l o v e l y t h i n g s


Wild Mushroom Crostini 3 ways

I got it from Janet, who got it from Slim and this is my version.  One of my favorite blogs is The Gardener's Cottage.  It is one I go to for fashion, home decor, gardening and food...Janet is vegan and I am not.  Not even close...I must say it crosses my mind now and again because she says she's over 50 and does not look a day over 40.  Check out Janet's vegan recipe for wild mushroom crostini here. 

This is my version. . .             

Wild Mushroom Crostini 
3 T butter or olive oil
12 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

Rustic Wheat Bread

Thyme Vinaigrette
1 to 2 T red wine vinegar
3 T fresh thume leaves
4 T mayonnaise
1 tsp agave syrup

Saute butter or olive oil, mushrooms and fresh thyme until cooked.
Place sliced rustic wheat bread in the broiler until lightly golden brown.
Brush with mayonnaise.  
Top each slice with a handful of arugula and then with the mushrooms.

Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette and drizzle over the mushrooms. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste.




kitchen - before and after

This is our new kitchen.  The layout was inspired by Ina Garten's barn kitchen.  Of course on a much smaller scale, but I love the symmetry of her kitchen. We used two Subzeros, one all refrigerator and one all freezer and in the center a 48" Wolf range.  I can't say enough good things about Subzero.  We've pretty much had the same kitchen, black and white wherever we have lived.  This is the first time we've splurged on commercial appliances and what a difference.  Yes, they look beautiful, but I swear my parsley lasts two weeks in the produce drawer.   The sink is by Shaw.  It accommodates large pots and since I rarely use a disposal, I did not want a divided sink.   As you can see we have way too many dishes.  This sort of resulted from my working at Williams Sonoma for a holiday season a few years ago.  Really, who needs this many dishes?  They are all Aplico and Pillivuyt porcelain from France and will last forever.  I figure at this point I may as well keep them until it's time to set my kids up in their first apartments.
This is looking into the kitchen from the dining room.  I was so excited about incorporating brick here and a few places in the house.  I love exposed brick whether it's in a home, a shop or a restaurant.  In the original house the opening to the kitchen was only a standard door width.  There was a large cabinet that actually contained the heating unit for the house.  Since we needed to upgrade the system, we moved it to the attic.  Originally this space was going to be used for a walk in pantry, but our contractor convinced us to widen the opening and have a much smaller pantry.  We were thrilled with the results.  It improved the natural light in the kitchen and we were still able to put the microwave in the pantry.
The pendant lamp over the kitchen table is from Barbara Cosgrove and the pendants over the counter are from Jamie Young.  So reasonably priced and just the look I wanted.  All the lighting in the house is from Lightopia in Laguna Beach.
The counter tops are honed granite.  The faucet is from Rohl.  A California code requires a backwash for the dishwasher. Once we had the inspection it was replaced with a soap dispenser and on the opposite side a sprayer to balance out the sink deck.  The faucet has filtered water on the left side and hot/cold on the right.
I purchased a few new pieces of cookware while working at Williams Sonoma. but I think our favorite cookware is still our Sitram from France purchased at Bridge Kitchenware in New York City.
The hardware on the cabinets, refrigerators and throughout the house is all from Emtek.  I really wanted Nanz, but after several emails and phone calls and still no pricing...I think it's one of those things...if you have to ask...you get it.  Emtek is the look I wanted and it is priced well and has a nice feel.  We used polish nickel in the kitchen and the same style, but flat black and chrome in other areas of the house.  I love the modern feel and the different options like the t-shaped pulls for the pull out spice drawers on each side of the range.
A place for everything...the pull out drawers are great.  Should have used them in the pantry.
Everything had been removed and this was just the start of putting it all back together.  You can see the door way arch has been added along with brick that is on both sides and will be painted white.

The existing kitchen was in pretty good shape.  We kept the dishwasher and donated everything else to Habitat for Humanity.


l o v e l y t h i n g s t h u r s d a y

The last few times I've walked down to the beach this is what I saw...balance.  Makes you think...
Strands Beach, Dana Point, California


non-meat lovers....look away

 My kids requested hamburgers for dinner tonight.  Not just any burger...these guys know a good burger.  So when we have burgers at home, which is not often, it means a James Beard burger with caramelized onions and swiss cheese.

Caramelized onions on a burger...what could be better?  Start with 3 or 4 onions, add sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of sugar, olive oil, butter and balsamic. Cook for about 45 minutes.

This is it after about 45-50  minutes...the entire house smells divine by now.

If you're going to indulge in a burger...you may as well add the sweet potato fries and spicy mayonnaise.  I can't think of a better combination.

This is the James Beard way to  make burgers...so good.