Birthday Dessert for Mom

It is pleasure to cook for the people who support my hobby/habit of doing so, and even better when I get to use my skills to treat my family. On a visit home a couple of months ago, I took my Mom’s birthday as the opportunity to conceptualize and deliver a meal everyone enjoyed. And, for me, it was a great day shopping for ingredients at a few different stores with my Mom – basically just hanging out as if I lived down the block rather than over a couple of states. Hopefully, she knows that this hobby/habit is something she inspired and created in her kitchen when she demanded that I learn how to make at least one dinner per week for our family.

When I asked Mom what kind of food she wanted, she said “italian.” While I believe she does like italian food, I think she was trying to throw me a bone by picking something inexpensive. So, what did I do – herb rested steaks over parmesan risotto with Emily’s favorite squash and pancetta salad. To fill in the cracks, a bowl of salted caramel gelato with black berries and a drizzle of dark chocolate.

In case you want this dessert tonight – I can tell you that all of the ingredients are available at the grocery store and all are just about ready to go. You’ll need: salted caramel gelato, Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting discs, and berries of your choice.


Here’s how it goes together: scoop the gelato into a bowl, melt the discs according to their directions, add berries to gelato, spoon over melted chocolate as decoratively as you feel like doing.

Serve. Enjoy!


Craft Cocktail: Bourbonade

The spring is finally here in Chicago and everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – is outside soaking in the sun and rediscovering what other humans look like without a parka on.

This means it is also past time for one’s outdoor space to be operational. As my facebook, Instagram, twitter, and Snap Chat friends already know; my balcony is operational – and extra awesome this year because of some upgrades.

To help you welcome spring and summer to your balconies, rooftops, decks, porches, and yards (if you have them) – or even your local park or beach; today’s recipe is a smash hit that everyone will enjoy!

Bourbonade on my balcony

Bourbonade – it is what it sounds like if you slur together bourbon lemonade. And, thus you have the two main ingredients. To those I round out the drink with orange simple syrup, a lot of ice, and a thick lemon wheel. Basically, you mix all of these ingredients in ratios that make your mouth happy and then you can call it your own.

Mine goes together like this:

1) Fill a high ball glass with ice

2) Spoon in 1/2 tsp of orange simple syrup

3) Pour in 1.5 oz of bourbon (Four Roses Small Batch is preferred in this house)

4) Fill the rest of the way with lemonade and stir to combine

5) Garnish with a thick lemon wheel

If the drink is too sweet the first time out, squeeze in that lemon wheel and drink the cocktail. Then remake with a little less simple syrup or a little more bourbon. You can see where this could go. So, be a little careful and really enjoy!