Finding a future in a house with a past

PART ONE: I think the house was waiting for us.

Whittaker Chambers’ Pipe Creek Farm as we first saw it.

Many things conspired to bring us here, many of them not particularly good but then again we never know the plan, do we? And you can really appreciate the concept of Fate when it happens to you. Here tucked away on a 450 acre farm in Westminster Maryland was a charming house that had been cared for by the Chambers family and let out to people who cared and sometimes didn’t about preserving this place a home.

We had been living in Monkton Maryland since our daughter had gone off to college. We had what we called an artist’s cabin on the Gunpowder River. But it had issues and it was time to go after 7 years. Moving all the way to Westminster was not met with enthusiasm by anyone and it did mean an hour commute to work but then again- work was secondary in a pandemic. I argued to make the move because I thought that this house needed the kind of work that Spider and I had always been good at- hard work, physical labor and zero patience work- pick a project and get it done work.

The house had been put into very good shape by the owners and the Realtor. It had its typical and amusing old house issues- like light switches that dont seem to be attached to lights and actual lights that dont appear to have a way to turn them on. If you’re smart, you call that Charm and move on. A pickier person will spend $5000 putting it all in order. Plus we needed things to tackle what wasn’t perfectly fine!

A good decorator could turn these rooms into any style you imagine yourself living in. But I took a cue from a great decorator, Barry Dixon and a home he did in Virginia that I was lucky enough to visit. Let the house be what it is supposed to be. We are living in a farmhouse. Get used to it. Not a cottage, not an Estate- its a house on a farm. Now with a few channelings from Barry Dixon-make it the best farmhouse it can be. Good thing I am an antique dealer. But you never own what you need so, Oh I wish I had a budget and a credit card!

Nestled in trees on top of a hill whose precipice is way too close, it has both shade and sun and, more importantly; its quiet. It looks over forest within feet on one side and hay fields on the other that stretch out forever. It has a sky that has a blue that you only see in paintings and at night is pitch black with layers of twinkling lights- the stars, an occasional airplane and the lightening bugs- all doing their part to keep you outside. The back of the house looks doooowwwwwnn into a pasture and at one end of that is a pond. The front of the house looks up to the big red barn. A long formal driveway under oak trees can be perceived but has long ago succumbed to falling trees and ever growing thorn bushes. You can see at once that things GROW here.

We determined it best to shelve our house muse and call upon the teachings of another master, John Saladino whose exterior rooms are as magnificent as his interiors. The exterior needed to be done first! (and it costs less). I remembered a lecture I attended once given by Mr Saladino in Washington DC where we went on a tear about suburbanites who plant azaleas in the sun and have dogwood trees in their front yards. I never enjoyed a lecture more- rear ends were twitching and sliding throughout the room as women were scolded for not having natural exteriors- you know, lawns vs yards. I remember thinking that someone should take Mr Saladino through Bethesda on the way back to the airport. But still a great lesson because he was right! So years one and two will be for clearing and creating great soil. And….as funds permit peonies and daylillies will replace grass in the sun and azaleas, rhododendrons and even a dogwood or two will find themselves settled in the cleared woods.

So the house could get the breathing room we should always give a home before we redo it and make it our own. And Spider and I could get to what we do best- labor. What I had not realized was how ill equipped we were to take this on. Living in the artist cabin on the river, we had a cappuccino machine not a chainsaw not to mention a riding mower. Normally you would just go to Lowe’s. But with no work and no open stores- and good heavens, these new mowers are 5000 dollars. So I started driving around looking for signs of life in the towns around me and found Jerry. Jerry has a junkyard and a lawn service. I was able to make 2 payments and get Scott, my first lawn mower for 350.00. Scott will cut anything. He has heart. Only when I run up on unseen, downed trees will Scott get fed up and turn over- pinning me in 5 foot tall grass screaming for Spider, who responds, “Where are you?” and to which I can only repeatedly yell louder, HERE!. Scott is my friend and he and I spend romantic late afternoons together looking out over whatever plot he has mowed that day. I have a glass of wine and he sighs and moans and coughs up oil as he settles. Jerry has also created Frank or Frankenstein as no two parts fit perfectly together, a John Deere with a wicked turning radius but no heart. I will always prefer Scott.

