Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Watermelon Basil Margarita

I want to think of myself as a "put-together" sort of person: I schedule my hair appointments months in advance. I make lists. My hall clock runs fast so I can get out the door to the boys' school early (genius!). I even have what we affectionately call the "command center" in the kitchen - a combination huge calendar/bulletin board that maps out our daily commitments and work schedules, all in bright Crayola-approved erasable marker.

With this in mind, about two weeks after having my third baby, I got around to reserving the kids' summer camp sessions (early!). Check that one off the list, easy-peasy. Well, fast forward to the first day of camp, and the kids are excited... I'm excited too! Because, really, how often do get to have six hours of undisturbed quality time with your bed or ipad.... I mean... errr.... new baby?

With their backpacks stuffed with multiple towels & bathing suits, lunches made, and sunblock applied, we head out the door. We even arrive ten minutes early (Huzzah! The hall clock system works!). I drop the kids off calmly to their respective camp groups, feeling a great sense of, "I got this three kid thing down", and head home for a much anticipated cup of coffee & cuddle with baby. When I get... THE CALL.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

G & Tea (Gin & Green Tea Sour)

Spring has finally arrived, and thank goodness for that! My hopes for velvety green leaves, blue sunny skies, and the buzzing of honeybees were almost dashed due to a dreary start of the season. Very fortunately, it is now the perfect time for afternoons on the deck and - once the kids are asleep - cocktails enjoyed in the warm evening breeze!

With that in mind, I went searching for inspiration for a fun new sipper. Having spent the last ten months on a total alcohol ban due to pregnancy (and even now, it's very limited), I was itching to create something new. Gin is a favorite of mine, even though it gets a bad rap. The thing is, you have to be specific and find a gin that fits your tastes. Mine is the smooth & lightly herbaceous goodness called Hendrick's Gin.

After much experimentation, and a very willing tipsy taste tester in the kitchen (my husband gets all the perks!), we found a winner. We went through several iterations to find that certain something that would make this drink different... to try linking it's past as a Prohibition-Era libation, but also put on a modern twist.

A classic gin sour is a cocktail that screams speakeasies and jazz bars. Typically there are only three ingredients; gin, lemon juice, and sugar syrup. It's simple and classic. After starting there, I wanted to incorporate the refreshing and floral flavors of green tea, along with sweet elderflower liquor. This was more in line of the 'gentleman's gin cocktail'; something to drink in your top hat and tails. The one where you sidle up to the countertop and say "I'll take a G & Tea please, bartender", with a wink and a nod so they get the pun.

Presenting the Gin & Tea, if you please.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Well, I'm back after a looooong hiatus! Pregnancy - with all of it's joys, cravings, aches & pains - completely kicked my butt. The end result couldn't be more spectacular...our new baby boy was welcomed into the world a few weeks ago; all 8 1/2 pounds and 22 inches of him! He's definitely one of the best things I've ever made!

So, with that being said, I began looking for a comeback cooking project. My oldest son's birthday is this week, and when I asked what sort of cake he would like me to make, he totally surprised me! He replied, with his huge, gap-toothed grin (the tooth fairy has been paying a lot of visits lately!), to say "A Strawberry-Lemonade Cake, Mum!". Okey-dokey then.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chocolate Cranberry Bundt Cake

I think most of us have a collection of family recipes; scribbly-written and faded index cards that hide in our cupboards. Those tried-and-true dishes that were a trademark of our family dinners growing up. Recipes that bear the splatters of previous cooks - the ones who jotted notes down in the margins, describing those small changes made by each generation, sometimes for new cooking methods, or ingredient availability ("Sour Salt? Where the heck can I find sour salt?").

I call these my "Grandmother Recipes", and I treasure them: Sweet & Sour Cabbage Rolls, which as a young child I loathed, but now adore. Mini cheesecakes - so deliciously creamy - but smacking of 1950's cooking shortcuts. The guarded recipe for my family's cheese blintzes, passed from one generation to the next, and NEVER shared with outsiders.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

One... Two... Three

You've probably noticed (I hope!) that my blog posts went from a slow trickle over the summer, to a full-on-screeching halt. No, I didn't suddenly lose my taste for sugar. Yes, my oven still works. Yes, I had a fridge full of beautiful summer-time produce beckoning, or possibly taunting, me each and every day to be made into something tasty... But, I just couldn't. All-day morning sickness does put a damper on things, especially my appetite.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Favorite Burger

As my kids get older, I've noticed that our summers have changed. Where there were once lazy afternoons spent running through sprinklers, these days seem jam-packed, and are gone in a flash. Summer camp, play-dates, family vacations, outings to a farm (or the local dairy, or berry picking... you get the idea). Our days completely fill up, and leave little time and energy for complex meals at night.

This is why I love firing up the grill! It's easy-peasy to set aside a piece of protein to marinate, and add a vegetable on the side, especially now that local produce is at it's finest. Bonus: my husband likes to tie on an apron and work the fire, so I can sit back and enjoy a cocktail while he cooks up the main dish!

This burger recipe is in our regular dinner rotation during the summer months. I know some cooks really enjoy mixing different types of ground meats, adding a fancy accouterments or two to make the perfect burger, but I'm old-school for this kind of dinner; 100% ground beef is the way I roll. Add in a few herbs & spices, an egg, and some Worcestershire Sauce, and you have a grilled burger that is perfection in its simplicity.

Top it with lettuce, tomato, pickles, & onions for a classic take, or, with a few slices of avocado, heirloom tomato, purple onion, and cheese. However you eat it, this is the burger recipe to grill this summer!