Best Gazpacho

by Kelsi in


It is that time of year. The tomatoes in my garden are overflowing. The best thing to do with a bumper crop of tomatoes? Make the Best Gazpacho from the NY Times. Spectacularly easy and so refreshing. Just make sure you plan ahead so it can chill until very cold...


BEST GAZPACHO (adapted slightly from the NYT)

About 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks

1 long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

1 cucumber, about 8 inches, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small mild onion (white or red), cut into chunks

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil into a high speed blender. Blend on high until very smooth, about two minutes. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. 

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula. Discard the solids. Transfer to a large glass pitcher and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil.


Summer, Summer, Summertime

by Kelsi in , , ,


We are deep in summer mode over here. And it seems like the days are blitzing by faster than ever.

D feet.JPG

My husband has been traveling non-stop and luckily we were able to tag along on one of his recent work trips to Maui of all beautiful places. We rented a very simple VRBO in a great location and played in the ocean from 7:30am on. 

I packed all the essentials...

packing for maui.jpg

My suitcase was nearly identical to the one I took on our little trip to the beach last May. It's worth mentioning Suntegrity face sunscreen (I use the light shade) yet again. It is THE best and kept me well protected even while spending the entire day in the surf and the sun. Also these GoToob containers are new to me but they are fantastic. Easy to fill, easy to clean and spill-proof...


Back home we are in the middle of a heatwave and I've been on the hunt for a great linen dress. I just ordered this one which has great potential...

Reformation Thelma dress.jpg

And while most of my yard is looking a bit toasty and dried out, my tomatoes and my Row 7 cucumbers are going gangbusters...

row 7 cucumbers.jpg

Since I was solo for dinner tonight I happily ate the entire batch of this smashed cucumber salad straight out of the mixing bowl standing at the kitchen counter...

smashed cucumber salad.JPG

And washed it down with a cold beer. This gluten-free blonde ale from local Ghostfish Brewing Company is really hitting the spot on these hot days...

ghostfish blonde ale.JPG

My sister-in-law just welcomed her third baby girl a week ago. We stopped by over the weekend to drop off food in exchange for some serious brand new tiny baby holding. I made this great turkey meat loaf from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Easy that I mentioned here. (I like the Mary's free-range ground turkey for this which you can find locally at Metropolitan Market.) If you don't have the book, Pamela Salzman posted the recipe here...

turkey meatloaf.JPG

I also made a double batch of this simple carrot salad (without the sunflower seeds and avocados). It is so simple and refreshing. And for a treat I made these peanut butter and jelly crumble bars (also from Pamela Salzman). I personally enjoy them straight from the freezer.

As the summer days continue to fly by, I am finding that no matter how pared down the schedule and how free and purposely unscheduled the days are, there is never enough time. Most of my days are filled with the household tasks that our lives are made of without room for much else. Books I've started are languishing on the nightstand. I have a list of things I'd love to work on. Number one on that list is revisiting my Spanish language study. And also doing a little Pilates matwork in the cool basement. I'd even love to just watch a show or two (I'm looking at you Killing Eve). But alas, by the time the chores are done, my son is in bed and I've prepped what needs to be prepped for the next day it is already bedtime.

Maybe there will be some extra time in the near future. And maybe not.

Right now my task is to be fully here. And as I type this, I'm sitting contentedly on the sofa in the dark with all the windows open, a lukewarm breeze coming through and I spy Venus out in the distance hanging high above in a perfectly clear sky.




Paloma Slushies

by Kelsi in


It is Father's Day and 82 degrees. We are celebrating the day with ice cold paloma slushies courtesy of Julia Turshen's Small Victories. Truly, if I could only keep one cookbook in my collection, it would be this one. If you don't already have it, consider adding it to yours.

