Compost and pre- gardening

It is a busy busy busy time. And so beautiful. The winter veil has lifted and spring shines with sun and heat-well the Pacific Northwest’s version in the high 50′s and 60′s at least. Not like what I grew up with in Florida! We have been busy in the garden and I’ve been ordering loads of merchandise for the bricks and mortar Chez Chloe. Boy is that fun. Like consumerism on crack, I’m sure I’ve used that line before. And now we are in CA for spring break. Party on garth (that one too). We will spend two days in San Francisco and then head to Santa Cruz and La Selva beach. Once back to Orcas we will be in full on garden mode so I’m making this one long post!

Flowering currant and forsythia

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The slugs are are making me nuts eating our daffodils

spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-7 One of my favorites- hellebores. I get more of these every year.

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 Just before we tilled last week. I’m trying to warm up the soil in a couple beds

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and keep the girls out of the sorrel- they love this tart, high vitamin C filled green

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Budding blueberriesspring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-9

Our garlic is doing well. My original seed came from Filaree Farm in Eastern WA. We’ve got a couple hardecks, rocambole and spanish roja, and two soft neck varieties that I like to braid, nootka rose and inchelium red. It is an easy crop that is planted the first couple weeks of Oct and harvested around the first week of July depending on the weather and amount of rainfall. We are still eating garlic from last year’s harvest but the garlic clove knows it’s seasons and they are starting to grow germ and wanting to reproduce. Still edible though.

spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-4 Garden view from the house side. Just in front of those plastic covered beds is soil that was cover cropped with an overwinter mix of clover, vetch, rye and field peas. It will all be tilled under shortly.spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-5

We’ve been working hard on our compost. These shots are from last year. We put the fresh kitchen scraps into this old olive oil barrel and layer with depleted soil often from the greenhouse beds, leaves, and now chicken manure/straw from the coop. We can periodically roll it around to mix it upcompost  wendyellenthomas.com

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Then we shovel it into a wood compost bin

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I found the design for this compost bin at vegetable gardening with Lorraine – It was about $175 in new cedar materials but aesthetically pleasing in the garden and it will last yearscompost  wendyellenthomas.com-8 We love how they stack and the top has a hinged lid but we find we aren’t putting new kitchen scraps in here. I might make some adjustments.compost  wendyellenthomas.com-9Otis doing what dogs do- blehcompost  wendyellenthomas.com-6 compost  wendyellenthomas.com-2

The girls waiting to dig their beaks into this yummy stuff

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See all that green in the back- we are seriously talking about fencing it off for sheep and maybe even a couple goats:) I’ve been stalking my neighbors with animals, I mean helping them milk their goats and it’s getting my livestock yearnings going again. Well you know I mean that in a good way.spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-14 This is our new asparagus bed. Nice and deep, layered with our home made compost, some old recycled soil from greenhouse beds that needed refreshing and finally some sacs of Whitney Farms mushroom compost and garden compost. It’s important to do the asparagus bed the right way from the start as it will last years and years if cared for properly.It is now filled to the top. We also planted four new apple trees. I’ve never been a good long range planner but I’ve decided to change that story. We put in a Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Spartan, and an Akane. We presently get so many apples but it’s time to start insuring for the future. Next year more plums.spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-13A couple shots of the girls- I can rarely get them all in one shot. We started with 15. Lost our 1 exotic chick the first night…Then lost 1 rooster who was left outside of the coop and was taken out by a raccoon. We sold 4 to our neighbor and then for the first time in 20 years, one was snatched by an eagle. And then there were 8spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-11 They will soon be fenced out of the garden. They do an amazing job of scratch tilling and fertilizing when the time is right (fall/winter) but that time is over. They will do the same to freshly sowed beds and pea starts and this makes me want to put them on the dinner table. So we need to get them secured on their side of the yard!spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-10

Our new babies- 5 Welsummers including 1 rooster and a little cuckoo maran. We lost one cuckoo the first night home. These guys lay the dark chocolate brown eggs… in about 4-5 months. spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-15And now a few egg dishes we’ve been enjoying with the abundance of eggs- fresh pea shoots, sorrel, chives and fresh goat cheese

farm eggsFrittata with sorrel, spinach, capers, and a little fresh goat cheese… it’s a staple I tell you
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How about a little chives, sorrel and spinach with tomatoes and avocado:) This also had a couple green garlic leaves diced and tossed in.IMG_4955 Ok- here’s a little something different. A couple fried eggs with bacon, polenta croutons and fried avocado IMG_4911 And last just a simple dish with wilted spinach, bacon and fried eggsIMG_4891Hope your spring is off to a good start!

