Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Antique French Chair

I have never shared my favorite chair on the blog.  It is this darling antique French chair.


My mom and I recovered the chair in this pretty Rose Tarlow fabric.  I picked out this fabric when I was 21!  My Mom and I had somehow obtained access to the Seattle Design Center and we were able to look through the selections of wonderful designer fabric.  That's where I learned that I like textiles. Especially expensive textiles! Ha!!

I love the find woodwork sitting on top.  It is a garland of flowers with a flame in it.

What I think it unusual about the chair is the dark wood.  I haven't seen too many French chairs with dark wood.  Everything is light colored wood.  I think dark wood may be making a comeback soon.

The other side of the homemade pillow is this pretty striped fabric also by Rose Tarlow.  Love it!
The style of the chair is Louis XVI.  If you can't remember the difference, I put together this wonderful Louis Chair Guide to help spot the differences!

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop!Inspire Me Tuesday,Wow us Wednesdays!  Home Sweet Home Feathered Nest FridaysMetamorphosis Monday's

Monday, January 26, 2015

Downton Abbey Tea Party & Coconut Scone Recipe

Are you a fan of Downton Abbey?  It is my favorite TV show.  Did you know if you buy the season on iTunes you don't have to wait until Monday night to watch it... You can watch it Monday afternoon?!

I set up a little Downton tea party so I could watch some episodes of my favorite show!



I made some coconut scones (recipe below).  I have been craving coconut scones since I had when were on the island of Maui in Hawaii last year.  They are just SO GOOD.  I also had some digestives with my scones.  Digestives are basically little cookies.  I don't know why they call them digestives, they aren't a health product and don't help you digest!

coconut scone recipe
Now I didn't make any clotted cream (honestly I was trying to save a little bit of calories!).  But I did eat them with blackberry and strawberry-guava preserves.  Yummy!


See, this is a Downton Abbey tea party.  I sipped Earl Grey tea in my Diamond Jubilee Tea Cup I picked up when I was in London during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  When I was setting up for my party of one... I realized I only had 1 proper tea cup and it didn't even have a saucer!  I need to go raid my parents' house for some teacups...
Make up of a tea party: tea, scones, digestives
Coconut Scone Recipe - adapted from here
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, toasted (toast in the microwave in 30 second increments until lightly browned) then cut into tinier pieces
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp  salt
  • 4 tbsp COLD unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • turbinado sugar for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, coconut, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the butter pieces in the bowl and then blend in with your fingers.  You are done when the butter is evenly distributed and no large pieces of butter are seen.
  4. Combine the whipping cream, greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Mix together.  Then add to the dry ingredients.  Mix together with your hands until the dough just comes together.
  5. Knead the dough lightly, then pat out into a disk approx. 1/2 inch thick.  
  6. Cut out circles (I used a glass to get my shape, but a proper biscuit cutter is better!).  
  7. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until scones are golden brown.  Remove and cool on a baking rack.
I love Lady Edith's tweed outfit this season...

And Lady Mary's red hat!

This may be one of my favorite quotes from the series:



Have you seen my post about when I visited one of the castles on Downton Abbey?? If not, check it out HERE:
Downton Abbey Castle!
My Visit To A Downton Abbey Castle


 Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop!, Inspire Me Tuesday,Wow us Wednesdays! Creative Ways Centerpiece Wednesdays, Feathered Nest FridaysHome Sweet Home
Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
Search terms - Downton Abbey Party Ideas, Downton abbey tea party, downton abbey tea, downton abbey castle, coconut scone recipe, hawaii coconut scone recipe, coconut scone grand wailea



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Baked Zucchini Sticks

After baking madeleines this week, maybe you want to eat something a little bit lighter.  This recipe is perfect for snacks and for football snacking! It's baked zucchini fries!  They are pretty tasty and are pretty low in fat and calories!
Baked Zucchini Fries
Ingredients
  • Zucchini
  • approximately 1/4 c flour (just enough to cover the zucchini sticks)
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4c parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning blend
  • 1 egg
Directions
  1. Cut your zucchini into strips about 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Toss the zucchini in bowl with the flour and salt.
  3. Now, in a separate bowl combine the panko bread crumbs, cheese, and italian seasoning.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the egg.
  5. Take a floured zucchini strip and dip into the egg wash, and then into the bread crumb mixture. 
  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  7. Place the zucchini strips either directly on the wire rack OR a cooling rack (that is oven safe) and bake.  I recommend having a baking pan underneath to catch some drippings.  You could also just bake on a baking pan, but one edge will get soggy.  Honestly, it still tastes good.
  8. Bake them 14-16 minutes, until golden brown.
Helpful hints: try to cut your strips as uniform as possible to ensure they all bake evenly around the same amount of time.

