Good heavens, have I lost my head today! Avocado fries — an absolutely splendid way to turn an avocado into something outrageously even better, what fun. Give them a try and tell me what you think: I’m thinking I’ve got to make them right away.
This is the business: ombre nails and glitter? Yes please! Thanks to Crystal B, my fellow study abroad in Milan lady, I’ve found my new obsession. Check out her DIY steps for ombre nails and that perfectly unique look to go w/your sparkly #NYE dress. Show me your take on it!
Over my birthday weekend, the program I was studying with in Milan took us to Parma for a Culture/Cuisine Trip where we toured the Parmigiano Reggiano factory and watch the magic unfold. I bought a solid 5 lbs. of cheese but the only thing that was missing was a good tart sour ale like Jolly Pumpkin Perseguidor, Rodenbach Grand Cru or perhaps an impy like Victory Storm King Imperial Stout. Here’s a quick run through of the process that goes into parmesan cheese:
The head cheese of the Parmagiano Reggiano factory, separating extra whey to be fed to the piggies.
Skimming the cheese with a wooden rod to check consistency.
Bagging the cheese in cloth to drain before being pressed into the molds.
Brine bath where the proteins and little fat basically cure and harden until aging begins.
Thanks to mignonmange for this amazing eggie-goodness recipe!
One of food’s great combinations is tomatoes and eggs. Particularly when baked, the acid of the tomatoes perfectly complements the creaminess of the egg. This is a great winter egg dish—it’s hearty, warm, and full of good vitamins and protein. I made a two-person version of this recipe, but it…
While I adamantly loathe the era of the celebrity chef and next Food Network stars, I actually turn to Martha Stewart occasionally. I learned this behavior from a boss of mine when I was working as a special-events intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Whenever I was stuck on decisions for little things such as napkin holders, she told me that she often went to the MS website to get an idea and then mold it to the MOCA aesthetic.
Together with my roommate in Milan, we threw many dinner parties so I turned to the site for some fresh ideas towards the end of our time in Italy. The recipe I found and followed without elaboration was a simple summer treat that fit perfectly with our Italian life: strawberries, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground black pepper.
as many strawberries as you want to eat, cut into quarters and piled high on a plate
drizzle balsamic vinegar over top without drowning the fruit
fresh ground pepper over top
*I like to serve it in the middle of the table with forks for everyone to eat off the communal plate*
This plate also lead me to drizzling balsamic on fresh orange slices for a party. Within minutes the plate was empty.
Now then, beer. What goes best with the tangy zip of balsamic, the sweetness of strawberries and the spice of pepper? My thought is a nice porter, perhaps a stout: Smuttynose Robust Porter or Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura. You get the bitterness of roasted coffee notes with a mellow mouthfeel to play off the bite of the vinegar and fruit, everybody wins!
I really should have. I really should be. A big thank you to good genes.
I recently confessed to my mother that my favorite pasta was capellini, and not for the taste. I wanted capellini because I could spool huge amounts on my fork for one mammoth mouthful. I blame my mother for this because she makes an incredible meat sauce. Sometimes, even now, when she makes it and there are leftovers I will eat it out of the tupperware with a spoon foregoing the pasta.
I’m not quite sure why I was so secretive about this, but oh well.
In other pasta news, I actually made myself ill on an incredible dinner in Genoa, Italy. We sat at a long table and were served simple spaghetti with pesto and fresh fried sardines. I had one bite of both these local specialties and was hooked. When others at the table couldn’t finish their food I gladly took over. By the end of the night my stomach was so distended I could barely move, I’d already unbuttoned and unzipped my pants and everyone’s plates were fighting for a spot on my small corner of the table. I couldn’t help myself it just seemed criminal not to do the food justice.
I’m not totally sold on all the spots in Chicago - for one, I don’t have any interest in Alinea for $100/plate when there are so many way more good date spots (Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, Chicago q, Longman & Eagle, Kyoto, The Publican…the list is endless). But I do want to try out those Kohler Spas because yes, I would like to be in a pool of water that uses sound waves to make me feel all googly.
My senior year in college, I tried my hand at pairing an interesting beer list around a dinner prepared by a friend. I knew my audience: 11 friends and some family, a few winos and some dedicated but uneducated hopheads. The menu was a delicious hodge-podge: Cambodian chicken rice (details below), bbqed thick cut steaks, chickpea salad and for dessert crepes with homemade walnut frangipane.
To whet our appetites I started the diners off with a personal hop favorite, Bell’s Hopslam (only downside is the pricey nature of a 6-pack so go singles and mix it up with other hoppy friends like Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus, etc.).
Beer truly made its place known at our table and garnered the attention of everyone. To compliment the juicy chargrilled steaks: Lakefront Organic ESB. For the spicyness of both the Cambodian chicken rice and the chickpea salad a bottle of Saison Dupont Vielle Provision and a Cantillon Gueuze - the tartness of both played off the spicyness and citrus aspect complimented the ingredients of the salad well. Dessert was incredibly rich and very sweet, so in order to pay respect to this classic French sweet I served up small doses of Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout. LIke a shot of coffee as an aperatif, this brew is lavish but bitter enough to stand beside the crepe. Hell, you could pour this over vanilla ice cream and call it a night.
CAMBODIAN CHICKEN RICE:
Saute in a large and decently deep skillet one large yellow onion and a large garlic clove in olive oil over medium heat
Over the sauteed onions and garlic toss in 3 large chicken breasts cut in bite size pieces
As soon as the chicken starts to turn from pink to white start coating the surface of the entire pan with turmeric, cayenne, ground or fresh shredded ginger and black pepper. Alter the spice amount depending on your spice threshold. Add in about a cup of fish sauce (you can find this around the soy sauce at any large grocery store) and half a bag of frozen or fresh peas.
