1. What a lovely idea, you had me on the lemonade with jalapeño, but when I saw vodka as well, I though, “I’ll have to try that!”
    I’ve looked at your tiny kitchen before – you have it all very well arranged. I’m sure you are compelled to cook, like me, and I’m sure you could whip up marvels with one pot over an open fire. I watched Chef this week and aside from wanting a food truck, it did make me think about how many thousands of meals are served from vey cramped spaces 😉

    • Oh I want to see that. My friend had seen the “peek into my kitchen” and he was like “Wow, that doesn’t do it justice. You kitchen is way worse than you give it credit for!” Awesome! But yes, we can cook anywhere. Have you seen Rachel Khoo’s kitchen. I highly suggest you youtube her. I’d patronize your food truck, MD. We could drink spiked cold jalapeno lemonade.

      • I’m afraid I saw one of Rachel Khoo’s TV programmes and I don’t think she can cook 🙁
        This is what alarmed me – she would be burning the garlic and onions. There’s no reason why she couldn’t have seared the meat, removed it from the pot and then cooked the vegetables.
        I had a chambre de bonne in the 7th arrondissement with a tiny little kitchen for a couple of years. It was on the 8th or 9th floor (no lift), but the view through my herb window box was spectacular 😉

        • She’s making a no fuss stew/meat stock type deal. I don’t think she’d be burning them. She didn’t let them cook long enough on low/medium to burn before putting the cold meat and cold water on them on them. I’ve done it before. It adds flavor to cook it the way she does. I also think she can do no wrong because she’s so darn cute and does wonders in a kitchen as small as mine. Hers is better laid out. Wow 8th floor walk up? Impressive. Mine is 5, no lift.

          • Hah ha, her cuteness doesn’t excuse her in my book – it’s not the way she would have been taught at Le Courdon Bleu. The French would be with me in tutting and wagging a finger at her. Sometimes there are some good cheat methods out there, but I’d far prefer to scorch the outside of the meat and cook the veggies in the same pan afterwards, before adding the meat back in and making the stew. If one sets oneself up as a teacher, one should teach the correct methods 😉

  2. Oh why don’t I ever keep vodka at home? Oh I know why, I’d probably drink it all before I even starting to consider using it for something else. It’s either the vodka, or the lemonade I guess. Maybe some day I’ll be able to control myself, at least until I make an adult version of lemonade, like yours (I’d have to swap the jalapenos for some other kind of pepper, as I haven’t ever seen jalapenos on this side of the Pond). I love your little kitchen, but I must boast… I think it is slightly bigger than the one I started cooking in 😀 You own a LARGE refrigerator, mine was teeny-tiny.
    But who would guess you had such a small kitchen, when you produce such gorgeous recipes!

    • So funny! I rarely keep vodka at home. I got mine just to spike the lemonade! I had a Russian roommate in college who turned me onto vodka. I’ll have you know that my refrigerator is “apartment sized”. It’s probably half the size of a normal fridge, but your old kitchen sounds like something special! I made your buttermilk soup by the way. DELICIOUS. I want to try it with kefir too. Enjoy your time in B!

      • Oh I’m really glad you liked the soup! I bet it is great with kefir too. What grains and herbs did you use?
        It is funny how American and French standards are different; to me, you have quite a big refrigerator (though I have seen bigger ones, mine is slightly bigger), but in tiny Parisian kitchens, they can be half that size. I must say, I loved my kitchen and flat in Paris, but I certainly don’t miss the refrigerator! If you come to Lille, I’ll take you to the vodka bar; they have 50 different vodkas “à la carte”, and they are all amazing!

        • OMG. I’d come for that alone. I am so making this happen. As for kitchens, yes it is all about perspective. I used some millet actually in your recipe. I want to try it again using different grains and herbs. I’ll definitely report back. I kind of want to follow your recipe exactly next time though too. I’m into cold soups these days.

    • LOL. That’s what my mom says when she’s not sold on an idea. I told her she can skip the jalapeno or the vodka and it would still be just as good.

