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    goop mag #3

    When traveling with a family, a terrific and often more economical way to go is to rent a house or an apartment. We have found great sites that curate beautiful homes for short-term rent. Also in this week's mag, ways to keep your home in shipshape and beautiful spring recipes among other tidbits.

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    First Spring Harvest

    Some beautiful early greens are starting to spring. Here’s how we’re making some of them.

    Green & White Asparagus Tempura

    Asparagus is one of the first veggies to sprout in early spring. Though they're great quickly roasted with some lemon, there's something about an airy, crispy asparagus tempura that's so good. We use rice flour to give it that extra lightness and to keep this dish gluten-free.

    Some shots from the test kitchen...

    ingredients
    makes 4

    for the tempura:

    • 4 stalks green asparagus, trimmed & sliced in half on a bias
    • 4 stalks white asparagus, trimmed & sliced in half on a bias
    • ½ cup rice flour
    • ½ sparkling water
    • vegetable oil for deep frying
    • sea salt

    for a quick & easy homemade ponzu sauce:

    • ¼ cup soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
    • ¼ cup lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon mirin
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

    preparation

    1. If you have a deep fryer, set it to 375° F. If you don't, add vegetable oil to a large pot (should come up about 4-6 inches) and heat to the same temperature.

    2. Meanwhile, combine ponzu ingredients together in a small serving bowl. Set aside.

    3. Place rice flour in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate the sparkling water into the flour while mixing. Mix just until smooth. (You want to make this batter right before you intend to use it.)

    4. Dip the asparagus in the batter to coat. Fry, in batches if necessary, for about two minutes, until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with sea salt. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and homemade ponzu.

    Pea Shoot Pesto with Lemon Ricotta on Toast

    Before garden peas are fully formed, these wonderful leaves or shoots can be plucked from the plant in early spring. With a subtle pea flavor and a light and delicate texture (similar to watercress) they are great in salads, lightly sautéed with some olive oil/garlic, and especially made into a pesto and paired with creamy, lemony flavors as we do here.

    ingredients
    makes 4 with pesto to spare

    for the pesto:
    makes about 1 cup

    • 1 ½ cups packed pea shoots
    • ½ cup packed basil
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/3 cup pine nuts
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • ½ cup parmesan
    • pinch of sea salt
    • a few grinds of freshly ground pepper

    everything else:

    • 2 pieces crusty bread, sliced about ½ inch thick
    • ½ cup ricotta
    • ½ lemon
    • olive oil
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground pepper

    preparation

    1. Combine all the pesto ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Cover and pulse until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until smooth.

    2. Meanwhile, drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and under the broiler for about a minute or so on each side until lightly browned but not hard. Remove from oven and let cool.

    3. Place ricotta in a mixing bowl. Grate the zest of ½ a lemon into the ricotta and mix to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    4. Smear lemon ricotta over toast. Add pesto on top. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, a sprinkle of lemon and a pea shoot.

    Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Spring Onion with Poached Egg

    It's best to get this as fresh as possible from a farmer's market if you can to avoid the pre-cutting or ageing you may find in supermarkets. Serve this dish with a slice of crusty bread or, even better, with our Pea Shoot Pesto Toast (see recipe above) for a delicious and light spring breakfast, brunch or lunch.

    This is what the broccoli looks like raw. Once it's cooked, it looses a little bit of that pretty purple, but none of the taste.

    ingredients
    makes 2

    • 1-2 heads purple sprouting broccoli, trimmed into florets
    • 4-6 spring onions
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • olive oil
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground pepper
    • ½ a lemon

    preparation

    1. Bring about an inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pot. Place steam insert or basket on top and add the broccoli. Cover and steam for about 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.

    2. Heat a grill pan or a grill to medium high heat. Lightly drizzle the broccoli and spring onions with olive oil. Grill the veggies for about a minute or so on each side, until nicely charred. Divide the veggies onto two plates, leaving some room for the egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    3. Meanwhile, place a few inches of water in a pot and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Add a few pinches of salt and turn down to a simmer. Crack eggs into small ramekins or bowls (this makes them easier to get into the water). Add the white wine vinegar to the boiling water. With a large metal spoon, swirl the water clockwise to get it moving in a circle. While the water is moving, gently pour egg into the middle of the circle. Cook for three minutes. Remove from water and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

    4. Add the egg to the plate with your veggies. Top with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a sprinkle of lemon. Serve with crusty bread or our Pea Shoot Pesto Toast.

    Photography by Ali Allen. And a very special thank you to Summerill & Bishop for lending us some of their beautiful goods for our shoot.

    Inspirational images from a beautiful spring lunch at Valentino's chateau outside Paris.

     

     

     

     

    Home Stay Vacation Spots

    With sites like Airbnb making it easier to find accommodation in homes rather than hotels, we decided to look into some of the more curated and luxurious services out there for some vacation and city break ideas.

    Boutique Homes

    This site, personally curated by husband and wife team Heinz Legler and Veronique Lievre, is all about vacation homes with character and a real sense of style. You'll find truly special places all over the world, from Mexico to Spain to Yosemite and beyond.

