Like most people, come January, our thoughts turn towards healthier eating, but we’re food lovers, so austere detox programs most definitely do not appeal. That’s why Sara’s book has become our New Year’s bible. It’s chock full of healthy recipes that are also delicious and tempting (not the least of which are multiple varieties of chocolate bark). Now, that’s a cleanse we can get behind!
Here’s a little more about Sara:
How did the idea for the book arise?
My editor at Bon Appetit challenged me to come up with a healthy eating plan that appealed to people as innately enthusiastic about food and cooking as me, and so I worked together with NYC dietician Marissa Lippert to build a framework for a two week recipe plan full of good flavors, textures and celebratory moments. I prepared the menu along with our readers, and blogged about my delicious meals and my failures as well.
We made a new online plan each January for six years, and finally were able to take those principles and put them together in a 140-recipe book with a menu not just for winter, but for each season. Our eating principles are broad, not especially trendy: no refined sugars, grains, no processed foods; lots and lots of vegetables. I specifically avoid words like detoxing and superfoods because I think they are unrealistic. What I want to help people do is find delight in eating that might become a healthy habit beyond any temporary reset. Maybe that one lentil dish that you swap out once a week for white pasta, or the really satisfying breakfast that replaces a daily pastry at the coffee shop. If pleasure is a driving principle, then eating more healthfully is a joy and not a dreary obligation.
What flavors are you loving right now?
It's winter, so I'm looking for brightness wherever I can. Citrus is my lifeline: ordinary limes, lemons and oranges, but I also love the sweeter tang of Meyer lemons, the big succulent tendrils of pomelo, and the limey-tangerine quality of calamansi, a tiny fruit that you can get at Asian supermarkets. I also love using fresh turmeric: I brew it into a little infusion with hot water and throw shaved ribbons of it into braised greens.
Do you learn something new about yourself each year you follow the cleanse?
Every year, I experience what I call sugar creep, where I start leaning harder on foods with added sugar more and more. Not so much desserts, which I think everyone should enjoy occasionally, but a little more granola, an afternoon pastry, sweetened yogurt versus plain, and frankly more wine, which has its own sweetness. When I do my program every year, I reset that yearning, and remember that I'm perfectly happy with less sugar in my life, and I can save my sweetness for a real treat, like a friend's homemade jam.
I also think that the Food Lover's Cleanse gives me a chance to observe my own appetite and develop healthy rhythms for eating: if I have a satisfying breakfast, I don't find myself grazing before lunch. If I get some protein in a (planned) afternoon snack, then I don't sit down to dinner with a voracious appetite. If I wait a couple of minutes after finishing my food, I most often realize I don't really need those seconds.
Who influenced your love of food the most?
Well, my mother was a wonderful cook and encouraged me to be independent in the kitchen, which got me off and running. But it is cookbook authors with wanderlust who really got me exploring the flavors of the world, people like Paula Wolfert, Yotam Ottolenghi, Naomi Duguid, and Fuschia Dunlop keep me exploring the flavors of the world.
How do you keep it fresh other times of the year when you're in that "what's for dinner rut?"
I love a condiment, I have to say, and my refrigerator is overstuffed with pickles, kimchi and sauces of all varieties. Condiments can make even the simplest meals feel vibrant and new. I toss turmeric sauerkraut into my salads for a bit of golden yellow crunch. A little dose of the Korean chili paste, gochujang, for example can wake up a tray of simply roasted vegetables. Yuzu koshi, the Japanese citrus-hot sauce will make the same old chicken soup taste new again.
Here's one of our many favorite recipes from The Food Lover's Cleanse:
LEMONGRASS SHRIMP WITH MUSHROOMS
25 TO 30 MINUTES (12 ACTIVE)
4 SERVINGS AND 1 LUNCH THE NEXT DAY
Prepping lemongrass is therapeutic. There’s the satisfying thunk that comes from chopping off the stubborn root end, and, most important, that invigorating lemony herbal fragrance adds gorgeous flavor to any ingredient it embellishes. I’ve paired juicy shrimp with plump mushrooms, but try the marinade on other ingredients, too: tofu, chicken, beef, and eggplant all benefit from the power of lemongrass.
