Strawberry-Balsamic Shrub Cocktail

A cocktail is a little like a blank slate, an empty canvas.  At least it is to me.  A base spirit on which you can write whatever story you would like.  There are so many possibilities with which to fill all that blank space, and sometimes I don’t even have to think about it – a gin and tonic, a dirty martini, an old-fashioned are all on repeat.  But some days I want to break from the mold, create something unusual, write something that’s never been written before.  And that’s when I sometimes suffer from what could be akin to writer’s block (“cocktail block”??).   Continue reading “Strawberry-Balsamic Shrub Cocktail”

White Bean Salad with Asparagus

Cold summer salads are a staple in my kitchen.  We have them nearly every single day when the weather heats up.  In fact they’re one of the first things I start making when I’m impatient for the lazy days of summer to arrive.  Perhaps it’s my way of trying to usher in the warmth and sunshine that seems so long overdue.  I usually make them with pasta, but this bean salad is a great alternative that I’ve made several times already this spring.  It’s packed full of protein and is something I can bring along on a picnic or serve as a side with grilled meat for dinner.  It is best when made a few hours ahead, Continue reading “White Bean Salad with Asparagus”

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”