Archive for the ‘A Taste Refined’ Category

4 Children, 3 dogs, 3 continents and everywhere a party…

Posted by Winifred on July 1st, 2014  •  No Comments »

Suriname, you know the country where our parents were born, where we lived for some years in our youth, and that we cannot ever stop bragging about, has been re-discovered by Surinamers who like our parents, moved to the Netherlands and raised children there, and by the Dutch who having lived side by side with Surinamers for decades, become curious and want to experience this culture for themselves. Many have built homes there and regular vacationers abound. The Dutch love the climate, the stunning rain forest, the cuisine of Indian, Indonesian, Chinese and Surinaams influences, the value of the Euro and traveling to a place where they can speak Dutch. We discussed with our mother the influx of Dutch tourists to Suriname once, and she remarked that she understood why they would find it attractive. Oen sab mek presirie, oen sab borie, oen sab libie.

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We know how to entertain, we know how to cook, we know how to live. There could be no better way to describe the Surinamer, and it best describes our own recollection of our youth. Our parents had 4 children, their first when our mother was 21. They had moved from Suriname to the Netherlands where the four of us were born. Later we lived for some time in Barcelona, and as they had wanted to expose us to our roots, we also returned to Suriname, then back to the Netherlands. What is striking about it all now, is the effortlessness with which they were able to camp and decamp from country to country, continent to continent, at their whim. And once we were planted anywhere, there was always fun to be had. Presirie.

Our parents knew how to live. Kids bathed and in pajamas before the guests arrived, a quick polite hello to aunts and uncles, then off to bed. But never immediately off to sleep. Out would come the Johnny Walker, the Bols genever, cigarettes, Lieve Hugo playing in the background, and endless talk and laughter. Ma loved to laugh! If they were not entertaining at home, we always enjoyed the ritual of watching her prepare for an evening out, behind her vanity. In Suriname, they loved to go to Torarica and meet up with their friends for dinner and dancing. But Surinamers are a family oriented people. We do most of our partying with family and Sunday gatherings were what we lived for because then the cousins gathered and we could have fun too.

In Rotterdam, we would visit with Tante Joke and Oom Charles. Their dutch row house was the hub for the family and as they ran their own bar on the ground floor, the hub for many Surinamers living in The Netherlands. We loved Sunday with Familie Doest. Surinamers do not entertain without food, and we do not nibble. We cook as if catering a wedding, full meals, several courses, dessert. Tante Joke made the best Chinese style chicken soup but our favorite was by far the blood sausage. Yes, that’s what we said, bloedworst blood sausage, cow’s blood made into sausage, the most flavorful, fois gras textured delicacy, spicy, and delicious. Only recently did we discover that Tante Joke did not make those. They came from Oom Max.

No attachment parenting, mind numbing routine or constant exhaustion. Children just added to the festivities and sense of community. What we regret about coming to America is the loss, hard and immediate, of that community. The loss of stories, connection, history. The end of laughter. Tante Joke and Oom Charles have passed now. We worry they may have taken our stories with them. It will fall on us to hold on to what is left of them, to try to recreate them. Ours will be different from theirs. Still filled with family, but a smaller family, more American friends than Surinamers. California, not Rotterdam. There will be guitar, scavenger hunts, dinners, no cold, flavorless nibbles. There will be laughter; like ma we laugh loud and often. Even among our American friends, we interject Surinaams – Mr. K has already learned some of ma’s favorite sayings. Our playlist though heavy on Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, The Police will always require Lieve Hugo, Kassav, Latinos. Our menu may have pom, pastei, pindasoep. But we look forward to surprising with dessert, already practicing Gail Monaghan’s Fané.

