The lights of The Strip from the window of my limo, a mesmerizing fountain that moved to the music of Andrea Bocelli, sipping bubbly Veuve Clicquot while touring a private collection of Picasso’s work – last week was just a little out of the ordinary for this urban homesteader.
I’ve just returned from Las Vegas, where Saveur and the Bellagio hosted a group of food bloggers for the BFBA’s awards. What an amazing time.
Catch the story and the back story over on Simple Bites.
Monday, June 03, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Last Sunday was a good day for eating and of course I had my iPhone handy for capturing the plates and tablescapes. They were too pretty not to share here.
Now why can't every day include breakfast in bed, seared scallops and macarons?
Ending dinner on a sweet note with strawberry frozen yogurt, fruit, and macarons contributed by our guests. And French press coffee, dark and full-bodied.
Not Pictured: fierce hugs from wiry little boy arms. the lightest of kisses from a baby girl. handmade cards with notes in French. a clean kitchen.
A Mother's Day for the books.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Leave the bed unmade.
Help yourself by helping outI spent most of Friday playing Santa and channeling Oprah while laughing with a fantastic community of food bloggers from coast to coast. At least that’s what it felt like. It certainly didn’t feel like work.
Smile, and greet Canada’s finest food bloggers in one afternoon
Their excitement was palpable. I'm sure mine was too.
Kick off dinner with a poutine starter - pommes frites, cheese curd and a red wine reduction. Eat two bowls and treat yo self.
Enjoy some of the finest wine Ontario has to offer, while you listen to gentlemen from the wineries eloquently share their stories of success. Appreciate their Bradly Cooper-ish good looks - and toast with another glass.
Get goofy in the Kitchen Aid photo booth with Canada's Queen of Cookie. Hit up their milkshake bar afterward, because poutine and roast beef dinner isn't excessive enough for one night.
Geek out over session after session of stellar speakers. Appreciate the militia-like manner in which moderator, Allison, keeps everything on track.
Breathe a sigh of relief when your own panel is over. Realize that sharing 9 photos that show your culinary journey wasn't a totally dorky move.
Eat way too many Cherry Bourbon Blondies right before dinner, accompanied by a bottle or two of wine. Relish in friendships that span the country and stand the test of time, yet never grow cold.
Witness Mairlyn throw food and carry out other capers. Listen to Corey and Dana discuss the merits of horse meat.
Gawk over cookies by Art to Eat. Realize that Adell is even sweeter than her cookies, and that you kind of want to be just like her when you grow up.
Also be impressed by these absolutely incredible Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer Cookies made and distributed by Marian of Sweetopia.
Fall asleep on someone's shoulder, but only if you are under two feet tall.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Most memories start as a impersonal note on the calendar: Baby Due Date. Easter. 10th Anniversary. Photography Workshop. School Out. Blogging Conference. Birthday Dinner. Thanksgiving. Cookie Swap. Christmas...
Before you know it, you've swept through all the dates, snapped the photos, kept the mementos, and these moments are threaded together to make a full year of memories.
The uncomfortable bits - like labor, humidity, and waiting in line - tend to fade away, and the really important parts, such as holding one's teeny newborn girl, are recalled as clearly as the day they took place.
At the start of a new year, it is as important to look at where we've come from, as it is to project where we'd like to go. I've been doing plenty of both this week, as we step out of holiday mode, and back into routine.
Here's a short look back on some of my favorite holiday moments (all iPhone images). This year seemed extra special for some reason. Maybe it was the drifts of powder (I adore a white Christmas), or maybe because it was Clara's first Christmas and that is just magical.
The wrapping is always far more interesting than the actual gifts when you are 9 months old.
You go ahead and slurp oysters, I'm just fine over herewith my felt food and Trumpette Mary Janes socks.
A new generation of snow bunnies, sporting hand knit woollies from the Wimbush aunties and Nana.
Christmas Day, 2012. I love them so much.
