Monday, April 16, 2012

Work work work

 No estate sales for me this weekend thank you very much.

There's some serious work to do.

I spent just as much time straining black gesso as I did painting. Maybe I shouldn't let it sit for 4 years at a time, eh? But the painting is coming out well.

One lesson from UCI that really stuck: surface is SO IMPORTANT. At least 9 coats with sanding in between each pass.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blow Me.

I love love love Blowfish shoes. They're cute, inventive, super fashion forward and super duper affordable! AAANNND they have awesome online sales.

I even wore them to the wedding. But not before an at-home bleaching!

I checked out their new spring arrivals and am having a hard time deciding which I like best.

Is it you, Makary?

Or you, Naomi? You know I love me some almond toe.

Handstand be mine!

Horace is speaking to me to. . .

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Careless Cauliflower Au Gratin and Mexican Coke Glaze

So I had about an hour to crank out an Easter Brunch side dish. Mom had given me the run-down of who was bringing what and it became very apparent we were desperately cheese-less. This cannot stand. Dad wouldn't budge on having mashed potatoes (which are so un-springy it's not even funny. It's a passive aggressive reaction to summer coming I'm sure) so scalloped potatoes were off the menu. But really the vegetable in scalloped au gratin anything is just something for the cheese to cling to so instead I decided to make Cauliflower au gratin. So I went out and bought what I thought I needed: 2 cauliflower heads, a pound of butter, 2 pounds of cheese, a pint of half and half, garlic and shallots. Once I got it home I looked up a recipe. One of the first women I turn to when I need a standard recipe done right and (hopefully) simply and quickly is Ina Garten. Legend.

Started scanning the ingredient list looks good skip the nutmeg I'll add my unsecret weapon Tony Chachere's if anything goes awry WAIT A SECOND. PARBOIL?!

Don't think so.

Even if I had the time I wouldn't want to bother with parboiling and time's a wastin' so instead I started chopping with abandon, filled 2 glass pans and put them in the oven at 425.

I never even wait for the thing to preheat all the way because I never bake and that way the food warms up with the oven I don't know it makes total sense to me. While the cauliflower's going I sliced 3 shallots and 2 much garlic and added half of each to the roasting pans.

My kitchen is not smitten, but so far so good.

Here's where the heresy kicks in.

We've got no flour and hence no roux. Or nothing that most people would call roux. I've got the butter no problem there (and isn't the packaging cute!)

but what I DO have is a gang of almond meal. This totally shouldn't have worked.

But it totally did.

After the butter hit the pan I added the rest of the garlic and shallots and did a preliminary seasoning. In went some almond meal. I stirred. It thickened. It was awesome.

How 'bout some cheese? OK! I used a swiss gruyere blend, an aged Unexpected Cheddar (tastes a teensy bit like a fruity Parmesan) and a Cheddar Gruyere Hybrid. I added them to the roux with a little milk and got a little scared but stuff started melting and oozing but kept from breaking!

More stirring, more cheese and more milk and then the pan was full and ready for some baking action.

This is where I should have dumped the entire pan on the oven door or burned my hand beyond recognition but thankfull all was well and before I knew it everything was bubbling away!

 Let's take a peek!

I added some more almond meal to the leftover cheese and sprinkled deluged the cauliflower with it.

Once again we needed to hurry things along. The cheese was gurgling gangbusters in there but I needed a brown top stat.

Off went the oven, on goes the broiler and I was out the door 5 minutes later.

The perfect compliment to an amazing Mexican Coke and Cinnamon-Orange Flame-Glazed Ham.

O yes...the glaze.

So I get to my mom's house and the ham looks fine don't get me wrong but we could take it to spectacular in 15 minutes so why not?

I reduced a mexican coke, the juice and pulp of one orange, a dash of cinnamon, some garlic powder and some salt until it's the consistency of maple syrup. I spoon a third of  it onto the ham open side down and put it onto a preheated grill. This is important because I want the outside hot and the inside meat room temp so it doesn't get tough. After a few minutes I open the lid and give it a second coating fast. Lid down and up again 2 minutes later for a final coat. One last heat treatment and that baby was golden. Alas I forgot to get a picture of it when it was ready and remember when it was almost done, But this gives you a little idea.

New family tradition for sure.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Highland + Baldwin

This sale was nothing short of amazing.

I've been super off my game the past few weeks, getting there super late and all. I was AN HOUR late to this one and waited in the longest line at an Estate Sale ever to get in but good googly moogly it was like I was the first one in. This really nifty little 1920's house was packed to the gills with some seriously good stuff.

Books. Books books books. Huge shelves everywhere. There were even floating shelves around the door jambs with cutouts to accommodate the crown moulding.. I didn't buy a single one but it would have been fun to look HOWEVER it was a Cynthia sale and she's notoriously stingy on her book pricing and I didn't want the hassle. I like overwhelming the ladies with tons of little things that have no prices I usually get a better deal because they want me to get my tiny crap off their table.

And they had tiny crap, but it wasn't crap. Best pick? A hammered pewter bowl with two stag heads soldered to each side. Hunger Games Chic. I don't expect to be the owner for very long on that one.

The KITCHEN. There were enough bowls, plates, trays, tools, vases, and to fill 4 kitchens. I grabbed some odd looking whisks, a brass curry server from India, a hanging fork and spoon duo, some clay cookie decorators in a CUUUUTE vintage print drawstring bag

Can I just tell you about the furniture for a sec? The chairs, the drop leaf tables, the carved spindled side tables and some seriously amazing rugs and throw pillows (amazing fabric patterns). So. GORGEOUS. Tons of character. Great condition and boy did this couple have an eye.  But there was one piece in particular that was just outrageous. It was a dark finish craftsman style corner bench that was slightly austere and rigid but just practically perfect in every way. My heart dropped and sang at the same time as I saw a couple cart it out. It had the coolest bench cushion too a really stripey red one. I wish it well.

The lines were so elegant. The husband made lots of little shelves and cabinets and odd cubbies, even his own rolling music stand.

You won't even buhLIEVE the handmade earrings I picked up at this joint. That's it's own post.

Mom and I decided to hit it again before going to lunch at our favorite Thai place in Pasadena (Saladang Song! Green curry! GO!). My mom is an estate sale noob but she did great, especially since everything was half price by the time we got there.

She got a doubled lapis bead bracelet for $5 (yes you totally read that right) which is hilarious because that was exactly what she was looking for last time we went to rocks and Runes in Burbank and she was ready to drop 10 times more for the same thing. Not only that but she snagged some Oaxacan clay beaded necklaces, one of which had these gorgeous mother-of-pearl round beads (HUGE!) and a couple other neato doodads for beans.

You wanna know how crazy this sale was here's the picture of the line. At 3 PM. Unheard of.

Still reeling. . .