Wednesday, April 21, 2010

N is for Nantucket

is for

Nantucket, a wind-swept island off the coast of Cape Cod, stole my heart and imagination many years ago. Only fourteen miles long and three and a half miles wide, it is full of beauty, charm, and history.

With thoughts of one of my favorite destinations, I've set a lunch table for you today. Please come in and join me for a bowl of clam chowder.

I like to make New England clam chowder with fresh clams, potatoes, bacon, onions, and cream.

The tureen is Nantucket by Wedgwood. The details on this piece replicate the details found on many of the Nantucket lightship baskets.

A Nantucket lightship basket 
holds fresh rolls right out of the oven.

This young man holds a little salt and pepper should you desire more seasoning in your chowder. He's French and must have come ashore from one of the many sailing vessels moored in the harbor.

You'll dine with my new Gourmet Settings flatware, a gift from Michael Lee West. I was the lucky winner of this set of Treble Clef flatware as part of Michael's Boucoup Give-Aways. Michael hosts Designs by Gollum, a daily style magazine that features Cooking, Tablestyling, an Inspiration Gallery, Design, a Newsletter, and Give-Aways. An accomplished author of fiction, Michael lives on a farm in Tennessee. Designs by Gollum is a site not to be missed as Michael Lee shares the simple pleasures of her life: cooking, writing, collecting, tablescaping, and interior design.

Thank you, Michael Lee! 
 I feel honored to have 
won this beautiful set of flatware.

This service for four of five piece place settings is 18/10 stainless steel and handmade. I like the organic feel of both the design and the unpolished steel handles.

Our lunch table is set with the theme 
of sailing ships and Nantucket Lightship Baskets.

The chowder bowl features a jaunty sailor who sailed into port from France. Notice the French flag? This bowl is a limited edition issue of a design in the Musée des Faiences de Quimper's archives.

The concentric rings of yellow and blue of the Quimper bowl contrast with the woven pattern of the Nantucket dinner plate. Both sit atop a square red plate by Waechtersbach, Germany on a simple woven placemat.

The organic shape and feel of the 
Treble Clef flatware reminds me of seaweed.

It's such a beautiful spring day, 
I thought we'd dine on the sunporch.

I filled some of my Nantucket Lightship Baskets with cut flowers from a friend's garden ("Thank you, Ann!") and gathered them together with a scrimshaw box upon a large Courtly Check tray from MacKenzie-Childs.

These beautiful roses have filled the 
room with the most delicious fragrance.

The sweet snapdragons 
are some of the last of the season.

This basket still holds the 
bittersweet berries from the fall.

The distinctive shape and simplicity of Nantucket Lightship 
Baskets make them unique. You can read more about the 
fascinating history of this craft at:

The oak or cane staves of these baskets 
are formed over a wooden mold 
and then woven with fine cane.

The photo above shows an incredible 
Nantucket Lightship Basket style bassinet.

It's said that mermaids 
live off the coast of Nantucket.

And the whaling industry was an 
important part of the history of Nantucket.

Scrimshaw is the American version of ivory carvings. It is the folk art of carving on whale teeth or bones and was an important part of the daily life aboard whaling ships. Antique scrimshaw pieces are highly collectable and expensive. The above collage is of three pieces that were purchased as souvenirs while visiting Nantucket. With the exception of the "woven" piece top right, these pieces are made of synthetic bone. They are not antique and were not expensive.

The detail is carved into the 
bone and then later inked in.

This piece is made of bone and 
carved to resemble a woven basket.

I hope you've enjoyed lunch 
and a little bit about the island of Nantucket.

New England Clam Chowder
1/4 cup finely cut bacon or salt port
1/4 cup minced onion
1pt. shucked fresh clams with liquor or
2 cans (7 oz. Each) minced or whole clams, lobster, or other seafood
2 cups finely diced raw potato
1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
1tsp. salt
1/8tsp. pepper
Sauté bacon and onions in large kettle. Drain seafood. Add Liquor, potatoes, and water to onion and bacon. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, add seafood, milk, salt, and pepper. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

Thank you for joining me!