What an adventure these last few weeks have been! I have been rolling out pitas like a mad women (I think I might be an expert now), and perfecting my baklava making skills. I think I also may have perfected my cheesecake making abilities (for you gluten free fans, it is FLOUR-FREE!), and have figured out how to make the delectable chocolate mousse cake Chef Bonnie has perfected (also FLOUR-FREE). Glorious!
I also had the opportunity to do something I adore doing, and feel I was probably born to do: entertain!! I had a dinner party last Wednesday with some truly amazing people here in this city – old friends and new ones alike. For those of you who don’t know, hosting dinner parties is quite possible one of my top 5 favorite things to do – I love the planning, the plating, the buzz of conversation drifting from the living room, the laughter, the human connection, celebrating friends over food – everything. It’s magic. But, as usual, I digress. On the menu for the evening? Freshly baked bread (but of course!), mixed greens served with dried cranberries, red onions, avocado, and fig goat cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette, Ina Garton’s delicious turkey lasagna, and a roasted vegetable torte. Dessert was gluttonous, but would you expect anything less from a pastry chef? Lemon tarts, poppyseed danishes, apple cream cheese danishes, lemon yogurt cake (thank you again, Ina Garton – gotta love the Barefoot Contessa!), my famous chocolate chip banana bread, and toffee crème caramel. Ah – love, love love. Check us out below!
On the topic of hosting, check out this link below. Liza Utter-Pernice is an incredible woman who may just be my newest hero! A celebrated restaurateur (among other amazing things, to be sure), Liza shares her expertise and teaches people how to be great hosts. How could you not love her?
And on the topic of love, with Valentine’s Day two days behind us, love is still in the air – as it should be!
While I do appreciate this fairly new (and highly commercialized) tradition of celebrating love on one glorious day, aptly named after a Bishop in Rome named Valentine (see http://www.lhmint.org/valentines/story.htm for the full story), I have to admit: I’m not big into the craze. I believe everyday should be treated like Valentine’s Day – we should show love to the people in our lives, ourselves, and even strangers each day!
To me, love is…
Love is my mom’s soothing voice and gentle touch when I’m feeling sick. She is the absolute best in the world at this.
Love is my father’s encouraging and perfectly timed e-mails, letting me know how proud he is of me, and cracking a “dad” joke to make me smile.
Love is my sister knowing how much I love cook books, and getting me a Gordon Ramsay cook book as a be-lated Christmas present because she knew I wanted it.
Love is my brother telling me he’s always there to protect me and love me, and knowing in my soul that he means it.
Love is my boyfriend hearing me say I like roses and tulips, and subsequently buying me 3 bouquets of them just hours later.
Love is my friend Chelsea taking time out of her day to help me move out of my apartment and into her spare bedroom, carrying my mattress up 3 flights of stairs and getting soaked in the rain, and not only not complaining about it, but laughing and positive the entire time.
If you look around you, you will see that love is in every moment. Take yesterday, for example. I stood rolling out pitas at the restaurant and the Aunt of the owner came up behind me to say hello. She is from Athens, and will be returning there next week. She told me, a little Canadian girl with absolutely no Greek roots, that my pita looked delicious. Wow – such a compliment! How can you not celebrate that moment?
Clearly, I could go on forever, so I leave you with some precious words I found on the wall in my friend’s kitchen:
The essence of life is to care,
the secret of life is to dare,
the adventure of life is to learn,
the challenge of life is to change,
the job of life is to love.
With much love,