Bags of fruit, such as oranges or apples, can often be quite a deal for the quantity received. Create a still life on a platter in your living room or entry hall, encouraging guests to help themselves as they depart your dinner or party. A sweet & thoughtful, and healthy, good-bye.
If the idea of entertaining friends for a dinner makes you want to hide under the covers, but you still feel a desire to host guests, consider Sunday brunch. Brunch food can be casual so the effort is not as great as a full-on sit down dinner. Think bagels with lox and salmon spread, a large quiche or frittata to feed the crowd, a big bowl of fruit salad, yummy sweets bought from your local bakery. A big pitcher of OJ, coffee and maybe an offering of a mimosa or a Bloody Mary, and you are all set for a swell time. Sunday tends to be a relaxed day, but Saturday would certainly work too. Have jazz playing in the background. Light a few candles. Then get ready to have fun at your own party.
Last week we had a new friend, author Julia Reed, over for a week-night meal in town. She was in Seattle working on an article and I really wanted to have a quiet eve in other than take her to a bustling restaurant where the pace is much quicker and the space is much louder. Plus I think a meal in your home is so much more memorable. The dahlias just so darn abundant the choices in the Market were crazy good. I pulled out glassware we have not used in forever, set a simple table, lit a few candles–and we were set for an evening of much laughter & many stories.
Entertaining guests from near & far plays a big part of our stay at Hawthorne. A combination of friends and family, it is something we both cherish about our time there. This Wine Wednesday post is about an exceptionally divine bottle of rosé that was a gift to us from our friend Elizabeth when she stayed a night, that we popped open and enjoyed a few nights later at dinner at the picnic table out back under the stars with our friends Mimi & Richard from Little Ghent Farm. Domaines Ott Clos Mireille rosé is a wine I have seen mentioned in articles and occasionally had seen on shelves at wine selling establishments, but had never grabbed a bottle. Silly me. It was heavenly. It will be a bottle we will seek out again & again.
From a little searching around on the web: Overlooking the sea, Clos Mireille is in Londe les Maures close to Brégançon. The broad sea-facing facade provides Clos Mireille wines their inimitable character. The microclimate and the sea spray create the perfect conditions for producing subtle and distinctive wines. The wine consists of a beautiful blend of grape varieties: grenache, cinsault and syrah. The bouquet consists of white fruits and strawberry aromas with a hint of citrus accents. Fruity notes on the palate segue into a smooth and firm structure.
Sipping a super chilly white on a hot & muggy day rates pretty high in my book. The heat has been all we had hoped for on this stay. All the doors and windows open creating a breeze throughout the house. Entertaining is always high on our list when we are here, with a mix of family and friends from near and far. We served this very tasty Château Haut Peyruguet Blanc on our last visit when we hosted a big birthday bash. I had it shipped from Peloton Imports in Napa that is owned by a WK customer in Seattle. The quality of this wine for the price at 11 bucks a bottle is out of this world. At a penny to ship more than 6 bottles, it is easy to stock up for a large gathering. “Robe of light straw yellow. Intense, highly aromatic nose of white peaches, passion fruit, green limes and box-tree. The palate is marked by Sauvignon’s typical freshness. Well-balanced with lovely flavors of black currants and a dry clean fresh finish.”
White plates, both vintage & new, make it simple to start a collection as they are readily available at flea markets, antique malls and tag sales. The simplicity and slight variation of designs mix together easily, so you can host a dinner or gathering in a snap.
I purposely left these out of the line-up yesterday, as I felt these Scourtins deserved a solo shout-out. Yes, the posts this week have been heavily food-centric, but who doesn’t love a tasty morsel? These actually arrived when I was in SF at the show. They come from one of our outstanding vendors, Lark Fine Foods. They were recently highlighted in The New York Times during the Holiday season, so I was excited to add them to our mix. Savory olive wafers with a touch of sweetness, made in the traditional French Provencal style. Served up with a cocktail for a savory treat, either just as they are or with cheese, such as a chèvre. Or treated like a cookie for an afternoon snack when you are feeling a bit peckish. The Lark packaging also makes these a swell little host/hostess gift too.
Happy Friday all! I think snow will be the topic to discuss this week-end. Stay cozy…
The shipment of these arrived just as our Friday was winding down at the shop, but I really wanted to get them out onto the sales floor for folks to enjoy for the week-end. I grabbed a bag as we headed out the door, rushing home to get things ready for guests arriving at 7. Boy am I glad I did! Tasty in a bag. Actually, good enough to eat right out of the bag. Rosemary & parsley was the bag of choice. We served them with a variety of cheeses. Is the plural, cheeses? Excuse me if I am wrong. However you slice it, they were heaven. Crispy but no too crisp. The hint of rosemary and parsley just the perfect hint. We will now always have a bag of these at the ready. Next to try, the classic sea salt.
Happy Monday all. Woke up this morning to the rain coming down on our metal roof out at WestWard, which we find so soothing, it lulled me back to sleep. Wow. Rain. We have had so little of it this year I almost forgot what it sounded like. The pots of scented geranium all perky from the natural watering. Hope your week is off to a smashing start…
The purpose of this post is hopefully to show how setting a table need not all match, need not be stressful, and should encourage us all to invite friends over for a meal. I know for a fact that the very thought of this makes some folks break into a sweat. I have had so many conversations with customers who say they just can’t bring themselves to have guests over.
First off, throw out all the rules. Really the only rule to entertaining and setting a table is that you & your guests have fun. After that, however it rolls is up to you. If you don’t have enough matching chairs to set a full table, then mix and match. We do this all the time. I prefer it. The look is casual and eclectic. Same goes for plates, silverware and glasses.
Use a tablecloth, don’t use a tablecloth. Use placemats, don’t use placemats. There is no right or wrong. Just add things that bring a smile to your face. I have been collecting these little English trophies for ages. I just recently came up with the idea to put tea lights in them. For this table they added sparkle once the sun went down. I sometimes like to have the fork and the knife side by side, as it makes room for the napkin on the other side of the plate. I know this is not traditional, but I like the look.
Use flowers, don’t use flowers. Your call. Or buy a simple bunch at the grocery store and run them down the middle. It fills the table with flowers, does not break the bank, and adds a bit of jaunty flower happiness to the scene. If the idea of cooking for guests makes you nervous, order out. We entertain quite a bit, and this is a trick we learned ages ago. Sometimes we cook the entire meal, other times we augment with store bought things, other times we order the entire meal. This table was for the other evening where we ordered pizza to be delivered. Set out a few nibbles before and we were set. My point with all of this is having guests to your home is such a gracious act. One that is filled with love. Sometimes our want for ‘perfect’ or comparison with others gets in the way. We all have so much to offer. We just need to be comfortable doing it. Cheers to no rules when it comes to setting a table! Cheers to no rules entertaining! Make your own rules. End result, have fun!