Friday, October 29, 2010

Have a safe and happy Halloween

I'll be in New Jersey visiting family this weekend.  See you back here on Monday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jewelry For The Holidays

Triple Strand Pearl Bracelet
I'm franticly trying to make jewelry for the gallery shops where I sell my work.  I've got ornaments and holiday pins completed but still working on the jewelry.  This is a piece I just completed and will also be available in my Etsy shop.

Did you notice I changed the look of my blog page?  Time for a bit of a change.  The comment form will not require you to type in the letters corresponding to the squiggly letters in a box.  Much more simple.  So comment away!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flavor of the Week: Anchovies, Love Them or Leave Them?

People have a definite opinion about anchovies; 
they love them or hate them.  
These little saltwater fish are rich in Omega-3's, low in mercury, high in protein as well as vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.  They pack a flavorful punch and are an ingredient found abundantly in Mediterranean food.   Most commonly, anchovies are purchased either salt packed or oil packed and even more conveniently as a paste in a tube.  Of course anchovies are prepared and eaten fresh but for Flavor of the Week, I'm only looking at the preserved fish.
Bagna Cauda Sauce with grilled vegetables
Anchovies are used as a flavor ingredient in sauces and dressings.  They are usually mashed or cooked into a paste, not eaten as whole fillets.  If you aren't used to anchovies, start light and add more until the flavor is just right for you.  Anchovies will add a pungent, salty, sea flavor.  It is a good idea to rinse and pat dry the anchovies to reduce the salt and oil they were packed in.  When you need just a bit of anchovy flavor, use anchovy paste in a tube.  
Maitre d'Hotel Butter on steak
Anchovies are a key flavor in:

Radishes with anchovy butter  this recipe uses anchovy paste

Bagna Cauda Sauce       From The Union Square Cafe Cookbook
2 tablespoons minced shallots
16 anchovy fillets
1 13 teaspoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons Italian red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil.  Puree until the anchovies are completely smooth.  With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and mix until creamy.  If the sauce emulsifies to a mayonnaise consistency, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water so that it is pourable.
Serve at room temperature, drizzled over grilled or blanched vegetables, or as a dip for crudites.  Additionally, this makes a nice eggless version of Caesar dressing, and a tangy condiment for grilled fish or steak. 
serves 4-6 (I halved the recipe)

This Martha Stewart recipe would be a fine first try at using Anchovies.
Romaine Salad with Anchovy Dressing 

So do you love them?
 or will you leave them?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thinking Ahead to the Holidays: The LBD

I did some shopping over the weekend and noticed that most dresses are sleeveless.  Do you think this is because our First Lady "dares" to bare her arms?  Personally, I like sleeveless dresses.  I don't workout and lift weights for nothing.  Do you prefer sleeves?

Halogen Sheath Dress, $118
Tahari by Arthur S. Levine Crepe Sheath Dress, $98
Donna Ricco Seamed Stretch Twill Sheath Dress, $98
Toast Nailpolish, $14
Christian Louboutin Lady Bow, $735
Leisure Pump, $230
Pour La Victoire Irina, $222
Barneys New York Gold Bar Clutch, $795
Lace clutch bag, 90 GBP
Mini Sequin Clutch, $4.80
Antique Diamond Cluster Earrings Earrings Jewelry Antique Jewelry..., $10,000
Janis Savitt Snake chain and crystal necklace, 1,400 GBP
8 Row Freshwater Pearl Bracelet, $209
Janis by Janis Savitt Pear Crystal Earrings, $190
Small Gold Wavy Hoop Earring, $145
Kenneth Jay Lane 22-karat gold-plated cocktail ring, $95
Ariella Collection Stacking Rings (Set of 4), $88
Thomas Sabo Freshwater Pearl Earrings, 50 GBP
Snow White Freshwater Pearl Crystal Rings Flex Bracelet (9mm), 8.85 GBP
ASOS Twist Bow Waist Belt, $20
Chanel - Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour # 19 Gabrielle, $35
Dolce & Gabbana - The One Eau De Toilette Spray 30ml/1oz, $48
DKNYC Belted Ponte Knit Sheath Dress |, $129
Leopard Belt by Talbots |  8 Fabulous Fall Belts | Real Simple

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Hooks

I goofed and published Monday's post on Sunday so here are more ways to hang up your coats.
These hand hooks are another clever way to hang up your coat.  

