Summer months are great for entertaining and hosting out-of-town guests. We just enjoyed some time with special friends of ours who came in from San Francisco for a few days. If you have kids, summer can also feel a little crazy with juggling the whole summer camp schedule along with all the other activities. Those of us who have been through this numerous times often contemplate the thought of hiring someone just to help us keep the schedule straight. So at the end of these busy days I am just ready to put on my PJs and relax.
Those of you who know me well, know that one of my favorite hobbies is cooking. I don’t know why, but for me it is a stress reliever. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that many times when I am cooking I am also enjoying a good Malbec or Cabernet. Plus, I have to admit that I flat just love to eat.
A wonderful kitchen is a great start to an amazing cooking experience. This month our design feature is centered around kitchen design. If you have been meaning to tackle remodeling your outdated or inefficient kitchen, what better time than the summer.
From the Kitchen of Cielo Su Terra
1 lb cleaned calamari
2-3 finely chopped shallots
2 Tbsp chopped basil leaves
2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 lb tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 finely chopped garlic clove
Chopped leaves from a head of celery (optional)
1/2 cup top-quality olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the calamari. Rinse the squid and cut the tubes into rings. Cut the tentacles into bite-sized pieces.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then toss the squid into it and turn off the heat. Count off no more than 30 seconds, then remove the squid and place in a large bowl.
Prepare the salad. Add the herbs, shallot, garlic, celery leaves if you’re using them, and the tomatoes to the bowl with the calamari in it. I like to use heirloom cherry tomatoes cut in 1/2 or 1/4th’s depending on size for this recipe because it looks nice; you don’t have to, just use good tomatoes.
Sprinkle a little salt on the salad and mix well, then add the olive oil and toss to combine. At this point the salad can be stored at room temperature (covered) for several hours. While you can refrigerate it, tomatoes and basil really suffer when subjected to such cold temperatures so I never do this.
Right before you serve, grind black pepper over the salad and add the lemon juice.
Visit Chef Ryan’s website at www.cielosuterra.net and keep his services in mind for parties, events, anniversaries or a special evening at home.
Special Thanks and Gratitude:
Each time you send a referral our way, you will be entered into a drawing for a personal “Dinner for Two” by Chef Ryan. This dinner will come complete with a beautiful table centerpiece by Robin Bond Interiors and a wine pairing by Nathan T. Prater, AS CSW FWS, Advanced Sommelier/Certified Specialist of Wine/French Wine Scholar. The drawing will take place at our annual Wine, Dine & Design your Holidays party. You do not need to be present to win.
Wine, Dine, and Design TV
Meet the Teir 1 Group
Wine Pairing of the Month
Once again, the Texas heat is upon us! Lest ye default to the classic “4 to 1” slightly “wet”, ice cold, frosty Gin Martini with both olive and twist, the only saving grace is a finely crafted Sauvignon Blanc … or for that matter, BOTH! Truly, why else did God provide us with two hands? Seriously, with the upcoming extreme heat, “pass” on the high alcohol, heavily oaked, fruit “bombs” that leave you gasping for relief and instead open a crisp, refreshing, citrus driven high acid white. With this amazing salad crafted by Chef Abitz, you can enjoy these bright Mediterranean flavors paired with a classic “Kiwi” Sauvignon Blanc. As per my usual, I am partial to the following selection:
2011 Woollaston 100% Sauvignon Blanc Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
*this wine is defined by clarity and purity of flavor … super clean … great citrus flavors + a “laser beam” of acid … dynamic!
Again, make a trip to the Austin Wine Merchant on W. 6th Street and advise that I sent you to pick up the above bottle. As I stated in the May issue, AWM has a great crew and fantastic customer service.
Please allow me to be your “Everyday Sommelier” and always, good wine tastes good, but good food paired with good wine tastes great!
Nathan T. Prater, AS
The Everyday Sommelier Wine Consulting Services as:
Red or White … take a sip!
Frost Classic Cocktails
“These 10 Things!” firstname.lastname@example.org
Designer Builder Pick of the Month
Tier1 Group is an award-winning general construction company specializing in all aspects of remodeling, construction management, energy contracting and new construction for residential and commercial properties. Tier1 Group employs construction industry professionals with over 50 years of combined experience and a management team focused on maintaining industry leadership through participation in professional certification programs.
