Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's the Fig's Fault

It all started with a fig. And a recipe I saw on design*sponge. It sounded so yummy, and cozy and it's Indian Summer and it's going to be cold soon.

Anyone that really knows me can testify to the fact that I can not for the life of me follow a recipe. Maybe it's the early influence of chef Andy Schloss, who took me under his wing in the kitchen at Philadelphia's renaissance restaurant In Season and taught my naive recently-graduated-from-Miss-Porter's-School-lily-white-ass a few things about life and how to get my hands dirty. Lessons having nothing to do with following a recipe. Maybe I am a rebel that does not like to comply with anything.

Plus, I am getting really sick of seeing everything so perfectly styled and unreal. I mean when I cook I make a mess and it involves dishes and the licking of spoons and drips on the silk dress I should've taken off. I mean, cooking is messy, like life is messy. Houses get messy too and I am sick of seeing perfectly styled houses too, and then the ones that are supposed to be imperfectly messy, but are over- styled as well. It's all too Perfect Home Perfect Life for me.

I am the figs and design*sponge and my quest to follow a recipe all coalesced in my tiny little very messy kitchen and then Hallie got home, tired and ravenously hungry, so I thought, hmm, steak would be good. At the end of the day here is what I served for dinner. It didn't look chic after I cooked it, but it sure tasted good. And best of all, I got props from my peeps!

courge soup with shallots and creme fraîche

figs roasted with rosemary in honey and maple syrup


Nairns mini oatcakes

steak, medium rare with salt and pepper

Rhone tap water

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Usual Haul

No seriously, this is just the usual haul from our favorite country grocery store.

flax bread
duck paté
pork and herb sausage
mini vache aperitif cheeses
yogurt drinks
local rosé
hand pressed juice
honey yogurt
plain yogurt
sheep's yogurt
homemade raspberry preserve

I realize that we eat very simple clean food, and I am now so used to it, I practically have a heart attack when I go into an American grocery store. So many options, so little un-packaged truly fresh food. It doesn't make sense. In France, even those of modest means can eat well (if they choose to) as there is a market in almost every village or city. I love the states, but I sure would be happier there if I could easily and affordably continue to eat like this. I know you can eat well in New York, but easily and affordably? I am not sure.

Support your local farmer today!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sirop du Liege

The most delicious fruit spread to put on your tartines!

I am so tempted to start Basic Belgium because I have fallen madly in love with this very basic product that is like a jam or rather a delicious fruit paste. Oh my god, it is amazing. A combination of pears, apples and dates, it is absolutely awe-inspiring on fresh flax (lin) bread from our local boulangerie with chèvre of any kind. Not a jam, not a jelly, but rather a hearty, not-too-sweet fruit spread. Very Basic Belgium. Sirop du liege + hearty bread + chevre = absolute heaven

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thanks Joann!

I knew this would come in handy some day. I have carried this yardage chart from Joann Fabrics in Kingston, NY to Red Hook where it sat on my desk for 15 years, overseas to Balmont where it aged like a fine wine in a folder to Lyon where it almost got tossed out like an old t-shirt. Now, since I have decided to become Madamoiselle Expert Upholsterer in my mature years, it has a prominent place in my...shoot it's on my desk again.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bakker made with love

The first time I saw one of these "cartable" an updated French book bag by Bakker made with love, a St. Etienne-based design duo who are smitten with Bali, I almost flipped. I was so happy to discover them at Maison et Objets shortly thereafter and immediately placed an order. That was last year sometime. Well, I never heard from them for months, and then more months, and most recently they contacted me that our shipment was ready to deliver. It was so naively charming when they informed me that my shipment would be arriving in Detroit and that I was welcome to stop by and pick it up at any time.  I guess they imagined me swinging by from New York on my lunch break. Anyhow, when I opened the package that finally cleared customs, I knew they were a vendor worth my patience. Great quality, amazing workmanship and just the funnest, happiest products.

Courtesy of Bakker made with love
And I think their name is funny. It is true, I believe, the products are seemingly made with love, but what's funny is that they have almost gone out of their way to not appear French, to anglicize themselves. What they don't know is that, Americans at least, love French products (usually.) Anyway, all this to say, yay for France and yay for new products made with love in Bali by cute French designers from the capital of passementerie.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Stuff to Remember

Assemblage, Norman Hasselriis' gallery, by Dana Gallagher

I just stumbled upon the work of New York photographer, Dana Gallagher, and I love it. Also her blog is amazing and short and sweet. I was really captivated by the post about Assemblage the Catskill's gallery and legacy of artist, Norman Hasselriis. Inspiring.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Les Puces du Canal

Going to the marché aux puces is probably my favorite thing in the world to do. Sometimes, I wonder how I got into importing new products (though I love that too!) I like to find the diamond in the rough. I love to buy along a particular theme which manifests itself at the end of the day. It's as if I have little imagistic scenarios dancing in my head and like during a good therapy session, you exorcise them and you move on (or not.) I am always working on an aesthetic theme, passing from one forming visual collage to another.

These days, I am really into upholstered furniture and fabric and I will tell you why. I am taking upholstery class (my fantasy depuis très longtemps,) and I am going to become a master upholsterer (un maître tapissier)...haha, that is before I leave this planet!

Tapissier par Teleformation-Savoirs