Friday, April 30, 2010

lunch break...

I will be at The Tattered Cover buying this book....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strawberry Ice Cream

Photo from The Savvy Source

So I decided to make strawberry ice cream for the Project Runway Finale.    This should be labeled as easiest. dessert. ever.

Strawberry Ice Cream
from the Joy of Cooking

1 quart of Strawberries, clean and cut into quarters
4 cups of Whipping Cream
(original recipie used 2 cups of Heavy Cream and 2 cups of Whipping Cream - although I couldn't find Heavy cream and am not sure how it is different than whipping cream)
7/8 cups of sugar (Mac thought it needed more sugar, I did not)

Blend strawberries and cream in blender in batches until combined.   Chill.   Follow your ice cream freezer instructions on how to freeze your ice cream.   serve.

Difference between heavy cream and whipping cream.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The girl crush...

Don't know why I always develop crushes on english cooks... especially the girls.   Oh... I am always wishing I had access to the BBC.

Sophie Dahl... I love her, don't know why. Maybe it is because I love her kitchen wallpaper; maybe because her grandfather wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and the Fantastic Mr. Fox); maybe it is because I just read one of her books and loved it (thank you Shelly... ).   Seems some people are up in arms because she has dropped some serious lbs. and because she is copying Nigellapshaw... let the woman be!

...maybe it is because Sia is playing during her cooking show or because she is cooking in a halter dress (like I garden in a Yard Dress).

Oh Nigella... you were the first English-Cooking girl I loved.   Now we all know why we love Nigella... because she eats bread pudding in bed and cooks bacon-tomato hash, in a cocktail dress, after coming home from a late night on the town.

Please note I have conquered the youtube issue....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anyone love Mid-Century Modern...

I am selling my Federal Glass Amoeba/Boomerang Glass Collection on Ebay.   If you know anyone who collects this glass or who might want to start send them here... It is a 28 piece collection.


The drinking glass pattern, popularly called, amoeba or boomerang, was actually called Contemporary by the Federal Glass Company. It also had the identification number of 4695. This was so the pattern was not confused with another Federal Glass pattern called Contemporary. The drinking glasses in the Contemporary pattern were marketed as - Federal's Heavy Bottomed Tumblers. These mid century modern amoeba boomerang drinking glasses or had 22 Kt gold integrated into their amoeba, which over the years has the gold accents wash off fairly easily.

There were a number of different styles of drinking glasses offered in this pattern and each pattern had a matching pitcher that could be purchased. The names of the different kind of tumblers included: Pilsner, Heavy Bottomed Tumbler, Heavy Bottomed Double Old Fashion, Heavy Bottomed Old Fashion, Heavy Bottomed Sky Ball, and Heavy Bottomed Jigger.

Here is a review of the collection and condition of each glass:

5 – Pilsner Glasses; these are the glasses in the worst condition in my collection. There is noticeable gold missing from the boomerangs; no chips or cracks.

9 – Heavy Bottom Tumblers. 4 of these glasses still have the original Federal Glass Sticker on them and have never been used. The rest of the glasses are in almost perfect condition with very little gold missing; no chips or cracks.

4 - Heavy Bottomed Double Old Fashion. These glasses are in almost perfect condition with very little gold missing; no chips or cracks.

5 - Heavy Bottomed Old Fashion. Three of these glasses are in almost perfect condition with very little gold missing, two have some gold missing; no chips or cracks.

5 - Heavy Bottomed Jigger. The shot… these are the hardest to come by of these glasses. All of my jiggers are in almost perfect condition with very little gold missing; no chips or cracks.

My collection does not include any Heavy Bottomed Sky Ball glasses.

Chicken and Mushrooms

Photo from

Well I had every intention this weekend to make chicken marsala... but I didn't have any marsala.   I then remembered a post I saw last week of a chicken and mushroom dish... but then I couldn't remember who posted it.   At this point I should have just ordered pizza... but I can do this who can screw up chicken and mushrooms sauteed together over pasta, seriously.   So instead I winged it using white wine...

I remembered this week the post that inspired this dish.

