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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

the fruits of our labour.

while picking up fresh veggies for the beet salad i made earlier this week, i snapped a few photos of some of the plants and flowers bursting into bloom in and around nonno's garden. as you can see, the tomatoes we planted back in june are doing very well and are officially taller than nonno. in a few short weeks, we'll be feasting on fresh, juicy tomatoes daily, and my canker sores and i can't wait.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

nonna's summer beet salad.

when i stop and think of summer, food is the very first thing that comes to mind -- followed closely by the beach, the cottage and of course, booze. however when you think about it, you can't really have one without the other, they all go perfectly hand in hand. summers have always brought with them my nonno's garden packed to the tits with fresh and beautiful veggies and herbs, from his perfectly ripe tomatoes, to fragrant bushes of waist-high basil, to one of my very favourite crops since i was just a wee thing: beets. as a team, nonno plants and tends to the beets, while nonna picks them and prepares them into what is hands-down the best beet salad i have ever had. if she has them in the house, you can bet your ass i am shovelling them into my mouth, and every single bite somehow tastes better than the last. while visiting them for lunch on monday (a 'sangweech' and a bottle of blue in the backyard), i managed to score some of my tasty little friends, and didn't waste any time whipping up a salad that would knock my nonna's little cotton socks clean off.

how we do: nonna's summer beet salad
{serves 4}
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes

you will need:
15-20 medium sized beets
5 leaves of basil
2 cloves of garlic
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt & pepper
begin by thoroughly washing your beets and removing the caca from the tops and bottoms, leaving the skins on. bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add your beets, allowing them to cook until fork tender or approximately 30 minutes. while your beets are cooking, you can make the dressing for your salad.
growing up there was only one dressing that ever graced our cucina table, and this my friends, is it:
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
i'm giving measurements for the sake of the recipe, but i'm telling you now, this dressing will always turn out best when eyeballed like nonna does -- the day she pulls a measuring cup out to make this dressing is the day she grows average height and stops trying to sneak $20 dollar bills into my bra while saying goodbye. my go-to dressing for the majority of the salads i prepare, with minor adjustments depending on which salad i'm making (i add dried oregano if making a greek salad, or dijon mustard if making a warm steak & wild mushroom salad), and it is exactly what i need it to be. not so overpowering that you can't taste the ingredients in the salad itself, but just enough to compliment it. for the beet salad, i added 5 leaves of basil fresh from nonno's garden. in a small mason jar, combine the oil, vinegar, basil and salt & pepper, shake it up and voila!
*easiest way to cut basil: lay the leaves flat on top of one another, largest to smallest, roll into a basil-like-joint (one that even bob marley himself would be proud of), and cut down the length to form long ribbons. 
once the beets are cooked and ready, strain them off and run cold water over them, within a few minutes they should be cool to the touch and you can begin peeling them. with the water still running, roll the beets in your hands and the peels should slide clean off. rinse those bad boys off and allow them to fully cool to room temperature.
with your beets cooled you can cut them into nice rustic sized pieces -- nonna quarters them so that's how i do it. she also adds 2 cloves of sliced garlic, which adds a lot of flavour without blowing your head off. toss in your dressing, tasting until you are happy with the amounts of salt & pepper. there are not a lot of things in this world that makes me drool like a fresh beet salad, and with that said, i'm off to finish the last of what i have somehow managed to save from our dinner last night, and clean the drool from my keyboard.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

pretty lately.

coral & lilac chevron nails.
the most curious cat : the cutest random pooch that pulled up next to me while waiting on a friend.
'schefflera' aka the newest member of our porch plant party.
a quick pit stop for local craft beer tastings and shmoozing at oast.
gettin' my shit organized never looked so good.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

lovely meals, fresh flowers & beautiful friends.

back in february i received a message from steph, a very special long-time friend, inviting me to spend a week with her and her husband neil at their lovely home in ottawa sometime during the summer months. we decided on this past week, so they booked it off from work and when monday morning came i was up with the birds and made the 6 hour trip to visit her all alone. having never driven farther than an hour and a half away by myself, i was nervous but excited to be a big girl and get on the road, and it totally paid off when i arrived safe and sound with not a care in the world but a sore throat from all the singing belting-it-out i had done. i was actually surprised i hadn't danced a hole straight through my chair. 

i was greeted by steph & neil, their sweetheart of a pooch cork, and the most beautiful lunch prepared and ready to devour. we drank wine and picked up exactly where we left things off when we had seen each other last in january, and we agreed that a friendship in which you don't necessarily see each other or speak to one another everyday, but can feel natural and warm and just as it always was when you are together is the best kind of friendship. the rest of the week panned out just the same as we enjoyed ourselves and each other's company; yoga in the living room each morning, making & sharing gorgeous meals together, bike rides through her neighbourhood, an afternoon at the beach, a day of thrift and antique shopping, a few meals out and even a dirty night in with fun visitors. the week flew by and before we knew it we were saying goodbye with tears in our eyes. i am incredibly lucky to have a friend like steph in my life, 
and am more thankful for her and our friendship than ever.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

sunday share.

 a little something for your sunday. this is probably the most beautiful wedding video i have ever seen, 
and trust me when i say, i have seen my fair share. 
a few reasons why:
a) the groom. everything about him. all of it.
b) the barn, the rain, the romance.
c) their gifts to each other; boys are actually capable of thinking of things like secret books on their own?
d) the bride's dad. please?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

canada day eh?

i'll take any excuse to attend/throw a party, so when the opportunity to hold a canada day pool party & bbq at my parents place came up, plans were instantly made. inviting a small crew of some of my closest friends, we swam in the pool, stuffed our faces, enjoyed a few cocktails and laughed the entire day long.
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