The Princess Glass

27 Jul

Because Every DIVA Should Have a Princess Glass

This is Granny. As her first grandchild, and first “girl”… she had all brothers and all sons, we have developed a special bond over the years.  She is a very special lady, and our relationship means the world to me. This particular story takes place a couple years ago when Granny was downsizing in her home.

I was helping her go through her kitchen, deciding which items she would like to take with her. Given the fact that Granny used to be able to host a dinner party for 100 people, and didn’t need to rent a single serving item, she had a lot of items to sort through. So with that said, it was quite a process. When it came to the wine glasses, she had some options. I was drooling over several of them…. beautiful crystal, art deco, slender & elegant, back-porch cool… but she reached for the plain-jane, dishwasher safe glasses. She stated that she was done entertaining, so why should she use a fancy glass when drinking by herself?

This is where I reminded her what she’s taught me over the years.

And let me begin with, this moral goes beyond just drinking wine.Nobody should undervalue their time alone, or not treat themselves to something because they’re not with a group.

I continue to tell her that in my home, where I live alone, I have what I refer to as my Princess Glass.

My Princess Glass was an impulse, splurge purchase. It’s a Kate Spade Lenox glass; and I only own one of them. I drink out of my Princess Glass when I’m drinking on my own at home…. because why should I down-play my evening when I’m not entertaining? And why should Granny? I instructed her to pick out her favorite, fancy wine glass so she too could have a Princess Glass at her new home.

Her response? “But Kristin, I’m a Queen.”

So while I still drink out of my Princess Glass, Granny now drinks out of her Queen Glass…As she should.

Saketini

27 Jul

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When splurging on a flavorful meal, it’s important not to neglect your beverage. While wine is always a good go-to, some dishes just require a different twist….like a twisted cucumber garnish in a sake cocktail. And well, why not add vodka? This Saketini is a fantastic match with Asian meals, such as  the Asian Sobo Noodles or Shrimp & Veggie “Fried” Brown Rice.

SAKETINI

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 2.5 oz Dry Sake
  • Shaved Cucumber Garnish

Mix the Vodka and Dry Sake in a martini shaker. Serve in a chilled martini glass with a shaved cucumber garnish!

 

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Asian Sobo Noodles

27 Jul

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My brother and his wife recently renovated their home, and not only do they have an absolutely beautiful kitchen, but the master chef skills to match. They are quite the team in the kitchen, and when they get creating, you’re in for a delicious treat. Their dishes are always big flavor. And they even create cocktails to match! I was fortunate enough to be invited over for dinner the other night when they created this Asian Sobo Noodle dish, Seared Ahi Tuna on the grill, and Saketinis. Let’s just say I’m already looking forward to my next invitation!

 ASIAN SOBO NOODLES

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Sobo Noodles
  • 1 package Edamame
  • 5 Large Carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, grilled
  • 1 cup Peanuts
  • 4 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 3 tbls Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbls Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Chili Oil

Boil a pot of water, and cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. Heat up the grill in preparation to char the green onions. Brush the green onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the bunch of green onions onto the grill, turning often. Keep an eye on them to ensure they get a char, but don’t burn. Once cool enough to handle, chop into 1/2 inch length strips.

In a large bowl, add the edamame, shaved carrots, & grilled green onions. In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, olive oil and chili oil. Please note these are estimates on measurements – please adjust to your liking and spice tolerance! Add the soho noodles to the vegetables, drizzle the sauce over the noodles, and mix well. Add the sesame seeds & peanuts and mix. This dish can be served hot or cold. Serve with Seared Ahi Tuna and a Saketini!

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Shaved Brussel Sprout Caesar

25 Jun

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This is not your Grandma’s brussel sprout. This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants, Buccan. With their motto of “small plates, big flavor”, this dish sure packs a punch out of a vegetable most people would usually avoid. By baking the brussel sprout, the nutty flavors of this nutritious veggie emerge and make one of the best salads I have ever eaten. The Warm Brussel Sprout Caesar is a must when on Buccan’s seasonal menu.  And since it’s not currently on their menu, I made it a mission to try to recreate it on my own. I share with you,  my version of an updated classic.

Ingredients

  • 30 Brussel Sprouts, shaved
  • 1/2 Cup + Parmesan Cheese, shaved
  • Handful Sunflower Seeds
  • Croutons, such as Rosemary Infused Croutons
  • Olive Oil
  • Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Caesar Dressing, bottled or recipe below

Caesar Dressing Ingredients (modification from Ina Garten)

  • 1 1/2 cups Good Olive Oil
  • 1 extra-large Egg Yolk at room temperature (or 2 tbls Mayonnaise)
  • 8 Anchovy Fillets (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Lemons, Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbls Worcestershire
  • A few Dashes of Hot Pepper Sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop the brussel sprouts into thin shreds. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, paprika, and salt & pepper. Bake the brussel sprouts until they start to wilt and brown a bit on the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to ensure smaller pieces are not burning, turning as needed. Once cooked, place to the side to cool.

