Thursday, November 26, 2015

What's cooking for Thanksgiving & morning after updates...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

I'm so excited to be head chef for Thanksgiving this year. I usually venture to my sisters place on the east coast and LOVE being her sous chef and decor queen. I always bring my garnish kit, fresh sage, rosemary, thyme and bay laurel to prep the platters

and table and bring a little PNW to Palm Beach {Oh, how I'll miss going to all of my favorite haunts there}.

I am definitely in a sage state of mind when it comes to the table, I'm layering shades of green linens and dishes to create a serenely verdant scene for our afternoon feast. 

The centerpiece is in a white Limoges soup tureen, I followed my classic rules:

Fill the vessel with a mix of greens {I used plenty of sage, some boxwood and bay laurel},

then I plugged openings with creamy apricot colored roses, bronzy spider mums, and white freesia {I love that fresh, peppery scent}.

Morning after update: the bouquet and place settings clicked and created a serenely seasonal setting.

It's been so fun researching, contemplating and considering different recipes and techniques for the big feast, I found some new notions I'm excited to try.

One of the things I am most excited to try is this new {for me at least} technique of wrapping the Turkey in layers of butter, broth, herb soaked cheesecloth to create a moist bird with crispy golden skin. Here's a recipe from The Chew for Turkey wrapped in buttered cheesecloth that I'm going to use as a guideline.

This is what it looked like going in...

I let the bird air dry in the refrigerator overnight and then for 2 hours on the counter this morning, so the skin gets really dry, this is the key to crispy skin. As I do with my roast chicken, to ensure moist and tender meat I've brined the bird and I am going to cook it breast down so that all of the dark meat drippings go to the breast meat. I'll flip it just before taking it out to brown the skin on the breast side.

Morning after update: This method of cooking the turkey is a winner! We slid slices of butter and sage leaves under the skin on the breast side, then put the 15 pound turkey in, breast side down at 400 degrees for an hour. Then I reduced the heat to 350 degrees and basted it {over the cheesecloth} and let it cook for another 2 hours. After that I pulled off the cheesecloth and turned the bird over to crisp up the already golden brown breast for about 20 minutes. The meat was all so tender and moist a flavorful.

Also, Mr. Splendid made a wonderful turkey hash for breakfast the next morning, topped with poached eggs, it was the best way to start the day.

I'll be serving up the rich classics, but I really wanted to create some refreshing and lighter courses to complement them. Donna Hay showed me the way...

I'm going to make this refreshing Celery and Apple Salad {adding slices of Persian Cucumbers}, the layers of green in a sparkling crystal serving bowl will look perfect on my sagey shaded table.

Morning after update: This salad was a beautiful, delicious, refreshing addition to the menu. We added Cucumber slices and pomagrante jewels, this would be perfect for any holiday menu. 

I made the Pickled Carrots using these muli-colored carrots yesterday, and I'll be pulling them for a refreshing take on the traditional relish tray: pickled carrots, fresh radishes, nicoise olives and chunks of feta cheese.

Morning after update: The carrot were beautiful, but the pickling flavor wasn't that great. 

I love the complex flavors and textures of a classic cornbread stuffing with dried fruit. I'll be making it up as I go along, but basically I'll start sauteed onions, celery, carrots, and then adding in giblet broth and flavorful dried fruit, including prunes that have been soaking in Armagnac for days, dried sour cherries and dried apricots. 

I baked off these pumpkin~pecan pies last night, 

it took a lot of restraint to not dig into these for breakfast this morning.

Morning after update: I ate the leftovers this morning for breakfast, heated and topped with whipped cream, perfect with my morning latte!!

I am chilling a bottle of champagne because tonight I want to test out this saber... have you ever done this? You use the saber to whack off the top of the bottle... how dramatic....

Morning after update: We brought the chilled bottle outside, and after gently tapping the top of the bottle a few times {rotating the bottle} I whacked the top off {cork and all} and we enjoyed a festive glass of champagne together to start the feast. 

One of these sabers would make a fun gift for your champagne loving friends. 

Cheers dear readers, I hope you have had an absolutely splendid Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's cozy time in the city....

