Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving - 2013

I flat out love Thanksgiving! First of all, who was so brilliant to have picked the last Thursday of the month of November giving us a four day weekend to get a start on our Christmas season!? Of course we all know about the first Thanksgiving, at least in this country, at Plymouth Rock in 1621. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660's. But it was our first President, George Washington, who proclaimed the first national holiday.

So, besides the holiday starting a 4 day weekend, I love the food and family aspect of the holiday and of course the underlying  reason for the holiday - giving thanks! We all have so much to be thankful for. First - we are so blessed to live in this country and live in Arizona! That's just the start….my list is long…my family, my new wife, my business, friends, clients, my ability to draw and design, my health….well I can go on for a long time. 
Candelaria Design - Rural Mediterranean Kitchen

Now, what does design and architecture have to do with Thanksgiving??? Well, how about the aesthetic aspect of Thanksgiving? Of course cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a Candelaria Design Kitchen would be fantastic, but we can't have it all. So, I think there are two things that can make a huge difference in how you enjoy the beauty of Thanksgiving….table dressing and plating! Just taking some time to amp up the table and then the way the dinner plate is plated can turn your Thanksgiving into a work of art and a memorable experience for your guests. 

Let's start with the table. I have assembled some of my favorite Thanksgiving table settings from some of my favorite designers and chefs. I think the Thanksgiving table has the real tendency to get hokey! The cornucopia and the comical turkey has to go! How about a Ralph Lauren table. Rich and elegant. Try a plaid tablecloth with a criss cross table runner! And Thanksgiving does not always have to be typical fall colors….try something different,mix in some blues and purples with deep colors, with the standard golds and oranges.  

Topiary is a nice touch as are candles in glass hurricanes filled with acorns or nuts. Natural botanicals, like this carried by Isabel at Earth and Images can add lovely color and texture to the table.  I also like the touch of the place card on the plate. How nice is this - a pheasant feather and a sprig of rosemary. Simple, elegant and quietly says Thanksgiving. 

Finally, you always need some bling - I love the silver dome available at Williams-Sonoma to cover the turkey until its time to unveil it at the table. Talk about something that can keep the turkey warm and add some bling and drama to the table. Basically, think out of the box but don't over do it. Keep it classy, elegant and most importantly - simple. 
Earth and Images - Natural Botanicals

Now plating! A minor detail but one that seems to be lost with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has kind of gone the way of the buffet dinner. Everything is pulled out of the oven and set out on the kitchen counter and the buffet line is set! Sometimes the serving dishes make it to the table but everyone helps themselves and the serving dishes get passed around. Nothing wrong with any of this and both of these common ways of serving the Thanksgiving dinner can still be made a bit more unique with some of the special touches to the table. But what about plating the dishes in the kitchen adding some special garnishes to make the Thanksgiving plate spectacular and then serving each party as you would in a restaurant! You can have a plate of slop or something with a little finesse! The Thanksgiving plate is the most neglected aesthetic plate of the year. Amp it up! Wow talk about something that would be out of the box. 


Ok now for a few recipes. Brining turkey is the best. It makes the meat juicy and tender. Michael Chiarello's Thanksgiving is amazing and it all starts with brining. Here is a link to an easy way to do it along with some amazing side dishes.
Yes it takes time but it is worth it. Brine it with the juniper berries and bay leaves for a great touch. There are plenty of recipes floating around out there so I am going to skip posting some here. But what about wines???? Here are some recommendations from some of my favorite chefs. Mario Batali suggests bottle of the Sangiovese-based red known as Morellino di Scansano or the medium bodied Friulano from northeast Italy. Both are reasonably priced under $20. Or go with one of my recommendations, a Spanish wine - Toro's full-bodied, dark wines from the Tinta de Toro clone of Tempranillo. Go with the 2010 Termes from Numanthia-Termes for $28. 92 points on this one - you will love it. 

Dinner is done and now its time for some football and a good snifter of Blanton's single barrel bourbon and a great cigar. Now the nice part - it's only Thursday and we have three more days to recover! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November Update

Wow - I cannot believe we are just 45 days from the end of 2013! We all know how fast the next 6 weeks will speed by.

We have been so busy at Candelaria Design! We are completing some wonderful projects, we have many on the boards in design and several new ones just starting. We are involved in a number of community charity projects. We have been traveling. We have been filming and shooting. We have been cooking - literally!

