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Pepper Design Blog
Thoughtfully Simple
Unchained Kitchen



Stylish Seder Plates

We celebrate multiple holidays here at the House of SCS, and while that sometimes means extra work, usually it results in extra enjoyment.  Like the upcoming Easter/Passover period.  I honestly don't remember where we got our Seder plate, but I do seem to recall that it was one of those last minute "OMGwerememberedeverythingbutthesederplatehurrygobuyone!!" moments.  It's fine.  It serves its purpose, but it won't be winning any design awards, um...ever.  These offerings from the Jewish Museum shop, however, make me think it's time for an upgrade.  They have many, many types in their inventory, and it's easy to find one that fits your style.


Contemporary: Scroll Plate by Liz Ross



Floral: Garden Plate



Artistic: Seven Species Wood Plate



Natural: Teak Plate


Spicy Spirit


I subscribe to several of those email newsletters announcing all that's new/hip/cool on the local scene.  Sometimes it's just an overwhelming deluge of restaurant openings and indie fashion designers who don't really fit my taste, but every now and then, a useful tidbit lands in my inbox. Such is the case with yesterday's blast from Urban Daddy. A locally made spirit that tastes like the delicious chili-chocolate heaven known as mole poblano?  Yes, please. Would it be overkill to pair it with a Vosges Red Fire bar?  Perhaps, but I'm willing to live dangerously.  BTW, this is a limited edition spirit, so hop to it.  Find where to buy on the link below.

From North Shore Distillery in Lake Bluff


Faux Food for Fools

I'm sure you've heard of the whimsical meatloaf cake and the hee-larious mashed-potato sundae that are often recommended for April Fool's Day guests...but if that's not your style, you can put a more sophisticated spin on faux food.  Here are three of my favorites:


Clever "eggs and toast" (lemon custard and cinnamon cake) from Eggs on Sunday



Sushi?  No, that would be fruit-shi.  From Wandering Chopsticks



If you don't want to play with your dessert, surprise your guests with this cauliflower soup and masala-spiced cereal from The Kitchn


Easter Eggs, Part 1 of 2 - Fancy Eggs

Every year, I promise myself that THIS will be the year I try a new Easter egg decorating technique...only to end up using the tired old vinegar-and-food-coloring method. In an effort to combat this complacency, here are some motivating alternatives. First, there are the gorgeous Ukranian easter eggs known as pysanky. LearnPysanky.com gives excellent instructions, should you choose to embark on this project. It takes time and patience and, I suspect, a few broken eggs.


Don't you LOVE those little wee ones? Ogle more eggs at the Pysanky Museum.


Less time consuming but still lovely are these origami paper eggs, with how-to from Martha Stewart. I think I could actually do these!



If you want something cutesy, also from Martha are these adorable "chicken" eggs, decorated with felt:



But then, sometimes a girl just wants some bling. If you want to go flashy and fake, then this is the egg for you:


Later this week, we'll explore some techniques with a more natural bent. Between this post and that one, I'll really have no excuse this year...


Ginger cocktails

Last night I was at Uncommon Ground to see a friend perform in their Singer Spotlight Unplugged series.  I've had some mixed experiences at UG, but last night was fairly smooth.  It was made even more smooth by the ginger martini I consumed.  Ok, martinis - plural.


Ginger cocktails, once an anomaly, are really quite popular these days and I couldn't be more pleased!  The low heat pairs well with so many different flavors.  Lemon?  Mint?  Chocolate liqueur?  Sure...ginger can play nice with all of those!  It's friendly like that. If you want to recreate the ginger experience for your guests, here are some recipes to get you started:

Easy Ginger Martini
Icy Lemon-Ginger Slush
Ginger-Rosemary Lemon-Drop

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