sticky orange and almond cakes {gf}

These little orange and almond sticky cakes and me go back.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comWay back. Back to my time in Paris working in and out of a kitchen that I think two people could maybe stand in… if one of those people was a child at least. I’m going to have to dig out some pics of that adorable little kitchen that served me and my two kids well for two years- and quite a few others for whom I catered.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comIn real time it was 2004. Only ten years ago. But in terms of life chapters it could have been decades for some. I have the capacity to pick up and go and completely change my life and its circumstances. This can be a blessing and a curse and all in between. And I’m sure my kids wouldn’t disagree. I will say our time in France had a profound impact on broadening our cultural awareness, language skills, and we were flung far from our comfort zones. Spending nine months in a cooking school in an “anglo” class at Ferrandi and three months working in a restaurant gave me a foundation to begin building my cooking skills and the passion to bring cooking and merchandising together. I spent hours walking the streets of Paris, taking notes and creating Chez Chloe first in my head and on paper, then opened the original retail store and cafe in 2006. The cafe, though popular, lasted only two seasons. Not cut out for the stress of food service, I opted to keep going with only the retail. I suspect you might here more of this story as time goes on.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comBut for now – let’s get on with these sticky cakes!

  • 2 whole oranges
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 250g (8oz) sugar
  • 250g (8oz) almond powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

This is such a simple recipe. It was gluten free before there was ‘gluten free’. I love this orange cake because it is always a no fail recipe, it taste good and travels well. The original recipe comes from a DK book, Canapés, published in 1999 in the UK. I think I picked up this version from the old Librarie Gourmande when it was small and still located in the 6th arrondissement. Published in 2007,  Hors d’Ouervres, the US version is just as good and I always highly recommend it.

In the past, I have topped them with a little greek yogurt or a yogurt/ whipped cream blend. And they are darling with a garnish of pomegranate seeds as is suggested in the book. But for this round, simple sifted powdered sugar was my desire.

{print sticky orange and almond cakes}

You start with boiling 2 oranges till completely cooked- then set them aside to cool. This is the only reason you need to think ahead as they take about 90 minutes to cook and then another 20 minutes to cool.

boiled oranges @wendyellenthomas.comThen split them up and take out the pips

orangesPop them in the cuisinart. Or maybe a blender but honestly I’ve never tried it.

Almond Orange Cake GF-3And chew those puppies up.

Almond Orange Cake GF-4Throw in 6 eggs, 8oz of sugar, 8oz of almond meal and 1 tsp baking soda. That’s it.

Almond Orange Cake GF-5I line my 9×13 glass baking dish with parchment paper

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and here is how the thin poured batter looks

Almond Orange Cake GF-7Bake at 350 for about 40-45 minutes. It should be firm to the touch. Pull it out and as soon as you can, gently remove the cake from the baking dish and cool on a rack (with parchment). When cooled you can pull off the paper and cut.I use to follow the book’s suggestion of a jelly roll pan so they would be a little thinner. And I’d use a 1″ round biscuit cutter to turn them into bite size pieces with piped topping and a little pretty somethin somethin.

For this batch – I cut the edges off (and ate them), I like to think for a clean edge but maybe it’s just so I could get my paws on some without actually eating the ‘good’ parts.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

After the edges are off, I cut it into little individual square cakes.

I brought these to the concert for the band members of Ollie’s Seattle Tentet, who had their debut concert on Orcas Island a couple weeks ago:)

Almond Orange Cake GF-9

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So there you have it friends. Try it you’ll like it. Makes for a nice brunch menu item as well.

Have a great weekend!

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs

So this is far from Irish… but I’m not so on top of the calendar:)
Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-8Spring is so near I can practically touch it. The sun and cold do their dance like a strip tease that excites and taunts. You don’t know what’s coming next. I picked delicate new spinach and arugula leaves from plants in the greenhouse creating a bed for my baked salmon lunch today. This first minimal picking sparked a little excitement for the coming growing season. What I realize too, is I don’t mind the winter break and it almost takes a strong nudge to get me in the growing mood. Fresh garden food does not arrive without somebody’s hard work. My first little seeds, planted last weekend will become the seedlings for the first of spring planting. Brassica’s, lettuces, peas… the tomatoes and peppers will grow longer in the glass house.