I have a feeling that this is going to be our 2018 summer cocktail...

paloma slushies.JPG

PALOMA SLUSHIES  (adapted slightly from Julia Turshen's Small Victories)

serves 2

Juice of 2 limes

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup grapefruit juice (this is a great one)

1/2 cup mezcal (or tequila)

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 cups (360 g) ice cubes

Put the lime juice, honey, grapefruit juice, mezcal, salt and ice in a high speed blender; blend until the ice its totally blitzed and the mixture is very smooth.

Pour into two glasses and serve immediately.




A Birthday

by Kelsi in , , , ,


My sweet boy turned 6 earlier this month. I can hardly believe he has less than a month left of Kindergarten. It has been such a wonderful year of growth not just for him but for us as parents too.

birthday pancakes.jpg

We always host a birthday party for him at home, which is certainly a celebration of him but also a chance to get together with our extended family and a few close friends. It is always a full house and there is always lots of good food.

This year, I wanted to make The Birthday Cake from Christina Tosi at Momofuku Milk Bar. It looks like a process, and it is, but an incredibly fun one. I so enjoyed putting it together. And the technique of using a cake ring to cut the layers, acetate to build up the side frame and the freezer to set it is genius. I want to make all my layer cakes this way. It's fun and they look incredible. 

birthday cake.jpg
birthday cake 2.JPG

 If your'e not familiar with the Momofuku birthday cake you should watch this video clip of Christina Tosi on Chef's Table and you can find the actual recipe on Bon Appetit...

Also inspired by Christina Tosi, I made a version of her Haute Dogs. However, I used Julia Turshen's foolproof and truly all-purpose yeasted dough recipe from her cookbook Small Victories. I've mentioned her cookbook here at least a few times as it is such a great one. In the cookbook she uses the dough recipe to make 12 raspberry jam buns. I used it to make 12 hot dog rolls (in fact I tripled the recipe to make 36) instead. I also used my stand mixer to initially mix the dough, then kneaded it for a few minutes as instructed. Then I put all three batches into a cambro, covered it with a towel and let it rise for about an hour until doubled in size. I punched it down, covered the bowl with the lid and stuck it in the fridge overnight until I was ready to make them the following morning.

I slathered a mustard butter on each roll and added this red onion jam before rolling them up and baking them. I piled them high on a sheetpan to serve and they were devoured by kids and adults alike.

I also made this great onion dip from Alison Roman served with classic ridged potato chips, a simple and bright cabbage slaw and a quadruple batch of these long time favorite salted brown butter crispy treats from Smitten Kitchen (though I more than double the Maldon sea salt it calls for).

For the adults I found these perfect mini cans of sparking Italian white and rosé at Trader Joe's. They are fantastic for a party, not too sweet and only $4 for a 4/pack...

simpler wines.jpg

I also love hanging lots of paper streamers all over the house. It instantly makes the room feel happy and celebratory. I love the ones from the Oh Happy Day shop...

streamers 2.jpg

In fact I love them so much that the ones in the dining room are still up...


Lastly (and again related to Christina Tosi) I can't forget to mention these Confetti Cookies...

Photograph: Gabriele Stabile and Mark Ibold

Photograph: Gabriele Stabile and Mark Ibold

I made them to bring to my son's school on his actual birthday to share with his class. Three things in particular make these incredible. They are inspired by the technique of the snickerdoodle with the addition of cream of tartar. They have an incredibly long creaming process (a Milk Bar signature) about 10 minutes total. And the addition of milk powder which Tosi says adds chewiness as well as a depth of flavor. Full of sugar, dairy, gluten and artificially colored sprinkles! But for a special treat, I'd have a hard time passing up one of these. 


