May 29, 2011

What's on Chef's Bookshelf?

Last time Chef Matt visited the Klatch, we talked about underappreciated ingredients. Today Chef Matt shares some of his "go to" cook books. Though when cooking at home he tends to use magazines, like Saveur, a couple books made the cut:

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. “This book has a lot of basics that bring me back to my roots of simple cooking that I often overlook.”

Splendid Soups by James Peterson. “I love making soups that last a few days and I can get multiple meals out of. We'll have a bowl of soup, some bread and a big salad and call it a day.”

At the restaurant Chef’s picks are all about ingredients and combining flavors. I suspect any home kitchen would benefit from these:

Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. “A great book for writing menus. It puts together ingredients that work well together and separates ingredients by cuisine and seasonality.”

Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst. “Basically a mini food encyclopedia. I use this every week at work, especially when educating the servers in the restaurant about specific ingredients.”

The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. “This is sort of an eclectic meat cookbook with cuts of meat and game home cooks don't use a lot. A lot of interesting recipes. I look through it when I'm looking for something different.”

Next time Chef Matt visits the Klatch I will try my hand with one of his recipes.

May 22, 2011

Granny Art

Speaking of talented grannies....

Though I cannot pronounce her name and cannot relate to her world, her art fills me with joy. Flowing swirls of color that fill the canvas to the edges, each contained in itself.

Yam Dreaming - yes, it's about yams.  This piece is quite large, 60x35.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye was born sometime in 1910s somewhere in Central Australia. By all accounts she had a very ordinary life and didn’t take up painting seriously until she was in her 80s but was very prolific, churning out more than 3,000 paintings.

Body Paint

It is almost certain that Emily was not familiar with the works of Pollock or Rothko and her paintings do not display depth of skill. Yet she became one of the most renown and important Aboriginal artists.

Ceremony II

Her pink lines are my favorite but this deceptively simple yellow painting is a close runner up.

photos of Emily Kame Kngwarreye art from

May 18, 2011

Rogue Pants

Speaking of clothes… Every so often a corporate brand creates a genuinely likable voice. My hat off to Brooks Brothers’ post about “go-to-hell pants.” Pants in question are sunny yellow, Kelly green and coral. With embroidered whales and boats (or worst).

Photo: Brooks Brothers

I am on board with them crazy pants. Just hold the bowtie at bay.

More about go-to-hell pants from Of Rogues & Gentlemen

P.S. I would not be surprised if a pair turned up in my house.

May 13, 2011

Digging for the Dirt

I embarked on this post to dig into style icons and who they really are. My first pick is legendary soprano Maria Callas. Who is the person behind the graceful woman and lovely voice?

The elegant coat, the cateye, the jewels!
Photo: Corbis Sygm

From all appearances Maria Callas was not an easy woman nor did she have an easy life. Madame Callas had a dysfunctional relationship with her mother. She was said to be temperamental and rumored to have rivalry with another soprano. Oh yes, there is also her involvement with Aristotle Onassis that started while she was still married. In a word, a diva.

Just one more surprise in store. Maria Callas use to be …heavy. My quick scan of the web universe did not yield any photos and looking at the dramatic opera beauty it is hard to imagine, but that’s what icons are, a distillation of a person to a few images.

80 lbs later
Photo: Cecil Beaton/Camera Press/Retna

At the end of the day, primadonna or not, I could listen to her O Mio Babbino Caro for eternity.

May 7, 2011

An Ode to Groovy Wine

There is more to Austria than singing nuns and tasty pastries. And I don’t mean certain state’s former Governator.

Grüner Veltliner (get it, Groo-Vee?) is the best thing yet to come out of Hapsburg territories. And despite the unfortunate nickname it is anything but hippy-dippy. It is graceful, fragrant, the color of pale straw, more of a socialite with street cred than flower child.

Best part? Grüner is a fool-proof risk-free gift for any party. You’ll be hard pressed to find a truly terrible bottle, at least I have not ran across one yet. It’s exotic (even has two dots over the U!) but easy to drink even for committed pink zinfandel drinkers (eww). Grüner plays nicely with most foods. And it’s red-white-and-eagle cap makes it easy to spot.


This post offers more in-depth information

May 5, 2011

Why Opening an Umbrella In The House is Bad Luck

Klatch is a perfect excuse for witty word games and what better way to celebrate than with a limerick?  Though I am not completely up on rhyme schemes, this limerick was a family collaboration on commute to work. 

There once was a woman named Isabella.
She had a fancy umbrella.
She opened it in the house and saw a big furry mouse.
And that’s how the whole story got started.


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