 

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Oen sab mek presirie, oen sab borie, oen sab libie. We can never recreate bloedworst at Family Doest’s in Rotterdam. But we will speak Surinaams, dance to Lieve Hugo, and laugh. Always louder than anyone else…

TOTAL TIME About 5 hours, including 4 hours’ freezing and prior day’s prep

INGREDIENTS

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons superfine sugar
Cooking-oil spray
3 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
5 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces hard white nougat, crushed into small pieces
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) shaved bittersweet chocolate
PREPARATION

1.
The day before, prepare the meringue: preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on low speed. When soft peaks form, increase the speed and sprinkle in 3/4 cup of the sugar until the meringue holds stiff peaks.
2.
Spread meringue into a rough 1-inch layer on baking sheet. Bake until slightly sticky when pierced with a knife, about 2 hours. Turn off oven and leave meringue inside for a few hours to dry completely. Break into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
3.
Four hours before serving, assemble the fané: spray the inside of a 4-quart metal bowl with cooking spray and lay a large piece of plastic wrap against the inside of the bowl. Spread the ice cream evenly over the entire inside of bowl and plastic wrap. Cover and freeze.
4.
Two hours before serving, whip the cream. When it begins to thicken, add remaining sugar and the vanilla, then beat to soft peaks. Set aside 2 cups of the whipped cream and refrigerate. Fold nougat into remaining whipped cream, then add to the ice-cream-lined bowl. Cover and freeze.
5.
Just before serving, rewhip the reserved whipped cream to firm peaks. Turn the bowl out onto a platter, separating the plastic wrap from the bowl. Remove the plastic wrap. Cover the ice cream with whipped cream, followed by chunks of meringue. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Let soften a bit at the table before cutting into wedges.
YIELD Serves 10 to 12

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Music, On Style  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Things to look forward to for Summer…

Posted by Winifred on May 21st, 2014  •  No Comments »

Unlike most here on the East, we never complained during the long Winter. There was that one day when the puddles of melted snow almost sank our Fiorentini and Baker biker boots and had our poor toes, though not wet, quite frozen. But for the rest we paid it no never mind. We can always stay in sweaters and coats, ear muffs, and woven hats. Besides, what is more romantic than being wrapped around Mr. K while watching glorious fat snow flakes floating down on a sea of blanketed trees and roofs? We can stay entirely in the moment, even when that moments stretches on for months.

But when the sun begins to shine and warm balmy days finally happen, we really light up. We waste no time becoming ever present on the roof deck, finding the open air and sunlight compatible to most anything we might do in a day; meditation, guitar sessions, reading, stretching, cocktails, all meals, even sleeping.

We’ll use Memorial Day Weekend to start off a long delicious season of communing with nature…

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Working on our a mixologist credentials and

earning reasons to own a

Buster and Punch Rockstar Bar,

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We will start with

Whiskey Ginger’s,

sipping them overlooking the city,

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They will give us the courage to rock out

as if we were Nik West,

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In a jumpsuit of course,

we might need another,

like this one by Maria Grachvogel,

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We really never stop wearing a scarf, in Winter under a fedora,

in Summer tied through our hair,

nonchalantly falling over our shoulders,

at least thats how Diana and we do…

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But the most heavenly of all,

is lounging languorous and sweet,

basking with contentment and harmony,

in all of our blessings,

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A refined, passionate, meditative peace

that sings,

can you feel the brand new day?

Images Via ShrimptonCouture, BusterandPunch, NYTimes, Pinterest

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Classic Films, Dimensions, Looks we Love, Objects of Our Desire, On Style, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Orange Chiffon Cake paired with Old Hollywood Glamour

Posted by Winifred on May 11th, 2014  •  No Comments »

Oh, we had been absolutely spent! Days of fighting with interior designer, Billy Haines, over 100-year old hand painted Chinese wall coverings and the specific velvet drapings for our vanity. We had almost completed handwritten notes inviting friends to our new Roland E. Coate designed home, when we ran out of our Mrs. John L. Strong stationery. We had yet to receive our custom made Ferragamo sandals and the recent fitting for the Robert Piguet gown in which to float around from room to room, air kissing our Hollywood friends, did not help us with our most important decision…would we wear a turban or was the over the shoulder draping dramatic enough?

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The party was all we could do from falling into a slump. We had just met with executives at MGM to discuss the part of Nora on ‘The Thin Man’ series. W.S. Van Dyke wanted William Powell to play the part of Nick, the glamorous socialite Nora’s husband, and for the couple to have an affectionate banter and friendship style of marriage. We were thrilled to have an opportunity to play opposite William Powell, but in the end, contractual agreements prevented us from taking on the role. We had already been fitted by costume designer Edith Head for a film noir. The part of Nora went to Myrna Loy. The studio system be damned!

