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Shave Ice

18 Jun
Photo: NYT

Popular the world over in many incarnations, shave ice is poised to finally claim its rightful place in the upper echelons of refreshing summer treats. Gourmands are taking to to streets and bringing this once humble, albeit DayGlo, staple of the pushcart vendor to the hippest establishments. Lindsay Laricks of Kansas City’s delightful Fresher than Fresh, sells her all-natural snow cones out of a 1957 Shasta trailer at local markets and art openings.

With so many different flavor combos waiting to be tried and tested, it looks like I’ll be making these all summer! I’m envisioning lavender-lemon-lime-sea salt, blackberry-basil-cracked pepper, vanilla bean-ginger-almond…

Do you have any recipe ideas?

Slow Food

26 May


Eating well and eating right is an art and should be approached with the same awareness, care, and patience as cultivating personal style. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and all my best memories feature distinct tastes- rosemary in Potrero, limoncello in Florence, beer at Coors Field.

My relationship with food is full of love and adoration- we were not destined to be star-crossed lovers! There are certain tastes I love unequivocally- Amaretto Gelato, Pain au Chocolates, Red Wine, Shellfish, Avocados.

But after a long winter full of unfettered indulgences, I find myself in the company of a…plushness (I’m very diplomatic!) that my ever compassionate and forgiving knits (bless them!) have heretofore been charged with the lofty burden of hiding (pr geniuses!). But with the coming of the warm weather, their tour of service is complete and I must reluctantly discharge them.

So what’s a girl- especially one who loves food with such ardor- to do? Turn to the French! Bien sûr!

…The
Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 show (show stopper!) starring the gorgeous Laetitia Casta already has me feeling better!

Photo: Instyle.com

…So does reading French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano, who provides a blissful alternative to burying one’s weight woes in bon bons and brioche:

“You have to be ready to embrace pleasure and individual happiness as your goals…discover and cultivate your pleasures…pay attention to yourself-to what delights you” and gradually find balance. Sounds wonderful! Let’s begin!


Over the next week, I will eat only fruits, vegetables, brown rice, and lean meats, and drink water, pure cranberry juice, and green tea. Ideally, this will cleanse my palette so that I’ll no longer be seduced by the foods that neither delight me nor do me any good, but nevertheless feature prominently in my diet.

Recipe Ideas:

  • A hearty vegetable soup chock full of celery, green peppers, spring onions, carrots, and cabbage and seasoned to perfection with sea salt, ground pepper, and fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme from the herb garden
  • Braised Belgium endive
  • Vine-ripe tomatoes lightly drizzled in olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and garlic
  • Sauteed bok choy with garlic and soy sauce
  • Strawberry and mango smoothies

I think I’m going to enjoy this! Do you have any recipe ideas?

P.S. I can’t recommend Born to Run enough! And check out my post on Natural Remedies for Asthma.

Pink Berry Mini Pavlova

21 May


As a child, I thought that clouds must taste like cotton candy. How silly I was then! Now I know better- they taste like pavlova!

Named after Russian Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova, this ethereal confection from New Zealand is simply delightful.

Ingredients:

  • Egg Whites, 3/4 cup
  • Cream of Tartar, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Vanilla Extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Salt, pinch
  • Corn Starch, 1 1/2 tablespoon
  • Granulated Sugar, 2 cups
  • Whipping Cream, 1 pint
  • Fresh Berries, 1 pint

Meringue:

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  • Mix Cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups Sugar in a small bowl.
  • Whip Egg Whites, Cream of Tartar, and Salt in a mixer until small peaks form.
  • Increase speed and add Corn Starch and Sugar Mixture.
  • Add Vanilla Extract and whip until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form.
  • Pipe meringue into large rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake for 1 hour.

Cream:

  • Beat Whipping Cream and 1/2 cup Sugar in a mixer until cream thickens.

Pink Berry Pavlova:

  • Pour cream over meringue and add berries!

Summer Berries & Ices in Sugar Tuiles

15 May


When the weather starts getting warm, all I feel like eating is fresh fruit. Nothing says summer like these delicious and stylish treats!

Recipe from: Neiman Marcus Taste: Timeless American Recipes.

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries, hulled & quartered, 1 cup
  • Raspberries, Blackberries, or Blueberries, 1 cup
  • Grand Marnier, 1 tablespoon
  • Light Brown Sugar, 1 tablespoon + 3/4 cup
  • Mint Leaves, chopped, 1/4 cup + sprigs for garnish
  • Black Pepper, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Unsalted Butter, 1/2 cup
  • Corn Syrup, 1/2 cup
  • All-Purpose Flour, 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon Gelato

Berries:

  • Wash and dry berries and place in a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle Grand Marnier and 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar over berries and mix gently.
  • Add mint and pepper and mix again.
  • Cover and refrigerate to chill.

Tuiles:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine Butter, 3/4 cup Brown Sugar, and Corn Syrup in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  • Boil for 15 seconds and remove from heat.
  • Whisk in flour.
  • Sieve the mixture onto a baking sheet to cool completely.
  • Place small rounds of mixture far apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Carefully lift each tuiles and drape it over the bottom of a tumbler to form little basket shapes.
  • Let cool completely before removing.

