Why I Have Hydrangeas

About ten years ago my gardener at my request, planted two hydrangea bushes. Each spring they came back bigger and better. This year because of the great weather they have so many beautiful blooms.

The flower market must be missing me these past few weeks since I only have to go out the front door with my clippers and I have an instant bouquet!



Laundry Room Revamped

This morning I decided it was time to re-organize the laundry room. For the past two years it has served two purposes – laundry room and guest room. Today I decided to turn another bedroom that is presently not “lived in” by any of my daughters into the official guest room.

Since I am in the laundry room on a daily basis, I might as well make it work for me.

The dark shadow on the floor of the first photo is my Chocolate Lab, Charlie taking a break from the heatwave on the cool hardwood floor.

Below you can see the results.






Orange X

Today I am making another batch of homemade lemonade. Every morning I have freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. The recipe for the lemonade was posted May 15 2012, if you missed it.

I got inspired when I was having breakfast in Los Angeles about seven years ago and had freshly squeezed juice for breakfast. It was the beginning of January and I thought this has to be so much better for me than juice from a carton. With a long winter facing me, I needed as much Vitamin C as possible.

When I arrived home a few days later, I went to Sonoma’s and purchased the Orange X. I never bought juice again. The taste of freshly squeezed citrus is unbeatable. As you can see from the photos, there is very little to clean after. I just put the stainless steel parts in the dishwasher when I am done.

I use this juicer on a regular basis when I need fresh juice for any recipe.



Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My cousin Leslie (the paella Leslie) came for a visit yesterday. Our mothers were both excellent bakers so I decided to make some homemade cookies. Since I am not a huge fan of dried cherries in my cookies, I substituted pecans which I toasted in a 325 degree for approximately five minutes and chopped.

The original recipe is below. If you love dried cherries, you can follow it verbatim. If not, feel free to add chopped pecans or walnuts. This recipe makes a good size batch so you enjoy!http://www.marthastewart.com/318628/tories-cherry-chocolate-chunk-cookies



For Father’s Day this year I decided to make my cousin, Leslie’s paella.

I am going to serve it with a simple green salad with a new vinaigrette recipe. We are also having a baguette and my famous strawberry tart which I posted on the blog on March 18. If you have not tried the strawberry tart, this is the time of year to make it when the strawberries are both fresh and affordable.https://cookingandcraftsbykim.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/strawberry-tart/

Below is the recipe for the new vinaigrette I am using tonight.http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/cafe-green-salad-recipe/index.html



Angel Food Cake

Today I had some beautiful fresh raspberries and decided to make an Angel Food Cake. I used a recipe from “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. You can serve it alone or with whatever fruit you have in season.

My dinner guest, Alex had two pieces with raspberries and whipping cream. I sent him home with another one for the road.

Just make sure you separate your eggs when they are cold and bring them to room temperature before you begin to whip them. If you are in a rush to warm them to room temperature, place the bowl of egg whites in a sink filled with hot water for a few minutes.










Cold Tomato and Avocado Soup

Today is going to be hot and humid. I love soups on Monday nights. After all of the “big” eating on the weekends, it is a nice change of pace.

Prepare this soup early in the day so you have enough time to chill it adequately before serving.

What I love about a cold soup is that it is so refreshing and this time of year when the vegetables are in season, you can taste “summer”.

The other thing I love about soup for dinner with a good baguette is that when different family members are eating at different times, they can just help themselves when they are ready to eat.

I didn’t use red pepper from the jar as I roasted my own pepper.

I used a “Parisienne” for seeding the cucumber and tomatoes. It is a kitchen tool worth investing in. I also like to use it for coring apples and pears.







I was in Paris for all of last week and I must admit I am even more food inspired than before.

I love fabulous table linens so I treated myself to this Provence tablecloth. I purchased it at Souleiado on Rue Jacob. I always think it is nice to bring something back from another country that reminds you of the fabulous time you had.

Hopefully, I can transplant myself back to Paris when I sit down at the table with this beautiful tablecloth looking back at me!