Wednesday, September 14, 2011

from a lovely place

A few shots from a lovely place on a drizzly weekend back in August

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Making the most of some pretty tomatoes...

before they're all lost to cool evenings hinting at the arrival of fall.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


We've been reacquainted this summer after a few too many less than memorable encounters.
What was I thinking???
Second chances, people. They are so important.
Quinoa's won me over this summer, stubborn girl that I am.
Rinsed in a damp tea towel over a mesh strainer, the bitterness is lost. Simmered and steamed, in about 20 minutes it's ready for accompaniment. Twice (maybe three times?) I've tossed it, still a tiny bit warm, with the kernels of 2 corncobs, a little minced spring onion and a few slivered leaves of basil and dressed it with a big squeeze from 1/2 a lime, enough olive oil to make me happy and some sea salt. Last night we ate it in bowls, topped with stewed spicy beans, more summer corn with jalapeno and lime, a quick tomato salsa and a grating of cheese.
And, you know what? It's even delicious for breakfast...
Breakfast Quinoa with Almond-Peach Quick Jam

Simmer 3 peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped ripe peaches together with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) of almond extract until thickened, crushing and stirring the fruit as you go - about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Drizzle enough soy milk over a small dish of leftover plain quinoa to moisten the grains (more or less, depending on your preference) and reheat until just warm.
Spoon over some of the jam and eat happily.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Some scenes from our recent trip to the west coast where we encountered: pristine (and windy!) beaches,

spots to sit and linger with friends,

fantastic poppies,

tea brewed over open flames,

and large and friendly snails, to name a few...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


At least the beans are surviving in this dreadful heatwave...
(unfortunately so are the weeds - thriving, actually - but that's a whole 'nother story)

Friday, July 15, 2011

at the moment...

... pink hydrangea is blooming away,the fennel is taking off,and the last of the radishes are in the fridge.

A Fennel and Radish Salad
Thinly slice one fresh bulb of fennel and one giant purple radish (or a few smaller radishes of your choosing), and toss the slices together in a bowl with a good squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Season it all with salt and pepper and a few feathery shavings of parmesan.

Vacation was amazing - going through the photos now...

Monday, June 27, 2011

27 june

Busy, busy, busy week ahead - and then - off to the west coast! See you soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

muddling through

Hmmmm. Too hot for words 'round here. We're talking triple digits and wheezing window units. I'm thinking pizza. With some of the first zucchini, mint and pecorino, maybe. On the grill. Just to avoid turning on the oven.
Of course, there's a bit of this salad leftover from yesterday too.
Some how we'll muddle through...
I might even snap a photo or two again.

Friday, May 27, 2011

in the works

So, so, so excited to have a long weekend!

Planning on giving this a go - to be consumed with a smear of fresh goat cheese and a drizzle of honey, perhaps.
And - I know - it's early for cherries here, but I can't seem to pass them by, even if they are from California...

But I had to give Todd Thrasher's cherries a go (I gave mine a hot-water bath so that they'll keep longer), and I can't wait to taste them after they've cured a bit. Also decided that this is the year I finally buy a cherry pitter (just snagged a vintage one, actually) - because that little paperclip, there? Doesn't work AT ALL - ended up using a piping tip out of frustration...

And if you're in the market for some lovely household goods, or just looking (as I am these days) at some, this spot is gorgeous - and this one too!

Have a lovely long(!) weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

worth mentioning

A few things worth mentioning:

Love this story in the current issue of Bon Appetit - I laughed out loud in places; dreamed of deliciously chaotic Saturday lunches, and drooled over the gorgeous photos

Also - made this over the weekend:

Grilled Peppers with Lemon Thyme and Capers

(as I remember it)

