Warm Rosemary Olives from Real Simple

An Especially Warm Welcome from one of my favorite magazines.

Melanie Acevedo via www.RealSimple.com

Melanie Acevedo via RealSimple.com

The warmest of welcomes comes straight from the heart, and hot from the oven. This fantastic, colorful and fragrant opener makes an appearance at all of my holiday gatherings. In Cozy Nook, the Lenox house, I’d fill an entire jelly roll pan with these little bursts of salt and herb. When warmed, the fresh rosemary fills the kitchen with the scents reminiscent of Christmas parties past, laughter, homestead, hearth and good cheer.

Click here for the Recipe for Warm Rosemary Olives, via www.RealSimple.com. To follow Real Simple on Facebook, click here.

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Lunch and Shopping in Downtown Sarasota: Posh on Palm

Restaurant on Palm

Posh on Palm is now open for eats! Owners Mark and Susie Holt have reorganized the inside of the chic boutique to now boast a kitchen, coffee/dessert bar and vintage inspired seating area where you can lunch-eon. I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow blogger there and needless to say, the vegetable quiche and the company were divine.

Lunch Counter

Meet Mark, who was merrily taking orders at the counter.

We arrived just in time for fresh home-brewed, bottomless iced tea with our lunch. (And a larger than life portion of moist and spicy, nutless carrot cake for after. If it makes it that long. Wink.)

Lunch-eon area

Post-lunch, we continued to indulge – only this time on the antiqued, whimsical boutique offerings. Posh has a variety of interesting, pretty conversation pieces you can pick up and touch, smell and enjoy. It’s an experience…

Couch of White

Wall Hangings

These sparkling, shimmering letters would make a great decoration in a little girl’s bedroom or on a living room bookshelf. Much to our dismay, they were all out of “M’s.”

Display

Pretty Things

Dresser Knobs

My eyes are on these glass knobs for a dresser I’m re-painting (more on that later.) For now, if you are in downtown Sarasota, Florida and looking for a sweet spot, Posh on Palm takes the cake. Who doesn’t adore eating and shopping?!

Posh is located in a Grand Hotel one block off the Bayfront at 33 South Palm Avenue.

Failure Happens in the Kitchen

Great ideas can stem from small packages, especially when they come from the local kitchen store.

I picked up this adorable cookie shape along with a biscuit cutter to remove the center cookie dough.

Cookie Cutters

These fancy-dancy edible shimmer dusts…

Gold and Silver Dust

And I was a little overly excited (which is not unheard of) to use my handy new piping bag and tips.

Bag

Tips

I was going to make engagement ring cookies and send them to my favorite jeweler as a thank you. You see, they made some repairs to my bauble and I wanted to do something to express my gratitude. These cookies were just the ticket. (Or so I imagined.)

The breton biscuit dough baked up buttery and slightly browned on the edges. Boy, did I think I was onto something good.

Diamond Ring Cookies

Then I started to decorate. (Not my brightest idea.) I wanted to make them look just like my ring so I carefully piped the edges with white royal icing and filled in the lines. The plan was to brush some with silver and some with gold dust, but it didn’t end up appearing as dark as I had imagined. A second coat didn’t really change that. Oops!

Icing the Cookies

Then I thought, I am going to tint the icing yellow for the diamond. The first batch of frosting turned out egg-yolk-yellow, which wasn’t pretty at all. The second batch was more of a pastel-ly yellow, so I filled in the gem areas on each cookie. The icing was too watery and started to run, so I cleaned them up as best as I could and let them dry. They looked so non-realistic I could have cried. Double oops!

Looks like my engagement cookie idea was a real recipe for disaster. But there are positives in everything – sometimes they are just hard to see at first.

On the sunny side, I got to experiment with tools and ingredients in the kitchen, which is one of the most heartwarming things to do. Kevin and I laughed and got a bit sentimental as we reminisced about our engagement and our friends at McTeigue and McClelland. And although those rings looked, truthfully, completely sad, they tasted kind of sugary and good. *Blush* (What? Did you think I threw them away?!)

Not only that, but I had the perfect excuse to bake more! Fudgy chocolate brownies from scratch with Ghirardelli cacao to the rescue. Thanks for a reason to bake twice and to experiment with royal icing and edible metallic dust, MC2…

Brownies

Have you had success with royal icing? Please share your tips!

Recipe: Shrimp Madras and a Chiffonade

A dear friend of Kev and I, Barbara, also shares a certain – what do you call it – “foodie-love” with us. It is evening in our tiny, romantically-lit, 1970’s inspired kitchen in the Berkshires, and Kevin hands me a recipe. (By romantically-lit, we’re talking one little baby lamp on the counter top and a floor-to-ceiling thing we picked up at Wally World; and by 1970’s inspired, I mean pieced together actually in 1970…)

Along with the recipe from Barbara is a bag full of exotic and fragrant, dark green Kari leaves. Just looking at them and taking in the aroma makes me wonder what traveling to India would actually be like. They appear strong and glossy and feel silky under my hands.

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Earlier, I put good use to the grocery list from Kevin, happily searching for ingredients for the dinner (what is Garam Masala?) gliding up and down the aisles of Guidos. Plus, I was eagerly anticipating the taste of the homemade curry powder my very talented chef cousin, Gregg, gifted me with on Christmas. (All about him on another day, I promise.)

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Here are the ingredients.

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Isn’t this watercress outrageous?

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I chiffonade the Kari leaves by layering them all into a stack…

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Rolling them tightly…

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And slicing thinly on a slant. For such little strips they are abundant with robust fragrance.

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I use chicken instead of shrimp in these photos (taken at a later date in a different kitchen) to add my own variation to the recipe.

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Pressto. As the meal comes together and the whole apartment fills up with intense and deep, complex aroma, I feel India in my heart and decide that one day I will travel there.

For the recipe, click here. Thanks Barbara 😉

Have you been to India? What recipes in your file inspire you to travel?