The restful days have allowed me to catch up a bit on my note writing. Artisan Michelle Cooke of Brookline Street Studio created these fun vintage inspired flashcard note cards for us, adding an extra special touch to my notes this week. We carry her lovely things at Watson Kennedy, and when she told me she could personalize things for us, I was over the moon. A house name, your name, a favorite word–you name it, she can do it for us. There is just something about having cards at the ready that makes note and letter writing so much easier, which makes it so much more doable. Cheers to handwritten notes!
A very Happy New Year’s Eve to all of you. Have a great day & a festive night wherever you are around the globe. TKW
I received an e-mail the other day from a reader asking what some of our favorite meals are when we are out on the island. I had one planned that very evening, so I thought I would share it with you. The grocery store on Vashon is one of my favorite of all-time, filled with just the right things when you need them, filled with incredibly friendly, helpful people. They have a stellar seafood section, and fresh tuna is something that is often stocked.
It was looking particularly good the other day, so I bought one piece that was close to a pound. I like to cut it half way through the cooking process to check the doneness. In the heading I wrote roasted/baked, as it is cooked at a high heat, but is cooked in an enclosed container. After a fairly extensive Google search around, there are lots of folks with the same question. So I decided to call it both, as it seemed like I was doing a bit of both.
The mustard sauce is a marinade, that also becomes the sauce. If you have time to make it ahead, great. Fine if not too. In a bowl add 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, along with a few healthy pinches of salt & pepper. Mix around. Lay some on the bottom of a baking dish. Put the tuna on top of that. Then put the rest of the mustard sauce on top of the tuna. Roast/bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. As I said earlier, I buy a big piece and cut it half way through the cooking process, but that is my odd trick. I like the tuna to cook all the way through, many people like it quite raw. However you like it is up to your taste. Once done, spoon the hot mustard sauce from the baking dish over the tuna.
I always serve this with the same thing. Jasmine rice with fresh cracked pepper, sautéed crimini mushrooms in butter, a simple cut up cucumber with a splash of rice wine vinegar. For this meal, I also served it with an arugula salad with a shallot vinaigrette. All simple ingredients prepared simply. One of our favorite WestWard meals.
A restful Sunday to you all…
We have been using fatwood as a fire starter, along with newspaper for many years. A few years ago I started bundling up small parcels of it and we would give it with a Christmas gift. Just this year, we started selling the packages at the shops. Fatwood, also know as lighter wood, is derived from the heartwood of pine trees. The resin impregnated heartwood becomes hard and rot-resistant. The stump left in the ground after a tree has been cut or fallen is the perfect source for fatwood. Fatwood use began in prehistoric times. In 1648 a company was formed in Sweden to sell the resin rich heartwood. Fatwood is prized for use as kindling, as it lights quickly even when wet, is wind resistant, and burns hot enough to light larger pieces of wood. Bottom line, the stuff is awesome. I think it looks pretty cool too, massed together or loading up a pail at the ready with other fire starting supplies.
This book, Londoners, was a hit this season at the shops. Each time a copy was brought up to the wrap stand, I thought to myself how I needed to grab a copy and bring it out to the beach this week. I was lucky and nabbed one of the last copies–more are on the way though, and the stacks will be replenished. Long before I was a Francophile, I was an Anglophile. Partly because of my heritage, but partly because I have long had a love affair with London. From my early days watching every moment of Wimbledon when I was a kid, to the semester in college I spent as a foreign study student there, to the many vintage buying trips we have made–London is a city that holds a very special place in my heart. This book, composed of 80 some interviews as told to author Craig Taylor, gives the reader glimpses into many, many variations & takes on London. Taylor has crafted a book that is easy to read at various sittings, while the British sense of humor makes it tough to put down. Over the course of 5 years, he interviewed folks and composed the interviews in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting among the 2 when they are chatting. The reader gets perspectives from all walks of life–from the woman who is the ‘voice’ of the London Underground, to the airline pilot who flies into Heathrow & Gatwick, to the beekeeper, artist, squatter, teacher, chef and street cleaner–you will feel an intimacy with the city as you read on and on. A visual, through thoughtful words, ode to the great city that is London.
