Monday, March 31, 2014

Tulipieres

Tulip... what? Tulipiere. 

One of my favorite parts of Spring are the tulips.  Some people love them so much, they designed special vases to hold them!

tulipiere from the 1600s

In the 1600s, tulips were really expensive. They were the thing for the rich to show off as they were so expensive.  In fact, "tulipomania" reached its height in the 1620s, with one Dutch tulip grower being offered an entire year's worth of salary for one bulb!

I think this is Royal Delft

You can't just put an expensive flower in any old vase.  So in the 17th century, the tulipiere was born.
love the beautiful red tulips with the blue/white china

The tulipiere is made to accommodate one single bulb per spout to show off each individual bulb.

Dutch tulip vase, 1680s.

It became popular after it was displayed at Hampton Court in England, although its origins are Dutch.

Dutch tulipiere from the 1690s with the arms of Willem III. Royal collection, Hampton Court.

Other flower bulbs were expensive too, including crocus and hyacinth. So those were displayed in tulipieres as well.

the owner of this trio of tulipieres would have been extremely wealthy to own all three! 

The tulipiere is often in a pagoda shape.  The Delft factories' inspiration was Asian porcelain as they just started trading with China in the 1600s.

Delft, circa 1690. This sold at Christie's in 2005.  Price was $57,000!

The tulipieres are often part of a set, so you could break them down and arrange them as you wished.

so pretty! 
Not all tulipieres are in the pagoda shape, here are some shaped as fans.



The antique ones are extremely expensive.  There are other newer version by other companies, but I only like the antique looking ones so I will only show those!


 A blue tulipiere from Juliska. 

A newer French version:

Quimper 

New ones are usually spendy too.  But not this artichoke inspired one:

This one only costs $35, from gumps.com

Another version by Juliska in the original "country estate" pattern. I thought it was interesting to show an empty one, as below...



and compare it to a full one! You can get it here. (I received mine as a wedding gift!)



Do I have you hooked? Do you want a tulipiere to show off your tulips! I do!

I've linked up with The Scoop!, Tablescape ThursdayWow us Wednesdays!Open House Party Feathered Nest FridaysSeasonal Sundays & Oh the places I have been,  life of the party the style sistersFavorite Things Blog Hop, and What's it Wednesdays. Be sure to check out all of these fabulous blogging parties! A big thank you to all of the wonderful hosts!

Written by Orange Blossom at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tartine Bakery: A Review

A San Francisco French Bakery Review

I love French pastries.  I love them so much, I used to beg my dad to bring home a smooshed croissant from Paris when he had to go there for business trips!  There is nothing like a real French croissant.

So, I decided that I needed to go to to Tartine Bakery located in the Mission District in San Francisco.

Why?

Zagat gives it a 27/30 and says "it's the best croissant ever". The NY times declares it "the best croissant on the West Coast".  Well, San Francisco is much closer to me than Paris!

Those are some big expectations to live up to.

1. First up, the frangipane croissant (basically, an almond croissant).
Was it good? Yes, really good. It was oversized (I suppose that's fitting for a croissant in America!).  The filling was good.  BUT it was overdone! Yep, too brown. They shouldn't have served them as they were overdone, but they sold them anyway because they can.



Friday, March 21, 2014

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER!

No, really. It is. It is the ONLY chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever need to know from now on. Trust me. I can't believe these cookies came out of my kitchen. They give the Girl Scouts a run for their money.



The BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world!! 

  • 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. cake flour (8 1/2 oz)
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour (8 1/2 oz)
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli (although I made mine with semi-sweet and they were still delicious)
  • Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing


1. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. 

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined, 5-10 seconds. Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate.  He recommends for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

4. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

5. Scoop about 1/3 cup of six mounds of dough (golf-ball size) onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until light golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. 

6. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

Yield: 1.5 dozen 5 inch cookies.
Recipe from: NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies





Tips:
  • Use the cake flour and all purpose flour. I honestly think this is the big difference between this cookie and normal chocolate chip cookie recipes.
  • Chill the dough.  As a scientist, I don't buy the difference between 24-36 hours, and actually for that fact more than several hours.  Places I've read it says it allows the flavors to "hydrate the dry products and allow flavors to mix". Frankly, if you've mixed it well with the mixer, chemically speaking, it is mixed.  I think chilling the dough just allows the batter to set-up, so when it's time to bake it starts from a cooler temperature.  I chilled mine for 4 hours and 30 hours. I can't taste the difference between the two.
  • These make bakery worthy sized cookies. Making them smaller I think would dry them out.
  • They taste better if you sprinkle the salt on it.
  • As with most cookies, take them out before they are completely done.  They will continue to cook on the pan. If you take them out when they're done, they will be overdone by the time they are done cooling!   

unbaked dough on the pan
 Some cookies may not have survived the photography session. RIP in my stomach.