What we relied on this winter besides store bought veggies was our fermented foods.

Kimchi @wendyellenthomas.com

The red sauerkraut was made first with our own Red Mammoth cabbages last fall but I continued to make it with organic cabbage from the market. I played with many napas, bok choy, radishes and conical cabbages for the kimchi and can’t wait to try my new Korean coarse chili powder. I’ll try some napa in the garden this year but it’s a little more finicky than the standard head of cabbage.

This recipe was inspired by my weekend brunch in New York City at The Dutch.

Start with the bacon – about 3-4 slices of Hempler’s thick cut uncured bacon is a nice way to go. Cut into small pieces and fry up.

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggsThen add about 2 cups of rice- either freshly made or even better, leftovers.

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I had a little pineapple hanging around from juicing and thought why not? I diced this and added it to the bacon and rice.Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-6Throw in about a cup of kimchi – homemade or one of the lovely store bought varieties like one from Seattle’s Firefly Kitchens. Mine below got a little pink from adding red radishes. Kind of fun huh?

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-3Give it all a good toss and that part is done.I scooted the kimchi rice to the side of the frying pan and heated a little red cabbage for some color.

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-5I fried up some of our farm eggs…

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-7And what I’m also loving? Fried avocado. Not new to some but new to me. I had this recently at Irving Street Kitchen in Portland with scrambled egg nachos. A little crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, with the heat bringing out the sweetness of the avocado. I garnished our kimchi fried rice and egg with fried avocado and a little fresh cilantro.

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-11This was a Sunday meal for me and my sweetie.

Kimchi bacon fried rice @wendyellenthomas.comAnd in the real world it looked like this

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-12Just to pull it all together:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 3-4 strips of bacon cut into pieces
  • half a slice of pineapple cubed
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • fried egg
  • optional garnish of warmed red cabbage, fried avocado,fresh cilantro, pepper flakes

cold brewed coffee with homemade vanilla almond milk

As much as we are enjoying our latest indulgence of cold brewed coffee and vanilla almond milk now… I can only imagine making this by the gallons in summer.Coffee cold pressed-25It started with ummmm, let’s see, maybe an article from one of my magazines and/or just a few blog post readings such as Food 52 and The Kitchn. These are for iced coffee. I’m saving the ice for summer and just having it cold.

Cold pressed coffee

A little fact about me- I am a magazine JUNKIE and have subscriptions to: Hobby Farm, Bee Culture, Culture Magazine (cheese), Yoga Journal (I’ve recently converted), Women’s Health, Oprah, MS Living, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Country Living, Bon Appetit,and I’m down to the last of my German Food and Travel. The decor ones are short lived as they are usually the add for $5 special. I have stacks of saved French,UK,Australian and German issues. They are all interesting and I love to peruse them now and again.

Print recipe: {cold brewed coffee and vanilla almond milk}

Cold brewed coffee is quite a simple process of soaking medium ground coffee beans overnight for 12-15 hours

Coffee cold pressed-2You’ll find different ratios for coffee to water but my ratio has been 1 cup ground coffee for about 4 cups of water. I think you just need to play with it a little. I switch it up between our local french roasted coffee from Local Goods (higher oil content) or Herkimer drip blend (a drier bean) from Seattle. And from here- some will used it as a concentrate with the original four cups giving 6-8 cups of coffee. I find I like my ratio virtually straight up. I’ll add up to a 1/2 cup of the vanilla almond milk to 8-12oz cold coffee.Coffee cold pressed-3

AND with the idea of cold pressed coffee being less acidic and thus better for a little elbow joint pain I’ve been trying to keep at bay, we’ve been drinking this pretty regularly now. Check out this informative NYTimes article on cold brewing coffee as well as tea where they will also mention less caffeine and a smoother flavor.

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I use a plain old strainer and the butter muslin I bought from New England Cheese Supply for making chèvre. Or you can find something similar on Amazon.

Coffee cold pressed-6Strain brewed coffee
Coffee cold pressed-5And keep in a sealed container in the fridge. I’m making enough for a couple days about every 2-3 days. I’ve read you can keep cold brewed coffee up to a week but in my opinion the flavor starts turning a little bitter.Coffee cold pressed-8The vanilla almond milk also starts the night before with one cup organic almonds soaking in cold, preferably filtered water for 12 hours. I have also read that a minimum of 2-4 hours can suffice.

