Crafted Infusion

9.18.14

People are always trying to find ways to update things to give them new life. Food and drink included. There are timeless recipes, but there are so many varieties of a recipe that can speak to someone’s unique palette. Whether it is adding herbs, spices, or deconstructing a dish, making any recipe your own is always encouraged.

I’ve been cooking since I was about 9 years old simply because I was a picky eater, and I was not a fan of boxed foods. So my single mother basically told me to do it myself. So, I looked at a package and found a basic recipe on the corn meal and did just that. I have been creating and altering recipes ever since. Even while in culinary school, I was always thinking of ways to change the standard recipes we were working with in class.

As I have gotten older, the same creative mind has worked in the world of cocktails. I came across a restaurant that was already in the lead for their unique take on Parisienne café fare, and their bartenders kept up with that creativity with the cocktails. Behind the bar I saw antique apothecary bottles with herbs and spices in them. I asked the bartender what it was and it was the first time I had heard of infusing spirits with herbs. I had come across some rare infused vodkas (not flavored, there is a huge difference) at a coworker’s dinner party once, and that was already mind blowing.

 

Now you can buy infused vodkas, although not common. You can buy infused liqueurs, which are more common. But sometimes, you can’t find the flavors you want when trying to create a unique craft cocktail.

Charbay infused vodka
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Infusing vodka (or other spirits) is pretty simple. The process is fast and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most time, creating the cocktail takes more effort than the infusing. I’ve talked about infusing before, but here are a couple of recipes for infusing herbs and fruits for creating something more creative cocktails.

Infused Vodka

  • 4 cups vodka
  • Funnel
  • Mesh strainer
  • Coffee filter
  • Quart jar with lid
  • 4 cup capacity glass bottle with lid or cork

Now, you can choose any of these ingredients:

  • 2 oranges or lemons
  • 1-2 large sprigs of basil, or another favorite herb (rosemary, mint, etc.)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup clean berries
  • 1 cup fruit, cleaned and cut into chunks (pineapple, apple, melon, mango, etc.)

Now here’s the simple part. Take the herb, fruit, or vanilla bean and place in a jar. Pour the vodka in the jar, then put the top/cork on. Place in a dark place at room temperature for a few days. Fruits are stronger, so they will take less time (maybe 2 days). Herbs are a little more subtle and will take longer, maybe 3 days. Do NOT store them in the refrigerator. Pour the vodka through coffee filters set in a mesh strainer, and it’s ready to use.

Basil and herbs – roughly chop and add to jar.

Orange, lemons, melons, berries, fruits – Use citrus peels, no white pith. Cut fruits up roughly. Smash berries slightly leaving them in tact. Grapefruit and blood oranges can be added in pieces, rind and fruit.

Vanilla bean – Cut in half and remove the seeds. Add both the pod and seeds to the jar.

vanilla-rose-cocktail

Vanilla Rose

  • 2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka
  • 3/4 ounce dry vermouth
  • Lavender simple syrup
  • Dash of fresh lemon juice
  • Half of a vanilla bean
  • Lemon twist or wedge for garnish

Chop a half of a vanilla bean in small pieces width-wise and place it in a mixing glass. Add the lavender syrup and muddle, crushing the vanilla bean. Fill the glass with ice, add vodka and vermouth. Shake vigorously. Fine strain and serve either up in a cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or wedge.

Antioxidant Apple Martini - VeeV Cocktail

Mary Rose Cocktail

  • 2 parts rosemary vodka
  • 1/2 part creme de cassis
  • 1/2 part cranberry juice
  • Splash of club soda

In a shaker, combine vodka, cranberry juice and cassis. Add ice and shake. Pour a splash of club soda into a chilled cocktail glass. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass, over the soda.

You can play around with flavors and combinations of flavors. Put them in decorative glass jars and give them as gifts. It’s funny how something handmade will make a hostess feel when you hand them a pretty and hand labeled jar.

Enjoy!