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If you are making the dressing, please follow the next steps. Otherwise skip to when the brussel sprouts are cooled.

For the dressing, place the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, worcestershire, tabasco, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube, until thick. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and pulse 3 times.

Once the brussel sprouts are cooled, mix them in a bowl with the shaved cheese, sunflower seeds and dressing. Add salt & pepper to taste. Toss the croutons on top and serve  promptly.

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Rosemary Infused Croutons

21 Mar

Image-1What do you do when you buy too much bread? You make croutons! The key is to use bread that is slightly stale, and make sure they’re well covered in oil, but not drenched. These particular croutons are unique though because they’re baked in extra virgin olive oil that has been infused with rosemary. The richness adds such a depth to the croutons flavors. The idea is to enhance the salad with croutons though, so I mix it with regular olive oil as to not overpower the flavors of the salad’s dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1 Loaf of Bread, such as an Italian Five Grain Baguette (slightly stale)
  • 2 tbls Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
  • 2 tbls Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

photo 1Toss all the diced bread into a large bowl. Pour the oils and spices onto the bread, and mix well until all the bread pieces are covered. Adjust amount of oil and spices as needed. Remember to always start with smaller amounts – you can add, but it’s pretty much impossible to remove oil already soaked into bread!

photo 2Spread the bread onto a baking sheet. Be sure to try to spread the bread out evenly .

photo 3Bake until crispy and slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them though, tossing as needed to ensure they’re baking consistently.

To preserve the crisp of the crouton, make sure the croutons are completely cool before placing them in a air-tight container or bag.

Honey Bunches of Quinoa, Breakfast Granola

14 Mar

photo-4Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet a lot of people skip it.  Which I personally don’t understand – I can’t wait to eat in the morning! :)  It’s so important though to give your body and mind much needed energy to get you going for the day ahead. This particular recipe can be made over the weekend and kept all week. The quinoa stays crispy, and the natural sweetness of the honey and maple syrup satisfy your cravings. And you get fiber in the dried fruit! So no more excuses of not having time to eat in the morning –  make it your habit to eat breakfast, and start your day off right!

This particular recipe is based off of a recipe by Gwyneth Paltrow, featured in her latest cookbook, It’s All Good. I’ve made several items from this collection, but her Quinoa Granola with Olive Oil + Maple Syrup was the first recipe I cooked. I highly recommend this book – incredible recipes, stories, and beautiful photographs fill this coffee table worthy piece.

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One section that really stuck with me was from the introduction by Dr. Habib Sadeghi. He really summed up a feeling I have for cooking. He stated “Food is spiritual because it can be a metaphor for life…There are no bad ingredients in the recipe of life. Everything adds flavor to the final product and helps us absorb what I call psychospiritual nutrition. We can fully digest all the ingredients of our life and see that they’ve come together perfectly to make for a fuller human experience. In food and life, it’s all good.

So together, lets continue to make our spirit, and our belly, happy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Quinoa Flakes
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tbls Raw Honey
  • 2 tbls Good Quality Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbls Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries & Raisins
  • 1/2 cup Dried Prunes, chopped
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt
  • Optional Addition 1: Spring Break – Sub the dried fruit for Shaved Coconut with Dried Banana Chips & Mango. Omit cinnamon
  • Option Addition 2: Sweet Tooth – Sub the dried fruit for Dried Cherries & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Note: When buying your ingredients, it’s important to note that the recipe calls for Quinoa Flakes, which is different from normal quinoa.photo 2

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and maple syrup. When well mixed, add the quinoa flakes until they are well coated.

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Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and then pour the quinoa flake mixture onto the tray. Try to spread it all out so it will bake evenly. Sprinkle with the salt and cinnamon.photo 4

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a crispy golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on the quinoa though, stirring as needed.

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Once done, set aside to cool and then mix in the other additions. Serve on top of yogurt, or enjoy on it’s own!

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Messy Josephs

5 Mar

messyEveryone knows Sloppy Joe. This is the cousin. Just as messy, but with a new twist. Savory and sweet, this is a dish that you’re grateful you can “overflow” over the edges of the “bun”.   The balsamic acts like the brown sugar in the sloppy joe, adding the depth of sweetness. The traditional bun has been replaced by an oven-roasted portabella mushroom, but you could always use a buttery toasted bun.

Ingredients

  • 4 Portabella Caps
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Bag Fresh Spinach
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup Tomato Paste
  • 1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine
  • Fresh Basil, julienned
  • Marinated Red Peppers, sliced
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the portabella caps, cap top down, on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper on the mushrooms. Bake for 15 minutes and then set aside.

mushroom caps

Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat until they turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook until cooked through. Add the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, marinated peppers, balsamic, red wine, tomato paste, and salt & pepper. Continue to let it simmer for 15 minutes over low-medium heat. Add the fresh spinach and basil into the turkey mixture.

