Simple and hearty, this true peasant dish will definitely warm you up.
Even in its natural state, wood is so beautiful in its simplicity.
I really like kitchens that have a modern edge with a rustic vibe.
Almost every element of the kitchen is part of the Waterworks Kitchen line, creating a complete design experience.
Olive is one of those hues I tend to gravitate toward.
This is a great dish to make on a cold winter’s night. Simple and hearty, this true peasant dish will definitely warm you up. Pasta e fagioli translates to beans and pasta; it is often pronounced “pasta fazool” in the United States after the pronunciation of the word beans in the Neapolitan language.
The recipe for this soup varies based on the region or town in which it is prepared. The consistency of the dish can also vary, with some versions being soupy while others are much thicker. Some variations do not include tomatoes at all but are made from a broth, and some use a pancetta in the base of the sauce.
The recipe I had was pretty basic, so after looking through a few of my cookbooks I decided to go with my recipe but add a few ingredients. As always, my measurements are estimated and you may need to adjust them.
Most recipes use dried beans, which need to be soaked as directed. If time is a factor, canned beans can be used. I use pancetta, but some recipes use bacon. Both can be optional, although I feel that the pancetta gives the pasta e fagioli that extra flavor. If you want a lighter soup, use half of the tomatoes to start with and add the rest if needed. I also take a rind of the Parmesan cheese and add it to the mixture while cooking, a tip I learned years ago from my favorite Italian deli in the Bronx.
½ lb pancetta
1 large onion
1 rib celery
1 glove garlic, optional
1 14 oz. can cannelloni beans, or dried beans
1 14 oz can garbanzo beans, or dried beans
8 oz of vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Bay leaf
2 Sprigs of rosemary
2 Sprigs of thyme
1/4 cup basil, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Rind of Parmesan cheese
1 lb ditalini pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 loaf of crusty bread
Serves 4 to 6
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. In a food processor, chop the pancetta, add it to the olive oil, and brown until golden. Add the coarse black pepper at this time. Chop the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery and add to the pancetta. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable or chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Crush the tomatoes by hand and add to mixture, then bring to a slow boil. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pot.
Wrap the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheese cloth. Secure with kitchen twine and add to the mixture along with the chopped parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rind of the parmesan cheese and let the mixture simmer.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain the pasta, reserving some of the liquid. Remove the sachet of herbs and rind of cheese from the soup. Add the pasta and some of the reserved cooking liquid to reach the desired consistency. Check the seasoning; I usually add extra parsley and basil prior to serving. Let mixture simmer for a few minute to give the flavors a chance to blend.
Ladle into soup dishes and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Serve with a warm crusty loaf of Italian bread and, of course, your favorite salad.
An elegant, welcoming foyer.
Wood is an element that can have such a variety of textures, patterns, and colors. One species of wood can look very different depending on how it is cut, stained, or varnished. Even in its natural state, wood is so beautiful in its simplicity. It is definitely something that inspires me and I love the idea of incorporating it in ways that aren’t typical.
The kitchen is, for a lot of people, the core of the house. It’s a place where families tend to gather, so it must be welcoming and comfortable. On the other hand, a kitchen also serves an important function and must meet a family’s needs for cooking and entertaining. Finding a balance between style and livability means making thoughtful choices for flooring, fabrics, and wall treatments, making the space easy to clean and maintain according to the family’s lifestyle.
No matter how big or small the kitchen is, it has to contain certain elements. When planning a kitchen, you need to take those necessary elements and figure out how to achieve that ideal balance of function and aesthetics. You have to be mindful of how heavily the kitchen will be used and the best placement of each item. There are a lot of factors to be aware of, from comfort to organization. Right now we’re seeing a trend toward modern, simplistic kitchens with very clean lines. Counters often have mitered edges and we see big, expansive spaces. The cabinetry tends to be simpler, without a lot of details, molding, or hardware. When you remove something, like storage, you have to also incorporate a new solution in order to maintain the kitchen’s functionality.
I really like kitchens that have a modern edge with a rustic vibe. Stripping elements down to a simpler form while maintaining comfort and practicality is an art form I truly appreciate.
A kitchen made for gathering.
I was in NYC recently for an appointment, rushing because I was late. I stopped short when I saw a new Waterworks storefront with a beautiful vignette and just had to go inside even though I was running late. This Waterworks show room is not massive in scale, but what they fit in was so impressive. The line includes everything from sinks and fittings to cabinets and work tables. Everything has been designed with an eye toward both form and function, using the finest materials.
