Lemony & Lime Basil Infused Cookie

  • 4th June 2013

This delicious buttery cookie blends the tart flavor of lemon and lime with the zest of basil and the richness of shortbread.   How can you resist?


Basil Lemon Lime Cookie



The below recipe comes from Bon Appétit Magazine.  It only makes 16 cookies, so you might consider doubling the recipe to make more!


Lemon Lime & Basil Cookie

Recipe from Bon Appetit



Two tips:

1.) Sprinkle with sugar and serve them for dessert with something rich like ice-cream.  Or, leave off the sugar and the cookies add a more savory twist to tea-time

2.) Freeze some of the batch to bake at a later date.  Shortbread freezes perfectly.  Roll extra batter into a log and freeze.  Slightly defrost, cut into rounds and bake.


ingredients before mixing, lemony,lime, basil cookies

Ingredients before mixing



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes

2 Tbsp. sliced fresh basil leaves

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Sanding sugar (optional)


Dough before baking Lemony Lime Basil Cookies

Dough before baking

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Place flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zests, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet, spacing 2″ apart. Lightly dust the bottom of a flat measuring cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2″ rounds, dusting cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with sanding sugar, if using.
  • Bake until edges are brown, about 14-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.



Lemon, Lime, Basil Cookies

The cookies all ready to eat!



(We only baked them for 10 minutes so baking time may vary)


Lemon Lime Basil Cookies

The buttery rich inside


Parting Words…

  • 4th June 2013

From the simple stringing together of lemon garlands for the goddess Durga, to dividing the prasadam or blessed foods for the children first, I came to associate food not only with feminity, but also with purity and divinity.

Padma Lakshmi



If You’re Heading to…Roma

  • 3rd June 2013

You cannot, absolutely cannot miss Ciampini!


Ciampini Gelato
Ciampini at Night




We tried a lot of gelato in Rome, a lot!  Every time it was not Ciampini we regretted it.  A few times we actually frequented somewhere new, threw away our order and headed back to Ciampini.  If in Rome eating gelato, we had to eat the best.


Making Gelato at Ciampini
Ciampini Tartufo




Why is it so amazing? According to their web site, they use a technique which allows for more air, thereby increasing the softness of their gelato.  We agree, it is like liquid velvet.  They use the highest quality ingredients and the most ‘noble fats.’  (An excellent term)!


Ciampini Crema/Pistachio
Ciampini Desserts


Beyond their gelato, their food is actually delicious as well.  Their Cacio e Pepe is simple in presentation but wonderfully rich and flavorful.  The ambiance rivals the food as to which is the bigger draw!  The piazza is perfect for people watching, spacious enough to give you breathing room yet quaint enough to feel cozy.  It’s right off of a main artery for strolling through Rome, Via del Corso, so the location is ideal and easy.


Ciampini Ambiance
Ciampini Ambiance


Our favorite gelato flavors:  Zabaglione, Gianduja, Chocolate Fondant


Piazza S. Lorenzo in Lucina, 29
00186 Roma – Tel. 06/6876606

Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 59

00186 Roma – Tel. 06/68135108





Fall Preview—The Box

  • 3rd June 2013

Think in the Box!

The fall silhouette for keeping the chill at bay is shaping up to be absolutely square.  Here’s a sneak peek at a few of our favorite iterations of the boxy shape that waltzed down the runway in plaid, leather, shag…for when the weather takes a turn….