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The only thing to do was to swing our Figoni et Falaschi Talbot-Lago T150-C by Hollywood and Vine and take our regular table at the Brown Derby.

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It was certainly not quiet or peaceful, what one would expect we would need after such harrowing days. But the Brown Derby was home; there was comfort in the food, the service and in being seen in our freshly curled hair. Carole was there with Clark. We never much liked her in a hat. We made sure to confirm attending each other’s party, but do hope she won’t serve us dinner on the floor this time…

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Kay Francis was there and oh, was she dressed! We already had some of her Orry-Kelly gowns made.

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Dietrich was there, in a veil, distant eyes, with a cigarette working over beef stew. We stopped by to make fun of her for the nightclub number in Blond Venus. She seemed sufficiently shamed for the ape costume and blond afro.

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Then we sat down for a Cobb salad. Bob Cobb always made sure to save us a generous piece of orange chiffon cake. Clark and we finished off the last of it. Cary, Myrna and Ava had to settle for the grapefruit cake. Our stomachs full and banter had, we braced ourselves for the next task – unearthing our Globe-Trotter trunks.

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The Mister and we are sailing off for the Island of Guidecca for a languorous stay at Casa Frollo. We have sent the recipe for chiffon cake ahead…

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Orange Chiffon Cake
From Lost Desserts By Gail Monaghan

For the orange chiffon cake:
2 1/4 cups of cake flour
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
5 large eggs, separated, plus 3 egg whites – at room temperature
1/2 cup of canola oil
3 tablespoons of orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar

For the orange icing:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups of confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons orange juice
Grated zest of 2 large oranges
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sift together the flour, superfine sugar, baking powder, and salt onto parchment paper or into a medium size mixing bowl. Then sift again.

In another large glass bowl, vigorously whisk the 5 egg yolks, oil, orange zest, vanilla, and 3/4 cup of water until smooth. About 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add the flour mixture and whisk to just combine.

Using the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 8 egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until very soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar and increase the speed to high. Beat until peaks are stiff but not dry.

Using a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the remaining egg whites and fold together until just combined, but completely incorporated. Scrape batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube or angel food cake pan with a removable bottom. Smooth the top and bake in the lower third of the oven; check after 30 minutes, if the cake is browning too quickly, lightly rest a piece of foil over it. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Remove from oven and cool upside down on built in prongs or a bottle (wine bottle works well) – with the bottle neck through the hole, until completely cool – about 1 1/2 hours.

To unmold, slide a thin knife around the cake to detach it from the pan, pressing the knife against the pan to avoid tearing the cake. Use the knife to detach the cake from the center tube: pull the tube upward to remove the cake from the pan side. Slide the knife under the cake to detach it from the bottom. Invert and let the cake drop onto your hand or a serving platter.

For the icing, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and sir in the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, zest and salt. Turn the heat down as low as possible and return the saucepan to the heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and beat (briefly for a pourable glaze or several minutes for a spreadable icing). You can place the sauce pan in a larger pan of ice water to speed the process. Stir in the vanilla and drizzle the glaze over or spread the icing on the cake. Let set before serving.

Images Via Pinterest, Heatherhomemade

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Classic Films, Looks we Love, On Style, Travel, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Love Sonnets to Laura

Posted by Winifred on April 29th, 2014  •  No Comments »

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It was the day the sun’s ray had
Turned pale
With pity for the suffering of his Maker
When I was caught, and I put up no
Fight,
My lady, for your lovely eyes had
Bound me.

It seemed no time to be on guard
Against
Love’s blows; therefore, I went my way
Secure and fearless – so, all my
Misfortunes
Began in midst of universal woe.

Love found me all disarmed and found
The way
Was clear to reach my heart down
Through the eyes
Which have become the halls and
Doors of tears

It seems to me it did him little honour
To wound me with his arrow in my state
and to you, armed, not show his bow
At all.

Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374)

Image Via Noupe

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Dimensions  •  Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Port Wine, organ meats, good health and good eats…

Posted by Winifred on April 16th, 2014  •  2 Comments »

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We love it when a number of circumstances collide to create one beautiful and delicious event which also serves more than one purpose. That was quite a lot of words to simple say that from chicken liver pate, we now have three things to gain. An infusion of Vitamin D, a deserving use of our Port wine and a midday snack that keeps us away from other sins such as peppermint oreo cookies…We have known for some time now that Vitamin D, best received by sunlight is not only good for you but a necessary nutrient. (Why do you think Surinamers living in the Netherlands run back to retire in Suriname and start to really enjoy their lives? We can always weave in a little something about Suriname, just when you think there is no relevance…) It is said to help with the absorption of other nutrients, prevent all manner of inflammation, aid bone density and most recently thought to prevent disease. Though better received through direct sunlight, Vitamin D is present in some foods, one of which is organ meats.

Then there is the matter of port wine, something we mostly drink in restaurants only on the very right occasions, mainly in the company of wine enthusiasts, but is sometimes called for in recipes for dessert. This is how a bottle of port came to spend two years on our bar shelves without being savored and enjoyed the way it could have been. News of Vitamin D in organ meats and a dusty bottle of port then combined with the discovery of a most wonderfully simple NYTimes recipe for chicken liver pate giving us reasons to celebrate! No longer would port go to waste with us, but there would be health benefits to be gained and even we could handle making what is now our favorite thing to eat. And yes there is much butter, embrace it, that too is better for you than previously believed. We are running off to make toast now…

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 pint fresh chicken livers, approximately 1 pound, trimmed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/3 cup Madeira or port
3 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more as needed
Kosher salt to taste
PREPARATION

1.
Put a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat, and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter until it begins to foam. Add the shallots, and sauté them until translucent, being careful not to allow them to brown. Add the livers, thyme and Madeira or port, and bring the heat to high. Cook, occasionally stirring the livers around in the pan with a spoon, until the wine has reduced and the livers are lightly browned but still very soft and pink on the inside, approximately 5 minutes.
2.
Remove the pan from the stove, and put its contents into a blender or food processor, along with the cream and the remaining butter. Purée until smooth, adding a little more cream if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
3.
Pack the pâté into a glass jar or bowl, then smooth the top with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about two hours or up to five days. Serve with copious amounts of toast.

Via NYTimes

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Escape to Belize…

Posted by Winifred on December 10th, 2013  •  No Comments »

When Mr. K expressed an interest in visiting the NorthEast coast of Central America, Belize to be specific, our reception was luke warm. Our mood hard to explain. We knew we felt lazy, circumspect, unamused, specific about our requirements for entertainment, uninterested in planes, swimsuit shopping, packing or overseas accommodations. So we thought, lest we leave Mr. K completely disappointed, why not experience Belize, without the traveling? We designed a Belize themed treasure hunt, so Mr. K could enjoy flavors of the land and its dimensions, all in one Saturday.

We thought of 4 things we might experience in Belize:

1. A jaguar preserve

Globalsherpa.com

2. Relaxation

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

3. The preferred Belizean drink, rum

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4. Belizean dessert, milk cake

Tstastybits

Jaguars being difficult to find in New York we were lucky there was a cat as beautiful and rare; the snow leopard at the Central Park Zoo. Any trip to the Caribbean must include a massage, a West Village spa would do. Hunger would invariable set in, thus a reservation for lunch in SoHo of aki and salt fish with an extensive selection of rum. And just in time for exhaustion to set in, a last stop in Alphabet City for tres leches cake.

Mr. K was excited from the very first clue sending him to the roof, where hidden in 3 potted plants were the full set of clues each on a handwritten notecard, a map of Belize in a glass rum bottle and two books. The first, a set of travel essays of different countries including Belize. The second, a picture book about Henri Rousseau, the French painter who had never been to Belize but rendered its beautiful jungles vividly and colorfully.

Mr. K then had to unscramble his clues, find his destinations where he was at each surprised by friends, and stay mindful of the time allotted until his next stop. We, the game master, were on call to provide limited answers to questions, orchestrate reservations and participants at various locations and to scoop up our tired hunter at his last stop, whisking him off for an evening of cocktails and dancing.

Mr. K was beside himself. He loved the creativity, the challenge of unscrambling the clues (the waitstaff and patrons at lunch were so intrigued they all began to help) and the concept of an escape while at home. We, loved skipping the boredom that sets in for us at the New York fixation on dinner and drinks, playing puppet master and offering amusement, surprise and childlike fun, all without luggage and passports.

