You are currently browsing the Ted Kennedy Watson blog archives for November, 2012


The Easiest Apple Tarts

20121130-050125.jpg With the fab variety of apples out right now, this is an easy dessert to whip up when you want to incorporate a little apple goodness into your meal. First off, I am not a baker. I am more of a composed dessert type of fellow, so know that this must be a truly easy recipe. I promise. I am, however, a big fan of the puff pastry sheets that you find in the freezer section at the grocery store. Pepperidge Farm is the one I see and use most often, but any maker will do. This is a spin on an Ina dessert I saw her make on her show. You know we love Ina at WK, so if she makes a version of this, you know it is pretty tasty. These are also some of my favorite sweets when we are in Paris, so I really wanted to try and recreate them. Here we go.

This makes 4 individual tarts. Defrost one sheet of the puff pastry according to the instructions on the box. My biggest advice is just make sure it stays cold and does not warm up to much as it then becomes hard to work with. Cut the sheet into 4 equal parts and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. A word about parchment paper. I love the stuff. Pick up a roll the next time you are grocery shopping and are strolling down the baking goods aisle. A roll lasts forever, and you will be surprised how often you end up using it. In a pinch, it also makes a simple wrapping paper. Back to the recipe. Peel 2 of your favorite apples, then cut into fairly thick slices. Overlap the slices a bit on each piece of puff pastry, filling the space but leaving a bit of a border. Sprinkle apples with sugar and dot with tiny cold cubes of butter. These 2 ingredients will do magic once baked. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden.

While the tarts are baking, in a small pan add peach or apricot jelly with a bit of Cognac or Calvados and mix together. This will create the glaze. Remove any fruit chunks that might be in the jam or jelly. You want the glaze to be fairly smooth. Heat mixture on the stove top to warm. Brush the entire tart with the glaze once the tarts are out of the oven. Done. Super simple. You will feel like a French baker when you are done with these.



 

 

A Quick Window Refresh

20121129-051103.jpg The frenzy of the retail season does not really allow for a full window change out. My idea when we put these windows together initially was that we would be able to weave in product the week after Thanksgiving and make them ‘Holiday’ windows. Yesterday was the day.

20121129-051504.jpg Pops of red, in many shapes & sizes were added. The oversized red numbers beginning the countdown.

20121129-051714.jpg The red clock, candles and ribbon adding more red. Plus the paperwhites in the terra cotta pots we brought in for the Open House have begun to open. Ahhhh!

20121129-052004.jpg And a red Hugo Guinness wishing everyone a bit of good luck this time of year.

20121129-052143.jpg Flank both sides of the display with red vintage sleds, and off we go to the next window.

20121129-052336.jpg The ‘photo’ window would get loaded up with creamy, black and white goods. A single stem vase with a single bloom giving a little freshness and life to the window. I really like using plants and flowers in a window if we can–I just really like the naturalness of it.

20121129-052732.jpg Then the layering and adding begins.

20121129-052838.jpg The zinc letters sparking the observer into action.



 

 

Birds & Eggs by Laura Zindel

20121128-055812.jpg I adore this card. “Put a little bird house in your soul.” What a great sentiment. It is kind of how I felt when I rounded the corner on one of my buying trips and spotted the stunning work of Laura Zindel.

20121128-060156.jpg I was surrounded by her birds. Her pencil drawings are silkscreened and printed as enamel transfers, creating her tabletop line.

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20121128-060729.jpg We have had a bird section since we first opened 14 years ago, so I knew they had found a good home. The simplicity of her work is what really caught my eye.

20121128-061015.jpg They almost have a feel of old English engravings. I really like to see beautiful images on every day objects, like plates and bowls, so they can be enjoyed each and every day.

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20121128-061309.jpg All of her work is produced entirely from her studio in Brattelboro, Vermont, which is a converted barn on her property next to her 1778 farmhouse. Which made me love it all even more.



