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The Tale of Two Bread Puddings

Wine & Dine Wednesday is the tale of the beginning adventures into my foray with making bread pudding. The above made at Hawthorne a few weeks ago, with the below made at WestWard on Sunday. I show you both because it shows you how versatile this dish is. I almost typed ‘dessert’ but I know many folks like having this for breakfast with syrup, and to that I say, right on!

Using stale bread product is best as that helps it stand up to the custard mixture you will be making and adding. I say bread product because croissants are fab for this, as is panettone., which I used for the one this week-end. You really can add just about anything you want to make it extra special. The first one I used a baguette, Grand Marnier, walnuts & chocolate chips. The other day I used panettone we sell at the shop, raisins & chocolate chips. Here is the basic recipe. Make it your own by switching it up adding additional ingredients.

In a baking dish tear up or cube the bread product that will be your base. Set aside.

In a bowl break in 6 eggs, then add 3 cups of whole milk, a cup of white sugar, along with 2 teaspoons each of ground cinnamon and vanilla extract. Whisk all together then pour glorious custard mixture over the waiting torn up bread. You want to make sure that the majority of the bread is submerged by the liquid. Let sit for a bit to let it soak in all that goodness. Then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

To gild the lily, serve with caramel sauce once it is out of the oven and cooled a bit. Or not. But I promise you will be happy you did…



 

 

Porthos Tuna in Olive Oil

Wine & Dine Wednesday is about the swellest canned tuna we just started carrying at the shop. I work with a French food importer who stocks the very best of the best, venturing out of France every once in awhile if the product suits their high standards and/or fancy. This Porthos tuna packed in olive oil certainly must have. The packaging caught my eye the moment I spotted it in their booth. Then we started chatting about it and they told me of the exceptional quality. Ding, ding, ding, “We have a winner here!” my brain whispered. Ok, shouted. For we are big tuna fans in our household. Since 1912, Porthos has been one of the largest canned fish companies in Portugal. What I like most about this is in each tin you get 2 big filets. Divine served as part of a Niçoise salad. But yesterday for lunch it was just a simple tuna fish salad sandwich I was craving. Bartlett House here in Ghent is a cafe with a bakery that makes an awesome seeded bread we adore. I look for any excuse to toast a few pieces up. The Porthos tuna is packed in olive oil which keeps the filets nice and moist plus I like using some of that oil when making the tuna salad.

In a bowl add the filets along with a bit of the oil, a big dollop of mayonnaise, a small dollop of Dijon mustard, along with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of fresh ground pepper. Then with a fork and knife break up the filets, incorporating all the ingredients together. Sometimes I add a few cornichons. Serve on toasted bread or over salad greens. Enjoy!

Side note: We almost always have a note in our checked luggage that the TSA has searched and gone through it. They must think, who are these people?! It is comical when we are packing up for a few week stay at Hawthorne. It is like a mini Watson Kennedy in the bag–hand & dish soap, canned tuna and sardines, always a bottle of Grove 45 extra virgin olive oil, French sea salt, Diptyque candles, big tea lights, taper candles, the latest bar soap we are loving, the newest dish towel to catch my eye, a small piece of art, books, the latest Paris Review, and a vintage object we could just not live without.



 

 

As Outside Dining Fades Away…

As Autumn rolls full steam ahead, the chill of the eve in many parts makes it tough to dine outside. This Wine & Dine Wednesday is a look back on some of the table settings of the past season. Long languid evenings spent at the table enjoying a meal, telling stories, laughing until it hurts. Memories to savor…



 

 

Sparkling Water Bottles

This Wine & Dine Wednesday has a bit of a Ted’s Tip vibe to it. I have had this in the line-up since we had our Watson Kennedy family staff party out at WestWard awhile back. Today is the day. Homemade water bottles is the subject. Often, actually make that always, the sparkling water bottles you find at the grocery store have a tremendous amount of lettering and logos all over them. For a ‘every little detail counts’ type of guy I am, sometimes seeing all that lettering gets in the way visually of what you have going on your dining table. In this case, those stunner dahlias wanted all the attention for this appetizer table. That is where your homemade water bottles comes in. Find screw top bottles you like, then soak off the labels and they become your water bottles at the table. We were drinking a white wine for awhile that had a snazzy red screw top. It would be perfect for out on the island so we don’t have to lug more glass bottles down to the house. They would become our sparking water vessels. Upside also, you save a ton of dough buying big plastic bottles of sparking water over buying smaller glass bottles. Just pour the water from the big plastic bottles into the glass bottles. Or some of you might have those devices that whip up plain water and makes it fizzy, which is fab too. Some might think this is a silly post, but those of you ‘sparking water with your meal’ fans will totally get where I am coming from. Please know I am smiling as I type that–we are major bubbly water fans in our house. Agua mineral con gas, as they say. I hope your Wednesday is grand… T



 

 

Roasted Tomatoes with Crumbled Feta

We were invited early Monday eve to sit on the beach while watching the sun go down with a glass of wine by new friends out on the island, Don & Betty. They also walked us around their abundant gardens and filled up bags of vegetables for us to take home. The above tomatoes part of the bounty of goodness and extreme generosity. We came back to WW and roasted them up super simply by dousing with extra virgin olive oil and a generous amount of sea salt in the oven at 400 just until they started releasing their juices, which becomes the sauce when combined with the oil. When done, toss with your favorite just cooked pasta and crumble feta over the top of it all. Truly could not be easier but it is just so darn good when tomatoes are falling off the vine fresh and plentiful. You could certainly add minced garlic to the tomatoes before they go into the oven. Chopped basil too. Fresh corn would be amazing, as well. But this supper we wanted the freshness of the tomatoes to be the star so they took center stage.



