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Inspiration in Green

With the arrival of Spring, I find myself craving green even more than usual. The varying vibrant full of life hue brings a jolt of energy after a long season of cold, snow and rain. For many of you back East hit with snow again, oh my, I hope this post brings thoughts of the burst of green buds and all the good green stuff, real soon.



Fresh Snow, Another Hyacinth and Sardines

I find it fascinating and comforting knowing what makes up a day, when reflecting on it the following day–all the little bits & bobs that occur, all the interactions, the food eaten, the conversations. One other way in this modern age is looking back at images. I woke up yesterday to this image in an e-mail from caretaker Bill. He knows how much we love the snow and a fresh dusting occurred. The lions looking regal standing at attention keeping watch with a coat of snow.

The day was full of meeting folks for interviews for the new position we have opening up at Watson Kennedy. But I snapped the above image right before I left the apartment as one of the hyacinth from the image I posted yesterday had grown so tall and fallen over, so I clipped it and the bloom now lives by the bathtub. White flowers against the black walls are a soothing contrast I find super visually appealing.

Not only were interviews taking place, but lots and lots of new product is arriving from lines I found last week at The Fancy Food Show, so there has been a flurry of unpacking activity taking place. I could not resist snapping these French sardine tins from Brittany. Each filled with two cans of olive oil packed sardines. That was my day in images. A full, fun day filled with tons of variety and entertaining to see what ended up being documented in photos. Hope your Saturday is grand!



A Bit More Hawthorne 

I have had a few readers who are WK customers stop me since we returned to Seattle saying they wanted to see more Hawthorne photos. Funny, as I sometimes question whether I run the risk of boring you all with images from there. So the post today is for all of you who wanted to see more. The above just sent to us yesterday from caretaker Bill after a fresh snowfall. The below images things I snapped while we were there–table settings, family visits, what I was reading on the stay, flowers, outside activities, a bit of what we were cooking/baking/serving, and a few room shots as the house continues to get that layered feel we like so much, that really is only accomplished over time with collecting things you love to make a house a home.



A Good Start To A Chilly Day

The super cold temps of our Hawthorne stay had us craving something warm in the morning after we started the fire, took Bailey out, and woke up the house for the day. We both love oatmeal, but so often it can be quite boring. Our alternative to a bland bowl of oats is to top it with a good variety of berries, sliced bananas and chopped up nuts. It not only instantly warms you up, but it is super filling fuel to kick-start the day. 



Ted’s Tip No. 131

Dried blooms, such as hydrangea, serve as a reminder of the past sunny Summer on the chilly days of January. 



Same Table, Two Nights 

Hosting and entertaining family & friends on our Hawthorne stay is always the highlight of the visit. Hard to beat sharing a home cooked meal at your dining table, where the conversations and laughs flow freely. We had back to back suppers these past two evenings. I wanted to keep it pretty simple, so the table setting changed using mostly what was already there, swapping out a few things like the tablecloth to create a new look in a matter of minutes. 



Wintery White Tulips

We made a day trip on Wednesday to visit with Ted’s mom. We beat this big storm by a day, which was lucky as it is lovely being cocooned in the house surrounded by all this snow. I always liken it to being inside a snow globe. I made a quick dash into the Whole Foods on the way out of Montclair and they had buckets of these happy, happy tulips. They made the journey with us north, and will be perfect for the dinner party we are hosting this eve. I am so often drawn to the white ones at the beginning of the tulip season, hothouse and field, as I love their simplicity. Plus, in this case, they do work pretty swell with all the Hawthorne green. The stems were quite long and I really wanted to use the big vintage vessel that I found a few trips back in Connecticut. So I just cleaned the stems up and laid them long ways so they rested on the lip. Once the tulips started drinking the water they naturally perked up and started to curl upwards to the light. They are our Flower Friday blooms of the week.



The Best Nine of 2017

Well, well, well, I know I have hit my holiday relaxation mode stride when I don’t know what day it is! My salmon cake Wine & Dine Wednesday came a day early, apologies. Yesterday morning when I wrote that I must have been certain that it was Wednesday. I woke up early this morning and just started laughing to myself as it was the first thought in my head as soon as I opened my eyes. Gotta say, I am digging our ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ in a pretty big way. Hugely restorative after a crazy busy shopkeeper season. Hawthorne is always so good for the soul. 