The New Shower | Wedding Wednesday

9.17.14

Bridal showers were once seen as a formal event that required fancy food, toilet paper games, and an awkward gift opening session. These days, brides are choosing more personalized and unique ways to celebrate their upcoming nuptials with their girl friends and wedding party. Here are some ways to throw tradition out and have a creative and relaxed shower.

Invitations/Stationery

You have to get the guests there, so choose stationery and invitations that compliment the colors the bride has chosen for her big day. Be creative and less formal.

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modern-invitation-11_vert
mwd105818_fall10_pipe4_hd
mwd105818_fall10_scallop4_hd
mwd105818_fall10_sheer1_hd

Location, location, location

Choose a location that is unique and special to you and your groom. I love historic spaces and gastropub type restaurants. The kind that serve craft cocktails and have communal seating. Places with character and culinary fare that goes beyond bruschetta and cheese and crackers.

Wright & Company

Wright & Company | Detroit, MI

Centerpieces

Menus

If you are having your shower at a restaurant or public place, use their menu to your advantage. Takes that task off of you. You can usually get a restaurant to create a prix fixe menu for your guests, or a special variety of menu items just for your party. They will usually give you a deal with that type of set up, but don’t be afraid to ask them.

If you are having your shower at a private home, think of doing a family style set up or creative appetizers that people can walk around and get. That way they can get to know others at the party. One thing to do is to have the appetizers placed around the room and not in one spot because it will make your guests get up and mingle.

Decor Items

Your decor can help bring all the elements of your shower together. You can choose a theme that is either personal for you, or if you have a theme for your wedding day use that. It makes everything seem cohesive.

Chose things that aren’t fussy or formal as to keep the vibe relaxed and engaging for your guests.

parisian shower table
rustic party decor
shower decor
vintage bridal table

Table Setting

Setting the table is nothing formal either. Unless you are having a high tea, there is no need for formal seating charts…unless you want to do so to mix up the guests. Be reasonable, you will be using the table a lot. So nothing fussy is really going to be functional.

fun-and-flirty-tablescape-with-black-pink-and-gold shower table

simple table

Signature Cocktail

Choose a special cocktail to represent some of your favorite flavors or a make up of your favorite cocktail. This is all based on preference. You can always have a non-alcoholic option for your child guests or designated drivers.

Display your cocktails in a manner that is easily accessed, classily displayed, and decorative. Try a drink dispenser or decorative glass pitchers.

drink station
drink table decor

Try one of these:

grapefruit + mint mojito

Grapefruit + Mint Mojito

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 ruby-red grapefruit
  • 3/4 cup white rum
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 cup seltzer

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add mint leaves. Let steep 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, and discard mint. Let cool.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from grapefruit in long, wide strips. Place in a large glass, and add rum. Cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a large glass measure, and discard zest.

Cut away remaining pith from grapefruit. Cut between membranes to release segments. For each drink, place 2 to 3 segments in a glass. Top with 3/4 cup ice. Stir 3 tablespoons infused rum, 2 tablespoons mint syrup, and 1/4 cup seltzer in a glass measure, and pour over ice. Garnish with mint sprigs.

sour cherry old fashioned

 Sour Cherry Old Fashioned

  • 24 frozen sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup whiskey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kirsch
  • Thin lemon-zest strips (from 1 lemon)

Place cherries in a heatproof bowl. Stir water and sugar in small saucepan to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil, and pour over cherries. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Drain cherries, reserving syrup. Thread 4 cherries onto each of 6 skewers. Make 3 drinks at a time: Pour 6 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons kirsch, and 4 1/2 teaspoons reserved syrup in a cocktail shaker 3/4 filled with ice. Shake and pour into chilled glasses. Garnish each with a skewer and 2 to 3 strips lemon zest. Repeat for the second batch.

Social Media Buzz

Encourage your guests to use social media apps like Instagram, or the specialty app called the Wedding Party App. This app will allow your guests, at both your shower and wedding, to share their photos with other guests. This will create a great collage of photos and share the memories of others and your guest’s experience sharing in your festivities. Create a unique hashtag to distinguish your event and that way your guests can look back as well under that definer.

