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Traditional Home Magazine Photo Shoot

Posted on June 13, 2014 by Rebecca | 0 comments

We have just finished one of the most fun projects on which we've ever worked on.  A few weeks ago, Stephen Carlson, our good friend and Rebecca Ray Designs Marketing and PR expert who owns DVG Group, called me one evening and said, "How would you feel about the Farm being featured in the September Fashion Issue!?"  After I let out a giant squeal of joy like a small girl, I regained my composure and tried to sound matter-of-fact (but I'm certain Stephen wasn't buying it!!).  There was a small catch, Stephen mentioned, "They are on a very tight time line and they'll be arriving in 12 days. Is that OK with you?"  "Sure!" I gulped- the same kind of "Sure" you use when you hear that unexpected house guests are 10 minutes away and you are cleaning your closets! 

I got off the phone so excited... and then I looked around.  As you know, we were absolutely ravaged by a record breaking winter, and Spring was at least 6 weeks late. The 100 year old roses had been killed back to the ground from the below 30 degree temperatures. Builder Bob was just finishing the new barn building and there were still piles of dirt all over and a rather unattractive dumpster sitting in front of the barn.  Game face I thought.  We can do anything in 12 days, right?  No worries that Derek, my heavy lifter and my right hand was traveling for work and wouldn't be home until about an hour before the Senior Architecture Editor of Traditional Home touches down in Cleveland.  In fact, maybe they could share a ride home from the airport... but I digress.

 

 

So, "any-who" as Lizzie would say, we got to work, and fast! My family, who is pretty reliable in a pinch, came to my aid. My aunt spent countless days gardening with me and transplanting perennials.  My mom came to help me plant my baskets and planters while my dad rode old Fergie (the 1954 Massey Ferguson) with the big gang mover dodging the rain and lightening. Andrea went above and beyond helping me with the animals. I rode my little John Deere tractor (which Derek reminds me weekly, is not a brush hog - whatever) and I answered my texts and calls as I was on the tractor out in left field.  

 

Within 10 days a magical transformation had occurred. The gardens were back up and everything started to bloom on cue.  

      

The hedges were trimmed and the patio furniture sparkled.  

 

Even the horses seemed to know to stay clean - there was no extra time to give them baths!  

 

On the appointed day, the Traditional Home crew arrived!  We suggested that they stay in the Village of Chagrin at The Inn at Gamekeepers, a historic hotel.  We took them to several of our favorite places to eat, including Lemon Falls, a delightful luncheon spot in Chagrin where they make the best egg salad, home-made soups and bakery.  

 

It was fascinating seeing how they make all of their shots so beautiful by arranging flowers and furniture. We all had a blast!  

    

The Traditional Home team was absolutely delightful and we can't wait to see the Farm in the pages of their gorgeous magazine.  Look for the September Fashion Issue, coming out in mid-August.

 

In the meanwhile, I'll be recovering!!!!

 

Rebecca

 

 

 

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Following Your Heart in Designing: When the Angels Sing

Posted on April 04, 2014 by Rebecca | 2 comments

 

I have a very good friend who fascinates us every year with the story of his annual holiday trudge out into the fields looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  Here's the catch.  When he looks at it, the skies part and the Angels have to sing.  Then he knows it's the right tree.  Given his inclination to go to at least  6 tree lots and 3 barren, snow drifted fields a year before selecting this tree (much to the dismay of his wife and child) it is apparent that the Angels don't sing all that often.  We tease him mercilessly, but, I have to admit, yesterday I had an Angels moment. It got me to thinking about how we must follow our (or the Angels) intuition in design or we risk mediocrity. 

 

As you know, Derek, Lizzie and I have been restoring the century old farm that we recently bought, Hemlock Lane at Valley High.  While it would have been nice to tackle the interior of the house first, we have a responsibility to all of our furry, four footed friends, small and large, to have them in proper accommodations.  And, truthfully, it makes taking care of them so much easier!!  While this winter was not exactly the perfect weather to build a 3,500 square foot barn, we persevered (a lot like the pioneers) through -30 degree days, frozen foundations heaving and raging blizzards.  Fortunately we are over the hump, and the barn and kennels are coming along.  We should have everyone tucked in within the month.  

