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Inspiration In Red and Green

This time of year I especially love red and green together. Or separately. Does not matter. But when combined they do have a jolly-ness to them. The hues in many forms are the inspiration for the post today.



 

 

Right Before Guests Arrive

I snapped a few shots right before guests arrived. An early country supper as the sun goes down and the flicker of the candlelight dances about the dining room. A full week-end of entertaining ahead. Crazy to think it has already been 5 years since we started calling this house our home. Time flies. Enjoy and savor every moment of it…



 

 

Shadows and Light

I clicked the photo this morning as we were both up early, the light creating all sorts of shadows. We arrived later than usual last night, as windy weather created havoc for the Newark airport and our flight was delayed leaving and then we spent a good while circling before being cleared to land. Even with the late arrival at the house we were/always are both so excited we stay up super late getting things just how we like them and then get up super early the next morning to be swathed in the comfort of the house. Lots of Hudson Valley autumnal posts ahead. X, T2+B



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 163

Simple coat hooks can be used to hang your dishtowels in a row so you have them right at your fingertips. Plus having them out & about allows you to enjoy the colors and pretty patterns.



 

 

Dancing Hydrangea

A visiting CoCo brought us these fab French vintage vessels, in green of course. They were called into action right away, filled with the limelight hydrangea from out in front of the house. The bushes seemed to have doubled since our arrival and we are enjoying them inside every chance we get. These dancing down the middle of the table for all gaze upon. Happy Flower Friday all!



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 162

Farmers markets often are brimming with other level produce you would never find at the grocery store. Case in point, celery. This head was so deep green and overflowing with leaves that it became the centerpiece for Sunday night supper before being called into action for all sorts of dishes this coming week.



 

 

Limelight Hydrangea Love

Flower Friday brings us a bouquet of limelight hydrangea from in front of the house. Little did the former owner Scott know when he planted them that the green would fit right into our color scheme oh so many years later. I am like a kid in a candy store having the bushes in full bloom when we are here. TPS cuts them for me, I cut them. They are scattered all about the house in every room. This bundle wins the prize on this sunny morning. I am resting up for the big buying show in the city that begins Sunday. Sending tons of August love to you all from the Hudson Valley! T2+B



 

 

A Collection of Vintage Bottles

A collection can be really anything. My main thought with a collection is that is makes the collector happy. There is the thrill of the hunt, then there is the elation of living with your finds. Integrating them into your life. Certainly a collection can just live on a shelf and be enjoyed visually. But I like to use our collections in our day to day. This Hawthorne stay we have been loving using some of the vintage bottles we have collected over the years. Some are French, some from England and many snatched up on trips throughout the US over the years. They most always are quite thick and I am most happy when they are embossed with letters. Often they have the place where they are made, as well as the name of the maker. Our love of letters & fonts comes out in this collection. Putting them into action is the most fun part. A bloom, a stem of leaves, herbs–they all get top billing. This stay I lined them up behind the kitchen sink and used things from around the property. Little hits of color to catch the eye as you wash up dishes or cook away.



 

 

Risotto with Fresh Asparagus & Peas

Fresh asparagus has been popping up at tons of places we have been shopping this last week. I grabbed the best looking bundle from the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store the other day, as a hankering for risotto had set in. Little did I know that the day I was going to make It world be close to 90 degrees. The process of stirring was a bit like being in a sauna, but by the time the sun set, the back screened porch had started to cool down and we enjoyed our meal out there while the crickets serenaded us. Was not finding fresh peas yet, so went with my old stand-by of a really high quality frozen bag. Opt for the larger, non-petit size. They really work pretty wonderfully in risotto. If you can find fresh, by all means use them. For the asparagus, chose the thicker the better. They hold up nicely when mixed into the hot rice. I cut them up first and roasted on a sheet pan at 400 degrees mixed with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Pull out while still a bit firm, as they will continue to cook later in the risotto. I took out all the tops and reserved in a separate bowl, as they look nice on top of the individual risotto servings at the very end.

Heat up the 8 cups of stock to not quite a boil, then turn down the heat a bit, but the stock should remain hot thru the entire risotto cooking process. Next, and here is where I like to use a good sized Le Creuset pot for cooking the risotto in, add a liberal dose of butter and cook a diced onion and shallot till they are not quite brown. Then add a good amount of olive oil to that, along with 2 cups of Arborio rice. Coat the rice with the butter and oil mixture, and sauté for a minute or two to cook through, but don’t brown the rice. All of the above is done over medium heat, but stove tops vary greatly, so adjust accordingly.

Now the liquids begin. Add one cup of white wine to the mixture. I like to use a white that we will be serving with the meal. Stir rice till the wine is absorbed. The depth of flavor the wine adds to the finished product is really noticeable.

Now the waiting hot stock takes center stage. Add one cup of stock to the mixture, stirring till the stock is fully absorbed. What holds many folks back about making risotto is there is a good amount of stirring involved. A constant stir is not necessary, but pretty close. This is where the white wine you opened comes in quite nicely. Sipping a little white wine during the risotto making process is a personal favorite–it is my break from stirring. Continue adding the hot stock one cup at a time, and the rice will become creamier as you go, as it releases the natural starches. Add the 7th cup of stock. At this point, you will be about 20 to 25 minutes into the rice cooking process. You are almost there.

Now add the bag of peas. It does not need to be completely unfrozen as the peas will defrost the moment they hit the hot rice. Stir. Now add the waiting asparagus pieces on the waiting sheet pan. Add a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir. Turn off the heat. Add another cup of stock. Stir. Add a dusting of salt & fresh ground black pepper. Stir. Put on the lid. Let sit for 5 minutes, have another sip of your white wine, as we are almost done. Once that 5 minutes has passed, give it one last stir, adding a bit more stock so it is nice and creamy. In a bowl add the risotto mixture, then add the asparagus tops to each bowl and finally a few sprinkles of the grated Parmesan. A bit of work, but that will all fade away when you have your first bite.



 

 

The Table Is Set

A busy week awaits with a mix of family & friends, dinners and graduation party. Getting the table set in the morning when the house is quiet always helps relax me and takes the stress away from having to do it later in the day when the task list is longer and we are scurrying around before guests arrive. This table is layered with new treats from this stay. CoCo in Portland sent the most glorious majolica plates as a ‘just because’ gift the other day that set the tone right out the gate. The faux bois planter the latest find from my Trade Secrets outing in CT last week-end, and a French green ceramic candlestick from KRB when we were in the city helps light the way. Little pots of scented geranium with the sweetest pink blooms dropped into buckets added a bit of contrasting color. Ferns, Italian parsley and mint add a bit more natural green. Then all that is needed to complete the table before the first knock on the door is to light the candles and away we go.