Ashley + Gabe’s Holiday Gift Guide

There are several of you, I’m sure, that say “a gift guide on December 13?! I’ve been done with my holiday shopping for weeks!” But I’m hoping there a few of you out there that are like me and you still have plenty of shopping to do. If you’re a newsletter subscriber you received this a few days ago but I thought I would still share it here with all of you.

Gabe and I have compiled a few of our favorite things from 2017, and a few things we both have on our lists.

Above all else, have a lovely holiday season filled with joy, delight, and plenty of delicious things.

For the Cookbook Lover

These are some of the food books that inspired me most this year.


1. Six Seasons


2. Market Cooking – David Tanis 


3. Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles 


4. The Little Library Cookbook – for the book and food lover


5. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat


6. Consider the Fork 

Gifts for Food Lovers


7. KitchenAid Copper Pans

Okay, okay, yes the price tag is steep on these bad boys but when creating this list I’m thinking of the things that have brought me joy over the last year and these definitely fit that category.

These are the pans I use at the shop and each time I grab them from the shelf to cook with I have a smile on my face. They are stunning and perform beautifully.


8.Tutto Calabria Hot Long Chili Peppers

These little peppers pack a delightful punch. Slightly pickled and quite spicy that add heat and intensity to pretty much everything I’m cooking these days. They are my secret weapon in the kitchen right now.

Locally you can find these on the retail shelves at The Pantry in Ballard or find them online.


9. Baron Brothers Coffee

I may be biased as this company was started by my two brothers who I adore but I also think their coffee is really incredible. In fact, when you come eat at the shop this is what we will be serving.


They are new so I don’t think they have online purchasing available quite yet but I carry their beans in my shop here in Seattle.



10. Plantation 5 Rum – Barbados 

Rated 99pts by me. This just might be my favorite spirit. I mean the bottle is wrapped in straw so you know it’s good. It brags a delightfully golden honey color with notes of awesomeness on the tongue. I’ve compared it to other more aged and expensive rums and keep coming back to Plantation 5. Affordable in price yet perfect for sipping by itself. And as rum is the new scotch, go get yourself a bottle… and invite me over. – Gabe


11. Wild Lummi Island Pink Salmon

Yes, there are occasions where I get in the kitchen and get my man-apron dirty. I don’t keep my cool in the kitchen very well so having local (caught up near where Ashley was born and raised) sustainable salmon in the pantry is a great thing to have. I threw together a quick slaw for some fish tacos that were easy to make and even 2 of the 3 kids enjoyed for dinner. – Gabe


12.Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha

We have a thing for hot sauce in our family and this one has currently replaced ALL of them in my book. There’s a slight fermented funk and plenty of that craveable heat. We’ll be carrying it in our own shop soon but you can’t wait that long.


13.Imperfect Produce

I look forward to this produce delivery every week and I feel so great knowing that I’m saving less-than-perfect produce from the compost pile. With fresh produce on hand and a few pantry staples I have save myself from many dreaded grocery store trips.

14. Barebones Cast Iron

Even in the Winter I am cooking outside as much as I possible can. These pans are lighter than traditional cast iron and yet sturdy enough to handle long braises with flames lapping at its sides. Of course they work indoors as well.




Pretty Things


15. Svensk Sommarang No. 2 Candle from Anders Shop

My home (and now the shop) feels naked without this candle.


16. Kinto Unitea Teapot

When form & function come together it’s a beautiful thing. Ashley and I visited London a few years ago and when I found myself with an afternoon alone I explored the city going from coffee shop to coffee shop (my favorites at that time were Prufrock & Workshop in case you find yourself in London looking for a nice cup). At some point, I wasn’t quite ready for the pub but was still out and about so I stopped in a shop that I luckily happened upon for some education on an english cup of tea. I walked in to Postcard Teas and admitted, in my thick american accent, that I really had no idea what it looks like to enjoy a proper cup of tea. They obliged and I was inspired. I left with a few tins of loose leaf and a small Japanese made glass teapot that was aimed at getting me started enjoying a decent cup of tea back in Seattle. Now if you know me, you’ll know that coffee is my mainstay, but certainly this year, enduring a stomach ulcer (ugh!) I’ve leaned more heavily on tea to get me through the day. And until very recently, this teapot has seen me through. Sad to say, a child, who will remain anonymous, seemed to have broken my little teapot. So this vessel has made it’s way onto my personal holiday list. My favorite part is watching the leaves dance as you pour. I usually stop and watch with enjoyment as my hot water choreographs a flashmob of tea leaves bouncing in concentric circles. Quite lovely.


17. Noonday

Several people on my list will be getting Noonday for Christmas. Their products are gorgeous but the heart behind the brand is what I love the most. Since the company began they have helped thousands of people around the world by creating jobs with living wages through the production of their products. They are currently working with over 4,400 artisans in 12 countries.

I own many of their pieces but this bag is currently on my Christmas list.


Practical Things


18. Soda Stream

I’m always trying to do a better job of staying properly hydrated but I do find water to be so boring. Bubbles make everything more exciting and this saves us from drowning our recycling container in La Croix cans.


19. Audible Subscription 

It’s the only way I’m able to read anything these days. I know, I know, that’s quite sad but really audiobooks also perk up long car rides and help motivate me to get out and walk. Trevor Noah’s book, Born a Crime,   was an absolute brilliant audio book (he reads it himself and his voices are amazing!) and Brené Brown’s, Braving the Wilderness was also a favorite from the year.


