I blinked and September is here and summer is just about over. Or is it?
I feel like Labor Day is unofficially labeled as the end of summer and the beginning of fall. And since Labor Day has not yet arrived, I am doing my best to try and squeeze every last drop of summer out of these last fleeting days.
What better way to celebrate the last days of summer and Labor Day than to have a backyard BBQ with all your friends and family? It’s like the last “hoorah” of summer. So if you do decide to have a little celebration, I have the perfect burger and wine pairing for you!
I’m huge burger and red wine fan so I recently decided to try and combine two of my favorite things. The combination resulted in some killer red wine cheeseburgers made from Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon. How can you go wrong with that?
And yes, I just recommended you a boxed wine. Gasp!
Let’s get this straight, not all boxed wines are created equal. As much as I don’t like to admit, I have had my fair share of boxed wine. My aunt drinks them religiously and used to always buy the one that was one sale or the cheapest to bring to our parties. Well, we can all guess how that goes. True that price and quality don’t always go hand in hand but in the case of her and the wine… it was terrible. I secretly think she did that so no one would drink her wine.
However, recently I was introduced to Black Box Wines and all my speculations and stereotypes of boxed wines were thrown in the trash. This wine is actually fantastic! I mean, it has to be since Black Box has won over 50 gold medals for it’s quality wine. Bonus that it’s available for 40% less that comparable bottled wines and stays fresh for up to 6 weeks.
Who am I kidding… there is no way wine lasts in my house for 6 weeks! Ha!
Black Box Wines are perfect for your next backyard BBQ with friends and family because you can have enough wine for your entire party and eat it too. Plus, with the quality of Black Box Wines people won’t complain about their drink choice.
So grab all your friends and family, a box of Cabernet Sauvignon, and get to grilling for Labor Day and the last days of summer. I promise that these red wine burgers will not disappoint.
During the holiday season I love to have stuff on hand to make a panini. Things tend to get a little crazy this time of the year. We get so busy shopping, decorating, doing activities that we sometimes forget to eat. Do you do that? Get so busy that at 3 in the afternoon you realize you completely forgot lunch!
Well a panini is great because it works well for lunch, dinner, or a snack. Cut them in bite-sized pieces to serve at a holiday party. Plus they only take minutes to assemble and cook.
Muffaletta Panini with 3 kinds of meat, provolone cheese, and olive relish.
And since everyone likes their Panini a little different- some like a lot of cheese, some a lot of meat, and a few are just in it for the bread- it’s the perfect excuse to have everyone make their own. That equals less stress on Mom! And Pompeian Olive Oil has just the trick to make setting up a Panini station super easy. For a limited time you can go to the Pompeian Facebook Page and print out a customized label for a bottle of Pompeian Olive Oil complete with a recipe and picture. You can use one of your most cherished family recipes and a family photo to make a wonderful gift. The labels fit perfectly on a 24 ounce bottle of Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
I also think it would be great to choose a favorite family recipe that would be easy for your holiday guests to make for themselves like this Muffaletta Panini. Layered with Olive Salad, Salami, Mortadella, Capicola, and Provolone cheese, this is one delicious sandwich.
The Olive Salad can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to a week. It’s a delicious blend of Pompeian Olive oil, Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar, olives, red onion, artichoke hearts, and roasted red pepper.
A nice coating of Olive Oil on the outside of the sandwich gets it nice and crispy and gives it tons of great flavor.
You can use Pompeian Olive Oil to brighten up the flavor of a variety of recipes. It is the first and only extra virgin olive oil to carry a USDA Quality Monitored Seal. Pompeian also has a variety of blended oils, vinegars, cooking wines, and sprays to use in your holiday meals. To design your own Pompeian label click here and if you need some holiday inspiration you’ll find recipes and more at Pompeian.com.
Kombucha is a refreshing, effervescent fermented tea that has therapeutic and restorative properties for the body. Kombucha is produced using a SCOBY, an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This simply means that the bacteria and yeast exist together in a supportive network. The SCOBY feeds on the sweet tea and produces a wide range of beneficial compounds. These compounds all play an important role in our body’s metabolism, the task of accelerating the chemical process within the body.
Every batch of kombucha is different and contains various levels of probiotics, enzymes and amino acids. However, there are three components in every batch of this special tea: gluconic acid, acetic acid and fructose.
Other benefits of kombucha are its anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Within 7-8 day growth, it can also produce a natural antibiotic called meduzin, which many say has a healing effect in just 5 days.
