Fig Sangria

Lark events have helped me create some new recipes in this one-batch-size-cocktail-a-week repertoire.  I didn't expect friends and local business’ to ask for recipes specifically for their events, but it’s been fun and necessity has certainly been the mother of invention in my kitchen!  In search of a signature cocktail for the BIG READ HOLLAND, I created the Fig Sangria (with inspiration from the West Elm blog featuring Gabriel Cabrera @artfuldesperado.

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The Big Read is a community reading project highlighting the book When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka.  It was fun to search for a signature drink for this event! There is star anise in the recipe so that is what caught my attention, although that is where the Asian influence here stops. The recipe is inspired by Moroccan flavors, but it’s a serious fusion with elderflower syrup, star anise, and figs — overall the theme here is lavish and elegant — two things that I love in recipes.  Enjoy this mix of sultry flavors and buy fresh figs while they are ripe and available in stores. Freeze them for the winter months when rich luscious fruit will be a welcome treat!

 photos by   Bridging Her Story

Follow the Recipe

I’m not a chef.  I really wish I was, as it would help with my butchering and knife skills as well as every other amazing little thing chefs do.  The benefit of me not being a chef is that I’m a home cook.  I hope you are too, because that’s who I’m writing for: you! (And if you are a chef, and you are here, I welcome you -- I LOVE that you would read my work!)  Back to the benefit of my home cook status -- I create dishes for people who use the same kind of Pyrex measuring cups, shop at the same standard local grocery store, and need a recipe to ensure what they are making will turn out.  I love that people mess with recipes and create their own lovely version of things, but I’ll admit that I am a recovering creative in the kitchen. I have solid, tried and true recipes that I use in a rotation (a CONSTANT rotation) when entertaining so that the money we are spending on good ingredients won’t be wasted on a dinner that’s inedible because I decided to get creative with the recipe!

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My theory on creative use of recipes is this: make it AS WRITTEN once.  If you don’t like the recipe, throw it away and find a new version of the dish or cocktail you want to make.  If the recipe is a winner, note what you do and don’t love about the recipe, and make it in your own, new way the next time you make it.  Keep doing that until it becomes your own, and file that into your brain under WHAT TO COOK WHEN THE BOSS COMES TO DINNER or for your best friends who love food as much as you do.

 

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Enjoy going out on a Lark with new recipes this week.  Make mine once (will you make the Pom Pom Cocktail or the Winged Goddess dressing?) and then make it your own!  

Wall of Books

Wall of Books

 

I have a cookbook collection.  It spans the kitchen wall, from the baseboards to the crown molding.  The range of authors is somewhat varied, lingering long in French classics and American bistro:  from Ina Garten to Yotam Ottolenghi, Julia Child to Nancy Oakes. I draw inspiration from these books, but I also strictly follow recipes from these books.  I’m a rule and recipe follower, which inspires me to write all of my own recipes down so that I can make them the same way every time. {My writing and pen can be more reliable than my memory and brain, people.}

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On that note, while Pinterest is fun and accessible, it’s not always reliable.  If I find a Martha Stewart recipe pinned, I know it will cook the way it’s written.  I trust the recipe testing and reputation of magazine and brand, so it’s my go-to. If I don’t know the author but find a cornbread recipe while waiting in the grocery line, there is no guarantee it’s going to work, and for me -it usually doesn’t.  I love the tried-and-true, the reliable. That’s why my goal is to write clear and simple recipes. I want to build a brand and book that is reliable. I want every recipe to show up for you the way I intended it. One thing I can’t rely on is your taste and palette.  That’s why, for example, I have included two recipes this week.  I don’t know if red wine gives you a headache, or if you only drink white in the summer.  So here are TWO reliable sangria recipes. Make one this weekend as you unwind from a very long week.  Make a jug for a neighbor and leave it at their door to spread the love.  Let me know which one you prefer (but no one said you can’t enjoy BOTH.)

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Let me know, also, how you enjoy gathering recipes.  Are you a rule follower? Send me an email or use #livinglark on Instagram to let me know -- I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Go on a Lark!

Kate

realized dream

This is the story of a realized dream.  What was my website full of recipes is now a blogg-ey website WITH recipes and oh-so-much more.

 Photo credit Alexa Karen

Photo credit Alexa Karen

How did this dream of LARK begin?  Things began to happen a few winters ago, snow falling quietly on some nights and rain dripping and melting outside on others.  Always I sat on the grey tweed couch, fluorescent computer light and that dream keeping me awake.

Urge to write poetry materialized in what i found safest-writing out all my recipes-until one recipe became 100.  Too many to ignore, I started to visualize them in print (because I collect cookbooks and read them like novels), and realized my recipes had a theme and brand.  ON A LARK emerged-eating clean and thoughtfully during the week and going out on a lark (letting yourself splurge) a bit on the weekend.

Ultimately my final goal has already been reached.  I dreamed of writing poetry again and I am doing that.  I’ve joined a group of retired professors, local creatives-all thriving poets in what we call the salon.  I love it.

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Each week (on my website, Instagram feed, Facebook) I’ll post a new recipe.  All cocktails-ALL made in a ONE GALLON size. Why? In order to throw parties you can enjoy, make a pitcher of cocktails. In my life, there's no room for mixing and measuring while the house fills up.  If you live alone and can’t drink a gallon (I don’t blame you) have a party to use it up.  Buy a nice pitcher for someone and give half to them, etc. etc.

Back to the dream-will you help it materialize?  Just because you like to grant wishes and support fun things? I'm shopping the book proposal around to agents and publishers and I need a bigger social media presence. Kind of dying over self-promotion BUT-I do have 65 drink recipes to share, and I think you will like them!  I know that I could self-publish this book, but my highest dream is to work with a publisher because I love paper and books and publishing houses. If needed I’ll self publish later down the road-but my Dad always told me to aim high.

On a Lark,

Kate

 

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