You are currently browsing the Ted Kennedy Watson posts tagged: Entertaining


A Drinks Tray

This Wine & Dine Wednesday is about assembling a drinks tray. This one is for outside dining, but works pretty much the same when the party/gathering is inside too. Entertaining can and should be tons of fun. But it can be quite a bit of work, as well, and I think that is what stops or hinders folks from doing it. A drinks tray makes things waaaaaay easier. At WestWard, the tray sits right on the bench next to the dining table and by the chairs where we sit when guests first arrive. It is also next to the staircase that leads to the beach, making it easy to make a libation for your beach walk. I add whatever the offerings are for the day. Negronis and Aperol spritz were on the menu for above, as well as sparking water and club soda. Our friend Bill drinks Bourbon and 7UP so that assortment was on the tray too. Plus we always include G&T fixings, as they speak of Summer. Add a bucket of ice, glasses and citrus needed for the drinks. Not in the photo but added later a sharp knife to cut the citrus and a spoon to stir. By having it right where the gathering is taking place you are not constantly running into the kitchen or bar area to mix drinks. Plus it makes it easy for guests to make their own if they would like when you get busy putting together the meal. A drinks tray speaks of a party! Your guests will feel cared for and it makes things so much easier for the host.



 

 

A Super Easy App Board

We are of the mindset that entertaining does not, actually in our case ‘should not’ be stressful or complicated. I think that is what stops folks from creating a gathering or hosting a dinner. Our Sunday suppers out on the island are case in point. They come at the end of a busy, long week. Yet, we love, no make that capital LOVE, having friends and family out. So we try super hard not to overdue and stress ourselves out. Hence, a super easy appetizer board for when guest first arrive. They have had a ferry ride as well as it being in the middle of the day, so we know they are hungry. Start time is always 2. It is not really a lunch, but it is plenty before supper. We like to sit and chat with a cocktail when everyone first arrives. The app board makes it easy to nosh as stories are told. The above what I whipped up on Sunday. Radishes cut to lots of sizes along with Irish butter and French sea salt. A triple-creme cheese next to crackers and sliced seeded baguette. Then a personal favorite I learned from the chef at Prune in NYC, Gabrielle Hamilton. I have enjoyed this there so many times. Crack open a tin of sardines, nestle a mound of Triscuits next to it, as well as a jar of Dijon and a dish of cornichons. The combo is incredibly satisfying. This board was enjoyed and pretty darn near empty by the time a little beach walk was on the agenda. Bowls of cherries or small tomatoes or olives is also easy to add. As well as a piece of smoked salmon or slices of salami. It really is much more about “composing” rather than cooking. I guarantee, no one will care. Cheers to relaxing entertaining!



 

 

Château du Cèdre Marcel Malbec

This Wine & Dine Wednesday is a yummy red we had the other evening with a tasty filet mignon & scallops I made for Sunday supper out on the island. Full disclosure, I was absolutely smitten with the label! I was rushing around the grocery store and it was my last purchase before heading to the checkout line. Was completely taken by the images and fonts. Good news, what was in the bottle was every bit as good as what was on the outside. At under 15 bucks a bottle, we would try it again and again.

A little history and wine speak: Pascal Verhaeghe and his brother, Jean-Marc, bring a welcome refinement to the wines of picturesque Cahors, located about an hour and a half east of Bordeaux. Their father began making wines at Château du Cèdre in the 1970s, and the fun-loving sons took over in the 1990s, banning all herbicides and chemicals, and adopting a domaine motto: “Move forward, experience new ways.”

Fragrant & tasty on the palate with damson plum and blackberry fruit. Full, fresh, and engaging, this Malbec is a hidden gem and the fruit is super clean!



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 197

Entertaining need not be a ton of work. It can be as easy as roasting a chicken. Along with a green salad and baguette, a simple meal to enjoy while catching up with friends.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 196

Here is a fun idea. When you are the guest at a friend’s home, pick up supper for them right before you depart. It will be a lovely ‘Thank You’ and will the perfect parting gift.



 

 

Staying In With Take Out

Saturday evening we had dear old friends, Catherine & Steve, over for supper in town. Us entertaining could be challenging on that night, as we both always work the shops that day–me at the Market and TPS in the office at the Home store. But with a little planning ahead and really good take out, it can be done and a really good time can be had by all. Hosts included. I am always looking for ways to inspire us all to spend time with our friends at our home. We love dining out, but there is just a specialness about dining in your home with friends that just can’t be beat.

Setting the table the night before or even the morning of, is a must. It takes a ton of stress off of you and it is pretty swell to come home after a busy day of work and see the table all set! Plus it gives the flowers time to settle in and start to do their thing. For the other evening we put out pâté with a few cheeses, baguette, along with cashews and grapes. All enjoyed with a glass of Champagne while the cassoulet from Cafe Campagne heated up in the oven. I had made a shallot vinaigrette in the morning for an arugula salad along with haricot vert. A yummy bottle of red had time to breathe along with the flickering candles. More baguette with really good French butter and we were off and running. Actually, make that laughing and storytelling and having a grand time.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 194

A frittata can include everything ‘but’ the kitchen sink, as I like to joke. They are the perfect dish to use up bits of leftovers, like potatoes, onions, ham, and small bits of cheese. Savory in every way.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 193

A big cheese platter can be awesome but also overwhelming, both for the host and guests. Try individual platters for your next gathering. Combine cheeses with jams, honey and candied ginger as well as a variety of crackers & bread for a simple and oh so tasty cheese spread.



 

 

Lunch at The Maker Cafe in Hudson

The Maker, a new hotel, cafe & lounge on Warren Street in Hudson is not to be missed. Created by the talented folks behind Bartlett House in Ghent, no detail is too small to go unnoticed. From the food to the vibe to the furnishings, all done with great care. We had lunch there yesterday afternoon. The cafe and lounge are now open, the hotel portion slated to open this Summer. Being in the business of details, I am hyper aware of them when we are out and about when we shop/dine/meander. Sometimes the music is overly loud or nonexistent, the lighting not just right, or the staff aloof or unwelcoming. When I am in a place that gets it right, I let it wash over me like a welcome hug. Getting ALL the details right is a ton of work, while making it seem effortless is an art. The Maker has this down to a science, as does Bartlett House. I wrote long ago I would not write about a place we dined in a critical fashion. It is just not my style. There is enough criticism in our world. But when I/we like a place, we are all in. One of the most asked questions of me at the shops or in e-mails is where to dine, shop and stay. I am always happy to share the places we adore. For these establishments are labors of love–and to me, you feel that, you sense it, you taste it.



 

 

Domaine Magellan Le Fruit Défendu

I spent most of yesterday at the showrooms ordering goods for the shops. That always makes me work up an appetite! I knew I wanted to make Parmesan/Panko chicken breasts with a big heaping Meyer lemon vinaigrette arugula salad atop it for supper. A quick stop into our fab neighbor next to the First & Spring shop, Cone & Steiner, produced this easy French table wine that would be perfect with the meal. And indeed it was.

From the maker: 6 hectares of old Cinsault vines on our beautiful sandstone sites. The vines come from field selections conducted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region at the start of the 1960s. 90% Cinsault, 10% Syrah Red Fruit Défendu comes from a part of the vineyard where the grapes are smaller and more concentrated. The fruit is entirely destemmed and fermented in concrete tanks with pumping over and punching of the cap. Vatting duration is short, at 10-12 days, and all the grapes are picked by hand. The perfect complement to all grilled foods as well as white meats such as roast guinea fowl, rabbit with mustard and Normandy-style poultry or veal.