Welcome to the Shop!
Our doors are finally open. You know how long I’ve been waiting to say that?!
The idea to create a shop open to the public for workshops, meals, and a few of my favorite things in and out of the kitchen came at the start of 2017. Like so many of you I was asking myself a lot of questions about life, work, and how am I helping to unite and move my community forward. From all of that soul digging I heard, “build a table and they will come”. Okay, it wasn’t exactly like that but that phrase and consequently that scene from Field of Dreams continually played in my mind throughout the entire process.
I dreamt about a space to work that was away from our home so that home could feel a bit more as such and I could have the ability to leave work at the door and focus on my family without being lured away by the computer in the other room. I longed for complete freedom of creativity in the kitchen. My career in food began in professional kitchens and I missed the ability to stand in the kitchen and watch the delight on the diner’s faces as the plates I just created hit their table. I missed the rush of service and the stretching of my creativity in the kitchen using techniques and ingredients that I don’t often share here for fear of limiting the audience. And I wanted a place to play host to authors, instructors, artists, creatives and whoever else is wanting to inspire and teach 14 people at my table. I wanted to continue to learn from others and be able to create an environment of learning.
Building this space felt like putting in the last piece of the puzzle. Every recipe I share, word that I write, and image that I take and share with you all here, on Instagram, Facebook – anywhere – is with one goal in mind: To encourage and inspire all of us to spend as much time at the table as possible. I never regret a minute spent at the table, in fact it’s at the table where relationships are built, memories are made, tears are shed, laughter is abundant, and food is shared.
In the early part of last year I started spiraling into a place of feeling as if my work didn’t matter. I talk about food a lot and in light of everything else in the world that just felt so trite until I really saw that yes, I talk about food but really that is simply the medium used to gather people. So it seemed fitting to take that purpose and make it more tangible by building out a homey space with a 12-foot table eager to seat anyone and everyone.
I do hope that someday all of you can stop by and sit at my table but until that time I won’t stop sharing the work I do here and elsewhere online.
There are so many people to thank for helping me turn this dream into a reality. KitchenAid heard my dream, saw the vision and helped make it happen. Their generosity gave me the chance to build out a kitchen that I would say was my dream kitchen, but honestly even the kitchen in my dreams isn’t this good. Every large and small appliance you see in this space is from them and I assure you this place would not be the same without their help. I have been a loyal fan of KitchenAid since my first mixer nearly fifteen years ago. I returned so many wedding gifts in order to be able to afford the one I truly wanted; a 5-quart stand mixer in Pistachio green. My kitchen has never been without one of their mixers since. And when you do come and sit at my bar while I’m making us something to eat, I will gush about my induction cooktop because I am a huge, huge fan.
Last week I hosted our first ticketed event in the shop. This meant that most the people coming to the table didn’t know one another before they sat down. Just before dessert came out I turned to Gabe, who was my server for the afternoon, and said, “That is my favorite sound in the whole world.” The volume had crept louder and louder until the music could no longer be heard. There were glasses being clinked, laughter extending the entire length of the table, business cards being shared and dates being planned for the next lunch at the shop. I’ve yet to have an event here where the sight of the table full of people doesn’t fill me with tears. A dream realized.
This Farro and Parmesan pie was the main course for that lunch and all the plates came back to the kitchen completely clean. In fact I am sharing the recipe here because I promised everyone at that table that I would. I saw the burnished crust of this pie on BonAppetit.com and immediately knew I needed to make that.
There are few ingredients so each must be treated with care. I’ve made a few changes from the original recipe in the form of lemon zest, garlic, thyme and Italian farro. When I first tasted Farro in Italy I thought they must have cooked it for days and days. It was tender, still delightfully nutty but it didn’t have the irksome chew that I find to be more laborious than what I want in a meal. And in actuality, Italian farro, or semi-perlato (semi-pearled) takes about 10 minutes from dry grain to tender. I’ve been able to purchase it online, at Whole Foods or at a local European import store. If you can’t find it, regular farro is completely fine.
*This post was created in partnership with KitchenAid. Thank you, as always, for supporting the brands that support the work I create.