In terms of projects - all I can say is AMAZING! We just completed a fabulous Santa Barbara Style home in Paradise Valley with a well executed contemporary twist to it. Built by Schultz Development this home is definitely one of our best. With the combined talents of David Michael Miller Interiors, Berghoff Design and Creative Designs in Lighting this project is a jewel. The home features a fabulous Bulthaup Kitchen with finely crafted steel windows from Riviera Bronze The home is sited to take advantage of the corner lot and the views to Mummy Mountain. It is beautifully furnished by David Michael Miller in a well executed and sophisticated, serenity. Inspired from our team trips to research the style in Santa Barbara, and material and product research trips to London, NY, and San Luis Obispo, CA this project really is dialed in. The landscape design by Berghoff and the trimless plaster recessed light fixtures perfectly choreographed by Walter Spitz of CDL is exquisite.  Great job by my Project Architect, Jeff Kramer, AIA who led the team from start to finish. He is the best!

We also just completed this beautiful Rural Mediterranean Estate in Silverleaf. Built by Salcito Custom Homes this home captures the essence of all of my inspiring trips to Italy. Again, we combined the talents of the same design team, David Michael Miller Interiors, Berghoff Design and Creative Designs in Lighting. We were blessed by having the client host an Open House a couple weeks ago which many attended!!! Some unique features include a flying bridge across part of the back yard with a cantilevered fire pit, indoor pizza oven in the Kitchen, 6 car garage on main level with a 13 car underground garage below, then add the extreme exercise room. This home is gorgeous and what a great team effort this was headed by Project Manager, Braden Santarcangelo, who took this home from the empty lot to the final product. Special thanks to MMPR Marketing for orchestrating the Open House - it is so nice to have the opportunity to show one of these homes off!

Both of these homes are being featured in separate episodes on my series Architainment
which will be on The Design Network right around the Holidays. We have been busy filming and will be featuring 5 projects in our initial season. Meanwhile, we had a fun time discovering the hot trends at the Market in Highpoint, NC and it was fun to be a part of and featured in The Hot List on The Design Network. This episode has already had over 100,000 views so check it out! Please subscribe to the network and I will keep you posted when our first show premieres.

Then, in true Candelaria Design style we are always involved in the community. My Project Manager, Tim Mathewson is busy working the Charles and Megan Keller in the design of a new Bat Cave for their charity that gives a special child and their family and friends an evening at Wayne Industries and the Bat Cave complete with a spin in the Bat Mobile. One of their events was featured this week on the Today Show! More details to follow but as this comes together there will be some wonderful opportunities for the design and building community to help out.

This week we just embarked on the design of a Dream Room for the Phoenix Dream Center This is the second year the Design and Construction Community has contributed time, effort, and materials to taking six rooms in an old Embassy Suites Hotel that is now the home for the Phoenix Dream Center and converting them into six beautiful Dream Rooms for girls and women looking for a fresh start in a place that is safe, has a feeling of home, and all filled with love! At the invitation of Mark and Chrissy Donnelly who are heading this up we are teamed up with Lynda Martin, ASID and Rebecca Arteaga of Camelback Interior Design, and John Gurley of RJ Gurley Custom Homes and community leader and our Team Sponsor, Jerry Colangelo. We basically have 4 months to pull this all together and make a dream come true! Again more details to follow!

Also this month, many of my staff were proud to participate in the TGen Run/Walk/Dash to raise money for the Lee T/. Hanley Fund for the fight against Pancreatic Cancer. Team Candelaria Design was a part of Team Lee in honor of our departed client, Lee Hanley, and in support of his lovely wife Nancy. Team Lee surpassed their fund raising goal and raised over $44,000.

We also just completed Phase One of the renovation to serval rooms at the Franciscan Renewal Center Candelaria Design combined efforts with my wife, Isabel Candelaria, of Earth and Images, and Chasse Building Team and my Project Manager, Braden Santarcangelo, who worked together to bring new life to 32 existing rooms. We also helped on the redesign of the pool area and plaza. This was capped off with a wonderful mass and evening with the Perricone Family who have contributed enormously to the CASA with the goal of making the Franciscan Renewal Center a world class spiritual retreat center.