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ground turkeyScoop the ground turkey onto each portobella cap, and then crumble the goat cheese on top. Place back in the oven and let the cheese melt. Serve hot!

Caramel Vanilla “Fried” Ice Cream

25 Feb

Today’s recipe comes from my fabulous friend, Ashley. She, like this dessert, is liked by all, unforgettable, gorgeous, and fun! Ashley made this amazing little treat while hosting a Gossip Girl dinner at her home. Of course vanilla and caramel are already a star-duo, but the combination of the creamy ice cream and crunchy Frosted Flakes crust…..mmm…. I wish I had this dessert in front of me right now!

Also, be sure to check out  Ashley’s blog, The Champagne Socialite !

Ingredients

  • Good Quality Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • Frosted Flakes Cereal
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Good Quality Caramel Sauce (for drizzle)

Directions:

Put a freezer-safe plate in the freezer to get it cold. Keep it in the freezer for at least a half hour before you start prepping the dessert - you will put the ice cream balls on it later.

Make sure the ice cream is pretty frozen. Mold the ice cream in the palm of your hands, which are warm and naturally start to melt the ice cream. Quickly form a tennis ball-sized scoop of ice cream into a ball in the palm of your hands. After each one is formed, place it on the cold plate in the freezer. Once all are formed, let them re-harden in the freezer.

Crush the frosted flakes in a bag (I like a little texture to mine, so not super smashed).  Add desired amount of cinnamon and sugar and shake to mix.

All steps up to this point can be done up to a day prior to serving.

hardened, remove one from the freezer, roll in the frost flake mixture, and then place back into the freezer until all are completed (so they don’t melt). When all are done, plate, drizzle with the caramel sauce and serve :)

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Coconut Curry Quinoa

11 Feb

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Quinoa is often called a superfood due to its nutritional value. Closely related to species such as beetroots, spinach, and actually tumbleweeds, quinoa is high in protein, lacks gluten and is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans  and those who are lactose intolerant.

The combo of the coconut and curry is great with the nuttiness of the quinoa. This dish is versatile in the sense that you can use any of your favorite vegetables for this dish.  Red peppers would be delicious in this recipe – I would have thrown them in if I had some at the time! Add shrimp, chicken, or pork to add even more substance to this dish.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 3 tbls Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Carrots, Chopped
  • 2 Zucchinis, Chopped
  • 8 Brussel Sprouts, Chopped
  • 3 tbls Thai Green Curry Powder
  • Handful of Salted Peanuts
  • Salt and Pepper

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Preheat the oven to 385 degrees. Toss all the chopped veggies with olive oil, salt and Thai Green Curry Powder. Bake the veggies for 25 minutes, or until they become fork tender.

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Boil the quinoa as directed on the box. The general rule is two cups of liquid for one cup of quinoa. Add the coconut oil to the boiling quinoa.

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Toss the baked veggies into the quinoa and mix well.  Add the salted peanuts on top and serve hot. Enjoy!

PS this makes for great leftovers as well!

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Spaghetti Squash with Portobello Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

3 Feb

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Growing up, I was never a real fan of spaghetti squash. My grandmother used to make it often, preparing it simply with salt and serving it as a side dish. But as my palette expanded, so did my imagination of how to showcase this actually tasty, and healthy, winter squash. By using it as a replacement for traditional spaghetti noodles, you can top it with any sauce of your liking. My personal favorites are tomato-based. And another bonus…. the tough skin of the squash can act as individual “bowls” to serve your guests!

Ingredients

  • 2 Spaghetti Squash, Medium Size
  • 1/2 Onion, Chopped
  • 12 Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 3 Portobello Mushroom Caps, Chopped
  • 8 Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
  • 3 Fresh Roma Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 3 Tbls Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine, such as a Cabernet
  • 2 tbls Garlic, minced
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice the Spaghetti Squash in half, length wise. Scrape out the seeds and place the squash skin up in a glass baking dish with a half inch of water. Bake for 40 minutes. The flesh will string  apart with a fork when done.

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While the squash is cooking, sauté the onion in a sauce pan on medium heat with the olive oil. When it starts to turn translucent, add the sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomato and garlic. Let simmer for 5 minutes and then add the red wine and balsamic. Let the mixture continue to simmer for another 10 minutes and then add the portobello mushrooms and fresh basil. photo 1

  • When the squash is done cooking, use a fork to string the flesh into “spaghetti” strings. Salt the squash, keeping it in skin of the squash – they become individual “bowls”! Top each half of the squash with the sauce and serve hot. Add fresh shaved parmesan and serve along side grilled chicken, baked broccoli and a caesar salad. photo 5
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