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Roasted Romanesco

We were excited to head to the island yesterday for a little WestWard time. No guests this week-end, so a simple chèvre stuffed chicken breast, baked potato and a little Romanesco was on the menu. It has become a favorite veg–one for the taste but I also think they look cool, slightly other-worldly. And they are green! The grocery store had quite small versions, so I bought 2. Slathered them with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them whole in the oven while the chicken and potatoes cooked away. I put them on a sheet pan and began to roast them whole in a 400 degree oven. Towards the end of the cooking process they were not looking as cooked/golden as I wanted, so I split them in half, putting the core side down on the baking sheet, where I let them cook away for another 15 minutes. Just the right amount of time to give them that golden hue I was going for. 



Inspiration in Red

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.



Scented Geranium Leaves

The leaves on scented geranium deserve a Flower Friday shout-out for their extraordinary beauty. Often, the stems & leaves of flowers and plants can equal or surpass the prettiness of the bloom.  That is certainly the case here.  Whether a single stem or a big bunch massed together, they bring so much joy.



Ted’s Tip No. 77

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.



A Season Ending Supper Table

This is a story of tradition, a table setting and saying farewell to our lovely, lovely Summer.

The dahlias just so perfect from the Market on Saturday I about shed a tear as they were being wrapped up.  They would be just the right colors as we say good-bye to Summmaaa and welcome in Autumn.  The red bowls a Christmas gift from last year that we have used time and again and adore.

Then the red Laguoile silverware, napkins in a vintage Lucite ring, a heavy French wine glass had the table set and ready for the fun stuff.

Part of my collection of number 11 pool balls would be called into action as well as dominos and a matchstriker plus 11 plates from the shops from ages ago along with a few other random red things.  All stuff that makes us happy plus it pulls from the colors of the dahlias so it brings it all together.  We were set to have our season ending meal with dearest of friends who we have a 10+ year tradition of sharing an alfresco supper with at WestWard during the sunny season.



Blueberry Dutch-Baby

This has become one of my new favorite desserts, sort of a cross between a pancake and a soufflé, to make this Summer as the blueberries have been exceptional on both coasts this season.  But I plan on making this year round.  I first saw a recipe for this in a magazine when we were at Hawthorne and gave it a try.  I have since seen mention of it as a breakfast option, which I think would be yummy too, but I really love serving it as a dessert.

A black cast iron pan/skillet from 8 to 12 inches is best, but I have also make one in a non-stick pan and it worked swell.  Turn on the oven to heat up to a hot 425 degrees while you mix up this batter.  In a good sized bowl add a half of a cup of flour, half of a cup of whole milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and an 1/8 of a teaspoon of both salt and ground nutmeg. Mix all together.  Don’t worry, fine if a tad lumpy. Set aside.

Then add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pan/skillet which is on the stovetop on medium high heat.  Let the butter melt being sure it is covering the entire interior surface of the bottom of the skillet. Then add the mixture to that. Working quickly, scatter a half to a cup of fresh blueberries to the mixture.  It is now ready to go into the now quite hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Check at 15 and if it not inflated and brown edged, cook a bit longer.  It is the prettiest, puffiest darn thing right when it comes out of the oven (which makes it soufflé like) but will deflated quite quickly (which makes it pancake like) while still so yummy looking.  Take a half cut lemon and squeeze over the entire thing.  Cut and serve with a spoonful of maple syrup over each piece and to guild the lily, add a sprinkling of powdered sugar right when ready to serve.  I promise you will have happy guests. Enjoy!



Red Carnations In a Pinch

I know carnations often get a bad rap.  But bunched together tightly in a grouping of one color, they really can be quite lovely.
The buying trip to New York was amazing but by Saturday after I got back to Seattle and worked a few days at the shops, I was beat.  So I missed my ritual stroll through the Market where I pick up flowers for the week-end.  I hung out at WestWard that day and had a ‘nothing’ day, where I did nothing but read, nap, and nap some more.  I love nothing days.  We had guests arriving for Sunday supper at 2 the next day. TPS had the meal handled, so I made a quick run to the grocery store that morning, hoping to find dahlias, but, no luck.  The red carnations just shouting at me to give them a try.  I cut away all the extra on the stem and just concentrated on having the bloom be the star. The flower is quite pretty and having all of them massed together further brings out their beauty.  I did 2 tall glasses and 2 short glasses filled with the red carnations.  Not back for 10 bucks!  The blue whale we sell at the shops was the centerpiece and the flowers flanked the whale on both sides.  They worked out just perfectly giving the dahlias a run for their money.



Reds & Yellows

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.



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.  



Marching Dahlias

The dahlias continue to delight.  The Market stalls overflowing with them.  I am often drawn to the white variety as they mix so well with blue for the table at WestWard.  This time they were cut quite short, leaving the head resting on the lip of the thin clear drinking glass.  Instead of staggering them, I lined them up in a straight line, almost like they were part of a marching band creating floral music down the middle of the table.  A simple bunch of 10 creating all sorts of flower happiness as they filled the table from end to end.