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by Dinah on February 28, 2012

Hooked, the new restaurant I am designing on Martha’s Vineyard, is progressing exactly as planned.  Large design projects rarely go this smoothly and this project has its share of real challenges.

The property is huge, and the “décor” was abominable. We have to make a lot of changes with a tight budget and even tighter timeline.  It is difficult to manage a project of this size from a distance, but when clients, contractors, workrooms, and designers are all on the same page, amazing things can be accomplished.

There is a great deal left to do, but I thought I would share a few “before” and “almost after” shots of one of my favorite transformations thus far…


Easy Batter Breads

by Dinah on February 23, 2012

When it rains all day, I go on a cleaning spree. When it rains for two days, I go on a baking spree.

Bread baking is meant for rainy days and while it cannot lift a tropical depression, it may do wonders for yours. Best of all, no experience is needed.

Batter breads are ideal for beginning bakers. They use simple ingredients you probably have on hand, and depending on what you add, they can be sweet or savory.

Batter bread recipes are much easier and quicker than yeast varieties. The directions are far more specific requiring less experience for a successful outcome. They freeze extremely well, making it easy to keep a few on hand for gifts. And no gift is more welcome than homemade bread, especially so when it is well-wrapped. A simple cellophane overwrap (see this post)and a bright ribbon or some raffia work perfectly.

Check out my Projects section for a one of my favorite batter breads!


What to do with leftover roses?

February 15, 2012

Once “the bloom is off the rose(s),” and your Valentine’s Day bouquet begins to lose its luster, save the petals to concoct a delicious memory: Rose Petal Vinegar. The recipe works best with “old world” roses, as hybrids are less fragrant, but it is well worth making regardless of your bouquet’s provenance*. Red or pink [...]

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Nips of Ice

February 13, 2012

In planning a television demonstration on Swedish Gravlax, I wanted to do something more original and attractive than ice packs to keep the cured wild salmon cold in the gift container (a fishing creel basket). Why waste precious container space on ugly ice packs? Nips of Ice will do the job more distinctively while adding [...]

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Hearts on Ice

February 9, 2012

Creating edible gifts that freeze well is important if you have a lot of gifts to make. Creating great-looking containers that freeze as well as the gourmet treats they hold is not just important, it is a game changer. I use a lot of plain white cardboard ice cream containers for packaging all sorts of [...]

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Hearts on Fire

February 6, 2012

Not everyone considers a big box of chocolates or a dozen roses the perfect Valentine. For a truly unique way to warm things up on February 14th, make some red hot Jalapeno Vodka. Jalapeno-infused vodka is so easy to make– all you need are those two ingredients and a little time. Try it in a [...]

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Queen of Hearts’ Raspberry Tarts

February 3, 2012

While these are not really tarts, the recipe is so easy and the results so charming I think they make a great Valentine’s present or something to fun to take along to work or school on February 14th for everyone to enjoy. This is my adaptation of a very old Peg Bracken recipe, “Cotton Picking [...]

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A Valentine Treat

January 27, 2012

Anyone who follows my blog or has skimmed through my book probably cannot help but notice the inspiration and influence of The Graphics Fairy. Long before I had the pleasure of knowing Karen, her generosity and unerring eye contributed so much to my own work. Today we are collaborating on our blogs– showing you how [...]

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Valentine Surprise

January 24, 2012

I know, I know, Christmas was just yesterday (or so it seems), but the sweet little holiday that gets hearts going all a flutter is just around the corner. Over the next couple of weeks I will be focusing on Valentine gifts, because I think something you make with love is a far better expression [...]

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Herbal Tea

January 17, 2012

I hope you were lucky enough to emerge from the holidays healthy. Many of my friends succumbed to colds, flu, and more than a couple of hangovers. Herbal tea is good for whatever ails anyone in the sense that if it does no real good, it certainly cannot do any harm. My friend Vinton McCabe [...]

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