It is spring in Michigan, the time of year when I get a bit of a green tinge from eating too much local asparagus. And, since I planted my very own crop last year, this is a special season as I had the chance to savor a few of my own spears – but just a few. Asparagus, a perennial, cannot be harvested in the first two years after planting. This allows the shoots in years one and two to grow into tall lacy plants which send lots of nutrients to the roots for later harvests. But, of course, I couldn’t bear to wait until year three. So, I cheated and picked just a few spears. They were a true guilty pleasure!Continue reading
Last week our bridge group (16 of us) descended on our kitchen to make tamales – with time off for a bit of bridge, loads of fun and, of course, some serious eating and drinking. How did a group of bridge-playing gringos end up elbow deep in masa? It all started with a side-conversation around Friday night bridge:Continue reading
What could be a better finish to our seasonal party than a shortcake with peak-of-season local berries? Since our party was in June, strawberries were just the ticket. It is August now and, at least here in Michigan, local strawberries have moved over to make room for our luscious blueberries and blackberries. No worries. You can use any seasonal berry or mix of berries in this easy dessert.
There are a number of reasons why this dessert is so easy for a party menu: Continue reading
This summer party was a group effort – a beautiful backyard provided by our hosts, menu by A Global Garnish and food/drink contributions from all attendees. Don’t confuse this group effort with a potluck, which has the emphasis on luck. If you’re lucky, a potluck party will have a good distribution of appetizers, main dishes and desserts as well as a mix of ingredients/flavors. But why leave all this to chance?? If you give out menu assignments, you KNOW the final meal will all come together. Further, you save your guests the trouble of wondering: “what should I make?”. Continue reading
Summer solstice – time to enjoy the glorious evening daylight, the early summer climate, lush gardens and early seasonal produce. Could there be a better time for an outdoor party? My clever friends thought not. Continue reading
“My Mojito in La Bodeguita, My Daiquiri in El Floridita.” … Ernest Hemingway.
La Bodeguita and El Floridita were favorite Ernest Hemingway haunts in Havana. If you’ve read anything by or about Hemingway, you won’t be surprised that he lingered as regularly as possible in the proximity of his favorite drinks. La Bodeguita was his place for Mojitos. Continue reading
Countries steeped in Eastern Orthodoxy celebrate Easter with glorious painted eggs and a traditional Easter buffet feast.
The eggs (pysanky) are quite an art form. The style of egg-painting is different in each country (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus et. al.), but perhaps the most beautiful are the Ukrainian batik (wax-resist dyed) eggs. Continue reading
Cooking lessons are so much fun. I still dust off some of my old lessons when asked or, occasionally, as donations to charity. So, when a friend asked to sell one of my lessons at a live charity auction, I was delighted. The lesson, “Stocks and the Five Mother Sauces”, was from my repertoire of tried and true lessons. I could teach it in my sleep. Piece of cake. Sure, I would be happy to donate the lesson.
Then came the surprise from the buyer: Continue reading
Every year for the past 17 years, my good-hearted friends have allowed me to plan our menu for our year-end progressive dinner. They really are silly about the whole process — each year thanking me profusely for planning the menu and giving out assignments. Don’t they know that this is an ideal situation for me?? Have fun planning a lengthy menu and then give out assignments for everyone else to prepare?? It is second best only to having a commercial kitchen and staff at your beck and call. Continue reading
Three posts in one week – a first for me. Sorry I’m clogging your in-baskets, but I thought I would do my best to finish what I started before Thanksgiving.
This post will wrap up the key things you need to do a week (or a few days) ahead of your Thanksgiving dinner. Continue reading