Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy BIrthday Andrew!

Happy Birthday Andrew!!  Wishing you a wonderful day and lots and lots of presents!!!  

XXOO, Bro and Sis

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving (a few days late)

Things were a cookin' for Thanksgiving at my house on Thursday!  Pretty much every pot was used at least once in the making of the Thanksgiving meal.  We had: turkey (in the oven in the photo above); mashed potatoes; mushrooms with chestnuts and pearl onions; corn bread stuffing (both in and out of the turkey); homemade bread; braised brussel sprouts; pretzel jello; tangerine-cranberry compote; and butternut squash & pear soup and FLUFFY SALAD (brought by Melissa!!).  Dessert was a tangerine custard tart. 

Our table was set with our wedding china and silverware-- and each guest had a chocolate turkey waiting for them.

 I had made a double loaf of homemade bread-- perfect looking.  It needed a bit more baking in the middle, but the crusts were delicious.

My tangerine custard tart sprinkled with some zest and powder sugar was marvelous.  What, you say, no pumpkin pie?  Yes, that's right-- NO PUMPKIN PIE.  Blech.  

Aunt Fran and Uncle Morrison in Louisville

Just before our guests arrived, I was sent a "Happy Turkey" text from Louisville, wishing us here in DC a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Celebrating with us this year were a French couple, newly moved to DC from Paris, France.  They were thrilled to be apart of this American holiday, bringing some delicious cheeses and crackers (and wine!) to share.  

All and all, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday: the food was delicious; the company lively and fun; and the sentiments of being grateful for another great year abounding.  


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Belgian Chocolates

When I was in Belgium, I of course wandered in and out of several chocolate shops.  The displays, the sites, the smells: all were amazing. I bought from Pierre Marcolini-- on the Petite Grand Salon square.  Not really knowing what I was picking, and not really caring because it would all be awesome chocolate, I ended up with Savour du Monde, "flavors of the world."

These are thin wafers with the origin of the chocolate imprinted on each piece. Java, Ghana, Madagascar, Brazil, Trinidad, and Venezuela.   Some were darker than others; some with more butter fat.  But all have been so far (I am not that big of a piglet!) melt in your mouth outrageously delicious chocolate.  It is unfortunate that there are only 16 pieces... or maybe fortunate, as I will just have to go back to Brussels and purchase more....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Snuggly Puppy

Life can be so unfair.  I had to go to work on Monday, and this is what I had leave:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Parental Summit

Mom and Dad came for the weekend so they could see Edward and Sylvia, the kitchen, and us-- the importance of the visiting in that order.   It was a gorgeous weekend and when we weren't visiting, shopping, sightseeing, or sleeping, we were eating. Or getting ready to eat.

Saturday was the big day: roasted leg of lamb for ten.  Cousins Jamie and Melissa came, as well as Joan (Biscuit's mom), and Patty (Edward and Sylvia' s--and now our's--dear dear family friend).

Table set with our new dishes. The leg of lamb on the rack (having been marinated overnight with garlic, fresh rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper) was ready to go into the oven.  Brussel spouts ready to be tossed with maple sryup  and baked.

Well we wait for the guests and the food, Mom and Dad take advantage of the nibbles on the kitchen table.  I had gotten some "My Old Kentucky Tome" from Capriole Farmstead in Indiana.  It is an amazing goat cheese-- one of my favorite, and thank goodness Whole Foods down the road sells it!  

Alas, no photos of the meal itself-- we were too busy eating.  But I think you can see the satisfaction of full bellies on the faces of everyone has they have some tea or coffee before heading home.  A delicious meal for sure.

It was truly fantastic to have both sets of parents here and not having any other reason but to see each other.  No holiday to celebrate or wedding to attend; just stories and talking while eating some awesome roast leg of lamb (yes, I am the chef, but I can still compliment the food).  Will and I are quite lucky to have such great families.  It was a lovely way and feeling to have going into Thanksgiving Week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Artist and the Placed Window

We have officially placed the stained glass window!  Will created a pocket for it to slide into.  We can remove the stained glass and we could still open the regular window.  Edward seemed quote pleased that we were able to get it set so quickly-- he got a chance to admire his handiwork back in its place of origin.  The window really does look perfect and Will's pocket just looks like part of the woodwork.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stained Glass Returns to DC

 Edward and Sylvia are over for a two-week visit from Scotland.  As part of their arrival, though not part of their hand luggage, they sent a stained glass window to us.  It was a window that Edward made years ago when they lived in the house.  He used the mountains in the Shenandoah Valley as inspiration.  Originally he designed two windows, one in autumnal colors and one in spring colors.  Before he was transferred to Scotland, he only completed one.  It was moved to Edinburgh 35 years ago and into their garage, forgotten about and rediscovered about 10 years ago.

Since then, there has been talk about sending the window back to DC.  Finally, they decided that sending it via UPS was the safest and quickest way of getting here.  It arrived only a few hours before they did at DCA.  Will, Edward, and Sylvia all had a go at undoing the wrapping, which consisted of brown wrapping paper, miles of industrial bubble wrap, two hard boards, a million bolts, and three rolls of masking tape to ensure that the window didn't break, crack, shift, or in way move during its return State-side.  

The pair of windows were to go in the back, in Will's office.  But since then, we have replaced the windows and the opening isn't the same size.  Besides, the window is simply too gorgeous to be in the back side of the house. We thought it best to be front and center. So, into the front sitting room window it goes. 

Currently it is taped up with lots and lots of packing tape until we can come up with a design to hold in place.  It is stunning.  With the curtains and the northern light streaming in the afternoons, the window is breathtaking.  And yes, I have already put my order in for two more windows: spring on the left and summer on the right.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Garden Production Continue

Though it is the start of November, and most years the vegetables are way past done, this year seems to be different.  We are still picking ripened tomatoes off the vine and our peppers are finally producing.  We didn't get much from them over the summer, but they are making up for it now.  We have several more on the plants in the upper garden.  Since they (and the tomatoes) survived Hurricane Sandy, maybe they can hang on a bit longer and ripen too!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


As part of Downton Sundays, the British food creations continue.  The other day, we decided that we had had enough of scones and double cream; something new was needed.  We settled on crumpets.  Not having any crumpet molds, I used large cookie cutters to control the size and shape of these delicious treats.  I attempted to use a cuter with sharp edges and that was disastrous: the crumpet didn't slide out of the corners as it should have done.  Instead, we have heart- and flower-shaped crumpets with our tea and Dowager Countess Granthem.  And in the end, I would say, buy crumpets instead of making them.  Sooo much easier and not a pain to clean up!