Lemon-Vanilla Gelato

Happy Summer! I love making different varieties of gelato, ice cream and sorbet at home during these hot, dry months. When I was a kid, we had one of those hand crank ice cream makers. Every Fourth of July my parents would drag it out from the closet beneath our stairs, dust it off and fill it with ice and rock salt. It was my brother’s and my job to crank it, taking turns until our arms felt like jelly and it became impossible to turn. Then my father would take over and finish it off. It was such a special treat, but such an ordeal to make that we only got to enjoy homemade ice cream once or twice a year. Thank goodness for modern ice cream makers! Mine is, by far, one of my favourite small appliances – no joke!

Continue reading “Lemon-Vanilla Gelato”

Pain Perdu (French Toast)

Our typical weekend breakfast rotation used to go a little like this: pancakes, waffles, French toast, eggs and bacon, on repeat.  Recently, however, it looks more like this: French toast with berries, French toast with whipped cream, French toast with maple syrup, French toast with apples, etc. It seems like the kids ask for French toast almost every day. I don’t blame them – if there was a definitive list of the most heart-warming “Comfort Foods,” this would certainly be near the top.

There’s no shortage of recipes and variations on French Toast out there.  It’s one of the most searched-for recipes on Google. Most of us have grown up eating some form of this treat, whether for breakfast or for dessert. French toast’s appeal comes from its ability to blur the lines between these two meals. In France, French toast, or pain perdu, is almost always served as a dessert. The name literally means “lost bread” because it was a way to salvage stale bread that would otherwise have gone to waste. But is French toast really? Mais non! Almost every country and culture has a method for reinvigorating stale bread with a mixture of eggs and milk.  With most things that are falsely attributed to France (French fries, French doors or le French kiss) the adjective only serves to make this dish all the more appealing. Continue reading “Pain Perdu (French Toast)”

Capezzoli di Venere Truffles

I haven’t written about Italy during this health crisis, though it hasn’t been far from my mind.  The heartache of what was happening both there and here in the US was almost too great to bear and I focused my energy on those nearest to me.  Everyone’s experience through this has been so vastly different and unique. I have so many friends who’ve lost their jobs, their businesses.  I often ask myself, “How can I write about recipes and food when there are still so many people struggling to buy groceries?” I’ve remained largely quiet on the blog for that reason, and many others.  Now, with the protests and unrest occurring nightly throughout the US and across the world, I wonder, “Will there ever be a right time to share this recipe?”  The post has been written for weeks, and I contemplated waiting until next year to share the recipe, but who knows where we’ll all be then.  Really, the right time is now, while it’s still technically spring – the season of fertility, rebirth and renewal. Please don’t see my decision to share this recipe and the story behind it today as indifference to the current events. My heart is broken for all that has occurred during the past weeks and months. Continue reading “Capezzoli di Venere Truffles”

Chambord Rosé

Chambord with Rosé is a beautiful variation on the more traditional Kir which is simply made by combining Crème de Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, with leftover dry white wine and swirling the two together in the glass. When making Kir or its more elegant cousin, Kir Royale (which is made with champagne), I often substitute Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur, for the standard Crème de Cassis.  The two liqueurs are very similar in taste, with the exception being that Crème de Cassis is slightly sweeter and syrupy in texture, whereas Chambord is more refined in flavour, with notes of blackberries, Moroccan vanilla, honey and citrus playing off the predominate raspberry flavour.  It’s not quite as sweet as Cassis and is a bit thinner in texture making it easier to swirl into the wine.  In my opinion, the two can be used almost interchangeably but, since raspberries are my favourite summer berry, I always have a bottle of Chambord in liqueur cabinet.  Continue reading “Chambord Rosé”

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”

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”

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”