20. Saddleback Leather Co. Bifold Walletsa

This simple little beauty just gets better with age. I’ve had mine going on 8 years so I’ve still got 92 years left on my 100 year warranty. (Seriously, what other product that you use daily comes with a 100-year warranty!?) They’re slogan is “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead” And they say that every one of their products ‘it built for you to break in for the next guy.’ As someone who values practicality and nostalgia, I ask myself, what will my kids fight over when I’m gone? Surely not my ever burdensome collection of hard drives, but perhaps my growing stockpile of art supplies, a watch or two, my 40 year old Filson cruiser, and maybe my simple old leather wallet with its natural patina from years of supporting my backside. – Gabe

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Smoked Pumpkin with Arugula, Pepitas, and Feta

It feels so good to be writing in this space right now. I always hate being away but there are seasons that demand it. Like the ones in which you spend writing a book.

The manuscript is in. Oh my word, you guys, I’ve not even officially shared the title of the next book with you. Badabadabada (that’s a drum roll). My second book is called: Let’s Stay In: More than 120 recipes to nourish the ones you love. I love it. I hope you do too.

I’m still deep in the process of photographing and editing but my mind is freed up enough that I can think about all the recipes I want to share with you here. It’s been frustrating for me as I imagine it has for you too, to tease you with tempting images and plead with you to wait until next Fall before I give up the recipe. I’m eager to share the book with you and watch you all bound into your kitchens and make the recipes that I have been creating for you over the last year.

We’ll talk more about all of that soon but really I came here to talk about two things; 1. Smoked Pumpkin and 2. Inhaling and Exhaling.

On a recent trip to San Francisco I snagged Brené Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness, from the airport bookstore. It’s been so life giving to me that I hardly think this will be the only time I reference it in conversation here but the concept she introduced to me that I’m living currently is the inhale/exhale of life.

“There is the in-breath and there is the out-breath, and it’s easy to believe that we must exhale all the time, without ever inhaling. But the inhale is absolutely essential if you want to continue to exhale.”

After Date Night In came out I started to understand my creative career, and life in general, as an undulating cycle of output and input, or as Brené would say; inhale and exhale. The inhale is as vital as the exhale. The part in the cycle where you refuel, recharge, and gear up for the next season of exhaling.

This has been a year of a lot of exhale as I once again poured myself into a book while at the same time building our flagship store here in Seattle. As the gray clouds roll in and both projects reach (near) completion my mind is shifting to the season of inhaling.

Inhaling for me can be as simple as sitting with a long neglected cookbook. Although sometimes that hits too close to my day job so I’ll reach for a novel or a book of poetry instead. Last week I took a cooking class from one of my cookbook hero’s, David Tanis. And this morning, while having a hard time getting out of bed, Ivy and I made plans for a cozy day over winter break. We’ll linger in bed all day if we must while we work to hit our goal of finishing Little Women before Christmas.

Inhaling can be simple but it must be a part of the process.

Next let’s talk about smoked pumpkin. While on a recent trip to Utah where I taught a class to some lovely people at the Barebones flagship store in Salt Lake City, I was served a meal cooked entirely over the fire by Mona and Jaret from Tournant. Ever dish inspired but the one that sent me immediately into the kitchen upon my return was the ember roasted pumpkin salad. The exterior was crisp and charred while the flesh so tender it nearly melted. It was sweet, smoky and perfectly offset with tang from lemon and peppery arugula. Pepitas, roasted with great depth and salty sheep feta finish the salad. We started off properly scooping tidy portions onto our plates but after that we moved right to the large platter making sure that our forks each had the perfectly balanced bite.

Over the summer, Traeger sent one of their grills/smokers and I have been using it constantly. For the pumpkin I smoked it for 2 – 2 1/2 hours on 400°F or until it felt tender. Alternately you can roast in a hot oven until tender or bury in embers as Tournant did for their dish. However you decide I do think it is a lovely addition to the holiday table.

Smoked Pumpkin with Arugula, Feta, and Pepitas


Inspired by Tournant

1 2 to 3 pound Kombucha Squash

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Flake salt


4 cups arugula

1/4 cup toasted pepitas

1/2 cup crumbled Feta

Zest and juice from 1 lemon


Smoke the pumpkin until tender. The longer the pumpkin sits in the smoker the more intense the smokey flavor will be.

With my smoker set to 400°F my pumpkin was tender after about 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Next time I may try 300°F for 3 - 4 hours for more smokiness.

Alternately you can roast the pumpkin whole, in the oven at 400°F until tender. Poke a pairing knife into the pumpkin and when it easily slides all the way you know it's done.

Let the pumpkin cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting off the top then carefully removing the seeds.

Roughly break the pumpkin into smaller sections. Top with some of the olive oil, flake salt and lemon juice.

Pile on the arugula on top then dress with the remaining olive oil and lemon zest and juice. Scatter the Feta and pepitas all over the top.

Serve while the pumpkin is still just warm or room temperature.

If you are making this for the holidays you can easily smoke or roast the pumpkin in advance then dress the salad just before serving.

Be sure to use plenty of olive oil and salt on the pumpkin.



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