Archives for April 2012

Simplest Scalloped Potatoes

My technique for scalloped potatoes comes from a young chef I once worked with when I first moved to Montreal. The fact that he proposed marriage to me every second Saturday never lessened my admiration for his skill in the kitchen, and I learned a lot during the time we were together.

We were both transplanted, he from Lyon, France, and I from Canada’s West Coast. Trapped together in a small, hot kitchen six nights a week, we talked of family back home, the peculiarities of Quebec, and, of course, food. He would prepare the sauces and trim the meats for the evening service, and I would make the desserts and accompaniments to the entrees. Like these Pomme de Terre Dauphinois, or scalloped potatoes.

My chef-friend showed me how to layer thinly sliced potatoes in a shallow baking dish and cover them with cream for the simplest – yet delicately rich and lovely – side dish. The only seasoning on the potatoes was salt and pepper; hence, they went with nearly every dish on the menu.

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Weekend Links

Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Kitchen :: ~ Featuring a few tips from yours truly.

Tequila Spiked Guacamole :: A Thought for Food ~ Brian and I share a love of tequila; I can’t wait to make his version of guac! It’s happening at my next Girl’s Night In.

Grapefruit Pound Cake :: Sassy Radish ~ I want to invite a few friends for tea and serve generous slices of this cake all ’round. Just beautiful.

How Simple Design was born :: Simple Design ~ We welcome a new site to Simple Living Media!

Basic Burger Recipe :: My Kitchen Addiction ~ I’m ready to get grilling, are you?

…and because I know someone will ask…pictured at the top is my Best Ever Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chunks. We made a double batch this weekend for school lunches and I managed to snap a photo. My boys would eat a whole loaf if I let them!

You can still enter our Queen for a Day giveaway! Check back Tuesday for the winner.

Queen for a Day giveaway 2012

Welcome to our second annual Queen for a Day giveaway! Today we’ve got six gift baskets full of treats to celebrate the mom in your life (maybe that’s you!), just in time for Mother’s Day on May 13.

Mothers are selfless and make a lot of sacrifices – both daily and over a lifetime – for their families. That is just one of the reasons they more than deserve to be honored. Today we at Simple Living Media want to honor you and make one of you Queen for a Day!

This week, all six blogs at SLM (you have seen Simple Design, right?) are celebrating mothers by blessing six of them with a gift basket full of lovely things.

Each and every item we’re showcasing would make a fabulous Mother’s Day gift for the mom in your life—and most are around the $20-$50 price range.

Hooray for moms! Read on to find out what’s in the Simple Bites gift basket.

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Planning what to grow in your backyard vegetable garden

When we first purchased our own home, my first thought was that I finally had the chance to have a garden, a space all my own to do what I wanted. It took a year before the raised beds were in and ready to be planted in the spring – and plant them I did.

A bit too eager to get food from the ground, I overloaded my space and so by about midsummer, the zucchini had taken over, the potato plant was expansive, and the tomatoes were literally out of control. A good problem to have, for sure, but with all the overcrowding, it was hard to get in to harvest, and I often lost tomatoes and zucchinis that I missed under the tangle of vines and leaves.

I learned an important lesson that summer: Proper garden planning helps avoid harvest heartbreak.

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Spotlight Ingredient: Spinach (Recipe: Spinach Ricotta Shells)

As the Dowager Countess innocently inquired “What is a ‘week-end’?” on Downton Abbey, I too have experienced my days merging together into one blur. However, I haven’t been idly sipping tea and sacking servants, rather I am so immersed in the routine of feeding-burping-changing-bouncing Clara, that most days feel the same.

We’ve passed that six-week milestone together, Clara and I. She is more alert and smiling sweetly, stealing my heart every time her little mouth turns up at the corners. I have so enjoyed the early days, but truth be told, I’ve missed blogging, and I can’t wait to get back into developing recipes and sharing them with you.

I have to extend a big “thank you” to the guest bloggers who helped fill my shoes while I took some time off. Annie, Kelsey, Andrew, Jan, Katie, and Jessica – thank you for sharing your expertise with my readers! You’ve enriched this space and lent a different perspective on everything from freezer cooking and finicky eaters, to fresh mozzarella and feeding tweens. So, thank you!

Now let’s talk about spinach. It’s one of the earliest spring vegetables, and as my son loves to remind me, is a super food. That alone is reason enough to make this pasta for dinner tonight.

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