The Feathered Nest

The softer side of MaisonBisson

The Adventures of Bloody Mary July 12, 2014

TowerGirl @ 11:05 am
Tags: , , ,

I just picked up this season’s first case of Dirty Girl Produce’s amazing, dry farmed early girl tomatoes. I’ve mentioned them here before and to say I am obsessed is an understatement.

In those sad months between late November and July, as my stash of tomato-bacon jam, soup, and slow roasted tomatoes dwindled and then disappeared, I was left with nothing but tomato day dreams and plans for what to do with next year’s bounty. This is when I hit upon my current tomato plan: from scratch bloody mary mix. Here at Maison Bisson we are big fans of bloody mary’s; we call them “breakfast salads” and believe they are an excellent way to bring vegetables (and vodka) into the pre-noon hours.

I have found my mission. I must create the ultimate bloody mary mix. This will take time, tinkering, tenacity, and, of course, taste-testing. I believe I am equal to the task.

I just poured the first batch out of the blender and into cups of ice and vodka. They’ve been shaken and my lips are poised upon the straw.

This first batch is made of 6 early girl tomatoes, a clove of garlic, smoked-chili sea salt, parsley, green onion, a dash of Worchestire sauce, many dashes of Frank’s Hot Sauce, the juice of one lime, and a zealous grind of black pepper. I stuck this all my blender and then let her rip. The first sip is super tomato-y, which I like, but it needs more bite. I must procure horseradish immediately. I also want to replace the lime with lemon. I also think a dash or two of red-wine vinegar is in order. It also needs more garlic. Perfection eludes me. Oh geeze, I guess I’ll have to keep playing. Poor me.


Axe Table September 9, 2012

Chris Duffy of the so-called “Grimm design collective” designed this table around Little Red Cap. Web searches reveal nearly nothing about such a collective, but Duffy’s website features a number of other amusing tables.


New Kitchen Shelving April 22, 2012

TowerGirl @ 8:29 am
Tags: , , , , ,


I love my apartment. In a city like San Francisco, where the rental market has higher stakes than a professional poker game, you are often forced to settle for a place that has only few of the characteristics you want. Our apartment is nearly the perfect: great location, a parking space, great light, high ceilings, spacious living space, and an office/guest room. The one blemish on all this perfection is the kitchen. It’s small and not terribly user-friendly. If you are a gal like me who loves to cook, it’s a problem.

What you see above is what we have to the left of the kitchen entrance. What you see below are the Ikea butcher-block carts we’d placed to the right of the the entryway to give a bit more counter space and a bit of storage.

The problem is it just hasn’t been enough storage. I tried attaching hooks to the carts, I added some bins, but it always looked messy and things were hard to get to.

Yesterday, my genius of a husband built me shelving and a pot rack to add to the carts. The result is organization bliss. Ahhh!

Now, I do believe my apartment in just about perfect.




Cut Off October 9, 2011

TowerGirl @ 5:13 pm

I am not allowed to buy new furniture for a very long time. Seriously, I am cut off.

Since moving into our new place I’ve been splurging a bit too much. Our last new item arrived this week and now I forcing myself to abstain from all future purchases. However, I do want to share the latest acquisition.

We’d been searching high and low for a hutch to store our plates in since the small kitchen does not allow for storing them there. It turns out attractive hutches are really hard to come by. I looked everywhere. Then last weekend we took a little drive to Santa Rosa and stopped into a cute little shop called Cokas Diko. They specialize in “wine country” furniture, though I am not entirely sure what that means. What I do know is that they had a gorgeous sideboard made from reclaimed wood. We loved it, but it wasn’t hutch.

After spending far to long pondering every piece in the store we came back to the sideboard. Casey pointed out that, if we stacked the vintage milk crates I’d toted cross country on the sideboard, we could easily make it work for storing our dinnerware. I liked this plan and so we purchased the sideboard.

It happily and beautifully accommodates our plates and even allows our printer to perch unobtrusively. It’s good that I love since it is the last piece of furniture I am allowed to buy, ever. Seriously.



Crab Shack September 30, 2011

TowerGirl @ 2:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I place no credibility in astrology, unless it happens to happens to suit my purpose at the time, then I am happy to embrace my crabby ways. My limited knowledge of my astrological profile is laughable, but I do know that Cancers are supposed to be notorious nesters. Since this is very true of me, I’m happy for this convenient, if flimsy, excuse for my constant need to make my space homey, welcoming, and perhaps a little bit chic.

Last year I tried to bring order and loveliness to our Haight Street apartment but was only marginally successful. The space was very limiting, but it was what we had for the year. As our lease wound down I became obsessed with finding a new apartment. If you are at all familiar with the San Francisco rental market you know that finding the right apartment takes luck, voodoo, and the tenacity of a hungry T-Rex on the search for dinner. Even if you possess this magic trifecta, it is unlikely you will find everything you want. Compromises will have to be made.

We wanted a place within walking distance of Case’s work, parking for my car, 1-2 bedrooms, quiet, charm, a nice kitchen, and some outdoor space. I stalked Craigslist, I visited many apartments, I dragged out-of-town guests apartment hunting, and then, finally, I found the perfect place. Megs was visiting when I found it and she is officially my good luck charm.

This is a wonderful apartment. It is in the Russian Hill neighborhood of the city and close to North Beach, Chinatown, The Ferry Building, and Union Square. Case can walk to work and he often takes a cable car home. He loves that. It is on the top floor so we have no one clomping around above us. It came with parking and has one large bedroom and a small second bedroom. There is a postage stamp yard that has its charms, like lime trees that are currently heavy with fruit. The downside is the kitchen is much more compact than I am used to. I’ve been tweaking it bit-by-bit and I think I finally have it functioning well and looking cute.

I added my little butcher block carts from Ikea to make it work more like a galley kitchen. Since I am not allowed to hang a pot rack, I’ve added hooks to the carts to hang measuring cups and pans. I brought in some old milk crates for added storage.

The kitchen is off of the combination dining/living room. For the first time in ages I have the space to have a table and chairs set up full time. I am loving the feeling of having a true dining space again.

Obviously, I need to find the right table lamp for the top of the buffet. Right now we have a floor lamp there which looks rather odd but gives off great light.

The living room area is my favorite. It is very cozy and faces the working fireplace! We have the same, old couches but a new desk and new accessories. The rug is new too and I am quite fond of it. We are still looking for a new coffee table, one that will allow us have the projector at the right height. We project on the blank wall over the dining table.

The guest room and bedroom are still being tweaked, but this is home for the foreseeable future. My nest will continue to be feathered and fluffed, but that’s what I do. We Cancers are like that.