Chicago CL: Fresh and Hot

Morning, kiddies! In an effort to minimize my guilt over refreshing the Craigslist 'furniture' listings when I'm in no position to splurge on any of the beauty contained within, I am passing on the wealth to you, dear reader!

Look at this dear Danish Mod easy chair; doesn't it just look so deliciously stuffed yet sleek? The wood looks to be walnut, and the seller says the upholstery is original. Speaking of, isn't the fabric PERFECT? It's cozy like a plaid, perfectly neutral, and still looks modern and neat! I just want to cozy up on it and read Nancy Drew mysteries. If this was at Brimfield I bet it would be thousands of dollars, but behold!

OK y'all, listen. I know you can never have too many chairs in your home. This pastel mint green plastic number is endlessly charming to me with its playful color and serious wooden arms. It would look great in a study with a pile of books and a globe resting atop, or, you know, you could actually use your chairs to sit in! Novelty! The best part?40 bucks.

Alright! I love daybeds! So much so that I turned my futon into one, with a new cover and a pile of pillows. It's my favorite place to read and flop about. This one looks like a little mid-century modern ship . . . and look at that mustard color. It's super long, too, which would accommodate many bottoms at one time. It's a tad pricy but so worth it.

Not loving the lamp, but a great set for those seeking furniture for the study . . . this could really be taken to a new place with the addition of a few well-chosen objects to clutter on top and a cute throw rug underneath.
And the price is nice.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.This is just insane in the best way possible. A green fiberglass pendant seems absolutely essential right now. Sort of like the Bertjan Pot Moooi lights, which are feeling so played-out, but a million times more awesome and crazy. Not for the shy.

So there you have it! Go forth, and bargain.


Other's Homes and Gardens: Michelle and Tracy McCormick

I love the McCormick's delightfully curated home in Hollywood. It feels lived-in, falling a hair short of slouchy; cluttered, but just-so!

Love the old Hollywood glam of their lobby, with the wood mail boxes and crown moldings galore.

There are a few eminently imitable things going on here, so stay with me:

The bookcase is a just perfect contender for DIY: I'm thinking a walnut veneer or black Expedit bookcase, upholstered with free, richly textured wallpaper samples like so:

Graham & Brown's Alice(top) and Grace wallpaper

A bit of Mod Podge or a stapler gun, and you've got yourself an amazing new bookcase for the wallpaper-adverse, or renting-agreement afflicted.

Notice the liberal use of conch shells and dried sponges in this book case, which manages not to look like a Cape Cod beach house vacation-rental decor when paired with the dark tones and curio cullection here: now go forth, and decorate wisely.

This photo has made me reconsider disco-balls. They look so fresh paired with the otherwise ethnic-tinged and vintage-weird items here, don't they?

Your homework for this blog is to study this image and ponder how to combine terrariums, animal bones, tiny plants, ikat, exemplerary book covers, vintage china, and heirloom tomatos. Go.

This takes the recent design-blog boner for taxidermy and raises it to the 987th power. Bold strokes, brave readers.

Remember those oval picture frames I mentioned I'd inherited a few posts ago? Well, they lie abandoned in the study while I puzzle over what, still, to do with them. But what . . . . if . . I . . . made . . an oval into an . . . ellipse? and made a picture frame . . . a mirror?

Ooh, la la. I'm tingling with excitement.

Bye bye, Michelle and Tracy! Thanks for letting the selby visit! By the way, I love your credenza, map, and wicker baskets! If you ever get bored of anything, let me know. You know where to find me.




Corn on Corn: Polenta with Squash, Corn, and Basil

Using up the last of the sweet white corn out of the box and I still can't get enough! Thus, I present to you : Polenta with corn, basil, and summer squash. A super-quick and delicious dish with a sweet, creamy texture that can be served as a main course or a side; we also cooked up some vegan bacon (fakeon?) and threw it on top for a bit of protein and smokiness. Instead of cornmeal, I used instant polenta, which cut the cooking time down to 20 minutes.

Corn on Corn

serves 4

(Modified from the wonderful fresh365)

1 T olive oil
2 T butter (can be eliminated if you don't like butter, replace with 2 T of oil)
2 garlic cloves
1 med onion
1 small summer squash, sliced into quarters
4 ears corn, husked
note: we used corn that had been grilled to add a smoky flavor to the polenta, but this step isn't necessary
3 c water
1 c instant polenta
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 c shredded asiago cheese(would also be delicous with fine sharp cheddar, or even provelone or gouda for a milder taste)
1/6 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
note: if you're picking your own basil from a plant in the garden, make sure to pluck from the sides and top, selecting mature leaves.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté 5-7 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add thinly sliced summer squash pieces. With a serrated knife, cut corn kernels off ear, directly into the pan. To do this, I use a long bread knife, standing the corn on its side legnthwise, holding the cob in my left hand and resting the bottom on a surface. Keeping the knife close to the shank, I use a slight sawing motion to cut the kernels off, top to bottom.
Once you've gotten the corn into the pan, sautée 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add water, instant polenta, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring often, 10-12 minutes, or until you've gotten a smooth, creamy texture. Take pot off heat, and stir in asaigo and basil.
Top with lightly pan-fried vegan bacon and another sprinkle of shredded basil leaves.