  3. Happy (belated?) birthday, Amanda! Lindy’s words are beautiful and I wholeheartedly agree with her. 🙂 I love how you ask yourself tough questions around your birthday, and think I’ll have to try that when mine rolls around next year. I never want to say “I wish I had….” It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your friends and the new babe. Spiked lemonade is a perfect drink for a hot summer day with friends. I haven’t made lemonade in a long time, but when I get around to it again, I will remember to cut in a jalapeno. Can’t wait to see those recipes!

    • Thank you, Ngan! It’s the curse of being introspective. It’s actually a fun exercise that keeps you true to yourself. As for the lemonade, you’d think it would be a pain, but it’s oddly meditative. Thanks for the kind words and well wishes. Xo

  4. Happy belated birthday Amanda! I should keep your thoughts about birthdays period and show them to people who complain just about the years that go fast. Love your lemonade, thanks for the smile!

    • Thank you so much. The years do go so fast, but I want to be able to say that I lived each moment of them. It’s tough, but I try to keep it real.

  5. I am so making this lemonade tomorrow! Love this post–you’re very introspective. Smart to ask yourselves those questions every year. At this point (thinking largely because I have young kids), the only Q I focus on is, “what now?” But I appreciate needing to track where you are and where you want to go.

    And yay that your cake gets more play 🙂

    • Thanks, Liz. I really like your spirit. I can see how after having kids the question becomes “what now”. There is something to be said about living in the moment. You really seen to have a lot of fun. Enjoy the lemonade!

  6. Amanda, I just checked out your kitchen, I thought it would be smaller than that. My kitchen space is just the same, without dish washer:( , besides my oven works on it’s own moods and I practically can use only one flame on my stove, the othere one’s either don’t work or burn the food like in hell…..And I don’t live in Manhattan, though I wish to….. I have gotten used to such a small counter and so on, but it is really amazing what I am able to create in this little kitchen. It’s the mind and imagination what creates our food, not the million dollar fancy kitchen……

    • Ha! Sounds amazing. The food I’ve seen you make is a testament to your point. The joy in a tiny or dysfunctional kitchen is that it forces you to be creative and efficient. I’ve learned to love the quirks.

  7. Finally some time between moving and writing to get back to the blogs! I love your lemonade – an intriguing flavour combination and of course YES to the vodka!! 😉 Your kitchen is adorable. But the best bit of this post for me – was the line, “A little person from a person I already know and love.” Beautiful. Always. And the lemon photographs – same. Like you. xo

    • Congrats on the new place! How is it? What an amazing thing and big stressor. Thanks for the compliments:) I truly love your comments. It’s people like you who make this worth it a thousand times over.

  8. Where the heck have I been? I’ve missed out on your jalapeño lemonade post. Honestly, I unplugged for a few days and allowed life to slow down. Can’t tell you the last time I just sat on the couch with a magazine…well, just did that and it was like a vacation. 🙂 Amanda, I love this post. I love how you entertained friends who brought their little one and how that must of really created a different feeling in your apartment. I use to be the one who brought my little boy around my friends apartments for dinner and I have such wonderful memories of those times. My friends are always shocked now to see that little boy is 16 years old now! We lived in a little tiny 600 sq. ft. studio apartment with this little guy for two years when he was a baby and held many dinner gatherings… (wow, you really took me down memory lane with your post didn’t you!) 🙂 anyway, just the thought of lemonade with basil, mint and jalapeños has me so excited to try it. What do you think about tequila instead of vodka? Only because we have tequila on hand…no vodka. I’d be willing to go out and buy vodka though..for sure! Happy belated Birthday Amanda. Hope you had a wonderful day.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I’m glad you unplugged. I’m definitely behind on my blog reading too. Summer is meant for that. Last Friday i laid on the couch and finished David lebovitz. So great. My friends coming over really was a completely different feel. I’m so glad you told me your story. We are in about 600 sq ft and in at that point where we are contemplating all the heavy stuff and we have to figure out how we will live (where, will we still ride our bikes, play music, write, etc. and all of that fun stuff. A cool but weird place to be. I do want to be like you and also have more people here. As for the lemonade, it’s so good. I keep making it! I think vodka is the best because it’s kind of flavorless and mild. Try the tequila in one glass and if it’s gross go for vodka. 😉 thanks again for sharing. So great to hear from you.

