Sunday

Birdcage Beauties


Bird keeping is an ancient art. Long before the Spaniards invaded Mexico, Macaws were being bred as pets and the Japanese were cultivating beautiful songbirds. But of course it was the French, during the time of Louis XIV that brought bird keeping into popular culture.
These birds all needed housing and the variety of cages designed for them is as varied as our own homes.
From the Baroque...

..to primitive...

..whether for decor impact, or for keeping live birds..


 beautiful bird cages, with their airy design adds ambiance to every space they grace.

It is no surprise that they are the darlings of decorators around the world.

If you love bird cages as much as we do, we offer this gilded cage currently on Chairish. https://www.chairish.com/product/286472/gilded-birdcage or click our icon in the right hand column. A stunning home for a pair of Java Temple Birds, Finches or Canaries.
Until next time..

Tuesday

Homemade Southern Pecan Pimento Cheese.


The first taste of homemade pimento cheese tells you it is nothing like store bought. Southerner's really love pimento cheese and families often pass down their recipes. Many folks in other areas such as the Carolinas, use cream cheese which gives it a smooth texture and sweet taste but I was taught to make it the Tennessee way, using cottage cheese and mayo. It has a chunkier consistency and tops a burger as easy as it does a saltine.
And oh! How great it is just sitting down with a box of saltines. I top mine with diced green tomatoes and sweet yellow onion that has marinated in apple cider vinegar with a generous splash of balsamic.


Top some sliced toasted french bread with it and serve with a regional southern wine for a great get together with friends.

And of course, it makes the best ever grilled cheese sandwiches when served on sourdough bread with fried green tomatoes.

Here is my recipe:

You will need-
16 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese grated
4 ounces cottage cheese
4 ounces diced pimentos well drained
4 ounces chopped pecans toasted
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
 several dashes of worcestershire sauce
 several dashes of hot sauce
Toast the pecans in the oven and let them cool completely. Grate the  cheddar using the largest hole on on your grater.


Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and chill for several hours before serving.



Until next time..

Sunday

Tomato Cathead Biscuits and Shrimp Gravy

A Southern staple, tomato drop biscuits make a breakfast delightful, brunch memorable and an afternoon snack satisfying. The term 'cathead biscuit' is southern slang for a really big drop biscuit.
Yesterday we had them for brunch, paired with an egg poached in olive oil and nestled on a bed of spring greens lightly tossed with a basic vinegarette. The piece de resistance was the shrimp gravy ladled over the huge biscuits.

 Both recipes are included here.

Tomato Biscuits
 Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 medium tomato, seeds removed, finely chopped and patted to remove excess moisture.
1/2 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil or bacon grease
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped sun dried tomato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil very finely crushed

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl mix sour cream or yogurt, milk and oil then add to flour, mixing until moistened. Add fresh tomato, sun dried tomato, basil and green onion. Stir until the dough forms. Taking a large spoon, drop onto a non stick baking sheet about 1/3 cup of dough per biscuit. Bake in a preheated oven of 425 about 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Makes about 6 biscuits.


Shrimp Gravy

Ingredients
1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup bacon grease
1/2 cup crumbled crispy bacon
1 bunch green onions chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
pinch of paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, add flour to the bacon drippings, whisking until it lightly browns. Add the onions, tomatoes, (juice and all) garlic and shrimp. Mix well. Add spices. Simmer about 15 minutes until the shrimp pinks up.


Variations on this theme-
 The shrimp gravy is very versatile. You can add chili peppers for more bite or milk for more creaminess. Try it over grits or French bread.
We thoroughly enjoyed our brunch.


Until next time...



Friday

Why Your Room Needs That Unexpected Element



Decorating is not an exact science. Some of the world's best decorators have never had professional training or an internship. Yet all the great decorators have that special something. A gift for understanding the client and transforming their home into something interesting. One of the tricks to accomplish that is the unexpected element. The unexpected element can be small, quirky and speak quietly, like a special secret between friends.
Or it can be bold and in contrast to the setting of the room, like this very unexpected element in  designer Ryan Korban's apartment.

It could be something over scaled, such as this lovely wallpaper mural from Surface Views...

or as simple as an unexpected table display..

All these things have in common the ability to  take the visitor out of a preconceived notion of what a room should be and bring a whole new perspective of what it can be.

Try adding a normal object in an unexpected way. This room was already gorgeous but the mirror placement takes it to another level.


If you think your decor is a bit meek, Outsider Art on the wall will change the complexion of the room. Outsider Art runs the gamut in pricing, from high end gallery pieces to flea market finds and is highly collectible.


So shake it up a little. Be a little daring...do something unexpected.

Until next time..

Sunday

A Never Forgotten Secret Southern Sauce

Today we made crawfish n' shrimp cake poorboy sandwiches and topped them with a sauce known only as Never Forgotten Sauce. Found in landlocked areas of the South like Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta it resembles a remoulade in appearance but is different. Remoulades contain, egg, lemon juice and dill. They are more tart than Never Forgotten sauce which is sweet and spicy. It is a great compliment to crawfish, crab cakes, catfish, salmon, veggie burgers, hamburgers, chicken and  ham and cheese sandwiches. Use it as a dipping sauce for fried shrimp(so yummy), fried oysters, even fried potatoes.

People in the South have their own personalized versions of this sauce. Here is mine.

You will need-
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic gloves
5 larger green onions
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup  stone ground mustard
1/4 cup hot sweet mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
several dashes hot sauce to taste

Mince the green onions and two cloves of garlic. In a jar add all the ingredients and shake well.
Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld. I always keep some on hand as it brings everyday sandwiches up a notch.
Until next time..


Southern Sassafras French Madelines


French Madelines. Even the name sounds indulgent. These sweet little cakes, part sponge cake, part cookie, are a dessert mainstay. They lend themselves beautifully to a variety of flavor combinations and decorated looks. My favorite however are those made with sassafras. The word sassafras is a French word and historically the sassafras tree with it's distinct citrus woody fragrance and flavor has been used both for medicinal and culinary purpose. I use the Pappy's Sassafras Tea Concentrate  popular in the South for decades.

Here is my recipe.
You will need-
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon Pappy's Sassafras Tea concentrate
2 tablespoons whole milk
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
In a separate bowl whisk together confectioners sugar, egg, milk,  and tea concentrate.
Slowly blend  and fold the dry ingredients into the liquid.
When the melted butter is lukewarm, slowly whisk into the mixture until it is slightly thick.
Spoon into a non stick madeline pan filling it 3/4 way

Place in a preheated oven set at 375 degrees and bake for 10 to 14 minutes until the madelines are golden brown.

 Let cool for two minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Once cool, dust with confectioners sugar.

Or go totally indulgent such as these I dipped in  tinted white chocolate.


Until next time..
Love this antique French fauteuil imported from Paris?
See it in our Chairish store..
https://www.chairish.com/shop/ohlalayall/product/list

Saturday

The Timeless Garden Gate


Living in the city I only long for a garden. Our last place had a small courtyard with a little wood fence and a wrought iron gate. Gilby and I would sit outside for hours under draping crepe myrtle and banana trees as I tapped away on my laptop, often the harmonies of musical neighbors drifting in. It was a magical little space and much of that magic was created by the garden gate.


For inspiration, here are some of my favorite gates from Tumblr. Whether a grand gate or a petite one, wrought iron garden gates always add a new dimension to the garden...





And just in time for spring, we have a petite garden gate, rich with time worn patina for sale right now in in our Chairish store.
https://www.chairish.com/shop/ohlalayall/product/list?utm_campaign=seller_badge

Come pay us a visit!


Gilby reads and recommends Modern Dog