Hope you had a good weekend.  We did.  We went to the Detroit Institute of Art Film Theatre and watched The Rules Of The Game, a French "comedy of manners", produced in 1939.  This film is thought to be one of the greatest films in the history of cinema, just behind Citizen Kane.  The story is a scathing look at corrupt French society on the brink of WWII. 

I also spent hours shopping for wool, camel color trousers.  Lots of khaki, lots of stretch pants but no classic wool pants.  I give up.  I bought some brown trousers and if I eventually find camel, I'll be ecstatic.  

Happy Monday

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hang Up Your Coat!

Time to start wearing coats and jackets again here in Michigan.  If your closets are jam- packed or you just want to hang something by the door to grab on the way out...take a look at these clever coat racks and hooks.
Ribbon coat rack available in 5 colors $130.
Great in entryway, bathroom, bedroom
Stuck on You wall hooks
Would be fun in a kitchen for apron or hand towels

Timber Hooks from Live Wire Farm
For a more rustic look

Arrow Hanger 5 colors $44 each
Sturdy and utilitarian 

Coat Tree Wall Sticker $127, you add the hooks
The look of a coat tree but saves space since it is a wall sticker
Catching the Wild Coat Stand inquire for price
Lasso up your rein in your coats and jackets

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flavor of the Week: Sriracha Chili Sauce

Sriracha Chili Sauce is quickly becoming an hugely popular condiment.  Sometimes known as "Thai Ketchup", it is found on the tables of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants.  This spicy-sweet sauce is made from red jalapeno peppers, sugar, garlic, vinegar, salt and xanthan gum (for thickening) and some preservatives.  The name comes from Sriracha Harbor, the largest private port on the eastern coast of Thailand, near Bangkok.

Think of Sriracha Chili Sauce as Tabasco with some sweetness and a bit more thick.  Now think of how you would use Tabasco and Voila, now you know what to do with Sriracha!  Start with just a bit of this spicy sauce, you can always add more to achieve your preferred heat level.  Adding a spicy/hot flavor is just a squeeze away with Sriracha Chili Sauce.
  • Mix some with ketchup for a spicy tang on a burger
  • Stir into mayonnaise and spread on a sandwich 
  • Add a little kick to deviled eggs 
  • Top fried or scrambled eggs with Sriracha
  • Use in Buffalo wing recipe instead of Tabasco
  • Add to marinades for grilling meat, chicken or fish
  • Try it in coleslaw
  • Kicks up a stirfry
  • Squeeze some into cocktail sauce...with calamari!
  • With glazed carrots?  Why not?
  • Add another dimension to your butternut squash soup
  • Spice up cocktail meatballs 
  • With honey for a sweet-spicy sauce
You get the would you use Sriracha?
Have a great weekend everyone

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ad on a Sidewalk

Interesting concept.  I just wonder what the value of the initial purchase needs to be?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Beautiful Day in Minneapolis

A view of downtown Minneapolis from Lake Calhoun.
A walking path along the Mississippi.
Sydney sitting between me and the bulkhead on the plane
Having Sydney, our Leader Dog puppy along for the trip means we need to take time to walk in a park to give her a chance to be a puppy.  Not a bad thing at all for us either!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Polishing Silver Jewelry Tutorial

As someone who works with silver to make jewelry, I am very aware of the jewelry people wear.  I am constantly amazed how tarnished and dull most of the silver is.  Here are a few tips to keeping your bijoux shiny and lustrous.

The most simple and safe way I know is to use Wright's silver cream.  

There is a sponge inside the container.  Dampen the sponge and apply some of the cream to the silver and rub off the "crud".  You'll see dark gray on the sponge from the tarnish.  Rinse the silver and dry with a towel or soft cloth.  Rinse the sponge and work on the next piece of silver.  

A dry method of cleaning silver is to use a chemically treated cloth to polish.  This is especially useful when cleaning a clasp on pearls since the silk that is used to knot the pearls should not get wet.  A polishing cloth can be purchased from most fine jewelry stores.