Update: This post was featured at Wow Us Wednesdays on 4/1/14!
Savvy Southern Style

I've linked up with The Scoop!, Tablescape ThursdayWow us Wednesdays!Open House Party Feathered Nest FridaysSeasonal Sundays & Oh the places I have been,  life of the party the style sistersFavorite Things Blog Hop, and What's it Wednesdays. Tasty Tuesday's! Be sure to check out all of these fabulous blogging parties! A big thank you to all of the wonderful hosts!

Written by Orange Blossom at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Monday, March 17, 2014

Celebrate Spring with Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens, also known as "the Garden of Europe" is starting it's annual tulip festival today.

And here's what we're missing...



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Europain... aka a whole expo in Paris on baking!

Due to my insomnia one night... I got sucked into the internet planning my future trip to Paris and ran into EUROPAIN.

What is Europain?  It is a world bakery, pastry, ice cream, chocolate and confectionery trade show.  Aka, something I need to go to. NOW.  This event took place from March 8-12 this year.

Why do I want to go? Because... this.



and this...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Antique French Bergere Toile Chairs

My Favorite Toile Chairs! 

I'm sharing with you my favorite chairs I have here in my house.  It was a project that my mom and I took on one Summer.

We found a pair of antique chairs at one of our FAVORITE antique shops in Portland, Oregon "Harvey & Steve's Gallery" .  The only thing was... they were pretty beat up.

The previous owner of the chairs had a cat and the cat destroyed the fabric portion of the chairs.

That's okay, that meant two things: 1. A good price and 2. we got to choose some new fabric!

We somehow gained access to the Seattle Design Center and had so much fun looking through all of the designer housewares, furniture, and fabric.

At the design center, I fell in love with Hodsoll Mckenzie's "Ladies and Gents" toile pattern!

It's funny, because I actually saw this fabric on a French bergere chair in either Veranda or Architectural Digest. I remember thinking at the time, I wish I could find that fabric. And then one day, I did!!!



Now, let's take a look at the chairs!


the chairs
 The fabric is a linen fabric in a soft blue/grey color in the background with a creme pattern. I think the chairs are from around the 1920s. Not super old, but it will do!

the fabric
A look at the back...

the back

I wish we had more fabric as Hodsoll Mckenzie no longer manufactures it.  But it came at a premium price so I know why we don't have more fabric!

I just love my bergere chairs so much!  The fabric really is a home run.
love these chairs!
While I was googling the fabric, I found some other people using the same fabric.

I wish I could find the article when I first saw the fabric in a picture!  


A guest room is draped in this blue-gray Hodsoll McKenzie toile. The wall is covered in the same fabric.<br/>
Notice they covered the wall in it, picture from http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/living/home/hgregents/23.html
UPDATE * This post was just featured at What's It Wednesday #115 at Ivy & Elephants! 
 Featured!

I've linked up with The Scoop!, Tablescape ThursdayWow us Wednesdays!Open House Party Feathered Nest FridaysSeasonal Sundays & Oh the places I have been,  life of the party the style sistersFavorite Things Blog Hop, and What's it Wednesdays. Be sure to check out all of these fabulous blogging parties! A big thank you to all of the wonderful hosts!

Written by Orange Blossom at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Copycat Starbucks Caramel Macchiato recipe

Are you addicted to Starbucks' Caramel Macchiato?

Delicious!
Yeah, me too.  I find myself going to Starbucks just to get this drink these days so I thought... why not make my own?

I've watched them make it a hundred times.  It's not that hard to make.

see one, do one, teach one.
All you need is...

Vanilla Syrup
Milk
Espresso
Caramel drizzle

I've included two recipes to make this:

The ORIGINAL recipe (that I've seen made a hundred times) is this:


  • 3 pumps of vanilla syrup 
  • milk
  • 1-2 shots of espresso (depending on your size tall =1 shot, grande =2)
  • caramel drizzle.