Sick Day

by Kelsi in , , ,


My son is sick today so I have an unexpected day off. I am grateful for the day at home and a few extra hours to do laundry, tidy-up and pay the bills. Luckily I also happened to have all the ingredients to make this way delicious savory oatmeal from David Tanis for lunch. I know what I'm making for breakfast tomorrow...

savory oatmeal.JPG

The new Cuyana catalog arrived today and now I want (ahem) these three things, starting with this seersucker flounce top...

cuyana flounce top.JPG

This beautiful travel bag...

cuyana travel bag.JPG

And this seersucker dress with pockets(!)...

cuyana seersucker dress.JPG

Also going on the wishlist is another pair of Annie Costello Brown earrings. Maybe this pair? Or these?! Too hard to decide.

annie costello brown.PNG

I recently bought the pair I've been wanting for the last few years and can't stop wearing them. They elevate any outfit. By the way the pants that I am wearing below are these fantastic wide leg ones from Everlane. I just ordered them in white too...

ACB matisse.jpg

Something else that looks gorgeous with these earrings is my new dress from Doen. I bought it to wear to a California wedding this fall but plan to wear it every chance I get before then...

doen ash wrap dress.jpg

I also took some time today to sit in the sunshine and read a bit of the third Maisie Dobbs book. One of my clients turned me onto the series and now I am addicted. I love historical fiction and these are great fun to read.

pardonable lies maisie dobbs.jpg

It's the weekend...

by Kelsi in , , ,


Finally, some sunshine is arriving in Seattle which is welcome news for us sun-starved Seattleites. It has been a bit bleak the last few weeks...

seattle weather.PNG

I'm going to celebrate by wearing my new Clare V x TOMS leopard espadrilles (seen below). See the whole collection here...

clare v toms.jpg

I likely won't wear them this week but I took advantage of Loeffler Randall's Friends + Family sale last week and finally pulled the trigger on these silver beauties that I have been eyeing the last six months. They are so soft and even more gorgeous in person...

LR carter boots.jpg

I've really been enjoying this adaptogenic take on a thai iced tea. Thrive Market has the best price on Sun Potion products by the way. And if you're not making your own, this Aroy-D coconut milk is my favorite one...

ashwaganda iced tea.jpg

Every time a DWR catalog arrives I linger on the LOLL lounge chairs. Some day I'd love to have a pair of these on the patio...

LOLL outdoor chairs.jpg

I've been wanting to make these beautiful pancakes from Heidi Swanson and I think tomorrow is the day...

Image from 101 Cookbooks

Image from 101 Cookbooks

Last week I finally watched Franca: Chaos and Creation and loved every minute of it. I might queue it up again this weekend...

Photograph by Francesco Carrozzini via  Departures

Photograph by Francesco Carrozzini via Departures

I also am watching this tonight once the kiddo is in bed...

It is likely that I will be mixing up a margarita to enjoy in the sunshine at some point this weekend, but tonight I am drinking a glass of my favorite "house wine" that I've been buying locally at PCC (I have Olaiya to thank for the recommendation). And since I'm solo for dinner tonight (and my husband hates mushrooms) I'm looking forward to making this pea and mushroom sauté from Pamela Salzman that I will devour in peace.

pcc red wine.jpg

House Margarita

by Kelsi in , , ,


It is spring break this week and while most people we know made a mass exodus out of Seattle in search of sunshine (who can blame them) we are having a rather stellar staycation at home. Both my husband and I took the week off. I've been catching up on reading and when I haven't been reading I've been cooking and baking.

Another bright spot has been a visit from dear friends who live in Lake Tahoe that we haven't seen in a few years. When we get together it's like no time has passed. The company and conversation is always easy and there is always laughter. We also drank a few rounds of my "house margarita" which includes my most favorite spirit, mezcal. Yes, yes, and yes.

house margarita.jpg


1 oz tequila

1 oz mezcal (I like Vida)

1 tablespoon agave syrup

Juice of 1 lime

Shake and pour over ice (I like these big cube molds for this)

*A note if making these for a crowd - I learned this tip from Julia Turshen. Simply quadruple this recipe (or more if you have a big crowd) and just whisk it all together in a big pitcher. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve and then pour over ice.



