Smirnoff Cocktails to sweeten up Valentine’s Day

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What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a lovely cocktail or two with your sweetie or best pal?  These cocktails are made with Smirnoff vodka and are just as pretty as they are delicious, no matter who you’re spending this special day with!

Hibiscus Crush

The first cocktail is a “Hibiscus Punch”, that is bound to make any Galentine’s get-together a little less sour and a little more sweet. Made with Smirnoff No. 21, this is a quality recipe that won’t break the bank!

Hibiscus Crush

  • 16 ounces Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 32 ounces lemon lime soda
  • 1 lemon- sliced
  • 1 lime-sliced
  • 1 orange- sliced
  • 4 cups crushed ice

Place hibiscus, water and sugar in a small pot to simmer over the stove for 5 minutes.  Once sugar is dissolved, set aside to cool. Strain. Place vodka, triple sec, soda and sliced citrus in a punch bowl or beverage container. Add hibiscus infusion. Stir. Right before quests arrive add 4 cups crushed ice.

Secret Admirer

The “Secret Admirer” is the perfect cocktail to serve up for your date night, which features Smirnoff’s most popular flavor, Smirnoff Raspberry.

Secret Admirer 

  • 4 ounces Smirnoff Raspberry
  • 1.5 ounces Chartreuse
  • 6 fresh raspberries

Place all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into two vintage martini glasses. Garnish with fresh raspberries. You could sugar the rim for extra sweetness.

Be sure to check out Smirnoff’s Facebook page and Twitter page for more great cocktail ideas and recipes!

Recipes and Photos – Courtesy of Sylvia Fountaine of Feasting at Home

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Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake w/ Strawberry Balsamic Chocolate Sauce

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Blood Orange Cake w/ Strawberry Sauce

It’s that LOVELY time of year again folks, when love is in the air and a romantic dinner and evening in with your significant other is on the menu. And we all know what Valentine’s Day is all about…wine, chocolate, strawberries and a special sweet dessert!

I created this recipe for Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Balsamic Sauce that will impress your sweetie and top off a romantic evening with a glass of champagne..hope you enjoy and indulge on this special day 😉

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake w/ Strawberry Balsamic Chocolate Sauce

Yield: 4-6

A LOVELY dessert made with Blood Orange olive oil and Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and fresh strawberries and LOTS OF LOVE <3

Ingredients

  • BLOOD ORANGE OLIVE OIL CAKE:
  • 1 tablespoon butter, for greasing pan
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Seven Barrels Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Juice from 1 blood orange
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • CHOCOLATE BALSAMIC STRAWBERRY SAUCE:
  • ½ cup Seven Barrels Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 pint strawberries, stemmed and sliced

Instructions

  1. BLOOD ORANGE OLIVE OIL CAKE:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or 8-inch loaf pan with butter.
  3. In a stand mixer or large bowl with hand mixer, mix together the sugar and eggs on medium speed until lightly blended.
  4. Drizzle in the Seven Barrels Blood Orange olive oil and vanilla and mix together until smooth. Add the blood orange juice in and mix into the batter.
  5. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add baking powder, soda and salt. Add to the wet batter in small increments and mix on low to incorporate. Scrape the sides with a spatula and make sure all wet and dry ingredients are blended well.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes or so, then remove cake from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack before serving.
  7. CHOCOLATE BALSAMIC STRAWBERRY SAUCE:
  8. Add the Seven Barrels Chocolate Balsamic vinegar and chocolate syrup to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for about 5 minutes until heated through and blended.
  9. Add the sliced strawberries to the chocolate sauce and mix together. Serve the sauce warm over Blood Orange Olive Oil cake or over ice cream.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2018/02/12/blood-orange-olive-oil-cake-w-strawberry-balsamic-chocolate-sauce/

You can find the Blood Orange Olive Oil and Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar at www.7barrels.com

Truffle Steak Au Poivre + Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks

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I recently did some recipes for my client 7 Barrels for their holiday promotional marketing and social media campaign. Featuring their Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, White Balsamic Vinegar and White Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I created this delicious Truffle Steak Au Poivre and some amazing Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks. Perfect for a chilly Winter evening, special occasion or holiday celebration!

Truffle Steak Au Poivre

This steak is so tender and melts in your mouth! This Truffle Steak Au Poivre has a crust made with crushed black peppercorns, cooked in butter and 7 Barrels White Truffle Oil, then drizzled with a luscious pan sauce made with 7 Barrels traditional balsamic vinegar, shallots, beef broth and more butter, sprinkled with coarse sea salt and chopped fresh herbs. Divine!

Truffle Potato Stacks

These Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks are so delicious and cute you won’t be able to eat just one. Thin sliced potatoes stacked and roasted in a muffin tin with luscious butter, truffle oil, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese and garlic, topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and coarse sea salt. YUM!

Truffle Steak Au Poivre + Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4

These delicious steaks and cheesy potato stacks are made with luscious 7 Barrels truffle oil, traditional balsamic and white balsamic vinegar. The perfect combination for an elegant holiday dinner or special occasion.

Ingredients

  • Truffle Steak Au Poivre Ingredients:
  • 2 (8-ounce) NY Strip Steaks, 1 inch thick, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (Maldon or Fleur de Sel)
  • 2 tablespoons cracked peppercorns (black or mixed)
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • ½ cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Seven Barrels Traditional Dark Balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse sea salt and chopped herbs, for garnish (optional)
  • Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks Ingredients:
  • 4 medium potatoes (Russet, Idaho or Yukon Gold)
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup sharp white cheddar, finely shredded
  • Coarse sea salt, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish (thyme, parsley or rosemary)
  • 1/4 cup Seven Barrels White Balsamic, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Make the Steak:
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt evenly.
  3. Crack the peppercorns with the back of a heavy skillet or spice grinder (coarsely ground) and press onto both sides of the steaks.
  4. Add Seven Barrels Truffle olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the cast iron skillet; swirl to melt and coat the pan.
  5. Place the steaks in the heated skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side (for medium-rare), drizzling olive oil and butter from the pan over the top of the steaks with a spoon while cooking to get a nice brown sear. Remove the steaks from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes to let juices resettle, then cut each steak in half.
  6. While the steaks are resting, add the shallots to the pan and sauté for a minute or two until slightly tender and golden.
  7. Stir in the beef broth and Seven Barrels Traditional Dark Balsamic vinegar, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes and reduce liquid by half. Remove from heat; stir in remaining tablespoon of butter to make the balsamic pan sauce. Garnish with additional coarse sea salt and fresh herbs, if desired.
  8. Serve immediately with a side of vegetables (mashed potatoes, sautéed asparagus or green beans), a simple mixed greens salad with Seven Barrels olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a glass of full-bodied red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon).
  9. Make the Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks:
  10. Preheat the oven 400 degrees F.
  11. Wash potatoes and cut them into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch), leaving skins on. You can do this by hand, or use a mandolin to make slicing easier and faster.
  12. In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes, dried Italian seasoning, garlic, melted butter, Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil, kosher salt and black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and gently toss together.
  13. Layer half the potatoes stacked in layers into a non-stick 12-cup muffin pan (or lightly grease a muffin pan), sprinkle half the shredded cheddar on top. Then layer the other half of the potatoes, stacking them to the top and add remaining shredded cheddar on top.
  14. Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy golden brown on edges and cooked through. Run a small knife around the edges of the of each stack to release them from the muffin pan.
  15. Serve potatoes hot with a sprinkle of sea salt and chopped herbs, and drizzle them with Seven Barrels White Balsamic vinegar. Note: You can pre-bake these a day or two ahead and reheat them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees F.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2018/01/10/truffle-steak-au-poivre-cheesy-truffle-potato-stacks/

