Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I've got Georgian on my mind......houses that is!

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices:  take it or leave it.  ~Buddy Hackett

Good morning, so today since we are snowed in, I figured its a great day to  catch up on so much that has been piling up on my desk and whip up some of my families favorite meals. I went yesterday amongst the crazed crowds (you would have thought there was going to a major food shortage) and bought everything I needed to make 2 of my families all time favorite meals (and there are only a handful we ALL agree on and love) So I started my Pasta Fagiole soup this morning which is smelling quite delicious (credit to the pancetta) and about to start my linguine with white clam sauce.  The soup recipe is ridiculously good, a HUGE hit for anyone I have ever made it for and I double and even sometimes triple the recipe so I can freeze some, (theres always someone in my family who wants some) The recipe, for the clam sauce,  I was given about a year ago and its fabulous, the only thing I have tweaked is I add more garlic as I believe the secret to a really fabulous clam sauce is garlic overload.I think its from Rachel Ray. Anyway enclosing both recipes just in case, you too are snowed in and looking for something new, delicious and very satisfying to cook up that I promise your family will love!

Pasta e Fagiole Soup


  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 pound (about 4 slices) pancetta, chopped (I do not chop it, it naturally falls apart while cooking)
  • 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact ( I have often left this out if I haven't had it and its fine)
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves (I use 3 fresh)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes or fresh tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table


Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and then simmer. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup and place pot on table on a trivet. At this point, once you have removed your pot from heat, set aside and then put in your pasta. The heat will naturally cook the pasta but just perfectly, not too hot..and will result in a soup with al dente pasta as it should be. Is anything worse than a great soup with mushy pasta? Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Serve with bread and enjoy......this is a real treat!

Linguine with Vongele (White clam sauce)


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, 4 or 5 sprigs stripped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup clam juice or chicken stock
  • 1 quart of chopped fresh clams (any seafood store can prepare these for you) or a 15 oz can of  chopped clams
  • lemon, zested
  • 1 pound linguini, slightly undercooked, about 6 to 7 minutes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Lots of black pepper and some coarse salt
  • Parmesan cheese for topping (optional but I love it over practically everything)


Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan in a slow stream, red pepper flakes, garlic and anchovies and cook until anchovies meltinto the oil. Add thyme and wine. Reduce wine 1 minute. Addclam juice or stock, clam juice will give the dish a stronger clam flavor, chicken stock will give it a buttery personality. Stir in clams and lemon zestDrain pasta. Add to skillet and toss with sauce 2 to 3 minutes, until pasta is al dente and has absorbed some of the sauce and flavor. Add parsley, pepper and salt, to your taste and serve with bread for mopping up remaining juices.

And of course you must have some good fresh crusty bread for both above.....(you can put resolutions aside for this- snow days around here are a "free pass" to eat as we please)

 Moving onto homes there is no doubt that a classic Georgian is the epitome of grace, elegant refinement and symmetry. We built one eight years ago and long admired the Georgian style, both new and old. Though we are now building a french style home, I still very much am in awe of a well done Georgian and this one certainly delivers. This classic 1929 beauty, recently featured in Traditional Magazine is so fabulous, and is featured below (interiors are by Janet Simon) Then I move on to look at other classic Georgian beauties...hope you enjoy, do you have a favorite?

Love the soft muted colors of the living elegant

The stately library

Isn't that a beautiful sofa?

LOVE this dining room, the chinoiserie is the crown jewel in this room

The sunny and cheery breakfast room

The sun room 

This is the original staircase

This kitchen, made to replicate the original is from Smallbone

The breakfast room 

Love this mudroom

Stunning back terrace, the lime green is unexpected but fabulous looking

Such a serene and beautiful sitting room

The charming master bedroom

A guest room

So here's a look at other classic Georgian showstoppers