A rather large storm hit New York at just the time we were waiting to get picked-up yesterday to be taken to the airport. The timing was comical, as we got soaking wet loading in our luggage and running out to the waiting car. And then the thunder hit. Sopping wet sitting in our seats, we inched along 7th Avenue for close to an hour, trying to reach the Holland Tunnel. Poor Bailey shook with fear, as thunder is one of the few things that rattle her. What usually takes 45 minutes to get to the airport took close to 2 hours. Which ended up not being a problem in the least, as our flight was delayed by 4 hours. I must say, getting into bed at 2 this morning felt pretty darn good! It is always so good to be home.
I woke up this morning realizing that today marks the second anniversary of the daily blog. Where does the time go? I want to thank each and every one of you who check in to read it. It has become something that fits into my daily routine that I look so forward to writing each morning. Never in a million years would I have guessed that it would have been read by folks in over 40 countries. I still get choked up when someone tells me a story about how they roasted a chicken from my recipe and adored it or bought a bunch of tulips and scattered them individually about their home at my suggestion. It all brings me such joy. That 2 years has passed since that very first entry, is a reminder to me that if you want to do something, do it. Life is about singular moments, and I feel so privileged to be able to share some of mine with you. In doing so, my hope is that it gets all of us slowing down a bit and becoming aware of all the small, glorious details that fill our lives each day.
Sending much love & thanks from Seattle, Ted
From the fab TRU BEE folks, comes Tennessee Snow honey. It is raw, unprocessed, non-pasteurized honey–with all the healthful enzymes and pollens intact. I find the creamy white color to be so intriguing, as it is not what you see in honey often. This is perfect spread on morning toast. I also love the idea of a bottle of this set out with a cheese platter. The spiffy graphic bottle makes this ideal for gift giving. Good, and good for you.
I prefer to use the term ‘nibbles’ over the word ‘hors d’oeuvre’ for a host of reasons. The first is the spelling. I think I am a reasonably good speller, but the H word always has me searching on Google for the proper spelling. Secondly, I do think the H word has a place, but I think of it more formally like when food is passed at a cocktail party. Nibbles fit the bill when you are just putting out a quick & easy assortment of things to have with cocktails before dinner.
Here is what I found after a quick web search.
1 : an act of nibbling 2 : a very small quantity or portion (as of food) ; also : snack 3 : a tentative expression of interest
Which leads me to, what do you put out for a nibble or a snack? I think as much that can be done to make entertaining easier and more doable is my answer.
This was a quick assortment of things I pulled together for guests last evening. Most to all were things we had in the cupboard or fridge. It was a week-night dinner after a long work day, so ease was key. Truffle popcorn, cashews & peanuts, a piece of cheese with crackers, tortilla chips with really good salsa. Done. I put most everything in a pretty hotel silver bowl and off it went. It does not have to be a huge assortment. A nibble. Make guests a drink, and watch the conversations start to flow.
Ahhhh, simple luxuries. The above white truffle butter is one of those things I like to have sitting in the fridge waiting for a big steaming bowl of pasta or a big bowl of popcorn. A few spoonfuls can transform both. Of course, buying truffles can set you back quite a few bills, but this truffle butter (and there are several fab brands out there, this is a current favorite) is not expensive by comparison, usually around $6 to $8. It lasts quite awhile, packs a serious truffle punch, and you really only need to use a little to really infuse the truffle essence. TPS was at a fundraiser dinner the other evening that I was not able to attend. When I got home from working late, I knew I really wanted a hearty, comforting meal after a long day. We still had some of the amazing fresh eggs that were a gift that I wrote about a week or so ago, as well as a baguette that was needing to be eaten that night. Scrambled eggs it would be! Growing up, my Dad would make us scrambled eggs for supper on occasion. It always makes me think of him when I have them for dinner. Here is a quick take on making eggs a simple luxury meal really at any time of the day.