Eggplant Flatbread

Delicious and so easy to make! If you don't like eggplant or one of the other ingredients, use your imagination and throw whatever suits your fancy on it. The flatbread recipe is easy to mix up in large batches and keeps well, covered, in the fridge for later use. It's helpful to have a pizza stone, but I don't own this particular tool and got great results on a standard baking sheet. It would be even better on a grill pan.  Just remember to get your flatbread dough rolled out as flat as possible!

Eggplant, Onion, and Olive Flatbread Pizza
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pound eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced provolone, cut into short thin matchsticks (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 ounces grated parmesan or romano peccorino cheese
  • 18 pitted green olives, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Flatbread Dough 
makes enough for a large thin crust pizza, serving 4-6
1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil

To make your dough (can be made in advance):

Stir dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil,scraping the bowl periodically to make a rough ball mass. Dump the dough mass on a floured surface with all of the un-cooperative bits that have separated and knead everything into a uniform ball.

Knead your mass for a minute or two. If your dough has become tough to manipulate, give it a break; cover the whole messy shebang with a towel and leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes. When you return, you will find your dough to have puffed up and become easier to knead. Flour up and get back to it, shaping into a smooth a ball as you can manage. After a minute of this, it's time to oil her up! If you have an oil spritzer, spritz a bowl evenly to coat. If like me, you don't own this apparatus, take a marinating brush (I use a clean medium round painting brush from my art supply box!) and lightly brush the ball with the olive oil. Done! Dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave it to rest for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size. I put mine in the oven with the oven light on, which helps the dough rise and keeps it out of the way while I prepare the other ingredients for the pizza.

After an hour or so, fetch your dough and dump it back on your floured surface, and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under  plastic wrap for 20-40 more minutes.

Sprinkle your pizza stone/ baking sheet/grill pan with flour or cornmeal(for a crunchier, grittier texture) and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza with a rolling pin, stretching the dough carefully to avoid breaking it and forming craters. I had misplaced my rolling pin when I made this, and stretched it by hand. If you're having issues with getting a uniform texture, spritz or brush with water very lightly to keep the dough pliable. If you do develop a hole, pinch a bit of dough off from one of the ends and patch it. 


Cut the eggplant in thin rounds(1/4 to a 1/2 an inch) and place them with a big sprinkle of salt and pepper on a plate for an hour. This will allow the bitter juices to form on the surface. Pat them with a paper towel before using to soak up the brown juices. Sautee the eggplant slices with the chopped garlic, onion and oil until slightly softened . . don't overcook!

Layer the eggplant, garlic, sliced and pitted olives, and onion with the provolone matchsticks on your pizza dough. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan and parsley and a dusting of cracked red  pepper. Slide your creation into the preheated oven (top temperature) and roast for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has blistered and the crust has browned. Enjoy with a velvety pinot noir.


Ikea : Back to the Present

Looking (again) at sideboards that double as media cabinets. What do we think of the Ikea TORSBY? I'd issued a moratorium on particleboard furnishings recently, but I'm thinking of violating the pledge for this little lovely. Does anyone have it and love it? Is it cheap-looking? It's looking very fresh to me. We have citron-lime colored walls in the living room where I'd use it so I fear going overboard on the groovy mod vibe.

Ikea circa 1965

I just peeked these fabulous scans of an Ikea catalog from 1965 . . . I wish Ikea would re-create some of these pieces for 2010, don't you?

I love love this egg-chair interpretation. Ikea, are you listening?

Is that ASTRO-TURF? It sure looks like it and it is CRAZY in a very, very good way with the white armoire and prints on the wall.
The use of orange and teal would normally be vomitous as a palette, but doesn't it just work here? It looks great with the amber wood pieces, and the touches of white in the lamp, curtains, and borders, along with the robin's egg-blue of the one accent wall, make it look so fresh.
Those couches: YES, YES Y'ALL. The pillows, not so much.

Thanks to ikke tikke theo for these.

Other's Homes and Gardens: Kim Ludy

At Home with Kim Ludy, of the charming Etsy shop ethanollie.

(via sfgirlbay.)

I love the light touch of this house, the bright dabs of color livening up the neutral color palette of the walls and fabrics, which balance the structured mid century furniture in turn.
The idea of using your home as an exhibition space for little treasures, personal art, and things you cherish is one I'm working with in my own home, changing the arrangement whenever I please and making room for new or re-discovered objects.


