Friday 28 September 2012

Blueberry Peach Frangipane Tart

The orchards of Southern Ontario have a long-standing love affair with summer sunshine. Their union produces some of the country's sweetest, juiciest, sexiest peaches, which in turn inspire desserts so delicious, they often lead to amorous unions of their own. Blueberries and peaches are known for their summer flings: over the moon for one another in crumbles, muffins, cakes, and this tasty Blueberry Peach Frangipane Tart. I made the tart to celebrate a union of friends both new and old at a late summer dinner party inspired by Lidia Bastianich's soon-to-be-released cookbook: Lidia's Favorite Recipes. This tart tastes like summer love feels, and is gone just as quickly.  

Monday 17 September 2012

Al Fresco with Friends - Lidia Bastianich's Ziti with Roasted Eggplant & Ricotta Cheese

Nothing bonds quite like good food, cooked with love, shared amongst good company. Italian food has a particularly cohesive quality where one can sit down a stranger and rise a relation. I recently invited a number of friends to enjoy a multiple-course, Italian-themed meal inspired by renowned chef/author Lidia Bastianich. Her culinary catchphrase is "Tutti a tavola a mangiare!" (Everyone to the table to eat!). This phrase resonates with me, as both the sensual and the sacred nature of sharing food has drawn me into kitchens since I licked my first spoon. The magnetic potency of this saying is notoriously 'cooked into' the food Lidia prepares: luring hungry people to gather around their tables not just to enjoy food, but also to enjoy one another's company. My dinner guests that evening told me they were lured toward my house by the smell of chocolate. Ignoring for a moment the reality of the nearby Kit Kat factory, I indulged in the compliment that my house could be located not just geographically, but sensually. The truth is, on most nights, with the right breezes, this is entirely possible. This perfect late-summer evening was no exception: the evening's menu highlighted a tasty, seasonal pasta dish from Lidia's brand-new cookbook: Lidia's Favourite Recipes (on sale Oct. 16th). The Ziti with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta Cheese was a standout, and judging by the friends that gathered around my table that evening, infused with exactly the right amount of 'come-hither' deliciousness.