Gift Alternatives

For your guests, try an alternative idea and ask guests to bring handmade, small, or specified gifts (i.e. preserves, favorite food items, wine, etc) for things you may want or need.

Guest Favors

Lastly, give your guests something to remember the day by. Give anything useful and small, but something that says ‘thank you for coming and sharing that moment’ with you.  Again, be creative, but practical.

nail polish favor
wine favors

Whatever type of bridal shower you have, enjoy your friends and family, and be in that moment. Have fun!

Tomato Soup | Tasty Tuesday

9.16.14

Fall is here and my favorite comfort food is in demand with the chilly temperatures, Soup! I love a warm soup, no matter the season. They are simple, warm, and are served in one dish. But with the harvest of tomatoes I had enough to make a small batch of tomato soup with the tomatoes I had left over from my tomato sauce.

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I love tomato soup! It’s creamy and rich, and full of flavor. You can make your tomato soup with whatever flavors you like. You can be bold and add spices to punch up the flavor, or keep it simple with a few herbs and cream. The process is pretty simple really.

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Garden Tomato Soup

  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 small onion, diced
  • 4 whole cloves or 1 tsp ground
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried basil, or 1 tsp of fresh basil finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and blend in a blender in batches. You can use a food mill if you have one, and just run the mixture through the mill into a bowl. Discard any stuff left over in the food mill.

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In the stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is medium brown. Gradually whisk in the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with sugar and salt, and adjust to taste. 

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Temper the whipping cream by adding a little of the hot soup to the cream, and whisk together. This helps the cream reach the same temperature as the soup, and prevents it from curdling in the soup. Adding the cream finishes the soup and makes it creamy, also adding a little flavor.

Use the harvest of garden vegetables from the summer to make your fall soups, or use them as starters to add to some early fall vegetables for more complex soups and stews. Whatever you choose, love your fresh foods and enjoy the season.

Game Day Chic | 9.13.14

9.13.14

Fall sports are in full swing and there’s no reason you can’t still be fashionable in the stands. A loyal and devoted fan is there for the tailgating, the wins, and the losses. But you can always be chic.

flannel and stripes

Being chic doesn’t have to be fussy or matchy. It’s relaxed and pretty much what is comfortable. Flannel is always good for an outdoor game or activities. It keeps you warm and goes with everything. You can still dress up flannel with cool accessories. Again, no set rules, just wear what feels comfortable.

game day fashion

Fall colors are also good to wear for the big game. You can find a sweater in vibrant colors and layer them with a button down shirt and skinny jeans. Flat boots are always smart for the walk to the stadium. Denim of course goes with everything, and you can sport any fit (i.e. boyfriend, relaxed, bootcut, etc).

cable knit sweater

And there’s no reason you can’t pair your look with a pair of heels. Just make sure you’re comfortable, or if you are watching an away game at a pub/bar.

maxi dress

You can also wear a cool maxi dress for the big game. Pair it with a denim jacket or chambray shirt on the chilly game days. A ballerina flat or gladiator sandal works fine as well.

tunic and crossbody bag

A tunic with leggings or skinny jeans are simple and comfortable enough as well as functional. Pair with a cross-body bag for carrying your essentials and you are good to go.

lace tunic outfirt

On warmer days, or if you are watching indoors, you can just wear a girly tunic with a tall boot and leggings.

UofM outfit

Whatever team you are rooting for, it is okay to go crazy sometimes and show your team spirit. Be comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. Be smart and choose functional items to make sure you have a great time with friends and other fans.

Have fun and enjoy the game!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

9.9.14

Now everyone loves fried chicken, but I decided one day to try making buttermilk fried chicken to try something a little different.

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It is a pretty simple recipe. Just season your chicken with salt and pepper, place it in a dish and cover chicken with the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour. The longer, the better.
Continue reading

Fall (Fashion) is coming!