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons coconut oil, softened, or canola oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 lemongrass stalks, exterior leaves removed and tender bulb and lower stalk cut into 2-inch pieces
1½ pounds shelled, deveined jumbo or extra-jumbo shrimp, preferably wild American shrimp (about 30 per pound)
1 pound cultivated mushrooms, preferably king trumpet, oyster, or beech mushrooms, tough stems removed and caps cut lengthwise in ½-inch slices
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus more to taste
Flaky sea salt to taste
Place an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450˚F.
To make the marinade, in a blender or small food processor, combine the shallot, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, coconut oil, honey, fine sea salt, and pepper. Process into a rough puree.
Press down on the lemongrass stalks using the back of your knife until fragrant and the oils have been released.
In a medium bowl, toss half the lemongrass and half the marinade with the shrimp. Chill until ready to cook.
In a separate bowl, toss the rest of the lemongrass and marinade with the mushrooms, turning gently but thoroughly to coat the mushrooms evenly. Let sit for 10 minutes, or up to an hour. Lift the mushrooms out of the marinade and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast the mushrooms until lightly browned and tender, about 12 minutes, rotating the pan and flipping the mushrooms halfway through. Turn on the broiler to brown them a bit more, 1 or 2 minutes, watching carefully.
Pull the shrimp out of the marinade and spread them on a baking sheet. Place the sheet on the highest oven rack and broil them just until opaque at their centers, 2 to 3 minutes. It should not be necessary to flip the shrimp if they’re the recommended size; larger or shell-on shrimp will do best if turned midway through the cooking.
Toss the shrimp with the mushrooms, mint, and chives. Add the lime juice, taste, and add flaky sea salt and/or more lime juice as desired.
From BON APPETIT: THE FOOD LOVER’S CLEASE by Sara Dickerman. Copyright © 2015 by Sara Dickerman. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Full of things that have never been.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
The final sprint to Christmas and Hanukkah is on and while we’re sure you’ve been attending to your gift list all month long (maybe even since November) chances are there are a few names that still need checking off.
So, in the spirit of excellent last minute gifting, we offer up a thoughtful list of presents just perfect for the teacher, nanny, baby or otherwise challenging person to shop for in your life.
Star light, star bright
For the fledgling super star
For wishing upon a star all year round
Second star to the right, and straight on till morning
Be the hero: catch a falling star
December 17 and 18, we’ll be at the Portland Rejuvenation light and lifestyle store (1100 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214) where we’ll join 40+ vendors from the Northwest for that city’s first annual Remodelista Market.
We are excited to be in Portland and would love to see you one and all!
Our Holiday Pop Up is open and bursting with thoughtful and unique gifts for all ages. We’d love to see you here so we’re throwing a little soiree.
Have you heard of the Danish concept of hygge? It’s pronounced “heurga,” and while it’s hard to define in English, we think of it as “radical coziness.”
Winter is high time for hygge in Denmark, when endless winter descends and people look to soft lighting, blankets and warm mugs of hot mulled wine for comfort and pleasure.
Hygge represents a type of mindfulness and community that tends to get lost in early winter as the gift giving and shopping mania take hold. Hygge is curling up with a book in front of the fire; enjoying a candlelit meal with your family; savoring a pastry; or snuggling on the couch with a loved one under a soft blanket and just being together.
Beautifully scented candles, fleece-lined boots, warm quilts and soft sweaters serve to enhance your hygge experience, but in its essence, hygge is free. And once you start looking for it, you’ll begin to see opportunities for it everywhere.
(First photo by ej44 courtesy Wiki Commons)
High on our list of Most Admired Women sits Deborah Cavendish, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. Born Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford in 1920, the Duchess was the youngest of the six Mitford sisters, who were well-known English socialites of the 1930s and 40s. When she died at 94 in 2014, she was perhaps the only person who could say that she hosted the Kennedys, was a familiar of the Queen and a Prime Minister, and collected Elvis memorabilia.