Chicken Marsala and Mushrooms

2 chicken breasts, boned, skinless
1/4 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
1/8 tsp freshly ground, black pepper (or more, to taste)

2 T olive oil
1clove of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of heavy cream

1/2 lb of cooked pasta
parmesan (about 1/4 of a cup)
Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.   Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet, add chicken breasts and sear on both sides, about 6 minutes each side.   Remove chicken and let rest on a cutting board.   Add onion to the pan (add a bit more oil if needed) and sautee for five minutes until they soften.   Add mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms have released their juices, once this has happened turn heat to high so liquid will cook off and the mushrooms will begin to brown, add oil if needed (about 5-10 minutes).  While mushrooms are cooking cut chicken into bite sized pieces.   Continue cooking mushrooms until they brown then add garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes.   Add wine and scrape all bits off bottom of pan, continue cooking until wine has cooked off.   Add heavy cream and cooked pasta and stir until heated, sprinkle parmesan over dish and stir.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mushroom note: one other thing I learned this weekend from Cooks Illustrated... to speed up the cooking of mushrooms microwave them until they start releasing their juices.   I did about 8 minutes and it really cut down on the cooking time... because we all know it can sometimes take 20 minutes to brown 2 cups of mushrooms.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Taco's and the weekend

Photos from Food and Wine

So I spent my weekend catching up on yard work duties. I live on a busy street so it really pains me to work in my front yard, as it is like gardening next to the freeway. My backyard is always well cared for and pretty and my front yard is always neglected, but the past few years I have made an effort to pay more attention to the curb appeal.  That was my weekend... pulling up grass, trimming trees, cleaning the garage and raking (thanks Mac)!

But, I did cook a lot this weekend and once recipe in particular was given to me by a co-worker and we (other co-workers) have affectionately named it Bo's Mexican Meat, in reality it is Tyler Florence's Mexican Pot Roast and it is delicious!

I got a hankering for taco's after reading the Taco World article in this months Food and Wine... I love taco's more than any other food and I could eat them every single day. There are so many varieties that one could never grow tired of the tasty taco treat, but I will tell you I won't be trying the L.A. Gas Station Taco Recipe in F&W... I am sorry that sounds gross.    I am hoping to make the Crunchy Tofu Taco's very soon, I always vow that I would like to become better tofu chef... but it never happens... so I am making a resolution to cook with tofu four times in the month of May... there I said it... Mac get ready.   Please let me know if there are any recipes you think I should try.

I, of course, used the pot roast meat to make tacos... but Bo tells me that he uses it the first night for taco's and then makes enchiladas the second night reserving the juice for the enchilada sauce.   I would never use it for enchiladas - I don't like beef enchiladas - I am a cheese or chicken kind of girl.   But, I did save the cooking liquid, because it was delicious, and I have been thinking of uses for it and I will let you know what comes of that.   I think I might try a Tortilla Soup... I stuck it in the fridge so I can make sure it isn't too greasy.
Mexican Pot Roast (from Tyler Florence)
2 pounds beef shoulder (pot roast-style) (I couldn't find a shoulder so I used a rump roast)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin

* Taco or enchilada fixings (depending on your final dish)

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, or other heavy pot that has a tight cover, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the garlic and the beef to the pot, browning the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice sear on the outside. Add the onion and allow to lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, plus 1 tomato can of water, spices, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer with a lid for 3 hours until the meat is fork tender. Let meat cool in the liquid. Shred meat and set aside. While you shred the meat, bring sauce back up to a light boil. Take sauce off heat.

If you make tacos with the meat, put a couple ladles of sauce onto the meat and incorporate. Use as much sauce to moisten the meat (you don't want runny taco meat). Use the meat as you would any other taco meat, with the toppings you like.

If you make enchiladas, follow the step above, but you can add more sauce, if you like. Place the meat inside corn tortillas, rolling and placing side-by-side in baking pan. Pour sauce over the pan of enchiladas, top with cheese, and bake. (Use more sauce than you think you would. The first time I made enchiladas, I thought I used enough and they came out on the dry side. But -- I kept the sauce on the stove so when I plated them, I poured more sauce over and they ended up perfect. So, if you don't use enough when baking, keep the sauce around, just in case.)

