Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Decor

Living seasonally opens up a world of opportunity when it comes to decorating. The bounty of harvest time offers a literal cornucopia of natural elements to enhance your home environment. During these months, I incorporate the rich reds, oranges, golds, and yellows of autumn into my home in as many ways as I can.

Fall is the perfect season to take full advantage of the nature in your backyard, and, more broadly, in your area of the country. For example, Washington State is famous for its gorgeous apples. We grow over 40% of the apples for the entire United States! To celebrate the bounty unique to my part of the country, I arrange apples in a large bowl or compote to make a living centerpiece. (The other great thing about apples is that they last forever).

What grows best in your area? Perhaps if you live in the Midwest, you’ll decorate with dried corn. Or, if you’re in the Northeast, you could fill your house with bouquets of flaming fall foliage.

Pumpkins, whole or carved, are a must-have for every part of the country. Also keep an eye out at your local farmer’s market for unusual squash varieties to take home for arrangement, display, and eventual consumption!

Another beautiful fall d├ęcor element that comes straight from nature are nuts. I buy assorted collections of nuts still in their shells, and then display them in a big bowl with a nut cracker (not the Christmas kind). A bowl filled with nuts of various textures and shades of brown creates a fall look that is both inviting and edible.

Remember to light candles! Votives, pillars, tapers, or tea lights enhance fall decorations with warmth and magic.

Here are some of my favorite spots to decorate to inspire your own visions of fall decor:

-The front stoop
-The front door
-The entryway/front hall
-The dining room table
-The living room coffee table
-The living room/family room mantle
-The kitchen island 





www.rosannainc.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

Easy as Blackberry Pie










Since my youngest daughter Francesca was a little girl she and I have repeated the same end of summer tradition. We pick blackberries and make pie. But his year we changed the tradition just a little. This year, Francesca made a pie by herself, crust and all. Yes, even a 13 year-old can bake a pie, from scratch, by herself. Guess what that means? You can too. Here’s how to make Francesca's After-School Blackberry Pie:



1. Add flour and salt to a food processor or mixer and combine.
2. Gradually add butter cubes and shortening into the mixture. Blend ingredients together until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal.
3. With motor or mixers on, slowly add the ice water until the dough forms a ball. If the dough doesn't do this, add a little more water.
4. Divide the dough into 2 equal-seized balls and wrap each in plastic wrap.
5. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2. Combine the flour and 1 tbs butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Seat aside. 
3. Gently rinse blackberries under cold water in a strainer. Shake and pat dry, then transfer the blackberries to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add sugar or honey, the flour-melted butter mixture, and the cold, cubed butter to the berries. Stir gently, folding the ingredients until just combined. Careful not to crush the blackberries! Set bowl aside.

5. Remove dough balls from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a floured surface. 
6. Roll one ball into a 12 1/2-inch wide circle. Slip a greased pie pan under the dough and gently lift the dough into the pan. Fill with berry mixture.
7. Roll the second dough ball into a 12.5 inch circle and cut 2-inch-wide strips. Place the strips over the filling, first horizontally then vertically to form a checkerboard pattern. 
8. Pinch the edges of the strips to attach them to the bottom crust. 

9. Use your knuckle to form a fluted edge around the pie. Then sprinkle the dough latticework with 1 teaspoon of sugar. 
10. Bake pie for 1 hr, or until the filling has thickened and begun to bubble. The top crust will be golden-brown. Let cool for 1 hour. Slice and serve.  

If blackberries season has ended in your area, don’t worry. We’re just entering apple season!  The saying “easy as pie,” had to come from somewhere. So go ahead and try it; make a pie.




Simple text directions for Francesca's After-School Blackberry Pie:
Pie Crust Ingredients 
(makes enough for one 9-inch double crust pie)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1/8 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water  

1. Add flour and salt to a food processor or mixer and combine.
2. Gradually add butter cubes and shortening. Blend until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal.
3. With motor or mixers on, slowly add the ice water until the dough forms a ball. If the dough doesn't do this, add a little more water. 
4. Divide the dough into 2 equal-seized balls and wrap each in plastic wrap.
5. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.


Filling Ingredients  
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tbs melted butter
4 cups (or 2 pints) blackberries, preferably wild!
1/2 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup sugar or honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2. Combine the flour and 1 tbs butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Seat aside. 
3. Rinse blackberries under cold water in a strainer. Shake and pat dry, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add sugar or honey, the flour-melted butter mixture, and the cold, cubed butter to the berries. Stir gently, folding the ingredients until just combined. Careful not to crush the blackberries! Set bowl aside. 
5. Remove dough balls from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a floured surface. 
6. Roll one ball into a 12 1/2-inch wide circle. Slip a greased pie pan under the dough and gently lift the dough into the pan. Fill with berry mixture.
7. Roll the second dough ball into a 12 1/2-inch circle and begin cutting 2-inch-wide strips. Place the strips over the filling, first horizontally and then vertically to form a checkerboard pattern. 
8. Pinch the edges of the strips to attach them to the bottom crust. 
9. Use your knuckle to form a fluted edge around the pie. Spring the dough latticework with 1 tsp of sugar. 
10. Bake pie for 1 hr, or until the filling has thickened and begun to bubble. The top crust will be golden-brown. Let cool for 1 hour. Slice and serve. 


Monday, October 11, 2010

Green Bean Salad











Eating seasonally is an essential part of living a healthy, mindful lifestyle. Whenever I go to the grocery store, or, better yet, the farmer's market, I draw inspiration to create new recipes from whatever produce is currently in season. Last week as I wandered through the produce aisle, I saw a bunch of beautiful green beans and decided, right then and there, to make a green bean salad. Here's another easy, fresh, and seasonal recipe for the collection:




1. Set a small saucepan of water to boil with one teaspoon of salt
2. Cut off the ends of the green beans and cut them in half.

3. When the water boils, add the green beans and cook until tender, 5-10 minutes.
4. Drain the beans and run cold water over them. Dry thoroughly

5. Pour into a large serving bowl. I use our Farmers’ Market or Pasta Italiana serving bowl.
6. Add tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and mozzarella to beans.

7. Drizzle olive oil over salad, dust with remaining tsp. of sea salt and toss.
8. Serve immediately or chilled. (But I like it at room temperature.)


Simple Text version:
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 lb fresh green beans, stems removed and chopped in half
1 pint fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved (This is peak tomato season! Take advantage!)
1 bunch green onions, chopped coarsely, whites only
2 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 cup fresh baby mozzarella balls (roughly the same size as the cherry tomatoes)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp freshly ground sea salt

Directions
1. Set a small saucepan of water to boil with one teaspoon of salt
2. Cut off the ends of the green beans and cut them in half.
3. When the water boils, add the green beans and cook until tender, 5-10 minutes.
4. Drain the beans and run cold water over them. Dry thoroughly
5. Pour into a large serving bowl. I use our Farmers’ Market or Pasta Italiana serving bowl.
6. Add tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and mozzarella to beans.
7. Drizzle olive oil over salad, dust with remaining tsp. of sea salt and toss.
8. Serve immediately or chilled. (But I like it at room temperature.) 


Rosanna on iVillage

More exciting news!

iVillage is featuring me as a guest blogger throughout this next year. I'll be writing for iVillage once a week, using some well-loved posts from our blog as well as creating new content.

Go look at the first post!
Meet Rosanna Bowles 


www.rosannainc.com