 

 

JuneBaby

What a treat! We finally found time to dine at the much acclaimed JuneBaby here in Seattle. It was everything we had hoped it would be. Chef/owner Edouardo Jordan took home the James Beard award for ‘Best New Restaurant in the Country’ and ‘Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest’ this year. Needless to say, snagging a table has become quite a feat. The restaurant does not take reservations, so it can mean quite a wait. But we love a challenge! We thought a week-day arriving early would be the plan. We arrived at 4:30 and were third in line for seating at 5 when they open. We were dining with our niece Haley who is a bread baker at Sea Wolf and gets up at 4 in the morning for her early start time so we thought an early supper would be easiest for her and it clearly helped getting a table easily. Once in, then the fun began. Jordan’s family and Southern roots dictate the menu, and man oh man is it all tasty. We decided to order a bunch of things and share, so we could experience lots of flavors.

Buttermilk biscuits with pure cane syrup. Pimento cheese, pickles and house made saltine crackers. Gumbo. Nashville hot chicken liver, Nancy Lee roll, pickles & coleslaw. Fried green tomato with herbed shrimp salad and romaine lettuce. Chicken fried steak with a lima bean purée, peaches, cucumbers and tomato jam. Catfish with Geechie Boy yellow grits, spinach, pickled corn with a red sauce. Along with a bowl of Southern rice. Yes, we were quite full. But…

The dessert menu just looked crazy good so we shared, pecan toffee bread pudding with cinnamon bourbon anglaise and a piece of hummingbird cake with pecans, coconut, banana & pineapple.

Heaven. All of it. Every good word written about this place and every award received is incredibly deserved. A must if you live in Seattle or are visiting. Tell them the Teds sent you…

A walk around Gas Works Park after the meal to stretch our legs and enjoy the stunning soon ending Summer evening was the cherry on the cake. Actually, make that hummingbird cake!



 

 

A Wine & Dine Beach-y Summer Vignette

As we head into Labor Day week-end a little Wine & Dine Wednesday vignette of some new goods that have arrived recently. Just in time for the holiday. I picked up the last 3 jumbo vintage hotel silver bowls from my English picker while in New York. This bowl would be awesome holding ice for bubbles or fill it with water and float flowers. Anything in this vessel will look amazing. The whale serving board whimsical and beach-y. Oyster plates are always a hit for us. The shell-encrusted candlestick a beauty. Our assortment of vintage French Baccarat coupes continues to grow. These pictured have an optic strip throughout. And lastly but certainly not least, the Palm Beach wicker tote. Use it like a purse or have it be a small picnic basket. As chic as all get out. The seasonal purist in me holds my ground in the belief that Summer ends the 22nd of September. I so often see reference to people saying it ends the day after Labor Day. Don’t believe them. Insert big smile. We are going to hold on to this glorious season for dear life and enjoy every last moment of it…



 

 

Corn Dutch Baby

This Wine & Dine Wednesday brings a savory fresh corn right off the cob Dutch baby. I have written in the past about making a sweet version of this with blueberries and syrup. The corn has been crazy good and plentiful this Hudson Valley stay so I thought, why not? I studded it with a few spoonful dollops of a soft cheese right when it came out of the oven to make it even more savory, but is not necessary as it is pretty darn tasty just as it is. Sauté the corn after you take it off the cob in butter with a good deal of salt so it is nicely seasoned.

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 salt. Mix all together. Don’t worry, fine if a tad lumpy. Set aside.

Then add 2 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 the fresh sautéed corn 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. Cut in half or quarters and serve immediately. Enjoy!



 

 

A Tomato Sandwich and a Glass of Rosé

That time of year again, and oh what a grand time of year it is. Tomato season! I can eat them daily and many times we do in so many ways. But the simplest is a tomato sandwich, on toasted bread, slathered in mayo with a heavy hand when salting the tomato. Heaven. Add a glass of rosé and a good book, and it might be one of my favorite August activities without breaking a sweat.



 

 

A Big Bowl of Cherries

As cherry season begins to wind down, enjoy them every chance you can. Simple can be best, as a big bowl presented as dessert with small bowls alongside for stems & pits, can be the perfect finish to a meal. I am often reminded of the simplicity and sublimeness of the bowl of tangerines and dates served at Chez Panisse with my friend Mimi. Beautiful perfectly ripe in season fruit served just as it is can be one of the very best desserts.