Thursday, May 23, 2013
The idea for this Blood Orange Granita came from the need to finish my final project for the last photography class I will be taking at Suny Orange. My final project consisted of 4 photos taken with the phrases: Where are you going, Sound, Geometric Shapes and Delicious. Since I wanted to show geometric shapes with food, my mind first gravitated towards baking a lemon pie. This would have shown two different shapes: a circle from the pie itself and triangles after I cut the pie into pieces. Soon it became clear that there wasn’t enough time in my day to do that since the project was due. Instead, I went to the store and bought a lot of blood and navel oranges in order to show circles. I cut the oranges in half and threw some lemons into the mix. When I was done, I juiced the oranges and decided to make something with the juice for the last phase of the project: Delicious.
After handing in the CD of my final images and final reports, I felt lost. I didn’t feel the relief I thought I would feel as I graduated college. First, I was excited to be on to the next chapter of my life and suddenly I was terrified of the unknown, of what’s next. Even though I have somewhat of a solid plan for my future, I still find myself in the dark.
This Blood Orange Granita is a lot like graduation — A little bit sour and very sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be onto better things and look forward to my future. Transitions in life can be scary, challenging, full of adventure and even fun. I find my stomach wrapped up in all of those emotions at once and it is a bit overwhelming. I’m already looking into going back to college to continue my education but am having a hard time deciding if I can afford it. Here’s to looking into scholarships, loans and financial aid! So far, I’ve paid for every class I’ve taken out of pocket and I’m pretty proud of that.
This graduation was a big deal for me, a rite of passage, if you will. I have always been a quitter. I quit everything I begged to join, even things I was good at. I joined soccer, brownies and the cross country team in high school and quit them all. I went to college directly after high school graduation and I never finished. Going back to school was a huge step for me in the right direction and I finally followed through. Thanks to everyone who has supported me through this experience… I couldn’t have done it without you.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
After a visit to Tuthilltown Distillery, I came home armed with the knowledge to pair maple syrup and bourbon together. Whoever originally thought to do this may just be the smartest person alive. This combination had to be shared with the world and I thought, what better way than in milkshake form?
We took a tour of the distillery for Joe’s birthday. We got to see a bit of the process of making bourbon and where all the processing happens. At the end of the tour there was a tasting and that’s where we happened upon the magic of bourbon and maple syrup.
This inviting sign was the first thing we saw as we entered the main building which lead us to a rustic shop. They sell bourbon, gin, vodka, maple syrup, flavorings, bitters, T-shirts, cookbooks, etc. Displayed are lots of barrels and various medals for their award winning bourbon.
The tour guide asked the group if anyone was local. My hand immediately shot up and it was the lone hand in the air. I felt sort of silly but I’m proud to be from the Hudson Valley and love all of the wonderful local food and drink available. Below you’ll find a few of my favorite photos from the day. I enjoyed taking photos almost as much as I enjoyed taste testing vermouth, gin, vodka and bourbon (with maple syrup).
Saturday, May 11, 2013
There is something gratifying about making jam. Carefully selecting, peeling and cutting the fruits is a new ritual for me. Strawberry Kiwi Jam was Joe’s idea. I even let him pick out the strawberries.
I was always afraid to make jam, sometimes I still am. One word comes to mind: Botulism. That stuff is scary! Which is why I am extremely cautious while canning, I’m terrified!
When I’m in the kitchen, I usually have a million things going on at once, 6 pots boiling, trying to chop 4 different things at once, my iPad playing the latest episode of New Girl on Hulu… I get easily distracted. Once I walked away from boiling eggs and had to throw them all in the garbage. It can be really bad sometimes, especially if someone is talking to me.
But when I make jam, I become a different person in the kitchen. I become calm and almost serene. I know how important it is not to miss a step or mess up any details so careful I become.
It is also extremely gratifying to hear the “pings” after removing your jars from the boil. They bring a huge smile to my face—an ear-to-ear grin.
Friday, May 10, 2013
“Crack an egg on it!” is a saying that I have heard a lot. I thought that cracking an egg on top of dough, sauce and cheese sounded appropriate for Brunch Week, and thus, Breakfast Pizza was on my mind all week. At the last minute I decided to use English Muffins that were taking up way too much room in my freezer to make these mini breakfast pizzas.
These were really messy to eat. I think that if I were going to make these again (which I most certainly will) that I would use scrambled eggs in the future and melt the cheese on top with spinach and bacon or breakfast sausage. Either way, these mini pizzas were still pretty delicious. The egg running down my hands as I shoved these into my mouth wasn’t very attractive, I’m sure. Scrambling the eggs first would be daintier and appropriate for a group brunch.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
On Valentines Day, I made Joe these Quinoa and Bean Stuffed Peppers. I did this because of how we rekindled our friendship which turned into our awesome relationship. I made the original batch of stuffed peppers and posted the photo with the recipe on the blog and on facebook. He saw it and commented – a 21st century love story. So for Valentines Day I thought I would be cute and made them for him with a nice big salad and a batch of chocolate cupcakes, which he devoured. The next morning, I used some of the leftover filling from the peppers in my eggs and threw it into these small soft tortilla shells I had in the pantry.
