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Kale In The Country & The Beach

This Flower Friday is not about blooms but a big bunch of kale filling in for the centerpiece of the table. Both at Hawthorne and WestWard, the produce aisle at the grocery store or a quick stop at a roadside farm stand can reap big benefits when it comes to beautiful bundles of greens or herbs. Often times the grocery store flower section will be slim pickings, so I go to plan B. Kale is usually the winner as I love how full and ruffly and rich the greens are–perfect for a showstopper in the middle of the table.



 

 

Tulips, A Fern, A Paper Geranium & Kale

Flower Friday brings the 3 table vignettes I did yesterday on ‘NewDay Northwest’ with Margaret Larson. It was a super fun morning chatting with her on the show about setting a creative & festive Thanksgiving table. Here is the link, click here to take a look. Seven and a half minutes flies by! TV time just seems to go quicker. She is a delight and I think I got some good tips in for setting a table that can also translate to setting a stylish table any time of the year.

Quick reminder, our first Holiday Open House of the season is tomorrow at our First & Spring shop. If you are in the area I so hope you will stop by. X, T



 

 

They Keep on Giving 

The flowering kale ‘cabbage roses’ were still going strong after several weeks, giving us tons of enjoyment for our Thanksgiving table. They had started to fade which worked perfectly against all the sun-bleached shells from the beach strewn about. They are our Flower Friday blooms as we begin the holiday of THANKS week-end.



 

 

Happy Dance Flowering Kale

I often buy our flowers on Saturday morning from the stalls at the Market. I like buying from the farmers who actually grow the blooms–so appreciative of all the hard work that goes into their entire process. From growing, to bringing to their stall, to selling the blooms, to packing it all up at the end of the day, to starting all over the next day. Many are so kind and often soft spoken. A few of my favorites have a sparkle in their eye when I ask them a question about their flowers, as I know how proud they are of them. The sign for these said ‘Flowering Kale’ but when I asked she said in a softly sweet tone, “But I like to think of them as my cabbage roses” as she wrapped up the big bundle for me. They did a happy dance down the middle of the Sunday supper table out on the island.



 

 

Leeks, Kale, Lemon & Parmesan

This is a super tasty warm salad our niece Haley made for us last night out at WestWard. TPS made meatloaf with mashed potatoes–quite possibly the most comforting, homey duo ever. Her leek & kale salad a lovely balance. She walked me through it after supper, as I was taking a quick nap when she whipped it up. Ohhhhh, I do love Sundays…

Start with the kale, cutting away all the spines on the stems, leaving you with just those glorious leafy greens. Chop them up. Haley likes to put them in a big bowl and massages in salt, which helps to start break down a bit of the roughness kale can have. It just sits soaking up the salt while you get everything else ready.

In a good sized skillet, heat up extra virgin olive oil and add your cut up leeks. Sauté until soft and a bit browned. Then add another glug of olive oil and add the salted kale. Cook for just a few minutes to wilt the kale. Then turn off heat. Add the juice of half of a lemon and the zest of the entire lemon to the leek and kale mixture. The lemon will mix about with the olive oil creating just the lightest vinaigrette. Add a few cracks of pepper and a handful of Parmesan and the warm salad is ready to be served.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 80

This time of year at both the grocery store & farmers market, kale is king.  The leafy green is not only amazing to eat but can be so pretty to look at.  Before you cook with it or chop it up, give it a chance to aesthetically shine by enjoying it on your dining table in a vase or planter.  



 

 

Kale Caesar with Fresh Corn & Cornbread Croutons

This salad is corn-centric, as the corn in the Hudson Valley at the moment is pretty off the charts tasty.  If you can get your hands on some fresh corn, give this a try.  The cornbread croutons bumps up the flavor of the season even more.  The fresh made Caesar dressing pulls it all together.  Here we go!

Boil a pot of water and cook 2 to 3 ears of corn.  Once done, pull out and set aside to cool.  Then cut the kernels off the cob over a bowl.  Let sit until ready to assemble.  Turn oven to 400, I know, very surprising. Let it heat up.  You can certainly make cornbread or muffins, but I found some stellar ones at the grocery store so those were used.  Carefully cut them into good sized cubes.  Put on a baking sheet, sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and a good amount of pepper.  Put in the oven for 10 minutes, then take out and turn them, then bake in the oven for another 10.  Once done, take out to cool.

Now on to the dressing.  A food processor or blender is best for this.  Roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic, add to the mixer.  Then a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Juice 2 good sized lemons and add that juice.  Chop up 2 anchovies and add to the mix along with the yolk of a room temp egg and liberal pinches of salt & pepper. Almost there.  Pulse it all.  Now, with the machine running slowly pour in a half of a cup of the best extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on.  Lastly add a third to half of a cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano and pulse one last time.  You have now made one very tasty Caesar dressing!

Tear up as much kale as you would like in a big bowl, being careful not to add any of the tough spine of the kale.  Sprinkle in the corn, a little more grated Pecorino, then spoon over the dressing, adding as much or as little as you like.  Top with the cornbread croutons.  Serve.  I like to offer more dressing in a small bowl that guests can add if they like their salad super dressed.  It is a taste of Summer in a salad.  Enjoy, enjoy.  Mister Sive grilled barbecued chicken that worked great with this salad.  Truly, just about any main dish like steak or fish would be yummy with this too. 



 

 

The Flower Love Continues…

The flower love continues with more, more, more of the sumptuous blooms that filled the year. Whether massed together in a big bunch or solo running down a table, they bring so much added life to our life.

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20151227-114621.jpg That 20 did not even get us to the end of Summaaaa. More tomorrow. Hope your Sunday is just lovely…



 

 

Flowering Kale

20151108-032345.jpg The flowering or ornamental kale was the winner in my book yesterday on my early Saturday morning walk-about the Market. You so often see these mixed in with other flowers to somewhat be a filler. But bunched together just as they are in big bundle is what struck my fancy. Of course, the green grabbed me right away, but mixed with the creamy white just took it over the top. The blooms almost looking rose like.

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Kale in a Pinch

20151019-072617.jpg Guests were arriving shortly for dinner and the hydrangea I had plucked from the front of the house were looking worn and just not doing it for me. As this is the country, a quick spin to the market or grocery store was just not in the cards. The big hearty bunch of kale we bought days earlier to eat would be the ticket and come to the rescue. Kale can be such a beautiful thing. In it went into a vintage green McCoy vessel clipped nice and low. It had been in a short clear drinking glass, so I just inserted that into the vase, so the stalks did not move around. Done. The kale pulled together all the other green on the table and has remained there most of the week–the heartiness keeping the look nice and fresh. It will become salad for dinner this eve. Now that is versatility out of a single lush & leafy bunch of kale.

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