Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm off...

I'm off to Talloires, but will be back early next week. Until then, I leave you with this:


Sunday, May 25, 2008

left to my own devices

I got out of work early on Friday, which was a fantastic start to the long weekend. P, however, had no such luck. Left to my own devices for the five hours before he would get home from work, I decided I would dig deep into my domesticness and get dinner on the table for him upon arriving home from work. On average, he is way nicer than I am, so decided I would even greet him at the door with a drink.


I've been wanting to cook duck for awhile, but have been somewhat hesitant since I'd rather leave serving somewhat rare poultry up to the professionals, but, what the heck, I love duck. Picked up a lovely breast and set about making the dressing for Warm Duck Salad with raspberries, pecans, and oranges.

Warm Duck Salad

Cotes de Provence:
I would serve a sauvignon blanc with this dish in the future,
but doesn't this wine have a gorgeous label?

Dessert was very easy. I made an extra simple sauce of creme fraiche, honey, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds to be served over more rasberries and a fancy brie.

miel: I'm almost out of this delicious Savoie honey,
so will have to pick some up when I am in Talloires next week...

Some food pornography

Cheers to long weekends

It was a good meal, if I do say so myself. Ok, back to the beautiful day here. Hope you are enjoying a fantastic Memorial Day weekend...



CAKE: I love them madly, for some reason...

Ok, I have to preface this entry with an announcement: I am writing this outside, on my balcony, in the sun. I am wearing shorts and drinking coffee. I am happy.

On Saturday, P and I headed down to the Esplanade for Earth Fest. While I consider myself ecologically aware and try to be environmentally sound on an individual level, I am not particularly crunchy. I must admit, the real reason for going to Earth Fest was not the planet, but rather, CAKE.

[Note: Earth Fest was sponsored by Whole Foods, so the event itself was not particularly crunchy, but more like yuppie-crunchy.]

It was tres fun. Added bonuses besides fantastic CAKE, was a performance by Cracker (remember them?), homeade Ginger Beer by Irie Tea, lots of interesting people watching, and a Zombie Parade. Nothing says "save the planet" like Zombies offering free hugs... 'twas fun.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


During one of my 3pm slumps earlier this week, I decided that I would make herb-infused simple syrup, which I would then turn into a lovely, non-alcoholic herbal Italian soda, according to Martha’s advice. I had some basil in the fridge that was past pesto stage, but not on it’s last legs, which I thought would fit the bill perfectly. I was already thinking about my refreshing, sparkly beverage that would surely taste like summer.

basil lily pads

Simple Syrup infused with herbs:
1 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
Herbs of your choice

Simmer sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add your herbs. Let cool completely. Strain through sieve. Add a few Tbls to a tall glass and top with soda water. Bendy straws and garnish optional.

You can even freeze it for a month! Love the freezer.

I cooled my syrup on what is known as “the holy trivet,”
my one attempt at painting-my-own-pottery…

Hmmm… it was good. I think? I think it needed something else, like lemon, maybe? Or, gin and lemon? Mint might have made for a better soda, or maybe thyme syrup would make a tasty lemonade.

Anyway, I thing there is great cocktail potential in this syrup so I am saving it. Probably would make a delicious basil gimlet? It has that aromatic quality that St. Germain Elderflower liquor has.

PS: Is it summer yet?

Monday, May 19, 2008


Even an ordinary day is lovely when you have flowers in your window. Especially if your husband got them for you after you had to work all weekend...

Just a pretty picture for a normal day.


Monday, May 12, 2008

oh, Canada

The true North, strong and free...

Among my random obsessions (Kentucky Derby, Esther Willams, the weather), Canada ranks quite high. I suspect this affinity developed during my childhood in the NoCo where the closest civilized settlements were just over the river. Canada is great for many reasons:

  1. It is another country. While I am quite proud of the Etats Unis (current administration excluded), I do like me a good foreign country from time to time. Plus, it's very easily accessible and they use cool words like "toque."
  2. Canada has contributed such delicacies to the world as poutine and beaver tails. I hear you can get poutine at Jreck's Subs up in the NoCo, but that is not recommended as it is technically American poutine, and, well, it's called Jreck's SUBS, not Jreck's Poutine. Don't knock it, it's good stick-to-your ribs stuff. And you can get it totally gourmet now, too.
  3. It's ok if the weather is cold in Canada. Because you're in Canada, it's charming. I love how Canadians don't need to zip their parkas even in the most extreme winter cold.

