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QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Good people, it is 73 degrees today! I've opened almost all of the windows in the house and am spotting daffodils triumphantly ready to unfurl all over the knob our house sits on. @glennbenglish served this reuben with @chopshopbutchers pork pastrami, homemade Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for lunch as a strong breeze swept thru the house and shook things up. YESSSSSS!
  • Clowning around. || Huxley tried out Tiny Tots Circus Playtime at Toy Boat Art Collective today and really enjoyed it!
  • Chatting about existentialism, and contradicting ourselves, and winter over on small measure today. || Into the woods behind our house.
  • Players gonna play. Huxley and his buddy Bay, doing their little guy thing today at the perennially lovely @thencarboretum.
  • The garden got blanketed with what I'm hoping was winter's last gasp this past week. I'm ready for those snow-covered strawberry beds in the foreground to start putting out juicy fruits, for Huxley to dig in his sandbox again, for cocktails at sunset on the pergola, and for conversing with soil and seeds once more. Spring is coming. Really started to feel it this weekend.
  • Scotch eggs of supreme deliciousness can be had on the regular at @kingjamesavl. @glennbenglish and I savored these beauties today alongside dirty rice fritters, gumbo with poutine, and @sunbursttrout smoked trout dip, all wonderful. There was also a pint of Appalachian Brewery porter that I have to have more of. Oh, and old school White Stripes on rotation. Great food, great atmosphere.
  • Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • Scattered, smothered, and covered. Snowy day in the cove!
  • We three Englishes do so very much love snow. Forecast to receive between 3-6 inches tonight! @glennbenglish captured Huxley and I taking in the view on his way back to the house after locking up the chickens.
  • Woke up to overnight snowfall, always a treat. Then heard from my neighbor Lynn, a licensed massage & bodywork therapist, that the snow was preventing her from getting in to her clients in town and, as a result, she had an opening in her schedule and could give me a massage. Whenever she travels, I pet-sit her cat Sophie, and in exchange she trades me a massage. Not only is she a seriously stellar masseuse, she also is an aromatherapist, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (a kind of Japanese acupressure technique), and is certified in neuromuscular therapy. So when I get a massage from her, I receive this healing trifecta involving scent, body, and spirit. Plus, in all honesty, I feel like this woman is actually imbuing my body with love when she works on me. I left her house feeling light and bright, and nourished. She has offices in Asheville and Johnson City, TN (the home massages are reserved for family and neighbors!). If you're looking for a rich, wonderful, deeply healing massage, please consider Lynn. You can find her information at www.lynnbernatsky.com. || I passed our bamboo grove and its tiny creek on my walk over to Lynn and Steve's; it somehow spoke to me of good things in store.
  • Woke up to this view. Some kind of wonderful!
  • Spotted Quench in the wild today.Always a thrill to see my books out in the big world, and rubbing elbows with friends @thejoyofcooking, no less!
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Mixing It Up





I have to admit, my honeymoon was just about as stellar as they come. Thanks to the incredible generosity of my in-laws, Hubs and I flew from Asheville to Paris on June 4th, 2007, where we stayed for 5 days in posh digs (with complimentary nougat-my favorite confection-and chocolate lollipops on our pillows every night!!!). After that, we jumped on a train to Monte Carlo, in the teensy principality of Monaco, where we set up shop in a hotel overlooking the harbor for four days (the yachts, folks, were completely off the hook!). Lastly, we set out for the third leg of our trip, traveling overnight by train to Rome, where we stayed for 3 days. It was glorious and romantic and indulgent in all the right ways that honeymoons should be.


One of the standouts of the trip for me, though, was something quite simple. While the Louvre was phenomenal, the casinos resplendent, and the Colosseum epic, one of my most abiding loves on the trip was of a cocktail had in our Paris hotel.

La Bar Chinois, found inside the Renaissance Paris Vendome, is a postage stamp-sized little thing of a bar, but a thing of beauty nonetheless. With exquisite chinoiserie-style wallpaper, handcrafted lacquered furniture, and the most intoxicating liquid incense (Pacifica’s Mediterranean Fig comes close to mirroring the fragrance), the place was beyond charming, yet in an especially exotic manner. We took our seats at the diminutive bar, where the chic, urbane, oh-so-Parisian bartender directed our attention towards Bar Chinois’ cocktail blends.Available in a remarkable number of permutations, the cocktail blends involve the drinker pulling three marked sticks from a tumbler of options. One stick selects an herb, one chooses a fruit juice, and the third designates the choice of liquor. The selections are all done randomly, so you don’t know if you’ll select basil, cranberry juice, and an herb-infused vodka, or mint, pineapple juice, and a spice-infused vodka.

While I can’t remember the exact incarnation of what Hubs and I selected, I do remember that it tasted heavenly. We were so inspired by the drink (and its fun creation) that several months later, we threw a “Mad Scientist” -themed Halloween party where we set up a bar and allowed our guest to create their own signature cocktail. You can see our offerings pictured above. For herb choices, we used basil, mint, and tarragon (all fresh). Fruit juices included pineapple, pomegranate, and coconut. For the liquor, two weeks prior to the soiree we infused vodka three different ways: black pepper & jalapeno, vanilla & raspberry, and cranberry & juniper.

I used craft sticks of similar colors to group herbs (green), fruit juice (yellow), and liquor (red). Guests selected one of each color and, after chopping the fresh herb, I added all the components to a cocktail shaker, shook hard, and strained off the concoction. Amazingly, not one creation turned out poorly. Our guests loved the game and we loved bringing a bit out the magic of our honeymoon stateside.

If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve bash, I invite you to steal this idea. While you might not have enough time to infuse liquor yourself, you could simply purchase three different infused vodka flavors from the liquor store. I’m always a fan of mixing things up in life and this slice of Parisian fun, courtesy of La Bar Chinois, takes mixed drinks to a whole other level. Cheers (or, more so, Salut!)!

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