“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne I was recently reunited with some of my old cookbooks and magazine binders that I created over 20 years ago (long before Pinterest, blogs or the Internet). I remembered eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bon Appétit, Gourmet and Food & Wine each month. I would stash the copies next to my bed like they were romance novels (right on top of a collection of cookbooks), then contemplate which recipe I would recreate first. My love of cooking never waned, it just got pushed aside as life became more demanding. Over the past few weeks I have once again had an insatiable appetite for cooking (blame it on Pinterest and AMAZING food blogs). I just discovered With Food + Love, a beautiful, seasonally inspired vegetarian and gluten-free food blog. All week I have been obsessed with this soup recipe I found on this blog. And while my version of this soup is not vegetarian, it very easily could be (just used filtered water instead of stock).
Bon Appétit. Ronda xx
“A new heart for a New Year, always!”
― Charles Dickens
Happy New Year. I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for this year (family, friends, health and my recent engagement). This also marks my eighth year of blogging. It’s truly hard to believe. To acknowledge the occasion, I thought that I would share eight of my favorite cocktails to celebrate the day and ring in the New Year. Perhaps you will create one of these lovely concoctions and raise a glass to 2015. I have a feeling this is going to be a great year. Ronda xx
It’s a cold rainy day in Houston. So cold in fact we have a roaring fire heating the room without the air conditioner running…a rare occasion. Unsure of what to do with the large ham in the refrigerator, we decided to make split pea ham (one of my favorite cold-weather soups). Hot off the stove, I am curled up on the sofa with a bowl. This is the first time in the past few weeks I’ve had a moment to sit down and spend some time with a growing pile of magazines…I have no intention of moving anytime soon. I might just stay here the rest of the day. Enjoy your Sunday.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
6 cups Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock (my new favorite)
1/2 pound baked ham, chopped (2 cups)
1/2 pound dried split peas (1 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
½ chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
kosher salt and black pepper
croutons for serving (optional)
In early September 1946, LIFE magazine published a cover story that, in words and especially in pictures, perfectly captured the unique, sweet, melancholy feel of summer vacation’s end. That the article focused, as LIFE put it, on “the first postwar summer vacation” of the 1940s somehow added—if only in retrospect—a quiet intensity to the story. All these years later, the pictures and the story itself remind us of just how fleeting the peaceful, hot days and long, cool nights of late summer really are.
Inspired by a bushel of crabs on our outing yesterday, I was reminded of Partan Bree (Scottish Crab Bisque). Roasted crab shells and sherry lend sweet depth to this luscious version from chef Michael Smith of The Three Chimneys restaurant on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.One of the most acclaimed restaurants in Scotland, there is nowhere in the Highlands and Islands quite like The Three Chimneys. Set in the north west Isle of Skye, and housed in an old stone home by the sea, the original island croft house dates back over 100 years. Well-known on the island for serving the best fish, locally reared lamb, beef and game, Head Chef Michael Smith is a passionate ambassador for Scottish food and cooking. (more…)
The hot Houston weather, Food & Wine and winemaker Jeremy Seysses inspired my soup selection today. Jeremy Seysses has developed a wide repertoire of dishes to use up the zucchini from his half-acre garden: ratatouille, sautéed zucchini, zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini, zucchini cake. But this ultra-simple soup is the family favorite. “We have nothing from the garden for an eternity, then all of a sudden, we have to eat zucchini every day for two months just to keep up,” he says. His soup can be served warm, or chilled for a sunny evening. “Yes, we actually do get occasional sunny evenings in Burgundy,” he reports.
While this post is long overdue, I hope that the beautiful photos from JL Photographers will make up for the wait. In May I traveled to Los Angeles as a social media ambassador for Legends of La Cienega (LCDQ) 2014. I was very honored to have been invited, and was in the company of some fabulous social media gurus (pictured below). The highly anticipated event is one of my very favorite in the industry. Legends of La Cienega is a 3-day celebration of design that brings together VIPs and tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, decor, art, fashion and architecture. Receptions, keynote panel discussions, cocktail parties and book signings are just the icing on the cake. What I love most is that the event feels like one big block party…you see friends and those you know at every turn. And who doesn’t love walking from store to store while being inspired and soaking up the LA sunshine?! (more…)
The La Cienega Design Quarter is one of my favorite places and their annual LEGENDS event is one of my very favorites in the industry. One of the most anticipated design events in the United States, LEGENDS is a 3-day celebration of design in May that brings together VIPs and tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, decor, art, fashion and architecture for receptions, keynote panel discussions, cocktail parties, exhibitions, book signings, personal appearances and special events. The dates for LEGENDS this year are May 7-9, 2014.
I am honored and thrilled to be the Honorary Chair for the spring 2014 Thrift Studio. Thrift Studio is a not-like-any-other-thrift-store THRIFT STORE. Tomorrow, April 10th, we kick off with our preview party. Thrift Studio is a bi-annual 30 day pop-up shop created to provide financial viability and fundraising for Dwell with Dignity through selling donated furniture, housewares, accessories and high end designer finds to the public. All proceeds benefit the future work, growth, organization and structure of Dwell with Dignity.
I am so EXCITED about this sale! Our handcrafted cashmere, tartan and lambs wool throw are all available for the very first time today and we are thrilled to be partnering with One Kings Land.
Nan Kempner has been on my mind lately. It started last month when I commented to my friend Danielle Rollins that her book Soirée (one of my favorite books) reminded me of another favorite book, RSVP by the late Nan Kempner. As it turns out, RSVP inspired Danielle’s beautiful book. Then, over the weekend, Dallas designer Pam Kelley commented on a Facebook post. Pam wrote, “Sundays are the hardest for me. Not Sunday morning, but Sunday evening. I never liked it as a child, and still do not as an adult.”