9.8.14

The heat is cooling down and the summer season is winding down. Sweater weather is upon us, and I am super excited to pull out my scarves and sweaters. Drinking more tea and hot beverages, soups and stews, apple orchards, and a colorful leaf changes.

fall ombre

The accessories and fashion for fall is my favorite. The chunky sweaters and bulky scarves make getting dressed fun and full of choices. There are so many options and ways to mix up your wardrobe for the season.

Fall Outfit

This outfit is chic and simple. The black and white sweater under the wool winter white coat adds a little bit of class. The bag is simply everything and finishes the look.

fall suit jacket dainty shirt

This look is an example of using things you already have in your closet together to create a different look. You don’t have to buy all new clothes for a season. Use what you already have and make a new look. A cotton top paired with a jacket changes the look of everyday items.

casual outfit

This casual outfit is great for a fall outing to the apple orchard, or Sunday brunch. It’s versatile though and could totally work for dropping the kids off at school.

Accessories are always great. You can make an outfit new with accessories. Here are some of my favorites.

Dressing for fall is fun and relaxed and cozy. Not fussy, but still chic. Dress well, warm, and have fun with it.

Chicken Chili | Tasty Tuesday

9.2.14

With fall in the horizon, soups and chili will be a major dinner staple. One chili I tried out this summer was a chicken chili using some bone-in chicken breasts. Seeing as these parts weren’t easy to eat just cooked as they were, so I had to be a little creative in using it.

So, while watching one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten, on television, I got inspired to make a chili. Although it was the middle of July, I still got the urge to create something good and warm. I found one of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes for Chicken Chili and decided to modify it a little for my personal tastes.

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Chicken Chili

4 cups yellow onions, chopped (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 orange bell peppers, diced
2 yellow bell peppers, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
2 tbsp dried basil leaves
2 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes to the pot with the basil.I crushed my tomatoes by hand, but you can use a food processor if you like. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for about 35 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks.

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Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

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I enjoyed mine topped with sour cream and shredded cheddar, but you can use tortilla chips or chopped onions.

Tomäto, Tomāto

9.1.14

Now is the season for harvesting the tomatoes you get from the farmer’s market or in your own garden. A couple of years ago, my grandmother gave me over a bushel of red and green tomatoes from her garden. She had way too many and couldn’t do much with them all herself. So she decided to share the wealth with me.

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This year, she only had red tomatoes, but that’s just fine with me. I love pasta, so this was just a great excuse for me to make sauce for future dishes. I had about 32 tomatoes total, but only used about 23 to make my sauce. Since she shared with me, I am sharing my recipe for simple tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

Take your tomatoes and cut the tops off. Chop the tomatoes up coarsely, removing most of the seeds. Take the tomatoes and add them to a large pot with about 2 cups of water. You can use less water if you want a thicker sauce. Add the tomatoes and water to a large pot. Cover and cook on a medium heat until the tomatoes are soft and soupy.This takes about 12-15 minutes. Using a blender, puree the tomatoes in batches and add the sauce to a bowl. You should have about 15-17 cups of sauce.

tomatoes boiled

To make the sauce for pasta and other dishes, here is what you will need:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 3 tbsp dried basil
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in the same pot you cooked the tomatoes in. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic, for about a minute. Turn down to a low heat and add the tomato puree, basil, Italian seasonings, sugar, and salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until sauce is thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally. This is a time where patience is important. You can’t rush a good sauce, it could burn easily. IMG_3553

At this point, you can freeze for future use. Store in plastic containers for up to 4 months. I was able to fill up a quarter of two gallon freezer bags to store until later. So, in essence that is a half-gallon of sauce. When you’re ready to use the sauce, you can add meat for a meat sauce, use it for spaghetti, or plain with just noodles.

Mad Monday | Vive la France!

7.14.14

Today is the French equivalent to Independence Day, better known as Bastille Day. It commemorates the day that the Bastille prison was stormed and signifies the end of complete monarchy, the birth of the sovereign, and would eventually lead to the creation of the (First) Republic.

