Nicoise Salad + the Gilded Age

My weekend was filled with fires, fancy cheese, and the magic of Newport.

This was my first trip to Rhode Island. It is such a beautiful place. I can see why Commodore Vanderbilt dropped a bundle of dough to stake claim on a cliff that overlooks a gray and endless sea…

breathtaking. (read: Downton Abbey made real)

The women of my family and I trounced through the estates of Newport making for one great  “Gatsby of an afternoon”. Partially responsible was Rosecliff.

The location where the theatrical version featuring Robert Redford was filmed. SO cool. This house is exquisite. On the tour of Rosecliff, i learned about the silk drapes, the gilded wood, the parquet floor, even the ballroom ceiling styled after the neo-french renaissance. But what was most interesting was the proprietress herself, Tess Oelrich.

This lady was bonkers. In an endearing, grossly rich, eccentric, early 20th century Ms. Frizzle, sort of way…

For instance:

She served Champagne and foie gras at her son’s birthday party…he was turning 7.

When her beloved white carrier pigeon died, she had it stuffed and adorned with flying apparatuses so that it could still deliver messages to her dressing room.

When she hosted the infamous “Bal Blanc” at Rosecliff,  the whole house, the flowers, the guests’ costumes were all bedecked in black and white. But from the terrace Ms. Oelrich noticed the ocean became one vast black hole at night. So she had anchored off the cliffs of her estate a dozen racing sloops. All painted white and fastened with chinese laterns so that they could glow and bob in the dark. Thus upsetting her no longer.

this, my friends, is decadence.

In honor of Ms. Oelrich, i made this salad. Nicoise (KNEE-swah) salad is french. with that weird little curly-Q beneath the “c”. But i didn’t know how to make that happen on my american computer.

let’s examine it:

a bed of crisp green butter lettuce

a series of sweet beets, tomato, salty tuna, and chopped egg

i had a bit of extra kale, too. throw in the health!

(and keeping with our theme, kale is also the color of money.)

one squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of salad cream (i use greek yogurt) later and you’ve got a fancy-pants delicious and wonderfully filling mid day lunch that prepares you for a night of heavy champagne sampling.

or so says Gatsby. i wouldn’t know. i live like a lady. 🙂

enjoy and indulge!



more pics? ok!


i i always had trouble finding my lighting. no more!

my little cousin Julia, Gram, Myself outside Rosehill

covered bridge

fortissimo. coffee in Union square. so hipster, they have a communal record player. 


public library

creek at Moore state park

apple death

a sleepy dog and Marilyn. #lazysunday

Finn sitting like a boss in his little league uniform. also, my finger. #reallifewhomp

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