Monday, December 10, 2012

Sticky Rice

Unless you know someone who regularly makes sticky rice for meals, this Southeast Asian staple, although simple to make, requires a bit of planning and hands on time. You'll also need a few pieces of special "equipment" that may not be found in your typical American kitchen.


  • Short grain, sweet rice. Three Ladies brand is one of our favorites. Approximately 1/2 cup uncooked rice per person. Sweet rice can be found at most Asian markets.

Equipment2Special Equipment
Check your local Asian market, preferably a Laos/Thai market.

  • Steamer Basket

  • Steamer Lid

  • Boiler Pot

  • Keeper Basket, optional

  • Straw Mat/Tray


Wash1. In a large bowl, rinse rice in cold water and gently rub the grains in your hands to clean the rice. Repeat as necessary until water is mostly clear.


2. Fill rice and bowl with cold water, about 2” more than rice level. Leave rice to soak for 2-10 hours. Overnight is best, but we usually end up soaking for 2-3 hours. Three Ladies Brand, pictured on left.


3. Drain the rice and transfer to steaming basket. Rinse the steaming basket with hot water to keep the rice from sticking.

4. Fill the double boiler pot with 3-4” water and place steam basket on top.

CookSnack5. Cover steam basket and rice with the cone shaped woven grass lid. Set heat on stove to medium-high.

6. Once water comes to a boil reduce to medium and steam rice for about 20 minutes. A snack is sometimes a must while we wait for the rice to cook.

Toss7. Holding the sides of the basket, flip the rice end over end in the basket. Steam for another 15 minutes.

8. Rinse the rice “keeper” basket with hot water just before the rice is done. Again, to keep from sticking.

ReleaseSteam9. On a large surface, preferably a woven mat, cool rice. Wet your work surface with water to prevent rice from sticking, wet a wooden spoon well to use to spread the rice out to cool it.

10. Once rice is not steaming hot, but still warm transfer in small pieces to the “keeper” basket.

Eat11. Serve immediately. Leftover rice may be stored in tupperware and reheated in the microwave. Usually, it's still good for another day or so.

Sticky rice is best  eaten with your hands. We like to serve it with sliced ribeye and homemade hot sauce.Set the table with little bowls, for rice and for sauce, and eat happily and hungrily, family style. Thank you to our friend Rebecca Thao and her boys for showing us how to make this great rice treat!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday House Guests


The best thing about the holidays is being able to catch up and celebrate with friends and family. We're all so busy that it's hard to get together, even with good intentions! How many times have you caught yourself saying, "we need to do this more often" and then another whole year passes by?

Our guests travel from across the country and sometimes across the world to be here. When they get into town, I throw my door wide open, fluff my pillows and hope they stay for a long while.

Here are some of my favorite tips to make house guests feel warm and welcome when they're staying with me:

1. Nothing beats a freshly made bed with soft sheets and warm blankets. Plus a throw and comfy pair of slippers.

2. Plenty of clean guest towels in the bathroom.

3. Stacks of books and magazines.

4. Leave a little note if your schedules part for a while. Just a welcoming message, your wi-fi code and maybe a list of fun things to do while they're in town.

5. Feed and water your guests! A water carafe for the bedside table. Water bottles for them to grab on the go. Plenty of wine and liquor for evening night caps. Pastries, coffee and juice to get them going in the morning.

6. Inevitably, you forget something or another when you pack for a trip. Leave a basket of toiletries in your guest room just in case. My basket is stocked with toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, tampons, razors, bar soap, lotion, a sewing kit, cotton swabs, band-aids and make up wipes.

All these little extras will help them feel right at home. I'll be traveling in Morocco with my daughter over Christmas so we'll be the guests. But I hope you enjoy your holiday visitors this season – treasure every moment you have with them!

