Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cowboy Heritage

For most of us, putting on a pair of cowboy boots and a Stetson hat is not an everyday occurance. But in Calgary--where I live--this is something we all do for ten days of the year.
The Calgary Stampede is a 100 year old tradition. A Canadian festival, celebrating the cowboy way of life, Stampede fever takes over our city malls, our office boardrooms, our streets and our hearts. Many years ago (be polite and don't ask how many) when I was a university graduate, I moved to Calgary to start my new job as an articling Chartered Accountant. My first day at the accounting firm just happened to fall on the week of Stampede. I showed up in my tailored business suit and heels only to find that everyone at the firm--from secretary to managing partner--was in jeans and a western shirt. Awkward. But once I got over the shock, I soon grew to love the stampede--and what's not to love? Free pancake breakfasts all over the city, square dancing in the streets and of course, the rodeo...
Those of us who write and read American Romances know that the western spirit is more than something to celebrate at a festival once a year. It is also a way of life. A set of values. You'll see that in the new series, Harts of The Rodeo. It begins this July with Cathy McDavid's book: Aidan: Loyal Cowboy and continues next month with my debut American, Colton: Rodeo Cowboy. If you want a taste of what to expect, check out the book trailer. Then leave me a comment on what appealed to you most about the trailer and I'll choose a name at random to receive a copy of Cathy's book as well as a special Harts of the Rodeo bookmark. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Raspberry Vinegar

One of my favorite restaurants serves its garden salad with a lovely raspberry vinaigrette, and this summer I decided to try making my own.

First I searched for a raspberry vinegar recipe online and settled on this one by Nigel Slater at The Guardian.

Then I calculated the ingredients as follows:

2 cups white wine vinegar
1 pound fresh raspberries
6 tablespoons granulated sugar

Per the instructions, I let the vinegar and mashed raspberries sit for two days, then I strained it overnight. I poured the liquid into a stainless steel pan, added the sugar, brought it to a boil and simmered it for ten minutes. So easy!

Here's the finished product.

The color is beautiful and it tastes every bit as good as it looks!

In addition to using this vinegar to make a vinaigrette, the recipe suggests other uses, like adding a little to iced mineral water or lemonade, but I really can't wait to try it on ice cream!

I might even make another batch, put it in pretty little bottles and use them for gifts. What do you think? Do you like receiving homemade gifts? And are you brave enough to put vinegar on your dessert?

Until next time,
The Daddy Project (December 2012)