for all those summer dips

I am a big fan of dips. I like eating food with my fingers and then dunking it into a delicious spread. Who needs a fork, a knife, or even a spoon? And I do admit that, yes, I believe in double dipping.

Sometimes though when you are eating with people who you don't know too well (or who don't believe in double dipping) it is nice to have dips without, well, the dipping. Crostini is my favourite solution. It takes no effort to make, yet it seems much more put together than a box of store-bought crackers. Eat it with everything: left-over black beans, vegetable and cheese dips, or guacamole. Throw some into a Mason jar and bring along to barbecues and picnics, or to a dinner party as a gift.

Crostini barely counts as a recipe. However, I use this blog as a form of documentation and one of my interests as of late is trying to make as much as I can from scratch (hence recipes for mayonnaise, ketchup, almond butter and lemon curd). I like making foods in my kitchen that I normally buy from a store. I like the process of reacquainting myself with their ingredients and getting to know them a bit better.

Garlic Rubbed Crostini


1 baguette
olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Thinly slice the baguette on the diagonal. With a pastry brush, brush each side with olive oil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place slices on baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and rub each side with the cut garlic. Serve right away, or place in an airtight container or jar and store for several days.



postcards from basel

My favourite part of Art Basel felt light years away from the fair: Fabiola at Haus zum Kirschgarten.


a change in seasons

Rhubarb is slowly disappearing from the markets. The stalks are getting softer and their colour does not seem as bright as when the season began. I grew up with a patch of rhubarb in the backyard. As kids we sometimes ate it straight from the plant. We crunched at it and were known to put a sprinkle of sugar between bites.

There is something about seasonal eating that feels so harmonious. Beyond the obvious aspect of eating what is currently growing, I feel like major life changes often match the rises and drops in temperature and the growing seasons that follow. As spring became summer I left one country for another. I get to know a region best through its markets and grocery stores. Farmer's markets and local produce introduce me to new cities and to new life rhythms. I find that cooking helps me adjust to change the most.

Living in France made me obsessed with all products from Bonne Maman. Yes, their jam is probably the best, but it was their rhubarb compote that truly got me hooked. In France I learned that all meals other than breakfast should be followed with dessert (and many French breakfasts resemble dessert). This dessert need not be baked, or even prepared in advance. Yogurt, fresh fruit, compote, cheese, and fromage frais are all suitable options for dessert. It wasn't long until my dessert of choice became plain yogurt with a generous blob of rhubarb compote. Adding some fresh ginger makes rhubarb compote all the more addictive.

Rhubarb and Ginger Compote


4 cups rhubarb (about 6-8 stalks) cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 - 3/4 cup unrefined sugar
the juice of half a lemon
1 - 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

In a large saucepan combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and ginger. Over medium heat, stir everything together until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer rhubarb until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate. Can be kept in the fridge for a few days.



relearning tastes

As long as I can remember I have hated mayonnaise. This distaste has translated into a grave suspicion for all recipes that list it as an ingredient. Egg salad and tuna fish sandwiches, creamy potato salad, coleslaw and all of those other North American childhood staples, I did not trust.

Okay, I am not being perfectly honest. My distrust of mayonnaise was less about the taste and more about the jar. I blame it on the super-size no-name jar of mayonnaise that you can always find at least one of in my father's fridge. This means that I can eat mayonnaise when it is carefully folded into something delicious and only subtly present to help the texture, but I cannot buy it. So I have simply learned to live without the recipes that list it as an ingredient.

But then I came across this recipe for a Russian egg and mushroom salad served on toasted rye bread. Mushrooms, yellow onion, dill, and Dijon: I had to have this sandwich. However, it lists mayonnaise as a rather important ingredient. Still being too stubborn/afraid to buy a jar of the stuff I decided to make it.

It was worth all of the whisking.

Homemade Mayonnaise

adapted from Molly Wizenberg's recipe for Bon Appetit, April 2008


1 large organic egg yolk
1 1/2 tsps fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup sunflower oil, divided into 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and 1/2 tsp salt. Combine well for about 30 seconds until blended and bright yellow. Measure 1/2 tsp oil and add to the mixture while whisking constantly. Continue to add a few drops at a time while whisking. This takes about four minutes. In a very thin stream, then gradually add the the rest of the oil. Whisk constantly until the mayonnaise is thick. It will be lighter in colour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. It can be kept in the fridge for up to two days.



auf dem Weg

i am knee-deep in clothes, suitcases, and glass jars. this means that as of tomorrow i will be living in the bayerische Hauptstadt.

Bis bald!


dreamy figs

When I was younger one of my aunts told me that if she were rich she would want a house full of fresh flowers. Well, if I were rich I would want a house full of fresh figs. There would a bowl of figs on my coffee table and another one next to my bed. There would be baskets of them in the kitchen and, perhaps, also in the hallway. I would live in a house of figs.

But I am not rich which means that fresh figs are closer to a luxury than they are to an everyday staple. I simply cannot afford them as an everyday luxury. Fortunately, dried figs are the next best thing and, even more fortunate, there is a good supply of them in my apartment. My roommate's grandmother lives in Bosnia where she has a backyard taken over by fig trees.. There are simply too many to eat fresh so she dries them out in the sun, packs them in paper bags, and sends them to Sweden. Considering my love for this fruit, the whole situation resembles a fairytale.

As if figs aren't dreamy enough, when they are soaked in rum, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel they are even dreamier .

Chocolate Covered Rum-Soaked Dried Figs with Fleur de Sel


20 large dried figs
1 cup rum
250 grams baking chocolate
1/4 cup unsalted butter
fleur de sel

Put the figs in a bowl and cover them in rum. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Let the figs soak overnight. The next day, drain the figs and pat them dry.

In a double boiler over medium heat melt the chocolate. Add the butter and stir until melted and smooth. One at a time, dip the figs in the chocolate until they are covered. Make sure that the bottom of the fig is completely covered. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and then place on a rack with a piece of baking paper below (to catch drips). Refrigerate before serving.


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