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August 2013

The Witches Kitchen ~ Creamy Leek Tart

What a wonderful evening we had last night! Just as Jim and I were about go out to Whole Foods to enjoy Foodie Friday ( our absolute favorite 8.00 date night ~ 5 wines and five foods!!) my darling neighbor Michelle leaned over the row of blackberries and said" do you and Jim have any plans tonight?"" Let me convince you to come over for dinner!" Then she began to regale me with descriptions of sliced fresh peaches, grass fed filet, fresh sweet corn and the piece de resistance.. A fresh leek and gruyere tart!

So began a delightfully spontaneous evening spent with dear friends and their adorable children, a couple of bottles of perfect wine and that utterly unforgettable tart!

It has only 5 ingredients; gruyere cheese, butter, cream , leeks and a crust.
Just take a store bought pie crust and mold it into a fluted tart pan. Set aside.
Then sauté 3 chopped leeks in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 cup of cream and simmer for a minute and then stir in 1 and 1/4 cups of shredded gruyere cheese. Pour the leek mixture into the tart shell and bake for about 30 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Allow to sit for ten minutes, cut into wedges and serve!

You owe it to yourself to make this at least once! A simple side salad and a luscious glass of wine is all that's needed to turn this into a perfect meal!

The Witches Kitchen ~ Creamy Leek Tart

Stirring the Senses! ~ It's a fabulous morning after all!



Every now and then you find yourself in a  very surreal and discomforting situation. On our way to Las Vegas yesterday we made a detour through Atlanta  only to find that we'd missed our connecting flight. Instead of the luxurious bed that I was expecting last night, Delta armed me with a travel kit, several vouchers  and a shuttle to the Country Inn at midnight, where the only available food was barely that and the bed was as hard as a board!

We slept for 5 hours and jumped up at 5:00 am to catch our flight out. As we stood in the mile long security line I realized that my feet were SCREAMING as I was wearing the same really cute gold heels that I left with yesterday at 4:00 pm! We got through the line and I deposited my husband at the gate and went off in search of a cup of coffee. On my way back I passed a L'occitane store and glory be,  they were open! 

I have to say that I have always loved L'occitane products and used to sell them in my store when they first arrived stateside. I ducked into the store just wanting something wonderful to sniff. What I was met with were two of the most charming sales associates I'd ever met and it was only 7:00 am! "Do you have any foot cream?" I asked. "Yes , of course" said a lovely gentleman and he handed me the tube. I was just starting to rub my feet when an angel said , "Please let me do that for you!"  At first I felt self concious about letting her, but hedonism quickly took over:) I sat down and proceeded to have the loveliest foot rub , so good that I practically fell asleep in the chair!


I walked out of that store in a blissful state of mind armed  with  a beautiful lavender handcream , a lovely rose sachet that is currently banishing all of the stale air on this airplane ( I feel like such a lady:)  and some of their wonderful foot cream. So far this morning I've had a wonderful foot rub and my husband and I have had hand massages on the plane with the lavender cream that I bought. I'm feeling refreshed and completely rejuvenated all because of the kindness of  a couple of complete strangers who had absolutely no clue that I write about fragrance, beauty and fashion on an almost daily basis. That's  the difference between a salesperson and a great sales associate...when someone treats me that well before they find out that I wrote for the industry I'm always smitten!



I've got to thank Shannon Chandler for his most excellent service and Cheryl Dibbs for  her sweetness and most  excellent hands! Kudo's to  L' Occitane for having the wisdom to hire such  fabulous people! If you ever get to the Atlanta Airport  you'll find them  in Concourse A.  Don't hesitate...you're in for a treat! I've seen L'Occitane in many an airport and I'm always greeted by a smiling face but these two went way above the call of duty and I thank them...worship them practically! They saved my day and made me a customer for life!



Kitchen Apothecary ~ Fresh Herb and Buttermilk Soup


Kitchen Apothecary ~ Fresh Herb and Buttermilk Soup
Fresh Herb and Buttermilk Soup

This last weekend was my husband's annual guy-trek to the Indy car races. He goes with the same friends every year and every year his normally good eating habits get tossed to the wayside. Too much red meat, simple carbohydrates, lots and lots of beer and cigars are what he ingests for 4 days straight. Needless to say when he gets home it's time for a bit of a cleanse!

My gardens are wonderful this year because we've had so much rain here in Ohio and my herbs are really lush. It seemed like an herbal soup would be a good tonic to help him process all of that red meat, so into the garden I went. The following is a recipe that you can use all year round with whatever you're growing inside or out. It's really easy to prepare and it can be made in the blender, vitamix or on top of the stove. 

To start with slice a large cleaned leek (greens and all!) and put it into a pot with about 6 cups of organic chicken or faux chicken broth and let it simmer until the leek is soft. Take an immersion blender and blend the leek into the broth. Add three cups of fresh herbs (I used basil, dill, rosemary, parsley, sage, oregano, marjoram, summer savory, lemon thyme, tarragon , bronze fennel and chives!) simmer for a minute or two and blend once more until the herbs are incorporated. Add some salt and pepper to taste and a pint of buttermilk (more if you want it!) . Let the whole thing simmer for a few minutes and then serve it in bowls with fresh buttered croutons and a sprinkling of feta or parmesan cheese. It would also be wonderful without the buttermilk and served with soba noodles. The aroma is amazing...

To wet his appetite I served a salad of fresh golden beets with onions, fin herbes, creamy burrata cheese and peppery arugula. 

Green herbal energy in a bowl! Your body and your taste buds will thank you! 

Kitchen Apothecary ~ Fresh Herb and Buttermilk Soup
Golden beet and Burrata Salad