      • Sounds so familiar. Sometimes we talk about how we would still be in that studio if we didn’t have a child. We don’t need much space at all. It’s a matter of fact our home is only 800 sq. ft. and it’s a two bedroom! In a way it’s nice to dwell in small spaces. We certainly don’t consume “stuff”! Thank goodness for the basement (for woodworking) and the nice size yard for gardening…and the dog. 🙂 City living…small. Are you guys musicians?

        • That sounds like a lovely house. I’m not sure we’re musicians anymore, but we were very musical up until a few years ago (him piano and me sax). We actually met in college in the practice rooms and both worked at Jazz at Lincoln Center for a time. It’s a lot harder to get to practice rooms when you’re both working full time and have thin walls, but music will always be a part of our lives. 🙂 Now let me go see what you’re cooking…a picture of your string beans is staring me in the face!

  9. Fig & Quince

    Dearest Amanda, what a pretty post. I know exactly what you mean about babies, little people who sprout out of nowhere and are marvels and miracles to behold. I love this sunny lemony post and the awesome drink.

    Happy birthday Amanda joon!

  10. It is often said that good things come in small packages and I think that is what I think about your kitchen. It is tiny but you create really good things in it. Your spicy lemonade sounds good.

    • Thanks so much. I agree with you. Limited space forces you to be creative. This lemonade is a keeper. It engages all the senses, spicy, sweet, hot and cold.

  11. I missed this post, but vodka and basil-mint-jalapeno lemonade sounds great. Not overenthused about agave, more because of how it’s marketed than anything else, but I’ll take the plunge. I must have missed the shots of your kitchen somewhere along the line, I’ll scroll back. Oh, and I’m with Mad Dog on Rachel Khoo (although she IS cute)–she should have seared the meat first, then added the veggies. Great post. You manage to get really sweet light in your shots. Ken

    • Thanks, Ken for going back. So sweet. I actually do agree with him after speaking to you while making rillettes (post to come next week!) Do you disagree with the agave comparisons to honey in the marketing? The taste isn’t similar at all. This is the first time I’ve ever used it and I did so because of the benefits over sugar in larger doses. I’ve been making this lemonade all summer and I”m doing the corn waffles again as I type. I seriously need to cook my way through your blog. I’m obsessing over the gravlax still…

      • Agave is a complex topic. Pro: it dissolves easily in cold liquids Cons: it has a fructose content higher than high fructose corn syrup, which has been associated with increased risk of Type II diabetes and elevated triglyceride levels. It’s also about 1.5 times as sweet as sugar. What I most object to is its enthusiastic embrace as a “natural” alternative to “processed” table sugar, a marketing myth that also implies use of agave syrup in native American cultures. While the juice of agave has been used (after boiling and reduction) by certain native groups as a sweetener, agave syrup is either made from juice using a refining process which turns its natural occurring sugars into fructose, or it’s manufactured from the starchy agave pina in a process not unlike that which transforms corn into high fructose corn syrup. As for the honey comparison, it’s thinner than honey and doesn’t contain honey’s antioxidants. Agave syrup (“nectar” is a marketing term) is no more natural than Splenda. So, my objections to its marketing aside, is it dreadful for you? That depends on how much fructose is in your life. Are you overweight? (Not you specifically, I mean anyone.) If so, then agave might not be a wise choice. Does it hurt to throw it into cold drinks once in awhile? Probably not. Like I said, I mostly object to the “healthy and natural” narrative people have created around it. Ken

        • Very interesting. Thanks for the info. Actually, this bottle was given to me by a diabetic friend. She said it’s better for her than sugar (bc of the glycemic index maybe?). The triglycerides is strange, but I imagine usage in moderation shouldn’t be terrible. My whole family has heart problems down the male line. I guess they’ll have to pick their poison. Do you have the same issues with stevia? I guess I worry a little bit about all types of sweeteners, which is why moderation in everything is key for me. Except wine and coffee, my vices.

          • Is stevia available as a consumer sweetener? I seemed to recall having had it once many years ago and not liking it because it was VERY sweet and also the sweet flavor lingered a long long time. I know it was banned for awhile, at least as a food additive. I don’t necessarily have the same kind of objection to it, mainly because I don’t encounter it much and also because I feel like the issue of where it comes from and how it’s made is much more transparent. Ken

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