Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Heath Ceramics

all photos from Heath Ceramics

I started collecting Heath Ceramics back in 2008, when I was shopping for some new dinnerware. They are one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries and with a crew of only 60 people (with many of them there 20 years plus), it makes for a very special company. Located in Sausalito CA, they were founded by Edith Heath in 1948, an influential potter and designer of the Modernist era.

In 2003, husband and wife team, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased Heath Ceramics with a mission to revitalize the company, by placing a strong emphasis on design, handcrafted techniques, and the reinvigoration of the company’s designer-maker legacy.

Chez Panisse, Brasserie 44 at the Royalton Hotel, and The Slanted Door are just a few of the top restaurants who use their dinnerware. Nice!

I am mad about their designs, and have a long list of what I want to add next. The simple clean lines and the earthy colors say it all.....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bento Box Mania

I gotta give a shout out to a very cool Mom from the blogoshere at I am just in awe of her website and her creativity with her kid's lunches. Bento boxes are a very tidy way to serve food but what an even greater way to coax your little ones into eating more variety. Can cute and healthy live together in the same sentence? It certainly can.....have a look at some of these combinations. Boy, I wish my Mom could have know about this! Great work Melissa!

This one below is not a "bento" but it's just simply adorable.....

*all photos from

Monday, September 27, 2010

Killa Salad Dressing

Cherry Belle, Red King, White Icicle, French Breakfast, Plum Purple, Gala and Roodbol, Daikon, Black Spanish.....just a few of the names of the many varieties of radishes that grow in the world! Grown seasonally, and super easy to grow at that, I am just obsessed with these lovely little beauties and their peppery goodness.

This weekend I picked up a pale pink variety at the farmer's market, and was so pleased at the gorgeous little red centers that were hiding inside after I cut into them.

My all-time favorite way to eat them is straight up into a green salad: sliced super thin with my Japanese mandoline.

I happened to have The Cooking Channel on when I was composing my salad, and Jamie Oliver was making a salad- he made this most amazingly simple dressing that I gotta say, made my radishes taste even better....

All he did was slice a few shallots super thin (hence why I love the mandoline!) and put a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and a pinch of salt on them in a bowl and left them to macerate for a few minutes. He then squeezed them out and scattered on the salad....the next part is what I deemed as "killa"- he took some creme fraiche (maybe 1/2 cup?) and added a tablespoon of vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. I used yogurt and I used sherry vinegar, but I think you can vary the vinegar to your liking- just use good quality!

I normally don't make this type of dressing- not sure why either. Tart but creamy and so simple too. I think I will be keeping this one.

What are some of your favorite salad dressings?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tomato-Sausage Risotto

Who doesn't like a hot steaming bowl of risotto on a cool crisp fall day? I look forward to this time of year when we can indulge ourselves in the pleasure of what I think is the ultimate comfort food. There are several varieties out there of risotto rice, however, the principal varieties used in Italy are Carnaroli, Vialone Nano and Arborio. Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are considered to be the best (and most expensive) varieties, but I have been using the Arborio variety pretty exclusively and have been happy with the results. The thing all these varieties have in common is there high starch to low amylose ratio that gives the finished dish it's classic creaminess.

I have made this recipe that follows for I would guess, over a decade now, and I never get tired of it. It's from Cucina Rustica by Vivian La Place and Evan Kleiman. (pub 1990, William Morrow and Company) This is a fantastic meal to serve when you have a few people round, and you can hang out in the kitchen and take turns stirring....sipping wine while doing this is practically a necessity!

Risotto Rosso
2 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion peeled and finely chopped

1/2 lb of sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 cups imported Italian tomatoes, crushed

15 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup red wine

5-6 cups beef or chicken stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for table

1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy 2-qt saucepan. ( a dutch oven works great here). Add the onion tot he pan and cool slowly over low heat until it is very soft and just begins to take on color.

2. Add the crumbled sausage meat and garlic, cook over moderate heat until the meat no longer shows any pink. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the basil. Cook for approx 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes and meat form a slightly thickened sauce.

3. Add the rice, and, stirring constantly, cook until the rice absorbs all the sauce. Add the red wine and cook slowly, stirring constantly, until it is completely absorbed.

4. Meanwhile, heat the beef or chicken broth, until it is very hot. Turn the heat off, but keep the broth hot on a warm burner. Add the hot broth to the rice one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. The rice should cook very slowly over low heat. Wait until all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful of broth. Midway in the cooking time, add salt and pepper.

5.When the rice is just barely tender, add the Parmesan cheese and a knob of butter. Turn off the heat and stir vigorously until all the butter and cheese are absorbed.

buon appetito!!