After a few years of trying to add a few key pieces to my jewelry collection, I’ve finally realized that nothing will ever be as good as the pieces I stole from my mom, who had inherited them from my grandmother and great-grandmother. They just don’t make them like they used to, and even with a few missing beads and links they are my very favorite pieces. I suppose my message here is to raid mom’s jewelry box if the mass-produced modern guys just aren’t doin’ it for you.
Filed under: Chocolate, Food, My favorite things, Organic, Recipes, The Finer Things
It seems that everyone is talking about how much they love fall lately. The changing leaves really are lovely, and the crisp, gloomy weather is a nice change of pace from the summer heat, but I’ve always loved the arrival of fall because that’s the time when I prepare to hibernate. And no hibernation would be complete without the addition of a few pounds around the old midsection and a well stocked pantry because regular trips to the farmer’s market and grocery store just ain’t happening.
Here are some of my very favorite pantry staples:
1 Arvum finishing vinegar This family of vinegars are perfect finishing vinegars for soups and salads. Throughout the autumn and winter drizzle a little bit over a kale salad or a nice bean soup to add a little zip.
3 Askinosie chocolate hazelnut spread Oh my god, I love this stuff. Askinosie’s chocolate hazelnut spread is my favorite for sweet tooth cravings and snacks. No weird ingredients and no cheap chocolate here, just Hazelnuts from Lynden, Washington and the same cocoa powder and nibs used in their bars. They’re the only chocolate maker in the US making this from scratch! I like it on toast or in Andrew’s pastry dough as a pop-tart.
4 Cento San Marzano tomatoes San Marzano tomatoes are the shit, but you have to make sure what you’re buying has been certified. There are (expesive!) brands stateside that are not authentic, and therefore not nearly as good or as sweet. Our favorite Cento brand is grown in the ashes of Mount Visuvius where the rich soil makes for sweet tomatoes. Such a bright spot in the middle of a cold winter we use these for pasta sauce and soups. Though the organic is hard to find, the conventional is easily found at Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores.
5 Red Boat fish sauce Artisan fish sauce, finally! Made using a 200-year old process free of chemicals or added water this fish sauce really is wonderful. Having grown up on fish sauces there really is something about the clean flavors and finish of Red Boat. It’s not cloying or sharp, so whatever you’re using it in is that much better. Perfect for a nice bowl of Jok.
6 Olo’s Chipotle paste Chipotle paste in a tube is genius. My friend Tessa created this amazing paste and it’s one of my very favorite pantry staples. We use it to spice up condiments (like ketchup or sour cream), or in soups for a bit of smoky spice. Tessa does this as a hobby in addition to work and two kids, and somehow that makes this even better. Give it a go and you’ll absolutely love it.
7 Bob’s Red Mill organic steel cut oats Love Bob. Love steel cut oats. These award-winning organic guys are great for oatmeal with a little texture. I like mine with butter, milk, brown sugar, and almonds.
8 Matiz Espana sardines and pulpo These are probably our most essential pantry items because they’re so easily converted into great snacks or meals. Both the sardines and octopus are easily dressed into salads and served on toast or crackers. Also, sardines have more omega-3′s and fewer toxins since they’re lower on the food chain.
9 Aptera olive oil This olive oil from the island of Crete is not only one of the best olive oils in our collection, but the pricepoint is crazy affordable. It is also naturally organic as it is illegal to spray pesticides on the island. We use this as our everyday oil for cooking, but it’s still good enough to use in salads and finishing too.
10 Arroyabe Italian tuna in olive oil Italian tuna packed in olive oil, the best tuna ever. Like the sardines and octopus we love this guy for emergency snacks and sammies.
11 Rancho Gordo heirloom beans The heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo are so badass. Have you ever seen such beautiful beans? We use any variety of their beans for soups, chilis, and stews.
12 Wakame seaweed Andrew’s lamb seaweed soup is one of our favorites, so we have wakame seaweed by the pound in our pantry. Aside from soup we like it as a cold salad and we use the water for spa-like purposes.
13 Raw organic almonds Also on-hand by the pound in the pantry, we use these raw almonds for almond milk for smoothies and almond cake for sweet cravings. Briden WIlson Farms has beautiful almonds so we get our almonds directly from them. Their fall harvest is available now.
14 Organic saltine crackers Sometimes you just need a saltine. My favorite is with an application of almond butter and jam, but then there’s also the times we use these as a crust for fried chicken thighs.
