Matilda on Furniture (and on the internets)

Well, we did it. We moved all of our stuff to Berkeley. I can't tell you that the move went smoothly (that would be a lie), but it's done, and all that's left is to sweep up our empty Wallingford nest and ship Adam off to NorCal next week. *Whew*

I feel it would be cathartic to share all of the gory details of our move, but I will have to wait until I can talk about it without raising my voice and cursing. It might be an appropriate post for Halloween, as it was a *$%#ing HORROR. See, I told you I wasn't ready to talk about it yet!

While I'm simmering down, here's a happy thing:

My adored little Cattywompus was part of Monday's Pets on Furniture post at Desire to Inspire!

Matilda luxuriating on the sunporch.

Check it out here, and be sure to peruse the glorious Desire to Inspire while you're at it. Tildy-Cat has asked me to mention that any fan mail can be emailed to shockthebourgeois@mac.com, attention Matilda Warlock!


My First Stop in Berkeley Will Be...

When I read Curious Expeditions I always find myself whining, "awwww, no fairrrrrr" and crossing my arms like a sullen child. I might even throw in a foot stomp or two. For good reason! These extremely lucky bloggers/artists/lovers-of-all-things-macabre embark on voyages to the darkest corners of the earth... and bring the most delightfully creepy things to light. They're galavanting around the globe, and I'm forced to read about it on my lunch hour. Completely not fair. *Pouts*

As you can imagine, their post about The Bone Room had me teetering on the brink of a jealous tantrum.

How many hours would it take to look at everything?

Creepy crawlies!

The bat! I want!

I promise, I won't touch anything!

I was about to close my browser window and have a time-out when I realized...

The Bone Room is in Berkeley.

So now it's time for me to gloat- 'cuz when I move I can go there anytime I want. HA! So there!

All Images by Dylan Thuras and Michelle Enemark of Curious Expeditions. Thank you!


A Long Lost Sibling

Scanning through AT the other day, this picture caught my eye.

Image Courtesy of AT via Tocar Interior Design

What's that on the coffee table? A sculpture? A vase? An urn?

Recognize it now?

Did the light bulb go on in your brain?

It's the ceramic base of a vintage Chinoserie lamp... identical to the pair I bought on Craig's List and refurbished!

Separated at birth!

Cook Adam Never Ceases to Amaze

Hey friends! Adam and I haven't had any new recipes to share for a while (unless you want to know what kind of pizza we've been ordering) so I've asked him to revisit flank steak- a perennial favorite of mine, and a dish that he has perfected from trial and error. And when I say perfected... I do mean perfected. Mmmmm. So, with no more ado: Cook Adam!

The most gorgeous thing ever to grace our table.

"Shock & Awe" and I recently had the rare opportunity to cook for my family. This means dinner for at least 10, which is just too many for me to get everything perfect, and too few to excuse buffet style. I really am a control freak in the kitchen: I want to prep, cook, and plate everything myself. Everyone always seems (or pretends) to enjoy it, but I feel like I have the most colossal screw-ups when cooking for my parents. I want to impress, but I tend to overcomplicated things. This time around I decided to present an elegant three-course meal, but keep it simple with quick slice-and-serve dishes.

I selected Autumn flavors, because that seems to be the season here in Seattle. Multi-colored Heirloom tomatoes caught my eye at the local market and eventually became a Caprese salad. A meat market special translated into perfectly grilled and carved flank steak, served cold with a huckleberry-balsamic reduction and fresh basil. And we made wild rice out of a box (Oh Uncle Ben, you look so trustworthy). As usual, reactions varied from awed (brother-in-law) to interested (Mom) to skeptical (little sister Emmelia). Save for one particular design blogger, I am my own harshest critic: I had some minor quibbles with my seasoning, but nobody complained. My salad and main course came out looking pretty good, and were complemented by Shock the Bourgeois's apple pies, which I pulled out of the oven at the perfect time when her back was turned. (Editor's Note: He lies. They were woefully burned and practically inedible.)

Later that weekend, flank steak was still on sale and S-the-B and I were still hungry, giving me the perfect chance to refine my recipe. This was also our last sit-down dinner before everything to sit down on or eat off of was packed away for California. Quite the occasion, which explains why S-the-B and her table are so outrageously overdressed.