1. Add 3 pumps of vanilla syrup to your cup.  Steam the milk.  Pour milk into cup.
2. Add the espresso to the top of the foamed milk.
3. Add caramel drizzle to the top in a criss-cross pattern until you are satisfied. DONE!

This graphic demonstrates the layers.

My recipe

My recipe!

  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pack splenda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 shot espresso
  • caramel sauce (I used Ghirardelli's but the Smucker's ice cream topper should work too)

1. Steam your milk and froth it either with a frother or whip it up yourself and then pour into cup. Add the vanilla and splenda to the milk and stir.
2. Add the espresso to the top. (For Nespresso users: I used the purple Arpeggio pod. Keurig users: 1/2 cup really dark coffee).
3. Add the caramel sauce to the top. Done!
get the printable recipe here

yummy!
Some recipes ask you to make your own vanilla syrup.  I am too lazy to do that and feel like this is a nice alternative. You could always go buy Starbuck's vanilla syrup too.  I might just do that.

I've linked up with The Scoop!, Tablescape ThursdayWow us Wednesdays!Open House Party Feathered Nest FridaSeasonal Sundays & Oh the places I have been,  life of the party the style sistersFavorite Things Blog Hop, and What's it Wednesdays. Be sure to check out all of these fabulous blogging parties! A big thank you to all of the wonderful hosts!

copycat Starbucks Caramel Macchiato recipe
Nespresso Caramel Macchiato recipe
DIY caramel macchiato recipe
homemade Starbucks caramel macchiato recipe

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sarah Jessica Parker's New Shoes!

Sarah Jessica Parker's new shoe line - exclusively at Nordstrom

I spotted SJP's brand new shoe line that debuted less than 1 week ago at Nordstrom's yesterday.

Sarah Jessica Parker (or her agent) was smart to come out with a shoe line, as she will always be associated with fabulous shoes thanks to her Sex and the City character, Carrie.

Her shoes run from $200-$400.  Other reviewers are calling them "affordable".  I don't think a $200 is considered affordable, but it definitely cheaper than a pair of Manolo's.

I've included pictures of my favorite shoes.  Most of her shoes have a greater than a 3" heel.

The "Carrie"

 I think this shoe is perfect for weddings:
"etta"

"Silvia"
 This shoe I love for formal events:
"Pola"
The only flat shoe I thought was remotely cute. I tried it on.  It was uncomfortable for my foot. Not impressed with it.
"Wallace"

As cute as her heeled shoes are, they aren't for me.  However, I think that she has a really nice selection and will probably be successful in her endeavor.  To get me more interested, she would have to include more flats.  Then again, the designer, who is 5 foot tall, probably isn't all that interested in flat shoes anyway.   

For more information, check out Nordstrom's. Here's a link.


Joining Twitter... forgetting Facebook.

I decided to join Twitter today.  How can you ignore such a large social media agent after Ellen took that famous celebrity selfie at the Oscars?

I think it will be a nice fit for me. Only 140 characters per post.  If I want to write longer posts, then I can blog about it.  For other things I will also continue to use pinterest, which I'm totally addicted to.

I've been bored of Facebook.  Same stuff all the time.  However, I don't plan on sharing my twitter with all of my Facebook friends.  I find that I feel like I have more in common with those in blog-land whom I've never met but who read the same blogs.  We obviously share (some) similar interests than old friends from 10+ years ago that I had a class with once.

I use Facebook to catch up with family more than anything.  However, I feel like when people post a gazillion pictures from everyone's vacation and personal events you lose... something.  You know when you go over to a friend or family's house and the two of you would sit there and flip through your wedding/vacation albums together?  That doesn't happen anymore.  So, from now on facebook, I will only a few pictures from vacation.  If someone wants to see more, they will have to show interest in me and my life to get more... and vice versa.

On Twitter, I won't be posting pictures of myself. I am a little shy and prefer some anonymity.  If I become internet famous, then hey, great, but I would want to be like Daft Punk, Deadmau5, or Kiss (does anyone know what they really look like?).  Famous but anonymous. 

It will be a new world of hashtags and tweets.  I'm ready!

So, follow me on Twitter, below:


Monday, March 3, 2014

A Daffodil Show!

A Daffodil Festival!

I stumbled upon a daffodil festival when I was at one of my favorite nurseries a few weeks ago.  

I frankly had no idea there were so many types of daffodils.  So when I got home I immediately did some studying.

Daffodils have the genus name of Narcissus, which I find fitting for such a pretty flower.

There are 13 different divisions of daffodils.