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Archive for March, 2010

March is a month known for stark contrast between harsh winter weather at the start and mild spring days towards its close.  On that note, we are taking a cue from this most contrasting of months to focus on that most valuable tool of the design trade-CONTRAST or as we like to call it in the studio “The Mix”.

A Moody Mix Makes for Layers Worthy of Praise

A peek inside the home of the creative director for Jayson Home and Garden reveals a collection truly using contrast and the mix in all the right ways.  Lisa Sherry Interieurs uses the same principles of high and low, new and vintage/antique, textured and sleek to build layers and interest within a space.  Not only do we build these collections for our clients, we work hard to maintain a collection of pieces available at our online boutique to help you achieve the mix.

With every project there are always pieces the homeowner has collected and knows they want to keep.  But when you are just beginning a design and cultivating a collected look there are key pieces in every room that a designer can start you with to head you in the right direction for a life-time of collecting.

Happy Alone

It’s official.  We are so over the winter weather, but here’s a way to use the weather to your advantage.  Take an off-season jaunt to the coast.  The beaches are quiet and you’ll feel like you’re exploring another planet.  Of course off-season can save money blah blah economy blah blah, but more importantly, when else would your hair look this fabulous at the coast?

Take It Inside

March is that frantic month with some days reaching highs just warm enough to tease and lows that dash our hopes for summer days.  Since we have a bit longer to go before bare feet on cool grass and sun dappled picnics under the shade of a favorite tree we’ll have to settle for the comforts of an indoor picnic.  Socked feet on cashmere throws reclining on fluffy pillows.  And even though it’s still cold outside warm your palette with Mediterranean inspired dishes like the Tagine recipe we’re featuring this month.

Read on to pull this picnic together with supplies and the perfect menu.

Gear Up and Snuggle Up: Indoor Picnic Supplies

Don’t forget the soft throws when you’re picnicking by the fire.  All are available at the Lisa Sherry Boutique.  We have one for every color palette and every budget too!  We are especially in love with the Horse Head throw.  It’s actually two throws sewn together and bordered by deerskin suede.  Snuggle up!

March is the month of transition and these glasses perform double… triple… multiple functions.  Perfect for a summer lemonade or a red wine by the fire.  See our recipe for Pernod and Mineral Water for a lovely Mediterranean inspired drink.  And don’t forget the straws great for juices or champagne drinks.  Get them all, even the straws, at the Lisa Sherry Interieurs Boutique.

Your Cozy Indoor Picnic Menu

Pour 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of Pernod over ice in a glass like our “Glass for a Friend”, available through the boutique.  Top it off with still mineral water.  The proportion of Pernod to water should be around 1:4 or 1:5 to mellow the potency of the Pernod.

Ingredients

1.5kg/3¼lb leg of lamb, cubed
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
2 tsp ground ginger
pinch saffron
2 tbsp olive oill
18 shallots whole, peeled
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 cinnamon stick
600ml/1 pint lamb stock
2 tbsp flatleaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, inner pulp removed
110g/4oz medjool dates, pits removed
1 tbsp clear honey

Method

1. Place the lamb in a bowl and add the ground coriander, ground ginger, saffron and one tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix well and leave to marinate in the fridge, covered, for 24 hours.
2. The next day, heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy-based pan with a lid. Cook the lamb until browned all over (you may need to do this in batches). Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside.
3. Fry the shallots in the same pan until lightly golden then add the garlic and return the lamb to the pan.
4. Stir in the plain flour and add the tomato purée and cinnamon stick.
5. Stir in the lamb stock and bring to the boil. Cover tightly and simmer gently for 1½ hours, or until the lamb is tender.
6. Add the parsley, coriander, lemon rind, dates and honey, stir well to combine and serve with a bowl of cous cous.

For the chocolate filling:

8 large egg yolks
1 cup confectioners sugar sifted
2 tablespoons white creme de cacao
2 tablespoons Kahlua
2 teaspoons Cognac
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dutch-Processed cocoa power
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

For the marshmallow fluff meringue:
3 Large egg whites
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup of marshmallow fluff

For the graham cracker crust:
3 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
cup (1stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F
To make the crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and granulated sugar until will combined.  Press into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.  Bake the crest until starts to brown and become crisp, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl until they are thick and the color of butter.  Beat in the Cognac, crème de cacao, Kahlúa, vanilla, and salt.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Let cool slightly, then gradually beat into the egg mixture.

Fold the softly beaten heavy cream into the chocolate mixture just until combined.  Spoon the chocolate cream over the graham cracker curst, smoothing it evenly with a spatula.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to serve, make the meringue: Using an electric mixer set at low speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the marshmallow Fluff to the egg whites a little at a time, beating constantly until stiff peaks form.

Carefully cut the S’mores into 15 large squares.  Place each S’mores on a dessert plate.  Top each with the meringue in a large dollop.  Use a small kitchen torch to carefully burnish the meringue until tipped with golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Betcha Won’t Watch Just One!

Ok, we admit we are a bit biased, but we are crushing on a client this month.  Catherine Horgan, style guru, has been influencing fashion in the studio this month.  We especially love Closet of Style TV.  Full of fun tips and tricks not just regarding clothing, but grooming all around.   We had to force ourselves to stop watching and get some work done the day we turned it on in the studio!  To see our progress on her interior design project come check out pics at our Facebook page.

Cultivating Your Style Voice

One of Catherine’s great tips to help develop your own style-voice is to keep a “personal style file”.  We do this with clients as we collect tear sheets to inspire interiors work.  We discovered many of us in the studio do the same with fashion as well.  So we thought it might be fun to show you some images from our personal style files as well as an exclusive peek at the style file of the fashion maven herself, Catherine Horgan of Closet of Style.  Enjoy!

Force of Nature

When you prune this March hold on to those dogwood and quince branches and by surprising tactics you can add gorgeous accents to interiors.  Simply clip the branches, place in water and, although it seems counter intuitive, keep humidified in dark cool location (like a garage) until buds start to break. These clippings make effortless arrangements and many woody deciduous shrubs can be forced to bloom this way.

Some other sites for more detailed instructions: Of course we had to tap Martha on this one.  And for the truly dedicated botanist click here.

Bold Words

Not for the faint of heart, but this blogger’s got a point!  Decorno, a blogsite about all things design related, tells it like it is.  Her fresh, witty, blunt tone of voice makes us laugh even when we are guilty of some of the transgressions she hi-lights in her “Things that are wrong” feature.  We love her fearless ability to call out the bad design rules that so many blindly follow.  Here’s a snippet from one of her hilarious rants about “those little wooden wall-mounted boxes”.