Thank you Bo!   And Tyler.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Cure: update

Well... I am still plodding along on the Spring Cure.   My bathroom progress stalled last weekend when we realized the claw tub fixture had angled brackets, which we could not use on my particular tub.   I returned the shanks and am hoping to get replacement brackets this week.

The bedroom is progressing, I have cleaned out all the drawers and closets.   Now I just need to purchase all the bedding and furniture. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I have an obsession with many things. But, color, especially those great blogs that can group together sets of color photos in a montage.  One of my favorite places to swoon over color and images is the "inspiration files" on the blog 100 layer cake.   If you have a moment please look at them, they make my heart flutter.   I only dream one day of being able to assemble color boards like these, oh I can do it at home while yeilding my glue stick... but I cannot do it online. 

Here are some of my favorite color swatches by 100 Layer Cake, go there and check out the pictures that go with the swatches they are fantastic.

I could look at these all day. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mixed Tape: April 2010 Edition

New Young Pony Club photo by

1. Architect of Love – New Young Pony Club
2. Fixed – Stars
3. Salt Air – Chew Lips
4 Work all Day - Portugal the Man
5. Do-wah-doo – Kate Nash
6. Crush on You - brakesbrakesbrakes
7. Ones and Zeros – Monsters are Waiting
8. Breaking the Chains of Love – Fitz & The Tantrums
9. Hollywood – Codine Velvet Club
10. Crying Blood – VV Brown
11. Fader – The Temper Trap
12. Silvia – Mike Snow
13. How are you doing? – The Living Sisters
14. One more time with feeling – Regina Spektor
15. Yellow Brick Road – Angus & Julia Stone
16. Bad Waters – Jenny Wilson
17. Trouble in Mind – Erland & The Carnival

Thursday, April 22, 2010

America: The Story of Us

Sunday night The History channel is starting a 3 month series chronicalling the history of The United States.   Here is the description:

America The Story of Us is an epic 12-hour television event that tells the extraordinary story of how America was invented. With highly realistic CGI animation, dramatic recreations and thoughtful insights from some of America's most respected artists, business leaders, academics and intellectuals, it is the first television event in nearly 40 years to present a comprehensive telling of America's history. Elaborate, ambitious and cinematic, America The Story of Us will take you into the moments when Americans harnessed technology to advance human progress, from the rigors of linking the continent by transcontinental railroad--the internet of its day--to triumphing over vertical space through the construction of steel structured buildings to putting a man on the moon. It is an intensive look at the people, places and things that have shaped our nation, and the tough and thrilling adventure that is America's 400-year history.

Considering the fact that I watched the HBO series John Adams 1400 times, I will definitely be watching!   Watch the trailer here.

Not sure how I am going to fit in The Story of Us,  Life, and Small Island... my DVR can only focus on one thing at a time...arrrggghhh. 

April Jam...

Photo from

So after my excessive purchase of 3 flats of strawberries... I spent all last week running the race against rotting berries.   And the result was 20 pints of Jam: Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.   I have tried them both and they are delicious, although the strawberry could have used a bit more sugar.   I still have some berries left and I threw them in the freezer last weekend... I was trying to decide on what else to make... pancake syrup?  Ice cream sundae syrup?  

I have decided what I will do with them... and it will be a surprise for my Project Runway watching friends....

Strawberry Jam
from the Joy of Cooking

1 quart of strawberries
2-4 cups of sugar (depending upon your tastes)

Wash, dry, stem and cut strawberries.   Put them into a very heavy cooking pot and cover with sugar (start with 1/2 cup).   Stir the mixture very gently over low heat until it has "juiced up".    Taste for sweetness and add sugar if necessary.  Raise the heat to moderate and begin stirring occasionally, continue to cook until mixture thickens up, I use a thermometer and work until jam hits 220 degrees.   I continue to taste for sweetness adding sugar while the strawberries are breaking down.   Once jam has hit 220, I remove from the heat and place in sterilized jars and process.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
adapted from Joy of Cooking

1 quart of rhubarb
4-8 cups of sugar (depending upon your tastes)
2 quarts of strawberries