The Kitchen

by Kelsi in ,


I can't believe a year and a half has passed since our kitchen remodel wrapped up. After living with the before kitchen for nearly eight years, with a barely working fridge, a finicky oven, dingy paint and mustard linoleum floors, cooking and just spending time in this still new-to-me space is a dream. If I have emails to write I stand at the counter. It is my "office" and my favorite place in the house.

Side note: it is also quite convenient to live with a talented interiors photographer that you can ask to take some after shots...

kitchen remodel 1.jpg
kitchen remodel 2.jpg
kitchen remodel 3.jpg

A few basics - the walls and cabinetry are "Simply White" from Benjamin Moore. This is our favorite white. It is clean, not too blue or yellow and even on those dark and dreary winter days, it always feels warm and cozy. Nearly every wall of our house, both inside and out (see below), is painted Simply White. The moulding and doors throughout the house as well as the kitchen floor (which is just the fir sub-floor that was underneath the linoleum) are painted a brighter, cooler, "Decorator's White."

The counters and shelves are untreated walnut rubbed with this butcher block oil.

Drawer pulls: Schoolhouse Electric; Induction Cooktop + Dishwasher: Miele; Oven + Refrigerator: KitchenAid; Rug: Homestead Seattle; Magnetic Knife Strip (18" walnut)

Our "Simply White" exterior

Our "Simply White" exterior

Necessities that are always on the counter (as seen in the photos above)...

Vitamix; Berkey Filter; Breville Oven; Sonos; Olive Oil bottle for my favorite finishing olive oil; Menu pepper grinder (I use one for pepper and the other as a spice mill); Hario kettle + teak trivet; spoon rest, Heath tray with French butter keeper and Maldon salt; Olive wood salt cellar (similar here) for kosher salt; coffee grinder; basket with towels

And on the shelves...

Heath Ceramics plates, bowls (mine are almost entirely vintage though all are still available in opaque white), pasta bowlslarge and small mugs; Hario glass carafe + Blue Bottle ceramic dripper; All Clad cookware; Staub 7qt oven; Lodge griddle; Le Creuset cast-iron skillet; stainless bowls; glass bowls; Instant Pot; Bodega glasses; Duralex Picardie 8 oz glasses

coffee drawer.JPG

Other favorite tools etc...

Stick blender; storage clips and also these; plastic mason jar lids; glass straws; scale; 6" ceramic ginger grater; cookie scoops in several sizes; Joyce Chen scissorsstainless scraper + plastic scraper; Blue Bottle coffee filters

GIR Spatulas - regular + mini; GIR ladle; Thermapen; Microplanes - this and this; stainless whisks large and smallcan opener; two sets of measuring cups; 4 cup and 2 cup liquid measuring cups; two mini liquid measuring cups; two sets of measuring spoons

Zyliss peelers (two); various sized Ateco spatulas; funnels similar to these; canning funnel (useful for WAY more than canning - use for pouring and storing stocks, soups, beans, fruit sauce); tongs; meat tenderizer; fine mesh strainers like this and this; stainless skewers; grater; salad spinner

cooking utensils.JPG

Due Buoi stainless spatulas - these may just be one of my very favorite tools in the kitchen. I bought a wide and a slim one from Williams Sonoma a few years ago but now I can only find them here and here. They are so thin and so versatile from cooking pancakes on the griddle, flipping fish, smashing burgers or lifting brownies out of the pan.

We have really basic flatware from Crate and Barrel. This stuff does the job, looks and feels great to hold and it is super affordable. Eventually I'd like to add my dream David Mellor flatware to the mix...


The remaining things that are stashed below the cooktop...