As a child, the Duchess and her sisters grew up in grand, yet threadbare, homes where they conspired together while huddled in warm linen closets and mucked about the grounds in their Wellies. She developed a great love of chickens at age six, fiercely loved the countryside, and spent her life surrounded by dogs.
Perhaps it was the faded glory of her childhood homes that inspired what the Duchess is most remembered for: restoring her husband’s ancestral estate, Chatsworth House—a grand English manor—and transforming it into a bastion of gracious living, a profitable tourist attraction and a booming cottage industry.
Her life was extraordinary. By all accounts she was wonderfully eccentric, quietly glamorous and endlessly devoted to the causes she held dear.
Photo by Bruce Weber
Some of our favorite quotes about the Duchess:
“She presided over the bread, cake, jam and chutney industries which grew up to feed the farm shop, which was described…as ‘every greedy child’s idea of what a shop should be’.” The Telegraph
“Her favourite reading matter was the British goat keepers’ monthly journal, Fancy Fowl magazine and Beatrix Potter.” The Telegraph
"Deborah Devonshire is not someone to whom one can say, 'Joking apart . . .' Joking never is apart: with her it's of the essence..." Stephen Moss, The Guardian
“Her hair is steely grey and voluminous; she is elegantly dressed in high-necked blouse, lemon cardigan and sensible skirt; on her left wrist, beside her watch, she has a band with a small red disc that I mistake for a bracelet; she tells me it is an alarm in case she has a fall, but that she likes to pretend the red button she has to activate is a ruby.” Stephen Moss, The Guardian
Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to swing by our lovely Holiday Pop Up and enjoy some holiday shopping.
Starting Friday, November 25 and running through Christmas Eve, December 24, we’re opening a temporary Holiday Pop Up at the Merrill Place building at 411 1st Ave South in Pioneer Square adjacent to Intermezzo Carmine (which has the most divine fried olives, BTW). We’ll be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Our Holiday Pop Up will feature an expanded selection of gifts—in a range price points—from brands with a similar artistic vision as our own. In the midst of the big-box retail era, it’s our goal to offer a more personal shopping experience through a careful collection of inspired finds to mark our lives with thoughtfulness and beauty. We hope to see you there!
The new flora and henri product range includes
Wireless headphones from Danish design duo, Kreafunk ($190)
Artisanal British chocolate from Prestat ($25)
Assorted ceramics from Dutch potter Lenneke Wispelwey ($125-300)
Spherovelo ride-on toy for toddlers ($110)
Solid perfume from South Africa’s Frazer Parfum ($74)
Dolls from Northern California’s Jess Brown ($198-$234)
So come down to Pioneer Square and make a day of it. There is lots of great food, wine, coffee and shopping to be found here. Street parking is easy to find, and many lots offer low hourly rates or special evening and weekend flat rates. Also: Free parking on First Thursdays for Art Walk! Get the scoop here.
Even More Good News
We’re opening a brand new brick and mortar Concept Store, also in Pioneer Square (401 First Ave South in the Schwabacher Hardware Co. space on the corner of First Ave South and Jackson Street) in March 2017. Much like our Holiday Pop Up the new location will have a refined inventory of lifestyle products, women’s clothing, and gifts, along the very best of our children’s clothing, shoes and toy selection.
One thing runs through lifelong Seattleite, Jane Hedreen’s list of most-loved things: the unfettered beauty of simplicity. Be it the abundant inspiration she finds in nature; good, nourishing food enjoyed around the family table; the women in her life who have and continue to influence her; and Seattle itself, Jane draws on them all to design and curate an inventory for flora and henri that allows us all to experience the joy of simply beautiful things.
How do you describe your personal style?
