They say don't judge a book by its cover, but I think it's okay in this case!
Notions of summertime lemonade stands are what first drew my eye to this book. But those are actually preserved lemons on the cover—the salt-cured citrus fruits that brighten Middle Eastern stews and summer salads. That's what I like about this cookbook. It's a mix of the familiar and the unexpected using the fresh summer produce we hold so dear.
Author Yvette van Boven is a caterer and cafe-owner who lives in Amsterdam and Paris, but the food reflects the many summers she spent in the French countryside with her photographer husband Oof Verschuren. The photos in Home Made Summer are half the fun, depicting European bars and boulangeries, lively street scenes, and lush, misty greenhouses and gardens. Her recipes are real, fresh, and inviting—not stodgy. Like van Boven's previous books, Home Made and Home Made Winter, this one has the same quirky design and playful style. Her own drawings are peppered throughout the book, and she displays a penchant for making funny faces in photographs: proof she doesn't take herself too seriously.
Some recipes I've dog-eared include: tomato salad with goat's milk ricotta, coriander, and basil oil; buttery corn risotto; quinoa salad with fava beans, turnip greens, and preserved lemons; and watermelon granita. The crab cakes with paprika mayo I made last week were excellent, and I'll be sharing that recipe in my next post.
So, who wants it? I've got one copy to give away in the name of summer and the only question is: to whom? To enter this raffle, just leave a comment on this post about your favorite homemade food you can't wait to make this summer. Entries must be received by midnight EST on Thursday, June 20 so the winner can be announced on the summer solstice, which is this Friday, June 21. Don't let the warming temperatures make you sluggish or you'll miss it.
Know what's good over a shot glass full of snow? This stuff: Sapling. It's a maple liqueur from Saxtons River Distillery in Brattleboro, Vermont. Sweet but not too sweet, it's a nice reward after four hours of shoveling 2 to 3 feet of snow.
I'm due at a party in 10 minutes, but I wanted to leave you with a cocktail to ring in the new year. I first tried the Left Bank Martini at Abigail's, and I've been making it at home ever since. It's slightly floral from the elderflower liqueur, but it's not too sweet and never weak. I like it.
Keep this in your pocket for a special day in 2013, whenever that may strike.
Happy New Year!
Left Bank Martini
I like an extra splash of wine in mine.
1.5 parts gin 1 part St Germain (elderflower liqueur) 1 part Sauvignon Blanc
Do you like coffee? Do you like mushrooms? Well, have I got a giveaway for you!
Rao's Coffee Roasting Company, located in Hadley, MA, supplies direct-trade coffee beans to more than 100 Boston area restaurants, including Craigie on Main and Hamersley's Bistro. Rao's recently partnered with Ming Tsai, chef of Blue Ginger and host of public television's Simply Ming, to create a one-of-a-kind coffee blend that includes health-promoting maitake mushrooms. And you do remember the other name for maitake mushrooms, don't you? DON'T YOU??? It's my beloved hen-of-the-woods! Pay attention, people!
Mushrooms in coffee? Are you intrigued? I know I am. But since I'm not a coffee-drinker, you guys get to be my guinea pigs. Rao's is donating one 16 oz. bag of Ming Tsai's Maitake Coffee for Health (caf or decaf) to one lucky winner. Don't think I'm being 100% altruistic here. I want you guys to stop falling asleep during my mushroom posts. To be considered, leave a comment below about coffee or mushrooms. Comments will close at 10 p.m. EST on Saturday 12/17.
If you prefer your coffee untainted with mushrooms, know that Rao's also sells French Roast, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Guatemalan (organically grown), and a whole bunch of other coffees perfect for gift-giving. You can order them through their site or, if you're lucky, you might find some at Russo's (oddly, under the mushroom bins).
Hi All! Husband here. I related a story to Tammy the other day that she found amusing, so here it is in the form of a Special Guest Post.
If you are not acquainted with the sweet, crisp flavor of Fresca, then you need to go get some right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait here.
OK, now that you’ve agreed that it is the best grapefruit-based diet tonic in the land, we can start the story.
The other day me and my co-worker were working on Important Business at my desk. It was that time in the afternoon when refreshment is needed, and luckily the machine has a Fresca button on it. We got two Frescas, opened them with great relish, and got back to work.
About five minutes into Important Business we looked up from the computer screen and suddenly realized that our Frescas were sitting on the desk right next to each other. Although the quantities still left in each were different, there was no way to 100% without-a-doubt correctly associate each Fresca with its proper owner. We’re both engineers, so believe me, if there were a scientifically-achievable way to identify them, we would have been okay. But in this instance we just didn’t have time for DNA swabs and a testing lab.
A hush came over the office.
We stared at the Frescas, minds churning.
We looked at each other.
We looked at the Frescas.
We looked at each other.
We put the Frescas in the trash.
I found 8 shiny quarters in my pocket, new untainted Frescas were triumphantly acquired, and Important Business continued.
In the unlikely event that you have any champagne leftover that I didn’t find and then drink, here’s a cocktail recipe for your brunchtime pleasure: grapefruit juice, tequila, elderflower liquor, topped off with a bit of bubbly. What’s wrong with a little cocktail first thing on a Monday morning? I hear companies are really loosening up about employees showing up plastered to work in 2010. All right, fine, I am trying to get you fired so I can take your job! Shhhhhh. A few more sips won’t hurt. You’re taking the train anyway.
Jalisco Flower Since there’s no simple syrup in this, pick a grapefruit with a tartness you can tolerate. White grapefruit if you like things on the sharper side, ruby red if you prefer them sweeter, pink grapefruit for something in between.
1 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
¾ oz. elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain)
½ oz. reposado tequila
3 oz. champagne, prosecco, cava, or sparkling wine
Pour first three ingredients into an ice cube-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into champagne flute (or travel mug) and then top with champagne. Serves 1.