I apologize for being away for so many days—my laxity at the computer was due partially to lack of childcare, but primarily to the fact that I was cooking instead of writing about it.
It was a great week for socializing, with a mid-week parents' dinner party (quick cassoulet, a salad of baby greens, dried Mission figs, cubed St. Andre cheese and toasted hazelnuts, Christie's bread and peanut butter chocolate pudding cake and creme fraiche for dessert). This meal was the impetus for my first foodie resolution of the week: someday I will make REAL cassoulet, from scratch, with beans I have grown, sausage I have linked, and duck that I have both raised AND confited. With this meal, I served a variety of pickles, mostly gifted to me. As I sampled the beautiful asparagus and green tomato pickles from two friends who spend a large part of the growing season working in their gardens and making preserves, I made my second foodie resolution: this summer, I am going to do more preserving, too.
A batch of banana cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese icing from Moosewood's Simple Suppers got me through two visits with other moms. They were on their own for an afternoon coffee visit, and then they got paired up with the leftover cassoulet (better the next day!) for a lunch-at-home date. They also served as dessert tonight when my parents unexpectedly dropped in for dinner. And there are still a couple left!
We've been invited to another foodie-friends' place for a little Oscar party, and the menu sounds divine: caramelized onion and blue cheese tart, goat cheese terrine, and vegetables with miso dip. I offered to bring something sweet, and since my only responsibility is that one sweet thing, that means I can spend a little more time on it...which got me excited! I pulled out a cookbook that has been on the backburner for quite some time (like, since I started having kids): Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker. I have actually only made one recipe from the book (several years ago): pistachio petits fours, for my best friend's birthday, and while they were labour intensive, the results were amazing. I flipped through the book, trying to find something that would have Oscar-worthy wow factor, without taking several days to pull together. I've got my choices narrowed down to a nutty meringue and chocolate confection called "Gianduja cubes" or "Caramel carmenitas", little pastries filled with caramel pecan buttercream (!!!). Flipping through the book, however, I found a recipe for Japonais, something that I first encountered at Truffles Bistro in Saskatoon, and have been in love with ever since. These are mini versions, of course, of meringue wafers filled with praline buttercream. Oh. My. So here is another foodie resolution: I don't have time to make those this weekend, what with the 4-page recipe...but I WILL make them someday.
One last resolution. I told you, I'm on fire this week! Have you tried Lesley Stowe's amazing Raincoast Crisps? I just finished the last of a package with my vintage Gouda and new jar of Stonewall Kitchens Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam just now. These are the most amazing and most expensive (well maybe not MOST expensive, but they're pricey) crackers. I keep looking at them and trying to figure out how to make them (it's a similar method to making biscotti). Anyway, I have also resolved to learn to make them at home so I can have an unlimited and hopefully more affordable supply. I've found a link that I'm going to try out. Likely this will be the first resolution to be acted upon. I'll keep you posted.