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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winter Day

Compost Head

I'm feeling a bit dark today as I'm sure you can see. You must have a sense of humor for these. If you don't, forget it, don't watch them.

"Vincent!" Tim Burton's short film - 1982



"The Tale of How" by The Black Heart Gang. I chose this for it's Boschian qualities. It's also as though Gorey, Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman collided. Also, it's a visual feast. You must listen closely to really get it though. 

A good one By Edward Gorey - "The Beastly Baby!" (This baby is Stewie before there ever was a Stewie) Warning, quite irreverent. Any decent person shouldn't think this is funny, but I do!






Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Frabjous Finds - French Fashion

Let's face it, the French have always been enviable. In culture, in cuisine, in the arts and of course in fashion.

I found these dresses today while searching for something to wear with my pantalons. That's right I have real old fashioned knickers and they need a companion ensemble. I like to imagine I'll be working in the garden with these here frocks and my sun hat with sweet peas, poppies and peonies coming out my doodle!

On a serious note theses are so very romantic and I want each and every one! Let me know what you think.
With my bloomers!





So romantic
Another one for my knickers!
Luncheon al fresco perhaps?

Something to read a book in on the porch.




'It seems very pretty,' she said when she had finished it, 'but it's rather hard to understand!' 'Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don't exactly know what they are!" Alice in Wonderland 

Frabjous: Possibly a blend of fairfabulous, and joyous. Definition from Oxford English Dictionary, credited to Lewis Carroll.

Lemons - Winter Citrus, Summer Fun!

So I hate that I can not eat the lemons from our lemon tree. Technically I suppose we could and really, who needs enamel on ones teeth, however, we just can't get passed the very very sour taste of the lemon. So, reluctantly, I have relegated lemons to the "enhance" or "spice" or "flavorings" category rather than the food category.



Every winter, I wish I knew how to make more things with lemon. I have a great lemonade recipe. I use lemon juice in an awesome Turkish recipe called Sehriyeli Tavuk Corbasi (see below) and stuffed grape leaves (Dolma)  are nothing without lemon. My personal favorite recipe is lemon/mint chicken patties (also below) - so refreshing in the summer when eating al fresco. Again, however, lemons are a winter fruit.

I finally got smart. It was providence perhaps that I figured this out.

Not really. I think, maybe, someone told me - but I want to share anyhow. And to whomever told me this little trick, Thanks!

All you have to do is juice your lemons with an electric juicer and there you have it. Fill ice trays with the lemon juice and VOILA! Not only do you have lemon juice you can use whenever you want, you have perfectly measured out serving sizes as well.






The following is a recipe from my sister in law. She is a Turkish chef. When you eat something she's made it's like gold in your mouth. This soup is great for a cold winter's day like today!

Sehriyeli Tavuk Corbasi

Ingredients:

1/4 C short vermicelli noodles (you can break angel hair pasta if that's all you have)
2 C Chicken broth (canned or home crafted)
1/2 lemon juiced 
1 Egg Yolk

Directions:

Bring chicken broth to a boil.
Add pasta.
Mix lemon juice and egg yolk well.
Turn heat lower on broth and spoon a bit into your egg/lemon, whisk.
Spoon a bit more broth into egg/lemon, whisk.
Spoon a bit of egg/lemon into pan and so on until each one reaches a compatible temperature.
Pour egg/lemon into broth.
Whisk.

Serve:

With lemon wedge and dried parsely.



