Pages Menu
TwitterFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 | 2 comments

Giving the Gift of Homemade Bitters

Giving the Gift of Homemade Bitters

When I prepared orange bitters on vacation with my friend Rachel last fall, she later turned her batch into gifts, each with a personalized label and food and cocktail recipes in each package. I’m sure the recipients were delighted by her charming and thoughtful presentation. Bitters, a mix of botanicals – herbs, roots, spices, and fruits – distilled in a base alcohol, are a nice hostess or housewarming gift, or for any occasion really. In fact, this time of year is ideal to make a batch because you’re more likely to find the Seville oranges in the market, which are ideal for the infusion. Rachel and I completed Part 1 of the project, which was to prep the fruit and create the infusion. Then, 12 days later, in Part 2, we strained and steeped the mixture. Whereas I strained my batch into two larger bottles with stoppers (purchased from Crate & Barrel Outlet) and left it at that… Rachel wisely stretched her supply out by using 8, 1 oz. amber dropper...

Read More

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 | 0 comments

A Taste of New Orleans in Del Ray

A Taste of New Orleans in Del Ray

When I found out my friend Jen was making 20 (yes, 20!) king cakes for her Twelfth Night party, I knew this was a DIY endeavor I needed to see. Jen and her husband Art have hosted a Twelfth Night party for years. What started as a small get-together with friends has evolved into a large gathering and a whole lot of king cakes. Twelfth Night is about family and Jen extends an invitation not just to relatives, but to her neighbors and friends in Del Ray. The party gets bigger each year, the king cakes are always the star of the show. Jen hails from New Orleans, so king cakes and Twelfth Night parties are part of her heritage. The event, the twelfth day of Christmas, officially kicks off the beginning of the Carnival season leading up to Mardi Gras. Though not a baker, Jen prides herself on hand making each king cake, using a recipe she has made so many times she has it memorized. Throughout the years...

Read More

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 | 2 comments

Anne and Erik’s Peruvian Feast

Anne and Erik’s Peruvian Feast

You may remember the spectacular Georgian feast my friend Anne and her husband Erik put on for friends last spring, the table piled high with the cuisine of the region that Anne learned to cook in Tbilisi.  On assignment with the State Department, Anne and Erik and their children have also lived in Peru (as well as Ukraine and are soon on their way to Montenegro). Recently, they treated all of us to Peruvian feast. (Erik is wearing his Peruvian Walon football jersey especially for the occasion.) While preparing the feast, Anne set the scene in their home with items they brought back from Peru, such as this photography book, a pitcher from Arequipa, and artwork. In Peru, she says, “you are served a big bowl of these choclo, or giant roasted corn nuts, in restaurants as a snack.” As with the Georgian Feast, the food kept coming and coming. Here is causa, layered mashed potatoes with chicken salad, tomatoes, and avocados. As for drinks, there were the usual...

Read More

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 | 2 comments

Cleansing Your Body and Mind: Marybeth’s Whole Foods Detox

Cleansing Your Body and Mind: Marybeth’s Whole Foods Detox

Many of us start the New Year with resolutions, diets, exercise regimens and plans to live healthier. According to Marybeth Walsh, holistic health coach and owner of My Whole Self, it’s best to start the year with a clean slate. I first met Marybeth when she wrote a post for us about how to spark romance in your life through Feng Shui. She also shared ways to create a serene and peaceful home. Marybeth invited me over to see her prep work for the whole foods detox she’s leading this week. It was a frigid, bleak morning, temps below zero, yet Marybeth’s kitchen felt like an oasis of warmth and vitality. The whole foods detox is a way to remove harmful toxins found in everyday life from your body. Toxicity and inflammation are the underlying causes of disease and obesity and are at the root of many chronic health complaints. Not only will detoxing improve your overall health and immune and digestive functions, it can help you lose weight,...

Read More

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 | 6 comments

Hearty White Bean and Kale Soup

Hearty White Bean and Kale Soup

I love soups that don’t take a lot of work, just chopped vegetables simmering in a pot. And in terms of simplicity and heartiness, this white bean kale soup doesn’t disappoint. Ingredients 1/2 large onion, diced 2 medium carrots, diced 1 stalk of celery, diced 4 cloves of garlic, minced 2 handfuls of kale, coarsely chopped (less if you aren’t in to kale) 1 handful of parsley, chopped 2 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed 4 cups vegetable broth, plus additional water if needed Salt and pepper to taste Start cooking your onions in a large pot on medium heat with a little olive oil. After a few minutes, add the carrots, celery and minced garlic. Let the vegetables cook for a few minutes then add kale. Add vegetable broth, white beans, parsley and some black pepper. Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add more broth or water if the soup seems too thick. Taste and season with salt and pepper...

Read More