Bring the little hibachi out onto the deck*, then drag over the smallest of the three porch rocking chairs. Start a charcoal fire and let the coals ash over before you spread them over the base of the grill. Insert the grates over the hot coals and give them a few minutes to heat up. Rub a little olive oil over 4 sweet red peppers and lay two on each grate. Sit back in your rocker, tongs within reach, cool glass in hand. Smell the rain approaching, contemplate the sizzle and smoke, nudge the peppers every so often, until the skins are blistered and the flesh is softened. Transfer the lot to a brown paper bag (use those tongs!), roll the top closed and let them steam a few minutes on the kitchen counter. When they've cooled enough to handle, slide them out of the bag onto the cutting board, slip their skins away, and slit one side so that they can be splayed open on the board. Pull the stems away and take the membranes and seeds out too. Slice the soft peppers into 1/2 inch strips and toss them into a pretty bowl as you go. Shake out a small handful (a tablespoon or so) of salt-packed capers and rinse them in hand, in the sink - don't let any escape! Coarsely chop them on the board and add them to the pepper strips. Smash and finely chop (or mash into a paste) 1 small clove of garlic - add it to the bowl along with a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, a tablespoon of olive oil and a few tiny leaves of lemon thyme (or herb of your choice). Toss together with clean hands and season with a little salt and pepper. Be sure to leave it sit on the counter to think about things for a half an hour or so before you bring your plate by.

*Or, you can, of course, use the broiler - just be vigilant...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

happy weekend

I heard a rumor that it just might not rain this weekend... Which is good news for these poor, porch-bound tomatoes.
Happy gardening - happy weekend to you all!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

springy things

the parsley's gone mad - an out of control hedge in the garden - not that I mind (too much).thinking about a lemon-parsley pesto, perhaps; tabbouleh, of course - but no tomatoes, no cukes at this time of year... what else?
then there are radishes too - lovely, long(ish) French breakfast and a couple deep-red globes of cherry belles. these we crunch out of hand, pinching their little tails as we go. spicy this year too - a bonus in my book.
and spring without asparagus? it just wouldn't be right. (loving this little hibachi - parking it on the deck, sitting low - if grilling could be intimate, this is the way)
happy weekend-ing to you all!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Some snippets from the past week... Have you tried this?

Love seeing these blooms each day.

Sometimes 'dinner' is more of an idea, really...

Hope your week is coming along nicely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

this and that

In those first few days of warming weather, shoots and leaves begin to sprout in shades of green so vibrant they seem, well, almost...un-natural. While I'm plunking radish seeds into damp, freshly-tilled soil, a few rows over the sorrel and arugula are already making good on last year's investments. Tarragon stretches upward at an alarming pace and the chives already have their pretty purple blossoms. Tiny, perfectly ruffled burnet leaves appear, the oregano is a small bush on it's own , and that mint - it may just devour every living thing in its path this year... (I'm thinking mojitos and raita, tea and summer rolls are going to be abundant this summer) While these old friends are taking off, I've been snipping away - a little of this, a little of that - to eat, tumbled together in the salad bowl. Tossed with fingers, sprinkled with toasted sesame, a slight Parmesan dusting, and a drizzle of dressing - spring is here; get it while the getting's good!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Plodding along this week - rain every other day makes it hard to get things in the ground and I'm ready to see my own garden spring forward. It's been a slow, ease into spring this year, but at least the parsley's come back (sometimes it doesn't) and the sorrel and arugula are doing just fine. I've even spotted sprouts in the radish and chard rows. Our farmer's markets are just now starting up again - I snapped up some baby kale, scallions, salad greens and these local ramps. Which, if like me you didn't know existed until fairly recently, are a nice find at the market. Local wild (foraged) foods seem to be gaining popularity and I love coming across them. They're special - unique to our localities, only available when perfectly in season, hand-picked - often the kind of thing for which recipes are recited from memory, passed down or jotted on scraps of paper, origins murky or possibly unknown altogether. Though I suppose these days, you can find just about anything online... Pizza with Wild Ramps, Mushrooms and Sausage (another pizza - no rules - use whatever quantities you have on hand) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat. Saute 1 link of Italian sausage (sweet or hot), casing removed and meat crumbled, with a handful of sliced mushrooms and a small bunch of cleaned, trimmed and sliced ramps for a few minutes, until the sausage is cooked through and the mushrooms have softened. Spread a ball of pizza dough out on a baking sheet (or free-form on parchment paper, if baking on a stone), spread a few tablespoons of pizza sauce over the crust, top with a crumble of feta and some grated Provalone. Distribute the sausage and ramp mixture across the surface and bake for 10-20 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese has melted (if using a stone, transfer the pizza, still on the parchment, to the stone and bake, paper and all, in the same manner).