Farro and Parmesan Pie
Yield 8 - 10
Adapted from BonAppetit.com
Olive oil (for pan)
1 cup Italian farro, or semi-perlato farro (available at WholeFoods)
2 thyme sprigs
2 cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Pinch of nutmeg
4 large eggs
Grease a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil. Wrap the exterior in aluminum foil then place on a sheet tray. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a large saucepan add 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the farro and thyme. Sauté the farro until toasted, about 10 minutes. Carefully add water to cover, along with a couple of hefty pinches of sea salt then bring to a simmer and cook until the farro is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the farro and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together 1 3/4 cups of the Parmesan, cream, milk, sea salt, lemon zest, garlic, nutmeg and the eggs. Add the drained farro and pour the entire mixture into the prepared springform pan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until slightly puffed around the edges but the center has a bit of jiggle still in there.
Top the pie with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, move it to the top of your oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until deeply golden and bubbling.
Serve while just warm or room temperature.
The pie can be made the day before and gently reheated just before serving.
I can’t wait to attend one of your events!
This is gorgeous and was one of my favourite things I’ve eaten. Can’t wait to eat this, all your recipes are perfect (and I’ve tried dozens of them).
Thanks so much Kristel. Sorry it took so long to get the recipe up. A version of the salad we ate that day is coming next. 🙂
So excited to see you using this space to share more frequently again! And VERY excited to try this pie soon.
How wonderful that you have a space to better facilitate enjoyment of life, and to better share your vision. Thank you so much for doing what you do!
Karen, thanks for always being so encouraging. It means so much to me. This space still feels surreal in the best way possible. Excited to feed you at the table.
Congratulations! Love the idea of this gathering space. First time commenting, but a huge fan 🙂
Ashley, wow, congratulations! You are such a beautiful writer and your blog (and book) are such a source of cooking and relationship aspirations and joy for me. Hope to check out your space on my next trip to the PNW!
I have long been a fan of NWS. Your writing & photography are always beautiful.
This post, literally, brought tears to my eyes… I don’t know if it’s because I am going through a transitional phase of my life, or because it’s cloudy outside, or simply because I’m in awe of seeing someone follow her dream.
Wishing you much success! And I hope to sit at your table someday…
Congratulations! Wow, what a space! Truly an inspirational story and the best part is that it is just the beginning.
Thank you for those kind words. I love that feeling as I read you say this is just the beginning.
So pretty! Congrats, Ashley!
There’s a chance we’ll be out your way in the fall… not positive yet. If so, I’d love to see you and check out the shop!
Congratulations!! I’ve been a very casual follower for years and even I’ve tried a few of your recipes! I am just so happy for you. You are the Joanna Gaines of food, and have been for years and years, before she was even a thing!
I hope you realize that the work you do does matter… Not only because you are bringing people together physically, but there are also people you inspire silently, like me. I guarantee I’m not your only devotee who has been quietly inspired by you, from little ways like getting us more adventurous in the kitchen, to in big ways like being a role model and living proof of what can happen when you apply yourself, stay true to your vision, and follow your dreams… So on behalf of all of us, thank you, and congratulations! You did it!!
I am a huge fan of your blog and I can’t wait to see the new shop. I haven’t ever tried Italian Farro but I love the Farro from Blue Bird Grain Farms our of Winthrop WA.
I love Blue Bird!!
“A dream realized” Yes! What wonderful words to hear. I can’t wait to attend and hopefully host a dinner in that lovely space. It looks beautiful and the perfect spot for you to make your own. I love what you put out into the world and can’t wait to see what magic you make of this spot. Cheers!
You are always always always welcome at the shop.
I made this last night and could not stop eating it. So so so good. Bravo! Awesome space too!
I love hearing this! Thanks for reporting back.
Congratulations on your new digs and thank you for sharing this lovely recipe!
I don’t want to minimize the big ideas you’re talking about in this post, but would you mind sharing where you found the sweater in the first photo?
It looks so cozy!
So sweet! Thank you – it’s actually from a local antique shop so sadly I can’t point you in the right direction.
What a great post an what a lovely space. Your kitchen turned out amazing and I love the open shelves. I will be trying this recipe very soon. I love everything you do!
Congratulations on your new digs and thank you for sharing this lovely recipe!
As someone who has been to your shop twice for two AMAZING meals, I can say without a doubt, that this place is beyond perfection. We had my birthday here with friends and then a girl’s night last month…SO FUN. The food is delicious, the ambiance is on point, and the service is always great. I HIGHLY recommend everyone give it a try!
I really liked this dish. I always have all the ingredients on hand and it’s really quick to put together. My husband and four year old loved it. I am assuming it would make a great lunch.