This is a recipe taken from Back Pocket Pasta by our friend Colu Henry. Scallops are always something I know I will find at the grocery store on the island, so this became our Sunday supper and was the first thing to try out her new book. It was sooooo good!
Colu believes in heavily salting the pasta water, as she often uses some of that water to mix with the pasta and the other ingredients to create a sort of sauce when everything gloriously mixes together. Begin by filling a large pot with water and bring that to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of salt and return to a rolling boil. While that is bubbling away, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Then cook the salt & pepper seasoned scallops, 3 minutes a side. Take them out of the pan and set aside on a plate.
Wipe out the skillet, change the heat to low, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and add a thinly sliced shallot and cook until carmelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Take out and set aside. This is not the season for Sun Gold tomatoes (which I am excited to in this dish when they start showing up at farm stands) so she recommends using grape tomatoes, which I did. Add them to the skillet and let cook away for about 8 minutes or until they start to burst open, releasing their juices, which will become part of the sauce. Season heavily with pepper and lightly with salt. While the tomatoes cook away add 3/4 of a pound of linguine to the boiling salted water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking away add 2 sliced garlic to the tomatoes along with a half of a cup each of chopped tarragon, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley and sliced 1/2 inch long chives. Mix all together with the tomatoes in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the shallots you have already cooked.
Here is where most folks toss all the pasta water away and drain the pasta. Don’t. Here is where you will need tongs or long spoons–you want to pull the pasta out of the boiling water and add the pasta right to the skillet of tomato goodness. Then add a 1/4 of a cup of the hot cooking liquid to the lot. Now mix all around. The pasta water starts bringing all the ingredients together to create the ‘sauce’ and each strand of pasta is lovingly coated it in. Once all is combined, and certainly add more pasta water if needed, separate into 4 bowls, sprinkle with any remaining herbs from what you had chopped, along with a sprinkling of chunky sea salt, then add the scallops to the top of it all. Dinner is served.
Tickets are available for Colu’s book signing at the shop next Thursday eve, the 30th of March. The price is $35 which gets you her book, treats by Spinasse and wine by Cavatappi–along with a heck of a fun time. We will be donating the profits from the sale of the book to Meals on Wheels. (More on this amazing organization later) Call 206.652.8350 to purchase tickets and reserve your spot. Hope to see you there!
The sun was shining so beautifully through the big front windows as I turned off the lights last night after Day One of a major Spring ‘refresh’ I just had to click-away a few images.
The shops, much like home, can always benefit from a little mix-up of things to add freshness & spice vignettes up a little.
By moving things around, your eye lands on new focal points. The old becomes new.
You end up cleaning a bit, which spruces everything up, which in turn re-energizes an entire display.
Plus it is just downright fun! Oodles of hard work, but oh so satisfying. 5 of us moved things around, got sweaty, laughed, helped customers, answered the phone, fulfilled web orders, moved more stuff around, helped more customers, cleaned a bit, chatted, and moved more around. A full, full day. One down, with three more to go…
Share your gifts. If you love baking, make a pie for someone. If painting brings you happiness, give one of your works to a friend. By sharing our gifts, we spread so much joy, in both big and small ways. Never undervalue what might come easy to you, which in turn will be cherished by someone else, prompting them to share a gift they possess. It becomes a beautifully enlightened circle of giving.
Very excited to announce that tickets go on sale today for our Colu Henry Back Pocket Pasta book signing on Thursday evening the 30th of March, at 6 o’clock at our First & Spring shop. The ticket price of $35 includes a personalized signed copy of the book as well as time to chat with Colu. We will be serving Italian fare from one of our all-time favorite eateries, Spinasse, that eve, as well as pouring some yummy Italy-inspired Cavatappi wines along with G2’s (Gruet & Grapefruit) and Pellegrino sparkling water with a twist. A few other fun surprises along with a little shopping if so inclined, will be on the menu. We do have a limit on how many can attend, so buy tickets early, as I think this event could likely sell out. I so hope you can make it!
To order a ticket, you can either e-mail me directly, at email@example.com or call the shop at 206.652.8350. We will then ring your tickets/ticket purchase through and e-mail you your receipt, which will act as your ticket. Colu’s book is not to be missed and will be an amazing addition to any kitchen cookery library. Honored she is joining us on her national book tour. It will be such a fun night–hope to see you there!
