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Tomato, Chèvre & Thyme Tart

The tomatoes back East and out West have been incredibly tasty this season.  Yum to that!  This time of year just drives me crazy with tomato laden delight. This tart the easiest thing but I think it has a bit of wow factor to it as the tomatoes are just so gorgeous split open.  Served with drinks, next to a salad for a light meal, or as a side to a full-on supper.

You know I am crazy for puff pastry.  Once again, this is just a normal sized sheet set on a parchment lined baking sheet to defrost.  Turn oven to 400 to heat up while the pastry thaws so you can unfold it.  Once ready, take a fork and prick a half inch border around the 4 sides, creating a frame.  Brush the outside of the frame with extra virgin olive oil.  Within that frame, spread chèvre.  It will be crumbly and not spread super smooth.  That is A’ok.  This will be the base that the tomatoes sit on once it comes out of the oven.  Heartily sprinkle the chèvre with salt & pepper.  Next pull off a good amount of fresh thyme leaves and let it rain all over the cheese.  Thyme is such a subtle herb, so the more the merrier.  Now put the whole thing in the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Check at 15 to see how all is progressing and turn the sheet pan around if one side looks more brown than the other.  If at 20 minutes it is not golden, leave in for another 5 and keep checking until it looks how you would like it.  Take out when done and set on the counter to cool.

While that is cooling, now is the time to half your tomatoes.  My love of orange has me reaching for that color, but truly choose what tomatoes look best.  Do a variety of colors if you like.  I chose small cherry tomatoes, but larger variety would be swell too.  Now line up the tomatoes on the waiting tart.  Again sprinkle with a good amount of thyme, salt and pepper. Ready to serve!  See, told you it was that easy.  Enjoy and a happy, happy Monday and start of the week to you in your part of the world.  



 

 

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. 



 

 

A Trio of Reads

Always fun to have a magazine or two along with a good book tucked into your bag for a little Summer reading.  Whether it be the beach, the bus, or your backyard.  We have you covered with a variety of titles not always easily found.  From short stories, to pretty gardens, to a new recipe to try with friends.



 

 

Dahlias = Summer

No matter the date on the calendar, Summer begins in my mind when I start catching glimpses of buckets here & there filled with dahlias at the Market.  The ruffle-y carefree petals in abundance seeming to sum up the season in a bloom. Rain or shine, they always make it feel like it is sunny outside.



 

 

Summmaaaa Pasta

20160620-083538.jpg With a nod to Summer officially beginning this evening, I thought I would share a super simple Summmaaa pasta dish with you. Easy to whip up with all the variety of great veg out now or coming our way in the next few months. Whatever vegetables you decide to put into this is up to you. Use what you like, and use what looks freshest at the moment.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, my magical number when cooking, so the oven is nice and hot for when you are finished cutting up the vegetables. Cut up an entire head of cauliflower, making sure the pieces are quite small. The idea is all the pieces of everything you add to this is close to bite sized. Put the cauliflower pieces onto a sheet pan, drizzle all with extra virgin olive oil, then salt & pepper liberally. Then cut up a large bunch of asparagus, spreading out on its own sheet pan and getting the same oil treatment. You want each veg on its own pan as things cook differently, so that way you can pull them out individually when done. Put both in the hot oven and cook until things get nice and golden. Stir along the way. Once done, add all to a large pasta bowl.

Now get the pasta water ready to boil. When boiling add a few ears of corn, take out when done. Cut the corn off the husks when cool enough to handle and add to the bowl. Salt the corn. Sorry, I forgot to add the corn to the above bowl before I snapped the picture. Bring the water back up to a boil and add the pasta and cook to desired doneness from the instructions on the box. I am a fan of Cavatappi pasta, but truly, use whatever shape pasta you like best. Salt the water liberally and add a few splashes of olive oil. While the pasta is cooking away in the hot water bath, shell sugar snap peas and add them to the pasta bowl with the other veg. I love using raw for this as the heat of the pasta will cook them ever so slightly when tossed in, but they will have the slightest crunch which I really quite like. Then grate a good amount of fresh Parmesan cheese and add to the bowl. Stand back and admire just how pretty that all is…