Other tools had to be found- a wood chipper, push mower, tiller, hoses, sprinklers, edgers, weeders There is just nothing in our urban tool box that can do this kind of work. And there is no point even starting with out the hedge hog- especially if I was going to reach the pond which at first was inaccessible but held forth such promise- as I could see Geese overhead. So everything went on Ebay that we had and we worked our way down the Need List as things sold. Slowly pasture was cleared and just as fast, it needed to be replanted or put to some use. So we named everything the gate, the drive, the garden, the glen, the orchard, the pasture, the upper field and the pond- we made each area our friend and we set about defining them with love and a chainsaw.

Working here on Pipe Creek Farm has another wonderful advantage. You are never lost for something to do. That feeling of what do I do today when you first wake up was decided when you put your rake down the night before. And as I work in the peace of the land, I have come to understand people in my past better. My grandparents, for instance would look at something you offered to buy them and simply say, “this one works fine”. Or when they would excuse themselves from family and company that had come to swim or vacation and slip away and back into chores- because they loved the work. They saw the result even if it was not admired by anyone else and they enjoyed each other – because they shared the same Need List.

Year One we uncovered the brick pathway, added a few feet and planted Hostas (the best plant in the Universe)- a few Birch Trees that we got for $5 dollars from Tractor Supply and now we wait for the trees to lend shade.

The Front Door now a bit more Georgetown than Westminster

It helps to be an antique dealer! I have carted the zinc panel in the background to every home for the last 25 years. It fits, like so many fated things- perfectly.

PART TWO: The Garden- you dont know what you dont know.

Whats Happening at Pipe Creek Farm (July)

We have been blessed this year with lots of rain! That is hours of Mother Nature doing my evening chores and cooling off the the very hot daily temperatures. But rain can bring its own unique problems, we have many down or weakened trees and loads of weeds. So …lots of expense and hard always.

The Garden shed awaits a rainy afternoon

They hay harvest was late and got barned just before the 4th- so no fireworks! It only takes minutes for a spark to level a full barn of hay. But thanks to the downed Locust tree, we could see all the other fireworks from the porch.

Tomatoes seem late to me, but we planted so many that I will never go hungry this winter. The herbs are nuts! The neighbor’s corn is almost ready. BTW how do you buy “Local Corn” when the fields everywhere are only half high? As always zucchini and squash are prolific. Potatoes are doing great. Sweet potatoes not so much. A good lesson to the different ways they were planted… Its really too hot to be outside during the day but starting after work there are a couple of hours that are really beautiful in the garden and of course, we finish the day atop the hill or by the pond with a glass of wine.


What we can still do in the garden:


All the garden centers have SALES going on now. Try and buy from the local garden centers if possible but even I cannot resist the sales at Home Depot and Lowes. A 4 foot tall Nanho Butterfly Bush is now 17.00. Come on! Do be careful though…the damage done to these plants from forced survival waterings and sitting on baking asphalt for months can be too much for healthy roots. I sometimes look at these centers as a plant ASPCA. I feel more like I am adopting. If a tree is truly days away from death, I always offer to take them off their hands for few dollars. Amazingly, managers agree most times. So its a great time to shop, make some deals and plan for next years garden lay out.

SECOND: We can still plant. You can even still sow seeds. But get started now!

BEANS, BEETS, CARROTS can start from seed

CUCUMBERS, KALE, CABBAGE, BROCCOLI, CAWLIFLOWER, SQUASH are available in plant packs and that gives them some extra time. If you grow to harvest- you can wait on Kale – it hates the heat and will push to flower. I have Kale in my fenced garden for eating and Kale in the pasture garden for its beauty and for the deer, of course.

THIRD: We Harvest! You should still be getting strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. And then, of course, its July so we get Peaches!!

We planted 4 trees in our newly restored orchard, two made it past winter. We had moved them late when we finally got the orchard cleared last year. But we did not give them enough time to get their roots down. The surviving two are burdened down with peaches now and they should be in our store by this weekend. And I will be making peach ice cream for myself…If peaches are really plentiful, we’ll do a chutney. Of all the fruit crops, peaches are the most beautiful and helpful….planted in the right spot (protected from wind)…they are pretty easy. So I’ll be checking those SALES for a few more to complete that orchard.

FOURTH: MORE MULCHING ! Compost should be turning out now from early Spring clean up and water will get scarce next month. Its back breaking work so we do one wheel barrel every morning. and just let the projects pile up.

