Triple Chocolate Pavlova

Can I just talk for a minute about that certain magic you find only in chocolate?  You know, the one the Mayans knew of and harnessed millennia ago?   The one that has been firmly embedded in our collective human consciousness ever since?  That craving that can be suppressed but never fully satisfied?  Chocolate is at once an aphrodisiac, an antidepressant, a stimulant to fuel passion and to excite creativity.  It’s the food of the gods that’s also known to lower cholesterol, increase life expectancy, prevent heart attacks, and boost the immune system.  Now, if you’re someone who likes to look at the facts, then you may find yourself wondering if dessert, rather than breakfast, is actually the most important meal of the day.  But, if you’re like me and tend to think with your stomach, then you already know that it is. Continue reading “Triple Chocolate Pavlova”

Pear and Honey Tart

Pears are the perfect “transition” fruit.  Ripe at the end of summer when peaches and plums are just beginning to fade but apples are still maturing on the trees.  They bridge the gap, carrying us gracefully from summer into fall.  I always have several big bowls of pears on the kitchen counters and table starting in the first days of September, both as a way to decorate and to tempt the kids into having a healthy snack when they get home from school.  I love all the different varieties and colors, and find them so captivating, so beautiful… Continue reading “Pear and Honey Tart”

Vanilla-Ginger Mojito

This drink makes me think of the saying, “They go together like _____ & _____!”  Of course, you get to fill in the blanks with just about anything – everyone has their favorite combinations.  They go together like bacon and eggs!  Like salt and pepper!  Like copy and paste… or peanut butter and jelly… or Fred and Ginger…  Speaking of Ginger, I have a new combination to add to that list! Continue reading “Vanilla-Ginger Mojito”

Sophie’s Secrets

I’m a sucker for a good love story.  I can’t help it, there must be a hopeless romantic somewhere in me.  Here’s one from long ago; the details are a little blurry because I haven’t heard it since childhood.  It’s the story my grandmother would tell when I couldn’t sleep.  “Please, Grandma,” I would beg late at night, “tell me the story of Sophie!”

“Again?!” She’d exclaim.  She’d probably be standing at the stove, heating a small pot of milk to help me sleep.  But there was always a twinkle in her eye and I knew she love to tell it just as much as I loved Continue reading “Sophie’s Secrets”

Late Summer Berry Tart

I’m still trying to convince myself that summer’s not almost over, even as the leaves are quickly starting to blush and the nights are turning so cool that we’ve had to add extra blankets to the beds (instead of turning on the heat – it’s too soon for that!)  It started off imperceptibly enough, with just the slightest hint of yellow in the top branches of the trees that line our street.  But just yesterday, as I drove through the neighborhood I was shocked to see that the branches are suddenly more gold than green.  When did that happen?  And then the urgency struck.  To make summer Continue reading “Late Summer Berry Tart”

The Summer of the Zucchini Tart

Every summer has its signature dish.  It’s the one thing I find myself making over and over.  That one dish that we completely forgot about over the winter, but in the heat of summer we can’t get it off our minds. Like waking up with that song stuck in your head.  You love it but you can’t stop thinking about it until you listen to it again…as loud as possible…on repeat!   Last year was all about Continue reading “The Summer of the Zucchini Tart”

Heirloom Tomato Tartines

I never profess to be a very good gardener, though I try.  When we bought this house, we did so because of the land.  It was on half an acre in a quiet suburb just outside the city, and though the house was old and a little quirky, the kitchen was small and the floors were in desperate need of refinishing, the yard was perfect for our greyhounds and the gardens had beautiful potential.  I could see springs filled with fresh flowers and herbs and tender baby lettuce; summers overflowing with tomatoes, zucchini, cabbages and leeks; falls teaming with acorn squash, pumpkins and corn.  There was a lilac hedge along the western edge of the property – so old-fashioned!  A wild climbing rose traced thorny tendrils up the wall next to the kitchen window – so enchanting! Continue reading “Heirloom Tomato Tartines”

Champagne Poached Pears

You know that one line from that one movie that perfectly and concisely sums up the entire plot?  One of my favorites is from the Audrey Hepburn film called Love in the Afternoon, which was released in Europe under the title, Ariane.  If you haven’t seen it, you must, even just for the glamorous costumes alone!  It’s set in beautiful, mid-century Paris.  Audrey plays the very lovely, but very naïve Ariane.  She’s the daughter of a private detective specializing in affaires d’amour, played by the ever-charming Maurice Chevalier.  By a twist of fate, Ariane meets the subject of one of her father’s investigations – an extravagantly rich, handsome, (and much older) American playboy by the name of Mr. Flannagan (Gary Cooper), and when the two instantly fall for each other, Ariane coyly, and quite humorously, tries to convince him that she is just as well versed in the ways of love as he is, using all the cases in her father’s files as inspiration. Continue reading “Champagne Poached Pears”