Stella McCartney Plaid Bomber Jacket

Stella McCartney Plaid Bomber Jacket; Photo Courtesy of Vogue Collections Paris


Dries Van Noten does a lovely tailored version as well:


Dries Van Noten Victoria Plaid Bomber Jacket

Dries Van Noten Victoria Plaid Bomber Jacket



Dries Van Noten Victoria Plaid Bomber Jacket, mytheresa.com, $960.00


Hermes Motorcycle Jacket

Hermes Motorcycle Jacket; Photo Courtesy of Vogue Collections Paris


The flight jacket version:


Balenciaga Flight Jacket



Balenciaga Flight Jacket, balenciaga.com, $2950.00


Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Jacket; Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Max Mara Jacket

Max Mara Jacket; Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris



Moschino Cheap & Chic

Moschino Cheap & Chic; Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris



Last Look:


Cut from the same shape


Isabel Marant Bomber
Quilted Spike Leather Bomber Jacket


Isabel Marant Bloomen Leather Bomber Jacket, matchesfashion.com, $2815.00

Quilted Spike Bomber Jacket, pixiemarket.com, $140.00

Allure d’Asie Part Three

  • 2nd June 2013

Asian inspired rooms are typically warm and beautifully balanced.  Add lacquer and some bamboo accents and you’re all set! The allure of Asia is easier to recreate than you think courtesy of some prime pieces that are more accessible than ever.



Play up the Pagoda

Pagoda Bar Cabinet, Century Furniture

Pagoda Bar Cabinet, Century Furniture


Pagoda Bar Cabinet, centuryfurniture.com



Pagoda Console Apartment 48


Pagoda Console, apartment48.com, $1995.00



Zig Zag Pagoda Prints Horchow



Florence de Dampierre “Zig Zag Pagoda Prints,” horchow.com, $425.00 each (available on pre-order)


Cathay Pagoda Light Fixture by Two Worlds Art


Cathay Pagoda Light Fixture by Two Worlds Arts, twoworldsarts.com



Pagoda Hooked Wool Rug from Garnet Hill

Pagoda Hooked Wool Rug from Garnet Hill



Pagoda Hooked Wool Rug, Garnethill.com, $328.00


Chinese Chippendale is Consistently Classy


And it looks particularly fresh in stark white.  


Taryn Desk Ballard Designs





Lacquer White Chinese Chippendale Mirror,



Taryn Desk, ballarddesigns.com, $699.00

Lacquer White Chinese Chippendale Mirror, zincdoor.com, $778.00


A Fresh Springy Lantern Print for Kids:


Chinese Lanterns Percale Bedding from Garnet Hill

Chinese Lanterns Percale Bedding from Garnet Hill



Chinese Lanterns Percale Bedding, Garnethill.com, $30-$90


Clash of Civilizations

Lacquered bamboo meets a Greek fret pattern to create a distinctly unique and unbearably chic piece!



British Colonial Cabinet Navy Wisteria



British Colonial Cabinet Navy, wisteria.com, $1199.00


Asian Aristocrats


Prince Tole Wastebasket
In the Emperor's Forest Lladro




Prince Tole Wastebasket, wisteria.com, $69.00

In the Emperor’s Forest, lladro.com, $6700.00



Accents for Your Table


China Town Tart Tray

Si Kiang Dinnerware



Chinatown Tart Tray, homejameseasthampton.com, $75.00

Si Kiang Dinnerware, gearys.com, $98.00 and up


A new take on the classic centerpiece 


Gold Bonsai Tree z Gallerie



Gold Bonsai Tree, zgallerie.com, $99.95



Last Look:



horchow Eastern Console




Parting Words…

  • 2nd June 2013

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.







De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 1st June 2013

In the spirit of delicious Cacio e Pepe, just a few months back, Bon Appetit came out with a fabulous recipe for this simple, gratifying dish.  Enjoy!!


Cacio Pepe Bon Appetit

Photo Courtesy of: bonappetit.com


  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino


  • Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Recipe Courtesy of:  Bon Appetit

The below link includes a video to watch preparation of this dish.




Plaits Please!

  • 31st May 2013

From ancient Egyptian braids to Greek Goddess styles to European braid buns, plaits have been around gracing the heads of women (and men) for centuries the world over.



Braids Valentino Runway

Braids Valentino Runway, Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Paris Collections


But for Spring 2013, it’s the side-braid that’s fresh, fun and turning heads everywhere!