Just as when you build a house, you must start with the foundation – when Tier1 was built, they laid their foundation using integrity, care and understanding. Founding member, Bill McHugh, has brought together a consortium of licensed and highly skilled professionals to provide the highest quality service. At Tier1 emphasis is placed on the value of continuing education and top tier professionalism.
Below are some before and after examples of Tier 1 Group’s work.
Christmas in June?
It may seem ridiculous, but when it comes to planning ahead Christmas is around the corner! This year let Robin Bond Interiors help you transform your home into a winter wonderland! We provide a wide range of resources in our library that allow our clients to decorate for the holiday in whichever way they prefer. Do you have a theme you usually stick with each year? Have you wanted to change up your décor?
Here are a few images to get you inspired:
All images shown are products sold through Robin Bond Interiors. Raz Imports is one of many vendors we resource with for holiday décor. No matter what look you are going for, Robin Bond Interiors can help you create the beautifully serene setting you’ve always wanted. It is never too early to start planning! Make this year’s decorating a painless effort by contacting Robin Bond Interiors today!
KITCHEN DESIGN WITH COOKING IN MIND
When it comes to kitchen design, I start with making sure the space will function well. Our firm has a detailed questionnaire we go through with clients that asks questions like how often and how many do you typically entertain? When you cook, how many people help you in the kitchen? How many sets of dishes do you have? Do you want to recycle? The list goes on and on. What good is a pretty kitchen if it does not serve your needs and function well? Once the functionality has been nailed down, then we get into making sure the space is beautiful.
Some of the latest trends I am seeing in kitchen design include:
• Darker cabinet finishes continue to be popular. If a painted finish is selected, white is still the number one choice.
• Glass backsplash tile is a great way to add some sparkle with a huge selection of color mixes and shapes available.
• LED lighting is being selected in spite of the higher cost.
• Moving away from a traditional style into a more simple transitional style is trumping traditional design for the first time. I am actually seeing a more clean transitional feel to interiors emerging in every room of the house.
• Gray is still trending strong as the more popular neutral.
• Polished chrome is back in style for plumbing fixtures.
• Sustainable materials continue to rise in popularity from bamboo cabinets to recycled glass countertops.
• Opening up kitchens by knocking out walls and then using bar areas, islands or low breakfast dining counters to better define the space all allow for a more open floor plan to allow for conversation to other spaces such as family rooms.
This is a beautiful kitchen renovation in Travis Heights that Robin Bond collaborated on with her client Jan C. and builder Carl Gradek of Gradek Construction. You can see the “before” kitchen was a small cramped galley style. By opening up an adjoining storage room the kitchen doubled in size. Now that is functional as well as beautiful!
LINKING LUXURY, QUALITY AND STYLE
Robin Bond Interiors was established in 2003, as a full-service design firm with an emphasis on custom drapery and high quality furnishings. Our niche is working with clients from concept to completion, a room at a time, creating a beautiful, pulled together space, which reflects our client’s style. Robin Bond Interiors operates in an ethical fashion and our goal is to build long-term personal relationships with our clients based on mutual trust and respect.
Contact us today for a FREE 1 hour consultation and let us make the space of your dreams a reality!
Thank you so very much for meeting with me on my closing day and picking out my colors. It made all the difference in my home and I could not have asked for a designer who “sized up” my color needs better than you!
-- Leigh W. of Watson Design, Northern Hills
When I first talked with you about working with me and you were giving me suggestions as we talked, I realized how very talented you were in decorating. It was proven in the work you did to our home!
-- Jennifer R., Barton Hills
Our home is 19 years old, looks brand new and is so comfortable to live in. You make it all seem so easy and doable. Thanks so much for your wonderful advice and coaching us to see beyond our little world.
-- Linda K. – San Antonio, TX
Robin and her staff are talented and so pleasant to work with. I look forward to our next project!
-- Kelly S., Buda
We are so proud of this room! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
-- SafePlace, Austin, TX
We are pleased with the results of our working with Robin. The guidance she gave us and the lasting courage, confidence and creativity we have gained are priceless.
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I really appreciate the great service and style you brought to the project. You were a true professional every step of the way and made the process easy.
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Robin is very professional and is very,very good at what she does. It was, for me less stress and I came out with exactly, if not more, than what I expected. I would highly recommend her to my friends and anybody that would ask.
-- Judy C., Shady Hollow
The entire process from design to installation went smoothly and timely. We absolutely love the completed project. Without hesitation, we recommend Robin.
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No one works as hard to match design with lifestyle and personality as this company does. Getting an interior design consultation with this group is a great value.