Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Thyme // @2souschefs

“In our continued efforts to inspire holiday sides we have Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Thyme. As children, brussels get a bad rap. Every cartoon and television program show children pushing the delectable little cabbages to the dog or simply turning their noses up without even trying them. Truth be told: it wasn’t until my early twenties that I tried them and consequently, I never looked back. The addition of bacon, which makes everything better, and savory thyme pushes this dish over the top. Andi and I went from making them only on special occasions to making them every chance we get. 

This recipe will make enough for four side portions.” – Joe 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussell sprouts – bottom trimmed and halved
  • 1 medium shallot – peeled and small diced
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme – chopped
  • 4 strips bacon – cut into pieces
  • 0.25 cup white wine

Directions

  1. Place the bacon pieces in a large sauté pan over medium heat and render the fat out of the bacon. Drain into a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Add some organic olive oil to the same pan and turn it up to medium-high heat and place the brussels into it. Roast them on all sides, tossing with a wooden spoon for approximately five minutes or until they turn a golden brown color and soften.
  3. Add the diced shallots and chopped thyme and toss.
  4. Add the white wine and cover immediately with a lid.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and allow the brussels to steam for about another three-to-four minutes. Remove the lid and season with salt and pepper,.
  6. Add the bacon back to the pan.
  7. Stir and plate.

Wallpaper with a View featuring Antrim 1844

Two weeks ago, the husband and I wandered up to the light-flooded third story of the mansion at Antrim 1844. To say that the light married with the acid turquoise wallpaper luminated the third floor would be an understatement.

Sidebar: The owner of Antrim 1844, Dort, applied all of the wallpaper on her own. How impressive is that? In our discussion, she told me that she found the process to be almost meditative. Can’t you tell that this wallpaper was applied with the utmost care and love?

On the third floor, we spied a ladder leading to a cupola, or effectively a fourth floor. Naturally, we wanted to explore. And since the ladder was not closed off, we did.

In addition to the chic wallpaper, all four walls of the cupola are lined with windows, providing a 360 degree view of historic Taneytown. As it turns out, it ended up being the last day to peep any of the remaining fall foliage, as the next day the mid-Atlantic received a blanket of snow. I saw photos of the grounds the day after and it was gorgeous. I was immediately envious that our stay did not include a fresh coat of snow on the ground.

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I digress.

Can you imagine how cold the windows of this cupola were during the snowfall? Hashtag brrrrr.

Sincerest thanks to Antrim 1844 for sponsoring my stay.

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Historic Bridges of the MidAtlantic: Loys Station Covered Bridge

The Loys Station Covered Bridge is wood covered bridge in Thurmont, Maryland. Like its nearby (and I like to imagine) sister bridge, the Roddy Road Covered Bridge, the Loys Station Covered Bridge is a king post wood covered bridge which was also a subject of an “incident” with a large truck, leading to a rehabilitation of the bridge.

It was built in 1848, an approximate two-to-twelve years prior to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge (circa 1850-1860). Originally it spanned ninety feet over Owens Creek, although a concrete support pier and steel reinforcement beams to the wood deck were later added. Like many of the nearby bridges – the Roddy Road Covered Bridge and the Bullfrog Road Bridge – it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It occurred to me that there was likely a statewide push to designate these structures around that time which lead me to wonder if they were at risk for demolition in the late 1970s. Something to research later (and likely consequently fall down a rabbit hole)…

An arsonist attempted to destroy the bridge in 1991, via lighting a large truck on fire and driving it onto the Loys Station Covered Bridge. A preservation effort was employed and raised the $300,000 necessary to fix the bridge. In addition to the monetary costs, Loys Station Bridge also required three years of work to reconstruct.

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Pack a Bag: Antrim 1844, Part II

Two weeks ago, the husband and I spent two nights at Antrim 1844. It was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone traveling through Maryland, visiting Gettysburg, or looking for a heritage tourism experience. I decided to publish an additional post about the dining experiences because they were just that phenomenal.

I would advise the Antrim 1844 visitor to take advantage of all of the food and drink options available on site. I was completely blown away by the dining experiences. Upon check in, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that breakfast part one would be dropped off just outside our room (the Clabaugh Room) at 8 am and a part two country breakfast would be served in one of the dining rooms from 8:30 to 10 am. Additionally tea and snacks are served daily in the Drawing Room at 4:30 pm. At that point, I was searching for a pen and paper to make notes of times and meals. The young lady at the check in then settled my near-overwhelmed mental notes when she shared that the meal schedule was already printed out and located in the Clabaugh Room and, not missing a beat, asked whether we preferred or coffee in the morning (coffee) and how we take it (black).