Which leads me to the post today, on the real WEDNESDAY… Instagram. I have said it before, but will say again, how much I love it. IG is hugely visual and creative and I find it majorly inspirational. It is a fun, creative addition to the daily blog post, and I know many of my blog readers also follow along on Instagram. It is my social media of choice, and I am able, if I want, to link my post right to the Watson Kennedy Twitter and Facebook accounts, so it is super efficient. The above my most popular images from last year. If you don’t already, follow along, the account is watsonkennedy and much like the blog, I try and mix things up a bit with images of flowers, tables, shop vignettes & goods, design, quotes, and a few images from other folks I find truly inspirational. Happy Wednesday everyone! X



Salmon Cakes

Wine & Dine Wednesday kicks off the New Year with salmon cakes. I think I mentioned earlier we hand carried a salmon on ice with us from Seattle on the plane to serve the next day at our Boxing Day supper. With Hawthorne being in the country doing a shopping run on December 26th would have been tough since we had guests arriving at 2, so we quite liked the idea of bringing a bit of Pacific Northwest to the Hudson Valley. When I headed out the door on Christmas Eve morning to get the salmon, before we opened the shops, I asked TPS how many pounds I should get for our party. We came up with 10 pounds. Keep that in mind. SO, off I went thinking a BIG fish and I usually find fresh salmon for around 20 bucks a pound. WELL, my chin about dropped when all I could find from the purveyors who were selling whole salmon to be packed up to travel was $50 a pound. I thought we could just serve caviar and it would be less expensive. After a quick chat with the fishmonger, he said we could easily get away with tons less as it was being served with other hearty things. So in went our beautiful salmon in its cute carry box to make its way East. The reason I tell the above story is there was no way possible we were going to let one flake of that gorgeous (expensive) salmon go to waste. Which brings us to salmon cakes!

Our sister-in-law Marian had offered to make/bring barley mushroom risotto for the Boxing Day supper, which was out of this world. The heartiness was one of the reasons the fishmonger thought we could get away with serving much less salmon. He was so right! We had leftovers of both so a few nights later I thought I would make salmon cakes and serve them atop the re-heated risotto. This recipe is for when you have leftover cooked salmon. The salmon needs to be cooked prior to making these cakes. Mister Sive had prepared the salmon for the Boxing Day meal gloriously, covered in fresh herbs, shallots & citrus zest. So I really did not need to add much to make these cakes sing. Here is what I did.

In a big bowl, break up the salmon into pieces. To that add a dusting of panko bread crumbs, a big dollop of Dijon mustard, a generous hand with the Worcestershire bottle with at least 5 or more big glugs, a squeeze of half a lemon, a good oversized spoonful of mayo, and a generous amount of salt & pepper. Lastly, a beaten egg to bind all that yumminess together. Now mix that all together. Then form into balls, squishing ever so lightly down on them to make round/cake shaped. On a plate add a quite good amount of panko bread crumbs. One at a time take each salmon cake and put it into the waiting pile of bread crumbs and coat fully. Then put the lot on a clean plate and put in the fridge for a bit to chill and set.

Then add a good amount of extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan and heat up on medium heat. Add the salmon cakes, cooking each side until golden brown. Serve.



A Bit of Hawthorne 

This last week has been primarily about rest as the retail marathon really takes it out of us. Being at Hawthorne during this time is a new tradition for us, one we are embracing and quite liking. The snow and cold our favorite this time of year, and Santa did not disappoint in the least. It snowed again yesterday and tonight it is supposed to get down to -7 degrees.

Part of being a shopkeeper is your energy for the season is given to the shops and our awesome customers. By the end of the long day it leaves very little time/energy for one’s own celebrating of the season. This is by no means a complaint, just our reality, and I relish giving all my energy at the time to others. So the idea of us celebrating The Twelve Days of Christmas started really resonating with us a few years back. 

As I mentioned the other day, traditions are meant to become one’s own. We are not going by any guide book when it comes to this new tradition of celebrating, but rather being open to being fluid to how we embrace it. Time spent with family, friends, cooking, napping, reading, reflecting and giving thanks have all become part of the mix.

As is lighting tons of candles each evening. The green glassybaby working swell in the front sunporch windows. We had sent Bill 4 packs of small green lights to put on the tree but with the snow and Christmas, the postal service was delayed and they did not make it in time so he was resourceful and found 3 sets for the tree. 

The parcel we sent finally arrived and I added those too, so our sweet little tree has 700 green bulbs shining as a sort of Hawthorne beacon of light. We will start a fire on the back porch early today to get the room nice and toasty so we can be back there ringing in the New Year. I hope you are celebrating it this eve in whatever simple or grand fashion you like best. I want to thank you so much for following along and wish for all of you only good things in the upcoming year. Much, much love from the Hudson Valley, T2+B