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Do you wake up hungry? I don't usually. It hits me a little later. I suppose I need to wake up a bit first, make a cup of tea, coffee, something, and rub my eyes into focus before I think about nourishment. Consequently I often eat at my desk on weekday mornings. Not ideal, but certainly not the worst spot either. Lately I've been grabbing a homemade muffin or filling a jam jar with a quick yogurt-y parfait (I don't like that word - parfait, it sounds too dessert-like for a breakfast, not sure what a better term might be, though).
The other day I was reading this article about mangoes and dreaming about the two I had sitting on the dining room table at home. I love a mango lassi and this recipe reminded me of that. When I got home later that day it struck me that one could easily use that gorgeous combination of mango and rose water in, well, a bunch of ways (wouldn't a jam be amazing?). Since I often make these jam-jar breakfasts with whatever fruit I have on hand, I tinkered a little with the mango and made myself breakfast for the next morning.

Mango and Rose Water Parfait
Peel and cut 1/2 a ripe mango. Combine the mango pieces, about 1 teaspoon of sugar (or to taste) and 1/8 teaspoon rose water in a food processor or blender. Puree until well-blended and mostly smooth. Layer in a half-pint jam jar with plain yogurt and homemade granola (I like Molly's - minus the chocolate). This made enough fruit puree for me to make two 1/2 pint jars.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a pizza for the end of march...

... with caramelized onions and roasted radicchio. Sweet, bitter, a little salty and completely impromptu. I love it when a weeknight dinner comes off with little effort and still feels a bit sophisticated. Caramelized Onion and Roasted Radicchio Pizza Preheat the broiler. Caramelize the 2 small yellow onions*. Roast a small head of radicchio* while the onions are cooking. Set both aside, turn the oven down to 450. Spread a small ball of pizza dough onto a pizza pan, baking sheet, or piece of parchment paper (if transporting dough directly to a pizza stone). Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil and scatter a minced clove of garlic over the surface. Now grate on a little provolone - just a tablespoon or two. Top this with onions and the radicchio. Bake in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are beginning to brown nicely. Remove, add a few curls of Parmesan (I use a vegetable peeler), slice and nibble with a glass of wine and a green salad. *To caramelize the onions: Peel and trim two small yellow onions. Cut them in half and slice the halves into thin half-moons. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon thyme (regular thyme, or whatever you like), and season them with a pinch of coarse salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover the pan and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the onions are beautifully browned and sweet - about 20 minutes more - adding a spoonful of water every so often when the onions begin to stick to break up the browned bits. *To roast the radicchio: Preheat the broiler. Remove any wilted outer leaves from the head, trim the stem end, but don't remove it completely. Slice the head into small wedges - about 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick. Toss the wedges with a good drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and ground pepper. Spread them onto a baking sheet in a single layer and place under the broiler for about 4 to 5 minutes, watching all the while, until they begin to wilt and caramelize.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

rainy day

April showers seem to have come a couple of weeks early. A few days of chilly drizzle this week - excellent weather for watching a British murder mystery or two (maybe three), or sinking into a comfy spot with a good read (finished this one and waiting on this one).
I'll leave you for the weekend with a sunny shot from last Sunday.
Sip a Gingino and think warm and sunny thoughts. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

sunday dinner

We've been practicing the art of the Sunday dinner around here for the past few weeks. Embracing the pace of the day (or at least, the pace we try to allow) - slow, calm, at ease, and un-fettered - I've been making it a priority to put together a well-composed (but not too fussy - the point is to enjoy the time in the kitchen), sit-down dinner for the two of us to bring Sunday to it's gentle close. With all the turbulence and distressing news these days, it's important to pause and take in something nourishing, comforting and just plain nice.
No idea yet what the pantry will yield this week, but that's part of the fun - taking some time to leaf through magazines or re-discover old favorites on the cookbook shelf (Molly's Pamplemousse in hand, perhaps). That Zuni Roast Chicken served us well back in February (and made an encore last week) - there's a reason it's so well-loved.
Been eyeing these too:
*Saveur's recipe for Butter Chicken or Heidi's Coconut Red Lentil Soup for something lighter
*making good on that note to use more radicchio, this risotto might be a winner, served with a green salad (I think I made this once before with good results)
*I quite like perusing this book right now too, so maybe something will come of that