My husband and I had full days planned and though the initial room-delivered breakfast would have served as a sufficient meal on its own, he wanted more coffee. The mere insulated pitcher of coffee was just not enough for his sleepy self. (That was sarcasm. My morning nickname for him is Sleepypants and the coffee was actually plentiful.) Along with the coffee, the part one of the breakfast spread included fresh fruit and a cranberry muffins that gave me peak-holiday vibes. Forty-five minutes later and we were the first guests in the dining room for part two breakfast. Plates with eggs, toast, grits, and bacon populated the table. Mugs of coffee were consumed. Upon request for the check, we were informed that not only the part one breakfast service, but also the second one was included with the room.

We found ourselves in the Pickwick Pub after dinner on our first night at Antrim 1844 and again during the second day after taking a walk around the gardens and before our dinner reservation. If crabcakes and football are what Maryland does (name that movie reference), then ambiance and craft cocktails are what Pickwick Pub does. Tucked away in what was part of a service section of the original historic structure, the Pickwick Pub could not have been more that fifteen by twenty-five feet. With a roaring fire, decor that evokes reminders of Brooks Brothers ads of decades past with tartan wall covering, equestrian framed artwork, and a chandelier adorned with a pair of vintage ice skates, I could not have asked for a more picturesque place to spend my afternoon on such a cold day.

After a few hours relaxing over cocktails as well as some remote work, a series of hors d’oeuvres were served to those in the Pickwick Pub. Now would be a good time to mention that there were guests of the Wine Cellar dining experience that were not even staying at the hotel. That speaks to how phenomenal the dining experience at Antrim 1844 is; it attracts guests from off-site.

That evening my husband and I dined at the Smokehouse Restaurant. While I believe there is an a la carte option, we ordered from the Chef’s menu: Pork Belly (his) and Crab Cake (mine) appetizers, Grilled Little Gem Salad (his) and Mushroom Soup (mine), and Beef Short Rib (his) and Branzino (mine) as the main. Chef Erkek also sent a crab amuse busche (#wheninMaryland), seared duck, and baked brie with berry compote and candied walnuts our way. I have been dreaming about the combination of the melting cheese, rich berries, and the nuts since that night.

Executive Chef Ilhan Erkek joined the Antrim 1844 team recently, previously having worked as an Executive Chef at Ottoman Taverna and several Ritz-Carlton restaurants. He grew up in Istanbul, where he not only learned about the culinary arts, but also studied pastry. Just for reference, when my sister was in culinary school she was required to select between a culinary curriculum and a pastry curriculum. To have experience in both disciplines is an anomaly; the food version of a Lady Gaga, actress and musician, if you will.

Through my sister and brother-in-law (also a chef) I understand that it is uncommon to find a combination of talent, modesty, and affability in the food industry. Ilhan, as he introduced himself to us, embodies those qualities. The talent as exemplified by the food, the modesty and warm nature by introducing himself to guests and insisting that guests not stand upon introductions. Not only did he circulate through the dining room during dinner but he also greeted guests the following morning during country breakfast.

I am calling it now: Antrim 1844 is going to be known in Maryland as the Inn of Little Washington is known in Virginia and if not the winner, will at least be a finalist, in the Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel category of the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence for 2019.

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Sincerest thanks to Antrim 1844 for sponsoring my stay.

Markdown City, Population: Goop x Lilly Pulitzer

This past summer, I breathlessly wrote about coveting certain items in the Goop x Lilly Pulitzer collaboration. Initially not at all on my radar until the collection dropped, it was a pleasant surprise, punctuating the day before I left for my July Fourth holiday.

Lilly Pulitzer kills it at the collaboration game. Lilly x Pottery Barn? Yes. Lilly x S’well x Starbucks? I was unable to even score one but the demand has necessitated several Lilly x S’well limited runs. Lilly x Target? I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get borderline violently frustrated at the online sale and rage drove to my nearest collection-confirmed Target, only stopping at the neighboring Dunkin Donuts for a 5 am pick-me-up. It paid off. I was first in line and was able to get my pick of items to try on and eventually, purchase. The proof:IMG_7821

My now-husband, then-boyfriend scored me the teacups, Essie x Lilly nail polishes, headbands, and a tote bag from his local Target on the west coast. I knew then that the long-distance relationship was worth it and that my then-boyfriend was in it for the long haul.