 

 

Paperwhite Narcissus Bulbs

20121127-071732.jpg Paperwhite narcissus bulbs have started showing up these past few weeks at garden centers and even the flower section of our local grocery store. If you have not worked with these lovelies in the past, pick a few of the bulbs up the next time you see them. You won’t be sorry. They are the easiest darn things to get to flower, and the scent will fill your home with Holiday goodness. I completely associate paperwhites with the November/December holiday season. The delicate little white flowers just adding to the festiveness of the time of year. They are also quite fun to watch grow. The vintage large glass jar is my choice each year for a container at home in town. I also have a pot or 2 growing at each shop, so customers can enjoy them. I will post in a week or so a few photos of how quickly they start to grow and the beauty of the process.

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A Monday Quote

20121126-084018.jpg A quote to kick-off our week. This one really is spot on. Cheers to living in the moment! TKW



 

 

Sweet Sunday

20121125-085953.jpg It is always so interesting to see what pattern develops over the gift buying season, and to see what stand-out items become best sellers. The chocolate enrobed Moravian cookies in the handsome tins have been a hit these last few weeks. Made by the family owned Salem Baking Company, which began in 1930, these cookies are not to be missed.

20121125-090859.jpg Moravian cookies are paper-thin and baked slowly to produce a crisp texture full of flavor. For the above, caramel is added with a hint of sea salt and then bathed in chocolate. Yum!

20121125-091226.jpg The mint variety being especially popular during the Holiday season.

20121125-091332.jpg The blood orange with candied orange zest always being a crowd favorite.

What I really like about this trio is they make great host/hostess gifts. Cookies become our jam replacement gift (which is a go-to most of the year) during the Holidays. It is also nice to have a few tubes handy for a quick dessert with coffee. Super simple, but still loved by all.



 

 

Salted Rosemary Shortbread

20121124-071736.jpg Salted rosemary shortbread–just typing that, even at this early hour, made we want to try a few of these awesome little shortbread cookies. Funny, I have not used the word ‘awesome’ to describe something in quite awhile, but the word seemed fitting. This trio of salty, sweet and savory is a real winner. They are lovingly made by Lark Fine Foods, a family company in Essex, MA. One of the tasty benefits of having had the shops for some time, is folks who either visit, read about, or hear about Watson Kennedy that have goods that they think might be a good fit, send me samples to try. When the good people of Lark sent me a goodie box to enjoy, TPS & I had a taste test one evening after dinner. Everything they make is amazing, but these shortbread just spoke to both of our palettes. The sweet little box just makes them ideal little gifts this season. Definitely a buy one for them, buy one for yourself treat. Truly awesome!

Just a reminder to stop in to the Market shop if you are in the hood for a little Holiday cheer. The Open House begins at 10 and runs through the day until we close at 6. I hope to see you there. Happy Saturday to all!

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A 14th Anniversary & A Holiday Open House

20121123-071538.jpg I hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday. If you are in the Market area in the next 2 days, please stop in. Today is the 14th anniversary of the Fine Living shop. Oh my stars, where does the time go? It has been such an incredible journey, and in some ways I feel like so much is just beginning. My biggest thanks for all the love & support along the way.

Saturday we will have the Holiday Open House for the Market shop too. The tangerine mimosas were a big hit last week-end, as were the mini Trophy cupcakes. Both will be served again, as well as sparkling cider and festive cheer. I hope to see you there!



 

 

Giving Thanks

20121122-074936.jpg Sending much love & many thanks to all of you on this day of Thanksgiving. May it be filled with all the best things, moments & savory bites. TKW



 

 

AT HOME with May and Axel Vervoordt

20121121-071813.jpg A quick spin around the shop at the end of the day straightening up displays and this book caught my eye. I have long been a fan of the work of Axel Vervoordt. I had ordered this book on a buying trip to New York, and then completely forgot about it. It really is an homage to the Vervoordt way of life–which is a pretty incredible way of life. With recipes by his wife, May, the book is really part cookbook/part lifestyle & coffee table book. Gorgeously photographed, I was transported to Antwerp last evening, as I perused page after page. “Nature’s simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” May writes. That also somewhat sums up the glorious Vervoordt style, as well. She is also a lover of using single stem vases, which you all know I am a big fan of, as it really highlights the beauty of each bloom. The book is filled with recipes she has served over the years for both small gathering and large parties. “Cooking and entertaining are an expression of love,” May says, and I could not agree with her more. Perfect words as we head into the Holidays.