Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cheese Platter with Fig & Raisin Mostarda | Friday Night Bites

I simply love a great cheese platter.  It can simply have one cheese, a savory jam and some toasted bread or it can be elaborate with multiple cheeses, fruits and nuts. 

I mentioned in my last post that I was quite inspired in many ways by my recent trip to Chicago.  We actually enjoyed two very tasty cheese plates on our restaurant adventures.  The first one was at RPM Italian and it was served on a simple white marble small platter with toasted bread, aged pecorino cheese and a savory tomato jam.  It was actually our dessert and it was a perfect.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette + Weekly Inspirations

We just spent a marvelous week in the windy city.  I believe I am now at 28 states with 22 more to go to complete my bucket list of visiting all 50.  Chicago is an amazing city filled with great restaurants, a drop dead gorgeous skyline, friendly people, history and culture.  It was an inspirational vacation on many levels and will share some of the highlights for my weekly inspirations.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Bites | Friday Night Bites

I look forward to Friday Nights.  It is the end of the week and time to wind down with appetizers and wine with my hubby, sometimes with the addition of great friends.  Lately we have been enjoying sitting outside in our backyard with the fountain running in the background and feeling like we are in an oasis.  It is the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

I am a bit obsessed with Brussels sprouts.  Whether they are roasted, shaved or pan fried, they have to be my absolute favorite vegetable.  I must admit there is only one veggie that I simply can’t eat.  It is the one that I found most people on this planet love.  When I share with folks that it is not on my list of veggies to eat, they are a bit shocked.  I think it is because, I love food and thus people think you love everything.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Butterscotch Drop Cookies | Secret Recipe Club

It is Secret Recipe Club time again!  A time where we are assigned a blog and get to peruse it all month long to determine which recipe we will select, make and write about.  The catch is that the other person doesn't know who has them OR what recipe they will select.  It always amazes me how far folks will go back into the archives to find that perfect recipe.  If you want to join in the fun or learn more, simply click here.

This month I was assigned to Eliot’s Eats.  When Debra started her blog, she actually wanted to remain anonymous but I believe over time, she has opened up.  The name of her blog is derived from T.S. Eliot is her favorite poet and soon she and her hubby named the stray cat that adopted them, Eliot.  They claim to not be cat people but it is evident that soon changed. Debra works as an administrator at a public school and I can certainly imagine that cooking and blogging helps her wash away the days stress.  She loves to travel, cook and eat - some of my favorite things to do as well.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Grilled Apricot Crostini | Friday Night Bites

I am hopelessly in love with summer fruit.  Raspberries, blueberries, plums, nectarines, peaches and apricots all just signify that summer is here.  They are fresh, flavorful, ripe and bursting with brilliant fruit flavor.  What tends to go hand in hand with summer is grilling.

If you have not grilled bread, I highly suggest it.  It adds such a depth of flavor to the bread and what you decide to place on top of it.  Many times I will grill bread and top with thinly sliced avocados and drizzle with a bit of reduced balsamic vinegar and a touch of fleur de sel.  The combination is out of this world.  Trust me.  By the way, with a great glass of sauvignon blanc or even a smoky cabernet, you will be in appetizer heaven.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rhubarb Ice Cream + Weekly Inspirations

Rhubarb always catapults me back to my childhood in an instant.  My Mom would prepare it in a simple fashion by cutting into cubes along with adding a bit of sugar and then proceed to cook it until soft.  She would let it cool and we would eat it.  I absolutely love it prepared this way.  With the season in full swing, I thought why not make some Rhubarb Ice Cream to celebrate the season and near arrival of summer.  I wanted to add that something extra to the recipe, so I added pomegranate liquor.  Quite honestly, it was the perfect addition.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bacon, Smoked Mozzarella and Blueberry Jam Crostini | Friday Night Bites

If you have been following me for a while, you know I have a small, okay, large obsession with crostinis. They are the perfect vessel for placing a combination of tasty ingredients on top of and then devouring. As for the combinations, those are simply an endless list. It can be a simple as some triple cream brie with a dollop of fig jam on top or something more complex with say ten different ingredients. Whatever the amalgamation you choose, it is destined to be remarkable.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Classic Sangria + Wine Fridge Review + Wine Storage Tips

Recently I have been enthused by Spanish food and wine.  The idea of Tapas and Pintxos along with sipping some fragrant Sangria is quite inspiring. Perhaps I feel as though I am being transported to Spain or better yet, I think I need to add to my bucket list.  In the meantime, I can create the food and sip on handmade Sangria.  I have a classic Sangria recipe to share with all of you today along with some wine storage tips but first I wanted to share a product review that Staples asked if I would do.

About a month ago the wonderful folks at Staples reached out to me to inquire if I would be interested in reviewing one of their unique products.  As I continued to read the email, I realized that due to my love of wine, the inquiry was for a small wine refrigerator.  Now my eyes lit up like the new lights on the Bay Bridge.  It was an instant YES!

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grilled Romaine Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette + Weekly Inspirations

The last few days have definitely had summer reveal itself here in the Bay Area.  Personally I love it!  Each day this weekend we enjoyed our backyard with wine, food and friends.  Summer means salads too.  Recently I made what I deem the “Perfect Summer Salad”.  It is a Grilled Romaine Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette.  Found the dressing recipe in the June issue of Food and Wine Magazine and created the rest of this divine salad.

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