This has become my go-to drink this summer! It’s bright and tart, with just the right amount of sweet. While not traditional, I use cucumber-lime vodka because I love the hint of cucumber. Check out my latest video on YouTube to learn how to make it. It couldn’t be easier! Cheers!Continue reading “Cucumber Lime Vodka Gimlet”
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”
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)”
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”
French country cooking meets a mid-century American past-time.
Yesterday I made one of my favorite summer soups: a zucchini vichyssoise, loosely based on Ina Garten’s recipe from her book, Barefoot in Paris. It’s an old stand by in my kitchen during the summer months for two reasons: 1) it’s a great way to use up all the zucchini that’s coming out of the garden and 2) it’s delicious! It looks lovely garnished with green ribbons of julienned zucchini or with fresh snipped chives, as Ina suggests in the book, but yesterday, as I stood at the stove and watched it simmer I realized that the soup alone wasn’t going to satisfy my craving for something cool and fresh the way it usually does. Continue reading “Zucchini Vichyssoise with Sweet Corn Relish”
There are places in this world that seem to radiate a magic not found elsewhere. It’s not, at first, apparent, but is perceptible as something of an electric hum. A sparkle of vivacity, a reverberation like the resonance of a drum. New Mexico is one of these places. What looks, to one just passing through, like desert – harsh and unforgiving – in fact, hides a treasure trove of secrets found only if you take the time to explore the region a little more deeply. There’s an energy here and it manifests in the food they produce, in the soil, laced with minerals and metals, in the water, so scarce in places, and in the terroir. I can’t think of any place in the world that is quite like New Mexico, except for just one. Provence. Continue reading “Lavender Gelato”
I have a fondness for formulas – mathematic formulas, scientific formulas, photographic formulas, and, of course, kitchen formulas. I feel that if I follow a formula, nothing too bad can happen. If I you think about it, living “the good life” is one huge formula waiting for us to figure out. The key is knowing that formulas build on one another. Like a pyramid, the most highly specialized ones – recipes, techniques, ratios, etc. – form the foundation. I think many people equate a formula to something that is dull and predictable. “That novel was so formulaic, it bored me to tears,” someone might say. But on the contrary, I see formulas as a road maps of sorts. They are the best and fastest way to live the life to which we aspire with the least amount of interruptions or obstacles . No one would ever consider planning for retirement or purchasing a home without a reliable formula to consult first. There is a reason we have the phrase “a recipe for success.” . . . And while I don’t often cook with recipes, formulas are something from which I never stray.
This past Monday was my birthday. I always bake my own birthday cake, and this year I took the occasion to make my favourite – a vanilla butter cake with the most luscious salted, brown butter icing. Not that we should ever need an excuse to bake a cake, especially this one, but if we do, a birthday is a pretty good one. I love that this is a small, single layer cake, perfect for serving 6 – 8 people, with no leftovers. And though it’s small, it’s decadent in its simplicity. The crumb is moist and airy, but the real treat is pouring over the brown butter glaze in thick ribbons, flecked with vanilla beans and sea salt. Continue reading “Vanilla Raspberry Cake”