Spiked Apple Cider… by Gloria

In my first post ever (here), I posted about this very recipe- spiked apple cider. So, now that the weather has officially turned super chilly in NY, I thought it fitting to to share with you (once again!) my all time favorite wintertime warmer. This simmering cider fills the air with the most inviting scent and paired with cloves, orange slices, cinnamon, brown sugar and brandy (of course!) it is just the thing for those wintery NY nights. I hope you enjoy!

Thanksgiving… by Gloria

~ my fresh baked pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust- recipes here and here~

This Thanksgiving, I’m most thankful for wonderful friends and family. It’s almost surreal that Thanksgiving is here with the rest of the holidays just right around the corner. This holiday season, I look forward to savoring the smell of fresh baked pie, simmering apple cider, cozy fireplaces and gathering around the table with the people that are most important to me. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Jalapeño Corn Bread Muffins… by Gloria

The other night, I was craving something a bit sweet and a bit savory. I’d been meaning to try jalapeño corn bread for quite a while, so I figured it was the perfect thing to whip up. I used this recipe and tweaked it a bit by adding some whole kernel corn and made the bread into muffins instead. To top it off, I added a dollop of butter and a drizzle of blackstrap molasses.

Ginger Garlic Salmon with Julienned Asparagus… by Gloria

As I mentioned in a previous post, salmon is not my favorite fish. Therefore, I find it pretty ironic that this is my second salmon recipe post. My boyfriend has been trying super hard to get me to like it because it’s so good for you and I have to admit, I enjoyed this salmon steak way better than the typical filet. Asparagus is always a nice accompaniment to fish and we really enjoyed this. I hope you do too! Here is my recipe for Ginger Garlic Salmon with Julienned Asparagus:

The Asparagus:

  • Julienne the asparagus by cutting lengthwise into long strips
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil to pan
  • Once hot, add asparagus and a sprinkle of sea salt

The Sauce:

  • Chop up 2 table spoons of fresh ginger and 2 cloves of garlic
  • Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and some fresh ground black pepper
  • Pulse quickly in a food processor
  • Set aside

The Salmon:

  • Take 2 salmon steaks and rinse thoroughly under cold water
  • Pat dry and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt
  • Lay flat on baking pan and brush on the sauce
  • Place in broiler for approximately 6 minutes
  • Flip over and brush the other side with the sauce
  • Broil for another 6 minutes or until fish is cooked

Dinner Party… by Gloria

~my grandma’s china set~

Last night, we had our families over for dinner. There is something about hosting family that makes me feel so. grown. up. Now, hosting a dinner party can be totally nerve wracking and I, certainly, am no expert- but I will share with you a few tips that make it slightly less intimidating and stressful so you can focus on enjoying your company.

  • Plan your menu a few days prior to the dinner party– Our menu listed appetizer, main course and dessert ideas taking into consideration any special food needs of guests (for example: is one of your guests vegetarian?)
  • Make a list of what you will need to pick up from the store– I like to break out my list according to the store where the items need to be purchased (for example: from the bakery, I needed fresh breadcrumbs, pastries and bread
  • Clean and stage your china the night before the event– The evening before our dinner party, I cleaned all the china I’d need for the party and staged it all so it was ready for use the next day
  • Tidy Up and set the table– I like to to make sure the apartment is spic- and- span the evening before. I also like to have the table set with place settings etc on the morning of the party. Remember, there will always be last minute cleaning such as re-washing the kitchen floor after the food preparation that you will need to allow for
  • Go Shopping– I usually food shop on the morning of the event. Some like to do it the night before- whatever you prefer is fine but don’t forget your list!
  • Do as much food prep as possible– Everything on our menu was prepared in some way prior to our families arriving (for example: the mushrooms were stuffed and placed on baking pans so they were oven-ready)
  • Staging– Underrated but, oh, so important! Prior to our families arriving, I had the coffee machine ready to go. This way, once it was time for dessert, I simply had to push the button and the coffee was brewing. No fussing with filters and coffee grinds while entertaining.
  • Tidy Up and set the mood– Take a quick look around, make sure everything is in order before your guests arrive. Dim the lights, light some candles, and get some music playing.
  • Enjoy some wine-Try to give yourself 10 minutes of downtime before guests arrive.
  • Enjoy the Party– With some pre-planning, you’ll be more relaxed and better able to entertain your guests. Remember, things won’t always go perfectly, but with practice, it definitely gets easier each time.

To Do: BYOB Painting Lessons… by Gloria

~Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh~

It’s been a rough week for New Yorkers in general. By the weekend, we were definitely in need of  a little pick -me -up. We headed over to Painting Lounge in Williamsburg and this little gem offered us a relaxing escape from the sadness of this past week. Painting Lounge is a BYOB spot that gives painting lessons while you sip on the beverage of your choice. In our case, that was a couple bottles of wine. We headed over on Saturday evening for a 2- 1/2 hour lesson and by the end, we had our very own paint-covered masterpieces (and a little buzz, to boot!).  Check out our pics.

~the end result!~