Vanilla almond milk homemadeStrain out the soaking water Vanilla almond milk homemade-3Place soaked almonds in a blender with 2-3 cups of water. Now I know that is an annoyingly large variable with the water. I’ve seen anywhere from 2-3.5 cups of water used. The first batch I did with 2 cups water and it was lovely and rich. The second batch with 3 cups water, and it was a little thin at first but came together ok the second day… I’ve settled on 2.5 cups for 1 cup almonds.

I used a whole vanilla bean the first batch then moved to 1 teaspoon of Beanilla’s 2 fold madagascar extract.

Applesauce cake-9I add 2 T coconut sugar for sweetener. This you can also adjust to taste. Add a wee pinch of salt.

Vanilla almond milk homemade-6

Puree this for 2-3 minutes till almonds are completely pulverized. Then pull out the butter muslin once more to strain the nut matter from the liquid.
Vanilla almond milk homemade-8Next job is re-cycling the almond refuse. We could pretend it’s ice cream.

Vanilla almond milk homemade-11

The first batch I also used 2 cups of almonds and it was too much to use in just a couple days. Ollie still uses milk on his Meusli… – print recipe here- yes- the link is spelled wrong. I NEVER can remember the u comes first.. even after three years in Germany!

Vanilla almond milk homemade-10

Pouring and shooting

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One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the aerolatte frother- for a quick foam and sometimes even to whip one or two tablespoons of cream.

cold pressed coffee wendyellenthomas.comIt’s really not a lot of work once you get in the rythym every 2-3 days or 4 if you want to stretch it out. I’ve tried heating it up but I just don’t think it’s as yummy. I’ll still have a hot latte in town now and again but use this recipe (for now at least) for the daily consumption. Again, I flavor about 8-12oz of cold brewed coffee with 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 tsp maple syrup and a dash more vanilla.

Coffee cold pressed-16

Here’s to a smooth, non dairy, low acid morning…or afternoon:)

new york city 2/14 last day

The final installment of new york city Feb 2014. I’m literally regurgitating (i mean that in a good way) the final long and productive day of tromping ten hours from mid town to Brooklyn and back with a few trains in the middle. You saw this one before- the day started with a little snow.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-3 Before I forget- Your red gloves, Stella, I did not lose. They had a full time job during their visit to New York City. So glad I saw you on the ferry. Thank you for taking them straight off your hands to loan to me for the week!

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Protecting those little paws

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Great admiration for real life in the city- notice the cane

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And the heroes of days like this one. You take for granted the hard work that precedes the ability to step one foot in front of the other with safety and ease.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-7Miss high heals, refusing to submit to weather conditions should be passing on some high fives and hot drinks to the guys in yellow.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-5Only a couple hours at the show to wrap things up that morning and then it was off to Brooklyn to visit my son’s friend who manages the baked goods production for Pushcart Coffee. The 150 year old Pfizer building at 630 Flushing in Brooklyn… a long time ago.

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-3And a great article from Edible Brooklyn about this artisanal food production epicenter.
New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-5 Shots from what used to beNew York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-4

And a wonderful snapshot of history from NY curbed-

…”When Pfizer closed down its Brooklyn headquarters in 2008 after more than 150 years of pharmaceutical manufacturing, the company left behind a deserted behemoth: 660,000 square feet of space, filled with lab equipment, computers and furniture. Acumen Capital Partners purchased the shuttered building in 2011 and have slowly brought it back to life”.

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-7The rented space here produces the goods for three Pushcart Coffee locations in lower Manhatten.
New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-2 A smattering of the many producersNYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-22Because the building itself is ironically in an area void of food options outside its own walls, the vendors have started offering meal options from within.
NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-20 This pasta is on my list to bring to Chez Chloe.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-19 I bought five different bars of this Madecasse chocolate grown and produced in Africa- 4x the impact of Fair Trade. Each subsequent flavor grew on me. It’s not as smooth to me as the Belgium or French chocolate- these bars were a little more earthy and strong. I’m going to test further as I think variety is key. And I like it.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-18This young entrepreneur hit the raw and vegan scene at an ideal time in 2003 . She has worked long and hard to develop her brand, One Lucky Duck. Despite not being a total fit for Chez Chloe, I’m interested. I love to dabble in raw at home and I own her cookbook already.
NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-17 People’s pops wrap up over winter and seem to have their goods stored in the hall till the temperatures rise.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-16 New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-6Thanks Maggie for a great tour!

