Clementine Bourbon Sour

Whiskey is winter’s drink.   Of course, when it comes to the six base spirits (rum, tequila, vodka, gin, brandy and whiskey) there really aren’t any seasonal rules to follow.  But if there were, they might look something like this: light spirits like vodka or tequila, which are best mixed with fresh fruit and juices and served ice-cold, were made for the summertime.  They’re easy and free, flitting along with the cocktail trends that change year after year.  Similarly, the spicy sweetness of rum seems most appropriate when autumn arrives.  It’s rich and versatile and I use it just as frequently in my cakes and cookies as I do in cocktails.  However, whisky is different and that’s what makes it “winter’s drink.”  It is a timeless rule-breaker in an arrogant and cavalier sort of way.  It neither flirts with trends nor lends itself well to baking.  In other words, whisky doesn’t give a shit.   Continue reading “Clementine Bourbon Sour”

An Après-Ski Boozy Hot Cocoa Bar

In Colorado skiing is not just a sport, it’s life, and people approach it with a zeal akin to that of a religious institution.  Here in the city, ski shops line the streets and you’d be hard pressed to find a car that doesn’t have a ski rack on the roof or a bumper sticker that says something like, “White powder is my drug of choice.”  Starting around September, the meteorologists begin their daily weather forecasts with a report of the snow accumulations at the popular ski resorts, and everyone waits with baited breath for Continue reading “An Après-Ski Boozy Hot Cocoa Bar”

A French-Inspired Fall Feast

We live just on the edge of a forested wetland comprised of several little lakes and ponds that extend out from the main river like leaves from a branch.  I like to start my day there in that quiet oasis, walking among the trees and along the shores of the lakes.  For me it’s a form of “Forest Bathing” which, if you’re not familiar with traditional Japanese medicine, is a therapy based on the principle that the beneficial organic compounds released by the trees and vegetation are absorbed into our bodies when we walk through the forest.  The benefits of literally “taking in the forest” include Continue reading “A French-Inspired Fall Feast”

Beef Stroganoff with Brown-Buttered Noodles

A few days ago I heard a local meteorologist describing the future forecast as “Sweater Weather,” and I thought how nice it is that we’ve started describing the weather by what’s appropriate to wear.  But he was right!  Yesterday was, by far, the coldest day of the season.  I knew the temperature was going to drop because the normally calm afternoon winds took a turn and started swirling about harshly from the north, sending dried leaves and tumble weeds flying in all directions.  Our house happens to face north and, as much as I love its odd, old quirks, it’s very drafty.  In winter, the wind whistles and moans on the eaves above the front door and the cold air always manages to find its way inside, probably using the same hidden cracks and holes that the spiders and crickets use to find shelter from the rain. Continue reading “Beef Stroganoff with Brown-Buttered Noodles”

Dijon & Tarragon Lamb Chops

Life seems to be busier than usual…or maybe it’s just me?  I guess every season has it’s crazy days, but I honestly can’t believe that Halloween is tomorrow.  How did that happen?  I keep going back to my calendar to check if it’s true, because if it is then that means we’re diving head-first into the holiday season in just a few days and I’m simply not ready!  But that’s why I have recipes like this lamb with roasted root vegetables, which I made last week (or was it the week before?) See what it mean?  In any case, this meal will probably show up on the dinner table again next week, and then three or four times more before Christmas because Continue reading “Dijon & Tarragon Lamb Chops”

Rum Apple Cider Punch

Everyone has a rum story.  Mine starts back when I was 18… but perhaps it’s not the best way to introduce a rum cocktail…?  You don’t mind, do you?  I married my first husband on the day after I graduated from high school.  His name was Isaac and he was barely 20.  I wish I could say we were high school sweethearts, but no, we met in a smoky pool hall.  Of course, in the US you can’t legally drink until you’re 21.  The irony of being allowed to make a such a life-changing decision without being able to think on it with a drink!  We did what any responsible 18 and 20 year olds would do; we decided to spend our honeymoon in a place where we could legally have a drink to celebrate – island hopping through the Caribbean. Continue reading “Rum Apple Cider Punch”

Poached pears with whipped mascarpone

Poached pears are the most versatile dessert, don’t you think?  They’re like the perfect little black dress in a wardrobe made up of fall recipes.   Just think about it this way: Poaching them in Champagne is like stepping into a pair of satin Manolo Blahniks… the ones with the diamond swans lacing gracefully up the side of your foot.  You need nothing else to complete the outfit.  The silk hem of your black dress whispers gently around your knees as you head out the door and slide into the cool leather seat of your Mercedes, on your way to Continue reading “Poached pears with whipped mascarpone”

Espresso Madeleines

On a quiet corner in le Marais was a little café called Café des Feuilles d’Or.  I’m not sure what it’s called today, or if it still even exists.  But at the time it had a lovely patio that stretched out along the tree-lined street.   There, at a lacy, iron table, sat a man in a grey overcoat which almost perfectly matched the colour of the sky that cold, autumn morning.  Had you been walking by at the time, you surely would have missed him, as he blended in so well with the other patrons in their grey overcoats sitting on the patio.  I imagine they were all trying to pretend that Continue reading “Espresso Madeleines”

French 75

I’ve talked a lot about our Friday cocktail tradition.  If you follow me on Instagram then you know it’s somewhat of an institution and nearly every week I post the recipe for whatever we happen to be drinking at the time.  I have my old standbys, my favorites like a gin and tonic with lime or a wet martini with three olives.  I’m picky when it comes to cocktails.  I don’t like anything too fruity or sweet; anything that can be garnished with an umbrella is automatically out.  For me, the point of a cocktail is to highlight the flavors in each of the individual spirits.  Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to gin – there are so many different flavor complexities.  In time I’ll share the recipes for all my favourites here, but today I want to talk about the French 75, which I think is one of the classiest of the classic cocktails… Continue reading “French 75”

Brown Butter Apple Crêpes

If I threw a dinner party and invited all the seasons as guests, Spring would arrive late, flutter between the other guests like a social butterfly, disappear here and there, then run back out to her car to reapply her make up, leaving just as quickly as she’d come.  Summer would sprawl out on the couch and stretch his long legs across the coffee table with his feet in the air.  He’d very likely spill a glass or two of Rosé on the new rug, then apologize loudly, while dabbing it up with the cuff of his shirt.  Winter, no doubt, would over-stay his welcome, howling with laughter long into the night.  I would refill his mug with hot mulled wine over and over until his cheeks were rosy and he was far too drunk to make it home, so he’d stay even longer in the guest bedroom until morning when I’d serve him a hearty breakfast and send him on his way.   Autumn, however, would arrive Continue reading “Brown Butter Apple Crêpes”