Busy bees over here. Would you believe we are about knee-deep in Christmas inventory and decor for the shop? True story. But I’m not ready to jump the gun and share photos of Christmas just yet. We are, however, stocking more books this time of year as they make the perfect gift. I am very excited about the selection of garden to table books we have at The West End Garage in Cape May.
The newest release is the The Kitchn Cookbook from Apartment Therapy’s sister website, The Kitchn. I’ve been paging through it the last couple of days. This isn’t just a cookbook but more of a textbook with some really practical lessons like knife skills and kitchen layout.
I truly enjoy all of these gardening, cooking and cocktail books and reference them in my own home. They live right in the kitchen. We recently picked up a potting bench that we’re using as a microwave cart. It is a fantastic addition to our kitchen. Check out that zinc top! The drawer holds linens and the shelf neatly organizes those books. In addition, the pegs on the side allow tea towels to hang.
We also started stocking Philadelphia-made diagram tea towels from Girls Can Tell. I love their quirky designs and am especially drawn to the garden themes. The evergreens are new in store.
And while we’re making the rounds of new inventory, I must tell you about my latest obsession. P.F. Candle Co. has the most delightful scents. We’ve got some seasonal scents such as apple picking and pumpkin spice. I can’t decide which is my favorite. The simple packaging and branding make me very happy. Check out the cute little amber jars.
We pulled the trigger and got these adorable ceramic egg crates in as well. I’ve been using mine for years and am glad to share this novelty in the shop. The egg crate makes a perfect gift paired with The Fresh Egg Cookbook for under $25! Just sayin.
So that about covers the “new” inventory we are stocking. We are rolling out more and more vintage pieces every week. In fact, we are running a sale on select furniture currently at The West End Garage. Come in and check it out!
I’ll leave you with this image. Our popular autumn wreath on my favorite old chippy door. Love the contrast in colors! How about you?
The garden is off to a great start this spring. We’ve had warm, sunny days and cool, misty nights. As a result, we’re harvesting bunches and bunches of lettuce plus a bunch of leafy kale every other day.
The more frequently it is harvested, the higher the yield. I hate to let any of it go to waste because I know once the temperatures soar these greens will bolt leaving me wishing for just one more kale infused smoothie. And I’ve tried but I’m just not into kale chips.
In order to maximize the kale harvest and make it last well into summer I’ve come up with a plan. After washing the bunch of kale and trimming the stems, I toss it into a pan and blanch it. This only takes a few minutes. I usually do it while making dinner.
Then, with tongs, I place the wilted greens into an ice-cube tray and cover with water.
Pop the tray in the freezer and we’ve got kale cubes. The cubes are ready to chill any smoothie or to toss into any soup, stir fry or side dish. I put the excess cubes in a freezer bag to make room for more. There’s another harvest right behind this one!
I recently read an interesting article about the benefits of using cooked kale vs. raw kale in smoothies. What do you think? What is your preference?
After only sourcing vintage for years, it has been very exciting to choose a selection of new products to bring into the shop at The West End Garage. Similar to my approach when buying vintage, I simply buy my favorite new items to stock. I ask… Is this something I would want in my house? Is this something I truly love? Is this something I will be sad to see go? The answer should be yes! (Hello, turn of the century oak harvest table pictured below. I really, really love you! I will be sad to see you go but you deserve a good home.)
This approach to buying inventory is something that I have been reminded of lately and have found myself telling others who are just starting out. I think it is really important to love what you are selling. Don’t choose it or make it just because you “think” someone else will love it. Now granted, not everyone will have the same taste as you. For example, I have a growing collection of old ship captains, ahem. However, I believe the authenticity of your merchandise will show through when you are passionate about what you are selling. It’s hard to honestly sell something you don’t believe in.
With that said we’ve stocked a few choice cookbooks and gardening books to keep in line with the garden to table collection we have at The West End Garage. I am really excited about the line up. We have Deep-Rooted Wisdom, a new release authored by blogger Augustus Jenkins Farmer. I am about half way through this book and I’m loving the gardening tips, stories & characters.
People have asked me how I chose which books to carry. Well, I initially took the lead from a few tried and true favorites in my own kitchen stack of cookbooks and cocktail books.
The Kinfolk Table has since been added to that stack. It has quickly become a favorite for two reasons. One, the photography and stories are beautiful. Of course I love a good aesthetic! Two, the recipes are really approachable made with pantry staples that we pretty much always have on hand. Essentially the book lends new ideas with classic ingredients.
I have been inspired to make many of the soups and stews outlined in The Kinfolk Table. A few weeks ago I made the Wilted Greens & Potato Soup on page 287. I hadn’t thought to put kale in soup until this recipe.
Great idea. We loved it!
What is your favorite gardening or cookbook?