Thursday, December 5, 2013
Kirk, our friend from college and husband to Lauren of Sweet Root Village, taught everyone about vodka infusions and how to make my new favorite drink: The Lion's Tail. This drink mixes allspice-infused rum, lime juice and bourbon...and it tastes like Christmas and everything yummy and wintry in a cup. I'll share the recipe next week!
I think I say it every time, but my absolute favorite part of these gatherings is the people. The people who partner with me to make the workshops happen. The people who gather from various places in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, to learn together. The people who help set the tables when they arrive a few minutes early. The people who hold my little Zoe so I can greet guests. The people who put up with a chilly barn for the sake of having a good time and learning. The people who linger after the event is over and help clear tables and sweep the floor. The people with whom I've become friends. I host these workshops because of you all, so thank you! You've made it a blessing!
Some of the people who partnered with me this time around:
Lauren and Rachel from Sweet Root Village. They are basically awesome. They take the pictures. They set up flowers and greenery. They do everything and anything as needed and I'm grateful for their friendship!
Jen Olmstead from Tonic Site Shop...the graphic designer! For November, she designed the labels for our infused creations and a takeaway Lion's Tail recipe card. Jen worked with Korie from The Weekend Type, who hand lettered and drew the beautiful herb illustrations.
Sarah from Gordy's Pickle Jar drove out from DC, and we got to eat lots and lots of delicious pickles, and chill with Sarah. Can't wait to do it again next week!
Rebecca and Blake Edwards, who graciously opened up their home and barn for our use...
Melinda from Knead and Know, who baked the best bread I've ever had. And had it delivered immediately before the workshop. Warm. It was heavenly.
And Maggie from Inks + Thread sent me the natural hand-dyed napkins that adorned the table top. Ahh, such perfection in a napkin.
In just 8 days, I'll be teaming up with a new (and some old) group of partners (seriously, such a generous group of folks) to host what's going to be my favorite workshop of the year. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year! I really hope to see you there! We'll be learning about foraging for greenery, making wreaths and garlands from Sweet Root Village. I'll teach a few decor ideas, too. We'll eat a warm, wintry lunch. All in the fabulous Loft at 600 F in DC. You can read a bit more about next week's #kinfolkworkshop (and purchase tickets) here: www.kinfolk.com/events/.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I've never been much of a baker...I enjoy making savory dishes (soup, salad, beans, rice, some meat here and there) for dinner, but cakes, pies, scones, breads...not my thing. I guess I've always considered it much too precise for my kitchen habits. Our studio apartment only had a two-burner stove (with no oven), which left me to perfect my two-pot dinners. Now that we've moved and have a glorious oven, I've been experimenting with baking. I certainly do not invent my own recipes (what is the difference between baking soda and powder?)...I'll leave that to the professionals. Like Beth and Hannah.
Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the fruits of their labor and use these tried and true recipes. This pumpkin bundt cake it heavenly. Perfectly moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. Not very sweet (my kind of cake) but full of spicy tastiness.
This recipe comes just in time for your Thanksgiving dinner (that is, if you're anything like me and tend to leave the menu planning till the last day).
Moist Pumpkin Bundt Cake
from Taste of Home
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup melted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves; add to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.
2. Transfer to a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 12-16 servings.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
This first month, I've been focusing on decorating and filling the downstairs, and trying to make it hospitable. Our living room is actually the smallest room in our house (except for Zoe's room) and is only 9 x 13! We got the couch of my dreams and I'm working on smaller pieces and layers now. I've never actually decorated or filled an entire home before. So this decorate-a-whole-house thing is new! I'm pleased with the first "layer" in the living room, but already know I want to add textures and depth. And wall art. I'm horrible at committing when it comes to hanging art on the walls. I have a difficult time choosing what to hang, and then there's the where to hang it, and making the actual holes. In the wall. And apparently you're supposed to only put nails in studs? So yeah, we'll see when I get around to hanging things on the wall.
For the living room, I'm focusing on lots of natural colors and tones, and then adding unique finds from auctions, thrifts stores, or that have been passed down through the family. Two favorite textures are my vintage Moroccan blanket (a gift from my mother-in-law) and this blanket sent to me by Uncommon Goods. The Kantha Blanket is handmade from vintage saris by artisans working under fair trade practices in India. When it arrived, I was blown away. It's soft, lightweight, and contains some of the most interesting fabrics! I love the way the blanket looks on the couch, and I'm trying to decide which side I want to display. I'm eying some other finds from Uncommon Goods gifts for women...this reclaimed wood stand would look great on my counter (especially if we get new butcher block countertops!). I also wouldn't mind hanging this map in the Zoe's room!
So friends, any advice as I work towards making our home hospitable, cozy, and full of memories? I'd love to hear!
This post is a collaboration with Uncommon Goods, but words and opinions are my own.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Sweet Root Village. For dinner, we gathered in the backyard of Patricia and Karl's farmhouse. This location was perfect, with chickens picking and pecking off in the distance, dogs lounging under our feet (hoping to snatch a crumb or two), a litter of piglets nearby in the barn, perfectly grilled pasture raised pork (thanks, Karl!), and an assortment of pickled and preserved treats alongside our supper.
Being able to set the dinner table with well-made products and different textures is one of my favorite elements of hosting a gathering. This time, I layered my vintage brown flowered plates with a brown paper package tied up with string (with a Fog Linen apron inside) and a wooden teaspoon, which guests were able to take home. In addition to the teaspoons, Olmay Home sent over the perfect linen napkin. Each guest also received a Weck canning jar from West Elm, and a charming booklet chock full o' recipes and instructions, designed by Jennifer Olmstead. And using fresh, local flowers (and other neat plants like black peppers) designed by my sweet friend Holly is a wonderful way to celebrate the fall season!
After our dinner, we moved inside to Patricia's dream kitchen and canned for a few hours. I'll share those pictures early next week!
In just a few weeks, I'll be hosting the November Kinfolk Workshop, where we'll be learning all about culinary herbal infusions. Make sure to get your ticket here, before we sell out!