Vianne’s Spiced Hot Chocolate

from My French Kitchen: A book of 120 Treasured Recipes by Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat.) Harris encourages cooks to engage all their senses when cooking—look at what you’re cooking, smell the ingredients, mix them with your fingers, and enjoy their sounds and textures. Cooking she reminds us, is about as close to magic as modern society allows: to […]

A Return to Our Roots

| root veg·e·ta·ble |  ro͞ot,ro͝ot ˈvejtəbəl,ˈvəjədəbəl/   plural noun: root vegetables   (Italian :  tuberi)        1.  the fleshy enlarged root of a plant used as a vegetable, e.g., a carrot, rutabaga, or beet. Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad by Giada de Laurentis, (via Food Network) (Serves: 4) *Ingredients 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons shallots, […]

Recipe: Peach Gelato

  This gelato is super easy to make and sooo fresh and delicious.   It’s just three ingredients:  peaches, sugar and mascarpone…and a few easy steps.     Here’s pics of Alex showing you how we did it:   We used both white and yellow peaches and peeled most but tried leaving the skin on […]

Leek and Thyme Soup - recipe as shared on linenlavenderlife com

Recipe for a Rainy Day: Leek & Thyme Soup

“It never rains in California…but girl let me warn ya– It pours, man it pours.” I always crave soup on a wintery day like today.  Here’s a favorite from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soup.  It can be served “peasant style” as shown in the photo or puréed smooth.  (serves 4) Ingredients: 2 pounds leeks 1 pound potatoes […]

Recipe: Truffle Bruschetta

Truffle forest near Assisi, Italy    ON A SIX-WEEK STAY IN TUSCANY and while making my way through several recipe books in the cucina of my wee appartamento, I came across the English edition of “How to make Bruschette.” It is a small, paperback book unremarkable in its appearance, but with many variations on Bruschette and Crostone.*  […]

At Home with May & Axel Vervoordt

RECIPES FOR EVERY SEASON by May Vervoordt The recipes reflect May’s penchant for healthy, balanced meals based on seasonal offerings and influenced by ayurvedic principles—(such as using herbs and spices not only to flavor but for digestive health and overall vitality.)   Images from the Vervoordt estate—the castle of s’Gravenwezel—their chalet in Verbier and their apartment […]

Which wine, which wine…

As part of the Virgin Wine Club, we periodically receive a knock on the door and welcome a large, heavy box into the house.  It’s always fun to receive something in the mail, but its especially fun when it’s a collection of wines and you get to discover the names, regions and recommended pairings for […]

Pear, Basil & Pecorino Toscano Salad

      From the book Olives & Oranges page 82: 12 oz Pecorino Toscano cheese  4 ripe pears, cored and cut into eighths 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon Vin Santo vinegar or other high-quality mild white wine vinegar 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or other medium-coarse […]

Goat cheese with honey & a platter of figs

IN CATALONIA, mild goat cheese served with honey is called mel i mató. Similar cheese, like French-style fromage blanc, fresh ricotta, Italian aged ricotta salata, and Greek manouri, are paired with fragrant honey throughout the Mediterranean. In Italy and in the Basque country, aged mountain cheese and sharp sheep’s-milk cheeses are often served with honey […]

Recipe: Pennoni Rigati con Cavolfiore

Excerpts from Travel Journal: Nesting Instinct by LeAnn  : I took my first solo trip to Italy a few years back. I spent six weeks in a one bedroom “appartamento” in a 14th century castle in a beautiful hilltop village south of Florence. Though I was there to write, relax and explore (all very pleasant activities […]