Yesterday was Connor’s birthday. Fourteen years old! I can’t believe it. I remember when my children were younger. I would often get together with other moms and let the kids play. Frequent topics of conversation included comparing our experiences of the ages and stages our kids seemed to be flying through. “This age is my favorite!” someone would remark. “No, last year when he still let me rock him to sleep – that stage was my favorite,” someone else might interject. I have to say, truthfully, I love every single age and every stage – from birth to teenage-hood, there hasn’t been one I would wish away! Each year is exciting, full of growth and surprises. Like turning the pages in an enthralling novel, I’m looking forward to the future as much and I treasure the memories of the past. Being a mom is the single most fulfilling job on this planet.Continue reading “Birthday Brownies”
In this world of fast food and instant gratification is there a place for such a discerning vegetable? This vegetable which must be treated tenderly, approached slowly and handled as delicately and deliberately as if one were courting a mate? Each taste escalates in pleasure ever so slightly – for within the meat of the artichoke lies an enzyme that heightens the sensation of sweetness upon our tongues. Peeling back each meaty petal exposes flesh in ever increasing bites. To eat an artichoke is to play a subtle game of anticipation, building toward crescendo with the disrobing of the sacred and guarded heart. To eat an artichoke is an act more akin to making love than to dining and in so lies the mystique of l’artichaut.Continue reading “Artichokes with Vinaigrette”
I adore soup, and not only in the winter! I make so many different varieties of chilled summer soups – from Zucchini Vichyssoise, to carrot soup, to cucumber and yogurt soup – but the King of all summer soups has to be Gazpacho. And it’s my favourite, too – not only because the leftovers make a killer Bloody Mary. (Just add 2 ounces of vodka to a tall glass and pour in the soup. Then garnish with any of your favourite Bloody Mary accoutrements!)Continue reading “Summer Gazpacho with Feta and Oregano”
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”
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)”
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 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”
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”
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”
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”