The legend goes that Zeus, king of the gods, came down from Mt. Olympus to visit his brother, Poseidon, near the sea. As he looked out across the sparkling waters of the Aegean, his vision fell upon a beautiful young woman standing barefoot on the grey stones that stretched out along the shoreline of the island, Kinaros. She stared back across the sea, eyes like fire, unfazed by his formidable divinity. Their gaze locked in what can only be called, An Embrace of Fate.
What Zeus wants, Zeus gets. At that moment he wanted nothing more intensely than this mortal, with eyes that burned with vitality and a face like a flower, upturned toward the sun. She was named Cynara, for the island she called home.
Zeus, being a cunning séducteur, approached Cynara in all his glory and promised her the sky and the moon if she would agree to be his lover. She refused. He promised her all the flowers in the fields above the sea. Still, she declined. Then, drawing back into himself as if to stir up that FOMO we humans find so powerful, he made one last offer, something she couldn’t possibly resist. Zeus would grant Cynara the gift of goddess-hood, lifting her mortal soul from the dirt and stone of this earth if, in return, she would live always near him in the home of the gods upon Mt. Olympus – his mistress in an affair that would last an eternity, so long as Hera, his wife (and sister), was well occupied.
Continue reading “The legend of the artichoke”
There’s nothing that encapsulates the feeling of summer for me like a fresh raspberry. Each berry contains within it all the sunshine, light and floral sweetness of a summer afternoon. At my childhood home there was a split rail fence along which grew a long row of raspberry bushes. Starting in early July, my brother and I would wake up early and run out to the fence to pick the raspberries that had ripened overnight. It was a race – us against the birds – and we often lost, but when we would find a ripe, untouched berry, the reward was more than worth the effort. To this day, the taste of fresh raspberries brings me right back to those childhood summers.
Continue reading “Clafoutis aux Framboises”
My goal for this online space has always been to make it an inspiring and relaxing place, a bit like an an oasis for those who visit. I try to keep it light and up beat, as notes of levity are becoming scarce in this world rife with negativity. However, bad things happen to everyone, and we are no exception. “When it rains, it pours,” they say, and the past few weeks have felt as if we’re stuck in monsoon season.
On Friday, one of our dogs (Nandor) received an alarming diagnosis. While I won’t get into too much detail here, his condition is serious but can be treated; however, he will require several rounds of different medications, a couple hospitalizations, and he will need to be kept very calm and still throughout his treatment period, spanning 120 days. This, along with several other recent events, has me feeling like a dark cloud has settled over our home. Like the blog, I always try to keep my emotions and headspace very calm and zen-like. My response to stress or to circumstances that feel as if life is spiraling out of control, is to pause, take a few deep breaths to refocus, then react with grace, one step at a time.
Continue reading “Gâteau Basque”
There’s a certain hum of excitement as spring approaches. Because of our long, snowy winters here in Colorado, the arrival of spring is always a little delayed, but over the past few weeks I’ve noticed that the quiet of winter has been replaced by the sounds of life. It starts before dawn as I rise early to make the coffee. I can hear the birds through the closed and locked windows singing to each other in the darkness and beckoning me to slide the glass open and see what all the fuss is about. Out in the potager, the chives are always the first to emerge, blooming in brilliant purple plumes that are covered in bees of all shapes and sizes. Soon the sugar peas will bloom on the garden fence. The chickens are laying again – with each egg, the noisy fanfare of celebration. Farmer’s markets are finally opening up again here, with the first asparagus, tiny strawberries, baby lettuces, radishes and turnips. I think it’s safe to say that spring is finally here.
This spring feels like butterflies of anticipation leading up to an imminent party. Tiny flowers, like traces of confetti, signaling a grand celebration. For the occasion, I wanted to revisit some of my favourite spring recipes. These are the dishes I look forward to making when the days get long and warm and the earth awakens from her quiet hibernation. After a dark winter, these bright, fresh recipes are more welcome than ever.
Continue reading “14 French Recipes to Welcome Spring”
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 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”
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”
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”
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”
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”