Monthly Archives

February 2007

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Verrines are more than the latest trend in gourmet cuisine

As I was reading today’s edition of the food section on the Los Angeles Times, I was seduced by the verrines. I was familiar with verrines but I did not know the name of that technique until this morning.

First of all, let me explain what a verrine is. This is simply a dessert or an appetizer that is made of layers in a small and long clear glass. When you want to host a sumptuous, in style cocktail party, ordering lots of verrines is a sure move to impress your guests.

This is a recipe as well as a method to serving it. You must be able to distinguish with your eyes and on your mouth every layer. Verrine is more complex technique that it appears.

Verrine has all the flair of the French culture; it is stylish, structured and full of flavor.

As a French speaking person, I easily grab where the name comes from. The French word for glass is verre. Verrines are hot in the restaurants and with the amateur cooks all over France.

While waiting for your next trip to France, you can take a look at these masterpieces available on the LA times. Or you can visit Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas to have a taste. Guy Savoy is a Michelin three-star chef.

Link: Layered luxury in a glass as published on LA Times


Tastespotting: every craving has its shot

One month has past since the launch of the new food venture from called Tastespotting. I visited it a few times already and it is worthy of my recommendations.

Tastespotting is a community for cooks and food lover. It is a place to discover new blogs and where people can become stars. You can give a star to the post that you like. There are already regulars that share their best readings.

Tastespotting is some kinds of aggregator of what is happening on food related blogs circle. Instead of having a computer or a team of editors that aggregate the information, Tastespotting asks people for submissions. Having on hand a great looking 250 x 250 pixel snapshot is vital to your popularity since Tastespotting puts a lot of emphasis on the visual element.

Because they want to highlight the right stuff, submissions are subject to approval by their voluntary editorial team. So do not be surprised if it takes few hours for your posts to show up on the home page.

If you do not know what to cook tonight, Tastespotting is a good place to start looking for inspiration.

I just submitted one of my recipes written in French, I keep you post if they accept (re: the language barrier).

Link: Tastespotting Web site
Via: Tastespotting 1 month- 02.24.07 on Notcot blog

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

La Tartine Gourmande does it again

That girl never stops to impress me with her recipes. Her blog is a must read about cooking.

In today’s post, Béa shares a wonderful recipe for your next cocktail. You will stand out from the crowd if you serve her Beet Mousse and Radish Mise-en-Bouche at your next party dinner.

The fuchsia pink color adds a festive touch. And it matches my MOTORAZR V3 phone. But the recipe is not girly at all. It is made with Watermelon Radish, which she described to have a mild to sweet peppery flavor.

For your information, mise-en-bouche refers to the idea of preparing your mouth for what is coming; it is a starter that introduces the rest the meal.

Béa is also good on presentation. I agree with her that serving her recipe in long shooter glasses creates a striking effect. Happy entertaining!

Link: The answer to What is a Mise-en-bouche? on La Tartine Gourmande
Via: Pink in a Watermelon Radish- Du rose dans un radis pastèque


Dinner by Design: glamorous events lead to all sorts of dreams

This week end I spoke to one of my girlfriends that organize fundraising events for a foundation. We discussed Elle Decor’s Dining by Design episode of Behind the Bash that I saw a few weeks ago. A rerun was playing later that day. I told her she has to watch it to see what we could do with a bigger budget.

Coincidently, the 10th edition of Elle Decor’s Dining by Design was last week-end. This amazing party occurs each year in New York to raise money for the fight against AIDS.

Dining by Design is not only about the dreams for a cure to AIDS but it is also the dream of the average people to see in person these masterpieces. With a $25 admission ticket, the public can preview the dining masterpieces.

To fully understand the magnitude of Dinner by Design, read this excerpt from the Web site of the foundation that gets the money, DIFFA:

A unique event to showcase the personal passions of some of the world’s leading design talents, each participant creates a unique dining environment. As long as their creation can accommodate ten for dinner, the sky’s the limit.

Holly of decor8 blog was there last week end. Dedicated, she wrote a dozen wonderful reviews on the best of the best tabletops that she posted today (Feb. 26). I invite you to read all of them.

If you missed it, the Behind the Bash Elle Decor’s Dining by Design episode will play again March 11th at 5:30 PM on Thanks to the magic of specialty TV.

Link: The DIFFA Dinner by Design Web site
Via: Dining By Design: Viking by Barry Rice and Ted Allen on decor8 blog – with more reviews on the site


Unique, Modern Tableware at this Boston’s historic and trendy South End address

Having attention-grabbing tableware make amazing table setting with no pains. As I said before, I believe in the casual luxury movement which promote the use the same dinnerware for everyday and when entertaining. All you need to do is to get better quality, modern looking dinnerware.

