Monthly Archives: February 2011

the professor

February 24, 2011

the other day i found my self quite inspired by this simple vintage desk chair. (sorry for the poor phone camera quality) 

a nod to mid century i couldn’t help but conjure the professor. bookishly handsome, cardigan or blazer, it hardly matters, with leather patches at the elbows, horn rimmed glasses and a weathered but captivating smell of tobacco encircling him. in an instant i glimpsed his home office. A large wooden slab desk with gorgeous patina, a wall covered in ornate antique gold frames,empty so that one may appreciate all their intricate detail, comfy siesta chairs for reading, plenty of old books, and accents of candlelight, brass, wool and hide. btw an inspiration board via the internet is hard – made me appreciate fabric samples and colored pencils. 

desk: 1stdibs, books: simply objekts, siesta chairs: 1st dibs, fossil bookends: littlybyrdvintage, hex lamps:1stdibs, rug: moroccanmaryam, paint: No.268,95 and 264:farrow&ball, sconces:lovedbytime

wine list wednesday.

February 23, 2011

ok kids. this little bottle of chardonnay is gonna knock your socks off. the 2007 Pine Ridge Vineyard Dijon Clones. its amazingly rich and has such elegance. I think if i had to pick one bottle to drink for the rest of my life this might be it. 

this wine tastes like the work of honeybees in a summer orchard. and it smells just as amazing. it all so well balanced, super super smooth and just the right hint of fruitiness(white peach, a little citrus, and pineapple) to compliment the oak – something that can be tricky with chardonnay. sometimes it just tastes like you are licking the inside of an old wine barrel, you know what i mean? but this doesn’t its gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous and it lovely flavor just lingers on your tongue. it will be a hit if you bring it as a gift or the star of the party. 
serve with: mussels. or nothing at all. just enjoy it. 35$.

monday.

February 21, 2011

another week begins. the start of this one feels crisper and cleaner than others have this year. I booked a trip for the middle of march to go off buying for the shop. I feel like i need to get away from seeing all of the things im slowly becoming accustom to at the markets here. clear my head and eyes just for a minute to gain fresh perspective. 
it stormed friday night and all day saturday and on into the evening. it was my first time seeing rain with such combination of force and longevity since moving to san francisco. i cant help but imagine this huge storm as it swelled and tossed out across the wide open pacific before finally crashing on us.  we spent almost all of the day curled up inside with books and blankets and huge cups of tea. if we had a fireplace i have no doubt that it would have been roaring, but our trusty radiator did its job faithfully though with less ambiance. i worked my way through much of the Great House, nicole krauss. i am pleasantly surprised not only with the story but with the writing itself – drawn in by the novels focus on objects imbued with the memory of many individual and many generations (go figure, i know.) with a few sections left i am eager to finish. 
it was nice to awake this morning to a bright blue albeit chilly sky. wrapped in this lovely, i headed to the farmers market. It was a treat to find bundles of thin fresh asparagus there. brown bread was made and a huge pot of veggie stock with all the unused bits i squirreled away in the fridge during the week. i also spent some time with an amazing old cook book i acquired a while ago, but it deserves a post of its own. and i report a disasterous molasses taffy attempt. 
i  finished the whole thing with a long cold walk at the beach. its proximity to the pacific and sand  is one of the great luxuries of san francisco and i loved spending as much time there as i can. 

wine list wednesday…

February 17, 2011

…..well um is guess its more like a thirsty thursday. i hope youll forgive the tardiness of this post. we have had technical difficulty here at Cottage Farm. a moratorium of sorts on internet. but not to fear, i think its all sorted out and we should be back up and running midweek next week. for now though i will be working from my satellite (aka my local coffee shop or public library) office – so things might be a bit skatty over the next few days. please stay with us. 

and now what youve all been waiting for….wine list wednesday. 
i have a champagne on the menu today. normally im not such a huge fan, but this bubbly is worth the hype. its the california cousin of the french masion du louis roederer.
its a beautiful, not too bubbly not to sweet vintage from Roederer Estate. and its brilliant!! this champagne is not for oj and thats for sure. so just trust me- grab a bottle, its about 20$, a few of your favorite girlfriends (or your honey) and have a blast. 

