September 30, 2010
Let’s just get this out of the way: I think about food a lot. Maybe the past six-and-a-half years, first as a senior editor and then as a columnist for Bon Appétit magazine, is to blame? Or is it the embarrassing number of condiments multiplying in my fridge, begging to be used, that are responsible? Whomever—or whatever—the culprit, one of the huge benefits of working from a home office is being able to sneak into the kitchen and make a satisfying snack or lunch to inspire the work that lies ahead. In fact, LIFEWORK editor Cerentha Harris and I often talk food (right after we talk design, of course) and so we thought we’d start a feature called Good Taste in which we share delicious recipes for office snacks and lunches at home. Here’s the first in this habit-forming series—and don’t say we didn’t warn you!
It turns out that one of my favorite restaurant bar snacks translates brilliantly to the home office. (Minus the Makers Mark Manhattan, of course.) If you’ve ever been to Jar restaurant in Los Angeles, you know what I’m talking about: housemade potato chips with horseradish cream. Totally addictive. Chef Suzanne Tracht shared the recipe with Bon Appétit a couple years ago, and it has been a staple ever since. At home, I make it a little more virtuous by using low-fat organic sour cream and Kettle Brand Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Baked Potato Chips (with 65% less fat; 120 calories per 20 chip serving!). Though admittedly, Kettle’s Krinkle Cut Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper chips are worth the caloric splurge.
The horseradish cream keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, so you can make it for friends on a Saturday night and hide a little in the fridge for yourself to revisit on a Monday afternoon. Bon appétit!
Spicy Horseradish Sauce and Black Pepper Potato Chips
Adapted from a recipe by Suzanne Tracht for Bon Appétit.
Yield: 2 cups
1 16-ounce container organic low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon extra-hot prepared white horseradish (such as Atomic) or regular prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (scant) hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon (scant) Worcestershire sauce
Kettle Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Baked Potato Chips
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover tightly; chill. Re-whisk before using. Serve with Kettle Brand Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Baked Potato Chips.
May 29, 2010
The Edison Bulb is the lighting equivalent of a 4-inch Christian Louboutin pump. A light is made for lighting. A shoe is made for walking. Neither the Edison nor Louboutin achieves its design function all that well. (Louboutin himself once told me that some of his shoes were made simply for wearing in bed.) However, both objects are brilliant at being beautiful. More on Louboutins another time, but let’s focus on how pretty these simple MIT Cage lights are from Schoolhouse Electric, in matte bronze and hanging from the pitched ceiling by a simple brown twisted cord. You can find the carbon-filament Edison bulbs at specialty lighting stores, where the clerk is likely to roll his or her eyes when you ask for them. But your eyes will thank you not only for the very soft, calming glow these bulbs cast but for their sheer beauty.
Balance, Design, Products
May 28, 2010
I love magazines, and I hold onto my favorites as if they were antiquarian books. I can always find inspiration leafing through a back issue of Vogue or Tatler, and I consult my library of back issues of Bon Appétit, Gourmet and Saveur almost daily for reference. I stocked up on these handsome Knuff magazine files at Ikea (two for $9.99) made of birch plywood. You can stain or paint them, but I love how they look untreated.
Balance, Design, Products
May 27, 2010
Today is the day! My new George Nelson Swag Leg Work Table will be delivered any second now. I’ve been frantically unpacking all week—stacks and stacks of books and magazines, which is a real challenge because I’m genetically predisposed to alphabetize books within their subject categories and organize magazines chronologically. In the unpacking process, I’ve uncovered some real gems like a favorite Lee Friedlander poster from the MoMA exhibit in 2005 and a 1960s Gucci portfolio of my dad’s, which he gave me when I started college. Here it sits patiently on a white leather Eames Aluminum Group chair, awaiting the arrival of the new table..
Balance, Design, Products
May 26, 2010
What was the most challenging aspect to the remodel? Hands down, the garage doors. We live in one of the most historically intact neighborhoods in the country, and so when selecting doors, it was crucial to preserve the visual integrity of our 1920s cottage (yes, 1920s qualifies as “historic” in Los Angeles). But try finding a good-looking carriage door that doesn’t cost the moon and stars for your garage. It’s harder than you think!
