Entry Hall Hyacinth

There might be snow on the way but our entry hall in town is thinking about Spring. Hyacinth have a way of doing that. A new Whole Foods opened a few blocks away with a fun flower section. I snapped these right up as I knew their scent and the sight of them would makes us ever so happy on these chilly and soon to be snowy days. Happy Flower Friday all!



 

 

Valentine’s Day Open House

Well, this is a funny situation. I just finished reading an article TPS sent me about a big snow storm headed our way late Friday. This Saturday we are planning our Valentine’s Day Open House at the shops. SO, I will say this. We are ‘hoping’ to have our Valentine’s Day Open House this Saturday. If we do have a big snow storm, give us a call to confirm that we are open or check our social media channels before braving the elements and making your way down. Arghhhhhh, sorry to be on the fence about this one. The fabulous Seattle hills and snow sadly do not mix well. Growing up in the Midwest where snow can be several feet and folks barely blink, here, we are just not set up for it as other parts of the country are, as it is rare. Oh my gosh, how boring, I am talking about the weather! Anywho, the shops are brimming with all sorts of treats to give those you love/like. We will do our darndest to be there if it snows, but if not, know we will be there just as soon as we can. Happy Thursday!



 

 

Stuffed Shells For A Wintery Night

This snowy Wine & Dine Wednesday post is brought to you by my husband, Mr. Sive. Quite often when I post photos of the tables I set, people ask, “But what did you eat?” This is a TPS classic, which he has been making for many years.

A few days ago we had the rare treat of a snowy night at WestWard. This meal was inspired by that, a bottle of hearty red TKW had recently at a tasting, our shared love of all things pasta, and the desire for a homey fireside meal.  

Stuffed shells is a Watson/Sive standby, and this night I wanted a “stick to your ribs” version, with a sauce thick enough to stay with the bits of shell and pasta, and not slip off. There’s a lot going on in this version, with a variety of flavors and a good hearty result.  

Cook a 12oz box of ‘Jumbo Shells’ al dente, and drain in cold water to stop the cooking. Toss them in a bit of EVOO.

While that’s going on, prepare the sauce. Cut up enough carrots, sliced in half and then 1/4 inch thick, for a cup or more total. Pour a few good glugs of EVOO in your favorite dutch oven, heat up and then add the carrots. (We just replaced our Le Creuset, as the old one was beyond lovingly used!) After a minute or two, add 1 medium yellow onion, chopped fairly large. (You want the onions and carrots to still be in chunks after all the cooking and baking.) Sauté until soft and just turning brown. Add about 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage (or sweet and spicy mixed) and sauté until the sausage is just cooked through. Add 4 cloves of finely minced garlic, and cook a couple minutes longer. Add one 28-ounce can of pureed San Marzano tomatoes, one 6-ounce can of tomato paste, and 1 cup of red wine, and bring to a good simmer. Add a good amount of fresh thyme or oregano (I used the leaves from 8 sprigs), salt and pepper to taste, and leave on a low simmer while you’re assembling other ingredients. Add more wine as needed, but you’ll want a thick sauce.

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons each of butter and EVOO to hot. Sauté 24 or so small crimini mushrooms, halved. The mushrooms will absorb all the liquid and start to caramelize. Just as they start to shed liquid, take off the heat and place in a small bowl. (Later, add the liquid that drains from the mushrooms to the tomato sauce).

In another bowl (I utilized the just-used and cooled pasta cooker to save cleaning!) add a 32-ounce container of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, and half of a 5-ounce plastic container of baby arugula, very lightly chopped. Mix just until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture, about 2 tablespoons in each shell. Don’t worry about being exact!

Now, to assemble. I typically prepare this in two batches, each in a pie sized pan, and freeze one for later cooking, each pan serving four normal people (or slightly fewer hungry Teds). You can certainly make it one large pot. Lightly coat your dish with more EVOO, and add enough sauce to just cover the bottom. Place the shells in one tightly packed layer. Spread the mushrooms evenly, tucking them between the shells. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top with a rubber spatula, to tuck it into the nooks and crannies. Lastly, evenly distribute on the top 8-ounces of grated sharp white cheddar. Yes, we’re mixing the English/Irish and the Italian! The zing and creaminess of the cheddar is a great compliment to the hearty tomato and sausage, and contrasts well with the light ricotta.

Bake at 375, covered loosely with foil, for 40ish minutes. You can serve after just a couple minutes of letting it all rest. With those vegetables and protein and cheese and greens, this is a great one-dish meal. Especially for a snowy winter evening…



 

 

A Snowy Sunday Supper

Sunday supper out on the island was extra cozy as the snow paid a visit. In the 20 years that we have had the house, only one other time we were there has it snowed. Seeing the snow fall upon our beloved Colvos Passage is quite something. After the meal we turned off all of the lights and just watched it do its magic. By morning, a good amount accumulated. See below. For the above table, a new vintage find of cobalt French working glasses were called into action to hold oversized tealights. Then it was all about layering layers of blue. The creamy tulips beginning to open ever so beautifully from all heat of the roaring fire, turning more yellow as they opened. TPS made stuffed shells, one of my all-time favorite comfort dishes he makes. Perfect for eve as the snow fell.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 187

A sweet treat at each setting is a surefire way to get the dinner party started on a festive note.



 

 

A Sunday Thought



 

 

A Lovely Saturday Quote



 

 

Three Bunches

Flower Friday brings 3 bunches, all at differing stages. I love the poetry of their dance all along the way. The dining table tulips just cut and starting the sway. The bunch in the hall as the elevator opens to greet us, all cozied up, ruffly. The third bunch in our entry hall, in full dance beginning to drop petals, which I always adore seeing. As if taking a bow…



 

 

Another Ten

We shot 10 more goods the other day for the website, so another quick My Favorite Things Today as we head into our Thursday. I always love seeing new things grace our shelves. Hope you do too!



 

 

Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône

Wine & Dine Wednesday is a lovely Côtes du Rhône I picked up the other day on a 10 minute grocery shop. Let me set the scene. For anyone who catches ferry boats will completely understand. We were leaving WestWard heading back into town the other morning. TPS dropped me off at the Vashon Thriftway and then went to get us a coffee and a sweet for the boat. I had that amount of time to shop before he swings by to pick me up for us to then race to the ferry. Game on! I have written this before and will a million times more, I ADORE our island grocery store. Everything about it, from the helpful & kind folks who work there to the incredible variety of goods they offer–all top notch. So a quick shop for the week to augment what we already had back at the apartment was my task. I know every aisle quite well, as it has been 20 years of shopping them, and typically not on such a tight deadline. I knew I wanted to find a wine to serve with a few meals this week. Côtes du Rhône is my red ‘go-to’ as it pairs well with food and is not generally crazy expensive. Well, well, well, as I rounded the corner to the wine section this stylishly graphic bottle caught my eye. With a few minutes left on the clock, I quickly scanned the bottle. Then the price jumped out at me. 10 bucks. Done! I think of this as ‘table wine’ which is easy, breezy to drink with a simple weekday supper. It makes me think back to our many trips to France over the years and the tasty wines served in ceramic pitchers in cafes. This is that type of wine.