{Things I Love} :: Holiday Entertaining

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So we are full swing in the midst of the holiday season – the most wonderful time of the year! Food, cocktails, friends, family, traveling, gifts, and a whirlwind of social activities can sometimes be a little crazy and exhausting, so I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things to help make your holiday entertaining a little easier, stylish and a whole lot more fun (and tasty!)

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday and amazing New Year 2018!

xo Kristen 

Entertainers Gift Box

Entertainers Gift Box 

Who doesn’t love a cozy and fantastic party with a gorgeous cheese board as a centerpiece? This Entertainer’s Gift Box is perfect for a cocktail party bursting with classic goodies like Marcona almonds from Spain, an olive wood serving bowl, sweet and savory spreads: Orange and Fig Jam, Pepper Jelly and Mango Chutney and Cracked Pepper gourmet wafer crackers.

Entertainers Gift Box

The perfect accompaniment for an assortment of cheese, prosciutto, salami, fruit and nibbles – and a beautiful addition for your holiday table!

$60, UncommonGoods.com

Marble and Wood Serving Board

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set

This Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set is perfect for entertaining and goes hand and hand with the Entertainer’s Gift Box to display all that delicious cheese, crackers, salami, nuts and spreads! One side is marble and one side is wood, making it attractive and functional at the same time.

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board

Pair fresh bread and crackers on the wood board with cheese on the chilled marble, or sushi on the cool side with tempura vegetables on the wood. The on-point arrow design unifies the two sections, integrating the contrasting materials. Foam pads on the bottom protect your tabletop. It makes a stylish addition to your tablescape or distinctive hostess gift.

Marble and Mango Wood Board

$55, UncommonGoods.com

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

This rustic Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand is a beautiful addition to your kitchen and handy tool to view recipes on your iPad or to hold a traditional cookbook.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

It has a sturdy wood base and back and collapses or expands to lay it flat or prop it up on your counter.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Designed by Stacy Borocz, who has a carefully curated collection of antique and repurposed home furnishings and culinary accents for over a decade. She attends local markets and old homes, barns and warehouses to find the architectural elements for her designs, and no two pieces are exactly alike.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

$95 Uncommongoods.com

Melting Pot

Fondue Melting Pot 

This Fondue Melting Pot is perfect for melting cheese to accompany your holiday table – serve with pickles, bread, olives, meat, and vegetables. The Melting Pot Includes a Boska Tapas Fondue Pot, Murray’s Fondue Blend,
Murray’s Sopressata Salami,  Crisp & Co. Grand Dill Pickles and crunchy Cipollini Onions.

$110, MurraysCheese.com

Anthropologie Enchante Wine Coupe

Enchante Wine Coupe

These imported Enchante Wine Coupe glasses by Anthropologie are gilded in a gold design and also come in stemless water glasses, stemmed champagne flutes and a small bowl. A gorgeous way to serve cocktails and snacks and ring in the New Year!

$20, Anthropologie

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

This fun Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit comes with all the right ingredients to serve up these citrusy refreshing drinks for your next holiday party – including the brandy, rum, bitters, orange liqueur and glasses. Simply add fresh fruit and juice and voila! you’ve got an amazing cocktail to entertain your friends with.

WINTER SOLSTICE

1.5 oz brandy
.5 oz rum
.25 oz orange liqueur
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1-2 dashes bitters
Orange wheel, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine brandy, rum, orange liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters.
2. Shake until blended and well-chilled.
3. Strain into a couple glass and garnish with orange wheel.

Makes 1 cocktail

$173.50, Mouth.com

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible cookbook is the ultimate resource for all things holiday entertaining.  With over 565 recipes served up on everything from skewers to spoons, for fun and flavorful mini hors d’oeuvres, amuse-bouches, small bites and finger foods, stylish cocktails and desserts, you are sure to find some inspiration for your next holiday cocktail party!

$14 Amazon.com

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

This Moonglow Cocktail Shaker is a beautiful way to stir, shake and serve all your holiday cocktails in style!

$39 Anthropologie.com

Martini and Sweet Spicy Nuts

Classic Dry Martini

1 2/3 oz Gin
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twist of lemon peel or olives.

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add cashews, pecans and cashews; cook over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted.

Place nuts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let nuts cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 cups.

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

These Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts I created are perfect for a holiday party! I made sweet mini cranberry apple almond tarts and savory bacon, veggie and cheese tarts but feel free to experiment with the fillings and flavors..so cute and easy to make!

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Parmesan Artichoke Dip

This Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips is one of my favorite holiday appetizers. Brimming with creamy cheese, roasted garlic, and tons of savory juicy artichokes with crispy homemade chips for dipping – this one will fly off your holiday table!

Truffle Potato Stacks

Truffled Potato Stacks

These Truffled Potato Stacks are crispy and savory and buttery and delicious! Sliced thin and baked with butter, garlic, parmesan and cheddar cheese and 7 Barrels Truffle Olive Oil in a muffin pan, then dusted with sea salt and thyme and served with tangy and sweet 7 Barrels White Balsamic Vinegar for dipping – they make a perfect appetizer or side dish to your holiday meal!

