Castelvetrano Olives

Mezzetta_Castelvetrano_Olives.jpg

What can one say about olives, right? They're . . . olives. But, Castelvetrano olives are special. I first had them at a friend's dinner party this past Spring (a very fancy, chic friend). She served them along with nuts and cheese as part of the first course. They are light and delicious with a mild, sweet, buttery taste. Not quite as flat as black olives but nowhere near as briny as the typically pimiento-stuffed green olives. Castelvetranos are super versatile—we've since used them in hor dourves, on pizza, in several different kinds of salads, omelettes, and they make the very best martini olives. They are, dare I say, the perfect olive. The only imperfect thing about them is they are difficult to find. Our local Costco carries them in a huge jar right now (pictured), and occasionally Whole Foods has them in stock. If you like olives at all, and have the chance, I recommend giving them a try.

Castelvetrano_Olives.jpg
 

posted by Rachel

New Years Eve at the Stork Club

Stork Club postcard illustration by Albert Dorne

Several years ago one of Jeff's colleagues, knowing that I appreciated all things mid-century New York glam, gave me this vintage Stork Club postcard. I put it on display near my desk and it became part of my daily landscape until a few days ago when I decided to take a closer look, being curious about the identity of the artist. I typically pore over every detail of new ephemera, but for some reason I didn't get around to this postcard until a few days ago. Anyway, I could make out a signature at the bottom right: Albert Dorne. After some light research, including checking out our copy of Famous American Illustrators (a great reference book, by the way), it turns out that Albert Dorne was a major illustrator in the early 20th century—quite a character actually. This particular piece was created circa 1941, published in Collier's magazine, then used as the Stork Club's menu cover for many years until the club closed. It depicts New Years Eve with many celebrities of the time pictured in the Stork Club's main room. I'm not sure I can tell exactly who's who, but that has to be Lana Turner in the bottom right corner (with Dorne's signature on her shoulder). Others shown include Tallulah Bankhead, Walter Winchell, Arthur Godfrey, Joan Crawford, and club owner Sherman Billingsley.

posted by Rachel

Kingdom of Earth

Kingdom of Earth programme  

Being Tennessee Williams fans, Jeff & I had to see Kingdom of Earth when Triad Stage brought the play to Greensboro. This is pure Southern Gothic, dark yet surprisingly funny, courtesy of excellent direction from Preston Lane. Live theatre is such a treat, and I'm always a little nervous—whether in New York, Chicago, or elsewhere—that the production will live up to expectations. No worries here; everything from set design, to wardrobe, to acting was amazing. There are three characters in the production, expertly portrayed by Clayton Fox, Philippe Bowgen, and Ryah Nixon. Nixon arguably has the most demanding role and displays some serious acting chops, projecting equal parts vulnerableness, sexiness, and humor (expect big things for her career). I appreciate that all three did a great job with their unique dialects. I am trying to think of something critical to say about the performance and I’ve got nothing. One thing to note, there are no bad seats at Triad Stage, however some are very close to the action. We happened to be seated second row, stage right. So close that during the final scene, it felt like I could reach out and touch Fox. If you are able get to a performance, please do so. This production runs through March 3, 2013.

 

posted by Rachel

Happy Valentine's Day

heart shaped cookies  

Heart shaped sugar cookies, using Alton Brown's good and easy recipe. The icing is something I developed while making iced cookies for a vegan friend. I believe it looks and tastes virtually the same as traditional "royal icing," but skips the egg whites. Simply mix 3 cups powdered sugar, 2 drops of vanilla, and a quarter cup boiling water (add more sugar or water as needed for proper consistency). Make it fancy with food coloring & sprinkles. Have a sweet day!

 posted by Rachel