    Todos Santos

    A Mexican Hacienda for rent right near the beach in Todos Santos, Mexico. A pool, hammocks and plenty of outdoor seating make for the ideal setting for lounging. There's fishing, surfing and snorkeling nearby as well as yoga classes, galleries to explore and great restaurants in the colonial town.

    Pietra Nova

    This house in Corsica is notable for its airy spaces and living room that opens onto an outdoor deck with views of the ocean and mountains. Cycling, water skiing, kayaking and more are all available nearby.

    One Fine Stay

    This tasteful selection of homes and apartments in New York and London is one to trust. For anyone in the market for an authentic experience in either of these two cities (where the company currently operates) without compromising on hotel-like amenities, this makes for an excellent option. You are greeted upon arrival and left with an iPhone and the owner's recommendations to get you around the city, plus luxury hotel-like linen, housekeeping, and Kiehl's (in NYC) products in the bathroom.

    State Street

    A stay in a super cool, contemporary house in Brooklyn Heights, full of carefully selected design pieces. There are six bedrooms, which is unusually large for New York standards.

    Thurloe Square

    An art-filled, contemporary four-bedroom house in Knightsbridge near Hyde Park and London's best museums.

    This week's goop collaboration

    melissa odabash for goop - http://www.goop.com/shop/
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    Hosted Villas

    This company started out about 20 years ago renting villas in Italy, then France and Spain. Now, the collection has expanded to a few more locations around the world including Mexico, Croatia, and Scotland. Each villa comes with a "local host" who can arrange anything and everything you may need while staying.

    Chateau de Queynac

    This chateau for eight in the French countryside with tennis courts and a pool makes for a nice family getaway.

    Mas Murale

    This old French farmhouse with contemporary décor is big enough to accommodate a large group of family or friends. Secluded, but close enough to town for a taste of living in the French countryside, it's near markets, restaurants and a short trip away from several wine villages including Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

    Haven in Paris

    This site has properties in Paris, London, Provence and Tuscany, but the real focus is on Paris where they have a huge selection of apartments both big and small. Each apartment comes with a greeter upon arrival to show you the ropes, a HiP Paris guidebook, housekeeping services once a week and more. They can also hook you up with trusted chauffeurs, babysitters, etc.

    Republique

    A four-bedroom apartment on the top floor of an apartment building in Republique with views of the surrounding neighborhoods. Near Bastille and the up and coming Canal St. Martin, staying at this apartment is a great way to experience Paris like a local.

    Unique Home Stays

    This is the site to come to if you're looking to experience a real getaway in a traditional English house. There are a few properties abroad, but the real draw here are the beautiful houses in scenic locations like Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. From small cottages to sprawling old manor houses, the interiors are contemporary and comfy. Most are self-catered, but they can make special arrangements for flowers, food deliveries and other touches.

    The Oyster Catcher

    The Oyster Catcher is a sweet, self-catered cottage on the water in Cornwall that sleeps four. Perfect for a short getaway in the summer.

    Spaces 42

    The unifying factor for the properties available on this site is contemporary architecture. Most of the homes on offer have luxe amenities including a concierge, housekeeping, chef services and more.

    Tuscan Villa

    This standout Tuscan villa has been re-imagined into a contemporary open and airy space by Ab Rogers Studio in London and Da Studio in Florence. With eight bedrooms, it's a good place for a big reunion of family or friends.

    Living Architecture

    The idea for this company came to philosopher Alain de Botton when writing The Architecture of Happiness and came from a desire to let people experience great modern architecture. A few years later, they have a small selection of homes designed by today's cutting edge architects available for rent on a self-catering basis. All decked out with amenities from some of the best – including Miele appliances and David Mellor kitchen equipment – each place is a true experience to say the least.

    A Room for London

    More of a novelty than a home-stay, this installation above one of London's major cultural institutions is totally unique. This boat installation, parked above the Southbank Centre with a view of the Thames and the London Eye, was only meant to stay for one year but has proved so popular that it now has an extension for 2013. The view is unmatched.

    The Balancing Barn

    Designed by the Dutch architecture firm, MVRDV, this is as playful as a house can get. Located near the Suffolk coast in England, it has room for eight architecture fanatics to take the whole experience in.

    Scenes from "Iron Man 3" Press Tour

    A beautiful Bibhu Mohapatra look I wore in Paris.

    A spaten at Spatenhaus in Munich.

    Me and Robert at Munich press conference.

    Tips from a Butler

    We asked our friend Oliver Hawthorne, a House Manager and former hotel butler at Claridge's, to share some of his miracle tips for stains, polishing and special touches for the home. The housekeeping staff at the Plaza Hotel in New York has some ideas for us too:

    1. How do you remove difficult stains like grass and red wine?

    Oliver's Tips:

    • Use white wine to get out red wine stains - I think a scientist proved why this works...
    • For stains on delicate clothing, use soda water and dab with a white cloth. If it doesn't come out, you can use a little bit of salt for abrasion.

