For a while now both Andrew and I had been complaining about our scissors around the house. Somehow our random selection of everyday shears had broken handles, dull blades, or a snapped spring (on one of the heavier pairs). He’d been talking about investing in a new pair, and like so many other things, you can’t seem to have too many scissors. When his b-day came last week I figured it would be a great chance to add beautiful pair and begin a whole new collection. I started with these here, the Tajiko copper household scissors.
Tajika Haruo Ironworks has been producing handcrafted scissors for four generations in Ono City, Japan. These are made of copper, hand forged and hand sharpened. They are truly remarkable and to hold and use them gives energy and purpose. There’s an interesting shift in seeking out and adding artisan elements into the home. Each time you go to use it you’re handling a gift, a piece that someone has made with their hands, imparting their care and energy into an artform. Even something as simple as cutting a piece of paper becomes different.
Just a simple, but meaningful idea if you’re looking for a different take on everyday things.
I wanted to sneak this recipe in while elderberries are still, somewhat, getable. It’s a fun project and it will make you happy all winter long.
Elderberry cordial used to be a staple in every good housewife’s well-stocked pantry as it’s a powerful part of a cold and flu fighting regimen. As many old-school traditions go, it eventually fell by the side and was replaced with more convenient and immediate methods of cold care.
Last year when I shared my natural medicine cabinet with you, I mentioned my favorite elixir Sambu-Guard. Well this elderberry cordial is precisely that! And while it’s worth every penny of its $17 price tag (and you should certainly add it to your medicine cabinet) it was pretty freakin’ cool to be able to make my own this year.
We ordered two large bunches of elderberries from Foraged & Found and picked them up at the University Farmer’s Market. The berries themselves aren’t particularly tasty on their own, so making them into a cordial, with the addition of honey, makes them so, so good.
Remove all of the large stems but don’t worry about the small ones. Place the berries in a large non-corrosive pot and cover with filtered water. Heat gently and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon (one that you won’t mind if it stains). After simmering, gently mash the berries with the back of your wooden spoon.
Let the berry mixture cool and then transfer to an old dish towel or a double-wrapped cheesecloth. You can strain through a colander or gather the ends and tie them to a rack (like our horror movie set-up below). Let strain into a large bowl overnight.
After straining, transfer the liquid back to the pot and bring to a light simmer. Add honey to taste, mix until dissolved, and remove from heat. Pour the cordial into small canning jars. Sterilize them in the oven by lightly screwing on the lids and placing in the oven at 225-degrees. Once the cordial begins to bubble in the jars, turn off the oven, tighten the lids, and let cool.
It was a lot of fun, even over the span of two days, and all things considered it wasn’t much work. Not that I’m looking forward to cold and flu season, but I am excited to pop one of these guys the next time I feel that little tickle in my nose or throat. To use, add a few tablespoons of the cordial to hot water and drink as a tea OR add a splash of rum or rye as a twist on a Toddy.
There’s a slight autumn-like crispness in the mornings lately and it has me all wound up for the cooler weather ahead. The days are still very much summery, but with chanterelle mushrooms popping up at the farmer’s markets fall really is right around the corner. (And yes, I base my seasons on available veg.) Thinking of the cooler days had me peeking around for transitional coats, and of course, Shopbop came to the rescue with this lovely array of candy colors. I’ve been daydreaming of bopping around in this fuschia guy for a while.
I’ve always enjoyed the inspired styling in their lookbooks and I’m really liking how they worked with these two coats from above. I love the shades of blue and turquoise with the cobalt (and the pop of red with the shoes), and the unexpected leather and loafer style with the fuschia. Once the beauty of fall has long gone these are the coats that will make winter bearable, don’t you think?
I’ve been keeping an eye out for some throw pillows for my little daybed in the living room that’s cozily nestled in the bay window. It’s my favorite spot for sipping tea in the morning or bubbly in the evening. Since I’ve managed to seriously chickify the house I figured the easiest way to tone things down would be to replace my rainbow array of pillows with some inexpensive neutral colors.
These are neither of those things.
Amy Sia throw pillows | ~$110 with insert (converted from GBP)
These guys are my very favorite snack crackers. No joke, Andrew and I each go through a pack a week, and it’s because they’re that good and they go with everything. They’re also organic, non-GMO verified, and also gluten-free as they are seasoned with Tamari.
Some of my fave accompaniments are a sharp cheddar layered with cucumber, tomato, and cornichons; savory cottage cheese with olive oil and tomatoes; or this guy right here…creme fraiche with homemade salmon roe caviar. There are no rules though, so give them a go and see how your snack game improves.
Edward & Sons brown rice snaps | check your grocery store or buy online here.
I’ve got a sexy new bubbly for you, and this one is a Prosecco from the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.
The land was cultivated in the ’70’s by a group of like-minded hippies with a desire to farm traditionally and create a commune to raise livestock and produce cheese and traditional wines. The land itself has been biodynamic since 1985. (Pssst…in addition to being all-around better for you and the planet, organic and biodynamic wines mean no hangover!) In addition to the forward-thinking agriculture, the commune has also served to help rehabilitate recovering drug addicts. Socially responsible in very different ways.
So much of this wine has a Basque cider quality, and while ciders do serve a great purpose, this wine is much more refined: the beautiful tangerine color, the sweet floral aroma, the crisp apply taste. It’s sweet, but far from cloying or assaulting. Think of it more as a blossomy aroma and not so much sweet in taste. I much prefer dry wines and somehow this manages to be both.
COUPE OR FLUTE?
The beading of this wine is special and should be savored. The large surface area of the coupe allowed the bubbles to dissipate too quickly which is why we preferred the flute.
It hits its stride texturally after a few minutes, so take your time and savor. Cheers!
[Or pick up a bottle at Bar Ferd’nand]
I remember the first time I had these peppers at a little restaurant in Marin. I loved them so much I ordered a second round and didn’t share with anyone else at the table. I don’t know why but at the time it seemed so complex that I’d never be able to duplicate at home, I mean, where would one even find shishito peppers in the first place? Granted, it will require a trip to the farmer’s market, but even with that task these peppers are worth the errand and so easy to prepare.
Shishito peppers are a Japanese variety of pepper and only about one in ten are hot. They’re mostly fragrant with barely a hint of sweetness. We get ours from the Japanese farmer of Mair Farm-Taki at the University Farmer’s Market.
How to prepare:
Heat a large pan at medium-high heat. Once hot add a small amount of olive oil and tilt to coat the pan. Add the peppers in a single layer and shake the pan to toss and coat with the olive oil. Continue to toss and remove when the skins are blistered, this should only take a minute or two. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sea salt. I used a coarse black Japanese sea salt but Maldon flakes would also be great for seasoning and texture. Eat as a snack or get creative and add to a salad.
Note: I like the peppers nice and charred but after having them in a beautiful melon salad at Sitka and Spruce yesterday we realized we could cook them even less. I’ll be experimenting with our next batch this weekend, but really there’s not too much you can do to wrong.