To me laughter equals happiness. My grandmother told me when I was little that she thought it was the best medicine. My Tuesday thought is to surround yourself with those that make you laugh! No prescription required.
My friend Margo and her son came to WestWard on Sunday for a visit. She brought a huge bag of greens from the garden. What a truly awesome gift! Sharing the bounty of Summer is such a gracious act. It was all whipped up into a big salad the next eve. The giving of what we have is so personal, and always makes a very special gift.
Encouraging youngsters to enjoy cooking has always been big in our household. Our nieces over the years have cooked up some pretty amazing meals with and for us, and it has been so fun to watch them get better and better at it as the years progressed. They are now grown and are all impressive cooks, with one of them a well-regarded chef in New York (I know, I am a very proud Uncle), the below photo taken last Summer with paella on the menu. When our 8 year old godson Magnus recently said to TPS that he wanted to cook a meal with him, they started planning the menu on the spot. This Sunday was the day.
Steamed clams with pesto bruschetta
Orzo pasta with grilled cauliflower & broccoli + tomatoes
Grilled portobellos with parmesan
Flourless chocolate cake with raspberries
Blueberry & peach crisp
It was cool to watch him in the kitchen cutting, mixing and cooking away. I think when I was that age I was making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. The rest of us chatted the afternoon away out on the deck in the sun as they cooked away and then were treated to all the above. What a special meal, what a special day.
This post is about giving of what we have. It also about this divine Dogwood branch that was a gift to me yesterday by our friends Peg & Brian. The branch broke off in their yard, and they thought of me. So incredibly sweet I get teary just typing this. They knew how much I would appreciate the beauty. They know me well. Sometimes the best gifts come at unexpected times, out of the blue. Often these can be some of the very best gifts. A sign of friendship & love. It could be a book just read passed on to someone you know would enjoy it. Or a beloved sweater outgrown that you know a friend would adore. Or a loaf of just baked banana bread given unexpectedly for no reason. Gifts can come in all shapes and sizes, at all times. It means you are giving a part of yourself–truly the best gift you can give.
Having guests over during the week for dinner requires a little extra planning & prep, but the reward can be so great. I had my old college friend Jackie over for dinner last eve. Her husband is away on business and Mister Sive is on a ski trip with his siblings. It would be a fun time to chat and catch up, share a meal, and laugh like crazy as we always do. Setting the table in advance and grocery shopping days before make having a mid-week dinner guest over a joy instead of a stressor. For this table a grocery store orchid would take center stage. I am always amazed at how well priced they are and how long they last. This one I picked up a few weeks before we left for New York and it is still going strong. Sparkling water and wine at the table so we could just talk and not have to get up during the meal. A William Yeoward decanter our latest acquisition, I picked up at Gump’s when in San Francisco awhile back for the Fancy Food Show. Lit a few scattered votives, served a super easy salmon dish, and it was a delightful evening shared with an old friend.
Last week I had a divine dinner at Canlis in Seattle with my friend Marianne Simon, interior designer extraordinaire. Canlis is a Seattle institution and a true classic. I always like sharing a stellar meal with all of you, and this truly was. This was a treat from Marianne. We take turns taking each other to dinner. She chose Canlis–I said, you bet! Out came a jacket & tie and we were off. TPS & I ate there many, many years ago. Lots has happened at Canlis since then. The reins of the establishment have been taken over by the third generation, and I had heard a little refresh had taken place. The space is just refreshing and beautifully appointed. Surrounded by glass, you feel like you are sitting amongst Seattle and all the beauty it offers. I had also been hearing about a new chef and was excited to eat/see what all the buzz was about. The buzz is truly warranted. Amid the constant chatter of stories among friends and the flow of rosé, we were presented with course after course of sublime culinary creations. One of the best salmon dishes I have ever had. We both started with the classic Canlis salad, which is a must. I want to recreate it and will write a post about it in the future. The Canlis family have been customers of Watson Kennedy since we first opened. It was a real treat to reciprocate and to be in their fine establishment which continues to delight as this next generation puts their spin on things.
I saw this quote yesterday on Instagram and it rang so true. I have a slight inclination it might be part of a Converse ad campaign, but the message still resonated. It is also a directive that holds so much truth as time passes–surround yourself with those you love and make you happy.
Have a lovely, happy filled week-end everyone.
Our friend Whitney’s memorial is this evening. Hard to believe it has already been a week since she left us. The fog and sadness lifts a bit each day, knowing she suffers no more and finding solace in her extraordinary spirit. Our final gift to her is TPS is delivering the eulogy, her request of him, and I am doing the flowers. Hundreds upon hundreds of red tulips. Her favorite. I know she is smiling. I thought a little photo montage of some of my favorite flowers this past year would also be a fitting remembrance for the day in her honor.
I received a bundle of these poetic roses yesterday from a customer. Just because. Out of the blue, for no reason, which delighted me to no end. It got me thinking about the act of giving, and the act of giving a gift. So often gift giving has a purpose, like a birthday or anniversary. But gift giving for no reason other than the simple act of making someone happy is such a cool thing. A ‘just because’ gift. They made my day. I could not wait to get home and scatter these beauties around in single stem vases. It got me thinking if I was made this happy by this gesture, I want to try and repeat that for someone else. It does not have to be flowers, it can be a coffee or a magazine or a candle. A kind gesture repeating itself. Cheers to ‘just because’ gifts!