4 medium potatoes (Russet, Idaho or Yukon Gold)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar, finely shredded
Coarse sea salt, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish (thyme, parsley or rosemary)
1/4 cup Seven Barrels White Balsamic, for drizzling

Preheat the oven 400 degrees F. Wash potatoes and cut them into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch), leaving skins on. You can do this by hand, or use a mandolin to make slicing easier and faster.

In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes, dried Italian seasoning, garlic, melted butter, Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil, kosher salt and black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and gently toss together.

Layer half the potatoes stacked in layers into a non-stick 12-cup muffin pan (or lightly grease a muffin pan), sprinkle half the shredded cheddar on top. Then layer the other half of the potatoes, stacking them to the top and add remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy golden brown on edges and cooked through. Run a small knife around the edges of the of each stack to release them from the muffin pan.

Serve potatoes hot with a sprinkle of sea salt and chopped herbs, and drizzle them with Seven Barrels White Balsamic vinegar. Note: You can pre-bake these a day or two ahead and reheat them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees F.

Serves 6 (approx. 2 stacks per person).

New Years Soup

New Year’s Soup

A hearty and delicious traditional soup served on New Years Day – with black eyed peas and collard greens and ham for good luck and financial blessings for the New Year.

Ingredients

  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, undrained
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (14-1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped fresh collard greens
  • Hot sauce for splashing

Instructions

In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except collard greens and hot sauce; mix well. Add collard greens on top.

Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours, or until greens are tender. Splash with hot sauce before serving.

Recipe by Mr. Food.com

Lobster Pies

Lobster Pies

These luscious Lobster Pies are decadent, delicious and the perfect way to celebrate the holidays and New Year. Bathed in a buttery creamy sherry sauce and filled with tons of fresh lobster and parmesan cheese then baked with a butter crunchy cracker crust. Divine, elegant and oh so good. Indulge!

Holiday Brunch Quiche

Bacon, Cheese & Pepper Quiche with Hashbrown Crust

This is a delicious spin on a holiday brunch quiche – you simply line a springform pan with shredded hash browns and cook until lightly browned, then add your quiche ingredients until bubbly and cheese is melty. Perfect for a New Year’s Day brunch or casual lunch with friends.

Ingredients

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  • 1 large package frozen hash browns, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • A dash of onion flakes, garlic powder and dill seasoning, to taste
  • Sea salt & pepper, to taste

For the Quiche:

  • 3/4 cup red, orange and yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 1-2% milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, diced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Brush a small amount of oil to the bottom of a spring form pan and line with parchment paper, including the sides. Brush with more oil on top of the parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine the hash browns, melted butter, egg and spices in a bowl and place them in the pan pushing them up the sides to make a 1 inch crust for the quiche.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the hash browns get lightly browned and crispy.

For the Quiche:

  1. In a small pan, over low/medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the peppers and onions, for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the eggs, cream, milk, cheese and cooked bacon. Add cooled peppers and onions,  season with salt and pepper and pour into the precooked hash brown crust in the springform pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges with a side of fruit salad and toasted holiday bread and butter.
 Serves  6-8.

Smirnoff Ice Holiday Cocktails + Appetizers

Smirnoff Ice Holiday Recipes
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Who says you can’t eat, drink, and be merry all at once? Tis the season for boozy brunches, family gatherings and holiday feasts after all. If you’re looking to kick up your next party platter, boozy brunch or family gathering – Smirnoff Ice has you covered. Here are some fun and delicious Smirnoff Ice cocktail and appetizer recipes using Smirnoff Ice Original, Smirnoff Ice Strawberry, and Smirnoff Ice Green Apple – perfect fruity and citrus flavors that will steal the show whether you’re hosting or just bringing a dish to the party!

Holiday-Berry-Sparkler

Holiday Berry Sparkler

Ingredients

For the Cranberry Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

For the Cocktail

  • .75 oz cranberry simple syrup (recipe below)
  • .50 oz triple sec
  • 1.50 oz apple cider
  • 1 oz original Smirnoff Ice
  • 2 oz strawberry Smirnoff Ice
  • Cranberries and lemon peel for garnish

Mini-Berry-Bites

Mini Berry Bites

Ingredients

For the Cranberries

  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Bites

  • Mini Phyllo dough cups
  • 2 pkgs gelatin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Smirnoff Ice
  • Sugared cranberries (recipe above)
  • whipped cream
  • orange slices

Caramel-Green-Apple-Cocktail

Caramel Green Apple Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka
  • .50 oz ginger simple syrup
  • 1.50 oz Green Apple Smirnoff Ice

Citrus-Asian-Chicken-Wings

Citrus Asian Wings

Ingredients

For the Wings

  • 2 lbs wings
  • 1 bottle Smirnoff Ice Original
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste – about 1/2 tsp each
  • 3 green onions, green and white parts diced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups Smirnoff Ice Original
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp Teriyaki
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • black pepper to taste

All recipes courtesy of Smirnoff Ice / Jay and Leah from The Gastronom

For more great recipe ideas from Smirnoff Ice check out their Facebook and Twitter pages!

Things I Love :: Holiday Gift Guide 2017

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Holiday Gift Ideas for All Your Favorite People

The holidays are rapidly approaching and we all need a few fun ideas for gifting, now don’t we? This hot list below is full of great holiday gift ideas and things I love, perfect for your friends, family and coworkers – whether they love pampering, cooking, or just relaxing and having a cocktail by the fire, there’s a gift on this list they’re gonna love too!

Monogrammed Cocktail Glasses

Monogrammed Cocktail Glasses

Perfect-sized lowball glasses for whiskey and mixed cocktail drinks monogrammed with gold metallic vinyl will look stunning on display on your holiday table or bar cart.

seoulscrub set

SeoulScrub Mini Mix Body Scrub Set

Seoulscrub’s collections – defined by all-natural ingredients, fragrant scents and nourishing benefits are crafted to stimulate circulation and leave skin with a spa-fresh glow. The set includes 5 assorted scrubs including: Lemon Blossom, Creamy Coconut, Peppermint, Sea Mist and Suede Vetiver. YUM! You should also get Dermatologist to check for skin cancer before you start using any products.

holiday sparkler set

Holiday Sparkler Set

This gift-worthy Sparkling Cocktail Kit includes a beautiful sparkling wine, craft gin, Washington D.C. limoncello and a bittersweet, floral liqueur. Basically everything needed to mix up swanky cocktails like a French 75, floral Spritzer or Limoncello Sparkler.

