A few years ago, my neighbor Jill, was singing the praises of The Barefoot Contessa. Noticing my blank look she went to her vast library of cookbooks and gave me FAMILY STYLE
Not one to read cookbooks, I flipped through it and found this: Arugula with Parmesan Salad
It's been my signature salad ever since. As in, just about the only one I ever fix. Over and over. But that's all the time I had for Ina Garten. She entered my life again recently with this recipe: Homemade BBQ sauce. I was cooking for a birthday party and the request was BBQ chicken. I thought this recipe was insane. Look at all the ingredients and weird combinations. But why not? What do I know about
cooking? And it was fabulous. Groan producing.
So what's up with Ina Garten? She was a working woman in the 70's who just happened to be working in the White House...not as a cook. She was a numbers person. And probably feeling what so many folks who work in my beloved DC feel-GET ME OUT OF HERE. So daydreaming one day (which is where so many genius ideas come from), she flipped through some ads and saw a store for sale in the fancy Hamptons. A food store. Why not? she thought. And she became a sensation. Fairy tales can come true. The little store she bought was called...The Barefoot Contessa...so named after a movie about Maria Varges (who's she?) and staring Ava Gardner. I do know who she is. Here's a youtube clip of Ava in the movie prancing around barefoot.
Remember the movie "Somethings Gotta Give"? Diane Keaton was shopping in Ina Garten's store! I remember seeing that and thinking I would like to shop there. But I don't live near the Hampton's so I ordered her cookbook BAREFOOT IN PARIS instead and I will try to learn French cooking while barefoot...which I usually am anyway.
There are so many beautiful blogs out there. I limited myself to art blogs for a long time but no more. I've discovered the decorators, the cooks, the gardeners, the magical people. It's a daily feast. Last summer I grew birdhouse gourds. For the first time ever, squirrels invaded my garden and ate all my tomatoes, squash, peppers, and a lot of herbs-and they did it in a matter of days so I gave the garden over to the gourds. When they fell off the vine I gathered them and put them on the porch to dry out. They became bowling balls for the racoons and Martha stole quite a few, but I managed to salvage 5. In the meantime, I discovered decorator blogs like Blue Egg Brown Nest and Miss Mustard Seed and learned about Annie Sloan chalk paint which you can slap on absolutely anything without sanding or stripping. I'm not someone who refinishes furniture or haunts antique hovels but my friends do so I called Nancy and we went to an antique place in Royal Oak, Md. and I found an old sewing table. I thought it would make a great small desk. So I slapped on Duck Egg Blue. Super easy. Let it dry overnight and then slapped on Old White. It's very popular on the decorating blogs to then sand (I believe it's called distressing) to get either the wood underneath to peek through but in my case, the blue came through the white.
sewing table and distressed wood
But I didn't stop there. The gourds were dry and I had already drilled the entry hold and the drainage holes and dug out most of the seeds. The house wrens were trying to move in and were chriping and pushing them all over the table. So I grabbed the gourds and slathered them with Duck Egg Blue. I had plans to paint leaves on them or some other decorative thing but the wrens were on the gutters screaming and fluttering so I hung them.
I have gourds hanging from many of my trees. I buy them at craft fairs all the time. Like this one-if you look closely you can see the twigs sticking out of the entry hole. I've never had one ignored. They always have occupants. Occupy Gourdhouse-I'm starting my own movement.
not a great picture, sorry about that
Did I mention I've discovered cooking blogs? I avoid cooking a lot but occasionally I get in the mood and I go to this blog: Smitten Kitchen. She never lets me down. And last night I decided I would make a quiche and instead of the usual Pillsbury already made crust, I would make my own...which I never ever do. It was easy and delicious.
One more thing about the sewing table. After I finished it and put it in my daughter's room I noticed a smell. Like bacon or scrapple. That little table must have spent many years in someone's stinky kitchen. But, I headed to the blog world and found this blog: Primitive & Proper and Cassandra told me just what to do to remove that odor.
The geraniums are already blooming at #5 Bank Street. I've been away charging my batteries. Have some new ideas about blogging and painting and have decided to go whichever way the wind blows my creative yearnings.