You can use toothpaste to clean your silver.  Baking soda is the active ingredient in most silver polishes so choose a toothpaste with baking soda.  Look for a paste not a gel.  Gel does not usually contain baking soda.  Avoid tartar control or those with whitening boosters.(good luck...they all seem to contain them these days).  For small pieces of jewelry such as rings and earrings, use a toothbrush to apply the toothpaste and to get into all the areas around prongs and posts or wires.  Rinse and dry.  For larger pieces of silver, wet the piece and apply a dab of paste with a soft cloth and rub.  Wash off the darkened paste and polish with more paste if necessary.  Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.  
Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to silver, rubbing to remove tarnish.  Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.  This is a great way to clean your silver flatware and serving ware.

Silver FAQS
  • Silver is soft and will scratch easily.  That said, regular use of silver will a a beautiful patina to the metal.
  • Silver oxidizes or tarnishes when exposed to air.  This is hastened by damp or foggy conditions.  Store silver in treated plastic or cloth when not using.  
  • Do not allow silver to come in contact with rubber.  It will corrode and etch silver. 
  • Salt, olive oil, eggs, salad dressing, vinegar and fruit juices will also harm silver.  Serve in glass or china rather than silver.
  • It is best to wash sterling or silver-plate flatware by hand rather than the dishwasher.  Click here to read about washing flatware in the dishwasher. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meritage: A Brasserie

Now that I have your attention, 
I have to tell you about a lovely brasserie in downtown St Paul, MN.  We had the pleasure of dining at Meritage for brunch on Sunday.  Starting with beignets that were as light as clouds I moved on to an omelet filled with tender, sweet lobster.  How decadent is that?  And yes, those "frites" were as crispy and delicious as they look in the photo.  Dinner items include traditional brasserie fare such as steak tartare, moules frites and cassoulet along with seasonal American food prepared with a pinch and a dash of the chef's personality.
Chef Russell Klein
Meritage will be enlarging to include an Oyster Bar and additional seating for 40.  I love the authentic Parisian ambiance in an historic building in downtown St. Paul.  
If you live in the Twin Cities area or will be visiting, please make reservations for a memorable meal at Meritage.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Flavor of the Week: Capers

Capers are a pantry item that pack a powerful, pungent, punch to otherwise bland food.  They are the immature buds of a bush native to the Mediterranean.  Harvested by hand, they are sun dried and then packed in a brine or coarse salt.  Size ranges from the small, nonpareil size to the larger, tip-of-your-finger size.  Recipes usually call for capers to be rinsed before using to remove excess salt.  These little buds add a sour, piquant flavor to salads, dressings, fish and chicken or other main dishes.  Capers are the key ingredient in a good tartar saucelemon, caper, butter sauce for fish or chicken...
...chicken piccata.
recipe here
I just made this Roasted Cauliflower with Olive Oil and Capers and it was fantastic.  It would make and excellent side dish for Thanksgiving.  Capers were a delicious counterbalance to the earthy cauliflower.  
Capers are a usual accompaniment with bagels and lox.
View a past Spiral Style post with a recipe for pasta with tuna including capers here. 

Reach for a jar of capers to add flavor to otherwise ho-hum ingredients. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Latest Book Club Selection: To Kill a Mockingbird

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the publishing of To Kill a Mockingbird inspired our couples book club to read/re-read this 1961 Pulitzer Prize winner.  This American classic is simultaneously on the list of top Banned and Challenged Books and Worlds Best Selling Fiction.  

The only book written by author Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird originates from an event that occurred when she was a child in her hometown in Alabama.  It is a book about justice, racial inequalities, class distinctions and growing up in the south.  Atticus Finch is the 

The author tells her story through narrator, Jean Louise Finch, or Scout, as she is known.  Her story telling style is simple and just that, telling a story.  The story is told with warmth, humor and directness.  

