Guess what? I just booked a tiny trip to Amsterdam. In two weeks, I’ll get to have a beautiful drink with Yvette van Boven in Amsterdam. And I get even more excited by reading up on this lovely story from Judi and Nicole. They tried Home Made Summer and made a darling Cava Sangria – thanks, ladies, and I want those glasses! -Maggie
Confession: I’m baking a strawberry-rhubarb galette right now and though it smells amazing in here, I’m a little concerned that it’s a disaster. It’s leaking its bright red juice all over the baking sheet, and the parchment paper, and I keep getting up to stare at it through the little oven window, wondering and worrying if the middle is dry, if what started out with such good intentions is going to be a sloppy, amateur mess. This clearly wouldn’t worry me so much if I didn’t have friends coming over for dinner.
I read recently that more and more women are feeling stressed out, rather than inspired, by sites like Pinterest and I understood why immediately. All those artfully arranged dishes, those gorgeous backyard feasts surrounded by strung-up lights, those cherub-like children posing in black and white, no tantrums to be heard, those graceful women in their stylish clothes sashaying down the city streets. It’s a little intimidating frankly; especially when you’ve promised people dinner, cooked by your real hands, in your real house, on a real Sunday night. You want the finished product to look like a magazine when, in reality, you’ll be happy just to get through the night without looking completely frazzled and overwhelmed. I thought maybe it was just me, so that Pinterest poll was a little comforting.
I stumbled upon Yvette Van Boven’s work by chance. There’s a fantastic store here in Maine that sells only cookbooks and books about food – it’s only open on Saturdays and it’s a treasure trove for food fanatics. I got lost in it one day looking for a birthday gift for my friend Meg when the owner picked up Yvette’s massive Home Made. I flipped through the pages, charmed by it immediately, and I was sorry to let it go, even if it was going to a good home.
Luckily for me, I have good friends. For my birthday that year, she returned the favor by getting me a copy of Home Made Winter, except this one was signed. I read the whole book in one night and sighed happily when it was done.
I’ve loved all of the cookbooks we’ve played with for Eat Boutique (that galette recipe is Deb’s!) but I admit that I have a special place in my heart for Yvette. Flipping through her books is like taking a walk through the woods and coming across a cabin where the scents of good food cooking draw you closer and closer. Inside, there is no perfect, no sheen, no gloss, no fears or hidden worries. There’s “This is really good, you should make it. It’s easy, look, I drew you a picture.” It’s as far away from Martha as you can get and, really, sometimes you need to step away from Martha.
We were thrilled to get a chance to play with her newest adventure, Home Made Summer. It’s as warm and fun and inspiring as we’ve come to expect from Yvette and this Sangria is criminally delicious. You should pick it up, pick all of them up, if you know what’s good for you.
PS: The galette turned out fine.
From Home Made Summer by Yvette Van Boven
Makes 1 big pitcher
- 2 peaches, sliced
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- handful of strawberries, raspberries, or grapes, halved if large
- 2 cups (500 ml) freshly squeezed grapefruit or orange juice
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- A few sprigs of fresh mint
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) brandy (optional)
- 1 bottle of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine)
- Combine all the fruit and citrus juice in a big glass pitcher. Add the cinnamon sticks and 2 sprigs of mint, cover, and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Your guests have arrived, remove the cinnamon sticks and stir in the brandy (if you wish). Then pop open the Cava and pour it on top. Garnish the sangria with some extra fresh mint and top it off with a heap of ice cubes.
- Serve the sangria as an apéritif on a warm summer night.
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