Like the 4th of July, food is an important part of the celebration. Sometimes French food can be seen as fussy and complicated, but here are a couple options that aren’t.

French 75

French 75

Serves 2

  • shots gin (Hendrick’s is a good choice)
  • shots Cointreau
  • squeeze of lime
  • 1 to 2 tsp sugar
  • Sparkling wine (Champagne or Prosecco), chilled
  • Ice
  1. Add enough ice to your cocktail shaker to fill it about a third of the way.
  2. Add the gin, Cointreau, lime, and sugar, then cover and shake well. Strain the drink into tumblers chilled with ice.
  3. Finish off each glass with a big splash of sparkling wine. An additional lime wedge is optional.
  4. Keep pouring ‘em.

macarons

Macarons

These Raspberry, Blueberry, and Champagne Cream Macarons  are a great option for any occasion. Not to be confused with macaroons, which are lovely coconut or ground almonds circular cakes often mistaken for macarons. Macarons are tiny bits of decadence. They come in many flavors and shades, but when done right they are divine!

hambaguette

Ham Baguette with Arugula and Camembert

Servings: 2

Ingredients

1 baguette
4 tablespoons butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fig jam
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
4 ounces thinly sliced jambon de Paris
3 ounces Camembert, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cup baby arugula
Directions:
  1. Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, cutting about three-quarters of the way through.
  2. Evenly coat the cut sides with the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the fig jam & mustard over the butter on both sides.
  4. Layer the ham, Camembert and arugula on the bottom half of the baguette.
  5. Fold over the top half of the baguette and press gently to close.
  6. Cut the sandwich into the desired number of pieces and serve.

Renewal Sunday | Extracting Flavor

7.13.14

I have shared my recipe for making vanilla extract before, but many don’t know there are many things that can be used to make extracts. There are so many flavors that can be used and extracted, but I found this recipe for one using lavender.

lavender fields

Lavender is a very hearty plant, and can grow in most regions. The properties of lavender are calming and soothing. That’s why it works well in teas and herbs. Lavender is something many see in open fields or bouquets and centerpieces. But lavender actually has some great uses in the kitchen. Many teas and rubs include lavender as a spice. There are other unique ways to use lavender, such as sugar and pepper. There are a few different types of lavender, but the most common is English and French lavender, but you may not know there are only a few varieties that you can cook with. The most common culinary versions are munstead, white ice, and hidcote. Whatever you prefer, however adventurous you are, this recipe may help you take your food venturing a little further.

lavendar extracts

Making extracts are simple. It’s a basic equal parts sugar and water, with a little of whatever flavors you want to add towards the end. This recipe is for lavender, and any other essences you want to try. Be adventurous with your options, but be conservative with the flavors until you know the exact results.

Makes one 1/2 liter bottle

  • 3vanilla pods or 3 handfuls of dried lavender
  • 2cups vodka
  1. Add the vanilla or dried lavender to a clean 1/2 liter bottle or jar, then add the vodka.
  2. Mix the bottle by inverting it a couple of times.
  3. Seal the bottle or jar and keep in a cool place for 1 to 2 months.
  4. Use your homemade extracts in all of your baking endeavors.

I would say to find some smaller jars from a home goods store to store your extracts. It makes things easy to store and just makes things pretty.

Adding lavender to any recipe will enhance the flavor. Be adventurous and enjoy the flavors of nature.

 

Throwback Thursday | 80’s TV Sitcoms

5.22.14

Ok, so I’m a sucker for the 80’s. It was a part of my childhood that I still reminisce about often, and I truly do miss that period. What I miss the most is the television lineups that we had then. Not to slight the television shows now, but the shows in that decade were meaningful, inspirational, and entertaining still. We had humor, drama, legal, and situational sitcoms that stayed on the air during the school year, and went on hiatus for the summer. The primetime lineup was diverse and very appealing to all age groups.