Oh and ties from The Pleated Poppy? Adore.
An outing to the Nutcracker ballet with Noah. He later described the ballerinas as 'scrumptious'. Heaven help us in ten years.
What else to do when you are snowed in? With homemade gingerbread, this template, and help together with homemade marshmallow fluff.
Christmas morning. Overnight cinnamon rolls, peach preserves, fruit, and Prosecco. (Should I post this cinnamon roll recipe? It's amazing.)
The cookies were beautiful this year. Not too rich or gooey. Perfect with tea.
The canine cousins came for a stay and whipped the boys through the snow on a sled. Talk about a thrill.
Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year and the very best for 2013.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Not everyone understood my last
However, unfounded baby rumors aside, a lot of people related to my sound off. A lot. Even one guy is sick and tired of being asked when he's going to start having kids. And he's a guy.
It's all very interesting. In a nutshell, we'd all wish people would stop asking us about how we are (or are not) building our families.
Now it isn't my intention for a second post to be about pregnancy, but I did want to mention that I received a lot of comments, emails and remarks in response to the post, before we move onto something a tad less serious.
Here we are, two weeks away from Christmas, and this little family is deep into holiday prep. Before I sat down to write this post, I piled a plate high with cookies for Danny as a bribe to address our Christmas cards. It's a task I loathe; I hope my bribe works.
Stockings have been hung, a twig tree decorated, and the last few gifts stashed in the top of the closet. If only we had snow, I might really believe that the season of good tidings was upon us, but it is elusive this year save for a thin blanket of ice.
While we wait for the late-coming white drifts, the last days of the school year are getting crossed off the calendar, one-by-one, and we keep a growing list of activities we want to visit over the holidays.
My annual cookie swap has come and gone, and my freezer is lined with long plastic containers of fresh baked goodies. I organize them by similar flavors, so they maintain their cookie integrity. Everything chocolate in one flat, shortbread and vanilla cookies in another, and all gingerbread and spiced goodies are grouped together. It's a good system.
My girls baked some beautiful cookies, fudge and chocolate-dipped caramels.
centerpiece of tea lights in jam jars bathed the heaping plates in a warm glow. It's a little bit like a beautiful dream, wouldn't you agree?
I captured a few moments via Instagram just to prove it wasn't all a dream.
This also could have been a scene from a reverie: a break from work and the kids to have an uninterrupted dinner with friends? Yes, please.
Let the holidays come. We're ready for them and we fully intend to take the hustle and bustle at our own pace. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays wherever you may find yourself this December.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Posts aren't exactly tumbling out themselves from the cracks and crevices of my laptop and self-publishing, so until that happens (wait, that would be some strange content) we're just going to play catch up for a bit.
It’s no secret that I’ve been grasping at summer, not wanting to let it slip away, so last month we hauled our dining room table out onto the freshly mown grass, added the picnic table, plus a table I use for photography, and hosted a harvest dinner party under the trees.
I invited over 60 people (what was I thinking?), and in the end we were 44, kids and all.
Check out the full recap with pictures and tips over on Simple Bites, but for now here are a few Instagrams images I managed to snap.
Friends brought desserts of all kinds - cherry clafouti, apple bundt cake, blueberry pie, peach crisp and much more. We ended the evening on a sweet note, to be sure.
Here is a one-minute recap of the event with Danny’s first attempt at timelapse photography. ..The end is a natural fade-to-black, as we lingered outside until it was nearly night...
Until next summer...
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I've never been one to usher in the arrival of fall with whoops and cheers, eagerly abandoning the over-ripening tomatoes and mammoth zucchinis for early apples and taut leeks.
I know the fall produce season is a good long one, so these days I overlook the (howbeit, beautiful) bushels of oval Roma tomatoes at the market, and pass over the heaps of Spartan apples in favor of yet another basket of peaches, a flat of berries (perhaps the last for many months), a dozen ears of corn, and the largest bundle of basil to be found.