Our Wine Wednesday pick is a tasty Sangiovese from Washington State, the 2015 Cavatappi Sangiovese. We enjoyed a glass last night with dinner. This is also one of the wines we will be serving at the Colu Henry book signing at the end of the month. More on that tomorrow. After a quick Google search for a little information on this yummy wine, one of my blog entries from a few years back popped up as one of the top searches, which totally made me smile and laugh at the same time, as I have little to no memory of writing a post on it. I guess that is what happens after many years of posting daily, and certainly has nothing to do with the years advancing. Insert very large smile. Bottom line, it deserves a second cheers, as it is mighty fine wine. Here it is:
Cavatappi is a Washington State winery that we have long been a fan of, and is my pick for this Wine Wednesday post. We were first introduced to it at a ‘meet the vintner’ wine dinner hosted by our friends Steve & Catherine at Cafe Juanita more than 10 years ago. The wine glass stain makes for a very clever and memorable label. I spot it whenever I am out shopping for wine. Their Sangiovese is fresh, light-bodied, and lovely solo or with food. It falls in that under $15 range that makes it nice to serve for parties or large gatherings. Lovely to have with a roast chicken or to serve the next time you order pizza in.
After a little more web searching: Cavatappi wines are inspired by the delicious house wines served in Italy’s restaurants. Thirty years ago, winemaker Peter Dow partnered with Washington state’s revered growers Mike Sauer, and later with Dick Boushey, to plant Italian varieties. Today these wines, made from Washington-grown Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, continue to be enjoyed alongside great food and great company.
TASTING NOTES: Herbal and fruity aromatics with a touch of spice. Light in body but heavy on red fruit freshness, with notes of bright cherry, mineral, spice, and herb.
WINEMAKING NOTES: Varietal Blend 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon Appellation Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley
We have a new category, as this fab duo is On Its Way, so am excited to share this all with you. These were a find at the Fancy Food show in San Francisco a few months back. I was struck by this combo as I thought it would look great out on the counter together, as well as make an awesome host/hostess gift. The quality of what is in these cool bottles is off the charts, so it hit all of my winning points for what makes it onto our shelves. Vinaigrette anyone?
This is a super tasty warm salad our niece Haley made for us last night out at WestWard. TPS made meatloaf with mashed potatoes–quite possibly the most comforting, homey duo ever. Her leek & kale salad a lovely balance. She walked me through it after supper, as I was taking a quick nap when she whipped it up. Ohhhhh, I do love Sundays…
Start with the kale, cutting away all the spines on the stems, leaving you with just those glorious leafy greens. Chop them up. Haley likes to put them in a big bowl and massages in salt, which helps to start break down a bit of the roughness kale can have. It just sits soaking up the salt while you get everything else ready.
In a good sized skillet, heat up extra virgin olive oil and add your cut up leeks. Sauté until soft and a bit browned. Then add another glug of olive oil and add the salted kale. Cook for just a few minutes to wilt the kale. Then turn off heat. Add the juice of half of a lemon and the zest of the entire lemon to the leek and kale mixture. The lemon will mix about with the olive oil creating just the lightest vinaigrette. Add a few cracks of pepper and a handful of Parmesan and the warm salad is ready to be served.
Our fabulously lovely & creative friend Colu Henry will be at the First & Spring shop on Thursday eve the 30th of March for a signing of her newly released book Back Pocket Pasta. I received my copy yesterday and spent all of last night reading through it, happy as a clam. Page after page of divine pasta recipes. Colu’s Italian family heritage shining through–with so many recipes inspired by her great grandmother, grandmother and mom. She and her husband Chad live in Hudson so we have gotten to know them on our Hawthorne stays. They are just the coolest, sweetest couple. We are honored to have her signing her new book at the shop! More details to follow in the next week, as this signing will be a ticketed event, as food & drinks, along with plenty of stories & laughs will be on the menu for the evening. This will be a fun time to gather a few friends for an evening out. Tickets will be go on sale next week, but I just wanted to give everyone a heads up if it sounds like something you would like to attend, so you can save the date on your calendar.
Happy first Thursday in March everyone!