As the chilly breeze blows about through the window and rain taps gently on the sill, my mind wanders to late Summer at the end of August. The tomatoes overflowing at the farm stands and the buckets of dahlias at the Market a riot of intense color. For many of you reading, your hot season is at this very moment. For others, your cold season is winding down. On this chilly early Sunday morning, I am dreaming of being on the deck at WestWard in full sun thinking of what to make with all the tomatoes. Wherever you are, I wish you just the very best day. Oh, and happy Oscar night too, if that is your thing!
This week is all about getting the shops ‘Holiday’ ready, so I have been drawing much inspiration in all shades of red. The above display at the Home store was what started it off. A look over my photo feed over the last few months has lots of red inspiration injected into it, with an appearance of my beloved dahlias, here and there. And of course tomatoes & apples in tons of variations on the hue.
Use small vintage plates or bowls that are no longer part of a larger set, as little dishes to hold a variety of things–like cherry tomatoes with sea salt, change from your pocket, or your keys. They can be incredibly beautiful so prolong their life and enjoy these solo gems.
This is magic in a jar. I stumbled upon this Green Tomato Jam in the booth of one of our vendors awhile back who imports French goods to the States. Boy am I lucky I did. We have had a jar of this going for several months now and I can’t get enough of it, it is so good. A dollop of this with a piece of cheese on a cracker or baguette is heaven. The slightly sweet and yet tart of the tomato jam melding with the cheese is really quite something. We have served this combo to guests over the last few months to much delight. Plus I love the look of the bottle, so I put it right on the cheese board. It is not yet on our website, but if it tickles your fancy always feel free to give us a ring at the shop at 800.991.9361.
A lovely, lovely Thursday to you…
This is a pretty quick & easy thing to compose, with the roasting of the shrimp taking the most time. This is a serious crowd pleaser. I have now made it the last 2 week-ends and it was just gobbled up by guests. Our friend CoCo and her daughter-in-law Natalie first recreated this from something they had on a trip and whenever they have made it when we visit them in Portland, it is one of my very favorite things.
Spread the shrimp on a sheet pan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Put in a hot 400 degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes. They cook quickly, so careful not to overcook. Take off of hot sheet pan and transfer to a cutting board. When cool, cut into small bit sized pieces. Set aside.
Use your favorite chunky salsa, or make your own if you would like. We are big fans of San Juan Salsa Co. To that add a handful of chopped cilantro, several finely diced scallions and cherry tomatoes. I like the idea of yellow tomatoes to counterbalance all the red. Truly, use whatever color cherry tomato looks best. Cut them in half and add to the bowl. Salt over the tomatoes so it draws out the juices. Add in the shrimp to this mixture and squeeze a half of a lime over the shrimp. Mix all together–chunky goodness. So easy, so darn yummy. Serve with tortilla chips.
With tomatoes so plentiful at this time of year, roasting them up gives you oodles of options on how to serve them. This is a quick roast at a high temp. Place small tomatoes whole in an oven proof dish and coat with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle over fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Mix around so all is coated. Place in 400 degree hot oven and let cook until the tomatoes are just about to pop open. Done. Serve just as is next to a piece of fish or chicken, add to pasta with feta and toss, or add to slices of baguette for an easy appetizer.
I love when things flow together, both in daily life as well as design. Such was the case this past week-end, when the tomatoes we were having as part of the meal were pulling out the same colors as the dahlias that were dancing down the middle of the table. A lucky coincidence but one of those in life that I love to revel in.
This time of year the bounty of tomatoes is something else. Tomatoes are one of those things I could photograph every day, as well as love seeing how other folks capture them on social media & magazines. There is a simple beauty to the shape, color, size and variation to each. More than taking pictures of them, I adore eating them. Just as they are, adorned with a pinch of sea salt, or mixed with a variety of things to make a healthy meal. Little works of art they are.
Incredibly excited to report that we are now showing the sublime works of Seattle artist, Jeanne McKay Hartmann. Funny how life works. Jeanne has been a customer of Watson Kennedy almost since day one. I remember seeing her smiling face pop in and do a little shopping when she worked at Nordstrom and the Market shop first opened. Fast forward to now. She is also a dear friend with my lovely friend Elizabeth who was just visiting us from Rye, New York. Elizabeth is who writes the uber stylish blog Pretty Pink Tulips. I have long admired Jeanne’s work and asked her if she would consider doing pieces for the shop. She has put together pieces that have a very WK feel–with Veuve, scented geranium, Mariage Freres tea, tulips, tomatoes, sea shells and hotel silver a prevailing theme. A few of the vignettes are from things I posted on the blog or my Instagram feed, which tickles me to no end. Oh my, I was a tad light headed when she brought them all in the other day. Truly, just incredibly special works.
OK, here is the skinny. These are one of a kind works, but Jeanne can paint another/more if we sell out of one, that will look very similar. I did a quick IG post yesterday and we have already sold 2 of the Veuve bottles. She is making another 6 for me. The frames are a little over 8 inches by 10 inches. Each piece sells for $295. If one interests you, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring during shop hours at 800.991.9361. We are thrilled & honored to have her work grace our walls, as a temporary home until they find their permanent one.
Yes, it is that time of year again. Tomato time. Which means tomato sandwich time. I know I have written about this before, as well as in my book, but I feel it is my obligation (insert very large smile) to let new readers know about this sandwich if they don’t already. The simplest of things, but the very best of things. A big ripe, juicy tomato is key. For those juices become the magic in all this. Here we go. Slice up the bread. I like a hearty sourdough. Slightly toast it. Important that the bread not be too soft as it will fall apart. The above round baked by our new friend Mimi, who owns Little Ghent Farm with her husband Richard. I plan to do a post on them and their farm when we are back for Fall colors in October. She makes out of this world bread that they sell at their farm shop. I dream of this bread. I digress. Must stay focused. That is what that bread does to me. Again, insert wide, but supremely happy smile. To the toasted bread add a big, yes big, dollop of mayo. This is not the time to be stingy. The mayo is key, as it mixes with the tomato juices and forms a sort of sauce when you are eating this. Next slice up a fairly thick slice of tomato. Set on top of mayo laden bread. Now salt the top of the tomato. Stand back and admire the simplicity and beauty of it. This is needed for two reasons. One, you just want to admire how yummy it looks. But secondly and most importantly, you want to give it a minute or two to let the salt draw out some of the juice of the tomato. Now it is time. A big napkin will be needed. Sit and enjoy how sublimely tasty and simple and grand this is. Just 4 ingredients but just so good.