Friday, November 9, 2012

ROAD TRIP- well plane trip actually... NELL HILL"S here we come

   Just got back from a fabulous trip to Kansas City!!! Yes I realize Kansas City is not my usual tropical locale that would be the normal fabulous trip. But this girls weekend of shopping and soaking up decorating tips was fabulous!!

Nell Hill's shop in Atchison, Kansas is one unusual stop. Here are Kip and Nan - right when we arrived at the Nell Hill's store in Atchison. It was so over the top that I think we were all a little overwhelmed.

 We all immediately started taking photos with our phones of arrangements and decorating tips- I have been in many stores that frown on people trying to "steal" ideas but this store actually encourages it!! So welcoming and friendly - these saleswomen couldn't be more helpful.

Every space is pure over the top! You think you have enough but you always need a little more!


 Love Plaid!

 Here we are in line getting ready to tour Mary Carol Garrity's house. It was gorgeous!

                           mirrors on the windows!!


      Totally stealing this idea up in Maine- would be great as you enter the foyer of the house at a party! Prosecco for everyone!!

      Love the layered look her in Mary Carol's den. Books everywhere and groupings of small things
   together make a great statement.

Look at this easy layering!!  Just a silver tray- books and majolica plate!

         Mary Carol's foyer- just as you walk in her house you are greeted with this exquisite arrangement of plates mixed with framed prints. Every detail is perfect - love the books on top of the wicker trunk.

    How about that grouping on a cake plate of all your little boxes- great idea!

Don't forgot that spot over the entrance way and doorways- this grouping of framed prints looks great up there- draws the eye up.

Let me tell you - Atchinson is a sleepy small town! This is the stop light!!! Really so very mid west America! You would never know this fabulous store is here.

 Here is Nan with Mary Carol Garrity herself!  She was so lovely and hospitable. Signed our books and greeted everyone at her front door! Couldn't have been lovelier !!

Kip getting her book signed- a great time was had by all!!! And many dollars were spent!

Thanks for a great time at a great store-  We are already planing a trip back - Maybe for their sale in the Spring!!!!

Check it out for yourself online

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yes I remember I have a blog!!! BUT...

I have had an action packed summer- Guests galore!!! And that is the point of Lucky Stars!

 Just leaving this past Sunday were the Ahern Cousins!! 14 of them - and we had a ball - this has become an annual event and we look forward to all the fun and games!

 Just before the cousins arrived we had Mom and her friends! Just 2 friends this year and they only stayed for a few days but we did get to head out to Castine and have a great lunch at Dennert's Wharf!

One of our high points so far this summer was the gathering of the Navy clan- 3 couples all stationed together in 1989!!! So fun to see each other after all these years! We had a ball- great big neighborhood party on the 4th of July and many smaller parties as the weekend progressed! Hopefully this is the start of an annual event!

My sister and her friends came up for a quick weekend and of course LOBSTERS!! We had a great time with the group we have know since high school! What a great time to catch up!

Of course we have had GJ and Kendra visiting a couple of times this summer! Always great to see them!  We even got to meet the elusive Liz!! Kendra's best friend from college days! Hopefully they will be up many more times this summer!

 Our first guests this season was way back in June- Jean and Lorraine - friends for over 27 years came up together from Virgina Beach and Williamsburg! What a great Girls Week we had!! Such fun and great weather- we traveled to Acadia Bar Harbor and even hit Morse's Sauerkraut in Waldeboro! Jean even looked up her Mom's friend from years ago! All and all a great time!!!

So you can see why I have been a little lax in my postings!! I have been having too much fun! We still have many more guests to host- as a matter of fact I am off to the laundry right now!!! Gotta get those sheets done before the next couple arrives tomorrow !!! Welcome mid summer!!! Off to have some fun!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's a 3 star Michelin Restaurant Like??

 In one word the answer is AWESOME!!!  George and I were lucky enough to get an opportunity to eat at Paul Bocuse's famous restaurant in Lyon, France L'Auberge du pont de Collonges.  We actually made the reservation only about 2 weeks in advance as we decided to stay a few days in Lyon after George's morning business appointment.  We took a cab for our 8pm reservations and pulled up to see the above picturesque restaurant complete with a doorman in red suit and cap!

We walked into this fabulous dining room and the fabulous evening was about to begin!

Paul Bocuse is the Julia Child of France. Actually, the father of Nouvelle Cuisine. A French treasure revered all over the world.