Pink + Halloween. Why not?

S-the-B hearkening back to her restaurant hostess days.

I bought two flank steaks at 2 or 3 pounds each, which cost me around $14.00- so we ended up feasting for about $3.00 per pound. There's something really irresistible about cold flank steak, so I again prepared and cooked the steaks the night before we intended to eat them and let them chill in the fridge overnight. I filled my little Hibachi with coals and burned them to white hotness (which was, coincidentally, a nickname of mine in high school). This grill does not accommodate large pieces of meat well, but with an abundance of coals it can bake/smoke a couple of flank steaks quickly while keeping the middle quite rare, which is what a Basque/Neanderthal prefers. These steaks got 15 minutes per side on the grill. For medium-well, I'd give them 25 minutes per side. If I had a gas grill that could really pump out some heat, I'd say 5 to 8 minutes per side for med-rare and 10 to 12 minutes for med-well. One of my grandmothers will only eat pure charcoal, so I cook her meat one day per side, douse with lighter fluid, and serve flambé.

Sorry vegetarians. You're welcome, meat-itarians.

Instead of huckleberry sauce I opted to make the pomegranate reduction that I've used for lamb dishes and deserts (and seems to be the key to S-the-B's heart). Pomegranate juice is actually quite easy to find right now due to its disgusting popularity amongst yuppie health nuts. With any fruit juice reduction, you want to evaporate away at least half of the volume, especially if you plan on adding balsamic vinegar, mirin, or liquor. I typically reduce 1 pint of juice to 1/3 pint, then while it's bubbling add two teaspoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and balsamic vinegar to taste (this will probably be several teaspoons). You want the final product to behave like syrup at low temperature, but become thin when drizzled over hot food.

Drizzling. S-the-B may or may not have forced me to dress to match the table.

Fresh basil is an old standby for me and works well with almost anything. It can also cover up a job poorly done by introducing a memorable aroma and flavor that almost everyone finds pleasant. I usually plate whole or shredded basil in such a way that an individual can avoid eating it if they want to, appreciating the smell but not the taste. I later prepared this dish a third time with oven-dried basil that was a surprising success. I sprinkled on a handful of blue cheese crumbles for a bit of pungency, a few generous pinches of rock salt and cracked black pepper... and this dish was a masterpiece incorporating all 6 fundamental flavors.

Salty, sweet, bitter, sour, spicy, aromatic and... gone.

By the way: Happy Birthday, Mom.


In Limbo

Moving has just gotten as real as can be: on Monday we watched all of our earthly possessions rumble away on a truck. I anticipate being tense and worried until I'm reunited with my things on the 21st.

Okay. Nothing. Move.

For now we're squatting in our empty apartment, subsisting on take-out food, two suitcases, a twin-sized bed, and a 10" television manufactured in 1988. I take it back: this is as surreal as can be!

This apartment and this beautiful neighborhood will always be a fond memory for me- our little urban Eden where we were so happy. Our prelapsarian flat:

Our ever-changing decor, and our beloved curiosities.

The newest addition to our dining room, an Ikea Granemo cabinet.
The glass sliding doors are an excellent preventative measure against our feline saboteur.
Foiled again, eh Matilda?

Our living room, featuring a petite sofa from Former Furniture.

Our bathroom, staged for relaxation.

The best seat in the house: our sunporch, overlooking a lovely park.

In Memoriam, Our Wallingford Apartment


If You're Going to Dare to Dream, Do it On a Great Pillow

West Elm is usually about 100 years too modern for my taste, but these are calling to me...

Neutral, science-y, and feminine with a vintage feel. Apparently they were made for my bed?

I'd like a set of the shams, please.

How perfect would they be paired with my Martha Stewart Coral Spray bedding?
Almost perfect enough to justify the price tag.

What I really need is a new quilt or duvet cover, and these definitely wouldn't go with the one I had in mind. Perhaps I'll go with neutrals after all? Hmm.


Oh, Elizabeth- You Shouldn't Have!

But I did.

Thank you, myself!