Tag Archives: summer

Summery drinks

5 Aug

Now that it FINALLY feels like summer in Vancouver, it’s time to hit the patio. I’ve found some great “body conscious” drinks courtesy of The Fader. Perfect for after work with a book on the balcony watching the sunset, or having a few girlfriends over for Sunday brunch. Enjoy!

TEMPEST Directions:
Combine 1 cup of cantaloupe juice with a 1.5 ounce shot of bourbon, a dash of green tea syrup, a dash of sea salt, some sprigs of mint and a few squeezes of lime. Shake and pour over ice. Garnish with mint leaves. 196 calories per serving.

Best simple syrup here: http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2009/01/13/basic-cooking-how-to-make-simple-syrup/

MUTINY Directions:
Drain one cup of juice from a watermelon (have extra). Combine juice with 2-3 wedges of lime, 1.5 ounces of tequila, a teaspoon of sugar and two dashes of rhubarb bitters. Throw in some fresh mint leaves and leave more leaves for garnish. 183 calories per serving

 

CLOSEHAUL Directions:
In a frosted glass, combine one cup of freshly juiced cucumber with 1.5 ounces of gin and two wedges of fresh lime. Pour in one dash of chamomile syrup and two dashes of lemon bitters. Pour over ice and serve. 161 calories per serving.

Read more: http://www.thefader.com/2011/08/02/body-conscious-four-slim-summer-drinks/#ixzz1UDZfldEu

 

Smells Like a Beach

5 Jun

I can’t believe it’s June already. And like you, I can’t believe that though it’s technically summer, it’s still raining. Accuweather predicts that in the next 15 days, 11 will have some form of precipitation. *sigh* There goes half of June. With that said, as a seasoned Vancouverite, I just shrug my shoulders, make sure I’m properly layered for the day and pack an umbrella.

But don’t despair! Summer will come soon – it has to eventually. All I’m doing is mentally and physically preparing for it because when it hits, I will want to enjoy every moment of it. How I’m physically prepping for summer? Getting highlights, a layered cut for those easygoing waves, putting on a touch of bronzer everyday and starting the self-tan process. How I’m mentally preparing for summer? By smelling it.

As I get older, it’s less important for me to smell good than it is for the fragrance to conjure up a mood,  invoke a feeling, rekindle a memory or transport me somewhere other than here. I wear Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil on those cold rainy days because it adds a warmth to the dampness, prefer Carriere by Gendarme for those morning meetings and dab on Comme des Garcons Kyoto as it reminds me of my grandfather. But I’m digressing… again.

During the summer, I don’t let Coppertone do the talking, I get my fragrance to. Here are my picks for summer, or for now if you want to sniff, close your eyes and dream of sunny days to come.

Estee Lauder Azuree from Tom Ford Collection (fragrance and body oil) – when this launched in 2006, the perfume forums went crazy, it instantaneously sold out, there were waiting lists at all the department stores, eBay was selling at ridiculous prices and I stocked up like a mad woman. Why? It wasn’t because it was by the sexy Tom Ford, or because it was in stylish retro turquoise/gold packaging, or that it was limited edition… it was because it smelled like “white sand beaches, azure waters and sultry afternoons that go on forever.” It didn’t smell like the beaches of Miami or Mexico, but of beautiful, tanned people without a care in the world sunning in St. Tropez or the Cote d’Azur. It’s my staple fragrance for summer because the fragrance is sophisticated and subtle enough for work, and layered with the body oil it’s sexy enough for play. In 2008 it was reincarnated as Bronze Goddess (without Tom Ford), which it still remains today, but was reformulated with less Tahitian gardenia and more coconut.

Beach by Bobbi Brown – this is a more sophisticated beach scent that’s more Atlantic East Coast than West Coast or anything tropical. Think sea and salty – the Hamptons or Nights in Rodanthe.

At the Beach 1966 by CB I Hate Perfume is Bobbi Brown’s Beach + (more) Coppertone.

Miami Glow by Jennifer Lopez – I would never admit  that I own a JLo fragrance, but I have a soft spot for this one. It’s perfect for those really hot days/nights when you’re drinking sangria on the patio at Havanas with your girlfriends, smokin’ a cuban or flirting with a hot boy toy. It’s exactly what the name implies: Miami = coconut + suntan lotion + fruity drink with a cocktail umbrella. Wear it anytime or anywhere else, and you’d be deemed a social and olfactory menace. Yes, it’s that offensive. Sadly, it’s been discontinued but you can still find a few bottles at Shoppers Drug Mart and other drugstores.

