Our thanks to our friends at Boston Design Guide who did a delightful Valentines Day blog post describing Sally’s and my plans for the day. Mostly it was the same old, same old… But we did have something special planned for the end of the day.

We made Turtles!

It’s so easy! All you need is a bag of chocolate chips, caramels and your favorite nuts.

We used the micro wave to melt our chocolate bits and caramel. If we were to do it again we might use doublers boilers as we kept having to soften the chocolate or caramel.

So – first we melted our chocolate chips.

Then stir until they are a nice consistency.

While Sally was melting the caramels, I daubed chocolate onto the tray, making the bottom layer of the turtles (Tray held 12 turtles.) and frantically adding the almonds.

Fortunately, there were directions on the side of the carmel package for making carmel sauce… Here’s the caramel ready for the microwave.

The carmel needed to be stirred, too.

Things got a little crazy trying to keep in front of the cooling carmel… Another trip to the micro wave fixed that!

We had to reheat the chocolate several times as we added the final layer of chocolate.

We popped the tray in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool them down. They were delicious!!! We’re already planning to try making them again. The bittersweet choclate chips we used were a little overpowering.

Next time – milk chocolate and maybe attempt making our own caramel sauce.

Thank you David West of Meadowview Construction for the inspiration!


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Last Thursday, I spent a delightful evening with Jo-Ann Ross talking about wine, creativity and design. To me, these three topics are intertwined on many levels and in ways that I can not clearly explain. You see, there are certain wines, and I can not predict when it will happen, where the smell and/or taste of the wine transport me someplace else. (See earlier post here.) It’s hard for me to put into words – those smells and tastes – but some times, emotional impressions and images flash across my mind. Or a thought/question is triggered that takes me someplace I otherwise never would have gone and I will end up sitting in front of my computer exploring the thought/question.

On an impulse, I suggested that we do something Sally and I did with a friend about this time last year – a progressive tasting to see how a wine changes as levels of complexity are added to the food we are pairing it with. I grabbed a bottle of Roederer Brut Premier champagne that was chilling in the fridge along with smoked salmon, capers, a sweet onion and a package of stone ground wheat thins.


What we did was progressively add ingredients to the crackers between sips of champagne. The sequence goes like this. Sip of champagne, cracker, sip of champagne, cracker and salmon, sip of champagne, cracker, salon and capers, sip of champagne and finally cracker, salmon, capers and sweet onion, sip of champagne. After each sip of champagne, I described my visual impressions. What was so amazing is how dramatically those impressions changed as we went through the progression.

Here’s a sampling of what I “tasted”… Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words…

Champagne: The wine was bright, fresh and slightly acidic. It made me want something slightly salty.  There was the smell of brioche on the nose. It felt like summer. A sunny bistro with cobblestone streets, a horse and buggy ride around Central Park and oysters on the half shell came to mind…



Image Source Unknown


Cracker and champagne: The earthier aspects of the wine came to the fore, soft and subtle.  I felt I was sitting at the edge of a of salt marsh in the early morning or in a light filled  Gustavian interior.

Image Source Unknown


Image from Classical Swedish Architecture and Interiors by Johan Cederlund

Image from Classical Swedish Architecture and Interiors by Johan Cederlund


Cracker, salmon and champagne: WOW!!! Suddenly I was sitting on a porch listening to Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring – replete with sweeping vistas, the Great Plains and purple mountains majesty.

Creating a New Old House, by Russell Versaci


 Photo by Michael Forster, Her Majesty


Photo by Michael Forster, October in the Tall Grass


Image Source Unknown


Cracker, salmon, capers and champagne: With the additon of capers to the mix, I immediately thought of New York City – sleek, slick, a modern racy interior. But then again, maybe the sophistication of Soho loft?


Mindel & Associates, October 2010 AD


Mindel & Associates, October 2010 AD


Laura Zarubin – Designer,  Elle Decoration UK Edition, November 2009


Cracker, salmon, capers, onion and champagne: Who would have thought onion would be the binder that brought it all together! (Much like in design where a subtle tweek will snap a whole room into focus.) Suddenly it was as though a concerto was playing, with all sections in perfect balance, Fanny Mendolson perhaps? I was transported back to France - to a country villa, a Dutch master painting with oysters and lemons popped in to my head…

Town & Country, issue unknown


Town & Country, issue unknown


William Claesz Heda

 Such pleasure and wonderful conversation all from a few simple ingredients! Classic!

And now I have a proposition for all of you. I’d like to extend an open invitation to my fellow bloggers and readers to try this exercise and post your impressions on Thursday, December 29th. (Maybe do it with some of your Holiday guests.) It’s fun, festive and stretches your mind and senses. I’d love to see/hear what you tasted and “saw”.  Let your imagination run free! Sally and I will try something else and share our flights of fancy, too. I bet they will be totally different.

Merry, Merry!

Last Saturday, Drew and I met at Gillette Stadium to tailgate and watch our beloved New England Revolution take on the Seattle Sounders FC. We had planned a somewhat fall like menu of grilled steak tenderloin, garlic and herb roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus.

While in the basement picking the dinner wine, one in particular spoke to me – A 1998 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reserve. I’m glad I listened! I pulled a back up incase of disappointment. I should not have been concerned. Once again, I was reminded why I love aged wines – from the color to the nose to the wonderful taste. Young wines sometime feel to me as though they are working too hard – everything is shouting at once.

As the wine mature, it is as thouhg the voices grow to respect one another and begin to work collaboratively in harmony. This bottle of wine had achieved that balance – a bricky winy red, with a soft, musty, complex nose of darker fruits – prunes even – old leather, and all those wonderful secondary/tertiary notes of herbs, spice and even a hint of mushroom. Yumm!!! To taste it was to simply enjoy what your nose had already been treated to, only more so. And it lingered on and on and on.  I think we could have just sat and enjoyed the wine – calling it dinner. It tasted like this… 

Hope these images inspire you to have a great day!

I’m off to have a cup of hot chocolate.

It’s cold this morning!