Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Night Fixins

Growing up in a large family, one thing was certain: Saturday night meant hot dogs and beans for dinner. Every Saturday night was my parents' date night, no questions asked. 
I have not carried on the hot dog and bean tradition, but here are a couple of recipes, Texas style, that are perfect for Saturday night.

Texas Style Beans

1 pound dry pinto beans
(I actually used what I had on hand- pink beans, habichuelas rosadas)
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped, no seeds
1 can beer
Salt and pepper to taste

Cover one pound beans with water and soak overnight.
Drain water, recover with water and cook slowly until done (1.5-2 hours), drain liquid.

Saute onion and garlic till melted and beginning to brown. Salt and pepper lightly. Add fresh tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. Once combined, add drained beans and beer. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Adapted from 

Fresh & Sweet Corn Bread

1 cup cornmeal                                          1 cup unbleached flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar                   1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda                          1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs, beaten                                             1 cup buttermilk
1 cup corn kernels                                                ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary  
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Butter and flour (or oil) a 9” square pan (I used my LeCreuset oblong dish)

Mix dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.

Mix wet ingredients: In another bowl, combine the eggs and buttermilk.

Prepare batter: Pour the liquid mixture into the center of the dry ingredients; beat together lightly. Fold in the corn, butter, rosemary and cheese.

Bake: Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
Serve warm.

**For added taste and heat, sprinkle ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper into the dry ingredients.

You'll probably not guess what we paired with the beans and corn bread. Fresh grilled tuna, very lightly seasoned with sesame oil and sesame seeds and only grilled to sear the outside. Unusual, yes, but delicious together!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Pretty In Pink

Presented to you by the unequaled Mother Nature: 
the Japanese weeping cherry tree. 
This is pink.

The weeping cherry tree, called a shidarezakura, has branches that resemble the willow tree with their drooping habit. While we don't have a large number à la Washington, D.C., they are still stunning.

Are your flowering trees still blooming? 
Up next for us are the dogwoods. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Palazzo Details

Lately it seems France has been on everyone's radar as far as chic-ness, cool places to visit and a generally interesting country. However, I am going to head south today and visit Palazzo Mergherita in Bernalda, Italy- to the country that holds my heart. Of course, these gorgeous rooms are in one of Francis Ford Coppola's luxury hotels, but a gal can dream, no?

Particular attention has been given to the ceilings throughout.

 Suite Four

Notice the plaid floor paired with the trellis...

A wow bath... with quite the ceiling.

  Suite Four Bath

If you want a natural feel, the stone walls are just as lovely as the painted walls in the other rooms.

Garden Suite One

Love the tiles  and an interesting color combination in this bath.

Garden Suite One Bath

Look up...

Suite Five

 Suite Six

 Suite Seven

With a killer Murano glass chandelier!

Suite Eight

And now, my favorite room:

Suite Nine

...the patterns, the floor, interesting colors...

 Even a complimentary headboard

Which is your favorite room?


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Year of Klimt

One hundred fifty years ago, Gustav Klimt was born in Vienna. The celebration has already begun! (His date of birth is not until July 14th.)

Farm Garden, 1905

Although growing up in a large, poor family, Gustav was sent to the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts), which essentially was a trade school back then. After graduation, he began work as a decorative muralist. It was not until after a decade of painting murals that he developed the style we instantly recognize today.  

Gustav Klimt

Klimt in his garden, a prime source of inspiration

Klimt's studio

Klimt is well known for sensuous paintings of women. However, he was also extremely fond of his garden and flowers. He painted many of his landscapes while on holiday and usually without preliminary studies. 

Forester's House, Weissenbach on Lake Attersee, 1912

For the Schloss Kammer painting below, he set up his easel on a row boat after rowing to the middle of the lake.

Schloss Kammer on the Attersee III, 1910

Although Klimt never married, he and Emilie Flöge, his sister-in-law, became a couple after his brother, Ernst's death. Emilie became his partner, muse, and companion until his death in 1918. She was his frequent model.

 Photo of Emilie Flöge in 1902

Portrait of Emilie Flöge, 1902

Klimt was also a master draftsman and produced brilliant line art studies for many of his paintings. Most of them were lost in a fire. I often prefer the studies and drawings of the artists- to me there is something mysterious and so hopeful about them.

Study for Portrait of Amalie Zuckerandl, 1917-18

Portrait of a Lady, en face, 1917-18


Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1912-13

 Study for Portrait of the Baroness Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt

Portrait of the Baroness Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt, 1914-16

The Sunflower, 1906-7

Reclining Girl and Two Studies of Hands (Study for "Shakespeare's Theater", Burgtheater, Vienna), 1886/87
Visit here and here for more information on the celebrations and exhibitions in Vienna.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Creamy White Gorgeousness in magnolia. I believe this is a Magnolia Soulangiana "Barrington Belle".

We were out the other day just as the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds and watched the blossoms open before our eyes. How did they know?

Aahhh...  spring!
Did your garden make it through the last few nights of frost?

Thank you, Cindy, at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Strasbourg Beauty

Such an inspiration- this beautiful building of L’École Supérieure Des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg, France. The building was opened in 1892, dedicated to the decorative arts. It is located in the heart of a former botanical garden.The ceramic tiles by Leon Elchinger that you see below represent the great allegorical figures of science, geometry, archeology, architecture, painting and sculpture, as well as plant motifs.

Strasbourg is in the Alsace region of northeast France, on the banks of the Rhine River, which is on the French border with Germany.

Over 450 students now study courses in Art, Communication or Design.

How could one not be motivated when walking past these painted tiles and into a school dedicated to creating!

It turns out that Strasbourg is only 31 miles from my father's hometown of Dambach, France.
Small world, eh?


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