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Shaved Asparagus with Irish Butter & Parmesan 

Our dinner last week at Prune, they peeled/shaved the asparagus. This is not a technique I have ever employed. Then I remembered something I had seen about the Canal House folks and that is how they prepared it for a certain dish. So, from memory of both taste and from reading, I thought I would give it a go. Turned out pretty darn tasty and will do again, for sure.

This is the time to use really thick asparagus. With a vegetable peeler, shave/peel about two-thirds of the skin off the stem. This will leave them a little naked looking, but that is what you are going for. Roast in a 400 degree oven on a sheet pan after liberally rubbing each stalk with extra virgin olive oil. Lightly sprinkle over salt to the evoo bathed asparagus. Watch ever so diligently in the oven as not to over-cook, shacking the pan several times to move things around. Take out of oven. Place now cooked asparagus on a plate, add a dollop of Irish butter, and then shower with shaved Parmesan. Yum.



PRUNE Has Arrived!

20141106-055653.jpg It has been quite a month for cookbooks at Watson Kennedy. I am a bit lightheaded by all the goodness that arrived by some of my very, very favorites within a span of such a short period. Jody Williams, Renee Erickson, Ina Garten, Dorie Greenspan and now Gabrielle Hamilton. This esteemed group of cooks have fed both my body & soul for many years. That they all have books out at roughly the same time just makes me silly with glee! Each book is so them, with the new PRUNE book being so very Gabrielle Hamilton in look, feel and overall style. Holding the book in my hands transports me to 54 East 1st Street in New York. To that tiny space where every little detail has been thought out. Where every little morsel I have eaten has been so thoroughly enjoyed and savored. This is one heck of a book. Written in a style where you feel you picked it up off the counter in her kitchen at PRUNE, having access to all her thoughts/ideas surrounding a given recipe. This is where I first had a deviled egg with my martini. This is where I had a can of sardines presented to me ever so stylishly with a grouping of Triscuit crackers, a big dollop of Dijon and a pile of cornichon. She takes normal things and spins them into magic. Where I sat with Catherine, Rise’ and Linda last year celebrating my 50th birthday and we had a dish where the celery greens were such an integral and winning part of the dish that we asked for the recipe. Gabrielle takes the simplest of things and makes them sing. This is what this book is all about. Filled with recipes that you can make at home that you will adore. As will your family. As will your guests.




Prune, The Cookbook

20140819-045701.jpg You can imagine my excitement when I rounded the corner and saw the mock-up of the upcoming Prune cookbook in the publisher’s booth at the show yesterday. I took a deep breath, set my Filson bag down, and just looked. I rarely take the time to look through books when I am buying at the show. But I knew this would be an exception, and I just soaked it all in as much as I could. As you know, my Prune love runs deep. We are in for a real treat–is all I can say. In typical Prune and Gabrielle Hamilton fashion, her book is unique. Slightly different. Special. Counting the days until it comes out this Fall and we are stocking it at Watson Kennedy.



More Prune Love

20131106-062258.jpg It was a full day of air travel and we arrived to New York ready for our much anticipated dinner at Prune. If you have read my blog for awhile, you know I dine there on every trip to the city. I feel like I am in the dining room of a well-loved friend when there. The space is cozy, the amazing folk who work there greet me so warmly, the food transports the soul. In a city so big, it is a place that comforts. We checked in quickly to our suite at the Waldorf Astoria–a perfect way to ring in my 50th birthday month. A little refresh and we were off to Prune. Simplicity has been so on my mind lately, and the food at Prune fits into that category. Food is enhanced to taste how it should. Simple, simple ingredients prepared perfectly. I just don’t know of any other way to describe it. After much laughter & story telling, amazing food, good wine, and much more laughter we hopped into a taxi cab, headed back to the hotel and turned in. Resting up for a very, and I mean very, full day today. If you make a trip to New York, do try and squeeze in a dinner at Prune. I promise you will be happy. Very, very darn happy.




The Comfort of a Place


20130531-074909.jpg I had to make a quick trip to New York for a meeting yesterday morning. With little time, well actually no time, to plan, I just kind of went on overdrive in the state that we will hopefully soon call our very part-time home. After the plane landed, I hopped the train from Newark into the city. Once at Penn Station, I used my fab Uber app to locate the nearest car in the area to pick me up and take me to Prune. For those of you who have read the blog posts over the past 2 years, you know Prune is a place I hold in the highest regard. I feel so at home in the space. Kind of how I hope friends feel when they are in our home. A place of great familiarity and comfort. I had a sublime meal. Just like always. As well as a lovely chat with the owner Gabrielle. A perfect way to enter the world of New York City. Food, and the remarkable places that create it, makes me feel incredibly comfortable in a place. The next day, before I headed back to the airport I made my way to Buvette. Yes, this was very unexpected, as TPS & I, along with Bailey, had such a memorable breakfast there just last Thursday. This is also a place I feel immensely comfortable in. We so often hear at the shops from customers from both far and near, how much they just like being in the spaces. They love how they feel when they are there. This, of course, is one of the greatest compliments I can paid. Buvette evokes that very same feeling in me. Every detail, and I mean every detail, has been thought through. Attention to great detail takes much work, but the reward is so great. Add to that amazing vibe one seriously glorious meal, and shortly after I was back up in the sky on my way home to Seattle.