While I passed up this past Lilly Pulitzer APS (the trick to not getting sucked into the APS is just to not enter the sale), I still get amped for a good Lilly sale. The beauty of a Lilly Pulitzer sale is that the brand makes such timeless pieces. The iconic shift dress? That is not going out of style ever. There is a reason Lilly Pulitzer is a heritage brand and save for the hiatus the brand took, it has been alive and kicking since the 1960s.

Last week I checked in on the Goop x Lilly collab and scored the Paltrow blouse and at a marked down price, at that. This morning and checked in and saw that the collection was further reduced and bought the Gwyneth Stretch Shift Dress. Now that I scored the items that I want – although I am still stalking the maxi skirt and maxi dress for returns as I am sure there will not be any restocks at this point – I want to share these markdowns with y’all:

 

blouse ($67 from $168) // maxi dress ($159 from $398) // maxi skirt ($99 from $248) // shift dress ($99 from $248)

Turkey and Dumplings // @2souschefs

“So you have tons of turkey leftover. What is a cook to do? The answer is turkey and dumplings. This is the best way to use up leftover turkey and gravy. Growing up, Grandma Joanne would make the best homemade chicken and dumplings. It was an all day project and a special treat for Lucinda and me. We would beg Grandma to put in extra dumplings as that was our favorite part of the dish. This is the one dish that will always remind me of my sister as she might love the recipe more than I do.

Editor’s note: It is true. One time when I was a junior in high school our grandma came to stay with Andi and I, as both of our parents were out of town for work. I asked Grandma if she knew how to make the recipe and to which she replied that she made the best dang chicken and dumplings ever. And she wasn’t lying.

All that family stuff aside, last year I was trying to figure out what I could do with the turkey that was not plain Jane Thanksgiving leftovers and it hit me! Turkey and dumplings. Super easy, uses turkey, and delicious. I can guarantee you that I will be making this recipe this Saturday.” – Andi

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lbs of cooked turkey – shredded (I prefer to use the leg meat.)
  • 1 onion small – diced
  • 1 carrot small – diced
  • 1 celery small – diced
  • 2 garlic cloves – sliced
  • 1 pint of homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup of gravy leftovers
  • 2 cup self rising flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium setting.
  2. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan.
  3. Add the chopped onions and sauté till translucent (or for about 5 minutes).
  4. Add in sliced garlic and saute the garlic for about 5 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the celery and carrots to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook the vegetables for another eight minutes.
  7. Add in the pint of chicken stock and cup of gravy. Bring up to a simmer for 10 minutes.

For the dumplings –

I use equal parts self-rising flour seasoned with salt and a lot of crushed pepper, and buttermilk. Mix the buttermilk into the flour. The dumplings should have the consistency of a wetter unbaked biscuit. It should stick to your spoon pretty easily. If the mixture is too wet, gradually add more flour; conversely, if it is too dry gradually add more buttermilk.

To finish –

Gently spoon the dumpling mixture into the simmering sauce base. I like to make the dumplings in 1-and-a-half inch mounds. Once you spoon as many dumplings that you can fit into the pot, cover with a lid and simmer for about ten minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.

Ladle into a bowl and enjoy.

Keys to the Clabaugh Room featuring Antrim 1844

My husband and I spent the beginning of last week at Antrim 1844, when we stayed in the Clabaugh Room. The room is named for a state figurehead. Per the Antrim 1844 website, “This room is named after George Washington Clabaugh who purchased the property in 1837. His son, Harvey Morris Clabaugh, was elected Attorney General of Maryland and then appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by President Roosevelt in 1903.” 

Taking this moment to shout out my cube mate from the Civil War Trust (and later, randomly running into each other a solid once every three months in Georgetown), as his last name is Claybaugh. I instantly thought of him when I learned of the namesake of the room. He grew up in the area and has been to many of the historic areas that I cover on the blog and on Instagram. I would not be shocked if he was related to the OG Clabaugh for which the Clabaugh Room was named.

While I was looking out onto the dreamy grounds from one of the prominent second story windows on the front elevation, I mentioned how amazing it would be to be here during snowfall.

Joke is on me. We dodged snowfall in the three days that we spent at this Historic Hotel of America; however the Thursday I returned to work, not only did King of Prussia (my location of my office) get absolutely pummeled with snow, but my noon evacuation attempt left me driving around KoP attempting to negotiate snowing roads for two hours. One of those hours was merely driving back to the office because I found the roads nonnegotiable and a dying phone battery. I was so lucky that I did not end up stuck on the road in a two wheel drive SUV.