Sheet pans both half and quarter sizes; cooling racks; 13" Staub enameled cast-iron pan; a gorgeous carbon steel pan made locally by Blu Skillet Ironware that our dear friends Omar and Lora gave us to celebrate the kitchen; small butter warmer; Staub ceramic baking dishes

Epicurean cutting boards - large, small, and a black one used specifically for meat. A note on these - I have two large "official" looking cutting boards, one maple and one walnut, that are beasts. They are beautiful, but oh-so-heavy and unwieldy and take much more effort to wash and care for. These slim ones can easily slip into the dishwasher and save me time which I really appreciate.

For spices I highly recommend frequenting your grocery store's bulk section. I prefer PCC locally. They are fresher and WAY cheaper. You can also buy the containers there. I keep blue painter's tape and a Sharpie in a kitchen drawer to label spices and anything and everything else. Chicken stocks, soups, sauces, a just opened jar of tomato paste...

spice drawer.jpg

I do not have a pantry so I have to find room for everything in three drawers. I store a lot in jars like these from Bormioli Rocco which almost all of my local grocers carry. I keep my Blue Bottle coffee beans in this canister...

pantry drawer.jpg

Thankfully I also have this amazing corner storage from Hafale where most of my baking stuff and more goes...

kitchen corner.JPG

My good friend Rita introduced me to this magic piece of German engineering in her own kitchen, and it was a must have when we were planning out our remodel...

kitchen hafale 3.JPG

I keep this small folding stool handy so I can easily access the cabinet above the fridge where I keep things I don't use as often. This ceramic waffle iron, cake pans, spiralizer and my giant 10qt stainless bowl...

kikkerland stool.JPG

The only kitchen necessity that I can't store in the kitchen is my Breville food processor. It is indispensable but given my limited storage space it has to live down the hall in the closet. I just upgraded to this one (recommended by Pamela Salzman) when my old Cuisinart finally bit the dust over the holidays. Talk about an upgrade. This one is insane. It is almost worth it for the adjustable slicing blade alone.

Phew! That was a lot but long overdue. Home (and the kitchen) is where my heart is.


Easter Weekend

by Kelsi in , , ,


Along with chocolate bunny eating and hanging with family this weekend, I'm excited to spend some quality time with my new book, Rules of Civility...

Rules of Civility.jpeg

I'm also making this beautiful, herby potato salad from Nadine Redzepi's cookbook. I checked it out from the library a few months back and loved it so much I had to buy it. It's one of my new favorites...

redzepi warm potato salad.jpg

I really hope to spend some time in the garden while the sun makes an appearance. I have seeds to plant, mostly salad greens, and my new Row 7 beets!

garden beds.jpg
seeds garden.jpg

It is a little early to put them in the dirt, but my dahlia tubers from Floret arrived today!


I'm also going to be wearing this sweet jacket I just got from (surprise) Everlane. Seeing as I already have two army green jackets that I love, I got the black one. But if you don't already have an army colored jacket in your closet, get the surplus one. It will be a staple that you will wear year round...

everlane utility jacket.jpg

Also on the fashion front, check out this recent shot of the editors at French Vogue. Perfection as always...

French Vogue editors March 2018.jpg

Last thing for now, I LOVE this mascara from Burt's Bees. (I've found it locally in Seattle at Bartell Drugs.) I'm not usually a regular mascara wearer, but I really dig this one. I learned about it from Katey Denno (celebrity makeup artist and green beauty aficionado), whom I've followed the last several years. I'll write more about Katey at some point, but I adore her. And if she loves/recommends a beauty product, I'm in...

burts bees mascara.jpg

Happy weekend and happy spring!


Kitchen Basics - Homemade Coconut Milk

by Kelsi in ,


I wrote a few weeks ago about the simplicity of making hemp milk. Another plant-based milk I've been making regularly is coconut milk, which is just as easy.

homemade coconut milk.jpg

Add 3 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut to your high-speed blender. Pour in 4 cups of hot water and let steep for 5 minutes. Then blend on high for one minute or so. Let cool a bit if it's too hot to handle then strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag

Store in the fridge for up to 4 days and shake before using.