finger lime recipes

Embrace the Exotic: Finger Limes

At a lavender festival I attended several years ago there was a vendor selling finger limes. I didn’t know what they were;  I had never seen them. My curiosity got the best of me so I bought a few.

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I took one to a party and treated it like an elementary school “show and tell” exercise. It seemed like a novelty fruit. People were amused, just as I had been when I laid eyes on my first finger lime. A short time after that I received an email from a local nursery advertising the availability of a limited stock of finger lime trees. I immediately called and was told they only had two left; the rest had already been sold. Who knew they would sell out so quickly. The nursery reserved one for me and I picked it up the following day. Last year I had real hopes for it bearing fruit. Unfortunately, the buds it produced did not survive.

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In the garden of Reviving Charm: Our Finger Lime tree

This year seems promising. I’m so excited because we might stand a chance at getting some real fruit off the tree. There are many flowers and several large pods of fruit forming, one of which you can see in my picture below.

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In the garden of Reviving Charm: Our Finger Lime tree

So what exactly is a Finger Lime? The botanical name is Citrus australasica, but is commonly known as the Australian finger lime. It is a thorny shrub/tree native to Australia. You can grow them in California but will do best if you are in a coastal, Mediterranean climate like us. They produce a small flower and pod-shaped fruit. Inside the pod are small beads known as “juice vesicles” where the juice is stored. These vesicles look similar to caviar which is why finger limes are often referred to as “citrus caviar”.  Sounds exotic, right?

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Finger limes can produce fruit in an array of colors. The small citrus beads are best used as a garnish when a hint of citrus flavor is needed. They will definitely add a bit of the exotic to your recipes.

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How to use finger lime. 

Use as a garnish on desserts. Here it is accompanied with mint on a key lime pie tart.

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Cucumber popsicles with finger lime & coconut water.

Dress up scallops with a finger lime garnish.

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Scallop ceviche with finger lime. 

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Salmon stuffed avocados with finger lime garnish.

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Use them as a cocktail garnish. I would love to try the Bixby Bloody Bixby. 

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If you happen to come across finger limes for sale, do not pass them up. You can host your own “show and tell” to put your own citrus caviar on exhibit to wow your guests.

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In the Mood

It’s currently raining at our Seaside Ranch Home. It wasn’t supposed to rain until tomorrow but apparently, Mother Nature had other plans. So did I…and they involved being outdoors. I’m quickly shifting into Plan B which includes sitting in front of the computer (with the pup in my lap) and composing a long overdue post. I was researching some information for another post idea that’s been swirling around in my head when I stumbled across the Italian blog of Antonella Pagliaroli, a full-time Italian food blogger and photographer who lives in the small town of Bracciano located about 20 miles northwest of Rome. The blog is called “Fotogrammi di Zucchero”, which translates to “Frames of Sugar”. It is a beautiful site chock full of captivating photography and recipes that even non-cooks (like myself) can appreciate. The site has a dark, moody quality to it that captures the feeling of this winter day perfectly.

The inspiration for today’s post title, In the Mood, is actually the name of Antonella’s online magazine, which led me to her website. The most current magazine she publishes is from almost a year ago but the 7 issues she has posted are a feast for the eyes and are still relevant today. 

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20 YEARS AGO TODAY…

Life is interesting. You can cross paths with someone and in that unsuspecting moment, not realize that they are the person who is going to turn your whole life around. For me, that person was Mr. B. He’s the person I think of morning, noon and night. He’s the person that makes life interesting and exciting (no exaggeration) and he is the one I can’t imagine life without. We’re 2 peas in a pod.

Today marks our 20th wedding anniversary and although we are celebrating on a tiny island in the middle of Lake Maggiore, Italy, I can’t help but reminisce about the wedding we planned 20 years ago. From the start, we liked doing things differently and planned a destination wedding long before they were ever popular. The internet wasn’t around in 1998 and I made all plans and reservations over my Pacific Bell “princess” landline phone. We chose to book one of two presidential suites at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel (now known as the Fairmont Olympic Hotel) in Seattle to serve as the backdrop for our small, intimate affair. It was booked sight unseen and we didn’t see the room until a few hours before the wedding took place. We figured, “It’s the Four Seasons…c’mon how bad could it really be?” I eventually asked the hotel to send me pictures of the room and they happily obliged (The Four Seasons was very accommodating before, during, and after the event). However, I had to wait for the pictures to be developed and sent overnight via Fed-X. Interesting how times have changed!

