Tuesday, October 29, 2013

roast me a grape

It's been a while since I posted anything to do with food...or pretty much anything for that matter.
With Pintrest, and all the amazing food blogs I figured why bother?
But I had to share this one.

We had some friends down to our new place a few weeks ago and we had a nice late lunch/early dinner on a Sunday afternoon.
Love doing that.
Anyhow being in wine country I tried to use as many local ingredients as possible.
So we started out with this delicious roasted grape and ricotta crostini.
I had something similar once on a trip to California and wanted to try to make my own version.
so tasty.

Roasted Grape & Ricotta Crostini   

1 good quality baguette, cut into 12 half-inch pieces
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese 
a bunch of red grapes - you want about 48 grapes total.  Keep the grapes as clusters.
5 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper
10 fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and toast on a bake sheet until golden - about 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn heat up to 450*F. 
In a large bowl, toss the grapes with 3 tbsp olive oil, good grindings of pepper and salt and 6 sprigs of thyme.  Place on a parchment lined bake sheet and roast until skins pucker - about 8-10 minutes.  Meanwhile, spread the ricotta on the cooled baguette slices.  When the grapes have puckered, remove them from oven, let them cool until you are able to comfortably handle them but are still quite warm.  Remove them from their stems and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil.
Place 4or 5 roasted grapes on top of the ricotta, garnish with some fresh thyme sprigs and serve immediately.  Makes 12 crostini.   

You could also add a few crushed roasted walnuts on top or substitute a creamy goat cheese for  the ricotta.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


This year Thanksgiving was kind of bitter sweet.

On one hand, it was amazing to be able to spend four days at our new country home and soak in the beauty of the area.
The weather was near perfect and I couldn't seem to get enough of the fresh air and gorgeous trees and vineyards everywhere.
I actually didn't want to leave.
It was so peaceful and relaxing.
All I kept think all weekend was "I could so see myself living here full time."

I also had a great visit with my brother and his family and kind of bonded a bit with him for the first time in a long time.
We've never really been close, or at least not since we were kids, but now that he has a young family, things are slowly changing.
We actually had some meaningful conversations this weekend and found ourselves reminiscing and sharing stories about our relatives.
We are pretty opposite in many ways, but the bottom line is that we are family and it's just the two of us.
And family is everything.

Speaking of family, there was a strong absence from our Thanksgiving weekend this year.
Unfortunately my parents were not with us.
They were with my grandmother out East.
Who, after a long fight trying to hang on and keep a foot in this world, finally gave in and took her last breath surrounded by her family on Thanksgiving Sunday.
I am so thankful for all that she's done throughout the years.
Without her, there would be no me.

She was an amazing woman and I was always so in awe of the fact that she had eight children!
To me this is so incredible.
But not only did she have a big family and married the love of her life, she also worked full time.
She was the head nurse at the hospital for years.
I remember my mom telling me that she worked the 4pm- 12 am shift Monday-Friday.
All the kids would sit down for a hot lunch everyday at home though, so they could all have "supper" as a family.
That is also amazing.
I have one child, work a little here and there 1-2 days a week and there are still times I feel like I can't keep up.
But she just got on with things.
"No fuss- no muss" was her motto.

She also had a great sense of humour and a real zest for life.
She loved a good party and never left the house without her lipstick on and her perfectly pressed coordinating outfits with a simple strand of pearls or her gold bangles.
I can still picture them on her wrist making a gentle clinking sound as she moved around.
She was smart as a whip and was always in the know about pretty much everything and everyone on the island.
She loved to read and could pretty much strike up a conversation on any subject.
She was a fantastic story teller and I think passed the gift of gab on to several generations.
Not mentioning any names or anything.....

92 years...wow.
Exactly 50 years older than I am today.

I'm sad that she is no longer with us, yet I'm happy that she is no longer suffering and was with all of her children who looked after her with great care and compassion.
She was lucky woman to be surrounded by so much love and devotion.

One of my favourite quotes (and there were many....) was  "enjoy every day dear...'cause there's no getting out of this world alive..."

So true.

R.I.P. nan
you will be missed.