Jem

 

Misfits

Ok, so I know this wasn’t a primetime show, but I just have to express my fondness for Jem and the Holograms. I watched this show in the afternoons and still occasionally get the theme song in my head from time to time. The Misfits were wild and sneaky, but made good cartoon bad girls. Ok, now moving on…

the love boat

 

One of my favorite shows in primetime was The Love Boat. I would watch this show and drape a sheet around me to simulate the moment the belle of the Captain’s Dinner came down the ship’s sprawling staircase. Hey, what did most 8 year olds want to be besides the belle.

small_wonder

Now Small Wonder was one of those shows that didn’t last very long, but along with shows like Charles in Charge and Perfect Stranger, Small Wonder was a quirky and funny show about a robot girl who was discovering family.

Family Ties

A great family drama was. This show embodied a unique dynamic of characters who were well matched and showed the diversity of a family.

The-Cosby-Show

And the infamous Cosby Show...there are so many moments that still have meaning in today’s life and culture. This family (and show) truly represented the average American family makeup, and sent very powerful messages about growing up and learning through the process. Man, I loved Thursday nights at 8pm!

Exploring and creating shows with a variety of family situations was a common theme throughout the 80’s. There were also shows, mostly comedies, that showed a different kind of family situation. Charles in Charge, Who’s the Boss and The Facts of Life were shows that created a variety of situations that may not be typical, but we could still relate to their experiences. Plus, being hilarious helped.

Now, there were plenty of drama on television then. I think it was some of the best ever, but I’m biased.

There were a mix of cop and legal dramas, such as Miami Vice, as well as pure drama (ie. Dallas, Dynasty). These shows sometimes had a form of comedy to them, but they were all so cool and truly entertaining.

WKRP

Now there were also some slap happy comedies, as I call them, that were mostly funny but had the occasional lesson you can learn from their mishaps. One I still love today is WKRP in Cincinnati. The characters were hilarious, but their jobs were very meaningful for the times. There were a lot of story lines that I didn’t get as a kid, but it still made me laugh. Watching it today as an adult, I see how impactful some of the stories were, but it’s probably more funny now.  

So if this was how you changed the channel and found your viewing pleasure for the evening, let us remember the wonderful variety of our primetime lineup.

Happy #tbt

Tasty Tuesday | Twisted Fish (Sort of)

5.20.14

I love fish, but sometimes it can be a bit bland just baking it. So I decided to kick up the meal a bit by making a menu of Parmesan Tilapia, Sauteéd Green Beans, and Roasted Golden Potatoes.

Don’t get me wrong, baked fish is good, but pan fried Italian tilapia just has so much more flavor to a light fish.

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I decided since I was adding a flavorful fish, why not make the sides just as flavorful. So I decided to use my culinary degree skills and add some sautéed fresh green beans and oven roasted golden potatoes.

Since I’m not really big on following recipes to the letter as law, I’ll simply say this about the individual menu items:

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Italian Tilapia

2 fillets
Season with salt and pepper, or preferred seasonings
Plate of Italian breadcrumbs
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

Mix the breadcrumbs, cornstarch, and parmesan on a large platter, mix with fork. Place the seasoned fish fillets in the breadcrumb mixture, cover and pat both sides. Place gently into a pan of hot oil. I used my cast iron skillet to fry these in. Let the fish cook fully on both sides, generally about 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fillets.

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Sautéed Green Beans

2 cups of fresh green beans
1 half of white onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a stainless steel pan and melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the beans and turn heat down to medium. Sauté beans until soft, but not mushy. You can add a tablespoon of water if your beans start to stick or your pan gets too hot. This will help to soften the beans.

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Roasted Golden Potatoes

3 medium size golden potatoes
Herbs de Provènce
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven at 400°F. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Season to your preference and coat with oil. A trick I learned in culinary school when cooking potatoes in the oven. Take the pan you will be using, coat with oil and put in the oven while its preheating. While you prepare the potatoes to cook, heating the pan will heat the oil, and when you add the potatoes to the pan it will sizzle. What that does is essentially quick fry the outside of the potatoes, and will give the potatoes a nice crisp on the outside. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a little kosher salt on top. Potatoes need a lot of seasoning.