This final recipe for today is for the lemon mint chicken patties. These are so excellent in the summer time and while they seem very decadent, they are in fact figure friendly. My only regret is that I have no photo for you. Like I said it's more a summer treat. Try them, though. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Lemon Mint Chicken Sliders with Cumin Aioli

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken breast
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 Tbs dried mint leaves
1 large egg
1/4 regular bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Cup Panko bread crumbs
(Makes 8, 2 oz. patties)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients well except Panko bread crumbs
Use a heaping tablespoon of poultry mixture to measure (or use a food scale)
Form each tablespoon into a patty as you would a hamburger (moisten your hands so the mix won't stick to your palms)
Place each patty in Panko and turn to coat each side 
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes

Cumin Aioli

Ingredients:

3 Tbs light mayo
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Sumac (optional)
Salt to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together well
Chill while patties bake

These can be served alone as an appetizer. But I serve them with fresh pepper slices and cucumber slices as well. For a main course, and certainly for a heftier calorie count you can serve them on a brioche roll with a Shepherd's Salad*. Each patty is 155 calories with 1.5 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein. I have not accounted for the mayo or the other accoutrements. Enjoy!

*A few notes about this recipe: add chopped Kalamata olives for a more authentically Mediterranean flavor. And, chill for at least an hour before serving. Also, I searched and searched for a great recipe for the Shepherd's Salad which I make with excessive care and love. Alas, the one provided is the best, but if you like some variety here is another good one by a Moroccan lady - she uses Tahini (a sesame paste) which imparts a very interesting and rich flavor!









Friday, February 24, 2012

Great Reads and Reels

I know I've said this before, but when I become a real blogger I plan on having a page just for books and movies.

I know I'm a purist. A book? You may query...Yes! Those wee films between pages and pages that one holds in one's hands and is entertained by their own imagination...such developments! I know there are those of you who love your kindle or your nook and I, too am an advocate, but just as a supplemental not to erase or replace the written page.

As for "reels", there are movies, films and motion pictures. The category of movie would include titles such as "Elf," or "Party Girl." This is no hierarchy, I'll have you know. Just because "Sophie's Choice" is a  film does not inherently make it better than say "Avatar" or "Star Trek" or oh hail! "Star Wars: which are motion pictures. And let's not forget the cross overs.

There are some films which are also motion pictures, "The Matrix" (film 1 in the franchise - ONLY and emphatically).  And there are motion pictures which are movies, "Beowulf" for instance which is a cartoon, but a CGI cartoon based on an epic hero. Understand?

I get it. Not all of you will agree with me. But I must say now that even if you don't agree, it is still very likely that I am right. I have a guest blogger that will come on with some frequency to debate with me or against me, though we are usually in agreement...For instance, "Adventureland," what a waste of two hours! I want my money back. And "The Box," Really? Why are Hollywood execs allowed to so flagrantly produce a movie when they are so clearly on crack? Again I want my money back!! The guset blogger will be a colleague. His name, let's just keep it short, you can call him Mike! For film purposes and criticisms, You can call me Ike!

Today's post is about books turned films. And since I have seen the films yet, I have nothing to say about them. But The book beginning with the first is "The Hunger Games!"

It's the film poster...Read the book first!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pink Touches

This came from Fresh Home  but was first introduced to me by Sharona Design. It's a wonderful Pied De Terret near Barcelona. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

Fox and Fawn Bakehouse

Oh the Fox and Fawn!

I feel as though I can freely and without shame admit I am somewhat of a cupcake connoisseur. Yeah. Everyone says that and cupcakes certainly have gained there place in our society. But I am going to say that considering my extensive background in cooking and my sophisticated palette I really am a maven. If you know what bouillabaisse is, know the other name for coriander and can tell me a recipe for Panna Cotta then I suppose we can call you an expert also.

I recently went to an event where I discovered the Fox and Fawn. My Word! Melt in your mouth goodness. No frills, no inticing but less than awesome tasting colors and swirls. This is good old fashioned traditionalism...except for one thing...they're VEGAN! Shocking, I know.

I am a bona fide meat eater. I just am. I am all for sustainable farming and humane treatment of animals raised for human consumption so I always try to eat animal products that reflect my own ethics.  But, I am a meat eater and bob's your uncle! So the fact that these sweet treats were, again, vegan, blew my mind.

They are not just good "for being vegan." No! They are great, delightful, delicious, wee cakes of perfection full stop! They make vanilla bean and dark chocolate...and I love the simplicity! Go check them out! I swear by the hammer of Thor that you'll be shot to the stars on your first bite!