When the pasta is done, take a measuring cup and fill it with the corn/pasta water. Set aside and then drain the pasta well. Add the hot pasta to the beautiful awaiting bowl. Mix in as much of the pasta as you think works well with the amount of veg you have. FYI, you might not use all of the pasta, and that is ok. Then add a bit of the pasta water to the lot. Mix around again. Salt and pepper all. Have a taste. You might want to add more cheese. You might want to add a little more of the pasta water. You might want to add a little more salt and pepper. Or not. It might just be perfect. You decide. Now enjoy it just as it is. Or serve it alongside a piece of chicken or fish. Or crumble chicken, Italian sausage or salmon into the pasta for a truly one bowl meal. As said above, this can all be changed up by what vegetables look best this Summer. Roasting them in the oven caramelizes them a bit and really brings out the flavor which adds so much to this pasta dish. Enjoy!

20160620-092328.jpg And a happy start to Summmmmaaaaaa!!!



 

 

Giving Season Ending Thanks

20150911-064515.jpg As Summer takes its final lap, let’s all take time to reflect & relish the season and the beauty it brought forth. Caretaker extraordinaire Bill sent us an image of a Hawthorne hydrangea yesterday he had taken awhile back and I was so taken with the hearty healthiness of the leaves and the beauty of that bloom. They had been teenie tiny plants just starting out when we bought the house a few years ago. To see them flourish just makes me grateful to the season. All that sunshine, heat, rain–feeding them to grow and grow. Summer, while you are still around for a bit, we just want to give thanks for all you provided us with. You have been a memorable one, indeed.



 

 

Summmmaaaa

A happy July 1st everyone! Wimbledon has begun, the hydrangea are in bloom, the evenings are nice and long, ahhhhh, Summmaaa. We are spending the week out on the island, commuting in each day. The little heat wave hitting Seattle has it feeling like August. We love the heat, so no complaining here–both of us growing up in it in the East and Midwest, it brings back fond memories. But you do become acclimated to the surroundings, so once that cool comes off the water in the evening, we are ready for it. Took an outdoor shower last night under the stars. Magical. Anywho, my mind is on the season so the images today will be, as well.

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Happy Father’s Day and Start of Summer

20150621-043756.jpg A happy Father’s Day to all of the men out there reading that are celebrated on this fine day. The sweet woman who bags my groceries the other day sent me off with farewell Father’s Day wishes, which I thought was so kind, even though I don’t have children. It is just nice to have a day to reflect on our own father, whether you get to spend time with them today, speak with them by phone, or just get to bask in the memory of them. It is lovely to have a day to honor Dad. As well as ring in the official change of the season. I wish for you just the very best Summer ahead. Bought my very first dahlia of the season yesterday, which I loved the symbolism of. They are such Summer flowers, thriving in the sun & heat, producing such gorgeously creative blooms.

Happy Sunday everyone!
TKW



 

 

A New Season Begins

20140622-095615.jpg Ahhhhh, Summer. Officially here. As the years pass I think my awareness of the changing of the seasons has heightened. I think it is my way of trying to slow down how fast time seems to be traveling at times. By trying to be in tune with what produce/flowers/events are best in a given season, I really find it slows my pace down. I become much more aware. And I like that. A lot. Last night we arrived out on the island after a busy work day, but we were exhilarated by the sun and the fact we knew it was the first eve of Summer. Out came the umbrellas from storage. Out went the zinc topped dining table onto the deck. All signaling a new season is upon us. We look so forward to many meals in the coming months with friends in that very spot above. Hearing the water below, the boats passing by, and the symphony of birds the season brings. I hope you all find a special spot to grab some memories of this sunny season.
From WestWard,
Ted



 

 

Dinner Plate Dahlias

20140615-091728.jpg I had a lovely book signing yesterday morning at the fab Swansons Nursery. After, I was able to walk around a bit and get inspired by all the plants & flowers that surrounded me. The above dinner plate dahlia a perfect marker that Summer is just days away. Dahlias are those flowers that just speak of Summer and warm days to me. The dinner plate variety being so large, literally dinner plate sized, that you really only need one flower to perk up a space, a table, or a desk. The enormity of the bloom allows you to really see all the glorious petals in oversized beauty. I really love all dahlias, put the dinner plate variety always stops me in my tracks.

A happy Father’s Day to all you dads reading. Hope you are being feted in the style that makes you happiest.
From WestWard,
Ted