 

Yesterday, Builder Bob, who, in his great defense has lived through over ten years of home and barn renovations with me, showed up with a paver in his hand.  Bob was a little grumpy when he said to me, "If you don't pick the product we are using to pave the center aisle of the barn in the next hour (and have it delivered, today, I might add), I am selecting the surface."  Well, there's nothing that I love more than a design challenge, especially under pressure.  And, while Builder Bob's paver was all right - that is all it was, average and all right.  So, I jumped in the car and went over to a little landscaper place where I have had good luck before with surface stones.  And they had lots of very interesting things to use on the center aisle that all would have done the trick.  But throughout this project,  Derek and I have been managing a carefully balanced wire act of what can we do and what materials can we use that are beautiful, innovative, different and, above all, don't break the bank.  I had $4.00 a square foot to play with and now, a half hour to find it.  

 

As he was leading me through the stone yard pointing to this and that, the foreman casually said, "Well - there is one other thing - you could always have that..."  pointing to a rubble pile of the most gorgeous used brick pavers.  As I turned and looked at them, the cloudy skies parted and the angels sang.  I suddenly knew what our friend had been trying to tell me all along about those trees.  I gulped and played it cool when I asked, "Where are those coming from?" "Indiana brick roads" he casually answered. "They are reclaimed."  Could this deal get any better?  They are environmentally friendly. They were in my price range.  And, he could deliver them the same day.  Builder Bob was never going to believe this one- he thought he had finally gotten me.  But, a triumph was about to happen!

 

I raced home, and Builder Bob and Derek met me at the back of the car.  I raised the trunk and there was one of my precious bricks.  I knew I had Derek at the words "reclaimed road brick" but Builder Bob was another story. "Bricks?!" he said.  Are they on pallets, are they clean?  "They are gong to be much harder to work with..."  He gave me the long, not blinking stare, during which I was supposed to see the light and agree to something more reasonable.  But I didn't.  I just told him the angels sang.  Lucky for me, Builder Bob is such a softy.  I had half an aisle paved in reclaimed road bricks by 6 pm last evening.  And, if I do say so myself, the angels are still singing everytime I look at it.  Those are some lucky Percheron girls!!

 

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I Never Met A Beet I Liked Until I Met Chef Ryan!

Posted on February 06, 2014 by Rebecca | 0 comments

As I've mentioned before, Derek and I have been enjoying participating in a Winter Farm Cooperative with Fresh Fork Markets, where once a week we get a wonderful delivery of all local, farm fresh seasonal produce, eggs and meat. But, I've got to admit - I've been a little stumped with some of these root vegetables and mounds of kale. I freely admit, I am not a beet fan. The thought of a jar of pickled beets is not my happy place. Fortunately, we have a wonderful, good friend who just happens to be a Culinary Institute of America trained Chef! Ryan wowed us at the Rebecca Ray holiday party with several creations including a beet and arugula salad that was fabulous. So now our great friend Ryan is also our Resident Rebecca Ray consulting Chef! So on a snowy day last week, with a counter full of root vegetable, I called Ryan and said help!

Ryan began my beet transformation by informing me that "beets (and all tubers) are naturally the gem of the winter". He added that beets are a "luxurious winter vegetable with an amazing versatility - they can be served raw, roasted, shaved and juiced."  Who knew? For beet beginners like me, Ryan suggested trying to roast a candy striped beet - available at most farmer's markets and quality grocery stores. They actually look like a peppermint stick when you slice them! Place sliced candy striped beets on a cookie sheet, brush them with a good quality extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle them with a little wonderful salt (his favorite is Maldon Salt - I used the smoked version), put a little orange zest over them, and bake at 350 degrees. Yum!! I'm already a beet convert. Then, if you want to move up the skill ladder, Ryan suggests shaving a raw beet and gently marinate it in a mixture of citrus and salt, and pour it over your salad or fish.