Kombucha enhances the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. It normalizes the acidity of the stomach and suppresses decay-causing microflora and restores the intestinal tract with beneficial microflora. It helps to combat constipation and kidney stones and lowers blood pressure. It assists in decreasing cholesterol in blood and can relieve insomnia and arthritic pain.
I can’t believe the last I wrote was when I was about to hop on a plane to one of my favorite cities in the world. Yes, for work, but, as is the case with Barcelona, there will always be a bit (lot) of fun on the side. You can hop over to my Instagram if you’d like to take a peek at all my gastronomic overindulgence (my jeans are still complaining!). It was a fantastic trip – the weather was perfect (sunny but very cool), the work was inspiring (a growth summit in which one of the speakers as a former hostage negotiator!), and the food was amazing (this, this, THIS…and so much more!)!
Despite the incredible food, it never fails, when I am winging my way back home, the insatiable craving for Asian food sets in. You can take the girl out of Asia, but you can never take Asia out of the girl, at least as far as the tummy is concerned. As soon as we landed at our stopover in Singapore I was out of the plane and into the food court, debating furiously about what I should eat. The chicken rice? The mee goreng? The laksa? The nasi goreng? The char kway teow? Delicious dilemmas…
I settled on a big plate of char kway teow which I wolfed down greedily. And on the plane ride home I knew I wanted to recreate it in my own kitchen…
There is something about alphabets (pasta) that makes me just smile and feel like I may never grow up. It’s also something I love giving my kids. This is a very basic alphabet soup, with a chock-full of vegetables, that makes for a lovely, sustaining, healthful meal. You can mix the veggies around to include your family’s favorites, and leave out any they don’t care for. And of course, there is the whimsy, and educational value, of having letters in their soup!
When making this, try to get all the vegetables cut to roughly the same size. You can serve this with a grating of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to top…or leave it as is, as I have done here. You can also use chicken stock instead of water to give the soup’s flavor more depth, but using plain water is just fine. You can also add a sprig of fresh herbs to the pot with the chicken, if you have any around.
So…make sure to stop and marvel at the fairy dust. Relish each and every haphazardly placed ballerina sticker, found in odd places. Pause to live in the moment of made-up games and imaginary horses named Sparky. Childhood is fleeting, and so, in fact, is life. Enjoy the ride…and have a great week ahead!
I started experimenting with my own ingredients to come up with unique flavors like guava and persimmon. Making ice cream from scratch was fun and exciting, but like many hobbies, my passion dwindled and my ice cream maker got lost somewhere way-up-high in the pantry. As the weather began to warm up, I decided to dust off my machine once again and up the ante on my ice cream making skills. Instead of making a ice cream with a base of heavy cream, I decided to challenge myself to making creme anglaise – a custard made of milk, sugar and eggs that is often used to make ice cream. One more thing to check off my bucket list cloud solution.
No one said that mastering cooking techniques was easy. I must have gone through 2 dozen eggs and 4 quarts of milk until I managed to make a custard base that didn’t curdle. But practice makes perfect, and this creamy, yet mildly tangy cheesecake ice cream is living proof hong kong business school.
So what’s left on my bucket list? Well, I want to make my own kimchi, learn to can my own jam, make marshmallows from scratch, make authentic French macaroons, learn to use a smoker, eat more Indian food (make naan!), make my own sausage, play around with doughs (from galletes, to gourmet challah and homemade pita), cook a whole turkey for Thanksgiving (can you believe I’ve never done that?!), expand my knowledge of cheese & wine, eat more polenta, cook with (kosher) bacon, and experiment with plantains glass tea infuser pot.
Ryan is a good sport. I don’t say that enough here, so I’m saying it now – I’m a lucky lady.
I mess up our kitchen on the daily, and he doesn’t complain. Sure, he pokes fun at me for not even THINKING about cleaning as I go (“Don’t you wish you had a little counter space? Shouldn’t you move your computer away from the flour?”) but anyone would make fun of that Top MBA in Hong Kong.
He pretends to be as excited as I am about my before and after photo editing. “Oh, man! That’s amazing! Shit!”
Or when I tell him we’re eating tortilla-crusted tempeh tacos with avocado cashew cream, he’s all, “What now?” but just goes with it. He might turn a somewhat judgmental eye at the plant-based protein block while I slice it, but he is willing to try anything.
