This afternoon I was craving something sweet but somewhat healthy. I’d never attempted homemade granola bars before but I had been meaning to give it a shot and I’m super glad I did. They were so easy to make, required barely any clean up at all, and honestly taste a hundred times better than the store bought kind. I paged through a few recipes online but ultimately threw in some ingredients I had in the house. The mix of both almonds and pecans coupled with fresh vanilla bean and raisins made for a tasty mid day treat.
Bay Leaf is a flavor that brings me back to childhood. It was a go-to for my mom anytime I had a tummy ache. She’d boil water with bay leaves and sweeten with little sugar and it worked like a charm. This weekend, I decided to infuse simple syrup with bay leaves. Simple syrup is a must have for around the house. It’s super versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. This sweet, aromatic syrup can be drizzled over a simple cake, added onto a scoop of vanilla ice cream, used to sweeten tea, or my personal favorite, as an infusion in a vodka or gin cocktail. It also makes for a unique, homemade gift for a party host.
This past week was the perfect balance of work and play. While I was super productive, I also managed to squeeze in some fun evenings with girlfriends in celebration of my birthday. On Thursday, I checked out the Wedding Show, hosted by New York Magazine and on Friday night, I checked out this restaurant for the very first time. This weekend has been a bit calmer due to the rainy, chilly weather and I’ve enjoyed some down time at home. This afternoon, in the absence of any comfort food in the house, I decided to have a go at homemade soda bread. I used this recipe but threw in a few extra raisins and another spoonful of sugar and the results were super yummy.
There are so many words in other languages that do not exist in the English language. Take, for example, the spaghettata; which is by far, my favorite word. ever. Spaghettata, in Italian, refers to a large, informal bowl of pasta meant to be shared amongst friends (preferably enjoyed after a long night of partying at a beachside club on an Italian island such as Sicily). Some of my favorite memories are the ones I’ve spent with friends in Italy, coming home late, and whipping up a pasta feast 3:00 am for all to enjoy. For the Oscars, I’ve decided to recreate my fondest Italian memories by hosting a spaghettata and wine themed Oscar night. I won’t have much time to prepare, so I figured this would be the perfect plan for an informal gathering. I’d love to know…what are your plans for Oscar night?
Before starting this blog, I was never much of a baker. More recently, I’ve been venturing outside of my comfort zone and it’s been fun experimenting with new recipes. I’d been meaning to have a go at olive oil cake for quite some time. When I came across this recipe, incorporating lemon zest and rosemary, I decided to give it a try. I tweaked the recipe slightly by reducing the amount of olive oil and sugar that it called for (I prefer my cakes not too sweet). I left out the anise seed and added small dollops of orange marmalade to the batter once it was poured into the baking pan. The end result was a super delicious cake, with subtle notes of rosemary, lemon, and orange.
Over the holidays, I made a yellow cake from scratch for the first time. I followed a basic recipe for the cake and filled it with my own concoction of Bonne Maman raspberry preserves and roasted, sliced almonds (the roasting was key as it brought out the amazing flavor of the almonds). I topped it all off with some homemade buttercream frosting and the results were beyond delicious.
It seems as though this holiday season has totally snuck up on me and with this uncharacteristically warm weather here, in NY, it feels more like Spring time rather than Christmas. This year, I saved every last thing until the very last minute. I still have gifts to pick up and presents to wrap. This weekend, I enjoyed two lovely Holiday parties at friends homes and went a little overboard enjoying this sale. I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are going into the holiday a bit better prepared than me. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this recipe which I brought to one of the parties this weekend. It’s sweet and savory and makes a great wintertime appetizer.
-Pit the dates and stuff with your cheese of choice. I prefer gorgonzola, manchego or bleu cheese for this recipe.
-Wrap each date with 1/2 slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick
-Broil for 10 minutes or until bacon becomes crisp
-Enjoy with family and friends!
I’m a huge fan of a good cocktail. I’ve gone through phases where I drink one cocktail religiously for a year or two straight and then abandon it for life. In my early college years (ok, it was late high school years) my drink of choice was a Tanqueray and Tonic (because Johnny Depp drank it. Obviously). In college, I moved onto Chocolate Martinis (clear, of course) made with Grey Goose and White Creme de Cacao. More recently, with the introduction of bespoke cocktail bars, I truly enjoy more complex libations. It was about 2 years ago that I was first introduced to mezcal, a seriously underrated spirit. I was at The Mulberry Project– a small bar in Little Italy, that features a daily chalkboard of ingredients to essentially, build your own cocktail. That evening, I tried my first mezcal cocktail with pineapple, chilli pepper, and honey and I was hooked. Mezcal is essentially the (way) cooler cousin to tequila and with it’s smokey flavor, balances out well with both citrusy and slightly sweeter flavors. If you have not tried mezcal, I highly recommend you do. Its smokey flavor is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly December night.
Last weekend, we decided spur of the moment to make homemade, jarred tomato sauce. Although we were a bit late and almost missed tomato season completely, we managed to get our hands on a few (5, to be exact) cases just in the nick of time. Now, for those of you who don’t know, jarring tomato sauce is a tradition most Italians do religiously along with making homemade wine yearly. The process is lengthy- taking about ten hours from start to end- but so worth it in my opinion. Once the sauce is jarred, it can be stored for up to two years and can be used in a multitude of recipes from pasta, to rice, to meat dishes.
I’m loving these mini frittatas for a quick, lazy weekend breakfast. I tried these for the first time yesterday morning and they are quickly becoming my new breakfast favorite. They are super versatile because you can essentially change up the ingredients for an entirely different variation and they are the perfect size. I prepared all of my ingredients: I decided on baby heirloom tomatoes with basil & fresh mozzarella and topped them off with some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. These frittatas were bursting with flavor and were an instant hit. I hope you enjoy them.