Monday, August 22, 2016

Cold Brew Iced Tea

There is a new drink in town and its name is Cold Brew Iced Tea!  This drink is life changing.  I have always loved iced tea and I used to make it they way everyone else does.  Throwing some tea packets in hot water and then chilling in the fridge.  This method is sub-par, at best, creating some bitter and dull tea.  

Enter the cold brew method.  I cannot stress how easy this is, producing a smooth, flavorful, and refreshing end result.  You know I love my water with a lemon, but sometimes you need something more, right?  My apologies for throwing this on you and the end of the sweltering summer, but once you adopt this method, I assure you that a pitcher of this will always be in your fridge.  

This is Coconut-Pineapple Black tea.  How I wish you could smell this through your screen.  It is delightful!  Same with the Cherry Rose Green Tea below.  Yum!

This first step is to start off with some high quality tea leaves.  I prefer to buy loose leaf tea.  There is a great store down the road from us that carries hundreds of tea varieties.  The Tea Spot is a terrific place online to purchase some lovely little leaves.

Measure out a 1/4 cup for every 1/2 gallon.   Pour into the bottom of a pitcher or large jar.  

Fill with water.  For optimal flavor, use filtered water.

And that is it.  Simple, right?  Now you just let it do its job in the fridge.  

Here it is after about 6 hours.  

The leaves are naturally steeping.  

This is the most difficult step in the process, if you want to call straining difficult!  Pour the tea through a strainer and serve. Throw the leaves back into the pitcher and refill with water.  The best part about this tea is the the leaves will continue to steep for up to three days after!  

Serve with a lemon wedge or fruit of your choice and you have the most refreshing beverage known to man!  You can sweeten it if you like (with a simple syrup, because the sugar won't dissolve in the cold tea), but if you use good tea, the flavor is so smooth and out of this world that you should tell that sweetener to take a hike!

Cold Brew Iced Tea
1/4 cup loose leaf tea
1/2 gallon of filtered water

Add tea to a pitcher or large jar.  Fill with water.  Place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours to steep.  Pour from pitcher, through a strainer into a glass and serve over ice with a lemon.

To make the most of your iced tea, refill pitcher with water after each pour.  The leaves will continue to steep and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cherry Cobbler Cake

After this weekend we will officially be in August and the end of summer is fast approaching.  When we lived up north. I would be crestfallen, but in Florida, I welcome the end of summer with open arms. It is intensely HOT down here now. 

It is so hot that even our local farmer's market has shut down.  Yes, you heard me right.  Up north, we look forward to farmers markets in the summer.  In southern Florida, they close up shop because no one wants to roam around in this heat.  St. Pete has an AMAZING market, but it only runs May through October.   

Even though I haven't been hitting the markets, I was still able to find these lovely bing cherries at our local grocery store.  I bought a huge bag and after we could not finish them, I decided to make this cobbler cake on a hot summer night. 

I can't remember where I found this recipe.  It was online a few years ago and I have the recipe jotted down on a note card.  The note card is spattered with stains because I have made this recipe so many times.  This is the first time I have made it with cherries and it was delicious. I made it last week (added a little cinnamon to the batter) with some fresh peaches. 

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it with whatever fruit you have on hand.  Have some raspberries or blueberries on their last breath? Whip this up and you have an incredible summer dessert.  Odds are you have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry.   

I wish I would have taken a picture of the texture of the cake with ice cream slowly meting over it.  The crispy browned butter edges are divine and the tart fruit marries so well with the sweet vanilla-y cake.  I love this recipe and hope you do to!   

Cherry Cobbler Cake
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup berries ( I used cherries, but you can use whatever berry you like!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small saute pan, melt butter over medium heat and continue to cook until butter becomes brown and nutty.  Remove from heat and pour into a 8 or 9 inch pie plate.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and vanilla.  A smooth batter should form.  Pour the batter directly over the browned butter in the pie plate.  Scatter the berries over the top of the batter and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar.  Edges should be brown and crispy and center should be cooker through; not wobbly.  Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Spicy Tuna Sashimi Salad

Holy moly hallelujah .... I'M BACK!!!!   It feels so surreal to be writing this right now.  I can't even begin to tell you how much has happened since the last time I posted on my blog.   Through careful thought and consideration, the hubs and I have made our way down to St. Petersburg, Florida,  

In all honesty, I knew we would probably have to move back to Florida at some point for his career. For a long time, I did not wholeheartedly embrace the idea.  I am a four-seasons type of girl.  I go gaga for Fall, foliage, snow, non-flat topography, sweaters, layers and the absence of most bugs, but the time for us to make a decision came and I'm thrilled to report that we could not be happier. 

The option was open to move anywhere in Florida.  Being that we met and lived here for many years, we had an idea of the places in which we would like to call home.   Ultimately, we chose St. Pete because we have many friends in the Tampa area and having that support system nearby is important to us. 

