For Him

Just in case you're like me and end up waiting until the last minute to buy Christmas presents because you have no idea what to get anyone ever, I thought I'd share a few of my recent revelations. I have the most trouble buying gifts for the men in my life and over the years I've come to realize that there are really only two approaches to this problem: one, buy him something that you like to look at on him or two, give him cheese or pie. I'm yet to meet a man who dislikes both.
So if you're taking approach number one, I can't recommend anything more than a shirt from William Gray. They've been made by hand at the same factory for more than 75 years and each one is completely timeless. My favorite is The Braddock, which is a version of a vintage work shirt made out of sturdy but soft chambray. Also, this here model is one of my oldest and dearest friends, Jonathan Warner, and I'm happy to tell you that he moved to Nashville last week. He's such a creative and determined man and well, really an all-around sweet soul. If you see him around town, say hi!
Anyway, if you're taking the second approach, might I suggest that you order a serving tray or geometric cutting board (both pictured above) from my friend James at Handy Dandy Productions? They're the perfect accompaniment to the gift of cheese or pie and can hang on the wall all year round as a remembrance of a good meal shared and a promise of good meals to come. As far as cheese goes, you just can't go wrong with Sequatchie Cove Dancing Fern or Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog. And if you're in Nashville, you absolutely must get a Bella Nashville demi baguette to go with the cheese. Email James for pricing or to purchase one of his boards.
Olive Tapenade Hand Pies
-makes ten small pies 

one container (roughly two cups) pitted brined mixed Greek olives
zest of one small orange
1 teaspoon fennel seed, lightly pounded
2 small cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
scant 1/2 cup good olive oil
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed*
one egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Place orange zest, fennel seed and garlic in a small pot with olive oil over medium low. When tiny bubbles start to form, watch closely. Don't let olive oil get too hot, but leave on heat until garlic is soft, about five minutes. Remove from heat and add well-drained olives.

2. Pulse in a food processor until everything is well chopped.

3. Cut puff pastry with the top of a pint glass. Spoon a reasonable amount of tapenade onto one round and coat the edges with a bit of water before sealing on the second round (here is a prettier way to make them). Brush with egg.

4. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a rack.

*Or your favorite pie dough.


  1. The cutting board and tray would make a perfect gift for me!!! And your hand pies sound delicious! And so easy! So glad I found your blog! Thanks for the inspiration! -Rebecca

  2. I nominated you for Liebster Awards. You can see all the information here:
    Thank you!