This little bit of time in the kitchen on Sunday seems to provide great jumping-off points for the rest of the week too. The Zuni recipe gave us chicken stock for the freezer (or a soup) and chicken for sandwiches, not to mention leftover greens (we used arugula and frisee in the bread salad) for salads - the starting points for three meals or more, easily for us. Nothing makes me happier than getting the most from a beautiful meal.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

jasmine, radicchio and lemon panna cotta

First this sweet little bloom

that popped out with several other brave souls at some point when I wasn't looking. As did the chives that I snipped and tossed into a nice cold weather salad for Sunday dinner.
(After which I made a note to remember to do more with radicchio - far under-used in my kitchen, I realize)

Even with that 'surprise' bit of snow this Monday and all the rain heading our way, signs of spring are emerging and I'm smitten.

I love peeking at these photos of vintage linen (something about spring coming and airing out fresh laundry on the line, I suppose).

This panna cotta was (is still) amazing - bright, light and redolent of sunny days. (I did use regular lemons though, as Meyers can be hard to come by here sometimes, and I might add a little more sugar next time even though I like tart sweets...)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

this week

This week I've been...Looking at lemons (so sunny and cheerful) and
Making some baklava (from Tessa Kiros' lovely book Falling Cloudberries - beautiful little individual parcels filled with apricots, pistachios and almonds and drenched in a seductive syrup of honey, lemon and Vietnamese cinnamon (the best, for sure)) - and sharing them at a Mediterranean themed dinner party.
Also - taking advantage of the first few days warm enough to pass up thick, woolen socks! Spring is surely right around the corner...

Here are a few things I've been particularly enjoying in general this week:

My Life in France (such a great read and positively transporting)
Kusmi Troika tea (I like it a little sweet, and very strong on chilly, wet early spring mornings...)
You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger (Woody Allen - makes me laugh, every time)

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 27, 2011



I've been enjoying time away from the computer... A good many of my working hours are spent looking at the screen, and I've taken to abstaining from so much as checking my e-mail on the weekends lately. It's been liberating! No commitment, no pressure; just free, real, time to use however I wish. All I had to do was let go. I've reclaimed the weekends as my own, I suppose...

Which isn't to say that I'm leaving this space. But I have realized that I've been imposing upon myself here - creating a pressure to post even when I have nothing much to say (how silly is that?). And for a little while now, I really haven't had much to say. There's been no interest in taking pictures (is it the lack of pure sunshine this winter?), very little inspiration to do much in the kitchen other than follow a recipe (there have been some good ones though) - just a general malaise, I think. It seems to be going around too, I gather.

So I've decided to free myself of this - to let go here as well. I've made a few changes, visually, and added some new links. I'd like to open up the content and follow what inspires me - not strain to write strictly about the kitchen or the garden -though, in truth, those will probably still be the focus. This may mean that I won't be posting on a 'regular' basis because I don't want that pressure to be an influence/hindrance. But I do hope that the posts I create will be truer and more free.
p.s. the wrapper in the photo held Molly's recipe for banana bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger (in muffin form, of course) found here (though I used the recipe in her book, which is slightly different - and a little addictive...

Monday, January 3, 2011


Currently enjoying a winter break from blogging (and technology in general). Walking in the snowy mountains, drinking steamy cups of tea, reading and daydreaming, eating spicy chickpeas, and waiting for inspiration.

In the meantime, I hope all your holidays were full of warmth and good company and your new year is off to a great start!