It also includes a set of four stemless shatterproof Champagne flutes from Govino, designed with a divot for your thumb – perfect way to celebrate the holidays!

Polaroid Cube+ 1440p Mini Lifestyle Action Camera with Wi-Fi & Image Stabilization

Polaroid Cube Mini Camera with WiFi

The black CUBE+ Lifestyle Action Camera from Polaroid makes it easier than ever to record and share all of life’s adventures. It has a built in video camera that shoots 1440p video at 30 fps, 1080p video up to 60 fps, and 720p video at 120 fps for slow-motion capture. Additionally, the camera captures up to 8MP still images. The CUBE+ also adds image stabilization for smoother looking video and built-in Wi-Fi for syncing with the CUBE+ app for iOS and Android devices. Super cool for any adventure loving photography buff!

Baked by Melissa Cupcakes

Baked by Melissa Mini Cupcakes

Six handcrafted cupcakes made from recipes in Melissa’s new cookbook! Includes Electric Tie-Dye, Ice Cream Sundae, gooey S’mores, Babka, toasty Caramel Coconut & sweet Sugar Cookie. The Dream Team is an exclusive first taste of a few favorite recipes from CAKES by Melissa! cookbook.

faux fur pillow

Fireside Faux Fur Pillow, Anthropologie

Because who doesn’t love a big, plush fluffy pillow by the fireplace? Yes please.

Boska Mini Fondue Pot

Mini Fondue Pot, Boska

Their ceramic mini fondue is perfect for sharing a quick fondue or tabletop tapas for two. Dunk rustic bread into melted cheese, swirl fruit in chocolate or enjoy a breakfast fondue of waffles dipped in warm syrup. Made of ceramic with a rubber wood base, it includes two stainless-steel fondue forks with wood handles and the pot is microwavable making it easy to melt chocolate or cheese.

Harry and David Gift Box

Holiday Wine Box, Harry & David

For someone special, send them this awesome box of gourmet treats in a festive gift box including Harry & David 2014 Ross Lane Blend Red, mulling spices, cheese, mixed nuts, Moose Munch popcorn, cookies, crackers and jam for this you can use a good blender from the best blender under 100 list so is affordable to you.

Cozy Fleece Robe

Cozy Fleece Robe for Him

Because what guy wouldn’t like a plush, cozy fleece robe for lazy holiday mornings?

Jacques Torres Chocolate Holiday Gift Box

Jacques Torres Chocolate Gift Box

A mouth-watering selection of premium chocolate bonbons packed in Jacques’ custom-made signature gift boxes. There is something for everyone with flavor schemes ranging from caramels, pralines, fruits, wine, teas, along with special edition holiday bon bons and a Happy Holidays Sleeve. Gorgeous flavors inside too: Spiced Wine (Milk), Swirls of Spiced Wine in Milk Chocolate, Merry Mint (Dark) , Mistletoe Mint in Dark Chocolate, Eggnog (White,  and Creamy Eggnog in White Chocolate. YUM.

rose-gold-cake-knife-set

Rose Gold Cake and Knife Set, West Elm  

Perfect for special occasions, this imported Rose Gold Cake + Knife Set adds simple elegance to any table. Use it for your next celebration, or gift a set to a friend. Great for pies, quiches and cakes! And well, rose gold is just super cool and pretty too.

bartender prep board

Personalized Cutting Board, Mark + Graham

Made for the cocktail connoisseur or the amateur mixologist, this personalize cutting board is crafted from solid maple wood, and answers all your cocktail glassware, quantity and garnish questions engraved on the board. Made by J.K. Adams, who, for more than 65 years, has been handmaking beautiful, sustainably harvested wood pieces in Vermont.

Beechers Cheese Set

Beecher’s Classic Cheese Collection

For the cheese lover in your family, try sending them this classic cheese collection from Beecher’s Cheese – one of my favorite places in NYC! These three cheeses have been part of the Beecher’s repertoire since the beginning. Enjoy them all side by side for a perfect, full-flavored cheese plate. Includes
Beecher’s Flagship 1/3 lb, Beecher’s New Woman 1/3 lb, Beecher’s Marco Polo 1/3 lb, and Beecher’s Original Crackers. Perfect with wine for a holiday gathering!

Bath and Body Works Candles

Yummy Holiday Candles, Bath and Body Works

The holidays are the perfect time for candles! And the candles at Bath and Body works are not only inexpensive but they have tons of yummy scents like Hot Cocoa and Cream, Spiced Apple Toddy, Campfire Donut and Vanilla Spiced Pear. Perfect way to spend a chilly evening cozied up by the fire with a cocktail.

Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder

Superfood Powders, Dr Smood 

Dr Smood Superfood Powders would make a wonderful gift for the health and wellness-obsessed foodies on your list. They’re full of health-boosting goodness and are easy to use (they can be easily mixed into smoothies or juices, on yogurt or cereal or added to energy balls and no-bake treats).

There are a total of 13 beautifully packaged superfood powders, including Raw Cacao Powder, Spirulina Powder and Red Maca Powder. Each powder comes with an information packet, including a recipe and serving suggestions, and can be purchased at one of the five Dr Smood cafés in NYC or Miami.

Whiskey Chilling Stones Set

Whiskey Chilling Stones Set

This set of 6 handcrafted stone chillers comes in a hardwood tray with 2 tumblers and is perfect for chilling fine spirits without diluting them with ice. Fancy and perfect for the Scotch and Whiskey connoisseur in the family. 

faux shearling throw

Faux Shearling Throw Blanket

Cozy up with this sumptuously soft faux shearling throw and pillow set from Frontgate. Reversible with a down insert, is plush, soft, smooth and cozy… and great for movie night indoors with a hot chocolate or hot toddy!

CScents Candy Girl

CScents

My old friend and college roommate has just launched a new perfume line called CScents…she is a singer and musician, she even own a fender telecaster modern player, and has cleverly named all her scents around old classic songs like Juke Box Hero, Candy Girl and Strawberry Fields..brilliant!

spice and salt tower

Spice & Salt Tower

Simple unscrew each of these containers (12 grams each) of salt varieties from the larger tower and get seasoning. Try them on their own, or mix and match the following flavors: Fennel Thyme Salt, Porcini Salt, Sagemary Salt, Caraway Salt, Vanilla Salt, Sumac Pepper Salt, Aleppo Chile Salt, Smoked Paprika Salt.