FIFTH: We start the canning. We have finished the Dill pickles and Bread and Butter pickles. And tomatoes are now coming on at a rate that is beyond our meals and store. So its getting to sauce time. And with all these zuchinnis- I’m guessing that relish is in my future.






When we first moved to Pipe Creek Farm, our first project was the horse run in barn. Filled with manure and hornets, it was very close to the main house and had to be cleaned but was far enough way to be able to have a rustic, tree house fun space of it own. Someplace you sit while still dirty or hide out with a book.

The shed was small- but big enough to be a room. So manure out of the barn and into the compost pile…Next we tried to level out the shed floor but even an axe could not get through. We put down cobblestone “look” cement pavers. A pair of louvered doors that I had been carrying around for years- finally found their forever home on either side of the opening. We painted the interior a light green, with a black green coat over the beams and the ceiling (metal, yuck) and them scrubbed the wood walls which this fall will get a coat of wax.

Then it was off to the stone yard for stone pallets, which are stronger and made to last and they have way too many! Back home and level out the front of the entry. Lay out the pallets, measure them and then off to Lowes for decking. No you should not do this…but you CAN. I wanted a deck, a porch so that a dining table could be under the stars. It doesn’t have to last forever, I wont.

We found a great but over the hill, antique German wardrobe at an auction (Brad Dudley & Son). It had no doors so we took just the top and bottom and made a big potting stand. Above it, another collection of iron wedges found a home. I put in a small flagstone area underneath to keep water from seeping into the wood. The potting area faces the garden and old zinc milk boxes keep seeds and small tools dry.

On the other side, I put a grill. This summer, sauces for canning will all be done here. Meanwhile, dinner goes right to the grill! and we rarely make it back in the house. Carrots with just a little oil and salt and pepper- peppers, corn and tomatoes are all just a few minutes and a little gas or charcoal from vine to dine!

The shed looks down on a new stock tank pool tucked into a fig orchard.

Have you redone a shed? I would love to see it!

Want to learn more about Pipe Creek Farm

The Beauty and Elegance of all White Table Linens

Not to mention the Practicality!


Easy to clean You can machine wash, hand wash or dry clean. Check out our guide.

Goes with everything white or ivory goes with everthing but they are not interchangable

Elegant You can dress it up and make it casual. That’s why they call it classic

Mix it up You can use different designs and collections together as long as the color matches!

OUR VIEW: People are sometimes hesitant to purchase fine linens. They are scared that they are a lot of work, can be ruined easily and are not convenient. Our view is that they are more work than a paper napkin- and that’s about it. Paper napkins are a one time and toss what could be less GREEN. Cloth napkins will last, they are beautiful and with a few rules of thumb- are easily cleaned. Cloth napkins are nicer to live with. You spend time and money on preparing dinner- so dine! don’t just eat! You can read about Caring for Table Linens here.

My best advice would be to start every collection with a good set of white or ivory napkins. White is more contemporary and goes nicely with cool colors. Ivory has a greater array of base colors, its warm and inviting. Both can be dressed up, starched, and monogrammed or left to their wrinkled beauty. I have found that ivory is easier to mix and match and lends itself to mix easily both new and old.


Then add a tablecloth when you have settled on your dining table or do a runner for both indoors and out. I personally do not do white placemats, unless they are wood, rattan or my favorite, Chilewich. I use placemats for design more than function so I usually go for color. But knowing that there are 12 napkins and a tablecloth that are clean and pressed in the closet gives me great comfort as I rush through the grocery at 5 pm the day before Thanksgiving.

But most importantly- USE YOUR LINENS. Think about collecting antique linens as well. But try and match size (20 – 22″ square for a dinner napkin) slight variations in design and hue are usually a lovely addition to your table.

Vintage Linens can be a great hobby and a wonderful gift

Cleaning and care of VINTAGE LINEN


Shop: By Color: WHITE

Shop: Our BRANDS







How to Clean Vintage Linens

Many Linens will never be avaialble again. Mix and match. And live your best life!

Antique fabrics can lose their pristine quality over time, often due to dinner-party spills, dirt settling into folds, and discolorations caused by ironing and starch. Some may be too delicate to machine-wash. . Fortunately, with a little bit of patience, you can revive them.

WWMD: ( What would Martha do?)