We were seated in the table next to the window - a premiere spot and although the restaurant was not full when we arrived it quickly filled to the max. Our table felt very private and not at all too close to others - which happens quite a bit in France.

We decided to go with the tasting menu to get a good variety of his specialties.  We went with the menu bourgeouis - the middle priced version of the menu. Good choice as this lobster was our fish course- an entire shelled lobster artistically arranged to recreate the lobster with fabulous remoulade sauce. We had already had some fabulous cheese gourgeres as a small starter and a wonderful trio of amuse bouche to start off our meal.

This fabulous fish course that George ordered had small "shells" made of potatoes that were perfectly crunchy and delicious.

As we got ready to order - Paul Bocuse himself came to our table to have a photo taken and just made our night! Spoke only French but what a treat to have a photo with the chef of France!!!!

George came around the table to get in on the photo! Chef Bocuse is 86 years old and made the rounds of all the tables speaking to everyone and getting photos taken with the lucky ones!

Our very serious waiter - Bruno- carving our Veal and kidney main entree for two- another delicious choice- as was everything at this fabulous restaurant.

Of course I had to run to the ladies room and caught a glimpse of the kitchen- I asked permission to take a picture. And of course it was no problem! This restaurant is all about making the guests feel at home! After I took this quick shot one of the chefs gave me a little wave!! So cute!  When we left the restaurant at 11pm every speck was cleaned up and the chefs had left for the night!

This had to be the highlight of the evening - the cheese course! What a tray!!! I had only room for 2 choices but you could have as much or as little as you wanted.  The Saint Marcellin was recommended by Bruno and it couldn't have been a better choice. Creamy smooth brie like but so much better- smoothed onto baguette it was out of this would - I had a big slice of the blue cheese as well- best ever! What a treat.

Here is one table of 2-3 that were brought over to show us the samples of desserts- have as much as you want was Bruno's suggestion! Too much for me - after a 7 plus course meal only one dessert was possible!

I had a sublime merengue with raspberries and vanilla sauce. Truly the best ending of the best meal we have ever had! The price was out of this world too but hey- you only live once! Thank you Paul Bocuse and the wonderful crew at L'Auberge de pont du Collonges.

A dinner of a lifetime!!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

OFF TO PARIS!!!  Will be back in a week with new pix and hopefully new updates! 
Au revoir till then!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vegetable Salad in the middle of winter!

I was lucky enough to be introduced to this tasty recipe from my friends Nick and Dee. We spent a great night out eating Korean food the other night and after copious drinks back at their house we were getting ready to head home and Dee insisted we take a quart of this delicious veggie salad home with us!

I thought it looked good but never thought it would be this delicious!!! The next day I combined it with some chopped feta and yummy crackers. It was out of this world so you can imagine how happy I was that 2 days later in my email Nick attached the NY Times article and recipe!!!!  Thanks Nick for turning me on to what should be a staple in my library of recipes!

It is super easy to do - just takes a long time to brine and cure.  I started this morning with chopping the veggies and covering them with salt and cold water- left it to brine on the counter covered most of the day- recipe says 8 -12 hours.

You need to mix the marinade together - I did it in one quart jar then poured half of it into the other jar - then added the veggies. The marinade ingredients are easily found and some you might even have in your cupboard.

The final product - it needs to cure for at least 3 days in the frig!!  It's actually called Giardiniera (pronounced jar-deen-YAIR-uh and Italian for “from the garden”) Can be used to enhance tuna salad or as a great side dish. I just love it - hope you do to !!! Thanks Dee and Nick for a great recipe.


Time: 1 hour, plus 3 days’ pickling

4 serrano chiles, thinly sliced, with seeds removed
2 red sweet peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 or 2 celery ribs, sliced or julienned
1 or 2 carrots, sliced or julienned
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 cup salt
2 cloves garlic, slivered
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/2 cup grapeseed or safflower oil.

1. In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the vegetables and salt until well combined. Cover the vegetables with water. Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to sit, unrefrigerated, for 8 to 12 hours.
2. Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly. Sterilize 2 quart-size glass jars, with lids, in the dishwasher or by submerging them in boiling water for 10 minutes.
3. In one sterilized jar, combine the garlic and all the herbs and spices; add the vinegar and oil and shake well to emulsify the dressing. Pour half the dressing into the other jar.
4. Pack the vegetables into the jars. If vegetables are not completely coated, make and add more dressing. Screw lids onto jars and refrigerate. Allow the mixture to mellow for a couple of days before serving.
Yield: About 2 quarts.        