It almost makes me feel like I should eat one of his venison steaks.
When I make cookies that are flat as pancakes, or a woefully underseasoned pasta dish, he goes, “I think they’re pretty good!” or “It just needs a little hot sauce water cool towel!”
Do all men think hot sauce is an instant life fixer? Is that a thing?
I can always tell when he’s underwhelmed, but I do appreciate his attitude. It makes it all the more satisfying when it’s obvious that he actually likes something. Especially when it is totally vegan and he doesn’t even know it.
Okay, maybe he shredded a little sharp cheddar on top of these, but that was just out of habit, really.
I have been thinking about making these tacos for weeks. Something about the texture of the tempeh with the corn chips just sounded so RIGHT to me. Although, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit weird about tortilla chips lately. I wake up in the middle of the night craving them. Sometimes I eat them for breakfast. It’s a little off, but it works for me PolyU MBA.
These tacos are awesome the day you make them, and can be reheated as leftovers, but the tempeh will lose some crispiness after sitting in the fridge. Despite the lack of crunch, it does still have great flavor, so I reheated the tempeh and happily ate away for 3 days of leftover taco yums.
I keep thinking that someone will knock on my door and offer to mow my lawn. For a fee, of course—a fee that I will gladly pay. Yet no one has come knocking. My grass is only growing longer. And I am definitely not going to buy a mower and mow it myself. What’s a girl to do otterbox reflex?
Google “lawn service,” probably. I will say, though, the overgrown green blanket outside my window is a lovely backdrop for my food photos. At my last apartment, my view consisted of strangers’ windows and a parking garage. Now I have big green trees and a yard that’s being overrun by weeds but if you squint, it just looks like a nice, uniform green.
We’d better start talking about this salad before I start going on about the neighborhood bunnies and squirrels again. (They are everywhere!) I’m totally obsessed with this salad. I basically took Deb’s kale salad and changed it up for spring. I added strawberries instead of apples, swapped lemon juice for apple cider vinegar in the dressing and kept the chopped radishes for some spicy crunch. Then I topped it all off with nutty, savory granola clusters that act as croutons. Granola in salad?! Trust me bookcases.
I found the savory granola concept in Bon Appetit Magazine‘s April issue. Bon Appetit is always chock-full of good ideas and the April issue was especially full of them. I had already dog-eared a bunch of pages when I came across their recipe for savory granola. The headnote said that savory granola is a new restaurant trend. I thought, “Well, if all the cool kids are doing it…” and immediately got up to make some.
I’m not usually one to add croutons to my salad, but these granola “croutons” are a different story. You’re basically adding some freshly toasted, spiced nut mix to salad—clearly a good idea. Especially considering how well strawberries and oats play together. (You know what else strawberries go well with? Pizza eye cream.)
A few years ago, when we lived in Georgia, a restaurant that we frequented served up a seasonal salad with mixed greens, fresh strawberries, nuts, and bacon all tossed in a black pepper vinaigrette. I would skip the bacon and even without it, it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had. I crave it to this day — especially when I see a basket of strawberries designer sales.
Since strawberries are in season now, it seemed like the perfect time to take a stab at creating my own version of that salad — this time, with the bacon. Well, with coconut bacon. If you haven’t made coconut bacon before, I have a step-by-step tutorial on how to make it on Beard & Bonnet. It’s really simple to do and it’s completely worth it. Most bacon substitutes get the flavor right, but the texture is wrong. Coconut bacon is about as close as you can get to nailing both the flavor of bacon and the crispy texture too.
So does it taste like coconut? Well, a little bit, but it’s hardly detectable. And if you’re one of those people who dislikes coconut flakes because of the chewy texture, don’t worry — the coconut gets crispy in the oven, so that chewiness goes away usb dac.
The sweet spring strawberries are the perfect compliment to the savory, salty bacon. I opted to use a prepared salad mix from the store, which makes this simple salad even easier to throw together. I used an herb blend because I love the little bits of cilantro, basil, and dill running through the greens, but you can use any lettuce mix you want — just toss in a few of your own favorite herbs before serving.
To finish things off, I added almonds and roasted pepitas for some crunch (and protein!) and drizzled it all with a homemade black pepper vinaigrette. I like having my salad with a few thinly sliced wedges of cheese on the side to round out the meal, but this is one of those salads that’s satisfying all by itself — no need to add soup or a sandwich Alexander Hera!