Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hypnotic does not even begin to describe the mysterious jellyfish on display at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  It was well worth the long wait in line to see them!

City Boy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This charm bracelet was always in my grandma's regular jewelry rotation and gave her a signature jingle.  As a girl, I can remember examining the individual charms while we road in a car together or simply sat side by side on the couch...the baby shoe, the sorority ring, the train, the shamrock, the school house, the bicycle. All of her charms were lovely, but the double sided disk holding her original engagement ring and wedding band and the circle holding an opal to signify the birth of my mother were always my favorites.
Over the week-end, my mom surprised me by giving me my grandma's coveted charm bracelet.  Even though I had not thought about it in years, the second I put the bracelet on memories came flooding back to me.  We'll put the bracelet on display in our dining room as a way to help keep Grandma's memories alive for her while she can't, but wearing it for a day and hearing that familiar jingle again made me feel close to her in a way I've really missed. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Christmas Brunch

Every year my mom puts together an amazing brunch for our family in the days following Christmas. I adore enjoying all of our favorite dishes in such good company and being around my adorable nephews (even though they were tired from days of  merriment) during the holidays always brings a wonderful holiday spirit to the day!  We always look forward to celebrating together and hate to see this special day come to an end.

Thanks for everything Mom and Dad!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas doings...

We spent Christmas Eve just the four of us this year.  It was rather unexpected, but Emma wasn't feeling well and we thought it would be best to hunker down,cozy up and give her a chance to rest.  I threw together an impromptu Italian dinner that proved to be the best medicine for all of us.
Christmas morning brought the usual gifts and merriment, but my stocking held a really fun surprise!
This stunning bottle of wine comes from a vintner we met while we were at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville this summer. Leif managed to bring a little of our road trip home for Christmas and my dreams of visiting Pott Vineyard someday are ever growing!

We rounded out the day with a memorable dinner with dear friends!

We had a little gift exchange and Sophie gave Leif an assortment of moustaches; needless to say they lead to a great deal of wholesome holiday fun!
 More celebrations are on the horizon, but these two days have been as perfect as we could have imagined.
We hope your holiday was just as merry as ours!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Glow

May your days be merry and bright!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Birds in the Branches

In lieu of the more traditional bride and groom figurines, a pair of white doves graced the top of my parents' wedding cake.  Following their union in the early 70's,  the doves rested in the branches of our family Christmas tree for years to come.  As time passed, my mom or dad would often comment that their doves were looking a little worse for the wear; decades of storage are not kind to Styrofoam bodies and synthetic feathers.  Looking at those deteriorating birds served as a reminder that my parents' marriage had stood the test of time; I always found it to be a lovely tradition.  When it came time for Leif and I to pick out our wedding cake topper we naturally requested a pair of white doves.  
And yes, we place them in the branches of our Christmas tree every year.

Our bakery birds  look like they are oddly and painfully connected by nose rings, but we love what they represent none-the-less!  This year, when we placed them on the Christmas tree, I couldn't help but notice their wings are starting to look more than a little tattered.  I think they wear their age well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baby Cheer!

Who can argue with holiday cheer in baby form!
Yesterday, I had the chance to enjoy some one on one time with my main man, Vikas!  We shared a bunch of snuggles, but mostly he squawked, and giggled and screeched the day away and don't even get me started on his smile.  He has grown into a roly-poly little guy and is so jolly that he'd give good ole' St. Nick a run for his money! 

Holiday Ink

Back in the day, my dad hated it when I would write or draw on my hands; in order to counteract my bad habit he'd threaten to get me a real tattoo. Of course, this scare tactic only worked until my dad suspected I would gladly take him up on his offer to get inked! The truth is, I've always had a soft spot for body art, but thanks to my dad,  exercised restraint before ultimately deciding to get some permanent color. I've passed this wisdom onto my kids and now let them freely embellish their hands with all the temporary ink they want.
Yesterday, Emma came home with her hand adorned with a holiday poinsettia drawn by her friend.
Just looking at it puts me in a holiday mindset!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Practice makes perfect!

I have been working on my French baguettes for quite a while now....okay, I've been working on this bread for about a year.  After my efforts this week-end, I think it is safe to say that I've got it down!  The crumb in the interior is divine and the steam sealed crust is perfect!  I can't think of a better companion for soups and stews and I am thrilled I can officially add this bread
to my limited baking arsenal!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Revisiting One Sister

Late Fall Menu 2011

Bubble Tea
apple pie

Salad Sponge
homegrown. goat milk. sunflower. honeys

salmon roe. fall
yukon gold potato. white truffle. homemade cheese
Pumpkin Patch
pumpernickel. lobster. fennel. cashew
Grilled Cheese Soup
encapsulated. tomato marmalade. garden items

Your Hand

Oyster Centerpiece
Shrimp Noodle
Potatoes Mussels and Lobster Consomme

Oatmeal Dashi and Chia Seeds
1 Pill Makes You Larger and 1 Pill Makes You Small
Chicken Thigh, Livers, Truffle and Hay
Indiana Deer Bresaola
pine. smoke. cherries. homemade ricotta

cheek. pomegranate.king oyster udon
 Dry-Aged Ribeye
tamarind. red pepper. parsley root
 Ice Cream Cone
bacon. koval whiskey

Chocolate Orbs
egg yolk. berry. gruyere

The same square table...
... in the same quintessential Chicago apartment dining room.
A different cast of characters.
Eighteen artful courses.
Copious amounts of wine.
Cozy sense of community; family in many forms.

(all over again)
Lifting the veil of surprise
reveals a masterful level of consistency
and seasonal sensibility.

One Chef
Iliana Regan
tiny kitchen wizard
serves grilled cheese bubbles
liquefied apple pie
and exploding chocolate balls

friend of mother nature
calls it a perfectly cooked potato and proves it.
Thinks people are salty.
defines dulcet dishes
visionary artist
underground, but not for long
Elizabeth will bring her up for air

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