    The Plaza Weighs in:

    On General Stains: "Most of the commercial spot removers out there on the market easily remove stains, we are a big fan of these. If you don't happen to have a spot remover at home, we would always suggest neutral soap and plain old water to do the trick."

    On Red Wine Stains: [As Oliver mentions] "Club soda and salt is a great trick. The most important thing is to get to the stain while it's wet because once it's dried, it's very difficult to remove. The first thing to do is dilute the stain with water, club soda, even white wine. Then, take a cloth and blot the stain from the outside in. We've also had very good luck diluting the stain and covering in iodized salt. Let the salt sit on the stain for about an hour or until it's absorbed all the moisture. Then remove away the salt with a vacuum or dustpan and brush. The stain is gone!"

    2. Any insider tricks for cleaning surfaces and/or pots and pans?

    Oliver's Tips:

    • For stains in stone, marble, granite or any absorbent, hard surfaces: Make a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply to surface and cover with plastic wrap (so it doesn't dry out). Let sit for 24 hours. If left wet, you can easily lift it and the stain.
    • Hairspray removes permanent marker from walls. Spray on a cloth and then wipe.
    • Cleaning Copper: When I used to work at Claridge's Hotel in London, we used to mix equal parts malt vinegar, flour and salt, and use that to clean the copper pots.

    The Plaza Suggests:

    "Vinegar and water is one of those traditional yet powerful methods that works like a charm. It cleans, disinfects, and leaves surfaces shiny. Just keep it to a quarter cup vinegar to one gallon of water so the smell isn't overpowering!"

    3. How should you care for silver?

    Oliver's Tips:

    • After cleaning silver, it's best to keep it covered which will stop some tarnishing. Silver cloths are the best way to get a good shine quickly if the cutlery is already clean.
    • A good way to remove tarnish from silver is to make a mixture with hot water, malt vinegar or lemon juice, salt and a ball of aluminum foil in a ceramic pot, and put the cutlery in. A chemical reaction occurs that removes the tarnish from the sliver - all big hotels do this.

    The Plaza's Tactics:

    A silver polishing machine used at The Plaza.

    At the Hotel: "We do a thorough daily inspection on our silver and two to four times a year we do a mass shining of the silver. Besides having special high end cleaning solution to shine our silver, our silver room is equipped with machines that are filled with special silver cleaning pellets that will clean every part of the tarnished item. When not in use, silver trays, cloches, utensils, terrines, etc. are wrapped in saran wrap to avoid exposure to the air."

    At Home: "The only way to keep silver shiny at home is by shining it every 3 to 6 weeks with silver polish and keeping items not in use wrapped up. Silver gets tarnished when it is exposed to the air and atmosphere; it causes a chemical reaction that creates something called Silver Sulfate, which is basically that nasty black mark that is on your finger when you rub a tarnished silver item. Silver reacts with things like wool, rubber bands, latex gloves, oils from your hands, ammonia, chlorinated water, air pollution, perfumes, hair sprays, and believe it or not, some foods can even make silver tarnish. Foods like onions, mayonnaise, salad dressing, eggs and salty foods can be damaging."

    4. How do you keep bathroom tile mold at bay? What about the easiest way to clean glass in the shower?

    The Plaza on Tiles: "We wash the tiles on a daily basis which helps keep mold at bay and is probably the best way to keep your bathroom looking spic and span. Spray with tile cleaner or an all purpose bathroom cleaner, let it sit for a while, wash down with water, then wipe with a dry cloth. If this seems a little too ambitious for everyday, you can always just wipe down surfaces with the washcloth from your shower and stick it in the wash when you're done. Every once in a while when needed, we do a bleach treatment on our tile. Leave the bleach on the mold and mildew for about 15 minutes then rinse with water and wipe dry."

    On Glass: "Your best bet for cleaning glass in the shower is to quickly wipe down with a glass cleaner like Windex every day. It only takes a moment and if you do it daily, you can keep your big cleanings to every few weeks."

    5. Any other secrets of the trade?

    The Plaza says: "For odors that seem to be ingrained in the room, wash down the walls with water and ammonia. A gallon of water to a quarter cup ammonia to keep the overpowering scent of ammonia at bay. Steam cleaners are also a great investment for everything from carpets to curtains!"

    Some Must-Have Cleaning Products

    Here are some of tried-and-tried products we use at home to clean everything limescale to a brown rice spill.

    Bar Keeper's Friend
    This all-purpose cleaner is great for the kitchen and bathroom, especially on rust and lime.

    Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Pads
    Great for getting marks, particularly scuff marks, off white walls.

    Method's All-Purpose Cleaner
    It's 'green' (with ingredients derived from corn and coconut) and it really works.

    Dyson Handhelp Vacum
    Dyson's the best and this super-powerful handheld vacuum is pretty amazing to have around for all sorts of situations. It looks cool, too.

    Ecover Limescale Remover
    Removes limescale and calcium deposits from tiles, taps and sinks without giving you that awful bleach headache.

    This week’s goop collaboration

    melissa odabash for goop - http://www.goop.com/shop/
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