It was an up at 5 morning, with many tasks for the day. Fingers crossed–I hope to fill you in on all the details soon…

I am actually tapping this out on the airplane as I look down upon the clouds, saving it on my phone in my notes. Ahhhh, technology. I rarely write a post in advance, but I had a feeling I was going to be quite tired on Friday morning…




House Beautiful Love

20120106-072538.jpg The mailbox is always brimming with new magazines at the beginning of each month. I am like a kid in a candy store, excited with anticipation. I had a group of shoppers ask me the other day what my favorite magazine is at the moment. I really did not have to think too long, as House Beautiful has been the answer for quite some time. This month is no exception. Actually, it is at an all-time high. Under the stylish eye of Editor in Chief, Newell Turner, the magazine just keeps getting better & better. They shoot a great variety of homes, from small to grand, to crazy expensive to done on a budget. My number one complaint with many design magazines is lack of variety. If you are shooting a 10 million dollar apartment, furnished with an equal amount of dough spent on the furnishings, it had better look pretty darn amazing. I like seeing both ranges of the spectrum–from a smartly designed studio to an over the top house. The variety in House Beautiful does just that.

Plus, a few things made my heart sing even louder with this issue. Just the front cover alone made me happy. The assortment of Hugo Guinness works like we sell at the shop, looked great, as did the gorgeous yellow that is so similar to what we recently painted the office, as well as our bedroom in town. The magazine has also named Gabrielle Hamilton, owner and chef of Prune, the new food columnist for 2012. I have written quite a bit in past posts of my love and deep fondness for meals I have had at Prune on my trips to New York. We also sell her book at Watson Kennedy. Congrats Gabrielle! One more reason to anxiously await the coming issues…



Aisle After Aisle

Row after row. Walking a trade show is really a unique experience. Walking one of the worlds largest trade shows only adds to that uniqueness. This really is a hunt. There is alotttt of bad stuff out there–my task is to sort thru and find the gems. I relish this task. It is a visual feast where I love to dine. Yesterday was my first full day at the show, and I found some real gems. Part of buying is a bit like putting a puzzle together. You might find something cool, but does it really fit? Buying is exhilarating, stressful, enjoyable, tiring, challenging and fun–it runs the gamut depending on the hour. I am spending oodles of money, and am hopeful most of what I choose will be on target. You must just trust your gut and your eye, buy with conviction, and keep a good sense of humor.

20110815-060958.jpg The above heart was one of my finds. I adore it. Look for them gracing the front windows come Valentine’s Day. I have written 37 orders in a day and a half of buying, and I am trilled with each and every thing. It is going to be a fun Autumn opening up all the boxes when things arrive…

Dinner last night with my friend Jewel at Prune was a delight. We have a friendship that allows for very little dead air time. We chatted from start to finish, with much laughter. We also had one extraordinary meal. When I come to New York, I have dinner at Prune. Always. It is that good. We had the last bottle of Croteaux Vineyards rose’ from the case we bought to start our holiday on Long Island last week. It was perfect with our meal, and a lovely reminder of the carefree week we had at the beach. Put Prune at the top of the list on your next NYC visit.




Prune Love

How dare I mention the restaurant Prune, and not extol my deep love that I carry for it. I have been a fan for many years, and rarely does a New York visit occur, that I don’t wedge myself into one of the tight seats and have a meal that transports me to another time. A better, slower, don’t check my e-mail while I wait for my next glass of wine time. There truly is nothing about the space or food that I do not adore. Any place that serves deviled eggs to have while you have a martini and peruse the menu is A’ok with me. If you go, and if I know you well, I would insist that you must, you have to try the marrow that is served as a starter. Initially, it really did not sound like my thing, but I had heard it was a signature dish of the house. It is amazing. I now share it with my meal mate every time I go. Pork chops are perfection, the chicken always a salty delight. If they are serving a whole fish, get it.

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner, who I had read about in Vogue a few years back. She seemed like a gal I would like to hang with from all I had read or heard. Then I read Blood, Bones & Butter, and it cemented all the great stuff that had been said about her & the book. It is a great read. Life, mixed with food. We sell the book at the shops, if you are so inclined.

If and when you have a meal there, I would love to hear about your experience.



Springtime in New York

I adore New York City. It is a city filled with possibility and amazing energy. I always feel so energized creatively when I return from a trip there. Strong visuals are everywhere you turn.


I was taking my best friend from college, Devin, to dinner at Prune. Reservations were set for 8:30, so it gave me ample time after I finished at the stationery show to catch a drink at Freemans, a place I have wanted to try but have always seemed to miss going to on my last few trips. It did not disappoint. I sat at the bar in the back part of the restaurant, and was treated to what I like to call “dinner theater” by the bartender. She was a commanding gal who cracked square ice cubes into submission, mixed, shook, strained, sliced and diced–all with great ease and a smile. It was a perfect way to begin a New York evening.