Thursday, August 18, 2011


"Be bold. Be graphic. Be free. Set the table and set the mood."
- Diane von Furstenberg
There's an added beauty to her signature style... whether it's the wrap dress, a duvet cover or dinner plate, anything DVF creates comes with the vibe, "I am woman!".  

Who knew that a salad and a fashion plate could turn a meal into a seduction!

And it all starts so innocently...

Engage your senses... pluck the fleshiest, juiciest tomatoes in your heirloom garden. Lush and luscious, let its wonders inspire you. Inhale. Exhale. Enjoy the scents and sensuality. Clip some peppers and pick a flower or two. Feel the rush of touch. Snip the basil and lotus-like leaves. Place your gatherings in a pretty basket and feast your eyes. Rinse your harvest clean, slice, and let the juices flow.



The Fashion Plate 
DVF Floral Batik Decal Charger ( or

Cherokee Purple Tomato
Black Prince Tomato
Lime Green Salad Tomato
Brandywine Red Tomato
Hot JalapeƱo & Serrano Peppers
Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper
Fresh Basil Leaves
Nasturtium Leaves & Flowers (Red & Yellow)

Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt

Forget making a salad... design a decadence. Place accessories on fashion plate. Drizzle and sprinkle bling for a salad that is dressed to impress. Light a candle and serve the seduction.
Very haute... and very hot, on so many levels.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I guess I never was meant for glitter rock 'n roll..."
He plays the beach concert just around this time of year in this area drawing parrotheads, boaters and even swans from everywhere. The otherwise parking lot is converted into one rowdy tailgate and sea of Hawaiian shirts with beer, chips, drumsticks and garden salads served up alongside the rowdiness. It just wouldn't be right without the rambunctious, drunken crowd, but I was in the good (and more subdued) company of my sisters (plus, a concert-crashing nephew).

In no rush for Labor Day, a part of me in a little way, did want to hurry the tailgate only to hear the lyrics and tune that so strike a chord with me...

"Come Monday, it'll be alright. Come Monday, I'll be holding you tight..."

It gets me every time as does spending time with my sisters (and whole family, for that matter).

"I just can't wait to see you again..."

In tribute to the night and another precious memory...


A Hawaiian Shirt
Handful of Lime Green Salad Tomatoes
Alternative Tomato: German Stripes
Grapes (any color, must be crunchy)
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
If you're nowhere near a Jimmy Buffett concert, any occasion will do for this delicious, sense-awakening salad. Its color alone -- a blush of amber on the outside, brilliant chartreuse on the inside -- makes the Lime Green Salad Heirloom tomato a real eye-pleaser, but trust me on this... the sensory pleasures heighten with every bite. Fruity, juicy, and smooth, it is absolute perfection when mixed with grapes. Oh yes... as for those equally unbelievably delicious German Striped Heirlooms? They are the perfect alternative!

Simply slice the tomatoes, half the grapes, drizzle with OOS&P and serve! 

Note: Sharing is optional.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


"Honey, my love... let me just take a quick stroll in the garden... I'll be all of 30 seconds."

Pretty much, a story that repeats itself time and time again on any given day. As such, one is never prepared for the surprises a quick stroll in the garden brings... the hidden tomato in the cluster... the zucchini that grew in the night... the okra that wasn't ready 5 minutes ago... the pepper that plays peek-a-boo... an eggplant suddenly there. So much so fast... where is that trug, that basket, that container when you need it!

Oh well... an hour later, hats off to the garden hat... the multi-purpose must-have.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


It was me. I didn't chop down the cherry tree, but I did pluck them off a nearby neighbor's branches. There I was, all of 10 years old, on McNully off of North 5th Street... up a tree! Hoping that nobody would see me, although in looking back, my cherry-stained grin and fingers probably gave me away.

Anyway, ba-da- BING! Sweet crunchy Bing Cherry season is in full swing in the northeast, and it's the only time of the year I can earnestly say, "Life is a bowl of cherries!"


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This is the story of Chasin' Dreams (aka Dexter, aka Scrappy... now Chase, for short). It's about a little rescue from Arkansas, but really, it's the story of hundreds of thousands of dogs, albeit, without the storybook ending. No one knows for sure how Chase started his life, but we do know that he ended up on the streets of a small town – more specifically, a highway. While he was busy surviving, my Jack Russell’s candle was slowly fading. I was consumed with sadness over Cazador's illness, and his inevitable finale was a certainty. As happens to man’s best friend, they go, but their spirits stay.

Such was the void of his physical being gone that I found myself looking for him in the faces of other Jack Russells online. Instead, I found thousands of the breed in need of homes. No big surprise there, as the Jack Russell should only land in homes where he will be understood and loved for the energetic, fun-loving clown he is. If I could have, I would have, but I couldn’t, so I didn’t adopt the thousands I saw… but I did find one little dog… Chase.

A series of inquiries, applications, vet approvals, heart-to-hearts, rejiggings and winter storms later, the deal was done! Chase was mine and on transport from Arkansas to me and my husband. 

All I knew about him was that the police had picked him and a companion stray up off the highway and delivered them both into the loving hands of a caring Arkansas foster mom who partners with a devoted virtual shelter to find northeastern homes for southern dogs... The Little Pink Shelter, a story unto itself.

Bits and pieces put together paint a picture of an estimated 2-year old little dog that was likely left to fend for himself and his buddy… that became skilled at stealing food… that apparently dodged some beatings, not to mention18-wheelers… that found shelter from frightening storms who knows where… and that ran like the wind when he needed to. It also appears that Chase lost his voice when his vocal chords were partially removed. He was lucky, though. The people or person who he once thought were his family were actually kind and thoughtful – they didn’t shoot him. After a month with his foster mom, he was adopted by a second family who subsequently (and thankfully) returned him to his foster mom -- seems he was too much trouble. 

Chase, a presumed Jack Russell mix (although based on some behaviors, I believe he’s really a purebred Border Collie) arrived with some surprises. The biggest one being that opening my heart to him did not mean closing it to Cazador. There’s plenty of room for a dog that needs a family, or is it… a family that needs a dog.

He worships his big sister, Meadow, who has literally shown him the ropes. He walks in the City as if he’s been doing it all his life. He is my husband’s constant companion, if not, sidekick. His bark, (man)made unrobust, is heard by us who speak for him. He is honey-sweet yet guarded when it comes to strangers. He won’t ever have to steal food again or worry about a tennis racket doubling as a weapon. And when the inner Border Collie in him comes out, so does his leash. Smart as can be, he’s onto the word, C-O-U-N-T-R-Y. Come Fridays, we have to spell it out in our household. Saying it out loud triggers uncontrollable excitement before we head out to, hmmm... you know where. He taught us and continues to teach us life lessons that one never seems to get right: 1) that which doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger, 2) patience is a virtue, and 3) family and home are priceless.
There are hurdles yet to be crossed,  but thanks to his foster mom and the virtual shelter – oh, yes – and the two cops who found him – one cold, stormy Saturday in February of 2011, Chase made it home. He fits right into our lives, one in which our dogs, past and present, are at the center.

Below... the much loved and missed Cazador


This looks so good, I can almost taste it and will, most definitely, bring it to the table. Served chilled, perhaps, as a summer refresher? Found on the Tomatoes On The Vine blog... go there now for this recipe and a trove of other mouthwatering ideas. Thank you, Chef Tyler and Tomatoes On The Vine.

Roasted Tomato Soup by Tyler Florence.
Found on Tomatoes On The Vine
Found on Tomatoes On The Vine

Monday, August 1, 2011


The Big Apple... weekdays
Orange County... weekends