Articles:

If you’re interested in reading more about scents and places, you’d like this article by Chandler Burr. He has also written about the conceptualization and development of Hermes Jardin sur le Nil for the New Yorker, and recently published the ‘must have’ list of salty/beachy/ocean scents for summer. If you want to get away, Elle magazine has a great perfume guide for travelling around the world without leaving your desk.

Summer Styles: Jelly Shoes

24 May

I’m a child of the 80’s, when Nerds and Pop Rocks were the candy (and currency) of choice, you went on exploration expeditions with the neighbourhood kids and instead of flip flops, you slipped on Jelly shoes in the summer. They were easy to run in, didn’t slip off, kept your feet cool, fashionable and feminine.

Thank goodness Jelly shoes are back with a vengeance after years of domination by the unsightly flip flops, which people think can be worn anywhere and with anything. Joined by the Gladiator (-esque) sandal (which won’t go away for a while now), we now have another fashionable (flat) footwear alternative for summer.

Updated for those born in the 80’s, they have either a more sophisticated weave, sport lace patterns, are work appropriate and now in more ‘grown-up’ colours. Some of my picks below:

The ubiquitous Tory Burch Reva Flat, this time in Jelly. Spotted all over NYC. Great for work, play and comes in an assortment of colours. Either comes in all jelly, or jelly with metal logo. $95-$125 usd. At Tory Burch, Nordstroms, Saks, Neimans, Holts… you name it.

My new love – the Jelly Lace Detail Ballet Flat by Melissa. Saw these at Saks. Regret not buying them. Order whole size up if you’re 1/2. $90usd

Melissa Campana Jelly Ballet Flats. Also comes in gold. $80. At Saks, also black and pink at Nordstrom – on sale 40% off now.

Melissa Coral Peep Toe Ballet Flats – love the intricate coral weave! $80 at Saks, order one half size down as these run large. 40% off at Nordstrom.

Summer dishes: Yucatan Shrimp

22 May

Warmer weather usually means get togethers with family and friends -potlucks, picnics, BBQs – communal cooking and casual dining. One of my fondest childhood memories was the gathering of 3 or 4 families (actual relations, friends, neighbours) to eat shellfish. No bbq, no meats, no fish. Anything with a shell – lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, mussels – that all the men in the family would go early morning to the docks to buy fresh off the boats and the women would clean/devein and boil and serve on large platters, only to be instantly descended upon and devoured. It wasn’t the just the food that brought people together, but the barbaric and natural act of eating without utensils and using your teeth, fingers and the occasional napkin. The communal and raw way of eating shellfish like this transcended sex, age, race and class – and gave way to a sense of bonding.

In honor of the first long (and much anticipated) weekend of the year – I give you Yucatan Shrimp. Happy bonding.

Yucatan Shrimp (wok style)

Variations below

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (yes, the whole damn thing)
  • Juice of two large limes
  • 1 tablespoon Indonesian sambal (preferably sambal oelek)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound large, fresh, shell-on shrimp (or prawns, deveined)
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeño, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.

1. In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

2. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to saucepan. When it melts, stir in the lime juice, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to rest.

3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until they are just firm and pink. Do not overcook. Drain into a colander and shake over the sink to remove excess moisture.

4. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp and chili sauce. Add jalapeño, if desired, sprinkle with cilantro and toss again. Serves 4, messily. Adapted from Greg Nelson at Doc Ford’s Sanibel Rum Bar and Grille, Sanibel Island, Fla.

Notes: Do not use more butter than needed, or your shrimp will be swimming in oil. Be liberal with the garlic – you can never have too much! Because I didn’t have sambal on hand, I figured since it’s kinda stinky and spicy, I mixed fish sauce and vietnamese chili sauce and threw in some lemongrass paste. If it’s not sweet enough, squirt  in some agave, or use honey if you don’t have it. Sugar is just too 2D sometimes. Serve with beer and lime.


Yucatan Shrimp (BBQ style)

  • 2 tablespoons achiote powder (see Note)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds large shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • Summer Vegetable Rice and lemons, for serving
  1. Light a grill. In a large bowl, blend the achiote, garlic, orange and lemon juices, chile powder, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk in the oil. Add the shrimp and toss. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Thread the shrimp onto six 12-inch skewers. Season with salt; reserve the marinade. Grill the shrimp over a hot fire, basting with the marinade, until barely cooked through, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plates, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve with Summer Vegetable Rice and lemon wedges. Serves 6.