Saturday, February 18, 2012

Frabjous Finds


'It seems very pretty,' she said when she had finished it, 'but it's rather hard to understand!' 'Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don't exactly know what they are!" Alice in Wonderland 

Frabjous: Possibly a blend of fairfabulous, and joyous. Definition from Oxford English Dictionary, credited to Lewis Carroll.

Someday, when I'm a real blogger I will have an entire page dedicated to rad stuff I find or want or like. Here are some things that are so awesome, I want them for myself and the world too. 

As per usual for cool stuff, they were introduced to me by my sister. She is a real artist - not a poser like me, a real bona fide articulatedly awesome artistle creator. (I've decided: If Lewis Carroll can make up words then so the heck can I!) Because of those qualities in her she sees things with a discerning if not sometimes circumspect and superior eye.  

Check these out! They come to you from a Brit company (go figure!) called Mamelok Papercraft.




















Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Hope You Feel Beautiful Today

It's one of those days. You know the kind - the ones where all you want to do is stay in bed with a book and your kitty and some hot chocolate. Yup. That's me today.

I told my sister yesterday that I was tired of the cold weather and she responded saying, "But the cold weather has only just arrived." While I know she is right, I am ready for wee dresses and sun kissed tresses. I just don't feel AWESOME today. I have the blah's.

Let me leave you with some thoughts that might pick up your spirits if you do in fact feel less than beautiful. Because I assure you, you are beautiful and a warmer clime is just around the corner!
photo source





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Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Funny Valentine

Hi everyone! I don't have much to say today. Mostly because I'm knackered and have a big week ahead. I will reach out on Tuesday for sure to share a St. Valentine's Day post. Many sweet wishes to you until then.

XO Gwenny




Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heart - The Shape of Love

Some people do not like the shape of love. Why?

The shape is linearly pleasing and it's symbolism even more so. Especially when you consider there is only one more week until St. Valentines Day.

Look at these. Anything made from a fork has got to be cool, right?
And this. It's so wee and sweet!
And what's not to heart about this?
I want!

 3D!
Useful! And they rhyme. Bonus!

Looks good enough to eat!
Monday, February 6, 2012

Madonna at the Super Bowl

Pietro Perugino's Madonna (detail)
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There was some mass hating last night on my twitter feed about Madonna. But please let me remind all the naysayers of these tiny little points.

1. Without Madonna having paved the way there would be no such entity as Lady Gaga.
2. Without Madonna having paved the way Katy Perry would not have "Kissed a Girl."
3. Without Madonna having paved the way in Pop Music - especially for women, the industry would have been vastly different then it is today.
4. And, I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "Someone else wold have done it if she didn't." Yeah, well, she did. And she is the one and only Madonna Louise Ciccione.



I love Madge! Always have. I was in the 7th grade when I was introduced to "Borderline" by one of my bully classmates, who had done a skit to the song. The girl was terrible but the song was sensational and while it's not her best tune (as I hearken back - at least not to me), I was hooked.  It was early autumn of 1983 and "Madonna" had just come out. For my birthday in October my mother and father gifted me a Sony Walkman (the equivalent of the ipod touch at the time) and the ever enduring cassette to play on it, called "Madonna." And to this day, I will still rock a little Nona!

I love her. I love her for always pushing the envelope. I love her for her feminine whiles. I love her for her demanding high standards. I love her for her perseverance. I love her for her insecurities. By the way, if you're human, you're insecure at some point. Even if you are a super star.

I love her for enduring very visible dramas;  Sean Penn, Prince, her children and Guy Ritchie. And I love that she has dabbled in more than just dancing and singing. She has a true creative mind having written a children's book, been a Golden Globe winning actress, and now has directed a film about one of history's greatest love stories. She has more Renaissance than the great Leonardo Da Vinci and she's a woman!

