Squeezing Out the Last Little Bit of Summer

The long summer days are quickly dwindling away, and the kids are heading back to school. But the garden is still bountiful, and there’s always time to get in one more barbecue with friends. This refreshing twist on the traditional Gordon’s Cup Cocktail is not only perfect for entertaining, it takes advantage of the delicious vegetables that nature has on offer. So, stir up a pitcher, take your place by the grill, or on the chaise lounge, and enjoy the few sultry evenings we have left.
You may remember some of these images from our story ‘en famille’ from the Summer Issue starting on page 246.

photography by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios
written by Ilene Ross
recipe courtesy of Brett Zwolinski/babas corner

Variation on a Gordon's Cup
Recipe type: cocktail
Serves: 1
  • ½ of 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
  • 2- ½ inch peeled cucumber rounds
  • 1 small stalk and some foliage fennel
  • ¼ cup gin {preferably Hendricks}
  • 1½ T simple syrup
  • 1 cup cracked ice
  • 1 pinch crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 pinch crushed sea salt
  1. To make the simple syrup, stir 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil for 1 minute. Cool, then chill (can be stored for later use).
  2. Put lime, cucumber, and fennel in a cocktail shaker and muddle until the lime is juiced and the cucumber and fennel are pulpy.
  3. Add gin, simple syrup, pepper, salt, and then ice. Cover and shake for about 30 seconds. Pour contents-do not strain-into a rocks glass. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

You can also find this post on the Honest Cooking blog, where we are honored to be guest contributors.

Community at it’s Finest

 photography by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios
written by Ilene Ross

Last week’s Ohio Valley Greenmarket (put on by Edible Ohio Valley) was touted as, “A Celebration of Community and Sustainability,” and it was indeed that, yet so much more. The combination of distinguished speakers, (such as Niman Ranch co-founder Paul Willis) local food, outstanding programming, (taking place in some of our city’s most beautiful parks) and of course, cooperative weather made for a weekend enjoyed by both young and old.

It was that sense of multi-generational community that we enjoyed the most.  From the traditional pig roast on Friday night at Winton Woods to the Farmers Market at the stunning Glenwood Gardens on Sunday, it was a pleasure to see families of all ages.  We were delighted to see that at the Sunday Market there were activities that gave children the opportunity to make a true connection to their food.  There were bee keeper lessons to learn and mock pizzas to make. The area’s local farmers set up stands filled with the freshest summer produce and meats, and several food trucks stood by, ready to feed famished shoppers. Saturday was devoted to flower gardening and design.

It’s events like this that give people the chance to slow down and form relationships with the people who grow and prepare their food, or, if we’re so inclined, educate us to do it ourselves.  So much more than our weekly market, this combination of education, entertainment, and commerce sent us home with so much more than full tummies, a full digital card, and full re-useable shopping bags; It sent us home with warm hearts and a sense of community that we can never get by mindlessly pushing a cart through a big box grocery store.

Farmers Market at the Glenwood Gardens on Sunday

Chef Jose Salazar . A Little Lagniappe

photography by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios
written by Ilene Ross

Primarily heard in Southern Louisiana, this term is widely used in shops and restaurants,
and refers to “a little something extra.”

Primarily heard in Southern Louisiana, this term is widely used in shops and restaurants, and refers to “a little something extra.” Be it a gift with purchase, or a dessert on the house, it always brings a smile to the face.

Recently we were visiting one of our favorite chefs, Jose Salazar, at The Palace at The Cincinnatian Hotel to shoot him (with a camera of course) for our story on herbs. We were about to wrap, when Chef Salazar received a phone call and asked us if we could hang out for a bit; his morel purveyor was on his way in with a stellar haul. Well, he certainly didn’t have to ask twice. Even if we did have plans, for this, they would be altered. Knowing Chef Salazar’s attention to detail, these would be no ordinary morels, and sure enough, when the purveyor arrived, massive fungi in tow, we were not disappointed. We caught a whiff of the intense, earthy smell as soon as he came through the door. We all stood around, mouths agape, in awe of the sheer size and perfection of nature’s bounty. Chef was like a kid in a candy store.

If you’ve ever purchased morels before, you know that it’s practically unheard of to find an intact specimen in the bin of your local market. Their extremely delicate structure means that it’s nearly impossible for them to survive the transportation process from forest floor to store shelf with all of the jostling and handling in between. But these were pristine. We needed to get a few shots before we learned what Chef Salazar had in store for them.

Back in the kitchen, Chef paired our meaty morels with some pan roasted cod, baby carrots, and both green and white asparagus. Of course, the picture-perfect shot always comes before our sated appetites, so we set up a make-shift photo shoot in the alley behind The Palace, hauled up chunks of apple wood from the Cincinnatian cellar to add a rustic touch, and captured the giant mushrooms in all of their glory. And then we dined.

{A few behind the scenes shots from our fancy, high tech set. The light was beautiful.}

You can also find this, our first, post on the Honest Cooking blog, where we are honored to be guest contributors.

My Menu On Honest Cooking

a happy little salad {editorial}

written by Gina Weathersby
photography by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

This little salad was for an editorial assignment that Ilene and I worked on for Her Cincinnati magazine this month. The column speaks to balancing the cost and quality of staples in the kitchen ~ be sure to pick up an issue and read the entire article. Since we chose to feature a high quality, fruity olive oil, (and it is summer) a salad seemed like an appropriate meal to create. We used various varieties of greens gleaned from our market visit earlier in the day, and Ilene brought a healthy bouquet of fresh herbs from her greenhouse along for a flavorful vinaigrette. Pretty straight forward. All our ingredients were fresh and seasonal, but honestly, (for me) something was missing. Something fun and a little unexpected. I walked outside and looked around my garden for that something. There they were. Actually I think they sat up just a little taller so as to be seen…happy, sun-shiny nasturtiums and light, feathery chive flowers. Those simple additions elevated the entire salad both visually, and with the subtle flavors they each added to the dish. A simple, seasonal, happy, (and completely edible) with a little splash of color salad ~ from us to you.

a happy little salad
Your choice of salad greens
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1T Dijon mustard
  • 1T finely minced shallot
  • 1T finely chopped mixed fresh herbs
  • variety of edible flowers
  • 1T finely shopped capers (rinse and drained)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake to mix.
  2. Add a tablespoon of honey, if desired. (we did)
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve over salad greens immediately.
  5. Add the edible flowers.
  6. Keeps in the refrigerator for one week.


arts and lettuce {teaser}

written by Gina Weathersby
photos by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

last week, i had the pleasure of documenting a dinner party by arts and lettuce…don’t you just love the name. fun atmosphere, engaging company, and the food-over the top creative, interactive, full of seasonal flavor and simply gorgeous-thanks to chef ryan santos.
you’ll have to wait until the october issue of her cincinnati magazine to see the official spread as well as read what contributing her palate editor ilene ross (and our own 513eats editor) had to say about the evening. for now, a few teasers.


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