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Wednesday
Apr112012

Add COLOR with BLENKO inspired glassware

The arrival of spring seems to bring a cleansing of our collective color palate (pun intended), and this year seems particularly bright; just look at the neons accenting spring fashion or the tangerines, pinks and teals of this season’s trendiest manicures.

Your home is another playground for spring’s cheerier hues. The sun flooding through my window the other day made my translucent cerulean decanter particularly brilliant. It’s a subtly crackled Blenko piece, oversized (I still wonder how it could actually be functional as a container), and the most arresting blue.

I remember admiring it on its place on the mantle at my grandmother’s home. When she moved to a smaller place and parted with many of her possessions, the decanter became mine. Only later did I realize it was collectible. Honestly, that didn’t make it any more special. It’s the color and shape that I gravitated toward then—and now. Noticing it that day sent me down the rabbit hole of Blenko research, studying the motifs and bold colors produced by the West Virginia-based company now inextricably linked to Mid-Century Modern design.

Blenko is abundant—and hotter than ever—but there are numerous alternatives, both vintage and new, that pack the same punch. Cluster any of these monochromatic glass vessels in a light-filled area and enjoy the extended daylight.

 

 

Scour flea markets, eBay and antiques dealers specializing in glass, like Glasshouse, for Blenko decanters, vases and other vessels like the ones pictured above from the Blenko Museum. (Hint: Be on the look-out for the charming owl motif!.)

 The work of Joe Cariati is primed for lush magazine spreads--so editorial, as they say. The various shapes and colorways are quite simply stunning.

 

Colorful glass need not be expensive. Functional pieces like this Bormioli Rocco Ypsilon glass carafe are inexpensive and offered in a variety of candy colors at Cooking.com.

 

Michael Ruh creates beautiful glassware like this Lime String Mallet (available at Lille, one of my favorite local stores whose taste I always trust).

 

Etsy is a great resource for Mid-Century Modern glassware (Blenko or otherwise). I love this sweet vase from vendor The Cottage Cheese.

 


Elizabeth Lyons Big Jars collection (available at select boutiques and showrooms) captures the vibrancy of the Blenko colors and is offered in groupings like Twilight (shown).


 

Wedding and party superstore Luna Bazaar is a cheap-chic source for colorful glass bottles like the one shown above. At less than $3 each, large groupings are encouraged.

Unica Home carries the iconic work of Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala, including these truly lucious (and thus predictably spendy) Bolle bottle series for Venini.

 

CB2, always a reliable standby for affordable accents, offers these Colour glass vases; while simple, they pack a punch.

 

Also from Unica Home are these Bambu vases by Arcade Glass, featuring a more 21st Century shape and muted palate

 

Interior Decorating and Design by Christine Sisson
Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Christine is on Twitter @WordsOnStyle. Read her full bio here.

Monday
Apr092012

Three UNIQUE Leftover LAMB Recipes

Last week, I made lamb.

Well, let's back up. I ordered a leg of lamb off of Peapod, sight unseen, and didn't think about how enormous it would be for just my husband and I. (I also successfully boned, butterflied, and trimmed said leg of lamb, but that's material for a different post.) Needless to say, it was a festival of lamb in the Luby household for the following nights.

Maybe you've got some lamb leftover from Easter. If so, try the three recipes I made last week. Each is different enough that you won't feel like you're having lamb...again.

 

Start with - Yogurt-Mint Marinated Grilled Leg of Lamb (This recipe doesn't call for butterflying the leg, but I did so anyway, and it turned out great)

Leftovers 1 - Lamb Rissoles (These gently fried lamb meatballs are a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II.)

Leftovers 2 - Lamb Curry (I didn't have apples, plus had to substitute chicken stock for beef stock. Both adaptations worked fine.)

Leftovers 3- Lamb salad (Thinly slice the lamb, and sautee in olive oil until carmelized. At the very end, add a dollop of sour cherry jam, and stir until all pieces are coated. Serve on dark leafy greens with chopped roasted beets and grapefruit pieces. Some crumbled feta cheese would be nice, too.)

Wednesday
Apr042012

COCKTAILS that say SPRING

Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts, and join us tonight at 8pm EST on Twitter for our #HolidayHQ chat.

 

Happy spring! Did anyone else get a sunburn on St Patrick's day this year? Personally, I've enjoyed this fair weather trend and have happily sent my wool coat and boots to the back of the closet. It's also a time to change up menu offerings, and that includes drinks. I found the four spring-appropriate recipes below, just in time for Easter brunch. Cheers to warm days ahead!

 

Butterfly Martini Cocktail by Grey Goose

1.5 parts lemon-flavored vodka
2 parts White Grape Juice
3 Basil Leaves
3 Mint Leaves
1 tsp Elderflower Cordial
1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Lemon Rind
Fill a cocktail shaker with shredded basil and mint leaves, and combine with all other ingredients. Shake with ice and strain through a fine sieve. Top with a squeeze of lemon rind. Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with an edible flower.
 
 

Lemon Drop Sparkle by Korbel

(12 oz.) can lemonade frozen concentrate, thawed
1 bottle of extra dry sparkling wine
4 oz. Tuaca liqueur
1 1/2 cups sparkling water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/3 cup lemon drop candies, crushed

In a pitcher, stir to combine lemonade concentrate, champagne, Tuaca and sparkling water. Using a slice of lemon, moisten the rim of each glass. Dip rim into crushed lemon drop candies. Pour in the champagne mixture and garnish with sliced lemons or lemon twist.

Source

 
 

Sapphire Revelation by Bombay

3 parts Gin
2 drops rose water
1/2 part elderflower liqueur

Stir in a mixing glass filled with ice then strain into a chilled martini cocktail glass. Garnish with a single rose petal.