Back in the kitchen, I turn the basil into pesto and freeze it in muffin cups for use during the winter. The boys hunker down by the compost pile and shuck the corn for me, so I can cut it off the cob and add it to the freezer as well.
I serve up salad after salad for dinner, followed by generous slices of melon, which we all -even Clara- eat until the floor under the table is sticky and the rinds are heaped on our plates.
I understand that autumn's arrival is inevitable. I don't pretend to ignore the landscape of school supplies spreading across the buffet. I'm aware, painfully so, of the faint tint of gold on the leaves in the back forest.
Even today, as we picnicked with lemonade and cookies on the grass (an undeniable attempt to salvage summer), I felt a chill in the air. Clara's bare feet felt clammy. And I shivered even though the sun was shining.
Yes, August hangs by mere moments, but I'm choosing to live in them, deliberately.
On Sunday I cannon-balled off the diving board at my in-laws, amid shrieks from my boys. I let myself sink to the bottom of the pool, relished the cool quiet, then surfaced in the sun. Perhaps it would be the last swim of the season.
I stripped Clara naked and dunked her in the clear blue salt water as well. She's only going to have a soft teeny dimpled bottom to appreciate for so long. At five months she's sitting and nearly crawling. In as much as I'm aware of the season's turning, I'm as painfully aware of how quickly she is growing up, transforming from infant to little girl.
Christmas products are in stores and holiday baking is starting to plaster Pinterest, yet I'm firmly stuck on summer. I'm buying up stone fruit and baking desserts like Vanilla-Biscuit Peach & Plum Cobbler, which Danny and I consume together after the children are in bed, our spoons congenially scraping the bottoms of our bowls together.
The best way I can come to terms with the approaching autumn (and subsequent winter) is to preserve the summer season in jars. This week I roasted trays and trays of peaches slowly in the oven, and as they perfumed the house, they reduced into a thick, rich butter. I seasoned the butter with a dusting of fresh cinnamon, tipped it into hot jars, and gave them the hot water canner treatment for 15 minutes.
Once cooled, the pints of cinnamon-peach butter join the other jars in my pantry: sweet zucchini relish, pickles, cherry-plum jam, strawberry jam, blueberry butter, sliced peaches, cherries in vanilla syrup, and more.
Slowly, one jar at a time, I am conceding the end of summer.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
They came and went in a flash. Not gone entirely, I suppose, as late varieties still linger at the markets, however when I pulled up at my local U-Pick I was told the strawberries were finished. That was the beginning of my raspberry picking adventure, and another story altogether.
Before the season was over, I did manage to get a few berries tucked away for winter, with the help of Mateo, who washed and drained the lot. He is most enthusiastic about this summer berry, and couldn't care less about the rest.
Not all the berries went into the freezer; we made sure to feast on them along the way.
First up was a creamy, dreamy strawberry-buttermilk lassi: berries, ice, buttermilk, a sprinkling of sugar unless you like it tangy. Blend. Drink.
There must be roasted strawberries each season, jarred up in their own juices and frozen. For crepes. For cornmeal pancakes.
On they day the strawberries were roasted, I tucked several into a panini along with fresh basil and a few squares of chocolate. Summer lunch at its best.
Ice cream was made, strawberry-sour cream ice cream, at that. Two little boys pulled up stools and watched the pink cream freeze and take on shapes.
It was so good, I made two more batches that week.
And of course, jam. First a Honey-Strawberry Jam, then a Strawberry-Rhubarb Orange Jam from the new Food in Jars cookbook from Marisa. It will go down in history as the very best straw-rhub jam I've ever made, with its perfect consistency and balance of sweet and tart.
Strawberry season may be over, but I'm still canning. It's Canning Week over on Simple Bites, kicking off with Sweet-Cherry Plum Jam, and continuing with Marisa's sultry Peach Barbecue Sauce. Come join the party.
What are you doing with summer berries?