Are you getting tired? I hopped on the train for just 2 stops and another 20+minute walk to the ever-hip Williamsburg.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-21I did have to stop and rest and have a treat. By the end of the week I was far from my juicing days…and that was so fine.

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-10This great little shop, Bedford Cheese, was packed with goodies I could easily have on my shelves.
New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-8Now it was the L train back to Manhatten. I thought how fun it would be to stay in Williamsburg sometime and it was so easy to get back downtown. But my son was like you should try it during rush hour when you have to wait three trains and that the L is know for breaking down.

Here’s real life on the subway- only thing I’m reading is my map.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-12This short break readied me for my round about walking trek to Dean and Deluca. I always go there for a little R&D. Not having the subway totally down (even after 5 days) I actually walked over 30 minutes to soho in what would have been a 5 min train. oops.

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-13 Camera and notepad in close reach. Weary feet put on hold like a hungry, whining (with reason) child.New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-12 The simple merchandising always keeps the focus on the food.New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-11Oh… and we are not done. Heading back uptown because I also HAVE to make at least one visit to abc home.

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-19who have very cool displays like this

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-22and are opening their own marketplace down in the basement with food and kitchenwares

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-21it is a work in progress
New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-20and since Eataly now really is right there- how can i not go in for a snack. 7.30pm on a Thursday night was a good time to go without the lunch crowds.

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-16must take a night shot of the Flat Iron building with the moon shining downNew York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-14ohhh- Eric Kayser… can’t pass it up- it’s my last day afterall

New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-17Pick up a demi baguette for my parma hamNew York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-18And now after walking another fifteen blocks back to the hotel, because who can get a taxi at 8pm, I eat my snack, pack and get ready to head out to meet my son for dinner AT 9.30pm! I can do city life because I basically stay on west coast time.
New York City Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 3-23

Dinner at cool mediterranean establishment Ilili- I loved the Fattoush salad with sumac vinaigrette and toasted pita. That will be on my list to re-create.

A lovely walk home, a big hug, thank you and goodnight to my son. Back in the room I watched Jay Leno’s last night on air. The day was done.

 

new york 2/14 second part

My first morning of NOT sleeping in and having brunch at 1pm meant getting myself up and out at 7.45am in this. I had the challenging opportunity to stay calm and carry on… but maybe not the way I had planned. Life’s like that right?NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2

And then here I am two weeks later…trying to find a chunk of time to sort through photos. A general, oft said statement and a valid dilemma in the day and age of digital photography. Not only sorting the bigger trips and excursions but the daily snapshots that are sometimes almost too easy to capture. My poor, only eighteen month old computer shouts daily “start up disk almost full” or when its pants are really in a wedgy “start up disk full”… and I have to force quit and clean out a corner.

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The week in New York provided daily feasts for my eyes, tastebuds and heart. Inspired by all the new products, merchandise and ideas within the trade show, in my go to shops and on the street, food every night that left me in awe, and quality time with my son sealed the deal.

I generally spent a few hours at the show each day. I imagined more but reality declined. A couple of talks on social media and blogging were quite useful. But the majority of time, I perused and visited my vendors for new merchandise. Couleur Nature for linens always provides. I’m looking for more solids with accents this year.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com-27For spring, I’ll look forward to these

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com-26Cecile at the French Farm, an importer, may have been one of the first vendors I connected with in 2006 and has held a strong presence at Chez Chloe ever since. They have such a wonderful range of products and have continued to grow through the years, recession and all. L’Epicurean’s shallots confit is wildy popular and delicious and I’ll look forward to picking up the fig and olive confit. I remember seeing L’epicurean on the shelves when we lived in Paris in 2003. I’m happy to report their repertoire has expanded greatly and the quality has not diminished.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-14 These cheese confitures are always a win win NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-13 I love the classic ivory and stainless steel Laguiole knives but will add a dash of color for the cheese knives or serving utensils.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-12 Fallot mustards might make their way to Chez Chloe shelves once again. La Favorita in the right corner makes an excellent basil pesto and artichoke garlic cream.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-11

These never disappoint

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Andresey jams and Bernard Michaud honeys. Citrus, lavendar and wildflower.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-10

Izola was new to me this year being outside of the food or table realm. But being in a smaller space, I’ve strayed a little from only selling things related to food. I loved selling their beautiful green glassed, natural candles this year. The Heirloom was a delicious, popular summer scent. I look forward to carrying the new scents of Green Moss and Elderflower.