Baked Zucchini fries

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Monday, January 19, 2015

Madeleines Recipe

I have been wanting to attempt to make madeleines for a while.  When I received my Laduree Sucre book for my birthday last year, I decided to tackle them sooner rather than later, but never bought a pan for them.  For Christmas this year I received TWO pans (yippee!) so I went ahead and made them.


...and not only did I nail the recipe, but they tasted a million times better than I thought they would!  My husband described the cookies as "heavenly". Whoa.


Madeleine French cookie recipe

Have you ever had a Madeleine cookie?  They are not the typical cookie in the American sense... they are more cake like.  They are very delicate.  I had never had one fresh out of the oven.  Straight out of the heaven they are SUPER GOOD.  They have a crunch on the bottom, super soft and airy in the middle, then the little bump on the top is a tiny bit gooey like lemon curd. 


the crunchy backside of the madeleine!

I had only ever had them pre-made, ya know, from Starbucks in the package or Costco.  I never had one super fresh.  The French have been keeping this secret from us... you must eat these super fresh!! That's when they taste like heaven.  Otherwise they are just... pretty good!


The recipe I used is from Laduree's Sucre book.

Madeleines Recipe - Laduree: The Sweet Recipes 

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons, unwaxed (Meyer tastes best)
  • 3/4 c + 1 tbsp (160g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups + 1 tbsp cake flour (175g cake flour)
  • 2 tsp (10g) baking powder
  • 12 1/2 tbsp (180g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp butter for the moulds
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 tbsp (35g) honey
  • Madeleine Pan, this one is good: Madeleine Pan
Directions
1. Using a grater, remove the zest from the lemons.  Then mix the zest with the sugar.
2. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
4. In another bowl, place the eggs, sugar/lemon mixture, and honey. Whip together until pale and frothy.  Then fold in the flour and baking powder mixture.  Add the melted butter and combine.
5. Refrigerate batter for a minimum of 12 hours in a closed container. NOTE: I did a batch at refrigeration of 4 hours and refrigeration of 12 hours and I could NOT tell the difference in taste.  As long as the batter is cold at 4 hours, you can use it.  The key is cold!
6. Melt the tbsp of butter and butter the moulds with a pastry brush.  Then refrigerate for 15 minutes until the butter is hardened and the pan is cold.
7. Preheat oven to 390 degrees. Fill moulds 3/4 to the top with batter.  Cook madeleines 8-10 minutes.  Remove when golden and allow to cool slightly before removing from the moulds.

TIPS
-The key is to have the batter and pan COLD.  The rapid change in temperature in the oven helps create the poofy shape of these cookies!
-Serve when lukewarm.  They taste like heaven at this temperature!
-Store in airtight container.

perfect little bump!

They made the perfect little bump and are golden in color.



Cooling on the rack, the smell of lemon in the air!  Little bites of heaven waiting for you!


Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop!, Inspire Me Tuesday,Wow us Wednesdays! Creative Ways Centerpiece Wednesdays, Feathered Nest FridaysHome Sweet Home


Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

search terms: madeleine recipe, madeline recipe, lauder madeleine, french cookie



Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bouchon Bistro & Bakery Review

I have been meaning to post a review of my trip to Bouchon bistro and bakery in Las Vegas, but forgot I went there until I was recently cleaning up my iPhone photos and ran across these!
When most people had to Vegas, they have gambling on their mind. But for me, I had another: Bouchon!  I have heard of Thomas Keller's franchise for a while now and have been eager to it out.
The Bouchon in Las Vegas is located inside the massive Venetian hotel. It was NOT an easy task in locating this restaurant, but when one had been dreaming of Parisian gnocchi for five hours in the drive to Vegas, 30 minutes of wandering in the hotel was just a drop in the bucket.
Alas, you are greeted by this scene... 
After ordering, they give you Pain d'Epi to enjoy. I love love loooove French bread, and this type, which means wheat stalk bread in English, is perfect for munching on. They also serve roasted nuts too to munch on.

For my salad, I ordered the Laitue salad, which is just a simple salad of Bibb lettuce, garden herbs, and their house vinaigrette. It was really refreshing.

But what I had been just dying to eat was the Gnocchi a la Parisienne. It is sautéed gnocchi and seasonal vegetables. Now, Parisienne Gnocchi is not like your typical chewy gnocchi made of potatoes. Parisienne gnocchi is made from pate au choux, the pastry dough base for things like eclairs, cream puffs, and Gougeres. So, this gnocchi is light. It has a little crunch on the outside but then is airy and light in the middle. And it is GOOD. Really really good. Not a lot of restaurants serve this dish.

