Drink of the Golden Globes 2015

1.11.15

So tonight’s Golden Globes are on and it’s pretty good so far. Have your favorites movies won yet? Did you see the dresses and dapper gentlemen on the red carpet?

Well we all couldn’t get tickets to the big bash, but there is one way to feel included. Cocktails!

Here are the drinks created for this year’s Golden Globe affair. Try them out and enjoy the show.

Moet Impatient Sunset Starlet drink

MOËT SUNSET STARLET
3/4 ounce Lillet
1/2 ounce dry curaçao
3/4 honey
1/4 lemon juice 
2 dashes orange bitters
Spritz of fresh clementine + twist
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial 

1. Combine Lillet, dry curaçao, honey, lemon juice and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.

2. Pour over ice into a white wine glass and top with Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial.

IMPATIENT VERSION
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce honey
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial

Combine vodka, Cointreau and honey in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a white wine glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial.

MOËT BIJOU ROUGE
2 ounces Greenbrier gin
1 ounce Carpano (or a nice, sweet vermouth)
1/4 ounce Luxardo
1 tiny dash St. Elizabeth allspice dram bitters
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

Combine gin, Carpano, Luxardo and dram bitters in a cocktail shaker. Stir very well with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial and garnish with brandied cherry.

IMPATIENT VERSION
1 ounce gin
1/4 ounce dry curaçao
3/8 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Brandied cherry garnish (with a touch of the brandied cherry syrup)
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

Combine sweet vermouth, gin and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker over ice and pour into a coupe glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial to taste and garnish with a brandied cherry.

The drink was created by the Impatient Foodie Elettra Wiedemann. I would love to do this one day. Looks like so much fun and a great honor to be asked to curate a cocktail for a fancy bash such as the Golden Globes. Try one and share your thoughts.

Congrats to all the winners!

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The Chew-ish Sausage Biscuits and Gravy

The other week we were watching The Chew and saw a recipe Michael Symon demonstrated that piqued our interest. It was a challenge for me, because I’m not a big gravy person. The Andouille Sausage Gravy with Corn Biscuits recipe was something I wanted to attempt but make my own. On the show, the gravy looked too loose for my taste, so I wanted to make sure I modified the recipe to be what I wanted. I also don’t like corn meal biscuits, so I just bought some pre-made biscuits to just work on the gravy.

corn-biscuits-with-andouille-gravy_recipe_1000x400_1412832230839

The gravy was pretty simple, but I modified the recipe slightly. I don’t like spicy sausage, so I used a simple mild sausage without the casing. I also cut the amount of chicken stock I used because I knew it would thin the gravy too much for my taste. So, below is my version of this recipe.

 

Sausage Gravy

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Onion (minced)
1 pound Mild Sausage (casing removed)
2 1/2 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
Salt

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a drizzle of Olive Oil and the Mild Sausage. Cook the Sausage, breaking it up into small bits as it browns. Cook Sausage until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add the Onion and a pinch of Salt. Cook until the Onions start to break down and become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the Flour, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the Chicken Stock, and Cream. Simmer for 15 minutes or up to 45 minutes on low heat. The Gravy will thicken and reduce slightly.

To serve, slice the Biscuits in half. Spoon the Gravy over the Biscuits and garnish with Parsley

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I have to say, I don’t like gravy really and making it from scratch has always been somewhat intimidating to me. I’ve seen my great grandmother and grandmother make gravy so easily, but have never really tried it myself. In culinary school, I learned the concept and how to actually put those skills into practice, but I have never tried it fully on my own. This recipe was actually quite tasty and I would recommend it to anyone who likes sausage gravy and biscuits.

If you want to see the whole recipe from the show, including the biscuits, feel free to check it out here: Michael Symon’s Corn Biscuits and Andouille Gravy Recipe

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
solerno_blood_orange__51696.1405467670.220.290

 

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.

metallic-051-mwd110239_vert
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!

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 “Buttermilk Fried Chicken”

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.

IMG_3456

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.

IMG_3449

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

IMG_3447

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.

IMG_3451

 

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.

