Book peeks inside most elegant homes
For 25 years, Veranda magazine has been taking readers inside some of the world's most elegant homes. Now some of the best examples are gathered in a new book, "The Houses of Veranda."
The book, by Veranda founder Lisa Newsom, showcases interiors of homes in a variety of styles, decorated by noted designers. It's a virtual home tour of fine interiors.
Newsom takes her readers inside such diverse homes as a castle in Belgium, a farmhouse in Provence, a vacation retreat on South Carolina's Kiawah Island and an apartment on Park Avenue. There are sleek, modern interiors, Old World settings and classic, traditional rooms.
"The Houses of Veranda" is published by Sterling Publishing Co. and sells for $60 in hardcover.
Hot bath 'sounds' even more relaxing
Is there anything more relaxing than a hot bath? Kohler Co. thinks so.
The company has added a sound therapy technology called VibrAcoustic to its Underscore line of bathtubs. The technology is supposed to relieve tension through the use of sound vibrations that are both heard and felt.
A bather can choose from four original compositions that integrate music, vibration and lighting to promote relaxation. He or she can also listen to music or podcasts from a mobile device, Internet radio or home computer, either by plugging in the device or by streaming wirelessly with a Bluetooth receiver.
The acrylic Underscore bath is available in five colors and nine sizes, with both drop-in and undermount installations. Suggested retail prices range from $1,055 to $4,634.
You can search for a Kohler dealer in the "Where to Buy" section of www.us.kohler.com.
Not all green beans created equal
The world of green beans is split pretty neatly in two: the round and the flat. The round beans, like Blue Lakes and the even thinner haricots verts, need to be cooked quickly in order to preserve their delicate crispness. Not so with flat beans such as Romano. They repay extensive cooking as their thick hulls take a while to tenderize. And when they do, they become meaty rather than soggy. Try stewing them in a tomato sauce for 30 minutes or more. You can even serve them cold, as an antipasto.
How to choose: Green beans should be crisp and firm. There should be no soft spots or signs of discoloring. It makes easier cooking and much nicer presentation if you sort while you're shopping and make sure you're only keeping the straightest beans.
How to store: Keep beans refrigerated in a plastic bag. If you're going to store them for very long, slip in a piece of paper towel to absorb any extra moisture.
How to prepare: With round green beans, blanch quickly in plenty of rapidly boiling, heavily salted water. Transfer them to an ice bath after they've turned bright green (about 5 to 6 minutes), pat them dry and dress them with olive oil, garlic and lemon. People will think you're a genius.
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