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Just Add Wine Cocktail – Yields One Chichi Summer Outdoor Experience

20 Jul

Dear Jess,
Thank you and Shannon so so much for coming all the way down to Canada (down, technically, right? when you’re coming
from Minnesota to South-Western Ontario…) in order to celebrate the 4th with us!  Your  patriotic cynicism and Shannon’s grill-mastery made the evening.
After this excellent string of BBQ’s, which you anticipated in April with your Portobello Mushroom grillers, I am starting to feel, well, thirsty.  And while Coors Light and Molson Canadian may have been appropriate for an All-American, er, Canadian cook-out, our subsequent ‘cues have lacked a certain classy, refreshing, thirst-quenching element.
Thus, I dedicate this post to summer, to sparklers, and to you, dear sister, who always bring the culinary class!
Love, Bec

happy plants from the Spring enterprise

Earlier this summer Nina requested permission from our landlord to plant a garden in our back yard.  Three days of dedicated digging and fertilizing and hoeing (bow chicka bow…oh nevermind) and deliberating about how much space tomato plants really need and how deep the holes need be (no bow-chicka intended) we finally had 1/2 of the plants we’d bought in the ground.  The other half has remained in their seedling pots on our front porch until today which, for anyone keeping track, is JULY! Continue reading


Summer Solstice with Sally (and Brunhilde) = Savory Satisfaction

21 Jun

Dear Emma,

Your cherry-rhubarb preserves look incredible – what a perfect favor for your guests!  When Nina and I had our love-ratification party, we gave everyone seed bombs – little packages of three clay-and-dirt balls with seeds inside which you can throw anywhere and flowers will sprout.  Unfortunately, we forgot to explain this to anyone, which is how my poor cousin Suzie ended up trying to eat one!  Yours look much more self-explanatory.  Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures in party planning.

Love and luck!


About one week from today last year, and the year before that, and the one before it, I get a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach that summer is passing and I haven’t been paying enough attention.

For today is that dependable day when the sun seems like it might spend the night. It’s still bright at 8:00 and by 9:00 twilight is still lingering and all the little children are giving their parents a hard time because the sun is still up and the big children are still outside yelling and running around and why can’t I?

Today is the summer solstice.

And so, in the desperation to cling to summer like there is no summer tomorrow, Nina and I sacrificed most of a perfectly good work day to create the ultimate homage to the longest day of the year: BBQ.

And not just BBQ…

also strawberry shortcake!

Continue reading

Sour Jerks and the Women Who Love Them.

24 May

Dear Bec & Nina,

I’m writing this from my stuffy Chicago apartment just a day away from departing for your love ratification festival of joy (aka wedding). This meal is a lil’ mixture of your old Caribbean hood in Brooklyn and the Eastern European vinegariness of Chicago. Hope you all enjoy it. I’ll do a repeat of whatever you would like to sample when I see you on Friday! 

Love you, Margie

The slow arrival of summer in Chicago is always a relief. Not because of the end of the bitter winds, drifting snow, and constant gray sludge attached to the bottom of my jeans, but because I can finally accept that my neighbors were not eaten my zombies. Snowmagedden, what we fondly call the blizzard of 2011, made my back deck a wasteland of snowdrifts and rotting lawn furniture. After a few months of teasingly warm temps and nights in the 40s, we’ve reached a plateau and I’m finally beginning to see life in the neighborhood again. Back doors have slammed open and my neighbors have appeared again, alive, and ready to grill.

Cooks should ensure that there’s room in the fridge for a couple of loiterers as these babies will need 24 hours chillin for maximum flavor.  

People of all genders can love the Jerk.

Jerk chicken is one of the easiest, most flavorful dishes to grill. Some folks turn to spice rubs and bottles o’ jerk but the results are just not the same!  Continue reading