Filed under: Art and Design, Food, My favorite things, Restaurants, Seattle
It’s hard to believe that as much as I’ve shared snapshots of pieces of meals at my very favorite restaurant(s) that I’ve never actually dedicated one piece to explain my deep and resounding love for the beautiful spaces and food that come from Matt Dillon’s Sitka and Spruce, The Corson Building, Bar Sajor, and now The London Plane, which is the first installment of a bigger collaboration between Matt and Katherine Anderson of Marigold & Mint. It’s a beautiful spot, the kind you head to for a laid back meal with a good book and a glass or three of wine. Then you end up leaving with a new cookbook, fresh flowers, and two bottles of bubbly.
It seems that not a day goes by that we’re not asked for our favorite Seattle restaurants; me down at the restaurant with mostly tourists and business travelers, and Andrew because of his work and because his taste and eye for food is remarkable. We have the same answers time and time again, but now people have started to qualify the question with “ok, but besides a Matt Dillon restaurant.” The problem is that his spaces take up our top five and there’s no getting around it.
In this perverse time of misguided food worship and foodie culture there are only a small number of places that serve artful food. (I had my worst meal of the year last week at one of the city’s biggest restaurant empires. No surprise there, but the hype around it was ridiculous.) I can’t see food as a trend, or as “fashionable,” I see the culture of food as the story of an ingredient, the elegance of a thoughtful composition, an experience in flavor and taste.
Fundamentally Matt’s food is everything I enjoy about the culture of food: simple and classic, yet concepts that are complex and artful. Experiencing food through his lens and connection with the Pacific Northwest (and its seasons), and now this gorgeous new space with Katherine, is truly one of my favorite pieces of Seattle. (And, oh, the things I would do for one of those chairs.)
The London Plane | 322 Occidental Ave. S | Seattle, WA 98104 | 206.624.1374
(Right across from Bar Sajor)
Lazy canoe rides, Red Ryder target practice, beach day, Amish spelt bread, butterflies, and flowers. Country living feels gooood!
It’s now back to reality after our second annual summer holiday with Andrew’s family in Michigan. If only summer camp could last forever.
I found a great new honey to add to our collection and this one’s really cool. The Urban Bee Co. is a Seattle-based group that cultivates healthy environments for bees and collects honey from small neighborhood apiaries, urban farms, and some backyard hives too. This guy I got is from my ‘hood, right down the way on the Alleycat Acres farm on MLK and Columbia where they have hops, chickens, harvest parties, and workshops. Each hive is free from chemicals, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, and plastic. The honey is harvested in small batches, never heated or filtered, bottled by hand, and delivered by bike. Hyper-local!
There are also great resources available through Urban Bee Co. and their partnership with my other neighbor Stone Soup Gardens. One of the most exciting offerings is help to set up a permaculture bee garden (wish we knew about this before we did all the research on our own). Helping our bees and building community. Great stuff. Makes my heart swell with happiness.
I’m not complaining outright but I am pretty damn hot and sticky. Since there’s just no way I’m braving the mobs of Seattleites flocking to whatever shorefront they can find; I have decided, instead, to hide out in my skivvies (hence the little bralette) and douse myself with my very favorite Evian atomizer. If you haven’t experienced the super-fine mist from one of these I can assure you that it alone is worth the price. More than that though your skin will be happy and you will be nice and cool.
Another staple for us has been Hibiscus iced tea: nice and tangy and cooling but also hydrating and a powerful antioxidant. Very good for cleaning the blood and liver, so in a way it’s like turning the sauna-like weather into a spa experience. (Add a little honey for some sweetness.) And finally, we’ve decided to skip the crappy emergency fan and go for a super-sturdy vintage refurb. There’s a bunch on Etsy, but there’s also some vintage-inspired newbies like the guy above.
Here’s hoping you’re staying nice and cool, especially to all my friends braving triple digit temperatures. (Stay hydrated!)
Brother Thani and Mari were up here visiting last week and once again they introduced me to a really cool new game. This one’s called ANOMIA. (The previous ones are here.) A quick-thinking, brain-building, word association game that is so much fun you’ll be laughing at each other as much as you’ll be flexing the old noggin.
How it works: Each card has a symbol and a category. Each player takes turns flipping a card from the deck. Once two players have cards with a matching symbol the first person to shout out an answer to the category on their opponents card wins the card. Add in the Wild Cards that pair unexpected symbols and it’s even more challenging. Then consider two or more opponents and realize all the symbols and categories you have to keep track of and it’s insane! I pretty much sucked so I’m ordering a set for us now so that I can become a more formidable opponent. Playing with Andrew and his photographic memory will be a steep learning curve though.
Buy it here for $17.99
Get the party edition with extra decks here for $24