a love-ly dinner

February 15, 2011

last night we spent a truly lovely night at home. we are lucky to live in a city that offers a bounty of beautiful ingredients and we feel like on special occasions its nice to take full advantage of this bounty.  

 we started the meal with a sampling of charcuterie from the newly opened Fatted Calf store in Hayes Valley. they use high quality and local ingredients and all of their meats are cured and prepared by hand.the flavors and exquisite pates and salumis surly show case this delicate art. they also offer classes so you can learn these skills for yourself. YUM! 

on the right side of the board are a few cheese we picked up at Cheese Plus. they are always so helpful and have an amazing variety of artfully crafted cheeses from around the world. the blue cheese was by far the favorite. a goats milk blue from france: blue du bocage goat. its excellent. the best part is we have enough left for dinner tonight. this makes me very happy. 

finally – mussels from SwanOysterDepot. a long standing sf fishmonger. they have been at it been around for decades. they have an oyster bar which looks like it hasent changed since the place opened and you at 9am you can see people happily slurping oysters, eating huge bowls of clam chowda and drinking anchor steams – its looks like so much fun. i still have yet to partake. but their fish is amazing! its the only place i will buy seafood from in the city. you can call ahead to order or just get there early. but i suggest getting in before 10 to have prime choice. 

Mussels. 

2 1/2lbs of fresh mussels. scrubbed and debearded

1 large fennel bulb. cored and diced. fronds reserved and chopped aprox 1/4 cup. 

1 large onion diced.

2 cloves garlic diced.

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

tbsp of red pepper flakes 

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup vodka

1 1/4 cups of fish stock, or other stock if you prefer. 

1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley 

2 tbsp evoo

1 tbsp butter

salt and pepper. 

in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet heat oil and saute fennel, onion, garlic and thyme. until softened. aprox 8 mins over medium heat. 

next add red pepper flakes and saute another 1 minute 

add vodka and wine and bring to a boil. reduce 3 mins. 

add stock and bring to a boil. when it is boiling add mussels. cover and shake pan or gently fold bottom mussels to top.  until mussels are opened and cooked. aprox. 7 minutes. discard any unopened ones. 

while mussels are cooking i placed a large le cruset baking dish in the oven at 300. when the mussels were cooked i carefully transfered them into the warm lecruset and placed it back in the oven. 

i then added the last dollop of butter, chopped parsley, fennel fronds, and salt and pepper. i melted the butter and reduced the sauce simmering gently for 3 minutes. removed mussels from oven and poured the sauce over the top. 

served w. big hunks of crusty bread. 

a little love for cottage farm

February 14, 2011

yesterday, i was featured in a little article over at the san francisco chronicle. I basically got to walk around and do what i love, look for treasures at the flea market. It was a lot of fun working on the story with the very talented Chantal Lamers, who penned the article. I hope you will go and check it out. there are lots of great photos too!

and Happy Valentines Day!

mario giacomelli

February 8, 2011

Mario Giacomelli is a photographer i have long admired. as a fledgeling photography student my first encounter with the work of maria giacomelli was one of curiosity and amazement. here was a respected (albeit its something of a cult following) photographer breaking almost every rule of the medium as i understood it. 

he was a print maker by trade and used the camera not as some marvel of technology, but as a tool. a tool to accomplish the surreal, haunting and poetic photographs for which he is known. his camera was closer to a handmade pinhole camera than anything and for the most part he captured images of his world. the landscape, village and people amongst whom he lived and worked and eventually died. with a few exceptions he did not venture out of his hometown to photograph and this relationship makes for even more introspective photograph of landscape and human condition. 

i could go on and on, but with giacomelli’s work especially it is simply best to just experience it for yourself. in all honesty many of his images boarder on frightening. it has taken me years to be able to look some of them in the face, but i think on some level its more that he is holding up a mirror to the very aspects of the human condition we fear most.