a Summer of Food amid Frolics

Hey, here I am.Image

There’s a lot of summer going on between that bun!  (That special sauce can be found here.) 

And so it goes: summer’s flowing humidly by, and there’s just been too much to do and see and eat to spend too much time in front of this laptop.  [Real jobs and the after-work laze may also play a role here.]


There were a few travels. Ann Arbor, MI–you are lucky to have Zingerman’s Deli.  That place is a wonderland for all the epicures among us.  I could cry just standing in front of their cheese counter (why oh why did I not take a photo of all those ripe French cheeses?!?).  They also serve delectable sandwiches on myriad house-baked breads:Image


And Toronto, you’re awesome in so many ways–one of them being your abundance of all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants.  Now that’s a great idea!



And now, how about those London Olympic Games?!  I’ve pretty much been a champion couch potato ever since the opening ceremonies, which were celebrated with a Fish and Chips dinner (complete with malt vinegar and mushy peas!), all in British style:Image

…and thanks to Cale for serving up Guinness Floats [coffee ice cream + Guinness].  (We decided to go ahead and cheers all the British Isles.)  Luscious!Image


So, that’s what’s been going on around here–lots of indulging.  Hope you are too, because that summer sun and all those veggies won’t be with us long!

Got some fresh peppers?  Stuff ’em!


Gather ’round

Hello, all.

It’s time to gather ’round.

Last week’s theme for Approach the Light‘s Project: Draw with Light was Gatherings. I’m a couple weeks behind, but I am happy to say it’s because I’ve been focused on just that: gathering around people who make me glad and giddy.

And it’s been grand. Last weekend we hopped the rocks at Rock Island State Park until we finally made it to the swimming hole–and look what we found: This was happening on a rock, here:

see there, beneath the tennis shoes? magic is happening!

That suave curly-haired fellow is also known as the “River Messiah,” not least because he lugged a grill to this rustic location and made fresh chicken tacos! See the messiah at work:

Thank you, Matt T, for excellent tacos! Cheers to all you lovely friends in attendance; I adore our good times. This has surely been the coolest gathering I’ve made it to recently!

…And Hippie Jack’s was not too long ago–I sure do love all the music and camping and creek-ing and sandwiches and “banquets” and dancing (especially with those two cats below).

Rallies around food are most certainly my favorite gatherings. This brunch comes to mind. And this Autumn pumpkin party. Oh and these were served at this wine-tasting ‘Pinot’ party:

This post is getting rather long…but Gatherings! I love them! They look like this:

and this,this,

Sunset cocktail hour.

and this:

I’m lucky for so many sunny times and darling friends. Gather with yours and make a delicious summer!

Sips and Bits of Gratitude

Approach the Light‘s Project: Draw with Light theme this week is gratitude. Let me share with you a few things I’ve been grateful for in recent days:
(1) One of my favorite kindred spirits: a brother who shares my infatuation with bubble tea…

…and (2) these roses we admired on our sunny afternoon promenade through the park. I am extremely happy with the Dogwood Park expansion–Cookeville, you know what I mean–such a nice new place to meet and lounge and stroll!

(3) An unexpected evening full of chats and catch-ups–featuring a signature Carly cocktail, the Scurvy Squid–that would be equal parts spiced rum and coconut water (coconut juice) over ice. It’s a perfect summer beverage–light and sweet, but not saccharine. Try it!

I’m grateful for people who are bright, open, and focused on the pleasure of the present moment. Thanks, Carly!

(4) Every morning I am welcomed in my (parents’) kitchen by a fresh, hot pot of coffee that I never have to make. And that cake is this cake–which tastes its best exactly 2 days after baking! (I’m grateful for the glorious phenomenon that is pound cake!)

And there they are, (5) the parents who make the coffee, buy the groceries, eat my experiments, and let me run wild in the kitchen. Thanks, you two!