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Crazy Mixed up Feta for your Super Bowl Party!

I found this on Pinterest! Looked so good so have just made it for today's Super Bowl party- I am in Seattle so we are having a fun time with the 2 grandsons- we are of course all rooting for a Patriots win! This feta will be one of table full of dips wings and chips - Munch away!!!

Creamy Feta Dip with Jalapenos 
makes about 2 cups [a little goes a long way!]
2 bricks of feta cheese, 8 ounces each
3 whole jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
1 bulb garlic
the juice of half a lemon
the zest of half a lemon
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the top off the garlic bulb and drizzle it with a teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap it in foil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until garlic is golden in color. At the same time, brush the jalapenos with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Either grill or roast them – I stuck them in the oven with garlic and just watched until they were charred. Remove both from oven and let cool. Once jalapenos are cooled, remove skins, cut in half and discard the seeds. Chop into small pieces. Don’t touch your eyes!
In a large bowl, crumble the feta bricks.  Add chopped jalapenos, the zest of half a lemon, and the juice of half a lemon. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the bulb directly into the feta. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and mash with a fork. You want the feta to be a bit “wet” – I can best describe it as a cross between a spread and a dip. There is no right or wrong – make it however you’d like. Taste the feta and season with salt and pepper. Serve with pita chips, warm pita or naan, or spread it on sandwiches. Store it in the fridge for up to one week – I find that I like it best at room temperature, so allow it to sit out for about 30 minutes before serving. We also think it would be great with some kalamata olives.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Patriots Party!

Today we will cheer on  the New England Patriots in the game against the Baltimore Ravens- It's a chilly gray day and watching football is the perfect way to spend a Sunday. What to munch on while watching- Buffalo Chicken dip - of course!  I make this dip quite often for Superbowl parties and it is always a hit. It's easy and comes together very quickly. Let's get comfortable, sit back, dig in and GO PATS!!!!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

One 8 oz brick of cream cheese
2 cups of cooked chicken breast, diced
3/4 cup of Frank's buffalo chicken sauce
2/3 cup of chunky blue cheese dressing

Mix all ingredients together.  Microwave for 2 minutes, then stir. Microwave again for 2-3 minutes until bubbly. Serve with crackers and celery.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cold Weather Likes Short Ribs for Dinner!

Cold winter weather makes us want a nice warm comfort meal- This recipe is super easy and not so gourmet that appears intimidating.  You might even have all the ingredients in your cupboard right now- I love to have all the ingredients on hand.  I usually pick up my short ribs at Wegman's - my all time favorite grocery store- I stock up whenever I see them and leave them in the freezer for a yummy cold winter night treat.  Enjoy!

Oh So Good Short Ribs

2 tbsp. fat
1 env. Lipton onion soup mix
2 to 3 lb. beef short ribs
1 to 1 1/2 c. catsup
1/4 c. water
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 to 1 c. diced celery
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. brown sugar
Heat fat (or oil) in a Dutch oven or a large skillet; brown ribs well on all sides. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over meat. Simmer covered, turning occasionally (1 1/2 to 2 hours), or until meat is fork tender.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Restaurant!!!

Have to tell you all about the great new restaurant in Belfast. The Lost Kitchen - on Main Street in what we refer to as the "flat iron"building.  It opened this fall but we didn't get to sample until Thanksgiving.

The whole family got to go a couple of days after Thanksgiving- what a treat- they have a large selection of small plates - our crowd sampled almost all of them. Some of the highlights were frites with herb de provence, lamb sliders and fabulous fried oysters. They usually have 2 or 3 main dishes. We sampled fabulous fish with a garlic aioli and surrounded by mussels.

 The desserts hold there own here as well- the "donuts and coffee" - fabulous beignets with a great coffee flavored sauce.

I had heard through the grapevine that the chef Robin- had experimented last summer with some "mystery" dinners that helped her hone her skills and define her menu.

Since Thanksgiving we have visited 2 more times and we love the atmosphere and the great wait staff. There have been some hiccups with running out of menu items before the evening is over but I so hope they iron them all out before the summer crowds arrive. The great local produce, meats and even locally roasted coffee make The Lost Kitchen a winner in Belfast!!! Check it out if you are passing by!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year = Old Recipe