PLAY! By Sephora

PLAY! By Sephora

These PLAY! by SEPHORA boxes includes a selection of subtle-yet-stunning makeup and skincare. A curated assortment of five trial-size samples, plus a beauty bonus, all in a collectable bag. Plus a PLAY! BOOK including how-to information and tips on the samples in your box and a PLAY! PASS redeemable for 50 extra Beauty Insider Points when used with a full-size purchase inside a local Sephora store. You can also subscribe to a $10/month subscription to receive different PLAY! boxes each month if you choose. FUN!

Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf

Beaujolais Nouveau, Georges Duboeuf

This Beaujolais Nouveau is fruity, with aromas of red berries and cherry. It is fresh, flavorful, round and unctuous and perfect for the holidays and Thanksgiving dinner! This wine pairs well with tapas, cheese, charcuterie, poultry and salmon. Recommended to be served slightly chilled.

Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau is mainly sourced from the southern part of the Beaujolais region, which is a patchwork of terroir ranging from sand, clay and limestone to granite and schist. The difference in altitude and latitude can influence the style of wine. Georges Duboeuf and his team tasted more than five thousand samples over two weeks to craft this cuvée. Harvesting of this wine is done manually, in whole bunches, from vines that are over 20 years old.

This wine pairs well with tapas, cheese, charcuterie, poultry and salmon. Recommended to be served slightly chilled.

Table In A Bag Food 52

Table In A Bag, Food 52

How cool is this foldable, packable pine table? It literally does come in a bag, and stretches out into an al fresco tabletop ready to host an entire picnic spread, whether at an outdoor concert, the park, the beach, or your backyard. Summer can’t come too soon 🙂

Slate Board Lazy Susan

Slate Board Lazy Susan

Perfect for the holidays to display all the gorgeous appetizers you are serving. And it’s made of slate, so you can personalize the message or label the food on the board. Love!

Dr Smood: Smart Food for a Good Mood + Maca Pumpkin Couscous

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I just discovered an amazing new cafe and store in NYC called Dr Smood – have you seen it? If not, you need to go. Based out of Miami, Dr Smood is a health company that makes “Smart Food for a Good Mood” – and oh how you’re gonna love this place!

They make all their own juices, smoothies, organic products and delicious healthy food based on 6 moodsPower, Beauty, Immunity, Detox, Energy and Health, which you can choose based on your mood and feeling and what you want to gain from the experience.

I had the opportunity to visit the Flatiron location in NYC and had a delicious Organic Detox Juice #9made with ginger, lemon, lime, raw honey, echinacea, and cayenne. Then for lunch I tried their Butternut Squash Soup, Turkey and Avocado sandwich on their homemade Performance Bread before browsing the beautiful cafe and store of amazing products including organic tea, coffee, chocolate, health and beauty supplements and organic dried foods.

 

dr smood mushroom powder

Dr Smood’s Organic Superfood Powders

Dr Smood’s Organic Superfood Powders would make a wonderful gift for the health and wellness-obsessed foodies on your list. They’re full of health-boosting goodness and are easy to use (they can be easily mixed into smoothies or juices, on yogurt or cereal or added to energy balls and no-bake treats).

There are a total of 13 beautifully packaged superfood powders, including Raw Cacao Powder, Spirulina Powder and Red Maca Powder. Each powder comes with an information packet, including a recipe and serving suggestions, and can be purchased at one of the five Dr Smood cafés in NYC.

Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder

Dr Smood Red Maca Powder is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body to adjust to stress. Maca is an excellent source of phytochemicals and protein and helps to regulate the endocrine system and hormones, boost libido and increases energy, stamina and endurance. Enjoy maca in homemade granola or add it to tea, juice, smoothies, oatmeal or cereal. (SRP: $21.95)

Dr Smood Spirulina Powder

Dr Smood Spirulina Powder contains over 60% complete protein—almost 3x as much as beef—and is one of the few good sources of plant-based B12. This algae can also boost your immunity and promote a healthy digestive tract. Use it to make a semi-raw soup with sweet potatoes and carrots, spirulina cacao clusters or add it to your favorite juice or smoothie. (SRP: $14.95)

Dr Smood Cacao powder

Dr Smood Raw Cacao Powder contains approximately 40x more antioxidants than blueberries, which help the body to resist and repair damage from free radicals; plus it’s a natural mood booster and can promote beautiful skin, nails and hair. Use it to make hot cacao with coconut cream and almond milk this season and you will never want the standard version of hot chocolate again! You can also add it to coffee, yogurt, fresh fruits or smoothies. (SRP: $10.95)

Red Maca Pumpkin Couscous with Shallots, Bacon + Crispy Sage

I picked up a jar of the Red Maca powder at the store and created a new recipe for Maca Pumpkin Couscous w/ Shallots and Bacon and Crispy Sage that turned out absolutely delicious! Maca powder is a great supplement to add to sweet recipes like juices and smoothies and organic raw desserts, or savory recipes like soups, sauces, gravies, or to sprinkle on roasted veggies.

Maca Pumpkin Couscous w/ Shallots and Bacon and Crispy Sage

Maca Pumpkin Couscous w/ Shallots and Bacon and Crispy Sage

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.

Serving Size: 1 cup

A delicious and healthy way to incorporate Red Maca powder into a lovely fall savory dish. Roasted pumpkin, sautéed garlic and shallots and bacon tossed into a basil and herb couscous topped with crispy sage and pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1 small sugar pumpkins, halved, seeds removed, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 1 package of Near East Basil and Herb couscous
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • Roasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds, for garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle each pumpkin half with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper, Red Maca powder and cayenne. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Roast in oven for 1 hour, until fork tender and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove skin from pumpkin, cut into 1-inch cubes and toss with maple syrup; set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the couscous according to package directions and set aside.
  5. Cook bacon in oven on a large foil lined baking sheet for about 20 minutes until crispy and brown, drain and crumble; set aside.
  6. Heat another tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat; cook shallots and garlic for approximately 5 minutes until soft and golden (be careful not to burn!). Add sage leaves and sauté until crispy and browned.
  7. Add the cooked pumpkin, bacon, garlic, shallots to the couscous and toss together.
  8. Transfer to individual serving bowls, garnish with crispy sage, roasted pumpkin seeds and grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

You can also substitute roasted butternut squash or any other hearty veggies like eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and bell peppers. Omit the bacon and cheese to make it vegetarian and dairy free.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/11/16/drsmood-smartfood-for-a-goodmood/

Here’s another fun easy recipe you can make when you have a sweet tooth:

Maca, Coconut and Cashew Granola (gluten-free, vegan)

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup coconut flakes
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder
pinch Himalayan fine grain sea salt

Preheat your oven to 300° F. Line a medium-sized baking sheet with parchment. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spread all ingredients in an even layer on a pan. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Allow to fully cool on the pan. Granola will firm and turn crunchy once cooled. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Check out the gallery below to see more photos of their amazing store and food and products I discovered!

