Friday, March 30, 2012

Celebrate the Weekend with a Gin Rickey

I was looking for a new drink to serve at my dinner party last week.  I came upon this recipe which is a new take on a vodka rickey. 

A vodka rickey is simply vodka with lime juice and soda water.  
 This version is a refreshing drink, perfect for summer.  Gin replaces vodka and dried cranberries and pomegranate juice add a touch of sweetness.

Gather the ingredients; gin, pomegranate juice, lime and dried cranberries.

Soak 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries in 45ml of gin.  Add to the glass, 45 ml of pomegranate juice, 30 ml of lime juice, 10 ml of simple syrup*, and 60-90 ml of soda water.  Add ice, give it a stir and garnish with lime and a mint leaf or two.  

*simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water. Stir to dissolve and bring to a boil and then cool.

Can you believe it is the end of the week and the end of March?
Have a fantastic weekend.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Orange Coral Decor Inspiration

I have an orange obsession and I love the coral motif.  A few objects for inspiration.

Orange Coral Decor Inspiration

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pavlova for a Spring Dessert

Pavlova is a meringue based dessert named in honor of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova,  on tour in Australia and New Zealand in the 1920's.  This particular meringue has a crispy exterior with a marshmallow-like interior.  Traditionally, the Pavlova meringue is shaped with a bowl like center that is filled with fruit and whipped cream just prior to serving.

Kiwi is a traditional Pavlova fruit. 

I used kiwi blue berries and blackberries in my Pavlova.

The fruit is topped with whipped cream.

Hubby forgot to take a photo of the whole, completed dessert.  
I topped the Pavlova with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

Pavlova is a surprisingly light dessert that is perfect in spring and especially popular for Easter.  I read several recipes and reviews.  If you have never made a Pavlova, please try Alton Brown's recipe at the Food Network.  If you have an electric mixer and can follow directions, you will NOT fail.  Feel free to use what ever fruit you prefer.  

Have you ever eaten or made a Pavlova?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

High Low Hemlines

How do you feel about high-low hemlines?

Also known as a mullet dress, I'm not a big fan of an extreme high-low variation. 

I do like this slight gradience.

I purchased this top in red last summer and it looks great with a short pencil skirt and flats.
This angled hemline is feminine and unique.

Do you wear this look?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Reflections

I love to entertain at home.  Casual, impromptu  get togethers are fun but I love to go all out and throw a dinner party with multiple courses and a pretty table setting.  

I decided to use red chargers with brown, silk-like napkins and yellow candles and flowers.

I used multiple glass and silver vessels for flowers and candle holders.  The daffodils were from my yard.

After a starter of grilled mushroom and gruyere pizza, we cleansed our palate with lemon, rosemary sorbet. 

The main course was caramel orange scallops, a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book, Around My French Table.  
Of course the best thing about a dinner party is the guests.  We had a wonderful time with really fun, interesting people.

How do you like to entertain?  
I'll share the special drink and dessert later in the week.  Stay tuned.

Have a wonderful Monday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Arrived Disguised as Summer

Unreal high temperatures for March, set three new records here in Michigan this week.  Trees are budding, grass is getting green and birds are busy building nests.  The sun has been shining and I have a little tan going on just from running outside and walking the dogs.    

miniature daffodils

species tulips

spring beauties

Back to reality however.  Rain has arrived as have cooler temps.  That's ok.  I'd like to enjoy Spring and not rush summer.  

So what do you have going on this weekend?  Hubby and I are hosting a dinner party.  I'll share the special cocktail I'm serving as well as other recipes next week. 

Enjoy your weekend.  Do something fun and something relaxing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Meyer Lemons - Preserved

I get excited when I see Meyer lemons at the market.  The Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and an orange and was brought to this country from China by Frank Meyer in 1908.  A winter fruit with a limited season, I like to take advantage of this glorious citrus while it is available.  

I use the zest in cakes and the juice in salad dressings.  I float chunks in my water glass for some flavor.  I place a whole lemon in the cavity of a chicken when I roast chicken and use the juice and zest to flavor vegetables.  Infusing olive oil with Meyer lemon is a simple thing to do, taking literally minutes but leaving you with a bottle of "perfumed oil" to splash on fish or chicken or veggies.  Read about it here.

Another way to keep the essence of the Meyer lemon after the season ends is to preserve the fruit in salt and oil.  Regular lemons can be used in this manner as well as the Meyer lemon.  This condiment, especially popular in North African cooking, is easy to make.  I followed a recipe that produced just enough to fill the two cup jar you see above.

Plunge three lemons into boiling water for 5 minutes.  

Allow them to cool on the counter until they are able to be handled.  Cut into halves, then quarters and then eighths.  Remove seeds and pith as you go along.  

Place about 2/3 cup of Kosher salt into a bowl and toss the lemon wedges in the salt. 

Fill the jar with the salted wedges of lemon.  

Take the juice of 3 - 4 more lemons, strained, enough to cover the lemons and then close the lid.  Place on the counter top for about 5 days, shaking the jar once each day.  At the end of that time, add 1/3 cup olive oil to the jar and place in the refrigerator.  Give the lemons at least a week to cure before using them.

Using preserved lemons takes just a bit of creativity.  Here is an article with ideas and recipes to get you started.  I made a preserved lemon aioli to go along with chicken for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Suggestion: Spies

I was doing a bit of spring cleaning yesterday.  

I tackled the bookshelves in the loft; removing each books, dusting it and the shelf and then replacing.  I sorted out some books to donate and some to sell.  I came across a book that I enjoyed and thought I'd share with you.

Spies   Michael Frayn

Spies opens with Stephen, now in his 70's, planning a trip to his childhood home.  He needs to go back to remember and think about secrets and a childish game gone wrong.  As he walks down the street of his childhood home, a familiar smell of a shrub triggers memories and takes him back to "that time".  

Stephen and Keith, his friend, were young boys during World War II, living in a London suburb.  One day when playing, Keith remarks to Stephen that his mother is a German spy.  Thus sparks a new game; spying on the purposeful comings and goings of Keith's mother.  Keith's mother does have secrets but not what the boys imagine.  Her secrets are personal and ones she would like to hide.  The boys interfere and sabotage her endeavors.  The final chapters unwind rapidly, almost too much so, that the reader is left reeling and astounded by the revelations. 

The story is about boyhood friends, war time, families, imagination, secrets, betrayal but mostly about memory and it's accuracy and truth.  

This author is well regarded and his book Headlong was on the short list for a Man Booker Prize in 1999

I think you would enjoy this book.  It really keeps your attention and reads quickly.  Thoughtful too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blue Shoe Lusting

I have a thing for blue shoes.  Not navy blue or turquoise but true blue.

Ivanka Trump  Indico Pump

C Wonder  Penny Loafer

Michael Kors  Odin

Rachel Zoe  Gladys

This color blue would be a great accent for any of these colors.
Wear it with Blue Shoes


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