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:

IMG_3061

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.

IMG_3072

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.

IMG_3068

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.

Devil_in_disguise
Devil in Disguise

Devil in Disguise

2 oz Arco Blanco

1 oz. Cointreau

1 oz Cranberry Juice

.75 oz Hibiscus Syrup

Muddles Raspberries

jan2012_dolceamaro

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.

Tasty Tuesday | Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

5.6.14

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Though it would be great to take your mom out to eat, but to avoid all the fuss and crowds try some of these tasty recipes for a brunch with mom.


MEYER LEMON CREPE CAKE

Meyer Lemon Crepe  Cake

 

Citrus Salad With Tarragon

Citrus Salad with Tarragon

 

Frittata-kale and artichoke

Kale and Artichoke Frittata

 

mini bacon and egg tarts

Mini Bacon and Egg Tarts

 

baked french toast

Baked French Toast

 

strawberry_kiwi_parfait

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Basil Parfaits

 

strawberry mango yogurt smoothie

Strawberry Mango Yogurt Smoothie

 

strawberry and asparagus salad

 

Warm Strawberry Spring Salad

 

Parmesan-Baked-Eggsjpg

Parmesan Herb Baked Eggs

 

Don’t fight the crowds, spend time with your mom in and enjoy each other’s company. Happy Mother’s Day!

Mad Monday | Cinco de MET

5.5.14

Well there’s so much going on today. Today marks Cinco de Mayo, a day of independence of sorts for the Latino community. Today is also the night of the famed and fashionable MET Ball.

fiesta

The Met Gala started back in 1971, and the themes have always been intriguing. This year’s theme is Beyond Fashion, and I’m interested to see how the stars interpret this theme tonight.

Cher and Bob Mackie at 1974 Met Gala
Cher and Bob Mackie at 1974 Met Gala

Here is a taste of the stars at Met Galas past:

Today is also Cinco de Mayo, the day that many Mexican-Americans celebrate the battle of freedom and democracy. What better way to celebrate than food and drink.

Ultimate Margarita
Ultimate Margarita

The Ultimate Margarita

1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 1 large lime
1/4 cup silver 100 percent agave tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup coarsely cracked ice cube

Refrigerate the glasses if desired. In a shaker, combine the lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Add ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds, then strain into the prepared glasses.

You can use salt or sugar on the rim, but I prefer mine plain with just a lime to garnish.

For those of you who want to try something a little more adventurous, try jello shots. Not just any jello shot, flavored cocktail jello shots. I’ve featured these before from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.

Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot
Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot

Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot

Difficulty:  Easy
Recommended Pan:  1-pound loaf pan (approximately 8” x 4”/20 x 10 cm)
Implements:  Muddler and a cocktail shaker
3/4 cup agave tequila
1 cucumber
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup frozen limeade concentrate (thawed)
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1/4 cup Cointreau
Cucumber ribbons and Cayenne Sprinkle for garnish, if desired (recipe below)
Cut a three inch length of cucumber and coarsely chop (set remaining cucumber aside to make cucumber ribbons).  Place the chopped cucumber in cocktail shaker and muddle vigorously.  Add the tequila to the cocktail shaker, shake for a minute or so and set aside (no ice is needed).  Pour water and limeade concentrate into a small saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over very low heat until gelatin is dissolved, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  Strain the tequila mixture, and stir into gelatin mixture along with the Cointreau. Pour mixture into loaf pan. Place in refrigerator to set (several hours or overnight).
To serve, cut into desired shapes.  To make the cucumber ribbons, peel the length of the remaining cucumber with a vegetable peeler.  Tie each jelly shot with a ribbon.  Trim ends to desired length.
Makes 18 to 24 jelly shots.
Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot with Cayenne topping
Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot with Cayenne Sprinkle
Cayenne Sprinkle
1 tbsp large crystal sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix ingredients, and place in small bowl for dipping.
Now many of you know I’m a foodie and culinary school graduate, so food is the most fun part of any celebration. And Mexican dishes are some of my favorite to eat and cook. But since it’s Monday, and not all of us have a ton of time to cook a labor intensive meal, I suggest trying something simple: Nachos!
Simple Nachos
Simple Nachos

All you need is some ground meat, I prefer turkey, and seasonings of your choice. Heat and add to tortilla chips with all the toppings you love.