I digress. During the two hours I spent navigating King of Prussia trying to find an on ramp to either 76 or 476, my mind was flashing back to my stay at Antrim 1844, specifically the Clabaugh Room. Between the subtle equestrian decor, the wood burning fireplace, and the coffee that showed up at our door in the morning, I could not think of a more cozy place to spend a snow day. Typing on my laptop in bed, with my sweet husband reading a book in front of the fire, has never felt so… Luxurious? Cozy? Relaxing? All of the above? All of the above.

I typically fall asleep with the television on. (Never Law & Order. Always Will & Grace, Seinfeld, or Frasier.) I was given the choice between a room with or without a television. In the interest of making my husband happy and preserving the historic experience, I chose without. With no television in the room, despite the wind wsssshhhhing, I slept significantly better than I have in…years? Something to consider for the future.

Sincerest thanks to Antrim 1844 for sponsoring my stay.

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Historic Bridges of the MidAtlantic: Roddy Road Covered Bridge

While my husband and I were visiting Antrim 1844, we wanted to take advantage of everything that not only Carroll County, but also nearby Frederick County had to offer. In his case, it was through the scope of the outdoorsman and in my case, through the scope of historic preservation.

Our divergent interests came together at the Roddy Road Covered Bridge, which originally was one of the shortest covered bridges in the county, and according to some accounts, the state of Maryland. While I read the interpretive signage (writing those would be a dream job!) and photographed the structural system, my husband bundled up and meandered down the stream, taking in the serenity of the area. It was something out of a dream.

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge is actually part of a slight recreational activity area. Along with a playground, there is also a parking lot. Initially when I moved to Maryland over a decade ago, I was impressed with not only the number of recreational areas, but also the quality, cleanliness, and branding. The area surrounding the Roddy Road Covered Bridge is no exception.

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When I write that it is the shortest bridge in the vicinity of the area, I mean, it is a mere forty feet long. It is the king post design which means that there is a central vertical post working in tension to support a beam below from a truss apex above.  (Nope not an engineer, just curious AF.) The 1930s brought upgrades to the structural upgrades to the bridge, via an addition of steel beams beneath the driving surface; these beams were eventually replaced. A poor rehabilitation of the project during the 1980s caused issues with moisture which led to rotting. Lesson number one from my architectural conservation class: water is the catalyst in all decay! Say it with me now!

If follow along with my Instagram Stories, and more specifically my takeover of the Antrim 1844 Instagram account, you know that this bridge was built between 1850 and 1860. Word on the street is that J.E.B. Stuart crossed this bridge along with his crew circa 1856. Not a surprise, since Gettysburg is a mere hop, skip, and a jump away.

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge that stands today is actually a replica, as the original was destroyed in what I can only ascertain as an “incident” with a “large truck” circa 2016-2017. I once read that this bridge has had a track record with “incidents” with “large trucks”. Perhaps that is why in 2017, headache bars were added to the bridge, as part of the upgrade to avoid any future incidents with oversize vehicles.

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Pack a Bag: Antrim 1844, Part I

I frequently write about my obsession for history, architectural history, and historic preservation on Lucindervention as well as across my social media channels. It is an interest I developed while living across the pond in Europe while in elementary school, and although it took me twenty-three years and a category five hurricane to understand how the built environment informs community identity, it is an interest that has never wavered.

It should come as no surprise that I would prefer accommodations at a historic hotel, rather than that of new construction. In the words of one of my favorite Bravo Real Housewives, “some people think that bigger is better and flash is fantastic,” but ten times out of ten, I would take a historic hotel especially one with a story, to a new hotel. While I was in graduate school for my Master’s degree in Historic Preservation, a classmate and still-golden friend interned at the Historic Hotels of America. I will admit, I was envious of her internship even though I loved the survey and documentation I worked on at my own internship. Ever since then, the Historic Hotels of America have stayed on my radar.

