POUNCE ON THIS...Part 1 of Leopard Series
Leopard print has always been synonymous with edgy fashion, whether gracing an antique Bergère or draped as a stole. Its chic quality creates a tension unparallel to any other fabric design. It remains forever a classic, yet always feels fresh and contemporary. Sophisticated but saucy, this irresistible print is perpetually desirable and au currant. Fashion houses including Valentino, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Roberto Cavalli and most famously Dolce and Gabbana, have courted the print and continue to reinvent its presentation, keeping it a runway constant. Interior designers have equally been beguiled and fabrics emulating the spotted print abound, but none quite as famously as the Brunschwig et Fils silk velvet leopard print fabric. Introduced in 1956, it has been selling consistently for over 50 years. Produced by hand on a loom in
at the rate of only 11” a day, the looped threads are hand cut with a special tool to produce the unmistakable luxurious pile. The subtle nuisances of color and the sheen of the silk give the velvet the look and feel of an actual pelt. At nearly $6000 a yard retail cost, it’s no wonder this legendary fabric has landed in the homes of the world’s rich and famous, including Givenchy’s Grand Salon in France Paris, Oscar de la Renta’s New York City apartment and Valentino’s flat. Showcased on a settee in the most recent issue of London
Veranda magazine, we pounced on the chance to take a look at this coveted print and sink our claws into it. Seeing it in the context of this unique pastel color palette shows how versatile and grounding a leopard print can be in a setting, adding depth and sumptuousness.
 MADE GOODS thano mirror
 BRUNSCHWIG & FILS fabric on sofa in Veranda Magazine
 NOBILIS chene wall covering
 DOLCE AND GABBANA miss
 HOUSE OF L custom chair (contact House of L)
 TOD’S ballerina de pantofola
 DONGHIA luna chandelier
 VIETRI lastra collection spring 2012 (contact House of L)
 GUERLAIN eyeshadow
Loom in France Velvet Swatch at the Ohio Design Center
We Can Dish It, If You Can Take It
Home cooks often hesitate to tackle a dish like risotto because the results can often be disappointing. A chef in
Italy once told me that good risotto always has an “onda” or wave, which was his way of describing what the end result should be: creamy with enough liquid to give movement and body to the rice. The best results come from frequent stirring, as it helps break down the starch in the grain. Adding liquid gradually ensures a perfect al dente bite. The rice has a tendency to absorb liquid at a rapid pace so it’s easy to overcook it, resulting in a clumpy mess. Keep some teaspoons next to the cook top to taste for doneness as well. I prefer to use nano valone or carnaroli imported Italian rice over arborio which can be found in Italian import stores such as Gallucci’s in Cleveland, Ohio.
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side
2 cups nano valone or carnaroli rice
2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tsp unsalted butter
4 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter
1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped finely
3-4 cloves of garlic, left whole
2 cups good white wine Pinot Grigio (open to drink and throw some in!)
4 cups chicken stock (added gradually)
¾ lb mixed mushrooms such as Bella or Cremini
1 pack dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1 cup boiling water (approximately 1/2 an hour) to extract liquid
1 TBSP heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Coarse kosher salt
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
Add olive oil and butter to pan and melt at medium high heat, reserving one tsp of olive oil for mushrooms. Sautee onions in a deeper pan (preferably with sides that slope-this helps the liquid reduce quicker). Toss in the garlic cloves with onions (for a more pungent garlic taste, crush garlic but use caution as it scorches easily). Add rice and sautee with onions for about 2 minutes to coat the rice. Start by adding wine first and then stock, one cup at a time and stir frequently. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add mushrooms and cook until golden brown at high heat. The rice will take approximately 20 minutes to cook from start to finish. Once the grain has only a slight “bite” to it, finish by adding the ½ c mushroom liquid from dried porcinis,1 TBSP of heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir ingredients thoroughly together and serve immediately.
Tiramisu is the Italian’s version of the classic English trifle dish. Its literal interpretation means “pick me up” which probably has some reference to all that strong espresso in the dessert! It can be made in a rectangular 9 x 12” baking pan or for a prettier presentation, use a footed glass bow. It is a snap to pull together and usually a big hit.
4 packs of ladyfinger cookies
Cook’s Note: these are typically available in a crisp variety, but they are also available soft as well, which resemble a very thin sponge cake. If using the crisper variety dip cookies quickly on both side in espresso; if using the thinner, layer in dessert and brush espresso only on top, otherwise they will disintegrate in the coffee)
½ c sugar
½ c freshly brewed espresso coffee, chilled
2 TBSP coffee flavored liquor such as Kahlua
1 lb mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese, available at most grocery stores)
½ pint heavy whipping cream
8 oz block of milk chocolate, preferably Callebaut (to create shavings for top)
Brew espresso coffee and put in a shallow glass pan with liquor. Separate eggs and place in a small heatproof bowl. Cream egg yolks, adding sugar gradually, so that yolks are not scorched. The mixture should become thick and pale yellow, forming ribbons when the mixer is pulled out. Set over a pot of simmering water. Add a dash of liquor and continue to mix until double in volume, creating a zabaglione. Next, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form, adding vanilla and a TBSP of sugar just as the whisk starts to form “tracks” in the cream. Using a large spatula, fold the whipped cream into the zabaglione mixture. Begin to quickly dip the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture and layer in container of choice so that they are close together.
Spoon enough of the zabaglione mixture to completely cover the ladyfinger cookies and add another layer. Continue to do this, ending with a layer of the zabaglione. Using a vegetable peeler, create “curls” with the chocolate to sprinkle on the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.