Food Lit: Books for Foodies

I’ve been reading books about food, recipes not necessarily included.

I’ve always been drawn to cookbooks and food magazines, but only quite recently have I begun to discover some different kinds of food literature. I guess my new-found delight in ‘food people’ biographies and memoirs began with my viewing of a documentary on Julia Child. She was the ultimate, spending several indulgent years in France at the Cordon Bleu, then mirthfully sharing her expertise with a burgeoning American cooking population. That Julia–she’s a gem. Watching her makes me positively giddy.

I have since discovered the spirit of Julia in books about some other fine ‘food people.’ I’ve enjoyed these books so much that I feel I should recommend them to other food lit seekers. These are stories both inspiring and mouth-watering, full of the passion and delicious obsession that so many foodies share. They tell of those people who have artfully made food into a lifestyle and career, people who know how (and want!) to make sausages at home and who relish the feel of elastic bread dough under the heels of their hands. These are food people, and if you, like me, identify with their food fixations, you’ll feel right at home with your nose in their books.

In addition (because I work in a library and float between the Adult and Children’s departments), I will also recommend some children’s books with food as the main topic. These are simply books that caught my eye and my heart with their descriptions, detail, and illustrations.

So, I’m going to periodically post installments to Books for Foodies–they are books that I recommend to all of us who can’t stop thinking about food. First book coming soon (hint: it’s in the photo)!!

Happy Christmas/Chocolat!

Merry Christmas, Happy Days!

Chocolate bark is popular this year according to my blog perusing as of late. I lived in France for one Christmas season, and this combination of chocolate accompaniments, discovered at a festive chocolate exposition, won my heart: Pistachio, Almond, and Candied Orange Peel. So this was one of my Christmas treats this year!

I melted dark chocolate (70% cacao) in a double boiler, spread it thinly in a pan lined with wax paper, then topped it with those delicious things (I used salted nuts, by the way)–I let it harden in the fridge, then cut it into squares. I also made a batch with milk chocolate. Such scrumptious and perfectly balanced bites of indulgent goodness!
This stuff is special.

Incredible Edible Gifts!

A little parcel of distinctive chocolate, my Cinnamon Marshmallows, and these excellently flavorful chewy molasses ginger cookies found on a blog called SavorySaltySweet made its way to some special friends!

Happy Happy Holidays, go make some love–edible or otherwise!

Punkin Night–One Superb Seasonal Potluck!

The same awesome people I wrote about in this post got together this weekend for a perfect party plentiful with pumpkin. That’s right, we know how to celebrate this spooky spicy season…

–We ate pumpkin…

pies by Jason, dip by Mollie

…pie of course! But so much more. That’s a sweet pumpkin dip in that cute little punkin, served with tart apples and cinnamon grahams!

And sweet pumpkin wontons by me–recipe coming soon!

soup by Bethany

A thyme-infused Pumpkin Soup!

muffins by Megan

…and these Pumpkin Muffins were fantastic! (When I acquire the recipe, I’ll share.)

My Pumpkin Peanut Curry was a hit! Go on, make it–recipe here!

And these little guys are Pumpkin Donut Holes in costume.
…I later found out that some had Jack o’ Lantern faces!

Pumpkin Donut Holes by Trey

We also drank pumpkin…

in the form of hot spiked cider served right out of a giant pumpkin!

cider by Jason

And those festive cups are full of Matt’s “Jack o’ Lantern Milk,” a delectable concoction of chai milk tea, pumpkin liqueur, and spiced rum (you know that’s good)!!

And after all that eating and drinking and pumpkin-spiced deliciousness…

..these punkins…

…became a striking porch display of personalities!

So this little soirée was obviously awesome…I suggest you gather your people and have your own! Find some pumpkin recipes. Drink something spiced with cinnamon. Carve some funky pumpkins by a fire.

‘Tis the scary season…

But Clyde's not too scary. And his name's not really Clyde.

Happy Happy Halloween times!