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Blue & White

Blue & White

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Blue & White

Although the color combination is classic with a long history, blue and white in home decor is currently trending!

Blue and White Plates

This charming stack of mismatched plates would be great for a brunch or dinner party! Charlene loves mixing antiques with new items. If you have a collection of antique blue and white plates, they can also be mixed with contemporary blue and white plates. The photograph below mixes old and new elements beautifully. The vintage silver ware and plate, pair wonderfully with a new cotton gingham napkin.

Blue and White Checked Napkin with Vintage Silver

Blue and White Quilts

Charlene loves collecting blue and white quilts for many uses. Besides bedding, quilts make great tablecloths. Try laying one down on your next Spring table with a ginger jar (see below) full of peonies or lilac. The pink and soft purple petals are absolutely stunning against the blue and white jar.

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More ginger jars:

Blue and White Ginger Jars

 

Blue and White Pedestal

 

This blue and white tier sets on a beautiful matelassé quilt- another one of Charlene's favorite collectibles! Charlene has over 25 antique matelassé quilts and has used them for tablecloths, bedspreads, shower curtains, bedskirts, and so on. Your blue and white pieces do not have to be antiques. You can buy them from Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and other retailers!

Wise Owl

Wise Owl

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The latest addition to Charlene's book collection, Wise Cocktails by Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield, offers a guide to brewing and crafting tea-based cocktails. The two women behind the brand wanted to combine their love of tea with a desire to create cocktails that go beyond vodka-sodas.  

WiseCocktailBook

 

Jennie and Maria decided on the "wise owl" as their logo because it represents their food wisdom. They believe in the power of tea and the medicinal properties of herbs, stems, and other foods when steeped in water. In 2013, the former marketing colleagues developed Owl's Brew which is the very first bottled tea specifically designed for creating cocktails. Owl's Brew comes in a variety of flavors and can be mixed with liquor, beer, wine, and champagne for instant cocktails! This upcoming winter season, Charlene's Kitchen is excited to put The Classic Owl's Brew on the shelf and pull out the Mulling Blend.

 

Owl's Brew Mulling Blend

 

We found the Owl's Brew Mulling Blend at West Elm, and Charlene suggests stocking up while it's still in season! The Mulling Blend is a warming combination of spices, cranberry, and apple cider. It can easily be used until the end of February!

 

P.S. Keep the Owl's Brew bottle after you've finished concocting! Charlene is known for saving unique bottles and upcycling them. The matte black bottle will be the perfect vase for a sprig of bittersweet on next years Halloween bar!

Biting the Hand

Biting the Hand

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Charlene is always on the hunt for artful objects as she prepares for another event! This morning she came across a Buddha's Hand at the market and was instantly inspired by its unique form.

 

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The citrus fruit is native to Asia, and is known for its pleasant fragrance. Like a lemon, its shiny yellow rind can be zested and used as a replacement for lemon zest.

 

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Unlike other citrus fruits, the pith is not bitter- it's sweet! Slice your buddha's hand and add it to your favorite bottle of gin or vodka. Let the flavors infuse for as long (or as little) as you like. The peel can also be candied or added to a simple syrup.

 

Pumpkin Pie Secrets Revealed

Pumpkin Pie Secrets Revealed

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Pumpkin Pie PedestalEvery year it's the same thing: Winter, Spring, Summer... FALL! Arguably the tastiest season of them all, Fall is the time of year when we gather with our families and friends to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving feast.

One of the hallmarks of any great Thanksgiving feast is Pumpkin Pie, however, this year we dare you to put down the can of puréed pumpkin. Yes. This year we want you to roast your own pumpkins and make a pie that will make grandmothers envious! But don't worry, roasting pumpkins is almost as easy as opening a can.

The first step is to pick out your pumpkins.

You'll need the sugar babies which are sometimes labelled "pumpkin pie pumpkins". Two sugar babies should be enough for one standard pie pan. Sugar babies are the only pumpkins suitable for pumpkin pie. The larger varieties of pumpkins are flavorless. Sugar babies roast beautifully and will give your pumpkin pie a more intense pumpkin flavor.

Once you get your sugar babies home you'll need to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Rinse off the pumpkins and pat dry.
  3. Turn pumpkin on its side and cut off the stem.
  4. Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise.
  5. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and save them for later use if you're into that sort of thing; otherwise, discard.
  6. Lay pumpkin halves flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake pumpkins until flesh is fork tender (30-45 minutes depending on size).
  8. Remove pumpkins from oven and remove the skins.
  9. Put pumpkin flesh into the food processor and puree.