Salmon Panko Recipe

Who doesn't love salmon? Especially when it's sustainably harvested, healthy, and looks fancier than it by all means should?

This one is from (affiliate of ) Martha, Blueprint Mag (r.i.p sweet princess):
Herb Crusted Salmon with Roasted Lemons

Serves 4

1/4 cup panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp(or to taste) chopped, fresh dill
2 Tsbp chives
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 2 lb. salmon filet, or 4 pieces
1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and pepper
2 lemons, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 475. Toss panko with herbs and 1 Tbsp oil.
2. Place salmon (with skin down) on parchment paper(if you don't have this, grease your baking pan, or use newspaper) on a baking sheet. Spread evenly with mustard; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with panko/herbs mixture, patting down gently. Scatter quartered lemons around fish and drizzle with oil.
3. Roast salmon until it flakes evenly. I checked mine at the 15 min mark. It's very easy to over-cook fish, make sure to check with a fork at least once if you want your fish juicy. Cook 18 minutes.
4. Remove fish with a large spatula, so the skin is left behind on the pan. Transfer to serving platter/plates with roasted lemons.

I love this recipe because it is equally delicious, easy, and fancy-looking. I used Trader Joe's frozen Alaskan salmon filets, cut down already for convenience into 4 pieces. It was divine with a dry white wine, an herb salad,and an al fresco setting.


This Week in Food

. . . More like last week in food with the move.

The CSA yielded these beauties last week

* Swiss Chard
*Heirloom Cucumbers
*Zephyr Squashes
*Ground Cherries
*Heirloom Tomatoes
*Green Peppers
*Sweet Corn
*Russet Potatoes

For those unfamiliar with ground cherries, they are related to tomatillos, with a similar papery husk and a firm, sweet flesh; they taste, to me, reminiscent of melons and tangy/creamy, slightly like cheese. Absolutely unique and delicious.

Ground Cherry Salsa

1 Cup Ripe Ground Cherries, Halved
1/2 lb of ripe tomatoes, diced
1 large Jalapeno Chili, seeded, with the flesh finely minced
1/2 cup minced onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
2-6 tsp lime juice (1-2 limes)
Sugar to taste (up to 1tsp)

Place tomatoes in colander and let drain 30 minutes. As they drain, layer ground cherries, jalapeno, onion, garlic and cilantro on top. Shake colander to drain off excess juice. Discard. Transfer to large bowl and add salt, pepper and 2 tsp lime juice. Toss to combine. Taste and add minced jalapeno seeds, sugar and lime juice to taste. Enjoy with homemade tortilla chips, on migas, or on top of an omelet.

Ground cherries also make a wonderful compound butter; simply mash the cherries and roll in plastic wrap with softened butter and a pinch of salt. Tastes delicious with fish or slathered on rustic bread.

I've been relishing the last of the summer veggies and have found the thing I'm most wanting to eat recently are fresh cold summer salads; this salad is a twist on the classic french staple, the salade de carottes râpées, with the addition of earthy, sweet beets.

Grated Carrot and Beet Salad

1 pound carrots
1 pound uncooked beets
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 tablespoon walnut oil (or hazelnut, squash seed, or olive oil)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
1/2 cup diced flat leaf parsley
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of smoked salt or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim, peel, and grate the carrots and beets. The key is to grate the veggies very finely(c'est tres importante!). Place the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix roughly. Add the grated veggies and taste. Add more of what you think it needs, a hit of vinegar or salt or more mustard. Remember not to overdress the salad; you want a gleam on the beets and carrots, not a pool of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. For best results, let sit for 30 minutes or more, as the beet and carrot juices mix with the rest of the additions . . but if you're anything like me, your fork will be in it immediately!
This recipe is very simple and works lovely with any number of your imagination's tastes; throw in some cubed fresh feta, sprinkles of tabasco or red pepper flakes, and I think even tomato juice would taste great in this earthy mix.
(inspired by David Lebovitz's recipe here)

I'll be back tomorrow with more recipes from last week!


A Query

Hello, friends. You see? I'm back!

Now what I'm asking you to do is to take a gander at this photo below. See that gorgeous quasi Gothic Modern light fixture?

(via Domino, r.i.p.)

Please do try to ignore the offensive Lack shelves, as I'm trying to do. Now, where on earth can I find a fixture like this one?

Any leads would be much appreciated.


Excuse the radio silence . . .

We just moved to a new apartment, no internet for 2 days, and the camera cord is nestled somewhere in the 37 boxes stacked untidily throughout. Un-bait your breath. It cometh back soon, and with a flurry of before-and-afters and a blizzard after that of inspiration and home projects.

In the meanwhiles, I will leave you to appreciate this photograph of my boyfriend holding out a pattypan in a supplicating fashion.