Great trips to Italy, NC, SC and trips forthcoming to San Francisco to start work on a new home there and Michigan to start a new Lake House on the shores of Lake Michigan! We had our fabulous post Italy Trip party this week at Marcellino's! What fun that was. We have trips planned next year for May and September 2014. Anyone is welcome and I am sure my past travelers will attest it is a trip of a lifetime and a unique way to experience Italy. The May trip will feature the coast of Positano and the September trip will feature a return trip to Lake Como. You never know who might get married their next year!

We have also started design work for our new line of cabinets for Bentwood Luxury Kitchens out of Dallas, TX! We are designing 5 lines that will feature the Candelaria Collection along side noted designer and architect, Jack Arnold. The Candelaria Collection will be marketed nationally in 2014. More details to follow.

Finally, a recipe. Everyone always asks for them and so here is one from our host in Italy, Elizabeth Wholey, from our trip in September. My girls and I enjoy making this and it's not as hard as it seems.  Enjoy!

1 8-cup coffee pot full of fresh espresso
Approximately 1 pound ladyfingers (1/2 chilo Savoyard biscotti)
8 egg yolks
8 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 chilo (500 grams) fresh mascarpone
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Powdered bitter cocoa

In a dry, deep bowl, whip the egg yolks together with the sugar until you can write your name in it, around 10 minutes. Add mascarpone and mix in. Smear a light layer of this cream mixture onto the bottom of a medium-size (approximately 7 by 11 inches) flat, rectangular baking dish.
Pour espresso coffee into a large, oval platter. Taking a ladyfinger (or Savoyard), dip the flat side of the biscuit in and out of the espresso, quickly so that it doesnt become soaked through with coffee. Place coffee-side down onto the cream at one end of the baking dish and repeat the process, filling the bottom of the dish with ladyfingers. Pack them tightly.
Add another layer of cream on top of the ladyfingers, and then follow with another layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers, and finishing with a layer of cream.
Finally, apply a light sifting of powdered bitter chocolate to cover the entire surface. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Now for a twist, I like to add a little Marsala wine-1/2 cup to it or Vin Santo. I also like to temper the eggs in a double boiler to make sure they are cooked - not scrambled!  When it looks like a custard its done! Make this the night before and let it set up over night. Your guests will love it. 

See you next weekend where Candelaria Design will do a feature on Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

2013 Scottsdale Charro Ride

It's that time of the year again for the Scottsdale Charro Ride. I went on my first ride some 8 years ago and I have to say it is one of my favorite things to do all year. It is definitely something out of my normal day-to-day world; riding horses, sleeping under the stars, and hanging out with 140 other "cowboys" for 4 days out in the middle of nowhere! I love it!

This year the ride is on the Babacomori Ranch south of Sonoita, AZ - which is southeast of Tucson and not far from the Mexican border. My good friend and past client, Dave Sabow, is putting the whole ride together. What a job-from coordinating all aspects of the ride from horses, food, booze, buses, etc., etc. its amazing how an open field in the dessert or forest can be transformed in a couple of days to, literally, a town! We even have a heated shower trailer... yes we do rough it but can you imagine four days and nights on horses without a heated shower?

Many people only know the Scottsdale Charros through our involvement at Scottsdale Stadium and the spring training for the San Francisco Giants and our revered Charro Lodge. But over the eight years I have been involved, I can say that it is very eye opening as to what our group does to support the community. Among the most notable accomplishments of the Scottsdale Charros is our dedication and support of excellence in education. For over 50 years, the Charros have provided time and financial support to athletic programs, parent-teacher organizations and the faculty of each school in the Scottsdale Unified School District. Recognizing the importance that education plays in the community's future, the Charros annually award college scholarship funds to two Scottsdale high school seniors who are pursuing a degree in education.

The ride is a total blast and always brings our group and guests together! Something about riding horses, smoking cigars, drinking whiskey out in the boonies is just damn good for a guy! I know i sure love it. From the pines and mountains of Greer to the saguaros of the Superstition Mountains, it has allowed me to visit and experience parts of this state I would have never seen otherwise! The laughs, the falls, the card games, the horseshoes, the meals and of course the day our wives and girlfriends arrive it all makes for a memorable and unique experience.

So I appreciate all the support we are given by the community. From those of you who just attended the Scottsdale Showdown, to those that come out to our Spring Training games we thank all of you!