Friday, March 18, 2016

Perfect for Easter Brunch | Burnt Carrot salad | I'm addicted

I was so excited to photograph and then eat my lunch I forgot to sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds before the shot.  I realized only when I starting eating that they were missing.  Oops.
Hi friends. I can't believe Easter is next week.  I was starting to think about what I'd like to make for Easter brunch, though I'm not sure yet if I'm hosting or my Mum, but either way I'm making this salad.  The recipe is inspired by my favorite burnt carrot salad from Metropole inside the 21C hotel downtown Cincinnati.  They char their carrots in a massive wood burning oven, so they get this wonderful smokey flavor.  I made mine using a grill pan on the stove and while they didn't have the same woodsy flavor, the salad was still amazing.  I order it every time we go and find myself craving it constantly.  I could eat this every single day. The sweet, blackened carrots, creamy avocado, tangy lemon vinaigrette, the bite of feta and the crunch from pumpkin seeds, all alongside a generous portion of parsley and cilantro leaves - it's salad perfection.  It's nice to mix it up and have a salad constructed of carrots instead of greens too.  While the recipe is simple, it's the combination of flavors and textures that make it so crave worthy.  Metropole's version can be found online, but I made a few tweaks to better suit my liking.  It seems like such a perfect salad for an Easter brunch that I had to share it in time!  Enjoy!

See?  I added the seeds! :)
Recipe | Burnt Carrot Salad
(adapted from Metropole)

1 bunch of carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 ripe but firm avocados, peeled and cut in thick slices
4 TBS of cilantro, chopped or torn
3 TBS flat leaf parsley, chopped or torn
3 TBS pumpkin seeds, toasted and salted
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard, Maille is my go-to
3-4 TBS olive oil + additional for searing carrots
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

(*optional: Add 1/4 cup pickled red onions, julienne.  I usually fish the onion out when I order this at the restaurant.  It is a bit too over powering for me and I don't love the lingering aftertaste.  I did not miss it at all in my version)

Cut carrots into 3-4 inch strips. Bring a medium sized saucepan of salted water to a boil.  Blanch carrots for about 3-5 minutes depending on their thickness.  They should still be firm, not floppy, but you should be able to pierce them with a fork.  Remove and place in ice water bath until ready to grill.  Warm up grill pan or cast iron skillet over high heat.  Toss cooled carrots with a little olive oil until they are coated.  Place in warm pan and let them cook, without turning, for a few minutes.  Black, charred marks should appear in several places.  Then flip and sear on the opposite side. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Make vinaigrette (this is the biggest difference in my recipe and the linked Metropole version).  I just really like my own vinaigrette and it only takes a minute to make so I prefer it.  Either way is delish!  Squeeze all the juice of the lemon into a small bowl.  Whisk in 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp mustard.  Slowly whisk in olive oil, add more to make it less lemony and less to make it more lemony - extra lemony is very good with this salad!  Add kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Combine avocado, cilantro, parsley, feta, carrots and vinaigrette in a bowl (pinions too, if you are using). Toss gently and place on 4 serving plates.  Top with pumpkin seeds.  Heavenly and so ridiculously good for you!!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Design Obsession | Patterned Lamp Shades

Lee Ann Thornton's Instagram Feed
There are certain elements I suggest over and over again when helping clients decorate their homes - gorgeous textiles, blue and white pottery, checks, slipcovers, the list goes on.  I recommend them because they are the same things I use in my own home, in almost every room, and never tire of them.  Lately, I've added patterned fabric lamp shades to the list.  I've always loved them, but it seems I have a renewed energy for them.  I currently have one being made for Charlie's bedside sconce and another planned for Jimmy's office.  Custom shades are a bit pricey, so I use them sparingly.  Some of my very favorite designers use them and in each project where they are featured they are among the first details I notice in the room.  They are so charming and create that country home look that I'm always chasing.
Lee Ann Thornton Interiors (Quadrille wallpaper, Vaughn Designs lampshades)

Lee Ann uses patterned lamp shades in so many of her projects and I adore each one.  Her work is a constant inspiration for me on many levels.  When I discovered her on instagram I practically studied (stalked?) her feed and then her website and blog.  She has lunched with Ina, her Connecticut home is positively perfection (her breakfast room is my favorite), she loves blue and white, vacations in Nantucket and gets a little crazy over all the same textiles designers that I do.  Easy to see why I fell in love, right?  Her classic designs are enviable, to say the least.  Even though she uses lots of high end items, her rooms always feel cozy and welcoming, which I think comes from her California roots and love of entertaining - she knows how to mix relaxed block prints, antiques and bamboo/rattan to create spaces that exude comfort.  I should really do a blog post on just her! :)  Her pretty lamp shades are always a favorite finishing touch for me.  See more of her work below...

^^This one is from inside Lee Ann's home (taken from her instagram feed), note hallway and dining room shades^^

^^From Vaughn Designs showroom found on Pinterest^^

Kathryn Ireland

Another favorite designer that uses lots of patterned shades is Kathryn Ireland.  She sells some directly on her website, like the one above, or you buy her fabric and have them custom made.  I've featured the room to the left on my blog before, it is still one of my favorites from a cottage in California.  

Kathryn Ireland bedroom

Robert Kime Lamp Shades found on website

A favorite designer, Peter Dunham, uses patterned shades often.  So many of his textiles make terrific shades!

From Kate Collins Interiors, using a favorite Peter Dunham print on the bedside lamps

Lastly, here is a design board from a recent project of mine for a repeat client in Minnesota.   The fabric shades will be on top of two matching console tables that flank her fireplace.  Working with repeat clients is always the highest compliment and I adore this client and the way her home is coming together. (hopefully, soon, I'll be able to share pictures of the kitchen and dining nook that are almost complete.)