Top: Mexican Coverlets // Left: Handblown Water Carafe with Glass // Right: Granada Serving Trays

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dazzling Ornaments


This week's Pinterest finds had me obsessing over ornaments for this driftwood deer head, which can be found in our shop. Follow our Dazzling Ornaments! board for links to these and more fun and fancy ornaments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Meze

mezeCatherine and Abit

For another look at Thanksgiving, we asked Catherine Bayar of Bazaar Bayar, how she celebrates as an expat living in Istanbul and married to a Turk. Catherine and her husband Abit are vintage textile historians and experts. Their mission is about "Saving ‘endangered’ handmade textiles, reviving + reinterpreting disappearing handcrafts, employing local women artisans, and promoting cultural exchange between Turkey + our global visitors." You can read more about Catherine and Abit, their travel stories, find out about workshops and check out the textiles here.

About Thanksgiving, Catherine says:

"We do celebrate Thanksgiving, either in California with family, or here with American friends in Istanbul. Not sure what I'm taking this year, but the big hit with family when we're stateside are Turkish meze. Since most of my family has never been here, I like to share what we're thankful for eating here. I make 3 or 4 of the basic meze –hummus, saksuka (eggplant), pancar ezme (beetroot), but the favorite is muhammara (acuka, ah-ju-ka, in Turkish). What I love about this is the mix of vegetables, nuts and fruit - roasted peppers are of North American origin, walnuts bring prosperity, and pomegranates denote abundance. Pomegranate molasses is an essential ingredient in our house - it also makes the best salad dressing ever with lemon and olive oil.

I love Binnur's Turkish Cookbook – good versions of all mezes mentioned above can found in it. I use this recipe but add a healthy tablespoon of the molasses and chopped fresh mint as a garnish."


1 tablespoon red pepper paste,  or 2 roasted red peppers
 3/4 cup walnuts
4-5 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon molasses

Directions for this recipe and others can be found here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On the Side

Thanksgiving is my favorite U.S. holiday. I love to cook, entertain and like most of us,  see the look of pleasure on the faces of family and friends around the table when the conversation, food, wine and company are just right.

The sides dishes are the stars for me because they often reflect the image of multiple generations. Our family curveball side dish has always been coleslaw. My grandmother, Minette, whom I barely met, made coleslaw every Thanksgiving. She had four sons – my dad was one of them – and all of their wives ended up incorporating Minette's coleslaw into their own holiday celebrations. Everyone made it a bit differently and everyone thought theirs was the best. Of course.

My Thanksgiving memories are not about how this ever-present coleslaw worked with the turkey and stuffing for dinner. Like my mom says, the coleslaw is really for the day after Thansgiving. With crispy, New York deli rye, mayo, delicious leftover turkey, coleslaw, and even some heated stuffing smushed in, it's an East Coast delight. And by all means, make enough for your deli sandwich that night or for day two!



2 cups green cabbage finely shredded
1 cup red cabbage finely shredded
2 medium carrots peeled with veggie peeler
4 scallions sliced – save some of the tops for garnish
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I sometimes leave this out)
1/2 cup or more Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar

Whisk together mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, mayonnaise, and sour cream in a small bowl. Refrigerate dressing, covered, until ready to use, or up to 2 days.
Put cabbage, carrots, and onion (if desired) in a large bowl. Pour in dressing, and toss thoroughly. Refrigerate, covered, until slaw begins to soften, 1 to 2 hours. If not using immediately, refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days. Just before serving, toss coleslaw again.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Don't Forget the Hostess

Sugar Spoon

Whenever I am invited into someone's home for a party – cocktail, dinner or otherwise – I try to show my appreciation by bringing a small something for the host or hostess. My strategy with hostess gifts is two-fold: it has to be something I personally like and it has to have an element of function. You can never have enough tea towels or candles and an extra pair of scissors around the house is always helpful. The secret is to have gifts on hand so you're not stressing yourself out by last-minute shopping. I have a small cupboard just for this purpose. The gifts are inexpensive and I pair them with fresh flowers, a bottle of wine or my new favorite from Trader Joe's, yummy fig butter. Throw a ribbon around it and you're done!

Mpingo Loop Sugar Spoons, handmade by artisans in Kenya

Other gifts we like with great form and function....
Ferm Tea Towel // 2 Hammerpress Art Print // 3 Scotch Scissors // 4 Voluspa Candle // 5 Govino Shatterproof Wine Glasses

hostess gifts