 

Use your homemade pumpkin puree in place of the canned stuff when making your next pumpkin pie, muffins, risotto, pancakes, pumpkin butter, and more!

 

A Dash of Vintage

A Dash of Vintage

Antique Silverware Mixing antiques with new items is one of Charlene's favorite ways to add character and charm! Look for mismatched silverware, oil lamps, and vintage linens at your next state sale.

Fall Table Settings

Fall Table Settings

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Fall is officially here and Charlene's Kitchen has gathered five of our favorite trends for Fall table settings!

1. American Bittersweet

VIntage Jars & American Bittersweet

This beautiful, woody vine can be twisted into a stunning wreath, displayed in vintage glass bottles, or artfully laid around your Fall buffet!

 

2. Wooden Chargers

Wooden Chargers

Wooden chargers instantly add rustic, old world charm to a table, and they can be a great DIY project if you have extra firewood laying around. Simply cut 1 inch rounds out of your spare logs, and voila!

 

3. Pumpkin-Sticks

Pumpkin Sticks

Candlesticks are no longer just for candles! They serve as a base to your pumpkins while adding height and visual interest to your table setting.

 

4. Herb Bundles

Herb Bundle

A simple bundle of your favorite herbs wrapped in jute twine is an effortless way to elevate a simple white plate. Don't forget the feather!

 

5. Velvet Ribbon

Velvet Ribbon

Skip the napkin rings this Fall; velvet ribbon and antique silver are a marriage made in heaven!

Impromptu & Informal

Impromptu & Informal

I think we tend to overthink the idea of a "party". We over plan and stress ourselves out which takes away from the experience. This week at Charlene's Kitchen, we enjoyed an impromptu and informal lunch that perfectly demonstrated the potential ease of enjoying food with family and friends. Charlene created an unforgettable lunch with the most unpretentious menu: hot dogs & salad. However, let's be honest - we all know that there was a signature Charlene twist to these items.  

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Hot dogs can be found in the back of most refrigerators, and can be elevated with a variety of toppings. Charlene, a Williams-Sonoma employee for over 30 years, is a huge fan of their condiment selection. The Williams-Sonoma Bloody Mary Ketchup is one of her favorite specialty gourmet ketchups! It has a nice kick without being too spicy. The Chipotle Drizzler and Wasabi Drizzler, also from Williams-Sonoma, were packed with flavor and are a must-have if you have vegan or vegetarian friends at your impromptu and informal party!

 

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Besides the wonderful sauces, Charlene chopped a white onion and put it in a cute bowl with an antique spoon. A bowl full of freshly sliced avocado with salt, pepper, and cilantro was mashed together for a quick and healthy option for topping our hot dogs.

 

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Lunches like these remind us that you don't need to go out of your way to have a presentable meal with friends! Elevate family favorites such as hot dogs or other sandwiches by giving your guests plenty of options for toppings and by keeping your setting presentable. A little can go a long way!

 

Satisfying Sandwiches

January, 2015


shrimp po boy

In my three years with Charlene's Kitchen I have never seen a dish that Charlene couldn't prepare to its utmost perfection - from Lasagnas, to her infamous Grilled Spiced shrimp, all the way to her beautifully crafted salads - I think it's safe to say the woman is an artist. What is the most both impressive and inspiring about Charlene's cooking is the way that she makes even the simplest dishes - like a sandwich, for instance - the most delicious I've ever experienced. And as a post-college 20-something year old, I know a thing or two about sandwiches. Charlene's surely take the cake.

Our new Shrimp Po' Boy is the perfect example of how a Charlene-tweak can take the most popular and classic sandwiches to a whole-nother level. A new staff favorite in the kitchen, our Shrimp Po' Boy is one of a few gems that we enjoy here in the shop, and have now been made available for events! Not every event calls for a heavy-duty menu; and whether you are hosting in the office, at home, or anywhere else, there's just nothing like a satisfying sandwich to add to an event's success.

Our "Perfect Party Sandwich" section is now available on our Catering menu, and will continue to grow as Charlene continues to amaze us in the kitchen with both classic and brand-new sandwiches, customized to perfection.

Take a look here.

Denaya J. 

Report from Hot Dog Week

For one week during September, we had a lunch menu---including specialty hot dogs! It wasn't as well-attended as we would have liked, but since everyone who came by enjoyed the sandwiches so much, we'll be trying another sandwich week in October! Here's one happy customer enjoying her hot dog (with tomato, onion, pesto, and more):

Girl eating a hot dog