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This was our wedding cake. Again, wanting to stray from tradition and opting for something more unique, we decided to design our own version of the wedding cake. I asked the hotel to create individual cakes for each of the 20 guests. When I made the request, I was told it was something the hotel had never done before and my wedding coordinator would have to first consult with the pastry chef. Naturally, they accommodated my request and each guest was served their very own miniature wedding cake adorned with fruit and fresh flowers (the miniature roses were my favorite). Printed menus were placed at each table setting and the dessert course was described as a “wedding cake surprise”. The cakes certainly were a surprise because we had no idea how they would exactly turn out until they were served at the wedding. Thankfully, they came out just as I had imagined and people enjoyed them so much that they continued to talk about them for many years to follow. It was a wonderful day and if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

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Easy Entertaining for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is always a great excuse to gather a few friends over. Whether you’ve been planning a fiesta for a while or are more a spur-of-the-moment kind of person, here are a few easy, last minute ideas to help you plan your party. Happy weekend! CINCO DE MAYO 2018_reviving charm

  1. I love the idea of using pink and orange roses arranged in a terracotta pot for a festive, stylish centerpiece. (image via host_to_perfection)
  2. If you are hosting a sit-down event, use fresh limes as a place cards. They are inexpensive and readily available.  A white craft pen (available at most craft stores) can be used to write the name of your guests.
  3. I’ve always liked the idea of using food containers as planters (see this post). This is an easy way to highlight the theme of your event.
  4. The guacamole at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants also includes the following ingredients:  orange juice, finely shredded orange rind and pomegranate as garnish. It’s delicious and colorful.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in my studio painting, but I’ve picked up my paint brushes again and have been working away on some new paintings. The background image seen above is actually something I painted yesterday. I will venture to guess that you’ll be seeing more of my work here on the blog.

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Cool Factor: Compartés Daring Design

Compartés has approximately 500 square feet of space that it is now calling home in Century City. However, it’s not new to the L.A. scene. The history of this chocolatier goes back to the 1950’s that included celebrity fans such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra. Compartés has continued to be popular among the Hollywood crowd, corporate clients and high profile events such as The Oscars and The Emmys. Even Oparah.com has included Compartés chocolate truffles on their list of favorite hostess gifts. Compartés chocolate is anything but basic so you wouldn’t expect anything ho-hum when it came time to design their new store. The owner, Jonathan Grahm, took out a loan at the age of 21 to purchase the shop and has turned it into something quite unique and cutting edge. Today, he is combining food, art, and style. I love him for that!

“My philosophy is always to create something that people will remember—from the packaging to the flavors to the shapes of the chocolate to now, this unbelievably gorgeous chocolate store.” — Jonathan Grahm

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Jonathan Grahm collaborated with designer Kelly Wearstler whose modern, edgy signature style is reflected in the new store design. Based on the turquoise patinated copper exterior and graphic sign design you can already sense that this is no ordinary candy shop.

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Wearstler says that the shop was “inspired by the classic European chocolate shops of the early 20th century, with materials that are rooted in tradition.”  The space incorporates brass, patinated copper, Venetian plaster, and marble. These are many of Wearstler’s signature materials. She even collaborated with the owner on packaging for a few of the chocolate bars wrappers. That’s not surprising since she has already ventured into interior design, product and accessory design, as well as fashion design.

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Glass domes resting on marble are used to display chocolate bars. Each dome was custom made so that purposely no two would be alike. They have a somewhat organic quality to them.

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Chocolate bars are displayed like works of art on a wall that can hold over 1,500 chocolate bars.

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Even utilitarian items, such as the frozen hot chocolate machine, were not overlooked when it came to design the space. It was custom dipped in brass blend in effortlessly with the interior.

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Packaging for Compartés chocolate bars is a study in graphic design. Each wrapper has its own creative pattern. Bars are offered in traditional flavors as well as those topped with items like cereal and edible 24-karat gold.

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They also sell truffles that look like mini works of art with their bold colors and graphic patterns.

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Easter is just around the corner and if you are looking for a something special to fill your Easter baskets with then maybe a sweet treat from Compartés might do the trick. This ship worldwide.

Chocolate Dipped Easter Peeps and Easter Peep BonBons easter peep choclates and bon bons compartes_reviving charm blog

Big Eared Bunny in 24 Karet Gold

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Chocolate Easter Basket
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#ThisIsNOTaSponsoredPost

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Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest 

If I didn’t already have a trip to San Francisco scheduled for next month then I would seriously consider buying tickets for the 5th annual Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest that will be taking place March 15-18 in the quaint seaside town of Carmel, California. In a previous post, I discussed how I consider dining an experience and there’s no doubt that this event will be a “foodie extravaganza”. GourmetFest gathers highly celebrated chefs, prestigious wineries, and foodies from around the world to experience the best of gastronomy and wine. I guess I will have to wait for next year, but if you’re interested you can buy tickets here.

Over the course of four days guests indulged in over 18 events including a strolling welcome party, five wine tastings, two rarities events, two cooking demos, four lunches and dinners, two off-site tours and lunches, VIP parties and a closing event. Each event provides a unique blend of amazing chefs and impressive wine offering experiences not easily replicated.

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CAFE POUCHKINE: WHAT’S OLD IS NEW IN PARIS

I consider dining out more than just a reason to satisfy my stomach. I consider dining an “experience” because a meal has everything to do with not just great food and drink, but the atmosphere and design of the surroundings and the company of others. If I think back at some of my favorite meals, they’ve incorporated each one of these aspects.