I feel a kinship with her somehow. I realize that sounds silly but keep reading. I believe sometimes she feels lonely, sad, incomplete or usurped by others. I do too. I also believe that she is probably very grateful for her blessings. Me too, for mine.

She has been a blessing throughout my life; when I was bullied in junior high school, she sang "Holiday" to me. In early high school, "Where's the Party" became my theme song. In 1989, "Like a Prayer" was released and so was I - from high school. Once I reached university, deciding what to do with my life became a huge challenge so I learned the "Vogue" dance moves - it was a wonderful distraction - I never did decide "what I was going to be when I grew up."

Nearly ten years later, "Ray of Light" was a literal ray of light for me. I was floundering professionally and personally. And it was a huge motivator for me. A motivator to always seek hope. And seek hope I did - on a whole other continent. I came out the other side of that adventure a smarter, stronger, braver woman - "quicker than a ray of light" and I sought to write it all down.

Now here it is and I still love her. Last night as I watched her perform, I was astounded at how well she can still move her body and write a song. Lip sinc? Who cares? Of course there are snarkers out there who have to attend to the little bitch inside them like JP Starkey from the Dallas SB Nation. I think he was upset the Patriots lost - so he blamed Madonna - that my friends, is what we call "yellow journalism!" Poor widdew JP. His big fancy Tom Bwady wet him down...Wah wah. Anyway, Madonna is no Ashley Simpson. She is a proven artist with 30 years of experience who was on stage orchestrating a huge event for Americana's sake. Perhaps we can be gracious and give her some leeway, no? For a more accurate account of the entire performance at Super Bowl XLVI's half time, refer to Alex Fiore's, "Madonna Rocks Super Bowl 'Like A Virgin'," from the Northern Star and other positive reviews from very reputable sources like Billboard, The Boston Herald and Entertainment Weekly all posted on All About Madonna.

MDNA - such a clever title - will if nothing else entertain. And what is Madonna if not an entertainer? If you've never read a biography about her, you can learn more about her here. It's enlightening.

For all the Madonna nihilists and especially for the Madonna fans, I leave you with a mix of some of my favorites by this dynamic star. Viva Madonna.

Se mai avete ballato o non cantate ad una canzone del Madonna, suppongo che potreste essere negativi circa lei ma allora probabilmente non conoscete il suo lavoro. Se parlaste male delle sue prestazioni la notte scorsa ed avete ballato o cantate per livellare una delle sue canzoni, vergogna su voi… voi cazzo piccolo!

Album Art: Sandro Botticelli's Madonna


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Popovers - The American Answer to Yorkshire Pudding

Oh, how I love these special treats! Delish! And the only time I ever eat them is at The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus. Ok, more exactly, I have only eaten popovers the two times I've been to Neiman Marcus for lunch but I fell in love immediately!
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Ogden Nash  said it best:
Let's call Yorkshire Pudding
A fortunate blunder:
It's a sort of Popover
That turned and popped under.
The Basic Popover Recipe
Ingredients:
4 T butter, melted
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk (whole)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 t salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425F
Grease the custard cups, ramekins or popover pan with butter, well
Preheat custard cups, ramekins or popover pan for 2 minutes 
Spoon 1/2 t butter into 6 of the custard cups, ramekins or popover cups
Whisk together eggs and milk until frothy (see photo)
In a second bowl whisk together flour and salt, then add egg mixture
Mix batter very well until complete combined
Pour batter into cups, ramekins or popover cups until just about half full
Bake for EXACTLY 30 minutes and DO NOT PEEK!
Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes
Enjoy warm with Strawberry Butter



Chicago Metallic Popover Pan - You can also use a custard cup or ramekin




Strawberry Butter

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup butter at room temperature
1/4 Cup strawberry preserves

Directions:
Mix both ingredients together with a fork, well
Pour into silicon ice tray and chill 
serve with warm Popovers.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jan Masny - Photographer

Source




 These are amazing. Enjoy! So much movement. All photos by Jan Masny.