In general, I am a bit sporty, and I like a natural look. I love light colors and textures, like beautiful vintage white embroidery or chunky luxurious soft knits. I am not big on multiple accessories. I like to keep it simple, everything well made and fresh. As a shopper, I prefer quality to quantity, always. I hope that describes what flora and henri feels like to others.
(daughter Estelle, New York)
Who are your muses?
My 25-year-old daughter Estelle inspires me. She never thinks hard about anything and just throws it on and goes. Never too precious, she always looks beautiful, but it does not take up her time. She is simple, and elegant with an edge of street fashion. Her priority is getting out the door. That said, she always changes for dinner!
(grandma Nona circa 1945)
My grandmother Nona inspired me, as well. She was such a beautiful woman. She had the best instinct for colors and fabrics and always smelled of Shalimar. She was very Nordic looking with gorgeous fair hair and blue eyes. She wore the light colors that I like so much. She chose everything in her life carefully and nothing was disposable. It was meant to last forever.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
Nature, nature, nature and travel. I love to be outdoors and the more remote the better. My mind gets clear and I feel inspired by the majesty of it. But even on an average day, stopping by the dahlia garden or seeing a blue heron at the fishpond in Volunteer Park while on a run can change my whole outlook. Then, on the flip side, I can’t love being in Amsterdam or Paris or Madrid more. The ages of good design layered one generation on top of the other, is so energizing. Again, it is textures and colors for me. When working on design, I like to look back at vintage fashion and find the details that make the difference. I have a fashion crush on one of our favorite customers, Olya Thompson, and seeing her style always delights me.
(Olya Thompson, Photo: Gueorgui Pinkhassov)
How do you choose what to carry at flora and henri?
I don't carry anything at flora and henri that I wouldn’t have for myself. In fact, the origins of our live and love product line were the things I live with at home that inspire me. I wanted to carry those objects and offer the gifts I need for the loves in my life. It’s all very personal and there is a story about everyone who creates the products we carry. I like to curate beautiful things.
Describe your perfect meal.
Oh I love this question! My perfect meal is at home with family and friends. My husband is an amazing and generous cook who has created a household of abundantly delicious meals for all who know us. I asked for sole meunière for my birthday with little yellow wax potatoes and asparagus and he made it perfectly. But this time of year, I like his sugar glazed Korean beef that we all sit around and pull apart and wrap in lettuce leaves and dip in magical sauces. Meals are honored and about so much for us.
(Dave's chicken fricasse)
Bonus: What do you love about Seattle?
Can I keep talking about food? There is so much delicious food here created by original, inspired and genius people. So much about warmth and friendship and communication and love comes with a perfect coffee, a glass of wine or a lovely meal. We are not a downtown city; we are a city of neighborhoods and each has such a unique feeling and flavor. My life on Capitol Hill for the past 20 years, has felt so rich and textured. I also love the water and the mountains. I can be driving down the street to look up and see the sun rising or setting with the mountains and the ferries, and I know this is part of who I am and where I came from.
post ~ September 30, 2016
How did it happen that one day in February I received the most charming of emails…
We are from Germany and the names of our children are: Flora and Henri! Henri is 7 and Flora 4. This summer we will be travelling along the West coast and we plan to stop by at your store around August 12. My wife discovered your website by coincidence.
We also have another daughter: Tilda (1 year) but you do not need to add her name to your store name :).
Yes, it is true that Flora and Henri (and Tilda) paid us a visit!
We are so honored to have come in contact with such a truly lovely family with a heart for connection and coincidence that matched ours. When they left Seattle, and not without Henri leaving me a beautiful gift of his own German carved wooden hand-puppets, (in honor of the Henri’s toys section of our website) we sent them off with swimsuits and playclothes for their RV adventure down the coast to San Francisco. Their father, clearly with a knack for the camera, captured some amazing photos to share with us:
We are so grateful for the connection of one Flora and Henri family with another. At the end of their visit, they met up with famed flora and henri photographer, Stephanie Rausser, in Petaluma to capture the moment. Stay tuned for our next post.
We are filled with such deep affection for the Gunter family!