Cut rhubarb into small pieces and sprinkle sugar over it (start with 2 cups).   Put them into a very heavy cooking pot and cook over low heat until rubarb starts to break up, taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary.    Wash, dry, stem and cut strawberries. Stir into rhubarb mixture and add more sugar (1 cup at a time). Raise the heat to moderate and begin stirring occasionally, continue to cook until mixture thickens up, I use a thermometer and work until jam hits 220 degrees. I continue to taste for sweetness adding sugar while the strawberries are breaking down. Once jam has hit 220, I remove from the heat and place in sterilized jars and process.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fabric: Love

Today I have been oogling Amy Butler's new fabric line - Love!

I love that everyone - at least my favorite fabric designers are - now making oil cloth....

Here is a video of some products made with the fabrics...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another stop made...

during our Sunday outing with Door's Open Denver "The annual celebration of Denver's Built Environment and Design" - we went to see The Denver Society of Model Railroaders.   This was our first stop and almost our last... it is in the basement of Union Station and we waited in line for an hour and a half.   But, it was cool and I know a certain little boy who really needs his aunt to bring him here....

One bonus for standing in line for hours to check out a minature village... lots of random tid-bits on Union Station were handed out...

1.  There is a safe in the basement of Union Station
2.  There is a jail in the basement of Union Station
3.  The walls are 8 feet thick.

This is the safe, although it looks like it could pass for the crypt of Vlad the Impaler!

Where did it all go so horribly wrong...

Any of you who know me very well at all know that bile forms in the back of my throat when I have to drive through suburbia.   Just the horrible rows of poorly-constructed, siding-laden homes with their boring beige paint coupled with the influx of chain resturants killing the craft-of-the-chef and homogenizing our landscape makes me very sad.

This weekend while touring a handful of Denver's Mansions, I started  wondering  when did our building practices in this country lose its authenticity and artistry?    I will add disclaimer here: if you have any problem with looking at a dozen pictures of ceilings and light fixtures... then you can just stop here.  

I love looking at the amazing details that were put into these homes...  the plaster cast details, the light fixtures and the hand painted and carved details just don't exist anymore.

PS yes my photos are terrible today... don't know what happened. 

The coving is a relief fresco hand-pressed then carved  (Zang Mansion - ladies sitting area)

hand-painted wall detail (Zang Mansion - ladies sitting area)

Trojan warrior-heads set the military and masculine theme of the painted ceiling (Zang Mansion - Men's Smoking Room)

The genuine gold-leaf ceiling is background for the oil painting of fall leaves and grapes. The built-in buffets, wainscoating, table and chairs are of English brown oak (note the table under this chandelier was set for afternoon tea using Teddy Roosevelt's White House China) (Zang Mansion - Dining Room)

Merchant of Venice stain glass (Zang Mansion - Stair Landing) (There was also Romeo and Juliet stained glass window in the Men's Smoking Room, wonder if Alfred Zang had a thing for Shakespeare?)

  Hand-painted wall with hand-molded plaster trim (see first picture for a close up of the coving relief fresco) (Zang Mansion - Ladies Sitting Room)

Chandelier (Grant Humphreys Mansion)

Gold Chandelier (Zang Mansion - Ladies Sitting Room)

Plaster trim (Grant-Grant Humphreys Mansion)

Plaster ceiling trim (Boettcher Mansion - The Govenor's Residence)

Plaster ceiling trim and Waterford chandelier  (Boettcher Mansion - The Govenor's Residence - Drawing Room)  (Note that chandelier was given to Colorado by the Ulysses S. Grant administration the year CO became a state).

Plaster ceiling trim (Boettcher Mansion - The Govenor's Residence - Dining Room)

Plaster-Cast Ceiling Detail (Boettcher Mansion - The Govenor's Residence - Bar)

Plaster-Cast Ceiling Detail (Boettcher Mansion - The Govenor's Residence - Bar)

Chandelier (Boettcher Mansion - The Govenor's Residence - Entry way)

Oddly all of these houses are in the Neoclassical Style - Georgian Revival and Beaux Arts.