Turn oven to 400 degrees while you cut up the baguette to bite sized cubes. Scatter on a baking pan. Dose with a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Put in oven, keeping a close eye on them, being sure to turn them every so often to ensure they don’t burn and that they brown evenly. When they are close to the brown-ness you like, sprinkle a generous portion of freshly grated Parmesan over the whole lot, letting that melt into the cubes. Take out of oven and set aside while you scramble the eggs. Yes, these make a very good thing to snack on as you scramble said eggs. Next, break 3 eggs into a bowl and whisk adding a splash of milk, S&P. On very low heat, add the egg mixture to a waiting buttered pan being sure to fold often with a spatula so the eggs don’t overcook. Cooking them on a low heat really helps that process of not overcooking them. Once done, take off of heat and add a big dollop of the truffle butter and mix throughout the scrambled eggs. I like both the white and the black truffle butter, but this go round, we had white in the fridge. Spoon over the croutons that you have put onto a plate. Get ready for some flavor explosions. I adore this combo. The earthiness of the truffle mixed with the fluffiness of the eggs mixed with the sweetness of the Parm on the croutons with a hint of the olive oil that has infused into the bread. Just so darn good. Pairs beautifully with a glass of champagne or white wine.
New to our shelves is this amazing balsamic fig & date mustard from Canada. I find mustard to be one of those things that work perfectly to have hanging around in the fridge at the ready to whip up a whole host of things. So good added to the top of a roasting chicken breast. A big dollop of this added to a vinaigrette would make it memorable. A big smear of this on a turkey sandwich would just bump up the flavor to another level. Plus I always am taken with black & white packaging…
Happy sunny Saturday!
Wine Wednesday on this May Day continues with an entry of a very special bottle of wine from a very special family/vintner. Wines from Domaine Tempier have been one of those bottles that we enjoy on notable occasions. These are not inexpensive wines, but are worth every penny. The Peyraud family is legendary in the wine world, producing world class wine from the Bandol region in France. Their rosé (once praised by Robert Parker as the greatest rosé in the world), is a real treat each time we enjoy a bottle. But we really like the reds that they produce too. The La Migoua is one blend that is a particular favorite. We had not yet toasted the finishing of my manuscript, and were waiting for the right time and the right bottle. Monday evening out at WestWard was the right time and this was the right bottle. We had it with a simple roast chicken I made, and it paired beautifully. Kermit Lynch, the noted wine importer who initially exposed the greatness of Domaine Tempier and the Peyraud family years ago to the States writes. “If any wine can be said to have soul, it’s Tempier.” That quote could not be more perfect or more true.
Actually, make that the backs and bottoms of things, but I thought that was a rather suggestive heading. My walk yesterday morning of the Market had me looking up, down, and all around. I had never looked at the backside of the iconic Public Market Center sign. Sure, the Space Needle might be what first comes to mind when folks from far away think of an image of Seattle. But I am so incredibly fond of the above sign. The Market will always be the heart of Seattle to me. The sign from behind looks strong, formidable–just as it should. After taking that shot, I started seeing the interest in the backs and bottoms of things on my stroll. The below produce looking so vibrant. The bottoms producing such visual interest. Beauty is really swirling all around us. We just have to keep our eyes open to see it. Something I remind myself often.
I wanted to share with all of you that I finished the manuscript for my book, and I will be sending it off to my editor in New York today. I am a bit over the moon! The above photo was from yesterday where I spent the day shooting table vignettes. Pure heaven for me. I want to thank everyone who has sent encouraging words along the way. It is fun to have all of you along for this journey with me. There is still much work ahead with edits, more photography and page design–I will keep you posted along the way. Spring 2014 when the book comes out will be here in a flash…
We received these amazing eggs the other day from our friend Sarah. Her chickens were busy and she knew we would enjoy them. Enjoy them we will! Giving of food is such a gracious act. I love giving and receiving edible things, as it fulfills one of our most basic needs. So often food is given in a time of sadness (when someone is ill or after a death) to help lift the spirit. My thought when we received the eggs is that it is so lovely just to receive the gift of food, just because. Next time we make brownies or cookies, I want to make extra and give them to a friend, just because. Or if we make a big batch of chicken stock, give some of the containers away to friends. A ‘just because’ gift. They really can be some of the very best gifts to give, or receive.
Set a creative table! In the coming weeks I want to highlight a few tables I put together over the last year using things that I picked up at the grocery store or found while out and about. Simple things that are readily available. Table setting questions are the most asked to me by customers at the shops, so I thought I would group a few posts around that this month.
For this table, I stumbled upon just the coolest looking melons at the grocery store. The minute I spotted them I knew they would look great added to the table with the green plates, white flowers, and assorted green glassybaby. This was a going away dinner for our beloved Olivia, so I was trying to recreate a bit of a French bistro vibe, so I ran a sheet of white Kraft paper down the middle of the table as a sort of tablecloth. Vintage green pottery was added to give height and add visual interest. But ultimately, it was those great melons that pulled the table together. Often times, one element or thing can do just that.