Notes: Achiote powder is ground from achiote (annatto) seeds. It has no discernible flavor and is used in Latin cooking to give dishes a reddish-orange color. Achiote powder and seeds are available at Latin markets and some supermarkets.

More sorbet recipes for inspiration – the Alcoholics Anonymous edition

10 May

Finally a use for leftover wine! – always adjust my measurements as you see fit!

Passionfruit Sherry Sorbet

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 passion fruit pulp.
  • 1/4  cup water, apple juice or passionfruit juice
  • 4 tbsp sherry

Combine sugar and liquids (minus sherry) over low heat till the sugar is dissolved. Add passionfruit. Cool in fridge and then make according to ice cream maker’s instructions. Add some sherry before it reaches a hardened consistency.

Pomegranate Chardonnay Sorbet

  • 3 cups fresh pomegranate juice or 1 (24-ounce) bottle pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup chardonnay
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds

1. Place juice, chardonnay and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and chill well.

2. Pour into the canister of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions (or for granita, pour mixture into a 9×9-inch pan, and freeze 8 hours, scraping occasionally with a fork). Spoon into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds. Serves 8.

Recipe by High Cotton Food Styling & Photography, “Relish the Healthy Table,” December 2006

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Honeydew smoothies/milkshakes

6 Jun

Honeydew is one of those things that you eat in conjunction with cantalope, prosciutto or alone. Like with all fruits, when its overly ripe you liquify it. Instead of just making juice, try the following refreshing recipes:

Honeydew Smoothie

  • honeydew (fresh or frozen <— preferred)
  • frozen yogurt
  • banana
  • ice
  • milk
  • agave syrup to taste
  1. Blend and add agave to taste. Will be quite watery, unless you freeze the honeydew first.

Honeydew Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups honeydew melon, cubed
  • 1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice, from frozen concentrate
  • Ice
  • Honeydew melon slices, for garnish

Directions

In a blender, combine melon, yogurt, and apple juice concentrate. Blend until smooth. With blender running, add ice until frothy.

Pour into 2 (16-ounce) glasses and garnish with sliced melon.

Honeydew Lemon Smoothie

2 (15-ounce) servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar-free lemonade
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups diced honeydew melon
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Combine lemonade, lemon juice, and honeydew melon in a blender. Blend on high speed until fruit is puréed and mixture is smooth.
  2. Add ice cubes and blend on high speed again until smooth. Serve immediately.

Tips: Substitute cantaloupe for honeydew melon.

Melon Smoothie, Watermelon & Honeydew

With summer around the corner, watermelons, honeydews and cantaloupes become the norm in the supermarkets. Well, this recipe has 2 out of 3 and that ain’t bad.

Melon Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups seeded and chopped watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded and chopped honeydew melon
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses. Yield: 4 servings

Cucumber Honeydew Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups cubed honeydew melon
  • 2 cups passion fruit juice
  • 8 sprigs fresh mint, or amount to taste
  • 2 cups crushed ice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine cucumber, honeydew melon, passion fruit juice, and ice in a blender. Pull leaves from mint springs and add to blender. Blend mixture until smooth. Pour into tall glasses.

Refreshing summer drinks

24 May

Watermelon or Cantaloupe Aqua Fresca

Agua fresca is a light fruit drink popular throughout Mexico. It’s simply made by blending fruit with water, a bit of sugar and a little lime juice. Begin with sweet, juicy melon, or your agua fresca won’t have much flavor.

  • 4 cups diced, peeled ripe watermelon or cantaloupe
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Blend together the watermelon or cantaloupe with 1 1/2 cups of the water, the lime juice and the sugar at high speed until smooth. Strain through a medium strainer into a large pitcher or bowl. Stir in the remaining water. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. Fill a glass with ice, pour in the agua fresca, garnish with a mint sprig, and serve.

Yield: Four servings.

Variations:

* Stir an additional cup of finely chopped fruit into the strained blended drink and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.

* For the watermelon version, add 4 hulled strawberries.

* Mango or Pineapple Agua Fresca: substitute mango or pineapple for the melon.

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