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I’ll be ordering these fun shot glasses.NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com-29

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com-28A company I’ve admired from afar, John Derrian. Beautiful work. I’m debating how I can fit this in Chez Chloe. He works cleverly with decoupage and design and also has an eclectic shop on the lower east side filled to the brim with his serving pieces, art, books, tablewares and all sorts of unusual items. These paperweights are just a small version of what he creates.

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This wall of ribbon has little shop value for me but I had to add it in because it’s just so fun.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-9Same with the bed linen displays. I’m indulging my senses and the fantasy that I’d have a housekeeper who actually made the bed look like that everyday… or pretending like I’d have the patience to myself.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-3I also spent a couple hours in the personal body care aisles dreaming of a full on web shop just so I could buy and sell so many of the lovely products I tested and liked. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by clean, all natural, salts, creams and age defying jars and bottles. All of course with packaging to match.

One afternoon took me to Chelsea Market on 14th. Always a lot of fun… This red fire hose asked to have its picture taken.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-15I spend the most time in Chelsea Market Basket, who also sell wholesale and where I do buy our own actual gift baskets and other products. They have an astounding amount of specialty foods from locals in Brooklyn and all over the UK and Europe tucked into every damn corner and inch of that store. Incredible.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-17I take so many notes when I’m in New York City. My brain is already bulging with the information I’ve been sifting through and I not even close to finished. Here’s one of many interesting producers, Hu Kitchen

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-16I’ll end this post with one of our dinners at Colicchlo and Sons. Tom Colicchio debuted as a cook in many prominent NYC restaurants but I believed launched his career with the opening of Gramercy Tavern in 1994 with Danny Meyer. He has more than one venue from which to choose.

Starting with the steak tartare, always a favorite for me- it was fresh and you can check out chef de cuisine, Chris Lavey’s recipe video here. Only traditional ingredient missing in his recipe is a raw egg yolk- maybe he’s too chicken. Hahahahaha. ahem…to continue.. This photo does not do justice.

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-2-2

And for my main, the seared tuna. I was feeling raw that night:) Reminds me to get some radish seed started so I can garnish with radish sprouts like this at home!

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com post 2-3-2********

new york 2/14… first part

I left Seatac airport over two hours late last Friday, due to the arrival plane’s mechanical difficulties. Under the notion I’d be spending the night in Chicago, IL left me a) disappointed to think I wouldn’t even have time to make it downtown for a look around and b) that I truly wished to have a dash more enthusiasm for the Super Bowl in which case I could have at least been able to partake in the mass craze of blue and green jerseys and paraphernalia. Go Seahawks… and we all now know they did.

Flying out of Seattle and over the mountains…

NYC Feb 2014 wendyellenthomas.com

Incredible patterns we never consider when we are within them. Such a different perspective.

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juicing… meat eaters fear not!

Juicing 1-2014-19I don’t know why I say that except that many of the meat eaters just might turn their heads the other way. Myself included. It’s not an either/or. I love meat. And I’ve been absolutely content for a couple weeks to do without it. With the door closing on the holiday over-indulgence, I was more than ready to regain a little control over my eating. I’ve loved juicing over the years but have never honestly gone more than one day without solid food.

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savory galette: ham, chèvre, leeks

Savory Galette-wendyellenthomas.com-17We rang in a quiet but lovely New Year’s Eve this year here on Orcas Island. A little food and drink at our local favorite wine and tapas bar, The Barnacle, in Eastsound and then a drive past a couple options of music and dance. Pausing near the front entrance, with the music escaping and small groups of people laughing, milling in, out and about, filled our social card for the night. A movie and a split of champagne would fulfill our needs.

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spiced applesauce cake

applesauce cakeSo you might be thinking this is a little more fall like and it is similar to the apple quince crumb cake but to me it’s more of a grab and go slice. I’d eat this after a workout.  And it is a great little cake for January when you want to feel like you are eating on the lighter side. When you still want something sweet but not like cranberry cheesecake or chocolate mousse sweet. This easy to make and easy to eat cake can double as a breakfast cake or afternoon tea cake. OR if you want, slap a little cinnamon cream cheese or buttercream frosting on it, or spiced caramel sauce or how about Fat Toad’s cinnamon caramel sauce… and call it dessert. You can find this amazing goat caramel sauce at Chez Chloe but to buy now visit Fat Toad :)

Fat Toad cinnamon caramel sauce

This works:

Applesauce cake-19

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