COOK } Favorite Fall Recipes

District Doughnut's brown butter doughnut at Union Market, 
with a little urban astroturf pumpkin patch in the background.

Where did October go? I was just beginning to embrace these crisp, cool days dotted with pumpkin sightings and now the calendar rolls over into November. But I'll be keeping the pumpkins around post jack o' lantern with favorite fall recipes from the archives (plus a few other goodies you should be making now):

Cream of Pumpkin Soup: From master chef Alain Ducasse but super simple.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes: A birthday treat for my October-born husband.

Rustic Fig Crostata: An elegant and not too sweet finish to a meal.

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins

Hot Buttered Apple Cider with Rum: A delightful mash-up of hot buttered rum and cider.

Aperol Bourbon Sour: The perfect cocktail to bridge summer and fall.


ENTERTAIN } For The Love Of Salt

I'm bidding a reluctant adieu to summer on this first day of fall and looking back with fond memories on one of the season's highlights — our Summer Salt Fest at the Gordy's Pickle Jar headquarters.

Ever since opening Salt & Sundry three years ago, I've been dreaming of a down-home party that celebrates all things salty. With the perfect partners in crime, Sarah and Sheila of Gordy's, and my phenomenal team at Salt & Sundry, we hosted a gathering of good friends and toasted our shared love of salt.

The feast included fried chicken, boiled peanuts (made by my husband!), Rappahannock's Olde Salt oysters, deviled eggs topped with Gordy's Sweet Pepper Relish, and probably the best fried pickles I've ever eaten (yes, I've eaten a lot) ... Gordy's Sweet Chips and Cajun Okra dipped in roasted garlic aioli. There was crisp Virginia rosé from Early Mountain Vineyards, local brews from 3 Stars and DC Brau, and a watermelon cooler that Sheila whipped up with Green Hat Gin.

As DJ Cassidy Karakorn spun tunes late into the night, out came the salted caramel gelato push-pops from our friends at Dolcezza. The push-pop, by the way, is the perfect mode to eat ice cream while dancing like a maniac. Guests went home with jars of sweet and spicy pickled watermelon rind the Gordy's team cooked up just for the party. Thinking we'll have to do it again next summer ...

photos 4, 6-11 by the fabulous Morgan Hungerford West


STYLE } Mint Chocolate Chip + Brass

Right about 4 p.m. most afternoons at Union Market, the ice cream procession starts. Shoppers casually stroll into Salt & Sundry toting tempting cones and thick milkshakes filled with flavors from our market neighbors Trickling Springs Creamery. Resistance is futile.

I'm partial to mint chocolate chip. And I'm crazy about the gorgeous new brass jewelry that just arrived at S&S from Portland-based designers Betsy & Iya. Come see me soon and check out both!


DRINK } Sherry Temple

I know I'm not the only one who often makes it to a point in the (late) afternoon only to realize that I've been chugging coffee without so much as a thought to hydration. On the hottest summer days, when I'm over-caffeinated and plenty parched, I crave this pleasantly tart thirst quencher from Rappahannock Oyster Bar. It's a grown-up — but still booze-free — take on a childhood favorite.

Sherry Temple
makes 1 drink

1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz grenadine*
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 bar spoon sherry vinegar

Shake with ice, strain over fresh ice and finish with sparkling water and a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

* For the grenadine, I love DC-made True Syrup's version or the slightly earthier Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. version, both available at Salt & Sundry.


STYLE } Happy July 4th!

Faribault Woolen Mill, the maker of this beautiful blanket, celebrates its 150th birthday this year. A wonderful American goods revival story, Faribault is one of the lines I love stocking at Salt & Sundry. The Minnesota-born mill was founded in 1856, at the close of the Civil War, and provided military blankets for two World Wars. We have a few of the wool flag blankets at the shops, along with several other styles.

From favorite blankets to favorite cocktails ... Toast the July 4th holiday with one of my favorite summer sips:

El Presidente
makes 1 drink

1.5 oz white rum
1.5 oz Dolin Blanc
1 barspoon Grand Marnier
1 barspoon Jack Rudy Grenadine

Stir well over ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry and orange twist. Enjoy!


COOK } Simple Seafood Stew

This simple stew, inspired by cioppino, is one of my favorite summer seafood recipes. It's a go-to on family beach trips, when I feel the need to pack in as much seafood as possible, as if I'll never have access to it again.

To the contrary, I eat seafood wherever I am, but there's something about the salty humid air of the coast that I swear makes it taste even better. And when you're city-bound, a bowl nearly conjures that same seaside vibe.

Many recipes for fish stew call for a long ingredient list of pricey seafood and homemade fish stock. But you can coax a lot of flavor out of a few ingredients in little time. And what seafood you toss in is really up to you. Crab legs, scallops and mussels are all great additions not included here. (We tossed in mussels last time, pictured above!)

Serve as a light supper with a salad and French bread, or as a first course for a dinner party.

Simple Seafood Stew
serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 serrano pepper, minced
5 cups tomatoes, chopped (You can also use canned diced tomatoes if needed.)
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 pound shrimp
3/4 pound squid, tentacles and bodies cleaned and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds halibut or other firm white fish, cut into 1-inch chunks
18 clams
fresh basil and parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and serrano pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add tomato, water and bay leaves, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Turn heat up to medium high, add the squid and fish, stir and cook 3-4 minutes. Set the clams on top, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook another 3-5 minutes until the clams have opened and the shrimp are cooked through.

Adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper to your liking. You can thin the stew with a little water if it's thicker than you want. Ladle into bowls, add torn basil leaves, parsley, lemon wedges and serve.


COOK } The Stars of Spring

DC is finally showing off her full spring glory, and the farmers markets are gearing up with appearances from the season's superstar vegetables and fruits.

This video from an appearance on News Channel 8's Let's Talk Live is a few years old, but I refer to it as "That time I chewed a pickled ramp through an entire live TV segment." So I figured it's worth recycling.

Give it a watch and read on for tasty ideas for how to best use spring's produce:

The freshly picked tender spears of spring are a far cry from the woody stalks you find in the off season. Look for them to make their first appearance in the next few weeks at the markets.
Make: Asparagus Benedict on quinoa nettle cakesPenne with asparagus, sage and peas; or simply grill it

Stinky, musky goodness is how I think of these wild onions.
Make: Ramp pickles, Buttermilk ramp biscuits

Endless Summer Harvest specializes in these adorable baby greens with a spicy kick.
Make: Pile them on a BLT in place of lettuce, or toss into a salad for extra flavor.

Don't touch them raw or you'll understand where the name comes from, but dunk them in boiling water and they turn into perfectly edible, nutritious greens.
Make: Spring lasagna with asparagus, peas and stinging nettles, Nettle soup

Every spring I look forward to making tangy jam and a simple rhubarb crostata.
Make: Rhubarb quick jam, Strawberry and rhubarb crostata

One of spring's more elusive finds, these mushrooms with a super short season demand high prices but can be worth the splurge.
Make: Quiche with morels and scallions