Banana Bread with Berries and Lilac Flowers

Sunday feels like the most decadent day. It’s the day we linger in bed long into the morning, watching the news and catching up on all the shows we missed during the week. Extra coffee is a must.  If you brew your coffee in a French press, try adding a tiny pinch of sea salt to the grounds before pouring in the hot water.  It neutralized the acid and brings out the flavours for a perfectly balanced cup coffee. Continue reading “Banana Bread with Berries and Lilac Flowers”

Butternut Squash Spaghetti

The still life arrangement of seasonal fruit and vegetables on our kitchen table is slowly transitioning from winter to summer.  It makes me think of the living statues you find at carnivals.  Looking at them, it’s hard to perceive any change in movement at all, but if you walk away and return five minutes later, the statue is in an entirely new position. It’s the same with the table – bowls that contained oranges and apples suddenly contain fresh berries and lemons.  Asparagus, chive blossoms and herbs from the garden are appearing next to aging pumpkins and squash. Continue reading “Butternut Squash Spaghetti”

Borrowed Time Chardonnay

When it comes to wine, I can’t think of one that’s more derisive than Chardonnay.  Some people love it while others can’t stand it.  Both sides are adamant about their opinions on the matter and absolutely no one is on the fence.  Thanks to mass production and the Chardonnay “boom” of the 1980s and 1990s, many of us associate the wine with the glasses of golden elixir, ever-present in our tipsy aunts’ hands at family gatherings.  It’s a shame, really, because Chardonnay has so much to offer than to be typecast in such a disparaging roll.  It’s the primary grape in Champagne, after all. Continue reading “Borrowed Time Chardonnay”

Annie’s Chicken Caesar Salad Tartines

What am I most looking forward to this spring? Picnic season!  I love to pack a quick picnic lunch, hop in the car to escape the city and head into the mountains for the day. Covid-19 quarantines and stay-at-home orders may have put our picnic plans on hold for a little while, but it won’t last forever.  In the meantime, why not prepare a picnic lunch to eat in the backyard?  Or spread a blanket on the floor, invite the kids to bring their favourite stuffed animals, and have a picnic right there in the living room.  It’s the little things, like a change in the daily routine, that make the monotony of being stuck indoors more bearable.

Today I’m partnering with Annie’s Homegrown and the FeedFeed to make preparing a picnic lunch a breeze. This Chicken Caesar Salad can be prepared entirely in advance – just serve it on toasted bread for a simple, picnic basket-friendly tartine. Continue reading “Annie’s Chicken Caesar Salad Tartines”

Dijon Mustard Roast Chicken and Roasted Mashed Potatoes

Yesterday I made a roasted chicken with Dijon mustard and I shared on Instagram the situation regarding food here in Colorado which, I am sure, is very similar across the country and around the world right now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  I’m not sure how it is where you are, but here, since the state of Colorado has issued shelter in place orders, we’re advised to only shop for groceries every other week. For someone who used to shop daily, this has been a bit of a learning experience.  It’s okay, we’re getting along just fine and I’m always up for a challenge, but add to that the fact that stores are limiting what and how much we can buy, it makes shopping for two weeks especially puzzling.  Currently we’re allowed just two chicken products and two beef products per family.  If we’re lucky there might be some pork behind the butcher’s counter, but for the most part, the shelves in the markets are bare, especially of pantry staples like beans, rice, flour and sugar, and I haven’t seen eggs in stock for weeks.  Thankfully, fresh fruit and vegetables have been plentiful. Continue reading “Dijon Mustard Roast Chicken and Roasted Mashed Potatoes”

Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad

Covid-19

This will likely be a very untraditional post.  Like everyone else in the world, we’re confined to home for the (un)foreseeable future.  When I sit down to write a blog post I often draw inspiration from past experiences, dreams, restaurant meals, what I’ve found in the farmer’s markets or at the grocery stores.  But the markets are empty, restaurants are closed, I still have my dreams, and I still find much comfort in the kitchen cooking for my family, maybe more now than before. Cooking with only what we have on hand in the pantry is a bit of a game to me.  I took time to organize the kitchen this week, rotating the old with the new.   I’ve never liked to waste food, but now, when food seems to be scarce, it’s even more unbearable.  I had a few stalks of asparagus in the fridge and half a bag of wild rice in the pantry and so this salad was born.  If you don’t have asparagus your could substitute green beans and it would be just as good. Continue reading “Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad”

Borrowed Time Cabernet Sauvignon

I know all about the gimmicks some vintners use to sell a subpar bottle.  You know – hide a bad wine behind a pretty label and market it to those of us who are drawn to wine on an inherently emotional level; however, that’s not the case for this California Cabernet Sauvignon.  I admit, the label is what drew me to the wine initially.  It’s a gorgeous montage of surrealist imagery.  A time traveller plunges into the depths of the ocean where she’s encased in a world of symbolism and metaphor.  You can draw your own interpretations. But the first sip told me that there’s more to this wine than just meets the eye.

The wine is first and foremost fruit forward.  On the nose, I instantly thought of crème de cassis as blackcurrant is both the predominate scent and flavour.  Taking a backseat are the aromas of wild plum, like the ones that grew in my back yard when I was a kid, along with the subtleties of pencil shavings – both of wood and of graphite – and warm green peppercorns. There’s also a faint sweetness that surprised me a little and provided a bridge between the nose and the palate. Continue reading “Borrowed Time Cabernet Sauvignon”

Chicken Paillard with Lemon Orzo

Chicken breast is such a staple in my kitchen, but sometimes it can feel a little repetitive and a bit boring.  I compensate by trying to hide it within elaborate casseroles or stews, but there’s no reason why chicken breast can’t take the spotlight of the meal, if it’s cooked correctly.  This Chicken Paillard is an elegant dish that comes together in just minutes and showcases the chicken as the star of the show.  It’s neither bland nor boring, and is a great dish to make if you find yourself in a weeknight meal rut. Continue reading “Chicken Paillard with Lemon Orzo”

Coconut Meringue Cookies

My husband and I have never really been into the sappy Hallmark holidays.  Mushy cards and sloppy romances were never my thing.  On Valentine’s Day we play a little game, trying to out-do each other with the most inappropriate and ridiculously raunchy cards we can find, then we’ll watch a James Bond.  Instead of flowers, or in addition to, he’ll often buy me a new record to add to our vinyl collection – The Beatles or Pink Floyd or something else he knows I love – and pick up some oysters on the way home.  I’ll cook a big meal while he puts on the record.  It starts with the oysters, followed by maybe steak with béarnaise sauce (he likes his meat just barely kissed by the flame), sautéed potatoes, butternut squash bisque, with a sweet little treat at the end.

My love language is music and his is food, so it works . Continue reading “Coconut Meringue Cookies”

Gâteau au chocolat

I’ve learned not to get too attached to the idea of Spring here in Colorado.  The weather will deceive you into thinking that she’s on her way, only to spurn you with an arctic cold shoulder leaving you frozen for weeks. There are many years when we skip Spring altogether and go from winter to summer in a day’s time.  Yo-yo weather, I call it.  And what an up and down week we’ve had!

Much to the delight of the kids, school was cancelled three out of 5 days last week because of the snow.  Two came from a forecasted storm and one was a surprise when a different storm which was supposed to bring only a dusting of snow ended up dropping 5 to 6 inches on us.  C’est la vie.  At least we can rely on chocolate cake to get us through these winter months. Continue reading “Gâteau au chocolat”