As we move into gift wrapping season, be on the lookout for interesting old papers, ledgers & maps. They make great wrapping paper with a highly creative bent. Tied off with simple string or twine then a finishing touch of a wax seal and you have a pretty nifty package to present.
We timed it pretty perfectly. This trip, which we did at exactly the same time last year, has so much to do with seeing the Fall colors. The drive up when we first arrived on the 9th, the colors were lovely but not quite there yet. Each day we would see them develop and turn. Like watching a natural dance. The trees that cocoon the house were still full of leaves. Today, they are beginning to be bare. Watching the wind blow them off is just poetic. It is such a special time to be here. We head back to Seattle tomorrow, rested and ready tackle the upcoming busy holiday season.
This time of year and really right through the start of Spring, root vegetables are in abundance at the grocery store and at farm stands/farmers markets. There is just something about a big sheet pan or baking dish filled with a variety of root vegetables that I find immensely comforting. Baked/roasted at a high temperature really brings out the sweetness and caramelizes things a bit. I don’t even know where to begin the list on what this all is tasty with but let me try. Chicken tops the list, as does eggs. A piece of white fish such as halibut would be divine. Or truly, a big bowl of this alone would be a great vegetarian option. This could not be simpler, easier or quicker, so don’t blink or you might miss it.
You might have now noticed that I like cooking things at a high temperature. So often I say to set the oven at 400. This holds true here too. Cut up to roughly the same size little potatoes, like Yukon gold or reds. Scatter onto a baking sheet or baking dish. Then add pieces of whole peeled garlic. Next carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and turnips. Really any variation of these is lovely. No sweat if you can’t find them all. Again, try and have them cut to roughly the same size as the potatoes. Roughly is the key word here. This helps things cook evenly, but don’t worry if everything is not exact. I actually like the slight variations of everything. Looks cool once you plate it all up at the end. Then liberally sprinkle the whole lot with extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper. Either with your hands or a big spoon, mix all around so everything is evenly coated. Into that hot 400 degree oven it goes. Every 15 minutes move things around so they don’t stick and cook nicely on all sides. 45 minutes is usually a good amount of time, but more or less might be the ticket as all ovens vary slightly, as will cooking time by how large the pieces are cut up. Done. Your home will smell divine.
This book Provence, 1979 has been at the top of my list to read for awhile. I forgot to grab one as I was packing up at the shop the day before we left for New York last week. I wanted so badly to read it on this stay, we purchased it at the charming bookshop in Chatham the other day. It has been such a treat. A bit like taking a Provence trip while being ensconced at Hawthorne. Not a bad duo in the least. Written by the grandnephew of M.F.K. Fisher, it is a look back to a slice in time in the culinary world when a group of food legends (Julia Child, James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher) converged on Provence. It is a bit like being a fly on the wall at a very special time. Change was in the air for the group of them. Many at the top of their game, the book centers on how this visit to Provence at this time in 1970 was pivotal to them all–how it shaped the next moves in their careers and in their lives. Being a lover of many things French, it is so interesting to read how many of these things influenced all of them as well. Like honoring the meal, savoring simple ingredients, and finding beauty in so many things/moments that the French are regaled and known for. I rarely read a book in several sittings, preferring to savor it over time. But this book is an exception. Even though I know how it all ends, I have just not been able to put it down. So good.
Just a reminder, if you are in the Hudson Valley area of Rhinebeck this afternoon, please stop into Paper Trail from 4 to 6 for my book signing. Would love to see you!
I am excited to be signing books tomorrow late afternoon from 4 to 6 at the oh so stylish Paper Trail in the oh so stylish Rhinebeck, New York. If you are in the area, please stop in! This visit has been part vacation, vintage shopping and book signings–what a fun trio at this most beautiful time of year in the Hudson Valley.
The falling leaves are just such brilliant varieties of color. The farm stands brimming with pumpkins. My love of white pumpkins again being fed. One of our favorite stands were offering them at 3 bucks each, so a little grouping on the front steps it would be. I find the creamy white variety soothing. Ever since I was a little kid, I gravitated towards them over the orange–and you know of my love of orange! We recently had the steps painted a deep green and the white pumpkins found a home on them nestled together to greet guests on this October stay.
Yes, this font and label completely caught my eye. How could it not? I had 5 quick minutes to find a new wine while TPS & Bailey waiting outside the wine shop on Warren Street. My book signing had just concluded and the small but exceptional wine shop in Hudson was right next to where we had parked the car, so I wanted to find a new red to have with dinner. The cool, crisp air has me thinking deep reds at this time of year. This is when the above bottle jumped out at me.
It is a Petit Sirah, which to me has a very complex deep slightly dark flavor with a nod towards just the slightest note of fruity sweetness to it. Not to be confused with Syrah. After a little Google searching, I found this out. ‘Petite Sirah, a synonym for Durif, a cross of Syrah with Peloursin dating from 1880.’
On a plain above the Sacramento Delta lies the wine region of Lodi. Soils erode from the Sierra Mountains resulting in a multitude of terroir alternatives. Moderating breezes blow in from nearby San Francisco Bay. I have always liked wines from the Lodi region so this also caught my eye. It did not disappoint in the least. At under $20 a bottle, this is a great wine with meat. Ted grilled burgers and it was just outstanding with them. Perfect for a crisp Autumn eve meal, but also lovely to sip while reading a book.
I promised apples, and today, apples it shall be. On Saturday the lovely Hudson Farmers Market was just brimming with apples in so many delicious shades & varieties. Each box, crate, and basket a still-life just waiting to be enjoyed visually. It was all I could do to contain myself and not take photos of each and every one. But I did capture a few that I thought you would mightily enjoy–their beauty undeniable. The bounty of the season.
I will be signing books at the stylish shop, Classic Country, today from 1:30 to 3:30. Located at 431 Warren Street in Hudson, New York, this is the newly opened second location for owner Meg Stratton. Her much praised other shop on Route 9 in East Chatham is not to be missed. She has found the perfect spot among the historic buildings that make up the incredibly special Warren Street. If you are in the area on this stunning Autumn day, please stop in. I would love to see you.
Happy Sunday to you all in your part of the world!
This post is really a lesson in making do and using what you have. It forces creativity and often times things will work out just great and be to your liking. Such was the case last evening. Right out of the gate, we had family come for a quick overnight visit. We always keep stock we make in the freezer, so soup it would be. That was the easy part. But how do we seat 9 comfortably? We are still getting to know the house, and the rooms, how they flow, and how to use what we have to make it all work. We recently acquired 2 nifty galvanized topped long tables that will be perfect on the back porch for meals as well as lugged up into the field for picnics. But I never envisioned using them together in our dining room. The space would not allow for them to butt up to one another to make a long banquet table I am so fond of. But set side by side (Mister Sive’s idea) with a tablecloth covering the seam where they meet (my idea) and we were off and running. Teamwork was what this one was all about. Light a bunch of candles, cut a few of the still lovely hydrangea from the bushes, set the green squash just bought at the market in the middle of it all and off we go. It was such a lovely evening of stories & laughter with family all around our makeshift dining table.