October 30, 2011

weathering the weather

With record-breaking early snows last night (15"/38cm!), following record-breaking floods this past summer, we could use a break. It certainly is beautiful to look at, though.

October 28, 2011

happy weekend

We woke up to a couple of inches of snow this morning, which has already nearly melted in the bright sunlight, & are expecting more to fall tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we go to the last farmer's market of the season for our traditional aloo gobi & palak paneer breakfast, & to bring home some late-harvest vegetables; in the evening we brave the storm to visit some friends up north whom we haven't seen in a long time  (upwards of 12 inches/30cm of snow is forecast, so alas, travels will have to wait), & otherwise look forward to hunkering down to get some home projects & winterizing done. Hello winter, goodbye autumn - you didn't tarry!

rough linens, sweet dreams

I love the look & feel of rough linen, & Tricia Rose's shop by the same name is heavenly. Inspired by a remarkably intact pillow slip made by her Scottish great-grandmother in 1840 & subsequently used by three generations, Tricia makes handsome duvet covers & bed linens out of the same type of hand-loomed stuff. I love her pairing of raw linen with the more refined white - brilliant. 
our linen-clad bed

A few years ago, before discovering her wares, I made a duvet cover out of unrefined linen with mother-of-pearl button enclosures for our bedroom, to match our Italian linen shams. When tumbled dry it is soft & has a pleasing heft, & has proven sturdy enough to take the claws of a couple of affectionate, kneading cats without showing a sign of wear. Our bedroom yearns for a crisp white rough linen sheet...

sticks & stones

from here

from here
Natural forms as canvas.

October 22, 2011

happy weekend

Fall is always the time of year when I recollect & reconsider direction, what I would like to put my energies into, which path to start down or continue on. Chalk it up to new-school-year mentality, or the leaves falling & creatures getting ready to hunker down after the crazy growth & activity of summertime, but September always feels like my new year & a time to reflect & recoup. Anyone planning to make any changes, or start a project they've had on a back burner?

October 20, 2011

virtual wardrobe

Doing a little window, er, monitor shopping for my fall everyday wardrobe while sipping tea & listening to the wind outside.

I love the stone gray & pink hues mixed with creams & caramel from dace
The tassel belt is lovely!

& the rich camel, reds & oranges mixed with slate grey & loden from steven alan
Such great pairings of prints & textures!

October 18, 2011

sound + image

The Brick + Mortar International Video Art Festival takes place in various historic buildings scattered throughout a small Massachusetts town in the Pioneer Valley. This year's exhibitions, curated by Hampshire College Philosophy Professor & sound art critic/historian Christoph Cox, explored relationships between sound, music & image. Spending the day exploring the city's eclectic architecture while discovering thought-provoking art installations - brilliant.

October 16, 2011

takes the cake

Every year when autumn rolls around in Vermont & it's apple harvest time, I mean to ask my mother if she has my grandmother's recipe for apple cake, & every year I don't get around to it for one reason or another. Today we play our final round of croquet with friends, a festive time when the year's champion gets awarded with a traditional champagne-cork trophy, & we share food & spirits in the dazzlingly brisk & colorful autumn air. With loads of apples from our CSA in cold storage, I got a hankering to make apple cake to share with friends & savor the flavor of the season.

While I don't have her exact recipe, I do have a cookbook from my grandmother's collection which my mother gave to me, a delightfully dated ring-bound folio with a portrait of the author, a proud woman sporting elaborately coiffed hair & fantastic eyeglasses. Poring through the pages, & with a quick look online where I found a delicious-sounding, traditional recipe, I found the inspiration I needed to omit & add some ingredients to create a version of apple cake perfect for a festive Vermont day.

autumn apple cake
adapted from smitten kitchen & inspired by polish grandmothers

6 apples  I used honey crisp & sansa
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
5 Tbsp turbinado sugar
2 3/4 cups pastry flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup  I used dark
1/4 cup spiced or dark rum, or a combination thereof
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Butter a tube pan

prepare the filling
Peel, core & chop the apples into chunks. Toss with the the cinnamon, ginger & sugar & set aside.

prepare the cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder & salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, rum, sugar, maple syrup & vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add the eggs, one at a time, until all ingredients are well incorporated.

assemble the cake
Pour half of the batter into the buttered pan. Spread half of the apples over it; pour the remaining batter over the apples & arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

make the topping
Whip the heavy cream, sour cream & maple syrup together until soft peaks form. Serve on top of a still-warm piece of cake.


October 14, 2011

happy weekend

Á vos souhaits - essayer avec courage!

October 4, 2011

this is beautiful

Photographer Binh Danh creates haunting images that are literally alive. Using a chlorophyll printing process that he pioneered, Danh delves into his Vietnamese heritage & explores, according to his artist's statement, "mortality, memory, history, landscape, justice, evidence, and spirituality" using photographs from wartime Vietnam & Cambodia.

Cast in resin like scientific artifacts, people peer out from the membrane of the leaves & make eye contact; I find their gaze even more visceral when recorded on a recognizably living medium, the process of composition & decomposition, & the cycles of birth, life & death even more exemplified.

from here via jhs