If the pieces have been exiled to the deepest corner of your linen closet for a while, give them a long bath in plain cold or tepid water to loosen set-in grime. Replace the water when it gets cloudy, and repeat until it stays clear. (And we do mean a long one: This can take up to a week.)


Fill a tub with tepid water and mild laundry detergent. Wearing rubber gloves, slosh the linens around gently. Rinse well.


Martha Stewart Living home editor Lorna Aragon swears by Engleside Restoration Fabric Restorer to remove stubborn stains. Dissolve three scoops per gallon of water, then soak the fabric for six to eight hours. Remove and rinse.


The sun has natural fabric-brightening powers. Lay your items flat on a towel outside (or in a sunny spot inside).


To keep antique linens in mint condition, store them in a dry, dark cupboard on shelves that are painted or lined with acid-free paper (oils in wood can discolor them), and tuck sheets of acid-free paper in their folds, too.

Caring for your beautiful Table Linens

Machine wash in warm (not hot) water on gentle cycle. You may use any mild detergent or soap. Use enzyme reactive stain removers only. Do not use chlorine, bleach, stain removers or detergents with lighteners (if its blue, its not your friend). Never pour detergent or soap directly on your textiles. Either pour it in when the tub is full or dilute it. Do not use fabric softeners. These only coat the fibers and make them “appear” to be soft. Use one cup of white vinegar in the rinse water to remove any traces of soap and leave fabrics smelling fresh.

The ideal way to dry textiles is air only. A line or rod is perfect, but you can use a railing or shower rod as well. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest setting and never, never dry completely. During the last few minutes of a dryer cycle the fabric overheats and dries out, making it brittle and lifeless over time. Always remove them from the dryer while still damp.

This is an ideal time to press, but if that is not possible, let them air dry. Press on the underside, using a well-padded ironing board and a clean iron. Do not press in creases because this will also cause wear over time. When pressing monograms or embellishments, place face down on a terry towel so that the decoration will “pop” out.

Finally, simply fold them neatly. Never store linens in plastic. If you must cover them, use an old piece of sheeting or pillow case. Storage should be dry and away from light with some air circulation.

Accidents…try these tips:

If wine is spilled, immediately splash seltzer water on the spot and place a dry towel underneath it

. For food stains, not much can be done until after the meal. When the meal is finished, “spot” the stains with diluted mild detergent and fill the washing machine with warm water. Now let them soak all night long. In the morning, turn the machine on and this usually will take care of it. If you still have a problem, then soak another 24 hours in enzyme reactive stain removers. Dry and press.

For candle wax, scrape off as much as you can only when it is hard. Place a brown paper bag over the wax and iron on top of this, changing positions frequently until all wax is absorbed. You should then “spot” that place with diluted detergent and follow the soaking instructions above.

Our Best Bed 2021

Cinta Blue White Stripe Linen Bedding
  • – Blue and white linen duvet cover with stripes in seven shades of blue from palest sky blue to saturated navy
  • – The print comes from hand-painted artwork giving it a slightly irregular painterly feel
  • – Unique contemporary print in a classic color combination on the finest quality pure linen
  • – Complete the look with the Cinta Blue Stripe Linen Pillow Shams and a Huddleson White Linen Sheet Set
  • – 100% Italian linen; ethically sewn in USA
  • – Queen duvet cover is 88″x92″ and King duvet cover is 106″x92″
  • – Machine washable – this duvet cover gets softer, cozier and more beautiful with use

shop the Cinta Blue Bed

Congratulations Huddleson Linens!

Use Coupon Code: Best Bed

Celebrate with us July 14 thru July 24 by taking 20 % Off your order for any Huddleson Linens Order.


You may have heard that the classic tradition of picnicing is having a moment again, rebooted for 2021 as an altogether more luxury picnic. Outdoor get-togethers, having initially become a necessity, are now the activity of choice for re-engaging with friends and family.

Below is our guide for making the most of your summer, whether the occasion is a low-key drink and snacks or a fabulous multi-course dinner party,  to help you have a season full of memorable, stylish luxury picnics.

Lovebirds Posh Picnic Basket Tablecloth Luxury Romantic Dining Frolic
Posh Picnic Luxury Glam Boho Outside Dining Romantic Frolic Birds Basket

For a whimsical and intimate luxury picnic date,  pack all the necessities in a whicker hamper along with Huddleson’s Lovebirds Linen Tablecloth and Lovebirds Napkins to set the mood. Suddenly, even the most simple menu of wine and chips looks like a lesson in charming sophistication!