I’m sure restaurants will see a spike in sales volume this week but going out on Valentine’s Day is a ritual that Mr. B and I don’t subscribe to. But if we were in Paris we would be willing to make an exception in order to visit Cafe Pouchkine that just opened a new location near the Place de la Madeleine. It’s everything you would expect from a quintessential Parisian interior: parquet flooring, painted mirrors, carved wood, gold detailing, and beautiful fireplaces. But believe it or not, everything in the cafe is brand new. It took 6 months of work by Russian craftsmen and millions of dollars to transform an old coffee shop into this jewel box of a space. Mr. B owes me a trip back to Paris and after seeing these pictures I’m thinking he needs to make good on that promise very, soon! Talk about the potential for a wonderful dining experience…

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PROVISIONAL KITCHEN, CAFE & MERCANTILE

Once I decide on a hotel I want to stay at, I spend a lot of time trying to find the best possible rate. Who doesn’t want the biggest bang for their buck? And when it comes to booking hotel packages, sometimes they can be a great value and sometimes they can actually cost you more than if you had booked items separately. They key is to make sure the package works for you and that you’ll take full advantage of it or else you might find yourself wasting money. Do your homework and you can definitely save a few bucks…and those few bucks can be used for souvenirs! We booked the Bed & Breakfast package for our stay at The Pendry Hotel in San Diego which turned out to be a tremendous value. The package included valet parking and a $60 daily breakfast credit. We had the choice of using our breakfast credit for room service or dining at Provisional Kitchen, Cafe & Mercantile, just one of several food establishments in the hotel. We opted to dine in the restaurant each morning of our stay and we couldn’t be happier. The food was great, the service was impeccable, and the environment is amazing. Take a look for yourself.provisional restaurant pendry san diego_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 1_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 5A_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 7_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 6_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 11B_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 12_Reviving Charm

The concept of Provisional was designed in partnership with Alchemy Works, an innovative retail concept located in the Downtown L.A. Arts District and Newport Beach. As a result of this unique collaboration, a curated collection of jewelry, books, and housewares are available for sale at Provisional. This gives you a flavor of what they have to offer…provisional restaurant pendry san diego 8_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 9_Reviving Charmprovisional restaurant pendry san diego 10_Reviving CharmAll images by Reviving Charm with the exception of no. 2, which is from Pendry Hotels.

 

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30 DAYS OF COOKIES

It’s the season of festivity and food. I don’t cook but I have been known to bake on rare occasion. Very rare occasion. Even though I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen I am always on the lookout for recipes, particularly for cookies and dessert, “just in case” I ever need to whip up a few batches of sweet treats. If you plan on gifting cookies to friends and family this holiday season or plan to attend any cookie exchange parties, Williams-Sonoma has you covered. This year they collaborated with 30 bakers and bloggers to come up with 30 holiday cookie recipes and all of the recipes are currently shared on their website. Try one or try them all. There’s nothing better than baking on a cold day with the oven to warm the house and having the smell of freshly baked cookies permeating through the air. Print the recipes even if you don’t plan to bake this holiday season because they can easily be adapted for anytime of the year. And if you need any baking supplies, be sure to take advantage of the free shipping they are currently offering. And don’t forget, you can also save money by signing up for The Key (read this post). Don’t these look yummy?

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A balanced diet is having a cookie in both hands.  –Paula Deen

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Matcha Gingerbread Cookies

Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Pistachio Glaze

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Cinnamon Logs

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Dipped & Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Christmas Truffles

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ENTERTAINING: Set the Table Neiman Marcus Style

One of my guilty pleasures when traveling to San Francisco is visiting Neiman Marcus in Union Square. I shop the store from top to bottom and last year during the Thanksgiving holiday I fell in love with a particular tabletop store display. The table decorations incorporate old book pages, quotes, and words of wisdom that can easily be recreated. I’ve seen similar book page table runners on Pinterest but I like the idea of incorporating quotes, phrases, definitions, and words of wisdom. Choose wording to fit your particular festivity and you’ve created something really unique.

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inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 9inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 3aTable Inspiration_Reviving Charminspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 7inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 4cinspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 12Inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charminspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 14ainspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 6inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 10Old book pages can also be cut and fashioned into a tag that to serve as a creative place card. Don’t forget to incorporate empty spice vials with a fun message contained inside. Your guests will love it. inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 11

I love how camera focused in on the word “muzzle”. Is it trying to tell me something!!!??inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 8

There were several mobiles hanging above the dining table displaying additional words of wisdom. If you are somewhat of a DIYer this could actually be fairly easy to make. It would be time-consuming, but easy. inspirational tabletop_Reviving Charm 16

Words to live by…”Integrity…Live in such a way, that if someone spoke badly of you no one would believe it.”

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