lemon

Willow Tea Rooms perpetuate a grand tradition

Willow Tea Rooms perpetuate a grand tradition

We look forward to the ritual of afternoon tea wherever we land in the British Isles. Stopping in a homey tea room for an afternoon “cuppa” is such a genteel tradition that it's hard to imagine that it was once at the forefront of a social revolution. But in the mid-nineteenth century, tea rooms were one of the few places where women could gather and socialize. Miss Kate Cranston was one of the pioneers of the movement when she opened her first tea room in Glasgow in 1878. She went on to operate four tea rooms in the city before she retired in 1928. Miss Cranston proved to be a visionary as well as a shrewd businesswoman. To provide her patrons with an uplifting experience,...Read More

Getting ready for summer with ‘Le Picnic’ recipes

Talk about timing! Le Picnic: Chic Food for On-The-Go crossed our desk just as the azaleas burst into bloom and the purple finches laid their first clutch of eggs in the blue spruce outside our desk window. This Australian book by food writer Suzy Ashford is published by Smith Street Books in Melbourne, but it's distributed in North America by Rizzoli. Suzy had us with the cover shot of a roast chicken and Camembert baguette (see above). By the way, the two photos in this post are courtesy of Smith Street Books. The book breaks down roughly into gorgeous sandwiches, baked tarts or flatbreads, salads you want to eat with your eyes, and drop-dead gorgeous desserts that seem a little delicate to transport to a...Read More
When life gives you lemons, make limoncello cakes

When life gives you lemons, make limoncello cakes

Executive chef Kathryn Kelly (above) tells her culinary class aboard the Marina that lemon is as important to a chef as a knife. Instead of adding salt to food to enhance the flavor, “use acid." Kelly is such a believer in gastronomic acids that she builds an entire cooking class around the signature tart fruit of the Mediterranean: the lemon. She calls the class “Amore—Love of Lemons,” and it's a zinger. In two hours, up to twenty-two students learn to make egg-lemon soup, limoncello, preserved lemons, fennel salad with preserved lemon, lemon risotto, chicken scallopine al limone, drunken limoncello cakes, and lemon-basil gelato. When Oceania Cruises (oceaniacruises.com) decided to make food the centerpiece of their voyages, the founders knew they needed more than good fine-dining...Read More

Franciacorta: effervescent joy from Italy

Contrary to common usage, there's nothing like real Champagne, the sparkling wine made in a delimited area in France. We'd suggest that there is also nothing like Franciacorta, the elegant and more affordable sparkling wine made in the Lombardy countryside an hour east of Milan. In fact, that city's fashionistas have been drinking a lot of Franciacorta for the last several days during Milan Fashion Week. The district has been growing grapes at least since the 16th century under the aegis of the region's monasteries. (The name of the region indicates a region of monasteries not subject to ducal taxes.) Serious spumante production is much more recent, dating from the years after World War II, and the big players are industrialists, not monks. That said,...Read More

Lemon risotto and Caprese salad with truffles

What a luxury to shave truffles over some of our favorite summer dishes! I was surprised when several chefs suggested black truffles on a Caprese salad, but if the tomatoes have enough acidic zing, it's a match made in heaven. Our own tomatoes aren't quite ripe yet, so I have to resort to hoop house or hot house varieties. One trick to restore the “fresh tomato” flavor to these typically bland fruits is to give them a tiny sprinkle of salt, sugar, and citric acid. Citric acid is sometimes sold as “sour salt,” and is readily available in Indian grocery stores. (I mix up the seasoning in a ratio of 20 parts salt to 5 parts sugar and 1 part citric acid and store it...Read More