Luxury Picnic Light Green Linen Table Runner Garden

A garden tea party calls for fresh light colors. The combination of a Celadon Green Table Runner and Ivory Napkins – an elegant turquoise and creamy off-white – is one of our favorites, and it looks wonderful out on the veranda.

Polka Dot Tablecloth Rainbow Cheerful Jeff Koons Posh Picnic Outdoor Dining Garden Party

This happy table is sure to keep a smile on your face as you enjoy an al fresco cheese board.  The  Piccadilly Round Polka Dot Tablecloth is perfect for celebrations big and small.  Did you notice how the dots form into petals?  Always thoughtful design from Huddleson!

Designer Linen Napkin Rothko Watercolor Print Beach Dinner Party

Done right, dining outdoors can be better than anything you could put together inside. This dinner on the beach is one such occasion – surrounded by woods and an endless lake view, giving an unforgettable experience. The place settings echo these surroundings: ambers and blues to echo the sunset over the lake and armfuls of fresh white flowers.  The napkins are Huddleson’s Seagram print inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko. Building a wine cooler into your table will ensure that you don’t miss a moment!

Sky Blue Pastel Linen Napkin Table Runner Hydrangeas Champagne Picnic for Two

A summer Champagne brunch calls for the soft, preppy elegance of Huddleson’s Sky Blue Table Runner and Sky Blue Napkins. It’s a fresh, elegant daytime look and provides the perfect basis for everyone’s favorite blue and white color pairing, allowing you to bring in an artfully mismatched selection of plates and bowls.

Petrol Dark Green Tablecloth Outdoor Picnic Sophisticated Dining

On this outdoor lunch table, the rich blue-green tone of the Petrol Green Linen Tablecloth plays beautifully off nature’s shades of green surrounding it. Add in some vibrant red Calla Lillies for a focal burst of color, load up the table with meze and settle in for a memorably chic afternoon in the fresh air.

Browse the Entire Collection and put together your own perfect luxury picnic to celebrate reconnecting with your loved ones.


Blue Dragon by Mottahedeh


Sugar Sugar Watermelon Lip Scrub

You’ll be chillin’ with this watermelon scented lip scrub that tastes as refreshing as it looks.

 Ingredients we love:

An intense, all natural and vegan lip scrub that cleanses, gently exfoliates, hydrates, and brightens lips. Formulated with sugar, cocoa butter, shea butter, and agave nectar, Sugar Sugar gently exfoliates while Vitamin C and E hydrates and brightens for the sweetest lips.


EMERGENCE: A Two Woman Show at GoreDean at the Forge

OPENING RECEPTION Friday July 9 at 6pm

13801 Jarrettsville Pike, Phoenix, MD

Rebecca Scheuerman is a realist fine artist in Baltimore. She blends traditional skills with contemporary themes in order to capture the beauty of our generation. Scheuerman’s primary mediums are oil painting and sculpture. She takes from the people and places around her to create still lifes, landscapes, and portraits. Inspired by the old masters, Scheuerman’s passion is for the human form. This has translated to a lifelong quest for her ideal figure, and is the main goal in her art.

Vivian Tanga a representational artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. My work encompasses portrait, still life, and figure.  She graduated from Columbia University in 2016 with a degree in Russian Language. She originally intended to pursue a career in Slavic Studies, but ultimately decided to pursue her dream of becoming a realist painter by enrolling at the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore.She graduated after four years of intensive studio practice in May 2020. The same year, she exhibited her first solo show at the Strathmore Mansion in Rockville, Maryland.  Her key drive when painting is to create work that feels alive. Through a dedication to masterful draftsmanship and knowledge of form and light, She seeks to add her unique perspective to the tradition of representational art.

Join us Friday and celebrate these two up and coming artits!


Explore: Wild Cherry Spoon Co

We began when artisan Tim McGuire met his wife Molly. Tim was already a woodworker but it wasn’t until he started making spoons and serving-ware for his family to use that it really gave his business a soul. Now we carve everything for kitchen+home+lifestyle from ethically harvested urban lumber. Our handcarved items are finished in our signature Spoon Butta olive oil + beeswax blend.