Well, here was the final product:

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Fabulous Friday | Craft Cocktail

5.16.14

Today is the beginning of the weekend, and for me it’s been a long week. A very emotional and stressful, at times, week full of roller coaster ups and downs. So, I thought it would be a generous act to share a few craft cocktails with you on this #FabulousFriday.

scrappys bitters

 

Scrappy’s Bitters first hit the bitters scene around 2008 when crafting wasn’t very widespread. Today, crafting while making cocktails has exploded the mixology industry and the sale of and demand for bitters has grown exponentially.  Part of their success can be attributed to their commitment to organic ingredients and no artificial flavors or colors. Scrappy’s “craft” bitters are perfect representations of the ingredients they contain along with a balance of carefully selected herbs and spices. Here is a recipe using the crafted bitters that is sure to pique the interest of a cocktail voyeur.  

Martinez Cocktail

Martinez Cocktail

Martinez

1 oz Old Tom Gin

2 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes Scrappy’s Orange Bitters

1/8 oz Maraschino

 Add all ingredients to cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

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Devil in Disguise

Devil in Disguise

2 oz Arco Blanco

1 oz. Cointreau

1 oz Cranberry Juice

.75 oz Hibiscus Syrup

Muddles Raspberries

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Amaro dolce

2 oz house-made Amaro

3 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters

¼ oz Calvados

Whatever your preferences are in match ups, enjoy and have a safe weekend. Happy #FabulousFriday.

Throwback Thursday | Return of the 80’s

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You know there is a cliché that says everything that is old becomes new again. It seems that things come in and out of style all the time. Fashion is no exception. If you’ve been following trends lately, I’m sure you have seen the cropped shirts and leggings making a staggering reappearance.

80's Madonna

 

Today, I want to take you down memory lane. I may be biased, but the 80’s were some of the best years of my life. From television shows to fashion accessories, I loved everything 80’s (and still do). Here are some of my favorite things I remember fondly.

The Purple One

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This movie needs no explanation. Purple Rain was one of the 80’s best films, and of all time! It will never get old.

Jem and the Holograms

Misfits

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Jem and the Holograms was one of my favorites growing up. The main character was a strong female influence and  the typical situations on the show displayed how you can keep your dignity and integrity as a person, all while being fabulous and talented.

Denim Jackets

tiffany 80s denim jacket

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The denim jacket was a huge part of our 80’s wardrobe. And like all trends, they all come back. The denim jacket is making a comeback, and will surely be a staple once again in our wardrobes. This one from H+M is just an example of how much the denim jacket has not changed much.

The Stirrup Pant

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The stirrup pants were a phenomena that came in an array of colors and patterns, and it was a sign that you had true style. As a Catholic school girl, I didn’t get to wear these often, but on free dress days I would go straight for my stirrup pants.

See-Thru Phone

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In middle school I begged my mom for my own phone line I the house just so I could get one of these phones. They were the coolest thing to see when they rang! It was a glorious day when I finally got mine.

Let’s Get Physical

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Being a dancer most of my chiodhood, leotards were a huge part of my weekend wardrobe. And with the influx of aerobic exercise classes that inundated the 80’s, the leotard was the uniform for most aerobics classes.

Shoulder Pads

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Now Ms. Collins wore a mean shoulder pad in the day, but these pads are taking on a new role in making a dramatic expression in fashion today.

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Flashdance

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Everyone from the 80’s and beyond remembers the infamous water bucket scene with Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance”. Well that scene sparked a phenomenon with legwarmers and leotards. But the off the shoulder shirt was her signature contribution to 80’s fashion.

Wherever you were in the 80’s I’m sure you osned or sported some of these items. Those were the days and I do miss those times, but they made me who I am today. So if you have any memories you want to share, feel free. Pictures, memories, etc. Happy #tbt sharing!