At the same time you start the process of the chicken and spices, start making a few cups of white rice depending on how much or how little rice you want to eat with your creation. Once this is prepared (the simplest way I’ve found is just taking another large skillet over medium heat, throwing in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook the rice until it starts to turn translucent around the edges and then start adding water, let it cook out and then add more until the rice is al dente).
Once the rice is complete turn back to your chicken stew and toss in a can of coconut milk and the rice and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve up with some lime wedges and cilantro.
My mother raised my brother and me in a household that was ethnocentric — we grew up knowing all the names of different spices, we knew what a wok was, we were accustomed to curries, etc. — but the one that stood out the most was Italian. My mother and father spent some quality time in Italy and it stuck with them for a very long time. The simplest recipe my mother loves to prepare to this day, and I love to wow friends with, is the tuscan farmer’s breakfast of fettunta and red wine. If you’re doing a breakfast of champions a different way, I would go for a nice bitter or even a sour ale if you’re game to compliment the salty/garlic beauty of this simple fare.
Grab a loaf of some good thick rustic french bread (I love Italian food but the bread I will leave to the French, they are the masters): the kind with a dusting of flour and a basic ingredients list, we are NOT looking for a sourdough.
Cut a few thick 1/2 inch slices then cut in half and pop into the toaster. If you don’t have a toaster improvise and toss it into a hot skillet or even hold over a gas stove flame (try not to burn down the house).
Once out of the toaster golden brown, you’ll want a big garlic clove or two, with the skins off. Take the clove and start rubbing down that piece of bread, it’ll start to shred with the vigor of the rub but that is ok, this is the desired effect.
Next drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, do not soak it with the stuff.
Then just take some sea salt and sprinkle over top. This is the basic recipe but you can get creative with pepper and other spices if you so choose.
This is not the shitty creamy garlic soaked bread you get at the grocery store, so be prepared to fall in love and wish you were a Tuscan farmer.
2 cans chickpeas drained large bunch of curly parsley half a large red onion
Dressing (just eyeball it)=1:1 of olive oil to lemon juice, large tablespoon Grey Poupon and cayenne pepper (to give it more heat I also put in a tiny dab of Defcon wing sauce, you will be so addicted to this stuff, I am a glutton for punishment)
Pour all contents into a large Ziploc bag, shake it around, refrigerate and let marinate or just eat right away with a bomber of ST Iniquity. Soooo goood.
Disclaimer: prepare to be a fire breathing dragon with roasted/toasted burps. you’re bound to feel a little…imperial.
I stumbled upon this great little snack while packing for a hiking trip and wanted something to celebrate, imbibe and munch on at the summit. Thus, the beautiful pairing of the sour ale Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne and salty cashews. The aroma reminded me of rotting trash and at first sip so did the flavor.
Further sips revealed sour cherries, dark fruits, apricot and vanilla. Incredibly smooth on the palate, absolutely no kick at the end. Much too sweet for me, almost could be considered a dessert beer in the same vein as dessert wines. However, the slightly sweet/nutty and super salty character of the cashews really made this a refreshing snack after a long sweaty hike.
The other night I had the orgasmically delicious Rochefort Trappistes 10 and I just happened to be nibbling on candied orange peels covered in dark chocolate. May I venture this to be the best combination especially for that time of the month. The aroma is boozy dried apricots/juicy prune and the mouthfeel is so smooth on the palate that the 11.35 abv is dangerously well-hidden. The dark fruity notes of this beer play exquisitely well off the sweet, bitter and citrusy nature of the candy. I would also recommend a sour ale, perhaps the Flemish Red Duchess de Bourgogne as an alternative.
“Have never felt so at home in a bar before as I did in The Barrelhouse Flats last night. Prohibition era cocktails, wearing my red fox coat, and sipping out of vintage punch cups. Can I get an AMEN!”—
I straight up cannot bake which is especially sad for me because I have such aspirations to be a great baker. Only I don’t measure and I think that’s one of those things that really good bakers do really well.
Luckily, for my roommate’s birthday I remembered my all time most favorite cake. When I was little, my mom made me my very own ice cream cake. It meant more to me than any of the store bought cakes I had begged for in previous years.
Here’s what you need:
Angel food cake (either one big one or a few little ones)
Your favorite ice cream flavors
Heavy whipping cream
Here’s How to Make It:
1. Cut the angel food horizontally in as many layers as you’d like. If you have little cakes, just cut horizontally in half.
2. You can choose to drizzle some amaretto on each layer. Then spread as much ice cream on each layer as your heart can stand.
3. Pop the cake(s) back in the freezer while you prepare the whipped cream.
4. Prepare the whipped cream! Use a container of heavy whipping cream,confectioners sugar (probably half a tablespoon) to taste, a couple teaspoons of vanilla. Whip in a chilled bowl. You’ll want soft peaks - we’re not making meringue so you’ll be standing over the bowl with an electric beater on high for several minutes.
5. Take cakes out of the freezer and frost with ample amounts of whipped cream. You can sprinkle a little regular cane sugar on top of the cake(s) to provide a little sweet crunch on top.
6. Pop cakes back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
This idiot-proof cake is a huge hit, stupid easy to make and delicious. You can make fun variations using different flavored whipped creams, fudges/caramels and a variety of fruits to decorate. Enjoy!