Simply identifying this one is a bit of a trick. While this root is often called California ginseng, it is not even related to ginseng. Among the plants called spikenard is Aralia racemosa, which is in the same family (if not genus) as the various ginseng species… but that is not the plant referred to in aphrodisiac literature or cultivated from ancient times for its healing abilities. No, that would be the spikenard botanically called Nardostachys jatamansi, of the same family as valerian. Continue reading
It’s a warm, overcast day at the Villa. A simple lunch is just what today needs, and preferably nothing that takes heating up the kitchen! I’ll start with insalata caprese, that most distinctively Italian antipasto. Though it’s usually made as a salad (as its name suggests), I like to build little bites out of it. Whether as a platter for a party or a quick snack for myself, it’s an easy and enjoyable burst of flavor.
This, my friends, is a fine drink to finish June or begin July. Continue reading
And now, a classic from Lord Byron.
Originating in India, where it was considered a sacred herb, basil (Ocimum basilicum) has spread West across the world. When the Greeks got ahold of it they dubbed it “basileus,” which means “king,” and it has been largely considered the king of herbs ever since. To Italians it is a sign of love, and Haitian legend says it came from the love goddess Erzulie. Continue reading
A combination of lush, fun, fancy-looking, super simple, and delicious is hard to beat. Bananas Foster fits that combination exactly! It was invented in 1951 by Chef Paul of Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, and named for the chef’s good friend, Richard Foster. It’s so simple that variations abound, but this is my favorite way to do it, and is one of the most basic.
It seems that yesterday was National Martini Day in the U.S. I didn’t find out about it until rather late that afternoon, and the evening was unexpectedly absorbed by an impromptu party celebrating a baby being born to some good friends. Their beautiful family extends by one darling little face!
No martini article for you, though, and I feel rather apologetic about that. Really, as with the margarita article, I should do it the day before so as to give you time to find your ingredients! Next year, I will.
A delicious meeting of three.
And here’s a drink titled with the French phrase. Also delicious.
We’ve talked about how to make a first kiss one to remember, and ways to tell if it’s the right moment for it. Understanding that the “right moment” is a final hurdle, and usually the most nerve-wracking of the whole process, let’s move out one step further and have a look at signals that you can give, or pick up on, to see if you are near that point.
Don’t worry, this is a much easier thing, and should help calm the jitters – if not those lovely butterflies.