Of course, there are so many other wonderful things about Canada (Ottawa, Stratford, Montreal, hockey, universal health care, same-sex marriage), but what prompted me to write today is this:

While its tagline says it is "Online shopping for Canadians" I would also add Canadiaphiles and people who want cheap(er) French books and music. Here's what happened: I set out on a quest to get the last Harry Potter book en francais so I could complete my task of reading all of the HP books in French. On a recent rainy afternoon, I popped into Schoenhof's because I was sure they would have numero sept: Les Reliques de la Mort. Indeed, they did, but at a whopping $55!! While I was tempted because I am a sucker for instant gratification, I said non, I will look at Amazon to see if I can find it for less online. Um, not successful. Here my coveted book was retailing for $75 (but, with Super Saver Shipping).

Feeling the pull of the $55-yet-immediately-available book, and cursing the weird self-denial shopping angst I experienced on a trip to Ottawa over Christmas, I reached to click the site closed. Suddenly, I had an epiphany -- what about This is what I found: CDN$ 22.47, no joke!

Moins cher!

My spirits fell as I realized I would have to pay international shipping, but! International shipping to the US is not that expensive! I even opted for the expedited international and the total came to CDN$38! I'm excited, can you tell?! I was even able to use my regular Amazon login and have been happily tracking my already shipped package ever since.

Thank you, Canada.

Saturday, May 10, 2008



I recently went through a somewhat traumatic experience: I thought I had lost Arthur forever. I made an appointment with him at my usual place several months ago. All seemed fine, until they called to confirm my appointment and told me Jean-Pierre would be cutting my hair. "I don't know Jean-Pierre!" I wailed. The woman on the phone assured me that I "would like him," but after some quick Yelp research, I was pretty durn sure that I would not like him in the least.

The last time I tried to be assertive with a hairstylist, I STILL ended up with those early 2000's trendy bangs (which I had explicitly forbade). J-P did not sound like my type at all. [Yelp quote: He was the most arrogant stylist I have ever interacted with, and the results made me feel like I had a more dull and predictable haircut than the one I walked in with.]

Then, while enjoying a post-Kentucky Derby beer at Bukowski, I received a text message from J: "I found Arthur."

I immediately made myself an appointment at his cute new place and have since received a lovely short-hair cut. It's like old times. I love him becaues he says things to me like: "How Parisi-enne!" or "When you go to France, everyone will say, 'oh, your coiffure'!" Which, of course, makes me say "Teeeeeeheeeee!" He always ends my cut by asking where I'm going for a date that night because my hair (not just my hair, but I myself!) looks very sexy.

Love. Him.


Friday, May 2, 2008

bet on it

Tomorrow marks two auspicious occasions. First, it is my dear Father's birthday. Happy birthday, Dad. Secondly, this year's Kentucky Derby falls on the same day. Double the celebration.

Most who know me know that I have a slight obsession with the Derby, am quite fond of bourbon, and would love to live somewhere where it is appropriate to wear big hats. This pretty much makes the Kentucky Derby holiday-worthy in my mind.

Celebrating the 2006 Kentucky Derby
(Yes, some of the only big hats available were sombreros,
but it's the thought that counts.)

Right now there is some contemplation in my household about a potential partially-impromptu KD viewing party. I'm thinking champagne brunch or lunch, followed by Mint Juleps and some friendly wagering. I even know what I'm going to wear (still gotta find a hat, though).

Now I'm trying to decide which horse I should put my money (or drinks, neck rubs, IOUs, etc.) on. Usually, I just pick a name I like. Here are some faves so far: Big Truck (whose sire was Hook and Ladder), Pyro, and El Gato Malo (pretty awesome name). If you have a favorite you'd like me to bet on for you, check out the list here.