These tulips turned out to be quite something. When I first bought them they were closed up super tight and had a slightly yellow hue but mainly were really creamy. As time wore on and they started their dance, they unfolded to this lovely muted yellow. This capture, they are also going strong for the second week-end. We keep the house quite cold when we are away, which tulips love, which prolongs the life of them immensely. The same holds true for most blooms–tiny tip, if you ever need to have your flowers last for a special event but they are waning, pop them into a cool to cold room to prolong their life. Happy Flower Friday everyone!
Often a satisfying meal can be pulled together from many things already had in your pantry and/or fridge. Such was the case with this lunch at WestWard yesterday. We had our friend Adrienne coming over and we knew we just wanted to sit and chat with the fire going, so I wanted to make something in a bowl that we could easily eat while sitting on the sofa talking away. We had a box of orzo pasta, green olives and a head of cauliflower. TPS made a quick run for a few other things, and lunch was in the works.
Put on a large pot of water to boil, add a tablespoon of salt once it begins to boil. Pre-heat oven to 400 while you begin prepping things. He picked up two chicken breasts with the skin on and the bone in. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts would work great for this too. On a sheet pan add the chicken breasts and coat liberally with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Get into that hot oven. Check the internal temp of the meat with a meat thermometer at 45 minutes. You want it to be 160. While that is cooking away put an entire box of orzo in the boiling water and cook to the time instructions on the box. Once done, drain, put in a large bowl, salt the pasta, add pepper, give a good glug of olive oil, and add the juice of one lemon, stir. Break up half the feta into the orzo while the pasta is still warm. Stir again. Then let sit while everything else cooks away. This is a room temp meal, so no need to worry.
While the chicken cooks away, cut up a whole head of cauliflower. Break up the florets so they are quite small. Think less than bite sized. Add all to another sheet pan, add a good amount of olive oil, salt & pepper. Mix all around until coated. Then cut up a handful of pitted green olives, adding that to the mix. To that add a generous spoonful of capers. Mix all around and add to the hot oven where the chicken is cooking away. Stir several times in the cooking process. Take out when the cauliflower has started to brown a bit. Add the entire contents, oil and all to the bowl of orzo and feta. All the extra olive oil from this and the chicken help coat the orzo, add a ton of flavor, and create a bit of a sauce when melded with the lemon juice. Almost there!
When the chicken is done, take out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let it sit for 10 minutes to rest. Once ready, either cut up or pull the meat from the bone and add all to the excitedly awaiting bowl of orzo/feta/cauliflower/green olives/caper goodness. I took the skin off and did not add to the mixture, but by all means, do if you would like. Any juices that have formed on the pan with the chicken for sure add to the pasta. We want every bit of flavor. Mix up everything now that the chicken has been added. Now add the other half of the feta and another bit of pepper. Stir. Lastly, add the juice of another lemon. Stir. Take a taste. Add one final bit of salt if you think it is needed. Lunch is served.
This is a recipe taken from Back Pocket Pasta by our friend Colu Henry. Scallops are always something I know I will find at the grocery store on the island, so this became our Sunday supper and was the first thing to try out her new book. It was sooooo good!
Colu believes in heavily salting the pasta water, as she often uses some of that water to mix with the pasta and the other ingredients to create a sort of sauce when everything gloriously mixes together. Begin by filling a large pot with water and bring that to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of salt and return to a rolling boil. While that is bubbling away, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Then cook the salt & pepper seasoned scallops, 3 minutes a side. Take them out of the pan and set aside on a plate.
Wipe out the skillet, change the heat to low, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and add a thinly sliced shallot and cook until carmelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Take out and set aside. This is not the season for Sun Gold tomatoes (which I am excited to in this dish when they start showing up at farm stands) so she recommends using grape tomatoes, which I did. Add them to the skillet and let cook away for about 8 minutes or until they start to burst open, releasing their juices, which will become part of the sauce. Season heavily with pepper and lightly with salt. While the tomatoes cook away add 3/4 of a pound of linguine to the boiling salted water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking away add 2 sliced garlic to the tomatoes along with a half of a cup each of chopped tarragon, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley and sliced 1/2 inch long chives. Mix all together with the tomatoes in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the shallots you have already cooked.
Here is where most folks toss all the pasta water away and drain the pasta. Don’t. Here is where you will need tongs or long spoons–you want to pull the pasta out of the boiling water and add the pasta right to the skillet of tomato goodness. Then add a 1/4 of a cup of the hot cooking liquid to the lot. Now mix all around. The pasta water starts bringing all the ingredients together to create the ‘sauce’ and each strand of pasta is lovingly coated it in. Once all is combined, and certainly add more pasta water if needed, separate into 4 bowls, sprinkle with any remaining herbs from what you had chopped, along with a sprinkling of chunky sea salt, then add the scallops to the top of it all. Dinner is served.
Tickets are available for Colu’s book signing at the shop next Thursday eve, the 30th of March. The price is $35 which gets you her book, treats by Spinasse and wine by Cavatappi–along with a heck of a fun time. We will be donating the profits from the sale of the book to Meals on Wheels. (More on this amazing organization later) Call 206.652.8350 to purchase tickets and reserve your spot. Hope to see you there!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.