Almost every element of the kitchen is part of the Waterworks Kitchen line, creating a complete design experience. I saw simple lines and super approachable products that a wide range of people will gravitate toward. The cabinets are simple but come in sultry, interesting colors with smokier tones, not your typical white kitchen. I find the way they displayed kitchen sinks so interesting, showcasing vast array of ways to use them. One sink I loved was immense at 54 in long with two drying boards set underneath — so clever and really inventive.
Waterworks has expanded plumbing fixtures to the point where they have a grand scale and such a presence. The new lines are not typical and show an insightful reinvention of fixtures and other kitchen elements. Waterworks has turned a product that was already great into something really thoughtful. This is such beautiful hardware. I really appreciate how they’ve taken an element we all believe in at its simplest form and developed on it. Today’s clients don’t want a lot of hardware in a modern setting, which is why the Waterworks recessed options are so smart. The light fixtures are also quite modern and appealing with an industrial vibe, definitely something for everyone.
I walked out wanting to design whole Waterworks kitchen with all of the accoutrements that go with it. The Waterworks showroom is so well presented, it makes it easy for a client to envision their own kitchen design, and that in itself is a success.
When I think of Olive, it reminds me of army colors. It is one of those hues I tend to gravitate toward. Olive is an earth-oriented shade, not something that pops with jolts of color. It has a more serene presence. Although part of the green color family, Olive has a brown under hue and works well with a gray or neutral based palette. It’s also a very specific color. When you say green, people visualize a whole spectrum of possibilities. Say Olive, and everyone understands exactly what color that is.
1. Living room design by High Fashion Home.
2. Cleos Breeze fabric by Robert Allen
3. Z Spoke handbag by Zac Posen
4. Over the knee boots by Christian Louboutin
5. Paint colors by Benjamin Moore
6. Image via Modernica
7. Tripolina Chair from Environment Furniture
8. Dress by Shinaz Engineer
9. Risky Business, 2010, by Madeline Denaro
Brighten a neutral palette with colorful accents.
Every project has its own progression, its own DNA if you will. I would like to share this process with my readers over several blog posts with the goal of giving a deeper understanding of the breadth of services we provide and the level of cooperation we have with everyone involved, from contractors and clients to architects and artisans.
Every project, no matter the scope, begins with an initial consultation. My clients come from a variety of sources, and whether they find me by a referral or a magazine editorial, the beauty of meeting new clients is that I never know what I am going to walk into or where it will lead. It’s always exciting to see the potential in a project and to sense the energy and good vibe between myself and a client. Developing this good synergy is the first step as we look at the project, discuss the client’s wants, and go over the client’s needs. During this initial meeting, we often get so deep into conversation that we lose track of time. A project leads to months of time spent together, so there has to be some connection which I can almost always feel as soon as I meet a prospective client.
Recently, I had a call from a new client and set up a meeting. When I learned of the location, I felt less than enthusiastic. It was farther than I wanted to drive and I was definitely not excited about the distance. The day of the meeting was beautiful, however, and as I drove I truly enjoyed the fall colors and the down time with my thoughts. When I arrived at my client’s home, I knew from her unique interior and great personality that we would work so well together. That kind of good energy makes me thrive! The experience served as a reminder of why I love what I do.
Of course, before a project can get underway, there are negotiations and contracts to go over. This stage can be daunting and difficult, with variables and unknowns on both sides. It takes trust from all parties to commit to a project on paper, which is one reason why it’s so important to establish a good connection during the initial meetings and discussions.
After these first meetings, negotiations, and contracts, exciting things begin to happen!
When visiting Chicago recently, I knew I really wanted to see Travelle, a restaurant and lounge at the Langham Hotel. The hotel, which is located in a building designed by the iconic Ludgwig Mies van der Rohe, is situated in downtown Chicago with easy access to shopping and popular attractions. With private event space, a spa, pool, and ballroom, as well as several boardrooms, the Langham is a luxurious place to stay for pleasure or business.
I made a fast dash to Travelle and sat in the lounge for drinks. Its very cool, urban, monochromatic feel was designed by architect David Rockwell. The floor to ceiling windows flood the lounge with light while giving guests a gorgeous view of the river and Chicago’s famous Loop. One striking feature was an interactive digital wall undulating amongst the lounge’s chic furniture. The space is full of lush elements and visual, techno details. As we enjoyed drinks and a woman playing rock songs on the violin, the digital wall of photos constantly changed and altered. Such a cool atmosphere!
The lobby of the Langham is another stunning space. I thought it looked really magical, with all these gorgeous clusters near the center of the ceiling. It has a special, totally different vibe, more elegant and formal. So beautiful!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay at the fully-booked Langham, but I did enjoy my brief time there. If you’re ever in Chicago, I highly recommend a visit to the Langham, and Travelle in particular!