Rhianna's Braid

Rhianna, Photo Courtesy of: InStyle


The look is not solely confined to the realm of elegant and long, but can be punked-up a bit, courtesy of the one-sided french braid…



One Sided Braid Harper's Bazaar HK

Photo Courtesy of: Harper’s Bazaar Hong Kong

One sided French Braid

Photo Courtesy of: Estetica China





According to beautydepartment.com, the perfect side braid begins with the right styling products.  The recommendation:  Redken Rough Paste.  It’s a paste meets a pomade that has just the ideal amount of grit to actually allow the braid to stick.


Redken Rough Paste


Rough Paste Redken, amazon.com, $13.90




Styling a simple fish-tail side-braid is amazingly easy with these quick pointers from Isabel Guillen, stylist and braiding expert with the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman, in New York City.   She designed six braided styles for Real Simple magazine, the easiest and most au courant of which, we highlight here.


Side Fishtail Braid from realsimple.com


Side Fish Tail Braid

Photo Courtesy of: Real Simple Magazine


“This braid, which works best with longer hair, needs a bit of texture for hold; if your hair is straight, give it some wave by winding one-inch sections around a curling iron.

Gather your hair to one side in a low ponytail, securing it close to the base of your neck with a clear elastic. Next, create a fishtail braid: Separate the ponytail into two sections. Hold one section; with your other hand, take a narrow strip of hair from the outside of the other section and bring it over to the one in your hand.

Repeat, incorporating hair from one section into the other until you run out of hair; then secure with another clear elastic.

Finally, with a pair of scissors, carefully cut out the top elastic to give the braid a loose, casual look.

For a more bohemian effect, gently pull the braid apart with your fingers.”


 Last Look!

Short history of braids through the ages ending with this season’s side sweeping style


Ancient Egyptian Braids

Ancient Egyptian Braids, Photo Courtesy of: lovelyish.com

Navajo Braids

Navajo Braids, Photo Courtesy of: Lovelyish.com

Medieval European Braids

Medieval European Braids, Photo Courtesy of: Lovelyish.com


1940s Braids

1940s Braids Photo Courtesy of Instyle UK

1950s Braids

1950s Braids, Photo Courtesy of: Instyle UK

1960s Braids

1960s Braids, Photo Courtesy of InStyle UK


1990s Braids

1990s Braids, Photo Courtesy of InStyle UK

2000s Braids

2000s Braids, Photo Courtesy of InStyle UK


2013, Photo Courtesy of:  InStyle UK

2013, Photo Courtesy of: InStyle UK



Happy Hosting

  • 31st May 2013

We love these generously sized Anthropologie mugs.  They make the perfect parting favor for a weekend brunch or afternoon tea.  And they double as a whimsical centerpiece arrangement.  Buy one alphabet mug for each guest and invite them to take their namesake mug on the way out (florals included).


Anthropologie monogrammed mug
Anthropologie monogrammed mug






This idea warrants a trip to a florist wherein you can purchase only a few stems of different flowers in varying hues, size and appearance.  (Each mug only needs a few stems)

It’s a budget way to ensure a parting gift that remains under $10.00 per person and doubles as your florals for the party.  A nice bonus, your guests will think of you every morning with their cup of coffee or tea!


The mugs works with any flowers, or even just simple greens from your garden.


Anthropologie monogrammed mug


They can be placed at the table to complement individual place-settings as well.

Monogrammed Mug, anthropologie.com, $6.00 (available in-store as well)

Anthropologie Monogrammed Mug



Alphabet mugs or beautiful coffee mugs/tea cups from a local boutique are a fine substitute as well.  


Two more floral ideas to complement any brunch or afternoon tea:


Rose Petal Soap RSH Catalog



Rose Petal Soaps from the RSH Catalog are gorgeous in your guest bath.  One petal can be used by each guest.

Rose Petal Soap, rshcatalog.com, $25.00


Floral tape is a lovely accent when wrapping guests’ gifts.  It can also be used to decorate place mats, place cards or table tents.


Botanical Paper Tape RSH Catalog



Botanical Paper Tape, rshcatalog.com, $22.00