If you plan to visit Boston in the near future, I suggest to stop for a while at this fabulous store from an Amsterdam native. Lekker, which means alluring, enticing, great, attractive and tempting in Dutch, is located in Boston’s historic and trendy South End neighborhood. I am sorry that I did not have the time to visit them the last time I was in Cambridge.

While lacking the pleasures to touch the pieces, the next best thing is to order online; call them for to set up a delivery in Canada. When you see their catalog, you will share my desires. Their products are not commonly sold in Canada.

Lekker sells amazing dinnerware, tabletop and service ware from Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Italy and more. For an entertaining, interior design like me, this is pure heaven. And the prices are affordable at Lekker. We are very far for the high end prices that usually goes with European, modern design.

Since Lekker is a store to furnish one home, you can get furniture, lightning, textiles, bathroom accessories and outdoor décor.

The Elizyr and the Cumulus by Kahla are two fabulous German-made dinnerware collection. Cumulus looks even more striking when you mix and match the white and aqua dishes. Cumulus Aerius, is a little more graphic. Both Cumulus collections combine elements of haute-cuisine done as a modern interpretation of everyday articles such as bowls and plates.

The handle-like element present in all platters, bowls and plates of Elizyr collection by Kahla makes it easy to carry around the dishes. Just imagine the reactions of your guests when hosting a buffet dinner with Elizyr. With a clean organic flair, Elizyr creates a floating feeling that set a distinctive look at your table.

There is so much to choose for on the Lekker’s catalog that I share my top 5 links for easy entertaining in style:

I recalled about Lekker this morning while reading Decor8 blog. Holly Elisabeth Becker, the author of Decor8, often makes exhaustive posts. Trends 2007: Beachy Keen is the perfect example of her dedication. She shares a lot of great sourcing. Do not for a moment think that Holly will present you some kind of Disneyland theme by reading the title Beachy Keen. We are talking here of sophisticated, grown up design. If you planning to redecorate your space, bookmark her Decor8 blog as she will post more trend reports in the coming weeks.

Via: Trends 2007: Beachy Keen – see Accessorize! – on Decor8 blog


David Rocco’s Dolce Vita has all the ingredients

I love traveling, enjoying the best in life like wines and dining. When I am cooking, I prepare tasty meal that are not complicated to do. I prefer going to a restaurant if I want to eat fancy recipes since there are plenty of excellent chefs in Montreal.

I go for cooking TV shows that inspire me to cook at home. Offer me a show hosted by a very good looking guy that is charming on camera, with a storyline in each episode developed around the sweet life of Italians on top of sharing delicious but simple recipes. Wow! You got all the ingredients to make me a fan. That’s why I follow David Rocco’s Dolce Vita since the beginning of the series on Food TV Canada. It’s a breed of fresh air.

David Rocco is not a chef, he is just a Canadian-Italian guy that likes to cook and taking the best out of life. Living the Dolce Vita, the sweet life (La douceur de vivre). You follow him around with his wife Nina and friends as they live in Florence and travel in Italy. The scenery are so beautiful, that you wish your were there.

On a more personal basis, David Rocco is a 36 years old Canadian, the youngest of three children born from Neapolitan parents. He now divides his time between Florence and Toronto. David Rocco’s Dolce Vita is the brainchild of him and his wife Nina. They are the executive producers and producers of the show. Being in business with my husband, I am biased towards couples that do business together.

David gave an idea of what they want the show to be in an interview with the City Life Magazine for their winter 2005 edition

We had a very strong vision of combining simple recipes, beautiful scenery with photography, great music, friends and family. . a good one (i.e. cooking show) inspires you to live well.

By watching the show, I can tell you that they succeed. The advantages of being on specialty television is there are a lot of reruns. Check the schedule on Food TV Canada, the episodes of Season 3 (debut October 2006) are still on.

Link: Schedule of the David Rocco’s Dolce Vita series on
Link: David Rocco’s Dolce Vita Web site 
Link: the City Life Magazine interview : Living La Dolce Vita with David Rocco


A quick look at out of ordinary letterpress wedding invitations

Invitations set the tone of an event. Sending impressive invitations are a sure bet to ensure a high turnover at your event. Any host should pay attention to them. Invitations are where in style entertaining begins.

For a wedding, couples usually set aside a more than decent budget for invitations. Refined printing methods and craftsmanship are generally used. Letterpress printing has undergone a revival in the last years. I am glad because letterpress cards are most appealing for me lately.

This excerpt from the wikipedia encyclopedia explains why letterpress looks so good

fine letterpress work is crisper than offset litho because of its impression into the paper, giving greater visual definition to the type and artwork.

More and more couples infuse their personality and their own style by going with custom designed wedding invitations. Key design elements of the wedding celebrations can show off in a custom wedding invitation kit. Out of the ordinary designs look special and make a lasting impression on your guests.

