The perfect Gin and Tonic

gandtMy key to a perfect G&T:  Hendricks and a slice of cucumber!  My good friend, Emily, taught me that.   I tried my best to enjoy them before, but realized I just couldn’t get past the smell of rubbing alcohol in other gins.

However, I will say it’s always good to give things another go, so over the weekend I tried a G&T using Tanquerey and it wasn’t all that bad.  But don’t worry Hendricks, I’ll always remain faithful to you.

They are very easy to make, but should you want the classic cocktail recipe here’s a great one.

And here’s a list of a few places in San Francisco to visit that I’ve heard have great gin cocktails (and the ones I’d try)…

Absinthe (Corpse Reviver #12)

Alembic (Charlie Chaplin)

Dosa (Bloody Marvelous)

And if you reeeealllly like gin, here’s a great book to pick up or perhaps gift.

Photo courtesy of Mariah’s Kitchen

Summer Time!

swing

I don’t mind admitting that I have a mild case of self-diagnosed OCD.   What event planner doesn’t suffer triumph from this right?  I’m detail oriented, organized and can’t get through life without a checklist, usually color-coded.   So since it was officially the first day of summer last Friday, I thought it was only appropriate to compile a list of all of my summer “to-dos.”

  1. Go camping in the Redwoods
  2. Master the skill of BBQing and make these and these
  3. Rent bikes and go for a ride along the coast
  4. Get in the habit of reading one book a month
  5. Hang twinkle lights in our patio and eat outside every chance we get
  6. Try out different workout classes to see what’s right for me.  I’m most interested in spinning and boxing so far, but the list is endless.  I even own a pair of these.
  7. Truly make yoga a part of my life. I feel so great when I practice; I’m not sure why I haven’t made it a daily habit.
  8. Re-institute Sunday day trips
  9. Host a picnic in the park with friends following a few games of bocce
  10. Visit at least three wineries in beautiful Northern Cali. Wine country, starting with this one

And the bonus to do….

11.   Learn to slow down, smell the roses and enjoy the scenery.

photo via Clement Demarquet

On the Hunt: Cookbooks

I recently created a pretty detailed budget for myself. The first month,  I spent as I normally do just to see where the money was going. I was completely SHOCKED to see how much money goes toward food.  Every morning, I’d find myself walking down to the cafe in my building at work, and usually back down for lunch as well, and then depending on how tired we were after work, we’d choose to either cook something at home or go out.  After seeing how much money we were spending, we decided to change our ways.  Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE to go out, but we’d rather save our money for a nice evening at a restaurant we will truly enjoy or have been dying to try.

So now that we are faced with this new challenge, I’ve been hunting blogs and websites far and wide for some of the best cookbooks out there.  I of course have my friends Ina, Giada and Nitza that I typically turn to, but am always on the hunt for some new ideas.  (And as a side note, yes, the Nitza Villapol cookbook is really $158 new. You can thank the Cuban government.)

Here are a few new ones I’ve been thinking of checking out!

One Pan Two PlatesOne Pan, Two Plates: More than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two, by Carla Snyder

just square cover.inddAd Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller

plenty-cookbookPlenty: Vibrant  Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi

 

What are some of the must-have cookbooks in your kitchen?

Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top

Cherries

It’s finally cherry season!!! No matter where I turn there are cherries… farmers markets, grocery stores and literally people selling them on the street corners.  These tasty & delicious fruits have a pretty short growing period, so it’s best to get your fill now!  I stopped at Whole Foods yesterday evening to pick some up for us.  I of course love eating them just as they are, but I might have to try making some fancy dessert or entree with the cherries this season.

Here are a few recipes I’d love to try this summer:

Roasted Rack of Lamb with a Rhubarb and Sour Cherry Gastrique (via Spoon Fork Bacon)

Mini Cherry Crumbles (via Eat, Live, Run)

Late Summer Cherry Pie (via Bon Appetit)

Cherry Bourbon Ice Cream (via Joy the Baker)

White Chocolate Covered Cherries…and later in amaretto (via Not Without Salt)

And here’s the story behind behind those Mutant, Double Cherries

Enjoy!!!

 
 
 
 
 
photo via Not Without Salt

Well that’s just peachy…

grilled-peach-salad_loveandlemons1

One of my favorite things about summer is the produce.  It’s refreshing to see so many beautiful fruits and veggies all over the markets and menus.

Saturday night, we ended up going to Campo 185 in Palo Alto, one of the newest farm-to-table restaurants popping up on the Peninsula.  On the menu was a grilled peach salad with wildflower honey.  It was perfect for summer…sweet and light.  It got me thinking that peaches are good in any course, from salads to entrees and of course dessert.

Here are a few recipes I’d love to try this summer.

Grilled Peach Salad with Mint Pesto  (pictured above: via Love & Lemons)

Peach Gnocchi (via 101 Cookbooks)

Grilled Peaches with Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream (via theKitchn)

Peach Ricotta Tart (via The Forest Feast)

Enjoy!!