out of town to go the Allagash Brewery for a free tour and tasting. Learn all kinds of things about making beer, and promptly forget them all.
8:00 PM: Reservations at Fore Street. Think that sweetbreads and roasted oysters have never, ever tasted so good. Think that the hanger steak is perfectly cooked, perfectly beefy (if you can imagine that?), and that the halibut is light as a cloud.
Monday, January 4, 2010
After all the parties and games and giant meals, I tend to get a little sad. I feel like all that's left is a long, frezacovia winter. No more glitter or special songs or loads of personal mail waiting to be opened at the end of each work day.
Of course, there is so much to look forward to. New sewing projects and ski weekends and birthday parties to attend. And I still have to tell you about what a wonderful time we had combing through New England (later this week -- stay tuned!).
But right now, I keep looking at that space above my loveseat where my Christmas tree used to perch. And it looks very empty and lonely over there.
I must say, though -- while I am slightly sad to be resuming non-holiday life, I am very happy to be back in this space. A break from the computer was so nice, but I missed you guys.