From the Editor

Fall and winter are when I like to hunker down in the kitchen. I love baking and making soups, and I’m intrigued by new – and useful – kitchen gadgets.

My number-one can’t-live-without-it item is a pastry blender (for cutting butter into flour to make my favorite coffee cake). But my most exciting find came only last year: a julienne peeler. I went to a cooking demo and book signing by cookbook author Susie Middleton at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven, and she literally wowed the crowd by making spaghetti out of a squash. Straightaway I went down the street to LeRoux at Home and bought a cheery lime green one.

In our interview with the owners of LeRoux (page 60), we asked about their favorite kitchen tools. I’d heard of a Microplane zester/grater but didn’t know what it was. I often end up cutting myself while zesting a lemon with my metal box grater, which is also difficult to clean. Looks like that zester is next in my lineup of kitchen toys.

We don’t neglect the outdoors in this issue either – the same Susie Middleton reflects on garden tools (page 80), and Island experts weigh in on planting native wildflowers (page 32), enhancing soil with manure (page 10), and putting a flower garden to bed for the winter (page 18).

We take a look at how Nochi, the Vineyard Haven boutique that oozes casual elegance for the home, has been a training ground for a young interior designer (page 48).

You can also read about the transformation of the longtime family home of the late Bill Smith of clambake-catering fame (page 20). Betcha his favorite kitchen gadget was a lobster cracker, but who knows what he might have done with a julienne peeler?