Check out everything this great company has to offer at





Charcuterie Board to swear by!

Friday at Five: Papa’s Bitter Truth

Papas Bitter Truth, cocktail on dark background

Papas Bitter Truth

Cocktail Courtesy of Aaron Joseph

  • 1 oz. Papas Pilar Blonde Rum
  • 1 oz. Papas Pilar Dark Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1/4 oz. Leopold Fernet
  • 1/4 oz. Apple Cider
  • 1/2 oz. Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Egg White

Preparation: Dry shake, wet shake, double strain into large champagne coupe. Garnish with dehydrated lime wheel and graded nutmeg.

Aaron Joseph, chilled 100 mixologist, washington dc
Aaron Joseph at his office


panzanella traces its origin to the 16th century. Italian cooks, then and now, try not to waste anything. So, yesterday’s bread (or even the day before) was put to good use and combined with olive oil, vinegar, and seasonal vegetables from the garden. We suggest using a high quality, extra-virgin Italian olive oil.


  • 4 ounces stale ciabatta, Italian bread or baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher, Himalayan, or other finishing salt
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters & seeded
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 – 3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sliced cucumber, seeded
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

step 1
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and a generous pinch of salt. Bake until bread cubes are pale golden brown at the edges, about 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool on separate pan or in large bowl.

step 2
Cut seeded tomatoes into bite-size pieces, and transfer to a large bowl. Add sliced red onions, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss to coat, and set aside. (For best results, “shock” sliced red onion in ice water, drain and pat dry before adding to tomatoes; this will keep them crisp and make them sweeter).

step 3
In medium bowl, combine remaining tablespoon red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in cucumbers, celery, basil and parsley.

step 4
Add toasted bread cubes and cucumber mixture to the tomato mixture and toss well. Let sit for 1 to 4 hours before serving. Toss with a little more olive olive oil, vinegar and more salt if needed, to taste, just before serving.

We suggest pairing Panzanella with a wine such as a crisp Rosé, Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio. If you’d like to make this a one-dish meal, try adding grilled shrimp — in fact, Panzanella is a great side dish when served with anything grilled. Buon appetito!

Cruet w/Cork Dispenser
Cruet w/Cork Dispenser $105

Cruet w/Cork Dispenser

Our oil cruet is the perfect size to keep near the stove or place on the table during a meal. The cork-based spout dispenses a controlled flow of your favorite extra-virgin olive oil from the bottle-shaped container. When the time comes, the spout is easily replaced. Each cruet is stamped with hallmarks representing our workshop, our company, the tin content of our alloy and the region of Italy where our pieces are made. 2.6″ DIA X 8.25″ H


friday at five: The Paloma

Sam Linsell’s perfect paloma cocktail

The Paloma is the most popular tequila-based cocktail in Mexico and if you struggle to drink tequila cocktails because they bring back too many dreadful memories of drunken student days and debauchery, this might just be the alternative.

It’s delightfully refreshing and sophisticated, complimenting spicy Mexican food perfectly.

Sam Linsell fell in love with this cocktail at his favorite Cape Town Mexican restaurant, El Burro.

This is how they make this fabulous drink.

*1 shot = 25ml

*reposado tequila means rested tequila (aged in oak for at least 2 months)


1 1/2 shots of reposado tequila (or any good quality blanco)

juice of half a ruby grape fruit

1/2 shot of agave syrup or sugar syrup

about 75ml club soda

a squirt of fresh lime juice (optional)


Mix the grapefruit juice, tequila and sugar syrup until well mixed.

Pour over a tall glass filled with ice and top up with soda water. You could add a squirt of lime juice which is nice and I did, and you could also rim the glass with salt.


If you are wanting to reduce your sugar intake, simply leave the sugar out. Its less sweet but delicious.

ALT LINEN-make a difference while you make an upgrade.

Ditch Paper towels forever!

and switch to ALT cotton linens. They’ll send you free replacements. Forever. 

Paper towels are made from trees using gobs of water, wood pulp, chemicals and energy. Right under our noses, they are one of the biggest climate change culprits. With one simple upgrade in your kitchen, you can be a planet superhero, and save money.

Instead…try napkins and kitchen towels made from Linen.

Here’s how it works…

Switch to cotton linens

They’re kind to the planet and kinder on your wallet. Buy them once and get a lifetime of replacements.

