Tag Archives: Italian Food

Lessons in Lighting

8 Jun

I heard once that lighting is the jewelry of a room. I can’t remember where I heard that phrase, nor do I know who originally said it, regardless, I love it.

If decorating my home had a focus for the year, it would be lighting. While my home is still home to many basic fixtures, I have made a conscious effort to customize my cookie cutter with lighting that reflects my personal taste. As with most areas of decorating, I wait for inspiration, hunt for a good value, and take it one small step at a time.

So what have I done in 2015 to up my lighting game?

  • Added dimmer switches
  • Installed ceiling medallions
  • Upgraded ceiling fixtures
  • Added floor and table lamps

Move over candles! Dimmer switches can add the same romance to a dining room that candles might. They can also add a relaxing ambiance to a bathroom perfect for a soak. I personally like to gradually raise the level of light in my bathroom as I get ready each morning.

Ceiling medallions add architectural interest. Last year, I installed a simple one Black and White Entry. This year, a more ornate medallion in the dining room.

Eryn Ceiling Medallion Dining Room | www.gustoandgraceblog.com |#decor #home #interiors #diningroom #chandeliers

Lighting can be costly, but I have scoured and scored over the past few months. My under-buyer habits made me walk away from a great deal on a vintage lucite and brass waterfall chandelier, but I didn’t get a mile away from the antique store before turning around, realizing that I’d regret not scooping up the steal. I ordered a new canopy and hung it in the hallway. The photo really doesn’t do it justice.

Vintage Lucite and Brass Waterfall Chandelier

For more than a year, I have hunted for a black glass chandelier for my entryway. Then, several months ago, I stumbled upon an affordable (!!!) glass company from Italy. It felt like a huge break, and I promptly placed a custom order for a chandelier made of dreams. It not so promptly arrived more than two months (twice as long as anticipated) later. I expected it to be plug and play, but it came vacuum sealed in pieces. For the price, I can’t complain, and I’m always up for a new challenge.

Black Italian Murano Glass ChandelierShe’s my sort of bizzarre, edgy, Murano glass beaut. Please excuse my continued drooling.

Black Glass Chandelier Murano Italy

For some time now I’ve admired the late French designer Serge Mouille’s lighting designs. Originals are cost prohibitive, but I finally pulled the trigger on a fantasic reproduction of his 3-arm floor lamp from France & Sons. At nearly seven (7) feet tall, the lamp has a considerable footprint and filled a large void in my living room.

Neutral Living Room | www.gustoandgraceblog.com | #decor #home #interiors #mouille #design #livingroom #brass #furniture #MyRH #Anthrofaves #mywestelmThanks for Reading,

♥ Dominique

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A Recipe for My All Time Favorite Dessert

22 Nov

There was a time in my life, shortly after I graduated college, that I went over to my mom’s every Sunday to cook dinner. We had a “deal.” I’d put together a menu and send her a grocery list, she’d go to the store. I’d do the cooking, she’d do the cleanup. I think I got the better end of the deal.

Sometimes I spent all day in the kitchen. I’d look for the most interesting and elaborate recipes I could find. And I’d make dessert every time. In those few months, I tried so many recipes and cooking techniques. We savored some of the tastiest food I have ever tried.

In these pre-Pinterest days I would spend time scouring for great recipes on blogs and sites like Epicurious, Martha Stewart, and AllRecipes.

Those meals are some of my favorite memories.

A few months ago, Anthony and I started attending a dinner club with a few couples from church. The host is a very talented trained chef. Every week, collectively, we pick a theme for the following week’s dinner and each couple brings a dish. It is even a little competitive! We have had fresh pasta, sliders, an Asian flop, comfort food, breakfast for dinner and homemade pizza, among others.

Dinner club is something I consistently look forward to. We started as strangers and our weekly dinners have nurtured both our bodies and our relationships. I have so enjoyed getting back in the kitchen and getting creative. I have also enjoyed getting back to the table and enjoying really good food. I love gathering around the table sharing food, recipes, and stories.

For our last dinner club, I made my (hands-down, no competition) favorite dessert, tiramisu. I wanted to share the recipe that I used (adapted from Gourmet).Translated from Italian, tiramisu means “pick-me-up.”I might be a bit of a tiramisu snob… I have tried more varieties than I can count. I prefer my tiramisu to be more light and fluffy than custardy.

Tiramisu Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.com

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup very strong brewed coffee or brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine, brandy or Kaluha
  • 1 pkg. (7 oz) savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers)
  • 2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder

Tiramisu Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.com

Using an electric mixer, beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale. Next, beat in mascarpone until just combined.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time white beating and continue to beat whites until they hold stiff peaks.

Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture, gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.

Stir together coffee and Marsala, brandy, or Kaluha in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it about 1 seconds on each side, and transfer to an 2-quart baking dish (often 8×8 square). It is important to do this step quickly so you do not oversoak your ladyfingers and cause your tiramisu to be soupy. Repeat with half of ladyfingers and arrange in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture. Chill tiramisu, covered, for at least 6 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Note: The eggs in tiramisu are not cooked.

Tiramisu Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.com

What’s your favorite dessert?

Honeymoon Inspired Spaghetti Carbonara

28 Jun

One of the best meals I had on our honeymoon was in Florence, Italy in the Piazza di Santa Croce. I ate a plateful of Spaghetti Carbonara and finished the afternoon meal with tiramisu. Wanting to relive our honeymoon in a small way, I made Spaghetti Carbonara for dinner Sunday.

Here are a few photos from that meal in Florence:

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TiramisuSince we got our KitchenAid Pasta-Extruder Attachment, we have probably eaten more fresh, delicious pasta than we should. We use it making 2 cups of flour, 3 eggs, and just a dash of salt, olive oil, and leftover whey from making fresh mozzarella (water or more oil is an adequate substitute). In our attempts, we’ve learned that the key to pasta that will cook firmly and not taste floury is kneading, kneading, and more kneading.  

Spaghetti

After you press your fresh pasta it is crucial that you lay it on towel. This keeps it from sticking together and stretching when you pick it up.

Fresh Pasta

I used the New York Times Spaghetti Carbonara recipe. If you’re using fresh pasta, I would recommend using less pancetta than called for, so you can taste the pasta.

Love vs. Design Recipe Card

Since it was such a hit with the husband, wrote it out on one of these printable recipe cards from Love vs. Design. Unfortunately, my recipe book disappeared in the move to Austin. I’m trying to remember and rewrite as many recipes as I can, but that was years of collecting and creating.

The Spaghetti Carbonara turned out great. It was a lot less yellow than the one I ate in Florence. More egg yolks, maybe?

Spaghetti Carbonara Inspired by Honeymooning

Spaghetti Carbonara Bites

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