Oh, one more thing. This is actually a side dish. I told the waiter I really just wanted gnocchi as my main dish... So the chef made me a dinner-sized portion!
Since I am obsessed with Macarons, I just had to swing by his bakery and try them out.
On inspection... Perfect shape, flat top, perfect feet. I ordered pistachio and chocolate.
Taste test... Chewy.... But I wish the shell had a little more almond flavor. The pistachio inside needed more pistachio flavor, I could barely tell I was eating a pistachio macaron. The chocolate one was better, not too chocolately.  My final decision... While Bouchons look better than mine, mine taste better!!

Bouchon has multiple locations... yountville, NYC, Vegas, and Beverly Hills. I recommend going... And getting the gnocchi!
I was not compensated to write this post.  The first two pictures are not mine, the rest are. Apologize for picture quality, I was trying to be discreet in the restaurant while taking the pictures.
Search terms: Las Vegas Bouchon bistro review, Las Vegas Bouchon bakery review, Bouchon macaron review, Bouchon gnocchi review, Bouchon parissienne gnocchi.
Written at http//peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter White & Silver Tablescape

For Winter this year, I set up a white and silver table.  I used my lanterns that usually sit on the counter in back and put them on the table.  Winter greens sit on top of them.


 I set a table like this last year but never took a picture. The candles all glow at night and give off nice ambient light.


Even though it's just my husband and me, I always set all six.  We usually sit at this end of the table for some reason!

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop! Inspire Me Tuesday, Wow us Wednesdays!Tablescape ThursdayHome Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays,
written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com


Monday, January 12, 2015

Favorite Looks from the Golden Globes 2015

It is that time of year again... Awards show time! I admit, I did not watch the Globes this year (I fell asleep kind of early last night) but what I did wake up to was a webpage full of beautiful gowns this morning!  As I live in Southern California, this is the big news down here, as I didn't use to pay much attention to the fashion when I lived in the Northwest.  I have chosen my favorites and am sharing them with you!

First up is Catherine Zeta-Jones, wearing this beautiful red gown by Angel Sanchez.  I love a red gown, especially on the red carpet!  

To be honest, I have not heard of the next actress before today, Julia Goldani Telles, but what I do know is that I love this pretty gown!  It is by Carmen Marc Volvo.  Most dresses with a plunging neck line tend to be too booby, but this one does it just right.  Plus, the blue is such a pretty color!

Sophie Hunter, who is married to man-of-the-moment Benedict Cumberbatch, wore this beautiful Erdem gown.  I just love this pretty look, plus I love the fact that though she is pregnant she could find and pull-off such a pretty dress.

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o looked pretty in purple wearing this purple feathered Giambattista Valli dress.  Most people could not pull off a dress with feathers, but I think she certainly did!   I imagined it looked beautiful when she moved.

The youngest Oscar nominee, eleven-year-old Quvenzahne Wallis, wore this beautiful custom-made Giorgio Armani. This dress is just fit for a little girl! Love the little bow, the purple beads, and the fact that she is dressing her age.


Camilla Aviles, wife of Matthew McConaughey, wore this pretty pastel pink Monique Lhuillier look. The cut is not my absolute favorite, but she just looks so pretty.
Siena Miller wore this beautiful hand-jeweled Miu Miu gown.  While I think the actual tailoring is not perfect for her (the hemline is a little awkward), I just love the hand embroidery on this gown.
I love the embroidery so much, I had to include a close-up!
I honestly don't know who this actress is either, Taylor Schilling, but she certainly caught my eye wearing this beautiful red Ralph Lauren gown.  
Okay, okay, so not all my favorites were looks on women!  I just love the velvet tuxedo that is perfectly tailored on winner Eddie Redmayne.
Ellie Kemper of Bridesmaids' and the Office fame, wore this beautiful beaded silver gown by Narciso Rodriguez.
I love a pretty red dress and Heidi Klum looked very va-va-voom and old Hollywood in this Versace dress!
Emily Blunt looked very Greek goddess in this Michael Kors.  I'm normally not a fan of cut-outs in dresses, but in all of the pictures of her she looked really good in this dress!
Reese Witherspoon kept it classy wearing this silver Michael Kors.

Now for my TOP THREE FAVORITES! 

#3..... The 50 Shades of Grey actress, Dakota Johnson, wore this beautifully sequined Chanel dress.   I am sure it just shimmered as she walked under the bright lights of the red carpet! 

#2.... Amy Adams' baby blues popped in this baby blue Atelier Versace gown.  This look was pretty much perfect, the pretty waves, the perfect tailoring, and the color of the dress!

#1....But I think my favorite dress is this red gown fit for a princess!  Allison Williams (from Peter Pan and Girls) wore this beautiful Armani Prive gown.  The embellishments, the ruffles, the perfect cherry red... this dress is just a dream and thus it is my favorite look for the night!

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop!, Inspire Me Tuesday,Wow us Wednesdays! Treasure Hunt Thursday
Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
Note: these pictures are not my own, I found them from e-online and daily mail.