baked cheese and jalapeño dip

It was Victor Hugo who said, “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Victor Hugo was all kinds of things. A poet, playwright, novelist, and essayist. A statesman. A human rights campaigner.  A talented visual artist.  A Catholic at odds with his faith.  A sexually charged egomaniac.  A man with a complicated and at times, incredibly tragic personal life.  And above all, a Frenchman, even though he lived for some time in exile in the Channel Islands.

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Berry-infused Vodka

For all kinds of reasons, I’ve had a couple of humdinger weeks. Stuff has been going wrong. All kinds of stuff. Stuff that normally goes right. Stuff at work. Stuff at home. Even running – I’ve been limping through my runs. I just can’t get motivated.

And I’m having a series of cooking flops too. COOKING. The thing I always resort to in all times of duress – the thing that never lets me down. At least usually. Continue reading “Berry-infused Vodka”

when everyone else is spring-bound…

kahlua ice cream2Homemade Kahlua Ice Cream and Dark Chocolate Gelato
sans Ice Cream Maker

This winter, a friend I met in Vermont last year, sent me a CD with a collection of the songs he had written about in his work. Amongst them was a song called After All  by songwriter Dar Williams.

I won’t forget the first moment I first heard After All – track number five on the CD. I was driving home from a cold, snowy winter hike with my dog. The roads were snow-covered and the sky was white with falling snow. From the moment Dar Williams’ voice filled my car, I felt a physical tug in my heart.  Continue reading “when everyone else is spring-bound…”

the code of conduct for hunting wild leeks

Last week a friend shared her wild leek patch with me. I had to agree to the code of conduct concerning wild leeks: keep the location secret, pick only what you need, tread carefully so as not to damage the plants, take from the middle of the patch – thereby essentially thinning only, and in the event of somebody finding us – sit down on a log and pretend we were simply admiring the forest.   Continue reading “the code of conduct for hunting wild leeks”

over-thinking love

“You don’t have to think about love; you either feel it or you don’t.”

~ from Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

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a frog-green skillet and a perfect wild leek omelette

picking wild leeks 2

I’ve admired these skillets (there are three of them where I am staying) since I arrived in France.  And after I cooked with one, I had a serious case of pan-envy. So much so that despite having only a small roller-board suitcase (technically it’s carry-on size) I bought myself one to bring home.  Continue reading “a frog-green skillet and a perfect wild leek omelette”

in France and smitten

When I arrived in the South of France just over a week ago, it was surprisingly cold and damp. Winter had not quite relinquished its grip. Since then, all that has changed. The flowers are blooming and the vineyards are waking up. The sky is looking bluer and the fields greener. Suddenly it’s springtime in France.

vineyards everywhere

isabel's garden2

Each time I’ve visited this country – I’ve fallen a little more deeply for the place.

Continue reading “in France and smitten”