I had such a refreshing salad when I was in San Francisco week-end before last, I thought I would try and recreate a bit of it and put my own spin on it too. Small world, the beyond yummy place (Piccino) where I enjoyed this tasty concoction is in the Dog Patch neighborhood. It is owned by one of Heather’s (from WK) best friends from college. I was taken there without the host knowing this. There it was with a mixture of melons and the vinaigrette was every so light and perfect for the dish, with the mint mixed about. Here is my quick version. This salad can be made throughout the year, and I look forward to making it on a cold day when we want to think of sunshine. This is one seriously refreshing dish.
The vinaigrette was first up, as I really wanted the oils in the torn up mint leaves to have time to release into the dressing. Zest a lemon into a bowl. Then get the juice out of that one lemon into that same bowl. Add a splash of champagne vinegar too. Then finely tear up a few mint leaves and mix about. Add a pinch of salt. Then add a bunch of fresh cracked pepper. Then add some more. You want lots of pepper in this. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil to all. Let the whole thing sit a bit after you have whisked it. This is when I prepare the salad.
The honeydew was super ripe, so I just stayed with that and did not use the cantaloupe. Either or both are fine. Truly, whatever melons you like. Cut that up into large bite sized pieces. Cut up cucumber to about the same sized pieces, taking out the seeds. I was lucky and found lemon cucumbers which my buddy Max in the Market continues to carry and I buy them every chance I can. I also mixed in a regular cucumber too. Then cut up fresh mozzarella to pieces the same size. Assemble all on a platter. Then drizzle with that sublime minty vinaigrette. You will be pleasantly surprised by the flavor combinations. Enjoy.
A happy start of October to all! Where did September go?
The grocery store had buckets and buckets of tulips. In September! I had to grab a few white bunches. I just had to do it. They were just calling my name. As were the big white pumpkins at 5 bucks a pop. Just like that the dining room table was awash in autumnal splendor with a nod to Spring. What a funny combination, tulips and pumpkins, but I also kind of like the representation of opposing seasons mixed together.
Honor even your most simplest of meals by setting the table and taking time to savor your food. Light a candle, use your favorite plates, use a pretty napkin, or do whatever you deem important to make even a week night meal feel special. Even if take-out is on the menu, setting the table bumps up the special quotient immeasurably.
Cheers to loving what we have, to that being our focus & to reveling in every moment of it.
Sending much love on this Sunday from WestWard,
It seems like new books are arriving almost daily at the shops. Cookbooks especially catch my eye at this time of year when chilly nights and candlelit tables become the norm. The much anticipated above book, as I shy away from just calling this a cookbook, made me do a little happy dance as Heather unpacked them yesterday. ‘A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus’ is written by local chef Renee Erickson, along with writer Jess Thomson. We have long been a fan of Renee, both her eateries and of her Boat Street Pickles which we sell at the Home store. She has been a Watson Kennedy customer over the years, as has Jim Henkens, who so beautifully shot the images for the book. I love when our creative customers hit a home run. And they did! This is of course first and foremost a cookbook, but it also filled with stories of what makes up the life of owning a restaurant–staff, vendors, menus, recipes. It feels quite personal. Like you are sitting down with Renee having a glass of rosé and chatting about her life. I love that about this book. An homage to her restaurants, it is jam packed with winning recipe after recipe. As well as full menus so you could plan a dinner party from start to finish within a chapter. A lovely gift, but also a keeper.
Happy Saturday all!
From my favorite chair. Just about to head out and hit a few tennis balls.
There it was. Sitting ever so beautifully on the table Claudia had set up for me when I did my book signing at Bell’occhio last Saturday. The above envelope that was ever so artfully addressed to me by a friend/co-worker of our beloved Whitney. That is a whole other story, but just know what was inside that envelope was equally if not more fabulous than the outside. But back to those gorgeous stamps. By now, you know my feeling on the importance of a hand-written note. They are becoming increasing rare these days, so their importance and specialness are even greater. A stamp, or here, stamps, can tie the whole thing together. They are akin to ribbon on a package. A well thought out stamp can be the cherry on top of the cake for the envelope. In this case, the sender also took the envelope to the post office and had them hand stamp it. A service many a postal clerk will gladly do for you. My point with this really is stamps can make a difference and make a note or letter just sing. When you are at the post office or on the postal service website ordering stamps, buy a few extra that you are drawn to. Start a small collection that you can pull from that you think adds to what you are sending. I promise you, the extra effort will rarely go unnoticed.
Our kids section just grows and grows each year. Just in are these beyond adorable handmade donut & frog rattles. Each lovingly made by women in a village in Bangladesh. The story of the company is inspirational–I was quite taken with it, aside from how cute the toys are. The mission of the company is to create fairly paid, good quality, flexible and local employment for rural women who are often disadvantaged. These are all made with tremendous love & care. Such a sweet gift made with such wonderful purpose.
There are a row of chestnut trees across the street from The Gainsborough. Like clock work they start dropping chestnuts at the start of Fall. I use the word ‘Fall’ instead of ‘Autumn’ because that is what they do, they literally fall from the trees, raining chestnuts. The squirrels are in heaven. TPS brings them to me as little gifts that he picks up when he is out walking Bailey. They are just such a sweet, and beautifully color coordinated, reminder of the beginning of the season.
While I was away to San Francisco this week-end, I missed my Saturday morning stroll through the Market. I did however, click a bunch of photos the week before that I did not post. The change of season is in the air but the abundance of glorious produce is still quite something. The still-life images it offers still just makes my heart sing each and every time I walk the Market this time of year.
Be on the look-out for cool napkins on your travels. A beautiful & stylish cotton or linen napkin elevates an everyday meal into something special. If you find them from a memorable trip, that memory is refreshed often when you use them for your daily meals.