• The Best Tomato Soup in the World

    by  • 6 Feb ’15 • soup • 0 Comments

    alex hitzFor National Homemade Soup Week celebrity chef and cookbook author Alex Hitz shares his recipe for The Best Tomato Soup in the World. In this own words…”There are so many good tomato soups in the world, that I wouldn’t include a recipe for one unless it was a true standout. It requires no technique whatsoever, and you must use the best quality canned tomatoes. Fresh ones would take you days for the same result. This recipe is amazing, and if you can turn on your stove, you can do it. It does require a small bit of patience, however, as the ingredients must simmer until a full 25% reduction takes place to concentrate the flavors, but just go do something else in the mean time…”


    National Homemade Soup Day

    by  • 29 Jan ’15 • soup • 1 Comment

    roasted carrot soup with a tahini swirlMark your calendar. February 4th is National Homemade Soup Day. Who knew? Certainly not me, and I feel as if this is something I should have been well aware of before now. To celebrate the occasion, I thought it would be fun to host virtual Soup Swap. Similar to the swaps we once did by mail. Anyone else do that other than me? I can still remember recipe exchanges by mail (not email). Letters and recipes were sent to both friends and strangers. The letter went something like, “Send a recipe to the person at the top of the list, add your name to the bottom, send a self-addressed stamped envelope…” and so on. I loved trying new recipes (this was way before blogs or Pinterest) so I was always on board.


    Lovely Leontine Linens

    by  • 26 Jan ’15 • profile • 5 Comments

    Page179EverydayThis post is long overdue! For the past few months I have slowly been reading (and savoring) every page of Jane Scott Hodges’ stunning book, Linens: For Every Room and Occasion. When it comes to bespoke creations and colorful combinations, no one does it better than Jane Scott, founder of Leontine Linens. Brimming with gorgeous photography, and modern interpretations of appliqué, embroidery, monograms and beautiful borders, this book provides a new take on linens and their relevance in today’s world.


    Nicky Haslam Article for Veranda

    by  • 6 Jan ’15 • My Writing • 0 Comments

    The January/February issue of Veranda is on newsstands now and it’s stunning. The home of Steve and Brooke Giannetti, owners of the full service design firm Giannetti Home, graces the cover. And, the story that I wrote story on Nicky Haslam‘s and Colette van den Thillart‘s NYC project is also in this issue. So many beautiful homes between the pages…it’s one not to miss. Click photos to enlarge.Veranda2 Veranda4 Veranda5 Veranda6 Veranda7 VerandaCover2015

    Soup on Sunday: Creamy Broccoli Fennel Soup with Meyer Lemon

    by  • 4 Jan ’15 • soup • 3 Comments

    “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
    – Harriet Van Horne Soup I was recently reunited with some of my old cookbooks and magazine binders that I created over 20 years ago (long before Pinterest, blogs or the Internet). I remembered eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bon Appétit, Gourmet and Food & Wine each month. I would stash the copies next to my bed like they were romance novels (right on top of a collection of cookbooks), then contemplate which recipe I would recreate first. My love of cooking never waned, it just got pushed aside as life became more demanding. Over the past few weeks I have once again had an insatiable appetite for cooking (blame it on Pinterest and AMAZING food blogs). I just discovered With Food + Love, a beautiful, seasonally inspired vegetarian and gluten-free food blog. All week I have been obsessed with this soup recipe I found on this blog. And while my version of this soup is not vegetarian, it very easily could be (just used filtered water instead of stock).
    Bon Appétit. Ronda xx


    Happy New Year Cocktails

    by  • 1 Jan ’15 • profile • 6 Comments

    “A new heart for a New Year, always!”
    ― Charles Dickens

    Happy New Year. I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for this year (family, friends, health and my recent engagement). This also marks my eighth year of blogging. It’s truly hard to believe. To acknowledge the occasion, I thought that I would share eight of my favorite cocktails to celebrate the day and ring in the New Year. Perhaps you will create one of these lovely concoctions and raise a glass to 2015. I have a feeling this is going to be a great year. Ronda xx


    Soup on Sunday: Split Pea and Ham

    by  • 28 Dec ’14 • soup • 5 Comments

    pea-soup-homestyle8 It’s a cold rainy day in Houston. So cold in fact we have a roaring fire heating the room without the air conditioner running…a rare occasion. Unsure of what to do with the large ham in the refrigerator, we decided to make split pea ham (one of my favorite cold-weather soups). Hot off the stove, I am curled up on the sofa with a bowl. This is the first time in the past few weeks I’ve had a moment to sit down and spend some time with a growing pile of magazines…I have no intention of moving anytime soon. I might just stay here the rest of the day. Enjoy your Sunday. SplitPea3
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
    2 carrots, chopped
    2 stalks of celery, chopped
    6 cups Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock (my new favorite)
    1/2 pound baked ham, chopped (2 cups)
    1/2 pound dried split peas (1 cup)
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    ½ chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
    kosher salt and black pepper
    croutons for serving (optional)


    Happy Labor Day

    by  • 1 Sep ’14 • profile • 0 Comments

    00660911.JPGIn early September 1946, LIFE magazine published a cover story that, in words and especially in pictures, perfectly captured the unique, sweet, melancholy feel of summer vacation’s end. That the article focused, as LIFE put it, on “the first postwar summer vacation” of the 1940s somehow added—if only in retrospect—a quiet intensity to the story. All these years later, the pictures and the story itself remind us of just how fleeting the peaceful, hot days and long, cool nights of late summer really are.


    Soup on Sunday: Partan Bree (Scottish Crab Bisque)

    by  • 31 Aug ’14 • profile • 2 Comments

    crabs3Inspired by a bushel of crabs on our outing yesterday, I was reminded of Partan Bree (Scottish Crab Bisque). Roasted crab shells and sherry lend sweet depth to this luscious version from chef Michael Smith of The Three Chimneys restaurant on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.The-Three-Chimneys-Isle-of-Skye-Scotland-UK-19-One of the most acclaimed restaurants in Scotland, there is nowhere in the Highlands and Islands quite like The Three Chimneys. Set in the north west Isle of Skye, and housed in an old stone home by the sea, the original island croft house dates back over 100 years. Well-known on the island for serving the best fish, locally reared lamb, beef and game, Head Chef Michael Smith is a passionate ambassador for Scottish food and cooking. (more…)

    Soup on Sunday: Zucchini Soup with Crème Fraîche

    by  • 27 Jul ’14 • profile • 5 Comments

    HDThe hot Houston weather, Food & Wine and winemaker Jeremy Seysses inspired my soup selection today. Jeremy Seysses has developed a wide repertoire of dishes to use up the zucchini from his half-acre garden: ratatouille, sautéed zucchini, zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini, zucchini cake. But this ultra-simple soup is the family favorite. “We have nothing from the garden for an eternity, then all of a sudden, we have to eat zucchini every day for two months just to keep up,” he says. His soup can be served warm, or chilled for a sunny evening. “Yes, we actually do get occasional sunny evenings in Burgundy,” he reports.