Ahhhhh, the retail marathon is complete, and we are ensconced in our home on the island for the week. It was a heck of a run, and we thank all of you who shopped at Watson Kennedy this season–and for helping to making it the best year yet! It is our tradition to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve at WestWard recouping, recharging & revitalizing. We have not been here since the first of November, so it is a very happy homecoming indeed. I snapped a few photos yesterday after we got the bags unpacked, the groceries put away, the fire started, the candles lit, and the flowers put out. Waking up the house from its slumber of the past 7 weeks.
So many lovely edible gifts that we will enjoy this week.
As well as a few liquid gifts too.
Lots and lots of cooking.
Catching up on our reading. I will write about this one tomorrow.
More edible gifts that will be enjoyed with our Bloody Mary’s as we bundle up, sit outside and watch the tide come in.
A new shower curtain I found on One Kings Lane last month along with our new favorite soap.
More and more red, which you know is one of my favorites.
I hope each of you can squeeze in a bit of relaxation in this week. Sending all my very best from Vashon Island.
This wine Wednesday is a tip of the hat to my very favorite champagne, Veuve Clicquot. I thought it was fitting that it be before New Year’s Eve, as this is celebratory bubbly of the highest order. A celebration in a glass. Yes, there are other lovely champagnes out there, but there is just something about the sight of a Veuve bottle that speaks of a special time. Always.
The signature non-vintage brut is a crisp champagne with full flavors. The predominance of Pinot Noir provides the structure that is unmistakably Veuve. This is also the best time of year to buy bottles, as December is always when it is at its best price. Or the champagne gods shine down brightest at this time. You decide. Either way, now is the time to snatch it up and enjoy every last bubble.
Sending greetings & much love for a Merry Christmas to you all. May your day be filled with all that you want it to be. Ted
The bulbs that began as wee little things less than a month ago have grown into spectacular beauties. The fragrance filling our kitchen–really the perfect thing to wake up to during this busy time.
Here they were at the beginning of December. Just waiting to grow.
This year I decided to use champagne corks as a base and filler. They really will grow in just about anything. Other years I have used oyster shells, cool stones, and vintage marbles. Really one of my favorite parts of the growing process is watching the roots take hold and grow around the filler. I think they look so fabulous wrapped around the champagne corks. Poetic really.
And then the sweet white blooms just explode, releasing the unmistakable paperwhite scent.
Putting a twist on a classic is a fun way to put your personal stamp on a gift or a recipe. My grandmother and my mom both made Chex mix during the Holidays when I was growing up. I then went quite a span without it in my adult years until our friend Peg made it and had a bowl out before our traditional Christmas Day dinner we share with her and her husband Brian, along with a few other couples. I was like a kid again–it was somewhat comical how much of it I ate. Since then, she makes a big batch for me on my birthday each year, as well as serves it with Champagne before Christmas dinner. I love the stuff! I love the high/low of it, having a small bowl of it with a glass of Veuve. This season, I asked her if she would whip up a batch of her extra special mix, using only my favorite things–rice Chex cereal, macadamia nuts & cashews, along with her secret spices. A ‘TKW’ blend if you will, and I could hand it out as little gifts. She was so kind and within days, I was packaging up cello bags of the special blend. A twist on a classic, filled with only my favorites.
It got me thinking about twists on classics. I would love to hear about any variations any of you make on classic recipes served this time of year. A restful Sunday to you all.
L.L. Bean boots are about as classic and iconic as they come. Handcrafted in Maine since 1912–celebrating 100 years as a preppy classic. They now come in a host of variations and colors, all designed to keep your feet dry and warm.
Zip-up, lace-up or slip-on, they all are so incredibly comfortable. Perfect in the snow, they also come lined to keep your feet extra toasty. I made my first homage to Freeport the Summer I taught tennis in Boston before my freshman year in college. If you are ever in that area of Maine, you must stop in. Open 24 hours hours a day, 365 days of the year, the L.L. Bean flagship store is also a classic. You will be blown away.
The slip-ons have become a new favorite for me. I walk Bailey each morning, so I have a pair at the ready by the side of the bed. Perfect when the Seattle rain has descended. They also are great as slippers in a pinch–think Brooks Brothers pajamas with a martini in hand after a long day.
Happy Saturday everyone! Have fun shopping if that is an activity on your list.