Source

 
 

Bacardi 8 Rum Julep

2 parts Bacardi 8 year old rum
6 parts mint leaves
2/5 part sugar syrup
2 dashes peach bitters
Cubed ice
Spring of mint to garnish

Gently bruise mint with sugar syrup and bitters, in the base of a mixing glass. Then pour rum, add ice, and stir well. Fill a high ball glass with crushed ice, pour the liquid from the mixing glass using a strainer, stir, and add more ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Source

 

 Don't forget to pop in on my friends' posts. There are lots of great ideas here...

Housewife Bliss  |  Easter Brunch for Chocolate Lovers
Celebrations At Home  | Spring Garden Tablescape
PaperandPigtails.com  |  Polka Dots & Pastels - Free Printables
The Partybluprints Blog  |  "Little Peeps" Easter Table Centerpiece
Second City Soiree  | Cocktails that say Spring
SkimbacoLifestyle.comEuropean Easter Traditions Galore
Thoughtfully Simple | Simple Easter Brunch
Valley & Co. | Table Top Elements for Marvelous Easter Brunch

Thursday
Mar292012

Simple + Seasonal: Sensational Sunchokes

Sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, aren't pretty, but they sure are tasty. Although they look like ginger roots, these tubers are members of the sunflower family and are so named because of their slightly sweet, nutty taste that is reminiscent of artichokes.

Sunchokes were brought to Europe in 1605 when a French explorer named Samuel Champlain found them in Cape Cod. They are native to North America, not the Middle East, so there's some dispute as to why they are also called Jerusalem artichokes. One idea is that people called them "girasole," or "flower that looks towards the sun," which sounds like Jerusalem. Another idea is that European settlers relied on these tubers and called them food for the new Jerusalem.

No matter what you call them, sunchokes are a great source of Vitamin C and iron. They are also rich in inulin, a substance that turns into fructose when digested and is, to put it politely, really good for your digestive system. Cooking helps cut down on any socially undesirable effects though!

 

Look for: Firm, wrinkle free knobs that are free of sprouts. Some sunchokes may be smooth and really, that makes no difference from a bumpier one as far as taste is concerned. It just makes it easier to prepare if peeling.

Storage: Sunchokes can keep for up to two weeks when refrigerated.

Preparation: Sunchokes can be eaten raw and appreciated for their pleasant crunch, similar to water chestnuts. They may look intimidating, but you can treat them like you would a potato-- boil and use as a thickener for soups or mash them for a tasty side; bake or fry them; eat them skin on or peeled; or try roasting them (see recipe below.) One note though, if you peel them, add a little lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.

Personally, I love slicing sunchokes, leaving the skin on, and roasting them. They get crunchy, sweet and nutty and add wonderful texture, such as for this salad which you can serve as a first course for an early spring dinner party.

 

Roasted Sunchoke, Pear and Arugula Salad*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Take 2 pounds of sunchokes and slice them crosswise, about 1/4 inch thick. Toss the sunchokes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Lay out the sunchokes on your prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-30 minutes, flipping the pieces over about halfway through cooking time, or until pieces are golden brown and crisped at the edges.

While sunchokes roast, whisk together 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, juice of half a lemon, 1 teaspoon of agave syrup, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss 1/4 inch thick slices of 2 ripe Anjou pears and 2 cups of baby arugula leaves in the prepared dressing. Add roasted sunchokes and toss to combine. Plate individually or serve on a platter for a buffet or family style dinner.

Serves 4 to 6.

*Your vegan friends will rejoice, as this salad is totally animal product free!


Simple + Seasonal Cooking by Christina Wong
Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Christina is on Twitter @cj_wong. Read her full bio here.

Tuesday
Mar272012

Wedding Registry 101

Registering for your wedding can be one of the most exciting tasks for some brides... but also one of the most daunting for others. Couples these days are innundated with endless options, so here are some helpful tips to consider as you register:

 

1. Assess you lifestyle and determine what fits you. Do you really need the fancy china? Or perhaps you frequently entertain so you do need the nice china and the sterling silver. It's all about what works for you personal lifetstyle. 

2. Determine your “NEED” vs. “WANT” items and then add all the items you “need” to your registry first. That way, as the important stuff gets purchased, add the fun items that you “want” so you get the best of both worlds! 

3. Consider registering for a few extra sets of dishes, silverware, glassware in case they get broken or lost over time. If certain lines get discontinued, you'll have a few extras on hand.

Kate Spade New York Dinnerware, Villeroy Bosch Signature Collection

4. Don’t register TOO early - 5 – 6 months is perfect! Stores often change their inventory seasonally and those linens you absolutely loved may not be there come time for your wedding.

5. Choose at least 2 – 3 stores, ideally ones with an internet presence so that you can set up and manage everything from the comfort of your couch.

6. Keep your guests in mind; are they older and more traditional? Then they may appreciate Bloomingdales. Or are they mostly younger and comfortable with less conventional stores such as Amazon.com?

7. Choose some “Couple friendly” stores where you can get appliances, tools, exercise equipment, luggage, etc., and avoid squabbles! Sears or Kohl's are great registry options that offer everything for your home, including man-friendly items. 

8. Research, research, research. Know the store’s registry reputation before making your choice…their customer service, reliability of their online registry site, return policy, completion policy, etc. These days, you can easily find all this information online ahead of time.

BerHoff BBQ Set, Sunpentown Wine Cooler

 

9. Along the same lines, make sure the stores you choose have a great return policy because there is no doubt you will change your mind about some items! 

10. Consider alternative registries such as gift card, honeymoon, and charity registries.

 

Where are you registering, and do you have a favorite store?

 

Weddings by Charlene Liang
Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Charlene is on Twitter @SweetchicEvents. Read her full bio here.

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