Ever since February, I have been throwing quinoa, black beans, spinach and mushrooms into my eggs and loving every minute of it. If I have tortillas I make breakfast tacos. When first catching wind of Brunch Week, I knew that these tacos would make the final recipe cut.
You guys, we are giving away a major amount of prizes. 9 prizes in total at a value of about $1800! You all need to take a minute and enter the giveaway. I wish I could enter myself because I would love to win a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer from California Walnuts or a $100 Sur La Table gift card. A full list of prizes can be found on my very first Brunch Week Post, Apple Cinnamon Crepes for Brunch Week. Also below be sure to click through all of the amazing brunch recipes for today.
Quick Overview of Prizes
A California Walnuts Prize Pack and A KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer
A Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and three silicone pieces
A Flavors of Summer Entertaining Package
From Black Gold Farms A Martha Stewart Collection Kitchen Prize Packag
A Food and Wine Conference Ticket
A Bob’s Red Mill Kitchen Prize Pack
Whole Foods Orlando Flavorful Delights Basket
The Whole Foods Orlando Breakfast In Bed Basket
A Stonyfield Organic Kitchen Prize Pack
Enter below through the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win these amazing prizes from the generous Brunch Week Sponsors! Be sure to check out my first brunch week recipe, Apple Cinnamon Crepes, for a full run down (with photos) of each prize.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I’ve never been a huge coffee drinker until last year and with the recent acid reflux diagnoses I have been drinking it a lot less but sometimes, you just want a nice cup of coffee. Brunch needs booze and coffee so I knew I had to include this creamy, booze-filled, caffeinated drink! Isn’t it funny how as soon as you can’t have any type of food… that’s all you crave? As soon as I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux I only wanted chocolate, pasta with tomato sauce, pizza, and coffee. This drink is especially bad since it also contains liquor but I’m a glutton for punishment… I just reheated leftover Indian food…. oops.
I had to do it. I had to include a booze-filled coffee drink for Brunch Week. The photo below couldn’t be any truer!
Yesterday I went to my very last photography class of the semester and will be graduating on May 18th. I worked pretty hard to get to graduation and I’m not even excited or nervous. I feel strange about the whole thing. I fought to make sure I get to walk in the ceremony and now I’m not feeling what I thought I would feel. I thought birds would be singing and I’d be shouting out loud about my accomplishment but I’m just not feeling it. Maybe its because there is still more school ahead, or maybe because the workforce is scary. I should be more excited than this, right? I left campus after grabbing my graduation tickets and announcements and making sure my transcript went through successfully and didn’t feel much of anything. I’m sure I’ll be blubbering like a baby when I walk to get my diploma.
Enter below (after the jump) through the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win these amazing prizes from the generous Brunch Week Sponsors!
Monday, May 6, 2013
Another dreary Wednesday, the phone beeps and a familiar and voice passes through: “Do you want to order lunch?”
“Maybe. Probably. Okay” I reply, never needing much convincing.
This is a typical Wednesday around 11am. Recently, I’ve been ordering the best panini in the entire world. I present to you, the Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini Sandwich. It is not that uncommon of a pairing: chicken, bacon and ranch. Pretty run of the mill at places like Subway. I don’t know what makes this combination so great. Must be the bacon.
I decided to recreate this recipe and share it during Brunch Week. Day 2 might be my favorite day, I don’t know yet. You will have to come back and see what other brunch recipes I have up my sleeve! Be sure to enter the giveaway below (after the jump) to win some prizes from the Brunch Week Sponsors.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Waking up without an alarm clock, leisurely reading in bed before facing the cool air outside of your warm and inviting covers, finally heading to the kitchen for a large meal labored over by someone else — this is how brunch should be defined. At a typical brunch, you want a lot of options but you don’t want to have to cook all of that yourself. My friends are all settling down, getting married and buying houses so I will soon be suggesting a potluck brunch where we all bring something to the table.
This is how I see this week’s brunch week, as a virtual brunch with all my blogging friends.
To kick off brunch week I decided to try my hand at crepes! I used walnuts that came right to my door as a nice surprise from the folks at California Walnuts in the apple cinnamon crepes with sweet cream filling that I am presenting to you today. First, I made another batch of these Candied Maple Walnuts and then I started on the apples and sweet cream. Once these were done I concentrated on making the crepes in their perfect round state.
In true brunch week fashion, we are offering up a ton of amazing prizes. Below you will find the giveaway items and the details on how to enter. On Sunday this week you will find a rafflecopter widget in my post along with a final brunch recipe for you to enjoy. The prizes for Brunch Week are out of control. When I say out of control, I mean absolutely insane. How do you win, you ask?