Aug 252013
 

Happy Birthday to me! Yep, yesterday was the day that I officially became closer to 30 than I am to 20. Since 26 sounds like such an adult age to me, I thought what better way to celebrate than by making a delicious adult beverage?IMG_6651Like any good foodie’s birthday should be, mine was a weekend full of amazing food.  It began on Friday with a 20+ course meal at Blue Hill at Stone Barns (best meal of my life) where everything we ate came directly from the farm.  Then Saturday consisted of a blueberry mojito pregame followed by a great tapas dinner at ABC Cocina.  In case that wasn’t enough, Sunday included a brunch at Back Forty with all my girl friends, one of which being Erica of ericasweettooth.com.  Needless to say, she did not come empty handed, but brought a cake made of stacked peanut-butter-banana cookies with chocolate and toffee chips, caramel frosting, and caramelized banana topping.  Gotta say this might have been one of the best birthdays yet!  I am one lucky girl :)

ImageSo back to the mojitos.  They were AMAZING.  I’m not going to give nutritional highlights, because hey, we all know booze isn’t the best for you, but I will say that integrating fresh fruit into your cocktails (like blueberries and limes) and sticking with mostly soda water as the mixer does cut back on the sugar and calories significantly.  I definitely recommend trying these out for your labor day celebrations.

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Fresh Blueberry Mojitos
for 1 pitcher with about 6 servings
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What’s in it:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 limes
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups white rum (depending on how festive you’re feeling)
  • 3 to 4 cups soda water
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, plus a few extras to garnish each glass

How to make it:

  1. Start by making your blueberry simple syrup.  Do this earlier in the day so it has time to cool.  In a small saucepan, add sugar and water and bring to a simmer.  Stir until sugar dissolves completely.
  2. Transfer the syrup to a blender and add 1 cup of the fresh blueberries.  Pulse until blueberries are mostly blended but still a little chunky.  Transfer blueberry syrup to a jar or tupperware and refrigerate.
  3. When you’re ready to make the cocktails, juice 5 of the limes into the bottom of the pitcher.  Cut the 6th lime into wedges or rounds to garnish your glasses with.
  4. Add 1/2 cup mint leaves and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries and muddle using a pestle of another blunt object you can come up with.  This will release all that great mint flavor and crush the blueberries.
  5. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup of the blueberry simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it), the rum, and soda water.  Stir.
  6. In each glass, put a few ice cubes, mint leaves, and fresh blueberries in the bottom and a lime wedge on the rim.  Pour the mojito mixture into the glasses and enjoy!

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Aug 192013
 

Oh HEY there! I’m finally back from my blogcation. But really, it wasn’t quite as relaxing as you might think. I was busy working with Kristy from ohksocialmedia.com to move the blog over to wordpress and give it a spiffy new look. What do you think? And don’t worry, I was still cooking up a storm while I was away (a girl’s gotta eat) so I have some awesome recipes to share over the next few weeks. This first one highlights my absolute favorite summer ingredient: Peaches.
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This appetizer is perfect because it’s easy to throw together (so you can focus your efforts on sweating outside in the sun rather than in your kitchen) but still incredibly tasty and even pretty fancy looking. It also uses a whopping 5 ingredients- multigrain baguette, peaches, burrata, honey, basil…ok, and also olive oil, salt and pepper, but those don’t really count.
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Nutritional Highlights: The farmers markets are overflowing with peaches right now, which means you’re getting them at their peak nutritional level. That means you’ll be getting tons of vitamin A, C, E, K, fiber, and potassium. Quickly grilling the peaches develops the sweet flavor without losing any of those nutrients. Using multigrain baguettes for your crostini a great way to add in some fiber and whole grains and no one will notice the difference. Burrata, like most cheeses, may not be the healthiest food ever, but it is certainly one of the most delicious so a little goes a long way. It’s summer…you have to indulge a little.
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Peach, Burrata, & Basil Crostini
makes about 16 crostini
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What’s in it:

  • Whole grain baguette, cut into 1/4 inch slices on a diagonal
  • 3 ripe yellow peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into about 6 slices each
  • 6-8 oz burrata ball
  • 10 large basil leaves, julienned
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • salt & Pepper

How to make it:

1. Slice your crostini and lightly brush both sides with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toast in 2 batches in the toaster, flipping halfway through, until lightly browned and crispy.  You could also do this in the oven but you couldn’t pay me to turn on my oven right now.

2. Heat grill or grill-pan over medium high heat.  Spray your peach slices with olive oil spray and grill for about 2 minutes on each side, until there are nice grill lines and peach as softened slightly but is not mushy.  Set grilled peach slices aside.

3.  Construct your crostini by spreading 1-2 teaspoons burrata on the toasted baguette.  Season with a little salt and drizzle with honey.  Top with a grilled peach slice and julienned basil.  Enjoy!
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