To find a Dr Smood cafe and retail store near you, please visit their website at http://drsmood.com

Dr Smood Facebook Page

Dr Smood Instagram Page

Holiday Sausage, Mushroom and Cheese Turnovers

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hey guys..the holidays are rapidly approaching and we all know what that means…parties, parties and more parties…full of friends and family sharing delicious food and drinks together. It’s the best time of the year!

Sausage Mushroom Cheese Turnovers

I recently did some recipe development and a photo shoot for one of my clients, Seven Barrels, maker of premium infused Italian olive oils and vinegars with delicious flavors from natural ingredients. For the holidays I created a series of recipes featuring their Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar and Meyer Lemon Olive Oil – a delicious, sweet and tart flavor pairing that’s perfect for the holidays.

Sausage Mushroom Cheese Turnovers

I decided to make some party food because we all like parties and appetizers / small bites are the way to go to keep them fun and social! My recipe for Sausage and Mushroom and Cheese Turnovers is an absolute flavor bomb and they’re super easy to make!

Sausage Mushroom Cheese Turnovers

They’re stuffed with sweet Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, green onions, mushrooms, cranberries and mozzarella all wrapped up in buttery flaky baked puff pastry topped with sesame seeds. They’re the perfect crunchy, savory, cheesy bite in your mouth, with a hint of sweet and tart from the cranberries, lemon olive oil and raspberry vinegar for dipping.

Sausage Mushroom Cheese Turnovers

You’re definitely gonna want to make these for all your holiday parties..trust me, they won’t last long 😉

Sausage, Mushroom and Cheese Turnovers

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Makes 18 (4-inch) turnovers.

Serving Size: 1 turnover

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Seven Barrels Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
  • ½ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • ½ cup green onion, sliced (about 4 scallions)
  • ½ cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or tart cherries
  • ¾ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs, beaten, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Raspberry Balsamic vinegar, plus extra for dipping
  • Dash of Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 package (17.25 ounce) frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Coarse sea salt, for garnish
  • Chopped rosemary, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of Seven Barrels Lemon Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to brown, crumbling while cooking to separate the meat. Add the green onions and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes until the veggies are soft and meat is cooked through. Drain the fat and excess liquid, set cooked mixture aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked sausage mixture with dried cranberries or tart cherries, ricotta, mozzarella cheese, 1 beaten egg and 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Raspberry Balsamic vinegar to make the filling. Season with a dash of Italian seasoning, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. On lightly floured surface, roll one sheet of puff pastry into a large 12-inch square. Cut pastry sheet into 9 (4-inch) squares and brush edges with egg wash.
  5. Place 1 rounded teaspoon filling on each square; fold to make a triangle; seal with fingers or fork. Place the triangles on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a large rectangular baking sheet and brush egg wash over the top of the turnovers, pierce 3 slits on top of each one, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, repeat steps above with the remaining sheet of puff pastry and sausage, mushroom and cheese filling to make 9 additional turnovers. Bake again at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle sea salt and chopped rosemary (or thyme) on top of the turnovers for garnish. Serve immediately with Seven Barrels Raspberry Balsamic vinegar for dipping.

Notes

You can also substitute spicy Italian sausage or ground beef for the sweet Italian sausage. To make a thicker dipping sauce (Balsamic Glaze), heat the vinegar in a saucepan over medium high heat until it reduces by half, drizzle over turnovers or serve as a dipping sauce on the side.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/11/09/holiday-sausage-mushroom-and-cheese-turnovers/

{Things I Love} :: August 2017

Things I Love August 2017
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Hey guys! Can you believe Summer is almost halfway over (or more??) Time really does fly when you’re having fun, doesn’t it! Summer is truly my favorite season and as August rolls in, I’ve had a great one so far! Lots of trips to see family and friends in Upstate New York, my guy down in South Florida and West Coast Florida to St Petersburg and Clearwater Beach, and fun weekends in the city and beaches in NYC.

As much as I love the beach and warm weather and sunny days, I start thinking about the crisp Fall days ahead – and all the delicious comfort food recipes and seasonal produce coming into play that makes my heart skip a beat..cozy soups, fresh gorgeous salads and hearty casseroles and pies and roasted dinners..mmmmm. But wait..it’s only August…

So to celebrate the season, here’s a few shoutouts to some of the amazing and fun places, people, recipes and things I’ve been loving on this Summer – it’s not quite over yet! Hope you’re having a fantastic one yourselves and getting plenty of delicious bites and drinks, travel, quality time with friends and family, and some sun, sand and surf in too.

Cocktails at Sandbar in the sun…and gorgeous sunsets on the west coast of Florida…and that’s just the beginning.

Sunset

So here’s a salute to the best Summer ever and a few of my favorite things worth a shout out….

Sandbar Delray

Boston’s Sand Bar, Delray Beach

I recently visited Boston’s Sand Bar in Delray Beach with my boyfriend after a day at the beach and what a fun place this is! They have great happy hour specials everyday with 1/2 price beer, wine and cocktails and beach bar bites like Smoked Fish Dip, Conch Fritters, Peel and Eat Shrimp, Mojitos and Margaritas.

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Definitely a fun casual spot with a Tiki Bar and beach vibe for a relaxing weekend afternoon in the sun on the patio…cornhole, music, beach, cocktails, sun, loungy couches…what else can you ask for?

Edna Lewis's Peach Cobbler

Edna Lewis’s Peach Cobbler

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing better in the Summer than a baked fruit cobbler – especially fresh peaches topped with crisp buttery pastry and vanilla ice cream – definitely something to scream about and a fav refreshing, juicy Summer dessert!

Kingsley Street Soaps

Kingsley Street Artisan Soaps + Candles + Lotions, Syracuse NY

I am such a sucker for Summer Arts Festivals and I found this awesome soap, candles and lotions company at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester, NY last weekend! The scents are amazing and made with all natural ingredients – I absolutely LOVE their Sandalwood soap and Tobacco Leaf & Amber candle. Divine.