Curious to see what might inspire us next…

Images Via globalsherpa, eclecticenthusiast, onehitchedlane, tstastybits

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the Air: Art Deco

Posted by Winifred on October 16th, 2013  •  No Comments »

Gucci did it for Spring, inspired by the Chrysler Building, Versace on the red carpet, and along with Tiffany, everyone was made giddy by the release of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby.’ Before the recent wave of roaring 20s excitement, long beating them to the punch was Terence Winter, the creator of HBO’S Boardwalk Empire, now in its 4th season. But luxury, glamour and exuberance will never be passing trends, these are always going to have it’s aficionados and enthusiasts and remain associated with great style.

The term, Art Deco, derived from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, was first used by the architect Le Corbusier to describe the colors, geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation of what was in the 1920s a new design style. Created by the French, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and a belief in technological change. From interiors to architecture, fashion and its accessories, and of course art, hints of this style, particularly the geometric shapes still make the most beautiful of decoration, at once a celebration of the modern, still best expressed in a classic way.

Art Deco Bathroom in 'The Women' 1939

Art Deco Bathroom in ‘The Women’ 1939

Tamara de Lempicka 1931

Tamara de Lempicka 1931

Gucci S2012

Gucci

Versace

Versace

Hirschell

Hirschell

Angel Jakson

Angel Jackson

Images Via Silver Screen Modiste, deLempicka.org, Gotham Magazine, Twigs n Honey, Vogue.Fr, Citizens of Fashion

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Classic Films, Jewelry, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Savona, Scarsdale

Posted by Winifred on August 28th, 2013  •  No Comments »

Savona Scarsdale

Savona Scarsdale

With the closing of Le Cote Basque, then Country and the steady decline in food quality of the Four Seasons Grill Room, despite still maintaining an enchanting ambiance, we are finding a refined dining experience considerably more difficult to obtain. It struck us as quite a statement that it would require a trip to Scardsdale for us to be reminded of what dining could be, and once upon a time certainly used to be in New York. We won’t bother to say what’s already been said about the preponderance of steak houses and an uncomfortable race towards more and more casual dining. What we discovered in Scarsdale is what we had thought all along which is, casual dining ought not sacrifice elegance, quality, attentiveness and ambiance.

Four of us chose a casual Sunday to ride the train to Scarsdale and explore Savona, an Italian restaurant with a sister location in Gulph Mills, PA. After exiting, we walked through quaint, cobbled winding streets filled with small boutiques and quickly landed in front of Savona. From the moment we stepped inside, the feeling was that of warmth. Warmth from the hostess who greeted us, warmth in the lighting and soft murmurs of dining guests and warmth of our table, situated comfortably towards the front yet with enough distance from other tables that with the goings on at ours, we would never notice anything around us. We were immediately comfortable with the acoustics, the attentive staff and the accessible menu.

We had trout, a fish on the grill item with an optional side of tapenade. The trout came with the skin still on, crisped perfectly and seasoned, and the fish itself flaky, light yet flavorful. (we do not recall the last time we dined out and had fish that was not bland and dry) The tapenade was outstanding, to be savored in small toppings on each bite, adding just the right amount of tart to the butteriness of the fish. Two of us had this dish and we each carried the same expression from the first bite to the last – satisfaction. The kind where you chew everything a bit longer, making sure to savor the rich flavors of each bite. Keeping conversation light so as not to distract from using all senses, sight, smell and taste to fully experience the richness of the meal, your entire body captive to its joys.

By now, we understood that at Savona, attention was being paid to every detail. Flavors hit all the right notes, had the right amount of impact and were paired with the right amount of compliment to each other. We trusted them to not disappoint us with a dessert we rarely order as it is rarer yet that either the texture or the flavors avoids a misstep. Panna Cotta. Savona did theirs in hazelnut, the texture was not flimsy, not custardy and sugary. It was a bit firmer, more to our preference, the hazelnut subtle, not overwhelming in sweetness. It was perfect.

Savona understands what casual means. It simply means we do not want judgment or obnoxiousness in being served. It does not mean less elegance, not being able to hear yourself speak, not having a knowledgeable waitstaff, not having a seasonal menu of well-prepared, detail-oriented, flavorful food. Casual means no reduction in excellence. If it requires us to take Metro North to have what we want respected and understood, we will accept it.

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