Throw them in the wash

Wash and reuse the linens; send ’em back when they’re worn. (You decide when, this is not a subscription service)

Get free replacements

We’ll keep sending you fresh replacement linens. And we’ll upcycle your worn linens into commercial use.

Order Kitchen Towels

Order Napkins

spring asparagus galette

Spring Asparagus Galette


Of course you can use a storebought pie crust instead — the unroll and bake ones are the way to go here — but I promise this dough is so easy, you’ll be glad you tried it. Puffed pastry can work too, but won’t hold pleats so you’ll want to make more of a flat tart. I replace 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour here with whole wheat flour.

  • 1 1/4 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 ml) cold water
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) grated gruyere, comte, or gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Red pepper flakes or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg or egg yolk (optional, for shine)

Make the crust: Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle butter over dough and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle sour cream and 3 tablespoons of water over the mixture and stir/mash it together to combine; it should form large clumps; add last tablespoon water if it does not. Use your hands to bring it together into a single mass. Transfer dough to a large square of parchment paper, patting it into a flatter packet, and wrap it tightly. Chilling it in the fridge until firm, 1 to 2 hours or up to 4 days. You can hasten the firming process along in the freezer, for about 20 minutes.

Make the filling: Hold the asparagus by the tough end (no need to snap it off) and cut the tips into 1-inch segments and the rest of the spears into very thin slices on a sharp angle. In a large bowl, toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, gruyere, parmesan, garlic, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste and set aside.

Drain asparagus in a colander and pat it dry on paper towels. Return it to the empty bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon zest, and pepper to taste. (No need to salt because it will be well-seasoned from the salting step.)

Assemble galette: Heat oven to 400°F. Unwrap firm crust dough and line a large baking sheet with the parchment paper that it was wrapped in. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a large round-ish shape, about 14 inches across. Gently transfer it to the parchment paper in the pan. Spread ricotta mixture over center, leaving a 3-inch border bare. Spoon asparagus over ricotta layer. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

For a darker, glossier crust, beat an egg or just a yolk with 1 teaspoon of water and brush it over the crust.

Bake galette: For 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is deeply golden. Serve warm, in wedges.

Do ahead: This galette keeps in the fridge for up to one week. It’s good at room temperature but even better warm, so the cheese is all stretchy again.

TGIF: Levitating a Great Highball

Whiskey Highball….classic

Why Is It Called a Highball?

Cocktail origin stories are sometimes difficult to sort out, and the highball falls into that category. The drink emerged in the late 1890s, and several sources indicate that bartenders in England called whiskey drinks “balls,” and tall or “high” glasses were used for such drinks. Another theory says the name comes from a 19th-century railroad signal. When the ball was high or raised on the signal post, the train could pass through without stopping. In “The Joy of Mixology,” Gary Regan writes that the drink mimics the train signal that it was time to go: two short whistles followed by one long one, as the drink consists of 2 ounces of whiskey and a long pour of ginger ale or soda.


2 ounces whiskey

4 to 6 ounces ginger ale (or club soda; enough to fill)

When you want to get a little more complex, go for the Irish gold: Irish whiskey, peach schnapps, and orange juice. 

A classic favorite is the one and only John Collins, a mix of bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda.

It’s very similar to the whiskey fizz, which opts for sugar over syrup and is generally made with blended whiskey.

One of the easiest highballs is the branded Seven and Seven: Seagram’s 7 Crown Whiskey and 7-Up.

When you want to take your whiskey to the drier side, mix up the leprechaun. With Irish whiskey and tonic water, it’s an excellent dinner companion.

The Japanese love a highball at dinnertime and in social settings. They make it with fine attention to detail, mixing Japanese whiskey with sparkling water.

Looking for Just the right glass? SHOP HERE

SIA -Snowman and the Snowtail Cocktail!

If You Haven’t Tried Making a Cocktail With Fresh Snow, You’re Seriously Missing Out

Main Ingredients:

You only need 2 main ingredients and some ice. The best part is that these ingredients are easy to find and have a great shelf life. You can totally buy the Malibu Rum and Cream of coconut and make drinks all winter long without worrying about anything spoiling!