So our contractor, Billy Hartman, built it. He had a welder make a metal frame, which he then covered with wood. I ordered some cast-iron straps and pulls from House of Antique hardware. And for paint, the color idea came to me while I was sitting on our front steps getting ready to go for a long run to clear my head. Slate blue! The color is Benjamin Moore Affinity #495 Azores. The dreamy cream trim around the door is a custom color and we will be repainting all the wood trim on the house this gorgeous hue next month. Also, the dingy Navajo White currently on the exterior stucco will also be repainted next month in a heavenly warm gray. And so the love affair with paint continues…
Balance, Design, Products
May 21, 2010
Today the third coat of high-gloss Benjamin Moore “Poppy” paint goes up on the bookcase. (The gray on the face is primer.) With each coat, the color changes ever so slightly—the first coat looked like a gorgeous Brandywine heirloom tomato. With the second, we swung back to more of a coral. Between each coat, our painter, Jeff Lee, sands down the paint so that it looks smooth as glass. I’m hoping the third and final application will live up to the color’s name: poppy.
[Heather's garage transformation is almost complete. She got ahead of us while I was in New York for ICFF. So next week we should get close to seeing the completed office! Cerentha]
May 4, 2010
Everyone should have a neighbor like Debra—that impossibly chic former investment banker turned decorator with a PhD in mysticism and perfect skin. I’ve been going back and forth on what stain to use on the back wall—ash, walnut, natural, oak? So I called Debra, who came up with the genius idea of using a 60/40 water/paint wash using the same paint that is going on the walls and ceiling. In a small space, she said, we needed continuity of color. The paint is Farrow & Ball Light Gray, which is also featured in our bedroom and living room. I emphatically believe it is the prettiest color of paint in the whole wide world, and sometimes I just gaze at our bedroom walls mesmerized by it. Out in the garage, the washed boards are going up on the back wall as we speak, and the effect is so beautiful—it looks like the weathered redwood homes throughout Sea Ranch near where I grew up.
April 26, 2010
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with paint. There were a million things on my to-do list this past weekend, but the moment our toddler went down for his daily nap, I jumped at the chance to spend an hour or two playing with paint instead. Currently our house and garage are painted with a depressingly dingy Navajo White and dark brown trim. I can’t wait to paint the exterior stucco of the garage and our house in a custom Benjamin Moore color called Meadowood Gray, and the trim in Meadowood Cream, based on the color scheme of Meadowood Napa Valley where my husband and I got married. The guys at Paint Works in St Helena shared the paint formulas. For the accent color, which will be featured on the garage door and the shutters on our house, I’m playing around with a few Farrow & Ball colors. The end result will be a surprise, but here is sneak peek at possible contenders…
April 22, 2010
Not even the rain that is drenching Southern California can put a damper on my spirits today. Thanks to our awesome contractor, Billy, we beat the rain and got the framing finished before the storm hit. I have office walls! And a generous new storage space at the back of the garage. The weather over the next few days will dictate how quickly the drywall goes up.
And the first sunny day we see, Billy’s crew will be fabricating new carriage doors for the front of the garage. From there we can move onto my true passion: paint.
April 19, 2010
My husband grew up in Manhattan and our contractor, Billy Hartman, is from Queens. While I’m talking paint chips, they’re talking Mets pitching rotation. But one language we all speak turns out to be concrete. My husband and I wanted the slab in our garage scored to look like a New York City sidewalk—what Billy says is called a “city seam.” There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about the seams, as well as practical (these control joints help localize cracking). When it came to color, instead of a cold cityscape vibe, we added warmth and depth to the slab with subtle stain, which the pros achieved by sprinkling burgundy- and brick-colored powder pigments over the freshly poured concrete and smoothing it in with a trowel. I’ve been told that, much like a tattoo, you only get one chance with stain, so best leave it to the pros. And all the better if they’re in a New York state of mind.