Just over two months ago, the Historic Hotels of America released their nominees for the 2018 Awards of Excellent awards. The categories were as follows:

  • Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel
  • Sustainability Champion
  • Best Small Historic Inn / Hotel (sub-75 guestrooms)
  • Best Historic Hotel with subcategories of 76 to 200 guestrooms, 201 to 400 guestrooms, and over 401 guestrooms
  • Best City Center Hotel
  • Best Historic Resort
  • Hotel Historian of the Year
  • Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel
  • Legendary Historic Family Hoteliers of the Year
  • Historic Hotelier of the Year
  • Steward of History and Historic Preservation
  • Best Historic Hotels Worldwide with subcategory of Europe, Asia / Pacific, and Americas
  • Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year

Within the last category, I immediately recognized Antrim 1844 as one of the finalists. I immediately knew that I wanted to visit and write about it.

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Located in Taneytown, in Carroll County Maryland, Antrim 1844 is mere minutes away from Gettysburg Battlefield. The stay was a welcome respite from the frenetic routine of living in the city. From Philadelphia, it was a two-and-a-half hour drive. The hotel is even closer to both Baltimore and the District of Columbia, respectively a one hour and one-and-a-half hour drives. A two-night stay allowed me to reacquaint myself with fresh air and a slower pace that I had not experienced since my summers in Mississippi; my time there was like chicken noodle soup for my mental health as well.

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It was during a leisurely afternoon spent in the Pickwick Pub that I met Dort Mollett, who along with her husband, is the property owner and operator. Their story of how they came to be inn proprietors is a fascinating one, although I have reservations about using the term “proprietors”; to me the tone does not convey the warmth of not only Dort, but of the entire staff. Conversely, the term “innkeeper” does not begin to describe the business acumen of the couple. An enterprise that began as flipping houses in the 1970s, grew to a full fledged hotel when the Molletts requested to see the most challenging property that their real estate agent could source. Upon walking into Antrim 1844 and viewing the near-decrepit condition, the real estate agent profusely apologized for wasting the couple’s time, but the Molletts knew that they had unearthed an architectural gem.

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While I always fall in love with historic exteriors, one of my (formerly) biggest secrets is that I don’t have as much enthusiasm for historic interiors. This is for one of reasons: either poorly thought out and permanent modernizations are executed or there is a lack of upkeep. The latter can be remediated which is what the Mollets pursued and accomplished. The biggest challenge of transforming the nascent property came with updating the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, but Richard had a vision for how to run the systems in order to provide modern comforts to Antrim 1844 guests.

 

Dort and I got lost in conversation. Any given question would necessitate a backstory which she would share with such candor and we would come to a point where we would wonder how we reached a given topic and consequently have to retrace our conversation back to the original question. When I caught a look at my watch, I realized ninety minutes had past. Her enthusiasm and love for the hotel is contagious and I cannot wait to see how they commemorate the forthcoming 175th anniversary of Antrim 1844.

 

Sincerest thanks to Antrim 1844 for sponsoring my stay.

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Christmas Cashmiracle

I am really into this cashmere long sleeved tee shirt that purchased last year from the Gap. It is gray, slouchy, and it came in tall. The perfect thing to wear when lounging around the home while still feeling luxurious since it is cashmere.

Unfortunately this year, Gap failed us this year and did not make any cashmere sweaters in tall. (Narrows eyes.) But as usual, Long Tall Sally has the tall cohort covered. Last year’s version is marked down and this year’s version comes in two colors.

 

gray sweater // light blue sweater // pink sweater

Rank and Fair Isle

This fair isle sweater just arrived at my apartment this week and I cannot wait to wear it in Marblehead next Friday. It is spot on for holiday, perfect for kicking off the Christmas season. While I am not an early holiday celebrator-shamer, I am a purist when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Right now I am savoring Thanksgiving – it really is the sleeper holiday – but come midnight between Thursday and Friday, red and green is on. Add the matching socks and take the festive look up a notch.

 

socks (Factory version) // sweater

Homemade Chicken Stock // @2souschefs

“In our opinion, there are only a few things in the culinary world better than homemade chicken stock. While there is nothing wrong with store bought in a pinch, you cannot go wrong with a pot is slowly simmering, filling your house with the warm aroma of roasted chicken, bringing you back to a simpler time.

Frozen, this stock will last for up to six months.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • Bones from 1 chicken – lightly roasted
  • 2 each onions – rough chopped
  • 2 each celery stalk – rough chopped
  • 2 each carrot – peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 0.5 cups red wine

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a heavy bottomed pot and cover with water.
  2. Heat the pot over medium low heat and allow to slowly come up to a simmer.
  3. Summer for four-to-six hours, adding a enough water to keep the bones submerged as it evaporates.
  4. Strain through a fine sieve and chill for any recipe.