  • Malibu Rum You could use traditional rum, if you prefer. However the use of Malibu rum adds coconut flavor on top of coconut flavor…the ULTIMATE. And frankly, with only 2 key ingredients in this cocktail, why NOT?
  • Cream of Coconut This ingredient trips people up. Cream of Coconut is a coconut flavored sweetener commonly used in cocktails. You can also use just a can of coconut milk but use only the thick top that you get prior to shaking the can. Even better, chill it prior to use. You may choose to add a bit of sweetener to the drink if you use this substitution.


Sex on a Snowbank Cocktail

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What on earth is with the name? Humor, that’s what. We don’t take things too seriously around here and this Sex on a Snowbank Cocktail is proof of that. And proof that when you live in MN, you need to have a good winter cocktail to laugh about the crazy weather. This is it and the original recipe and post that started the internet sensation!Sex_on_a_Snowbank_at_home_285072160_1080x1080_F30 0% 

note: this cocktail has taken over the internet and become known as a variety of other names including Sex in the Snow, Snowflake Cocktail, and Frozen Snow Cocktail, along with others. Although those are all great names, there isn’t anything better then the original…

The wintry cocktail Sex on a Snowbank in a martini glass with Cream of Coconut.

Have you heard of sex on a beach? The cocktail? We have. Yes, we like it. But here in MN it seems a cruel, cruel joke that many of the best cocktails are related to warmth and sand and little umbrellas. People never talk about “winter cocktails”.  If you go on Pinterest all the labels for delicious looking cocktails are  “Summer”.  Classic “summer” cocktails, refreshing “summer” drinks,  perfect “summer” beverage.  Not a single winter cocktail.

It’s just plain cruel.

We were sitting around the table whining about it (on one of the -25 degree days) with some friends, joking that here  in Minnesota it would be more like Sex on a Snowbank with snow and cold and the like. Not fun at all. That gave us a fun cocktail idea…

Sex on a Snowbank. Now that is a Minnesotan drink.

This cocktail really isn’t anything like a Sex on a Beach summer cocktail…it’s one of those winter cocktails (like how we slipped in the fact that everyone should just know about winter cocktails?) that messes with all the rules.  It’s like a pina colada, but served in a martini glass (P.S. I’m obsessed with these glasses. They are so gorgeous in real life!).  And it’s really the consistency of a slushie. But a winter slushie.

This delicious winter cocktail is only 3 ingredients. EAsy to make and absolutely delicious! Sex on a Snowbank

To start, you’ll want to ensure that your snow is as clean and pure as possible. This means you want to capture it right after it falls, before humans, pets, and wildlife have a chance to impart any grime into what you’re about to ingest. Freshly fallen snow is also at its lightest and fluffiest texture, which makes it a fun alternative to traditional ice in beverages. 

Main Ingredients:

You only need 2 main ingredients and some ice. The best part is that these ingredients are easy to find and have a great shelf life. You can totally buy the Malibu Rum and Cream of coconut and make drinks all winter long without worrying about anything spoiling!

  • Malibu Rum You could use traditional rum, if you prefer. However the use of Malibu rum adds coconut flavor on top of coconut flavor…the ULTIMATE. And frankly, with only 2 key ingredients in this cocktail, why NOT?
  • Cream of Coconut This ingredient trips people up. Cream of Coconut is a coconut flavored sweetener commonly used in cocktails. You can also use just a can of coconut milk but use only the thick top that you get prior to shaking the can. Even better, chill it prior to use. You may choose to add a bit of sweetener to the drink if you use this substitution.

How to Make a Sex on a Snowbank Cocktail

This cocktail is easy, easy to make.  Just plop a bunch of snow, some alcohol, and some coconutty goodness into a pitcher and you’ve got yourself an amazing, delicious winter cocktail that is perfect for enjoying with friends!

  • Add  chilled Malibu Rum and the Cream of Coconut to the pitcher.
  • Add SNOW
  • Blend until it reaches the consistency you prefer. It will be slushy!
  • Note: if you prefer a creamy consistency try adding a bit more coconut milk and less snow.

And oh gosh it is wonderful!! Cool, sweet, refreshing, and beautiful.

Bunny Williams: Not a House But a Home

 We’re incredibly excited to announce the upcoming release of a new documentary chronicling Bunny’s career in her own words. Bunny Williams: Not A House But a Home is the latest installment in the original documentary series Design in Mind by The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA). The film will air on PBS affiliate stations starting this spring and a special online screening for ICAA members will take place March 18th.