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Harpoon Harry’s, Punta Gorda FL

My boyfriend and I stopped in here last minute on our way back home from St Pete, FL one night to take a quick break from driving and make a pit stop. We stumbled upon the town of Punta Gorda, a sleepy little marina town in Florida and discovered the Fisherman’s Village on Charlotte Harbor, where this place is located, and it had the most stunning sunset and waterside views I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a fun, casual bar and restaurant (think Popcorn Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Raw Oyster Bar and Grouper Sandwiches – yum!) and definitely worth a stop if you’re driving down the coast of West Florida. They even have this amazing Sea Foam sugar scrub in the bathrooms to add to the ambience.

yeahhhhhh…I think I could live here 😉

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

This is one of my favorite Summer recipes ever. I created it for my client 7 Barrels, with their delicious Sweet Basil Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar to make a gorgeous fresh tomato sauce with garlic and onions and then topped it the pasta with fresh basil, ricotta and parmesan cheese. So easy and light – it’s truly Summer in a Bowl.

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The Classic East concert, Citifield NYC

A few weekends ago my Sister came to town for The Classic East concert which was amazing! All the classic 70’s bands were playing over 2 days out at Citifield stadium. We saw Journey, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan and The Eagles! All my favorite bands on the planet!!!

Visit our Facebook page with more fun concert photos and live videos from the event!

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Dim Sum at Grand Restaurant, Flushing NY

On Sunday that same weekend, we decided to meet up with my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jim for some Dim Sum at the Grand Restaurant in the New City Mall in Flushing, (Chinatown in Queens). If you have never had Dim Sum before, you’re in for a treat! They basically sit you down at a big table and the servers come by with rolling carts full of Chinese appetizers and small plates and you order whatever you want off the cart and they tally up your bill as you go! We had delicious dumplings in all flavors, fried shrimp, sautéed Bok Choy, a delicious Coconut Gel, Mango Rice Pudding and Custard Egg Tarts for dessert. So delish and fun! But beware, all those small bites add up fast!

green chili chicken lasagna

Green Chile Chicken Lasagna, Son of a Southern Chef

I just discovered the awesome food blog, Son of a Southern Chef, who is nominated for a Saveur Blog Award this year – I love his Southern comfort food recipes, writing style, graphics and sassy voice and attitude! This Green Chile Chicken Lasagna is definitely on my list of recipes to try, along with his Mac & Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie, etc..yum!

Love Ceramics

Love Ceramics @love_ceramic

I just stumbled upon this Instagram page of Love Ceramics today and absolutely love their gorgeous colors and patterns! Perfect props for my food photography and just all around artsy and cool. LOVE is right 😉

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars, Evoke Muesli

I recently discovered these guys at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester NY last weekend too and love their organic muesli..especially the Cocoa Cherry Chai flavor! This recipe for no-bake protein bars sounds awesome for the Summer for a quick high protein snack when you need some energy.

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour, Drinking with Chickens

I have not made this drink yet but I absolutely love Pisco Sours and anything made with chocolate and cherries. So there ya go. On my bucket list to make before the end of summer. YUM. And Drinking with Chickens is the funnest name EVER for a cocktail blog so you need to vote for them in the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards for best cocktail blog because – the chickens. #OMG.

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw, Rachael Ray Show

Hello, spicy chicken sandwich on steroids. I think I love you. 

Pincher's Crab Shack

Pincher’s Crab Shack, Naples FL

Another fun place my BF and I discovered on our little road trip down the West coast of Florida a few weeks ago for his birthday. It’s a fun crab shack nestled on the coast of Naples, where you can eat to your heart’s content a massive amount of fresh seafood at Happy Hour from 4-7 pm. 1/2 price drinks and super cheap goodies like peel & eat shrimp, clam chowder, crab legs, and raw oysters for $1 with a killer view on the water? Fork, yeah. 

Peachy-Chipotle-Chicken-Tortilla-and-Avocado-Rice-Salad-with-Pan-Fried-Halloumi-1

Peachy Chipotle Chicken Tortilla and Avocado Rice Salad w/ Fried Halloumi, Half Baked Harvest

Um, yessss. More peaches. Mixed together with tons of lovely ingredients to make a super delish salad – cilantro, lime, fried halloumi cheese, chicken, greens, all tossed in a vinaigrette dressing and topped with tortilla chips and jalapeños. Could this be the perfect salad in my life? Yeah, I think so.

Grilled Flatbread recipes

5 Grilled Flatbread Recipes for Summer, Culture Mag

OK so Summer isn’t over yet right? And let’s not put away the grill too soon either! Culture Mag does it again with these five awesome grilled flatbread recipes – Corn Chowder Flatbread, Eggplant Relish and Ricotta, Shrimp and Mixed Herb Pesto, Prosciutto-Melon, and Tomato-Peach with Blue Cheese and Basil. YUM!

Check out my Instagram feed to see some more fun photos of my food, music and travel adventures 🙂

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my Artful Gourmet Facebook page too for more adventures and photos and videos. Hope you guys are having a rockin’ Summer! Stay tuned for my Fall favs next month 🙂

Expert Interview Series with FoodyDirect.com!

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I was recently invited as a guest for the FoodyDirect.com Expert Interview Series to talk about great tasting and looking food, and I’m honored to share the interview with you! I discuss my background and how I got into Food Styling and Photography as a full-time freelance profession, along with some of my favorite things to cook, food trends, hot spots in NYC and some simple rules for great food photography on social media.

Expert Interview Series with FoodyDirect.com

I also included one of my favorite go-to recipes in the article, my Rochester-Style Chicken French with Broccolini which I know you’re gonna love!

Chicken French

Check out the interview below or on FoodyDirect.com (the best online mail order source for gourmet food and gifts!

FoodyDirect.com

——-

Kristen Hess is a New York City food stylist, photographer, recipe developer, and author of the food blog, The Artful Gourmet.  We recently chatted with Kristen about her favorite cuisines, cooking trends, and NYC eateries, and also asked her to share her food stylist expertise with us to help foodies take better photos of their gastronomical creations.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to dive headfirst into learning about cooking and food photography?

I’ve always loved food and cooking but never considered it as a full-time career until I moved to NYC and started taking a series of cooking classes at The Institute of Culinary Education. I was working in advertising at the time and thought it was a fun hobby, but then that hobby became more serious as I discovered food media as a blossoming career path and started taking more classes in food styling, photography, and food writing and then started my blog.
Out of all of the different styles of cuisine and cooking in your repertoire, which one was the most fun to learn about?