However you celebrate, be safe. What’s your favorite Mexican dish?

Are you going to be watching out for the stars’ fashion on the red carpet tonight at the Met Gala? We will be watching to see who’s wearing what. Who are you looking forward to seeing?

Have a Mad Monday!

Mad Men Final Season | 4.12.14

4.12.14

It’s time again for the new season of Mad Men to begin, and this is the beginning of the end. The final season comes on tomorrow night and it’s definitely cause for a celebration.

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What better way to celebrate than to throw a little themed party to start the new season off. We’re going to share with you some retro inspired treats and some classic cocktails, as well as fun decor touches to add to your party.

1. Pink Deviled Eggs – Something that I haven’t seen in a while are the colored deviled eggs that were prominent at a 60’s dinner party (via The Year in Food). Thought of as chic and modern back then is still classy and fancy today. Their pink hue comes from beet juice!

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2. Printable Coasters – These coasters are sure to add a little conversation at your party (via Second City Soiree)

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3. Homemade Bitters – If you’re a little more adventurous, try these homemade crafted bitters recipes. They will surely make your classic cocktails stand out (via How Sweet it Is).

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4. Swedish Meatballs – These meatballs are always a good go-to for an appetizer. They are timeless and go with any theme party (via Bon Appetit).

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5. Classic Old Fashioned – The Old Fashioned is one of the most classic drinks from the 50’s and 60’s, you can’t go wrong with an original (via Food52).

old fashioned Food 52

6. DIY Chalkboard Martini Glass – These custom martini glasses are great for guests to keep track of their drinks, and can also serve as a party favor (via Something Turquoise).

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7. Dyed Simple Syrups – These simple syrups aren’t just pretty to look at, they add unique flavors to any cocktail (via A Subtle Revelry)

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8. Advertising – Of course you can’t have a Mad Men party without advertisements. This ad shows the culture of advertising at the time of the show.

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9. Mad Men Masks – Set up your own photo booth for your guests to have a little fun before the show, or between commercials. These printable masks are like an instant costume, or you can just use them as decorations (via AMC).

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10. Classic Martini – You can’t have a Mad Men viewing party without a martini. This is a classic martini recipe. It’s simple and just perfect (via AMC).

mm-cocktail-classic-martiniI’m sad that this is the last season of Mad Men, but I will be sure to watch the madness of Sterling Cooper & Partners. Who is your favorite character? What’s your favorite cocktail? How will you watch tomorrow?

Mad Monday | 3.10.14

3.10.14

As I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to realize how important breakfast really is. So I came across a recipe last week that I was determined to try out. Very rarely do I get that serious of an urge to try out a recipe from the internet. So when I was so determined to try this one, I decided to share it with you.

I am a follower of Recipe Girl on Facebook. And last week she posted a recipe for Cream Cheese Pancakes. Now a little bit of history…as a kid I didn’t really like many breakfast foods. Then at a popular breakfast restaurant with my mother, I got an order of pancakes that were not cooked through and I bit into raw dough in my stack of hotcakes. It truly soured me to breakfast ever since.

Now the recipe originally came from Barefeet In The Kitchen, but I kind of adapted the recipe slightly for myself. This is one of the simplest recipes ever! It’s simply cream cheese and eggs. I did add some vanilla and regular sugar.

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Cream Cheese Pancakes

3 oz Cream Cheese
3 eggs
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
Pinch of sugar

Take the cream cheese and eggs and put them in a blender. Blend until smooth and fully combined. It’s a thin batter, so you don’t need much. Let the batter rest while you heat a griddle or cast iron pan. When you pour the batter, it will spread fast and wide (I used a 6 1/2 inch wide cast iron pan).

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The pancakes come out thin  and light. Not too sweet and not too thick. Something that avoids the possibilities of raw centers of my hotcakes.

