SHOP } Small Business Saturday at Salt & Sundry

Back when I opened Salt & Sundry two years ago, I was extremely fortunate to find an incredible and talented team of women (and the occasional man!) to work with. One of those women is Mallory Shelter. While holding down a full-time job in PR, she works at the shop on weekends and last year, she launched her own jewelry company. She likes to stay busy.

On Nov. 29, we're throwing a trunk show and soirée featuring Mallory's gorgeous handmade pieces as part of American Express and Etsy's nationwide Small Business Saturday campaign. Working with local makers and designers is one of my favorite parts about owning a shop, and I'm excited to showcase Mallory's one-of-a-kind work.

The trunk show runs from 1-7 p.m. at Salt & Sundry Union Market, and from 4-7 p.m., we'll serve up snacks from Bayou Bakery, seasonal sips and tunes by DJ Shanti Shree.

Hope to see you there!

Photos by Jeff Martin


DRINK } Spiced Cocktail Infusion

Stop reading if you're a friend or family member because you'll ruin your holiday gift surprise. ... For the rest of you, this spiced vodka infusion is a perfect DIY gift.

I fell for this during Salt & Sundry's most recent Drink Lab class, hosted with our Union Market neighbors Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits. Barman Dan Searing, who's graciously hosting the series, provided the recipe. Make a few batches and divide into small bottles. Or create a spice kit for your friends and give it with instructions and a bottle of good vodka. The infusion is delicious in cocktails or to spike hot cider.  

Warm Spiced Cocktail Infusion
makes 1 750 ml bottle
adapted from Boyd & Blair Vodka

375 ml high-proof vodka, such as Boyd & Blair 151 from PA
1 whole nutmeg, crushed into several pieces
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 whole cloves
2 whole cardamom pods
4 black peppercorns
1 star anise
3 allspice berries
peel of 1 orange

Place the spices in a heavy sauce pan and toast over medium heat for several minutes. Put the orange peel and toasted spices into a mason jar, add the vodka, and seal tightly.

Store the jar in a cool, dark location, and shake daily for 7-10 days.

Once the spices have infused the vodka, strain contents with a mesh strainer and coffee filter into a clean bottle or jar. Mix with equal parts simple syrup in a bottle that will hold about 30 ounces or more.


STYLE } October Love

October has to be my favorite month, and this year, it's shaping up to be an exciting one. I'm looking forward to ...

• Opening the second Salt & Sundry (fingers crossed)!

Making pumpkin pancakes 

• Finding time for apple picking

• Warming up with hot buttered apple cider spiked with rum


COOK } Rancho Gordo Beans Now at Salt & Sundry

My favorite beans are now on the shelves at Salt & Sundry! What's the big deal about Rancho Gordo beans? Founder Steve Sando cultivates New World heirloom varieties that pack greater depth of flavor and much better texture than the aged dried beans you often find.

For Salt & Sundry's pantry, we opted for Vaquero, Red Nightfall, Yellow Eye and good ol' garbanzos to start. I'm dreaming up earthy fall dishes to put them to good use.

A little DC connection from a 2009 New York Times article on the Rancho Gordo craze:
At the Yountville market, shoppers were lured by Sando’s boldly patterned beans, only to recoil when they realized they weren’t candied nuts, noted Sando. The French Laundry chef de cuisine Eric Ziebold (now at CityZen in Washington) brought Thomas Keller, who flipped for the Vallarta, which Sando jokingly described as “a stupid little yellow bean on the verge of extinction.” Soon everyone wanted “the Keller Bean.”


STYLE } Apron Chic

I love a good utilitarian apron. Two current favorites we're stocking at Salt & Sundry
above: This half apron sports a cool vintage cutlery print and crisp stripes at the waist. 
below: Hedley & Bennett's impeccably crafted chefs aprons, handmade in Los Angeles. (Instagram friends: @hedleyandbennett has such a fun photo stream.) 

Here's to looking sharp in the kitchen ...


DRINK } Sipping Summer Rickeys

The fine folks over at Mutiny recently whipped up a few summer-perfect spins on the Rickey (the official cocktail of DC), styled up with some pretty pieces from Salt & Sundry. Here are the gorgeous photos by Justin Gellerson to inspire your weekend drinking.

Check out Mutiny's full post for drink recipes and a little Rickey lore.

Bourbon Rickey with Mint

Gin Rickey with Royal Rose Strawberry Fennel Syrup


MAKE } Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind

Tis the season to trot out one of my favorite summer recipes — and a mighty delicious way to turn trash into treasure.

Every now and then, I'll grant some watermelon rinds a reprieve from my Compost Cab bin and put it to good use.

Meet the pungent, sweet, tangy deliciousness that is spicy pickled watermelon rind. I think it was the ginger that really hooked me the first time I made it. No surprise there. Have I mentioned I like ginger? And the rind turns the most beautiful color, like amber jewels with a glowing translucency.

This is a quick pickle — no need for jar sterilizing and all that. Just eat it up in a few weeks and keep it covered in the fridge. I like it as a condiment on a cheese plate, with seafood, and grilled pork or chicken. You could even mince it up finer and use as a relish on sandwiches.

Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind
adapted from Gourmet

1 medium to large watermelon
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
4-5 strips of lemon peel
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced red chile (Fresno, Thai or other)
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt

To prepare the rind, remove the the pink watermelon flesh completely for another use. Cut rind crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips and remove the green peel with a knife or Y-shaped vegetable peeler and discard. Cut the remaining white rind into 1/2-inch cubes.

In a large heavy saucepan, bring rind and remaining ingredients to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rind is tender and translucent and liquid is syrupy, 45 to 55 minutes.

Allow the pickled rind to cool uncovered, and then chill in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.