 So sorry to allude to the "C" word before Thanksgiving, but I just had to share the news about the splendid pajamas I found for the clan this year. I love getting matching p.j.'s for everyone and this year I've found my favorites of all time. I've washed and dried these Portugese cotton cozies 3 times now they are so soft, thick and fresh smelling, all ready for the crew to crawl into when they get home from college. 

I found them at the ever charming Vermont Country Store catalogue, the men folk got classic button front pj's, I bought the three piece set (with a tank) pour moi, and cozy night shirts for my girls. In addition to this Red Stewart plaid, they have a handsome Black Watch Plaid, that is quite dashing. 

If flannel isn't your thing, take a look at the fun striped long-johns for the family at Hanna Andersson.

The Company Store offers a whimsical selection of patterns for family p.j.'s , including this frosty snowflake scene. 

For a more personalized look, stop by Chasing Fireflies for unique jammies for the littles and the bigs

Any good thing to make us all merry. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

La Canzone del Mare and flying the nest again....

One last look at Italy today, with a visit to the fabulous Canzone del Mare, Capri {click on the link to see more of this idyllic place and to listen to the sound of the sea as you read}. This is an illustrious and historic club built into the rocks on the edge on the sea, your seat is waiting for you. 

I can't believe that as I am finishing up this chapter on cruising Italy last summer, I am also preparing to go back. It will be a completely different trip this time. Mr. Splendid and I are meeting up at the pied de terre in Eze to try to get some final projects completed. 

The whole "Year in Provence" theme extends down to the Cote d'Azur, it's a challenge to get things done over there, especially during the peak of the season. So we are going to go over for a little "work party" to try to get the ball{s} rolling {okay, maybe we'll have some fun too}.

We're also planning on heading up to Venice, and going out to Murano to try to find a few light fixture, sconces to be specific, for our new nest ... I hear that can be a tricky process, does anyone have any advice on where we should go??

After a day swimming on the pool or diving off this platform by the sea at La Canzone del Mare, one can retire to the bar for a drink, or even more luxuriously, to one of the Diva Suites that also over look the sea, these rooms are named after the legendary ladies who used to come to this elegant rock in the the golden years of this famed institution, Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Lauren, etc.

But enough about them, back to me now.... it feels so strange to be able to just flutter off this time of year, no Curriculum nights, no back-to-school social, no breakfasts to prepare.... it's sort of sad, for sure, but I guess I just need to stretch my wings out and accept my new free bird status.

Before leaving the continent I do get to have a quick fix with a stop in New Orleans to see how my little bayou baby is doing at Tulane.

Free Bird Sculpture Audubon Park, New Orleans
In addition to visiting some great restaurants with the fledgling and friends I'm really looking forward to exploring the Garden District and can't wait to share some of my discoveries with you. Everytime I visit I am more and more entranced by the history, culture and beauty of New Orleans. I'm hoping to become a little more nimble in composing posts when I'm on the fly now by using my ipad.

So please stay tuned for the best of what I'm finding out there as I settle into this new chapter in my life.

Arrivederci, Capri!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pumpkin love... #forever

There's nothing like a visit to a pumpkin patch to put you in the right spirit for Halloween. But what will you do with the bulbous beauties the morning after? Read on for some ideas on keeping your pumpkins current after Halloween.

Early October a sweet friend invited us out to her family farm, uniquely & conveniently situated in the center of Seattle. 

Her enterprising son has been working all year to create an extraordinary pumpkin patch, curating unusual seeds, caring for the seedlings and cultivating the land with some impressive results. 

He experimented with some fun growing techniques, like trying to grow pumpkins in pots (that didn't turn out so well), carving initials into the flesh and embedding horseshoes into the young pumpkins (#winner).

We walked the pasture, trying to find just the "right" one. The Cinderella pumpkins were so elegant and shapely and brightly colored.

But these monstrous orbs were pretty fetching as well.

When we made our choices he cut them from the vine for us 

and loaded them into the horse drawn cart to be taken to the car.

Okay, so maybe we got a little carried away, but can you blame us???

If you got a little carried away at the pumpkin patch and are wondering what to do with your pumpkins, why not stuff them with everything good and pop them in the oven?

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good ~ Splendid Market

or you could gild your gourds for a festive affect.

Gilded Gords ~ Splendid Market
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Or why not frost them for a cool Christmas display?

Frosted Pumpkins - Splendid Market
Happy Halloween dear readers, I hope your day is stuffed with everything good!