Using fresh herbs in your cooking can be such a delight. The mellowness of using fresh herbs instead of dried can make all the difference in a dish. We planted more herbs in our zinc planter box this year, as some did not make it through the Winter, while others did remarkably well. We added more thyme and oregano, among others, and the herb box is once again overflowing with herby goodness. Even having a few little pots of herbs in your kitchen that you can pick up at your favorite garden nursery or grocer, can really elevate many of your dishes this Summer. I made a super simple halibut dish the other day using some of our herbs. You can substitute any white fish for this. The herbs infusing the meat of the fish, adding a nice earthiness & freshness.
Place halibut steaks in a baking dish and sprinkle a healthy amount of salt over both sides of the fish. Let sit for a few minutes. Turn oven on to 400 degrees to warm up. Add a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil to the top of the fish, and a bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Also thinly cut a lemon, taking out the pits from the slices. Set on top of halibut. Using fresh sprigs of thyme and oregano, place around the fish. Done. It is that easy. Bake for 20 minutes, or a tad more or less, depending on the thickness of your halibut steaks. This is lovely served over jasmine or basmati rice. Enjoy and enjoy those herbs!
The end of July brings out the plentiful bounty of the garden. My early Saturday morning stroll through the Market yesterday was a visual riot of color & abundance. Big masses of any one thing is always incredibly appealing to me–veg, no exception. Here is what caught my eye…
This new series of Shakespeare books that just arrived the other day at Watson Kennedy with intricate, laser-cut paper art is just too cool for words. They were created by Pratt Institute graduate Kevin Stanton–these books are sure to become classic gifts. His hand-cut artwork was taken and replicated with near perfection, making the series truly small works of art. Each volume presents the text of the play complete with scholarship, commentary, notes, and essays about Shakespeare’s language and significant performances. I can’t wait to start giving these as gifts.
The Market stalls have had just the prettiest little bunches of sweet peas. These delicate flowers just speak to me of Summer. As with most flowers, I prefer just a simple arrangement of one color. I think you really get to enjoy the singular beauty of each stem that way, as you are seeing multiples of the same variety. The sweetly scented white sweet peas working perfectly tucked into a display at the Inn at the Market shop. We have the Sicilian monk in the 17th century, Franciscus Cupani, to thank for these lovelies, as he sent the seeds to England, where they were crossbred, creating the sweet pea.
A happy Friday to all, and cheers to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games!
All of us at Watson Kennedy were so sad to hear of the passing of Nora Ephron a few weeks ago. Over the last few years, she had become a customer of the shops, and we were always tickled to get a call from her assistant looking for a specific item. This is where the domino reference in the subject line comes in. Amazing vintage bone and ivory dominoes to be exact. “Nora is looking for a 6 and a 3,” would be the task at hand, and everyone working that day would begin the hunt through all the bowls we have set around. I knew I always liked Nora Ephron from her movies, but the fact that she had some connection to these beautiful objects, I knew I liked her even more. She will live on in her films, but we will all miss her, and for those calls putting us all into action, hunting for just that right domino for Nora.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get via e-mail about posts when I feature a table setting of a dinner we have hosted, is what did we serve as the meal and wine. This got me thinking about featuring some of the wines we enjoy. This is what prompted Wine Wednesday. Look for more posts about the wines we are enjoying and serving. My feeling with wine is that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a nice glass. Certainly expensive bottles are lovely to enjoy, but it is not what is generally consumed with a simple week day meal. My main emphasis will be on what I like to call ‘house wine’ where you can enjoy a glass with dinner, and the bottle will be fine in the fridge (if it is a white or rose’) for a few days awaiting the next meal. I saw a very funny quote the other day when I was perusing the web that said “A meal without wine is called breakfast” which make me chuckle. Now onto my choice of the day.
This Summer I have really been enjoying white wine, particularly CMS Sauvignon Blanc by Hedges. At $10 to $14 a bottle, it is great to serve at hosted dinners and picnics. There is a bright & lively taste to this wine, so it works nicely paired with fish or grilled chicken. It is also lovely just sipping a glass while you are reading, food not required. It is 85% Sauvignon, 10% Chardonnay and 5% Marsanne, and is an unoaked white wine. It is a Washington state wine, from the Columbia Valley, produced by the Hedges family. There you have it, my first entry to Wine Wednesday. I hope you are having a swell week in your part of the world.
We live in such connected times. Our world of cell phones, iPads, e-mails, Twitter–the list goes on and on, but you get my point–has made those moments of just ‘nothing-ness’ so very rare. I think the point with so many of those things was to make our life easier? Depending on the day, and the time of day, my own answer to that can vary greatly. Yes, they all can be wonderful, but we all need ‘away’ and down time. For us, it is hard to beat a ferry ride to the island to get us pointed in that direction of nothingness. For time to just be. As we pulled onto the ferry boat on Saturday eve, we were the first car in one of the lines at the front of the boat. I always think of the Green Acres show song when this happens “with a penthouse view, darling” and we settled in for a perfect crossing to 2 days of relaxation and being unconnected on one level, and just being. What gets you to just be? I hope you are finding it often and enjoying each and every moment of it.
Sunday mornings are a pretty relaxing time at the Watson Sive house. It also most times means eggs of some sort, as the eggs we get at the farm stands on the island are pretty amazing. A frittata is one of my ‘go-to’ egg dishes to make, as you can really mix it up by using tons of different ingredients to make a myriad of variations. This has become one of my new favorites. This works perfectly cut in half, serving 2.
Break 5 eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk, a few pinches of salt, a pinch of pepper and whisk together. Turn on broiler in your oven so it begins to heat up. You will want to use a non-stick skillet that can go in the oven for the frittata. Turn heat to the lowest setting on the stove top, and add enough butter so the skillet is fully coated and melts completely. Add the egg mixture to the skillet. Add crumbled bits of smoked salmon and scattered bits of herbed goat cheese around the eggs. Let the eggs cook just until they have set on the bottom, but are still runny on the top. Take the skillet and place under the broiler that you turned on earlier. You want to stay with this dish as it cooks. The eggs will start to bubble, brown, and puff up. Once the entire mixture is set, take out from under the broiler, making sure to wear a heat proof cooking glove or use a hearty pot holder. The handle is going to be quite hot. Serve with toast. This also makes a lovely lunch or Summer supper served with a salad and a glass of Chardonnay.
A restful Sunday to you all. TKW