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These pancakes remind me of the crepe batter we used in culinary school. When we made them in school, I was more inclined to like crepes because of how thin and versatile they were. You could make them sweet or savory, and they were just as filling as pancakes.

The batter I made yielded about 15 pancakes. You can top them how you want. I topped mine like I like my favorite crepes, with powdered sugar and lemon juice.

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I can truly say these pancakes made me feel like I could actually eat breakfast now, and like it. The next thing I am going to do is try and create variations of the recipe to make both savory and other sweet versions to share with you in the future.

I hope you try these out. They are good for kids and don’t take long at all to prepare. Simple, fast, and delicious.

Bon apetit!

 

Mad Monday | 2.10.14

2.10.14

Well the past couple weeks have been trying. A drain backup in my basement, basketball games, after school tutoring, shoveling snow, ice storms, and snow days….I’m truly over this winter!

So now that it’s February, Valentine’s day is upon us. A day to celebrate your love for someone special. Some think it’s a Hallmark holiday, but others think it has a more meaningful significance.

mean vintage valentine

Whether you celebrate it or not or don’t have someone special, it’s good to just do something nice for someone else. Give a little card or a piece of candy. Something to make someone’s day.

I remember as a kid we used to have Valentine’s parties and you could buy little cards for your friends in school. Or the little two-sided  perforated cards that you bought for your classmates with the conversation hearts that came in a box. You were all excited to go to school the next day with your goodies to share with your friends. Those were the days. Now days, schools have dances and sell roses or cards. That’s all fun and good, but there’s nothing like writing your own little note on the back of the card personalized for your friends.

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If you want to be more romantic, try cooking a special meal for your loved one or making them a card by hand. Something personalized shows you took time to really think and feel about them.

Try a special cocktail to share together. Or even better, a signature cocktail or even a jello shot recipe from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.

Valentine's Jelly Shots
Valentine’s Jelly Shots (via Jelly Shot Test Kitchen)

 

They have recipes for all occasions for all tastes. If you are adventurous and want to try something different, here is a recipe that will get you started. It’s simple and fun, and you could even get your Valentine in on the fun.

Valentines Jelly Pops
Ingredients:
 
Red Layer
1/2 cup boiling water
1 3 oz package strawberry flavored gelatin dessert (sugar free dissolves very easily)
1/2 cup cold water
 
Pink Layer
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 envelopes plain gelatin
1 6 oz container strawberry yogurt
 
White Layer
1/3 cup cold water
1 envelope less 1/2 tsp plain gelatin
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 each wooden coffee stirrers, cut into 2 inch lengths for garnish, if desired
 
Instructions:
These pops are super cute whether they’re made in a silicon mold, or set in a baking pan (I’d use a standard loaf pan – about 8″ x 4″)and cut into squares.  If using a silicone mold, prepare mold by spraying lightly with cooking spray, then wiping each mold cavity clean with a paper towel. This will leave a slight residue to aid in un-molding without affecting the taste or appearance of the jelly pops. If setting in a glass or non-reactive metal baking pan, no prep is needed.  The instructions below are for molds – so if you’re setting in a pan, just pour in the layers!
 
Red Layer: Dissolve strawberry gelatin in boiling water. Add cold water. Pour 1 tsp. of the gelatin into each mold cavity. Refrigerate until firm but not fully set (should be fairly firm, but still slightly sticky when touched – about 20 minutes). While the red layer is chilling, prepare Pink Layer.
 
Pink Layer: Pour water into small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin and allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Allow to cool to room temperature – you may want to pop the gelatin in the fridge or freezer for a minute or two to help it along. Pour 1 tbsp into each mold cavity. Refrigerate until firm but not fully set (should be fairly firm, but still slightly sticky when touched – about 15 to 20 minutes). While the pink layer is chilling, Prepare White Layer.
 
White Layer: Pour water into a small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour approximately 2 tsp. into each mold cavity.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight, until fully set. (Overnight is ideal as it allows the layers to fully bond.) Garnish each jelly pop with a coffee stirrer segment to make the “popsicle” handle, if desired.
Makes about 15 jellies.