Monthly Archives: December 2013

Snow Day

Photo of snowy backyard wonderland

We’re up to our ears in the stuff. But one of the things I’ve begun to appreciate about living in the Snow Belt is the impossible, intoxicating quiet that comes with this weather. There’s such movement (the constant fall of flakes, branches sliding ever-lower from the weight of their new burdens), but it’s all somehow shrouded in silence.

In the heart of this gentle blizzard, I’m currently…

Reading: Miriam’s Kitchen and The Telling Room

Drinking: endless cups of vanilla chai; plus a Belgian ale after-hours

Smelling: a whiff of the South from a magnolia candle on my desk

Thinking about: upcoming visits with some beloved friends

Craving: a blanket and my bed

Stay warm, wherever you may be!

For the Love of Oysters

Despite living much of my life on the coast of Florida, I didn’t eat many oysters growing up. We were clam people. But then, years later, I read A Moveable Feast. And MFK Fisher. And so many gourmands who insisted on the unfiltered, briny beauty of the oyster.

photo of the beaches of South Carolina

I can’t remember when I had my first oyster–maybe it was on a Gulf Coast pier somewhere after all–but I remember my favorite experience. One weekend, Dan and I decided to retreat from a blustery Ohio winter to the Carolina beaches. The water was still too cold to swim in, but we kept the doors to our balcony flung wide open, so we could nap in the salty ocean breeze. At night, we went to a tucked-away shack where we were served hushpuppies, seafood stew, and a basket of cornmeal-fried oysters. They were crispy and peppery on the outside, giving way to a melting kind of richness on the inside. Almost indecent in their richness. It wasn’t really the oysters themselves. They were just a part of this moment, a symbol of a languid lifestyle far from home.

photo of fried oysters

This weekend, in the midst of another blustery Ohio winter, I fried some oysters. They sagged from their own weight and filled us with a taste of a memory.

Fried Oysters
serves 2 for a modest lunch

Half dozen shucked, largish oysters
Flour
Seasoned salt
Pepper
Knob of butter
Tbs. olive oil

Heat butter and olive oil in a pan until foamy. Season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge oysters in flour mixture and drop into hot pan. Fry until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side.

Serve on crusty bread with a creamy spread.

The Beginning

When we first bought our house, I went on and on about how much I loved its little nooks and crannies. There were dozens of spots to sit by a window—places to put mugs of tea, half-read books, vases of flowers. Places to relax and chat and daydream. Quickly, I found that my favorite spot was in my second story nook: a home studio high up in the trees.

a photo of my home office

There, I could be alone with my thoughts, with my music humming in the background, the scrabble of squirrel feet across the branches. I’ve dreamed up many big ideas here—some feasible, others a bit out of reach. It’s served as my personal creative retreat.

photo of my home office with details

Especially since I’ve begun my own freelance business, my office is I spend the most time. This Second Story Nook, a natural extension of my home studio, will be a place to gather inspiration about all things related to design, books, food, and lifestyle. It’s the quietest, yet liveliest corner of my home.