My all-time favorite is Italian food because I love the simplicity of the gorgeous ingredients, rustic flavors, and cooking techniques. Whether it’s homemade pasta and sauce, homemade pizza, a gorgeous salad, an antipasti dish, or a roasted chicken with vegetables, I love it all!

Name a cooking trend, tool, or category that you’re currently excited about. 

Alternative flours and coconut everything! I try to live a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it’s hard when you work in the food industry (esp. in NYC!) surrounded by delicious temptations every day. Alternative flours made out of chickpeas, coconut, almond, bananas, brown rice, farro, buckwheat, chia, and arrowroot are great for low-carb and paleo/gluten-free cooking – and they’re healthier, too. You can make pizza crust, bread, pasta, pancakes, tortillas, pastry, crepes, socca, and all kinds of dishes with it. And I love coconut oil, cream, and milk as an alternative to full-fat regular dairy sometimes because it has a nice subtle coconut flavor and is great to cook with at high heat. I’ve made curries, smoothies, baked goods, and more with it. Great stuff.

Many people have a basic idea of what a food stylist does – but could you tell us about some types of food photography that you’ve done that people may not associate with the craft? 

I do some interesting gigs with agencies for their food clients who are doing on-site media tours promoting food products and recipes to food editors for all the major food magazines. For example, The Jackfruit Company launched their new products and I toured around with the owner and PR agency making tacos, salads, burgers, and sandwiches on-site in the editors’ board rooms while they pitched the product to the editors and writers (to gain press and brand affection, of course!).

Another new type of job that is getting popular is styling food for Facebook Live segments for cookbook authors and chefs, health experts, and bloggers. I did quite a few of these for Keri Glassman and Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe, making recipes for them which were demoed live on Facebook at PureWow Magazine and Cosmo.com. I also did this for Halloween making super fun recipes by blogger Elise Strachan at People Food and Food and Wine.

When you see people posting pictures of food on their social media pages, what are some of the “mistakes” you see that make the dish look really unappetizing?

I always say lighting is a huge factor for any good food photo. If it’s too yellow or too blue, you need to fix the hue or it looks unappetizing. Also, never use flash or take photos with overhead lights as they give harsh shadows and blow out the food. Try to shoot food with natural light as much as possible. Bad angles are a no-no too. Don’t shoot burgers or sandwiches overhead. You can’t see what’s inside. Pizza is great for overhead shots because you want to see what’s on it. Don’t be afraid to crop into the shot too for some detail. Finally, consider your composition; what’s the hero in the shot? Focus on that dish. Not the glass behind it. Let the hero shine!

Finish this sentence: “If you’re a true foodie, the next time you visit New York City, you definitely need to stop by…”

For pizza, you need to check out DiFara on Ave J in Brooklyn. The wait is kinda long, but it’s soooo good and super worth the trip and the wait. I also love RubiRosa pizza in Soho.

Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village is amazing for fresh oysters, seafood, wine, etc.

My favorite taco joint is La Esquina in Nolita. They make authentic Mexican style tacos on small corn tortillas with fresh cilantro, pork, steak, chicken, and homemade salsa. Plus, the grilled street corn is to die for!

You can’t go to NYC without getting a delicious burger, fries, and milkshake from the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Again, the line is long, but so worth the wait!!!

And lastly, go to Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side for a pastrami on rye New York City style. Delish.

What types of desserts do you enjoy making for friends and family?

I’m definitely more of a savory cook than a pastry cook, but I absolutely love making pies and tarts. I always make lovely fruit-based pies or tarts in the summer around the 4th of July using berries, peaches, and mascarpone on a puff pastry sheet. Thanksgiving is always fun; I love experimenting with new pie recipes (something different than pumpkin or apple pie) like Christina Tosi’s Crack Pie or my Bourbon Buttermilk Pecan Pie.

Finally, could you share with us one recipe that’s always a hit when you prepare it? 

I have so many recipes that I love but one of my absolute favorites is my “Rochester-Style Chicken French with Broccolini.” It’s actually not a French recipe; it’s an Italian recipe similar to a piccata dish, but with a light coating of egg batter, butter, white wine, lemon, and parsley on thinly-pounded chicken, sautéed in a pan and then coated in the luscious buttery lemon sauce. It’s easy to make, tastes amazing, and everyone loves it. I serve it with sautéed broccolini, but you could also serve it with green beans or sautéed spinach, over pasta or rice, or alongside some crusty french bread to mop up the sauce. Goes great with a tangy white wine like Pinot Grigio and a simple green salad with shaved Parmesan cheese and a tangy wine vinaigrette.

Chicken French

Rochester-Style Chicken w/ Broccolini

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.

This delicious Italian dish originated in Rochester, NY and is a great meal for a special occasion or any night of the week. Thin chicken cutlets are coated in a light egg and parmesan batter then sautéed until crispy and brown. They are coated in a luscious lemon butter and wine sauce and served with a side of fresh broccolini. Goes great with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio and a green salad with shaved Parmesan and a tangy vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN FRENCH:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil/canola oil blend for sauteing (I used Colavita Garlic Oil Blend)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of superfine flour (Pan Searing flour or Wondra)
  • LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine or sherry
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • BROCCOLINI:
  • 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
  • Lemon Butter sauce (see above)
  • lemon, S&P for garnish

Instructions

  1. CHICKEN FRENCH:
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, cayenne, and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place flour in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge each one in flour first (left hand), then egg mixture (right hand).
  6. Place chicken into the heated saute pan and cook for 6 minutes on one side. Flip chicken over and saute for another 6 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from pan and set aside, covered with a foil tent.
  8. LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  9. In the same skillet, saute the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  10. Add the wine and bring liquid to a boil over high heat, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.
  11. Pour in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes (if using) and let reduce by half, another 5-7 minutes.
  12. Stir in the butter and whisk until it melts.
  13. Add chicken back into the pan with the sauce and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  14. Place chicken on serving plate with the steamed broccolini and spoon lemon butter sauce over the top of both.
  15. Garnish with lemon wedges and additional chopped parsley if desired.
  16. BROCCOLINI:
  17. Steam broccolini for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove lid and steam for another 5 minutes until fork tender but still bright green.
  18. Top broccolini with Lemon Butter sauce, additional lemon, salt, and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute veal for the chicken or artichokes for a vegetarian option.

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