HOLIDAY COCKTAILS // DEC 11 2013

I was scouring Pinterest earlier this week to find some great recipes for cocktails for the holiday season. I found a few that look amazing! I love making a signature cocktail when I have people over, and I think these Christmas-y-inspired recipes are sure to be a hit with my friends & family.

blood orange kombuchjito // buttered rum // rosemary-infused holiday cocktail // bourbon egg nog

enjoy!

a few favorite meals in dc / nov 12 2013

I want to start keeping track of my favorite meals in DC. Living in Arlington, five minutes outside of DC, I feel privileged to be near such a growing foodie scene. Here are a few of my all-time favorite meals. Stay tuned for more ‘favorite meal’ posts to come!

1) La Chaumiere– it surprises me every year how little credit amongst dc’s top restaurants this receives. A favorite of my grandma who taught me everything I know about food & wine, there is no place I’d rather go on a cold wintery night for some fair-priced, well-executed french cuisine. Cozy up near the fireplace with a big glass of Cabernet and enjoy some classic foodie-foods. My favorites: the pike dumpling or baked mussels to start, the duck breast or rack of lamb as an entree, and the apple tart that is perfection to close out the meal. Simple and perfect.

2) Kapnos– new, but already well-loved, this amazing Greek restaurant by TopChef’s Mike Isabella is one of my top 3 meals ever. Come ready to spend some money, but leave feeling like every penny spent was well worth it. I like to order a bunch of small plates to try as much as i can (maybe the reason I spend so much when I go!). The octopus was insane. Scary to try, but by far the winner in my opinion. My favorites: melitzanosalata, bronzino, charred octopus, and the roasted duck phyllo pie.

3) Blacksalt- my all-time favorite for seafood, hands down. I have never had better fish anywhere else in the world. The menu changes often depending on what is in season, but you cannot go wrong here. The butterfish is a staple on the menu, and I highly recommend it. Also, if they have the thai mussels, always always get them. Favorites: butterfish with lobster, thai mussels, wild alaskan black cod, and a key lime pie to finish out the meal.

{ curried cauliflower, tofu, and chickpea stew } / mar 27. 2012

so the other day i found this yummy-looking recipe by bitchin’ camero, and i decided to adapt it and make it my own based on the ingredients i had at home in my cabinet. i had a ton of veggies in the fridge and i always keep a lot of curry powder on hand {because curry adds pizazz to anything} so i was set.

turns out, this recipe is super easy and super healthy, to boot! plus, we have a ton of leftovers which bodes well for hubsters at lunchtime! hope you enjoy as much as i did!

curried cauliflower, tofu and chickpea stew

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large potato, diced {skin-on}
6 tsp. hot curry powder
1 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes, 1 green chili {diced}
2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 head cauliflower, florets only
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 container firm tofu

set a large pot over medium heat and heat the olive oil. saute the onions for 5 minutes, or until just soft then add the potatoes, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. give everything a good stir.

add the tomatoes, chickpeas, cauliflower, coconut milk, green chilies, and salt. bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. simmer for about 20 minutes. taste and adjust the salt as needed.

in a separate med/high heated saute pan, place 2 tbs olive oil and 1/2″ cubes of tufu to saute for about 10 minute {or until starting to brown}. flip tofu to brown on other side for 10 more minutes. once browned on both sides, mix in with curry.

serve over jasmine rice.

makes 8 servings.

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{ meyer lemon curd } / mar 5. 2012

last week i bought 6 meyer lemons and really wanted to use them in some sort of baking recipe. for those of you who don’t know the difference between a regular lemon and a meyer lemon, a meyer lemon is a true lemon crossed with a mandarin orange. it is a wonderful & delicious hybrid of lemony-sweetness. as i thought and thought some more about how i would use these delectable fruits, they began to go bad. i was determined to preserve them, and what better way than to turn them into a curd? yum! i absolutely love this recipe and i literally have been eating it by the spoonful since last night. it goes great on toast, crackers, cookies, cake, pancakes, waffles– really anything.

ingredients

Yields 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup sugar
zest from 2 meyer lemons (regular lemons will also work)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, softened

directions

in a double boiler, combine the sugar and lemon zest. mix for about 2 minutes to heat and then whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.

whisking constantly, cook the mixture until it thickens (you should be able to make tracks in the mixture with your whisk). allow the cream to sit for a few minutes off the heat before adding the butter. whisk in the butter and immediate pour into an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour before using.

**note: i like the texture of the zest in the curd, but if you want it perfectly smooth, place in a food processor while still warm and blend until smooth.

adapted from {dessert first}

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{ basil gin sparkler } / feb 17. 2012

for valentine’s day 2012, i was placed in charge of drinks & apps for our supper club valentine’s day dinner. here is the drink i made- turned out to be quite a hit for you gin-lovers out there.

{basil gin sparkler}
1.5 oz bombay sapphire Gin
6 oz champagne/sparkling wine
sliced cucumbers
1 tbs simple syrup
2 large basil leaves
splash of lime
candied grapefruit rind for garnish

{directions}: in a cocktail shaker mix all ingredients together and pour over lots of ice into a glass with sliced cucumbers and two basil leaves. finish off with two candied grapefruit rinds and a splash of fresh lime juice. yum.

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{ salted chocolate pudding cream tart } / feb 12. 2012

sorry for being super m.i.a this past week. i started a new part-time job at united methodist family services {umfs, for short} as a social worker {yay!}, and i am getting back into the swing of having a tight schedule once again. it was a busy week, but i still had time to experiment in the kitchen a bit. on tuesday night i went over to my friend’s house for an ‘art night’- where we get together and have dinner {with her adorable little girl} and work on art projects, while catching each other up on our lives. i am grateful for friends like this. anyway- i was supposed to bring a dessert, so i decided to experiment with a recipe i had found in my ina garten cookbook, how easy is that?.

i thought it turned out great, and it was super easy. it literally took me about 12 minutes of prep before work one morning, and i let it cool during the day and picked it up before heading over to my friend’s place. i would highly recommend this for you salt & chocolate lovers out there. enjoy!

for the crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (approx. 14 whole crackers crushed)
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick salted butter

for the filling
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
5 extra-large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 oz good bittersweet chocolate, broken
1/4 stick unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon kahlua liqueur
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
shaved bittersweet chocolate & fleur de sel, for garnish

directions
preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
combine the graham crackers, sugar, and butter in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.  lightly press the mixture into an 11-inch metal tart pan with removable sides.  bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.
heat the milk in a small saucepan until almost simmering.  in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk into the bowl. pour the mixture into a large saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is very thick.  off the heat, add the chocolate, butter, kahlua, and coffee.  beat with a whisk until smooth and pour into the cooled crust.  place plastic wrap directly on the chocolate filling and chill the tart for 6 hours, until cold.  top with fleur de sel  and shaved chocolate and serve cold. serves 8.
{adapted from ina garten’s ‘chocolate pudding tart’ recipe from How Easy Is That?}
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