  • If you have never read the book, please do so.  If you have, read it again.  
  • Listen to the audiobook  read by Sissy Spacek.  She does a fabulous reading.
  • Watch the 1962 movie by the same name.  Gregory Peck is Atticus Finch and Robert Duval debuts in the movie as Boo Radley. It also ranks twenty-fifth on the American Film Institute's 10th anniversary list of the greatest American movies of all time, and #1 on AFI's list of best courtroom films  

Monday, October 11, 2010

Harvest Reflections

Today was my last last visit of the year to our local Farmers Market.  I was able to gather a few final, fresh summer tastes of corn, zucchini, tomatoes and some fall flavors of brussels sprouts and butternut squash.  We also cleared the garden and disposed of the faded plants on the deck.  It didn't feel quite right as the temperatures were in the high 70's this weekend.  That will change later this week and seasonal weather will return.
I like to keep the produce I don't refrigerate on this tiered stand in the kitchen.  A big drawback this time of year is the fruit flies it attracts.  I woke up yesterday to a swarm and freaked out!  My daughter told me she heard that putting a bowl of cider vinegar combined with dishwashing liquid would attract and kill the flies.
As you can works!  Yuck!

I couldn't leave you on a Monday with a bowl of dead flies,
 so here is recipe for Harvest Muffins
(see all the variations at the end of the post)
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrots
1 Golden Delicious apple (or baking apple) peeled, cored, finely chopped)
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (or pecans or walnuts)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 + 2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until blended.  
Will make 24 muffins.  Grease 1/2 cup muffin cup pan.   Bake 375 degrees about 15 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
OR  Bake as a loaf in a prepared pan at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes for a 6 inch loaf pan or 45-50 minutes for a 9 inch loaf pan.
Use 2 cups shredded carrots and 1 cup shredded zucchini
Eliminate nuts if you are allergic or just don't want them and increase raisins or coconut
Try dried cranberries or another fruit instead of raisins
Add 2-4 tablespoons wheat germ and or ground flax seeds
Use 1 cup oil instead of combination oil and yogurt
Add 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
Use only all-purpose flour instead of using part whole wheat flour
One batch makes all of this.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Color Palette

We are experiencing a bit of Indian Summer  here in Michigan with warm temps and beautiful blue sky.  I just had to gather some beauty and take it home to photograph.
Just love the architecture of these dried plants.
Have a wonderful weekend.  Hope you have some fun things planned.
See you on Monday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Orange Obsession

As you have probably gathered by reading Spiral Style that I love the color blue.  That said, first runner up is the compliment of blue which is orange.  Obviously this is the season for orange with pumpkins everywhere.  
Some favorite orange items including our new orange toaster!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Elle Decor Collection Now at Kohl's

Introducing Elle DECOR Collection at Kohl's
I have not ventured into my local Kohl's to see the collection in person.  I'm a Target shopper rather than Kohl's.  Personally, the collection is not compatible with my decor aesthetic.  Here are a few of the items from the collection of mostly candles, frames and a few decorative items.  Does anything here tempt you?
ELLE DECOR Owl Decor, $17.49
ELLE DECOR Horse Decor, $60
3 ELLE DECOR Metal Accent Table $104.99
ELLE DECOR Jeweled Jar Candle, $20

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Flavor of the Week: Sun Dried Tomatoes

I'm starting a new feature on Spiral Style called Flavor of the Week.  I will be reviewing pantry items that can add flavor and interest to your food and include a list of simple ways to incorporate this flavor.  Hopefully, you'll be inspired to try an idea or two.  Of course I'd love to hear how you use these flavors so leave a comment for all of us to view.   
I've found myself using a lot of sun dried tomatoes lately.  Sun drying intensifies tomato flavor and lends an earthy sort of essence.  The Trader Joe brand is my current favorite.  The julienned slices are packed in oil and ready for use.  
 Top a baked potato

Add with fresh basil to sauteed corn.
  • Add to tuna salad
  • Cornbread muffins with cheddar and sun dried tomatoes
  • Scramble with eggs or in an omelette
  • Include in meatloaf
  • As a pizza topping
  • A topping for bruschetta with some melted cheese
  • Polenta with sun dried tomatoes and mascarpone cheese
  • Garnish for appetizers
  • Use to marinate bite-sized mozzarella balls or goat cheese
  • Pairs well with many cheeses
  • Pasta - your imagination is the only limiting factor
             Baked Penne with sun dried tomatoes and spinach from Real Simple
                 Linguine with Chicken and sun dried tomatoes  from Epicurious
                 Pasta with spicy shrimp and sun dried tomatoes from Epicurious 
How do you use sun dried tomaotes?


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