Yesterday’s daily blog fix brought me to the impressive work of Kansas-based Hammerpress via Josh Spear blog. I love the use of coasters for the directions. Hammerpress’ designs are imaginative, tasteful and well-executed. Bravo! With such invitations, guests will rush in to your wedding.

Link: Letterpress printing explained on wikipedia
Link: Out of the ordinary wedding invitations on Hammerpress’s Web site
Via: Hammerpress – 2007.02.20 on Josh Spear blog


In need of inspiration to set up a menu: Leite’s Culinaria comes at your rescue

Maybe it is the winter blues but something we can decide on a menu. I found a great site, Leite’s Culinaria, where you can get menus with recipes for your next bridal shower, intimate dinner or cocktail party and so on.

If you like Portuguese cooking, you are in luck because there is a whole section full of Portuguese recipes. I went to Portugal for my honeymoon. That is a great country where you eat well but a lot. It was in September and almost every place we ate have their version of a vegetable soup as a first course. What was interesting is that although we stayed 19 days, none taste or look the same. Each restaurant made it with the fresh legumes that got that day. Fishes were very good too.

I do not know any of the featured cooks but the pictures of the recipes inspired me. And you can comment the recipes online. Most of the recipes are extracted from books with a link to buy each one from Amazon. So it is also a nice way for you to fill up your library with new titles that you tested and tried.

Talking of testing, Leite’s Culinaria has a tester program. You will be asked to test at least one dish per month and fill out an evaluation form. If you love cooking and have a little bit of time on your hand, this can lead to a enjoyable leisure experience for you.

Link: Leite’s Culinaria recipes and menus section
Link: Recipe Testing at Leite’s Culinaria
Via: Cooking site list on La Tartine Gourmande


Lunching on a salad today


As I was reading the latest post from a fantastic cooking blog, La Tartine Gourmande, it makes me feel good that I am not the only one that cannot live without salads. Her post talks about the food of her childhood in France. With my week-end ski accident, I need to feel good today. And her Buckwheat Herb Galettes reminded me of the galettes de sarrasin (the French translation for buckwheat galettes) that my mother loves so much. Comfort food for the Quebekers as well.

We all need to eat more raw vegetables. I remembered when I travel in Germany in 1991 how unnatural a meal without veggies can be. In fact, three days is the absolute maximum time that my body can endure. Since we were near the French border, every two or three days, we will go back to France for more greenery food.

The latest crave in food courts is indeed the fresh salad restaurants, with make your own recipes. One has opened a few months ago in the food court under the Simon’s store in downtown Montreal. And I think that the Eaton Centre (if not, Place Ville-Marie) has an opening due for next month.

La Tartine Gourmande is a bilingual blog by a French woman that is discovered last week. Béatrice Peltre shares with us great recipes and nice food stories. Her stories are only in English but her recipes are published in French and English.

I gave this title to my post because a large salad full of vegetables with a little of ham and cheese is what I ate for lunch. Go get her recipes of Buckwheat Herb Galettes with its Mixed Salad, it looks delicious as a lunch meal or as an entrée for your next dinner event.

Link: Lunching on a Salad, Almost – Déjeuner avec une salade, ou Presque on La Tartine Gourmande blog


Less skiing, more blogging

I hurt myself while skiing last Saturday. As I cannot walk without crutches for the next two weeks, I will be putting more time in front on my computer. Instead of cooking, I will share with you my favourite recipes, some of my own creations and some from other chefs (professionals and amateurs). Stay tune!


Marketing temptation for the new Absolut Pears vodka

Absolut has built his noteworthy brand with inspiring advertising. Although they are not the best vodka, they sell it at a slightly higher price than the vodkas in their category. What Absolut vodka lacks in taste is substituted with cleverly done marketing.

Absolut has positionned their vodka as an icon drink set in the sought-after lifestyle of the moment. A lot of companies try to do it but only a few succeed. And Absolut has done it. In fruit cocktails, most people do not taste the difference anyway.

What I want to talk about is what they do best. They just launched a new campaign called Absolut Temptation to unveil the latest addition to their fruit flavored vodka line, Absolut Pears. You can take a look at their latest concept on You get drink recipes and a series of short films where you blow up things. Reminiscence to one of my favorite segments in David Letterman’s late night show.

If you are still mad about your ex-lover, you can blow up his watch, the not so great flower bouquet he sent you or her stiletto sandal. On the food side, you can blow up a green apple, a donut or an espresso cup. You feel more relaxed after it. Otherwise, the films are just fun to watch.

Just for fun, I put together (on the on Absolut web site) the bouquet blow-up with the apple and save it as my short film:

Link: the Absolut Pears Web site
via: Absolut Temptation- 02.12.07 on blog