It's apple season, which also means it's time for tarte Tatin, that French classic of caramelized fruit and pastry. This pan from Le Creuset turns out tarte Tatin in style, with even baking from its heavy cast iron and a smooth release thanks to the enamel finish. Of course, this 2-quart pan is good for other things too: fall gratins, baked potatoes, and much more.
I'm still on the hunt for good lighting for my new house, and I am really liking these pendants from Schoolhouse. I like the white shades of this setup - fairly modern and clean, with a vintage pop from the red cord. These fixtures are built in Portland, Oregon, and the price includes the porcelain shade, making these a rather good buy.
Thinking about getting an extra fridge for storing homemade pickles and jams, and freezing meat when it's on sale? This fridge is actually designed for the garage, and engineered to work well in very low or very high temps (winter, summer, in an unheated garage).
I don't know about you, but I don't own an ice maker. I don't like having an ice maker in the freezer (it always seems to be the first thing to break). I make my ice the old-fashioned way: in trays. So I'm really liking this Lekue ice box, with a lid that makes small, rock-shaped pieces of ice, and a box to store them so they're all ready for the party.
I'm in Venice, Italy this week, and while wandering the famously crooked streets of this old town, I stumbled across this shop. The modern ceramics here are all designed and made personally by the owner, and she finishes some of them with metals like gold, platinum, or copper. The effect is beautiful and modern yet warm, and her wares are both reasonably priced and a welcome alternative to the kilometers of kitschy masks and overpriced jewelry found in the tourist shops. I plan on going back tomorrow and picking up a few small, delicate bowls to take home with me (very carefully, of course!).
At the moment her ceramics are only available in person at her shop, but she says an online shop is coming soon, and I can only hope that a smart boutique in the States picks up a few of her pieces as well.
The good folks at Reginald's Homemade sent me several of their nut butters to try out, and wow! This bourbon pecan butter is everything you want for a grown-up peanut butter sandwich. Smooth, nutty, just a hint of sweetness, and a touch of booze. Delicious!
Also of note: Apple Sin, which has apples smoothly blended in, with a pinch of cinnamon, and a cashew butter rich with vanilla. I haven't tried some of their other flavors, like Hazelnut Amaretto or Double Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter, but you can bet I want to. These are available in some grocery stores in Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia. Also online through Reginald's store.
I have a wood salt cellar fairly similar to this, and I love having a little piece of natural wood art on the countertop, filled with my flakiest sea salt. It's pretty enough to set out on the table at dinnertime.
Made in Oregon from solid ash with a natural finish. Each one unique. 4” L x 2 3/4” W x 2” H
I love cheeseboards. They store easily, sliding into the cupboard or underneath a stack of pans. And they can be used to serve more than cheese - fruit, chocolate, cupcakes. This one is so chunky and charming, with that big handle cut in the side. Definitely a standout.
Finding good, inexpensive chairs for the kitchen and dining room is tough. (And you usually need so many of them!) I am really liking these new powder-coated chairs from Blu Dot. They stack, and you can pull them out on the patio and not worry if they get rained on. Throw on a cushion to dress them up.
I'm not naturally attracted to baskets for the kitchen; I don't think to buy them or have them around. But someone gave me a small basket recently and I've found that I've used it constantly for fruit, piles of onions, and, with a towel folded inside, fresh bread. These iron baskets are really lovely for all those purposes, and even easier to clean.
It's the end of the summer which means it's time to look for pretty summer entertaining accessories - now on deep discount. I especially like this glass beverage dispenser, with a wood lid and stainless steel spigot. It's one of the more classy dispensers I've seen.
Mouth-blown glass. 10" DIAM x 16" H; 5.5" DIAM opening. Holds 3 gallons. Hand wash only.
I'm not a big fan of counter stools. I'm short, and when I sit on a stool I always feel perched precariously, a step higher than I should be off the ground. But I'm smitten by these bar and counter stools, created by Robert Ogden for Lostine, and sold through Anthropologie. They look solid and sturdy (no tipping) with an easy leather seat and a comfy footrest. They're too dear for me, but I sincerely hope someone buys them for their kitchen and sends me a photo.
Want to start eating a little more flax seed? Great for smoothies and in baking, flaxseed is supposed to be very good for your health. This set from the Baker's Catalogue includes a great grinder (that you can use for spices and nuts as well) and a 16-ounce box of flax seed to get you going.
This new "vanishing sink" from Blanco is just what every tiny kitchen needs. A piece of safety glass slides over the sink when it's not in use, recapturing that space for working and chopping. The price tag is hefty, but if it doubles your counter space it may be well worth it.
I am a whisk fiend! There's one for every job, from tiny skinny whisks for mixing vinaigrettes, to big balloon whisks for scrambling eggs. But one of my favorites is this spiral whisk (also called a sauce whisk). The flat shape helps scrape the bottom of a custard or gravy pot, whisking out every last lump. There are cheaper models, but this Rosle version is solid and handsome.
I really love everything from this potter in Bristol. All of her work is charming and handmade but these egg cups are my favorite. They have a wide base, so they don't tip over when you tap-tap-tap your soft-boiled egg. Available in pink spots, blue spots, dark blue spots, earthy green, turquoise, dark blue.
We discovered that at least a few of our readers swear by these silicone pods for making perfect little poached eggs. Crack in an egg, put the pod in the water, and then slip out a perfectly round egg for toast or a sandwich.