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Late Summer 2018

Oh August, please don't go.  I am relishing the last days of the month, even as we are just over half-way there.  One reason is certainly our daughter's imminent departure for college.  I wish we could slow down time, not only to enjoy summer and the longer, brighter days, but to have her home a little longer.  Thankfully she isn't going far, so that does make it a bit easier to bear.  It's an incredibly bittersweet time.  I'm going to surprise her with a few of our new cotton slips to sleep in, though without lace.  I'm sure the laundry situation in the dorms won't exactly be conducive to preserving fine French lace!  One thing that stayed with me from college days, is that all of the girls back then were sleeping in t-shirts and men's boxer shorts.  Needless to say, it wasn't exactly my vibe.  I understand comfort just as well as anyone, but what could be more comfortable than sliding into a slip?  

Thinking back to college days, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for making bracelets by hand, so that's what I've been doing every chance I get. I used to spend hours making these when I was younger, and it feels really nice to reconnect with that process. We have a selection of handmade beauties, featuring combinations of African trade beads and either 18K gold or oxidized sterling silver beads.  They are fully adjustable, unisex, and look great in groupings. We will be adding more as the days go on, as they are proving to be quite popular.  You can find them here.

We recently received a new batch of cotton slips to see out the rest of the warm weather. I love a lace hem, and we have a few new designs.  I am so inspired by the lace that we use from Solstiss in France. They are the ultimate purveyor of fine French lace. Their work is truly unparalleled, and used by the finest fashion houses.  The actual making of lace is something I've long appreciated.  The Lace Museum in Burano, Italy is a real treat for anyone traveling through Venice.  I found it quite inspiring to learn how painstaking it is to make lace by hand.  I have so much more respect for vintage lace pieces, and the effort that went into making them, and I truly respect all of the tiny details that are so often overlooked. 


These Italian cotton and lace half-slips have been indispensable to me this summer.  I wear them underneath dresses, or sheer skirts, or on their own with a camisole when it's too hot to wear anything else.  The crisp cotton feels cool on the skin, and the lace adds a lovely bit of femininity to what would otherwise be considered a traditional men's shirting fabric.  

My daughter and I recently took a pasta making class with Chef Gino at the Gourmandise School of cooking in Santa Monica.  It was so much fun, and we had a blast making it at home.  Apparently even all of the children in Italy know the recipe:  100 grams of flour, plus one egg per person.  We used that maxim and made enough for the army of teenagers that were hanging around the kitchen, patiently waiting.  It was so much fun to make the fettuccine, for the Uni pasta (see earlier notebook entry from January 2017 for that recipe) and also a batch of ricotta and asparagus ravioli.  Be forewarned, it's messy.  The army of teenagers really comes in handy for the clean up!  

Fresh Pasta Recipe

amounts are per person

100 grams 00 (or all purpose) flour

1 egg + 1 yolk, lightly beaten

Place the flour you are using on a flat surface in a mound, and make a well in the center.  Pour the egg in the center, and carefully begin to incorporate the flour into the egg until you have a rough dough.  Knead the dough by hand for about 8-10 minutes, then let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour.  After resting, use a pasta maker to roll out the dough, and cut into desired shapes.  Toss noodles in flour and rest until ready to cook.  In a generously salted pot of water, boil pasta for 2-3 minutes until al dente.  Toss with whatever sauce you've made, and eat immediately.  

Asparagus + Fresh Ricotta Ravioli

One container fresh ricotta

One bunch asparagus, lightly roasted and chopped into tiny pieces

One cup of parmigiano reggiano (with a little bit of pecorino thrown in)

One egg, lightly beaten

Zest from one lemon

Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

Salt + Pepper to taste

1/2 stick of butter, melted

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and use as filling for your homemade pasta ravioli. Boil in a pot of generously salted water for approximately 4 minutes, until floating at the top.  Transfer to a shallow saute pan with the melted butter, making sure a bit of the pasta cooking water comes along too.  Salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with a bit of parmigiano reggiano and freshly torn herbs.  Basil and mint are especially nice here.




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