Summer Berries & Ices in Sugar Tuiles:

  • Place some of the berry mixture in the tuiles baskets.
  • Add a generous scoop of Lemon Gelato.
  • Garnish with Sprig of Mint.

Guinness-Battered Fish & Chips

27 Apr

I love eating fish and chips drenched in vinegar on the seafront on an overcast day! It reminds me of Ireland, of day trips to Howth and weekend holidays to Dingle. My honey and I revere a good fish and chips and have scoured the world in search of the best. This recipe certainly holds its own!


This recipe was adapted from fellow Vancouver Blogger, Vancity Allie. Her recipes are always amazing, like this Toasted Walnut Banana Bread and this Pizza!

Ingredients:


Oil, 2 cups for frying
Flour, 2 cups + 1/2 cup for dredging
Baking Powder, 1 tablespoon
Baking Soda, 1/2 teaspoon
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Pepper, 1 teaspoon
Cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon
Parsley, fresh from the garden, 2 tablespoons chopped
Egg, 1 large
Guinness, 1 pint can
Halibut, 2 steaks
Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut, 5 large
Olive Oil, 4 tablespoons for drizzling
Salt, to taste
Pepper, freshly ground, to taste

Guinness Batter
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, and Parsley.
  • Mix in egg.
  • Add Guinness and whisk until smooth.
Fish
  • Heat Oil in a deep frying pan.
  • Coat the fish in flour.
  • Dip in batter.
  • Fry in oil for 4-5 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
Chips
  • Peel Russet Potatoes and cut into thin strips.
  • Soak in salted water for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Dry in a cloth.
  • Lay potato strips out on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Soak in vinegar!
  • Bon Appetit!

Herb Garden

18 Apr


A deathly fear of worms, coupled with a complete distaste for Crocs, has rendered me a rather ineffectual gardener. City dwelling isn’t exactly conducive to gardening- Vancouver may have just introduced a bylaw allowing residents to keep chickens, but I fear Pup would throw down if presented with an ornery feathered friend.

And so it’s unfortunate that most of the lots in downtown Vancouver masquerading as community gardens are actually temporary tax shelters for developers. Imagine the anguish of seeing your prized petunias succumb to the bulldozer.

Guerilla Gardening is more my scene- a clandestine operation under the cover of night and a jaunty black beret. Alas, Vancouver hardly requires more beautification. What does require some major primping is my balcony.

So my honey and I, henceforth known as Dr. Green Thumb and Ivy League, gardening alteregos designed to quell flashbacks of former failed attempts and the carcasses that attest to those, spent Saturday morning in Dundarave at the Maple Leaf Garden Centre, procuring supplies for our newly minted herb garden.


We are now the proud growers of sage, rosemary, mint (perfect for all those summertime mint juleps and mojitos!), thyme, oregano, tarragon, cilantro, chives, spring onions, fennel, parsley, and soon to be basil and lavender (Perfect for Lavender Lemonade!). Let the cooking commence!

Spain Inspired

12 Apr
Penelope Cruz & Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Vadoinmessico*
Carmen
Gaudi, Park Guell
Mymu Espadrilles
Gaudi, La Pedrera


After a perfect week in Valencia, my honey and I spent the rest of the summer trying to recapture some of that Spanish sol in dreary Dublin, working tirelessly (sans siestas) to perfect this Sangria recipe. Somebody had to do it!

Ingredients:

  • Rioja, fine Spanish, 1 bottle
  • Orange Juice, fresh squeezed, 1 liter
  • Ginger Ale, 1 bottle
  • Grand Marnier, Peach Schnapps, and Brandy, dashes
  • Pineapple, 1 sliced
  • Apple, 2 diced

Sangria

  • Combine Red Wine, Orange Juice, and Ginger Ale.
  • Add dashes of Grand Marnier, Peach Schnapps, and Brandy if so inclined.
  • Complement with diced pineapple and apple.
  • Salud!

Madrid is one of my favorite cities in the world. I just love strolling through the bustling paseos, relaxing in the shade at El Retiro, and dining al fesco at midnight. After a day at The Prado with heavies like Goya and El Greco, Churros con Chocolate is requisite fare to lighten the mood!

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil, enough for frying
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Butter, 1/2 cup
  • Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 1/4 cup + 4 tablespoons
  • All-Purpose Flour, 1 cup
  • Eggs, 3 large
  • Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Dark Chocolate, 4 ounces
  • Cream, 2 cups
  • Corn Starch, 1 tablespoon

Churros:

  • Heat water, butter, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar to a rolling boil.
  • Add sieved flour and stir until mixture comes together.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Beat eggs then add to mixture, stirring constantly.
  • Place mixture in cake decorator bag with large star attachment.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
  • Squeeze strips of dough onto hot oil and fry until golden brown.
  • Dust with Sugar and Cinnamon.

Chocolate:

  • Heat chocolate, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup cream in sauce pan until melted.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in 1 cup cream and add to mixture.
  • Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.
  • Remove from heat and serve with piping hot churros.
  • Buen Provecho!

*Vadoinmessico is one of my new favorites coming out of SXSW. The band is from Italy, Austria, and Mexico and is based in London. I tend to love international groups like this- Gotan Project comes to mind. In Spain is my new Spring jam!