To get really fancy, here is another one of Ryan's roasted beet recipes: Make roasted beets by slicing them down and roasting them on a shallow pan. Brush with olive oil and squeeze the juice of an orange over the top before baking. According to Ryan, while these terrific tubers are roasting, they naturally convert their starch to sugar, which in turn caramelizes and turns to a sweet sauce (He advises trying the same thing with turnips, rutabagas, colored carrots, etc). Take out the beets, wait until they cool, peel the skins off, dice them, and arrange on a bed of Arugula. Then, take the drippings, add some more olive oil, and throw in some shallots and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary. Whisk and pour over your beets and arugula; finish with some goat cheese. Absolutely fabulous. If you roast a rutabaga the same way, then mash it with some extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs, you suddenly have a unique starch to serve along side a meat dish.


The final eye opener for me is Ryan's kale recipe. So easy and so wonderful! Simply sauté some diced pancetta and shallots. Once they begin to caramelize, toss in the kale and a little chicken stock over low heat. Delicious! Ryan urged me to keep a few winter staples at home: Maldon Salt (or any other quality gourmet salt), really good extra virgin olive oil, sherry or champagne vinegar, brown sugar and fresh citrus to zest and squeeze (lemon, limes and oranges). You can make so many wonderful concoctions with just those items and fresh produce.

Derek, Lizzie and I now no longer are at a loss with the tubers!! We are enjoying roasted winter vegetables every night!! Thanks Chef Ryan!!

 

Meet Ryan!

Chef Ryan Young, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, is an undergraduate in hospitality Management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as well as a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Ryan's career has taken him all over the country and he has been fortunate to cook in many high profile venues, including Le Petit Bistro in New York City, Trio in Chicago, and and Fix at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Ryan has recently returned to his hometown, Cleveland, to join his family's business. Additionally, he is in great demand, creating fabulous charity dinner parties. Ryan is a big a believer in the farm to table movement as supports all of Cleveland's local farmer's markets. He can be spotted regularly shopping at the Shaker Square and Chagrin Falls' Farmer's Market as well as the West Side Market downtown, where he is scouting out the freshest seasonal ingredients for his artfully presented dishes! To see some of Chef Ryan Young's beautiful culinary creations, be sure to visit his Facebook Page: Ryan Young!

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The Evolution of a Rebecca Ray Bag

Posted on January 20, 2014 by Rebecca | 4 comments

Everyone always asks me where we find our inspirations for designs and the truth is, the ideas come to me at the strangest times!!  Our new Burghley Tote is an example of an "in the moment" idea.  I was riding using a bridle with web reins, and started thinking about how neat it would be to incorporate those web reins into one of our designs.  So I tucked that idea away where it sat and brewed for a while.  

Then, along came a 3-day event. Derek, Lizzie and I were trudging along through the field walking the course when Lizzie handed me one more thing to carry.  (Because, if you don't know this, Moms are like walking tote bags!) Imagine my surprise when I get to a meeting and start looking for something in my purse, only to pull out 2 American Girl dresses, 1 half eaten granola bar and a geometry homework assignment.  Anyways, I thought to myself I need a great bag to carry to a three day event that is casual and practical... hey, I can use the webbed rein detail on it!!!  

The Burghley was born. It went through several prototypes, which we all carried and tweaked. We loved it so much, we put our Rebecca Ray Designs horse on the front.  We couldn't decide between the dark leather details and the green web reins verses the chestnut leather details and the khaki web reins, so it comes in two color choices. I named it Burghley after the famed four star CCI 3-Day Event in England, one of the six leading 3-day events in the world.  It just seemed appropriate after all, that the idea was hatched on a 3-day event course!

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Winter Harvest - Calling All Squash Recipes!!!

Posted on December 06, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments
This winter, Derek and I joined a Farm Cooperative called Farm to Fork that provides it's members with a weekly harvest from their crops.  It is a great way to get fresh vegetables, eggs and meat and we love knowing that we are supporting our local farmers.  We've gotten to try root vegetables that I might not have tried without receiving them from the cooperative and having really fresh greens every night is a treat.  However, we seem to have had an over-run on Squash - every kind imaginable.  They are beautiful, colorful and decorative, but I'm running out of innovative ways to use them!!  Anyone have some great recipes out there that you'd like to share with us and our readers?
To share your recipes e-mail them to info@rebeccaraydesigns.com and we'll select our favorite reader recipe for a Rebecca Ray prize.  E-mail recipes by midnight, Wednesday, December 11th.  Happy cooking!!

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