I am incredibly fortunate to work on a team and for a company that allowed this move, so I am still in the same position and working remote.  I miss the perks of an office setting, but still travel and see my colleagues quite frequently. 

Can we talk about how amazing St. Petersburg is for a minute? The downtown area is filled with so many local restaurants, boutiques and markets.  Within two miles of us we have Locale Market and Mazzaro's Italian Market, which are both basically little slices of heaven on earth!  Being a fifteen minute drive to the beach is pretty rad as well.  

Ok, now on to what you really want to know about... this AMAZING Spicy Tuna Salad.  Because I am home most of the day, I have been incorporating some healthy and quick lunches into my rotation and this has quickly become one of my absolute favorites. 

The secret ingredient in this recipe is the masago/smelt roe/tobiko.  If you are not a huge fan or don't have a nearby sushi restaurant, you can omit it and the salad will still be rockin, but I highly suggest that you add these little orange pearls of goodness.  

Well my friends, I can not wait to share so much more of our food, lives and new adventures with you!  I have a running list of recipes to blog and they are not going to cook themselves :)  Let's do this!     


Oh look at that little, lonely, empty sushi roll... what to do? 
Make two bonus spicy tuna rolls, of course! 

Spicy Tuna Sashimi Salad
1 8 ounce ahi tuna filet
1/4 cup mayo
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha
2 teaspoons hot chili oil
2 tablespoons masago/smelt roe/tobiko (I just order 2 rolls from my local sushi place for about $4)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 scallions, chopped (reserving a few for garnish)
1/2 English cucumber, seeded, halved and sliced

Slice the tuna filet into very small cubes. If the tuna steak is thicker, slice it in half (like you are butterflying it, but go all the way through), and then in to thin strips, and then into small cubes.  I like my tuna cubes very small and sometimes, if the fish is slightly frozen it helps for a more precise cut.

In a separate bowl, mix together the mayo, sesame oil, fish sauce, sriracha and hot chili oil. In a larger bowl, combine the tuna, spicy mayo mixture, masago, sesame seeds and scallions. Gently fold all ingredients together until combined.

Seed, half and slice the cucumber into thin half-moon slices.  On a plate or in a bowl, place some of the spicy tuna and cucumber and garnish with reserved scallions.  Enjoy with some chopsticks!  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ups and Downs

We are back from Cleveland and Allison and Mark's wedding was unbelievable.  The bride was absolutely stunning and it was such a happy and celebratory day.  All of the bridesmaids wore gold dresses (all different) and we always have the best time ever when we are together!  It was so special on so many levels, especially to spend time with long time friends and family.  Mark and Allison are both such wonderful people and I was honored to be a part of their wedding.

Unfortunately, I only have these few cell phone pictures to post.  It's a long story, but this has been one hell of a shitty week.  On Sunday after the wedding, we went down to the hotel to grab my stuff out of the bridal suite.  I packed up my bag with my camera, all of my lenses, clothes, and my entire "tackle box" of makeup, cremes, perfumes and brushes.  Matt decided to go and put it in the car, which was parked right outside of the Hyatt Regency in Cleveland and then ran back up to get me.  

No more than 20 minutes passed as we said our goodbyes and headed back down to the car.  As we approached, my heart stopped.  Someone had smashed his back window and had stolen the entire bag with all of its contents.  

This is my first time that I have had such valuable and sentimental things stolen from me.  I can tell you it is one of the worst feelings in the world.  All week, I've had this pit of sadness and a feeling of violation that I just can't shake.  

And I know make-up sounds like a trivial thing, but I have built up quite a collection through the years and ALL of it was in that box.  YSL, Dior, Chanel, MAC, Sigma brushes...I don't mean to come off as pretentious, but that shit is expensive!  

I know it can be replaced, but all of the stuff that was stolen added up to thousands of dollars... And the worst part is my husband ALWAYS puts our stuff in the trunk and the one time he didn't, (because it was broad daylight, on a busy street and we were only gone for 20 minutes), we get robbed.  

On top of everything else, due to external factors out of my control, today I found out that I lost a HUGE piece of business that I have been working on for almost a year. FML.   

When I think about it, I have been trying to put things in perspective.  We have our health.   Our dogs weren't in the car.  Our families are healthy.  We sure have a lot to be thankful for, but it doesn't make what happened easier. 

So, I guess the reason I am telling you this is for a few reasons.  Until I get a new camera, my posts will be more sparse.  Also, if you ever have anything of value, don't leave it in your car and if you have to, always put it in the trunk.  

Sorry for the sob story.  My brother Kevan and his wife Lauren jokingly told me to start a Go Fund Me page to get my stuff back.  It resulted in one of the few laughs I've had all week, picturing my story, begging to replace my expensive make-up collection and DSLR camera, next to the pages of people who really need help.  Talk about perspective...

Let's hope, the only place to go from here is UP!  
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