When I first spotted this amaryllis, it had not yet bloomed, but the image on the tag had the flowers reminding me of a striped candy cane. I thought it was perfect for the season and for Flower Friday. When it did bloom, I could not have been happier. Hope your day is grand!
Just In, DO/PRESERVE, a perfect book for that someone on your list that likes to make things. Really tasty things. A gift that will create gifts. Our friend Mimi is one of the authors. You might remember me mentioning her as she and her husband Richard own Little Ghent Farm. Mimi makes some of the best bread I have ever been so fortunate to enjoy. We always have a loaf going when we are at Hawthorne. The shelves at their farm shop are always brimming with jars of things she has made. Now she shares some of her secrets on making some of those gems. We have a good stack of the book at the Home shop all ready to be wrapped up. Just give us a ring if you need one or a few shipped out.
We had our Watson Kennedy Holiday staff party Sunday eve at Beecher’s Loft. More on the loft in a later post, but oh what fun we had! Ages ago we bought a full set of alphabet letter cookie cutters. Out they came to fish out a W and a K, which I thought would be a whimsical twist instead of a plain topped baked Brie. Several years ago I wrote a post on baking a Brie with puff pastry dough. I will post it below, but instead of using cherries, for these two I did fig jam in one and apricot & ginger chutney in another. What bumps up the flavor quotient considerably is adding more dried fruit to the mixture. I cut up a bunch more dried figs and added that. To the chutney version I cut up a bunch of candied ginger and added that. Baked Brie is always a crowd pleaser, as it is so hearty on a cold night served with cocktails before a later dinner.
Here is that old post: This time of year I am always looking for quick options for things to make to serve at gatherings at home or bring to a party. Baking a whole small Brie in pastry dough is one of my go-to options during the Holidays. Last year I added fig jam. This year I am really loving adding cherry jam, as well as a handful of dried cherries. The combo is a great sweet/tart with the warm Brie and pastry.
Turn oven to 350 degrees to pre-heat while you assemble this. You will want to use one of the two pastry sheets that come in most puff pastry packages. I like the Pepperidge Farm brand, which is what I typically find at our grocer. Any brand is fine. Follow the instructions on the box for thawing. The sheets are folded into thirds. Unfold and cut one third off, and set aside. Using a full small Brie, cover the entire top of the cheese round in cherry jam. Add to that dried cherries. Moving carefully & quickly, flip it over onto the waiting pastry sheet, so the jammed top is now on the bottom. Take the pastry and fold all of the sides up and over the Brie, encasing the entire concoction. Now flip that entire thing over onto a baking sheet. If it is parchment lined, all the better. Now with that remaining third of a sheet of dough, press out a few decorative images with a cookie cutter or if you are really creative, just use a sharp knife and make something fun. Add those to the top. Almost there. Now take an egg and crack it into a bowl and add a splash of water to make an egg wash. Beat together. Brush the egg mixture over the entire top and sides of the pastry, as this will really help it to brown. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown. Let sit for a bit before serving, so the cheese is not too hot. It really is best warm, but room temp is fine too.
Shrubs have become such a hot edition to any well-stocked bar or larder. Just In, this lovely little assortment of little bottles by INNA shrub. Using only the very best ingredients from locally sourced farms in Northern California, these are sure to please. And at under 10 bucks a bottle, they make stylish awesome stocking stuffers, co-worker gifts, or host/hostess treats this bustling season.
Over the moon pleased to announce that the At Home video with Susanna Salk on the Quintessence blog by Stacey Bewkes is now up. Head on over and check it out if you please. It is such a lovely reminder of an incredibly gorgeous October Hudson Valley day. It snowed a bit this morning in Seattle so it was fun to see the video where it was so sunny and the leaves falling about from the trees. I think you might remember me writing about this a few months back. It had been pretty cool most of our stay and a bit rainy. I was crossing my fingers big time for a pretty day as I was setting the long picnic table outside the back porch for a meal. Well, I got what I was hoping for in spades. It was a gloriously sunny day. Actually hot, as it hit 82 degrees. I mention this as my shirt remained untucked throughout the video as I was running a tad warm. Also funny Bailey sidenote. TPS was away the day this was shot, visiting his brothers. Bailey would not stop barking in several of the shots so I held her a bunch, hence me holding her to keep her quiet. Just funny little behind the scenes details–I could not be happier with how it all turned out. Stacey & Susanna are real pros and put it all together so wonderfully from start to finish of this entire project. Cheers to them! Thanks to Benjamin Moore paints for sponsoring all the greens throughout the house on the walls. Juliska for all those beyond gorgeous plates and glassware on the outside table and to Dunes and Duchess for getting the 2 big green candelabras made for us so quickly and so beautifully. Cheers to the Hudson Valley!
Click here to watch the Hawthorne house tour video.
Just In, the happy flower paintings by Mindy Carpenter. One of the very special parts of being a shopkeeper is getting the opportunity to showcase the work of an old friend. Mindy and I go waaaay back, to her days as a creative director. Over meals I would hear her long to work for herself and spend her days painting. She made that goal a reality and now has a successful card company that features her work. She has added her divine flowers, of which I have always been a gigantic fan, to the mix. They will soon be up on the shop walls and on the Watson Kennedy website shortly. Honored to be selling her creations. Cheers to following your passions!
Always a very good thing when tulips start showing up in buckets at the grocery store. A simple tableau of fluttery whites in a swell vessel that was a recent fab gift next to the quince that just keep going strong. Flower Friday is back on track. Hope your day is a grand one…
Lemons, white wine & extra virgin olive oil–3 things we always have on hand. If you do, you can whip up a dinner in no time. Add a few other items on hand, and an even tastier meal awaits. Use the trio as a marinade to cook chicken or fish in. The last few weeks and right on up to Christmas we have been entering full-on holiday/retail mode, where the shops take up every waking moment. It is so fun but also a tad overwhelming if you don’t stay organized, well fed and super rested. We do a crazy amount of take-out during this time. Uber Eats has become our new friend. But sometimes we just want something homecooked, plus I miss being in the kitchen. This is where lemons, white wine and extra virgin olive oil come into play. Last night they were the base for skinless chicken thighs while cauliflower and mini potatoes roasted away in the oven.
In a baking dish pour olive oil and spread it around so the entire bottom is lightly coated then add chicken. Again, this could be for any cut of chicken pieces. I use this also for white fish, like halibut. Then juice fresh lemons and pour over the meat. Take a yummy drinkable white wine and do the same, pouring a bit over the chicken, then drizzle olive oil over the top too. Salt & pepper liberally. The chicken should now be sitting in a little bath of liquid but not be fully submerged. At this point it all could go into a 400 degree oven to cook and be really quite wonderful as the juices keep things tender & moist and reduce down and become a sauce for the meat. But this is also where you can get a little creative. It is also a great time to clean out some things from your fridge. We had a shallot so I chopped that up. Ditto with a handful of pitted olives. It all went in nestled up next to the chicken to add more flavor. Garlic, thyme, really a host of herbs would be tasty. Use what you have. But the trio is what gets the whole thing started. Use that as a base, add to it, don’t add to it, but in less than an hour you will be sitting at a lovely meal. Light a few candles, and you are all set!
We have a section at both shops of design books. It is an area where I see folks go to and become gleeful with ideas as they leaf through page after page of inspiration. Almost seeming to get lost amongst the pages. That is why design books make great gifts. They become almost like giving a little mini-trip. Where the recepient is given a host of rooms/places to dream. A bit like giving a piece of functional art, as the book itself looks great out on a coffee or sidetable or on a stylish bookshelf.