Recipes for Things I Love

Things I Love: Another Great Kettle

June 2, 2017

I’ve written about my Picqout Ware tea kettle before.  I think it’s the most beautiful kettle I’ve ever seen. But once again, some negligent person (I’m not pointing any fingers here….) left it on the fire too long and burned off the handle.

In the past, you could send the kettles back to the factory in Scotland for a replacement handle. But sadly, the factory has now closed.  So I’ve been looking for a replacement.

This one turned up!  I was confused because it’s not labeled Picquot Ware, but rather Newmaid.

Turns out, however, that it’s the same company: the first kettles made by Picquot were marketed under the trade name ‘New Maid’ in 1946- 47 .  They changed their name to Picquot Ware in 1951.

You can read about it here.

I also turned up another, older kettle.  It’s American – and it’s the original.  Tomorrow I’ll show you this 1936 beauty.

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Things I Love: Green Serpentine

May 29, 2017

When I asked for marble counters, everyone told me I was crazy.  “It will pit,” they said, “it will stain.”

But I didn’t care. I’d always dreamed of marble counters to roll out my pie dough. I’d had granite before, and I didn’t like it; such a cold, unforgiving stone.  I love the soft warmth of marble – and I kind of liked the idea that it would show wear, change over time.

So I got my green marble.  Or at least I thought I did.  It’s lovely stone, and it’s great for rolling out pastry, or kneading bread, or making pasta. But I’ve had it fifteen years now – and despite slamming burning hot pots onto it, slicing with sharp knives and spilling endless foods from coffee to red wine to beet juice – it looks as new now as it did when it was installed.

Turns out it’s not marble after all.  It’s Vermont green serpentine – and it is, without any doubt, my favorite thing about my kitchen.

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150th Birthday Party

April 3, 2017

So this is what you need to know: Darrell Corti knows more about food and wine than anybody else in America. No contest.  Steve Wallace was, for many years, the wine purveyor to the stars at Wally’s.  As they both turned 75 the other day, they invited a group of friends to celebrate with them at Chez Panisse.

It was spectacular.

Many people were there, including Cecila Chiang, who at 97 puts the rest of us to shame, and food critic and restaurateur,  Patty Unterman.  Cecilia ate everything, drank everything, and worked the room.

This is what we ate:  Blinis with mountains of the most wonderful caviar;

Asparagus with a citrus-enriched hollandaise and a slice of blood orange.  You forget sometimes, now that asparagus are available the year round, what in-season asparagus taste like. These tasted like – does this sound silly? –  the color green.  The sauce maltaise was like a gong of orange, clanging alongside. Synesthesia: eating colors.

The loveliest broth, clear as a bell, with little raviolini, filled with ricotta and greens and spangled with Parmesan.  The pea shoots, floating in the broth, were extremely eloquent.

Lamb, rare, clean-tasting, cooked in the wood-burning oven, with those lovely long bones.  A creamy little square of new potatoes.  And a pile of the sprightliest peas, carrots, baby artichokes and fava beans you’ve ever encountered. Sorry, but gorgeous as that meat was, it was totally overshadowed by the vegetables.

A cheese plate. And because Alice could never serve a meal without a salad, she came around to plunk a little fluff of baby greens on every plate.

This was an apple galette.  The tart was delicious. But that huckleberry ice cream… no words. Deep, rich… completely purple.

Music.  Of course there was music….

And wine… wonderful wine.

Look at the menu.

And then imagine that ’82 Haut Brion.


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Things I Love: Apple Cider Vinegar

November 19, 2016


Just back from the holiday farmers market in Great Barrington. Many fantastic finds, but my favorite is this fantastic apple cider vinegar from Carr’s Cider House; I bought an entire case, which just might last me through the year. Faintly sweet, it has a strong apple flavor; I think it’s the perfect vinegar for Roquefort salad dressing.


I’m also a big fan of their cider syrup; pour it on roasted carrots, and they really start to sing. (I also bought a whole slew of bright red carrots.)  And you will never have a more perfect taste of autumn than this cider poured over pumpkin pancakes.

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