abandonment

hellooooo

I’ve abandoned you and I can’t say I regret it. I moved. I know, I know, I tell you on a yearly basis that I’ve moved. I’m a nomad. I like moving. I like new spaces. But this time I REALLY moved. I packed up my life into a storage unit. Packed a 25lb suitcase, a REALLY heavy backpack, my purse and I moved.

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Got on an airplane, stopped for a hot minute in NY and traveled for 3.5 hours to St. Thomas. From there, I got on a quick ferry to St John. And here I reside. Here is where I live now, in a efficiency studio (aka, NO KITCHEN! I have a hotplate!) about a 5 minute walk to town and about an 8 minute walk to work.

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So here I am in Cruz Bay… wearing pants ONCE in a blue moon (see what I did there? we just had one this week) trying to be a cool local and not let the heat bother me.

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I’m working in this baller restaurant. It’s beautiful and has the most amazing sunset views, cool drinks and a killer kitchen. KILLER kitchen. Chef harvests his own fruits/veggies, goes spear fishing on his days off or mornings before work and we purchase anything/everything local. Island to Table please.

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So… I’m sorry for abandoning you. Please deal with it for a bit. Till I can figure out HOW to cook in this apartment and/or if I want to blog about places on this island and restaurants. So bear with me as I decided that….

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Here is the view from my new apartment! how fun!

Posted in St John | 1 Comment

Fish Friday’s: Soy Glazed Salmon & Coconut Hash

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Ok… so… Orange is the New Black is back on netflix and I don’t have much time to do things other than work (3 jobs) and watch it. #sorrynotsorry.

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Season 3 just came out and it’s literally all I want to do. Watch the show. Do you watch it? I’m going to pretend you all do and wow. Just Wow. WHAT great actresses. They get so incredibly personal, up close, physical. It’s just crazy. They are so good.

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And staying home and watching it and cooking is my jam this week. My jammmmm. Now that it’s summer I am instituting #FishFriday’s and for my first installment: soy glazed salmon with coconut rice, edamame, corn, carrot, onion and garlic hash on top. nom nom. I want more just writing about this

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon, skin on one side
  • 3 tbls soy sauce
  • 1 cup uncooked rice, cooked with 1/2 cup coconut milk and water
  • 1/2 cup cooked edamame’s, unshelled
  • 1 cup corn kernels and diced carrots (frozen bag, WAY easier)
  • 1/4 white onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, diced
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

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Salt and pepper the non-skin side of the salmon and set to marinate in the soy sauce for approximately 30 minutes. Cook the rice according to instructions, substituting 1/2 cup coconut milk for water.

Spray a ridged cast iron pan with non-stick spray and pre-heat on medium until hot. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place each piece of salmon non-skin side down and cook for 2 minutes. Turn about 90degrees and let cook for 2 more minutes. This creates the criss-cross pattern. Turn salmon over so skin is against pan and place the pan in the oven for 7 minutes; or until cooked to your liking.

In a separate saute pan, add 2 tbls olive oil and let get the oil heat up. Add the rest of your ingredients (edamame’s, onion, corn, carrot, garlic) and salt/pepper to taste and saute until tender. Add rice to your veggie mixture and combine well.

Now, I put some mixed greens tossed with a smidge of balsamic vinaigrette and a pinch of salt. You definitely don’t need to do this to make the meal but I liked it.

Add your salmon, skin side down, on top of greens. Add a touch more of soy sauce to the top of the fish and top with your rice/veggie mixture. Let cool for a hot minute and enjoy!

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Alright so back to Orange is the New Black, because let’s face it, that’s all I really want to talk about. I just can’t believe how unbelievably talented those actresses and actors are. Literally, just wow. I thought I was a good actress when it came to talking with people at the bar and pretending to be interested :). Jk, most of the time I am interested. But either way, the people in this show are just so beyond amazing and I can’t TURN IT OFF. I watched the entire season in 4 nights. Keep in mind two of those four days I worked from 9:30am till 3:30am the next day.

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So now I think I’m going to watch all three seasons again. Watch all three seasons and make more seafood and tell you fun stories.

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MIJA Sangria & Bourbon Cocktail

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I had such a wonderful experience the other day. I was scampering home from work at a casual 9:30pm (really, that’s SO EARLY for me) and as I pass in front of one of Boston’s best hotels… this giant group of incredibly intoxicated people walked out of the doors just as I was about to pass. The doorman held the door open for them, smiled and looked at me and said, “I’m so sorry about the hold up.”

I smiled back at him, said “No worries. At least your bar guest left her drink right there instead of walking away with it” and pointed at a luggage cart where her drink was resting.

He VERY sheepishly smiled back at me because he knew he didn’t catch the escaping cocktail and said “You’re a good at being in Boston. I saw you run across the street so you didn’t have to wait for a traffic sign and not get in the way of cars. And you don’t care these people are drunk and in your way. Hope you have a great night.”

I don’t know why but that made me so happy! I take pride in being a good pedestrian and smiling at stupid, drunk people. It was just a few sentences from this random door guy that made me so happy.

Anywho, random story aside, I told you yesterday I had another little cocktail for you. And today is SATURDAY and Saturday’s are for drinking bourbon. Right? right.

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Ingredients

  • 4 pieces of luxardo cherries
  • 1/4 simple syrup
  • 1 ounce four roses yellow label bourbon
  • 1.5 ounces MIJA Sangria

Muddle the 4 cherries in a mixing tin or pint glass, add simple syrup, bourbon and sangria. Add ice.  Shake the CRAP out of it. You need the cherries to make their way through everything. Dump into a collins glass, add a bit more ice and top with soda H2O.

Sip back with a big hat, on a large porch and let the breeze cool you off. If you live in that sort of place. It sounds kinda nice. err… really  nice.

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Cocktails galore! Featuring MIJA by 90+

mostly, I put food recipes up on this site. I absolutely love cooking and baking and, to be honest, the science behind it makes more sense to me than when I’m behind the bar. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE creating new cocktails but I definitely think I’m food, not in drink.

  

  
I’m on my way back from St John and finally getting around to blogging some cocktail recipes I created for MIJA Sangria. (The company behind 90+ cellars is now bringing MIJA to consumers!)

And remember my awesome friend, Caitlin, who I told you all about a few posts ago? Well, she works for 90+ and asked me to create a few cocktails highlighting the Sangria.

  

 

 I plodded into work and started creating! And hey, I’m not proud enough to tell you I failed when trying a few ideas. The above one was a… Failure. Simply not good!

But then I kept chugging along, made one or two more mediocre ones and then hit the jackpot. I made two that I am so incredibly proud of, I just had to tell you about them.

  

This gin drink works AMAZING as a punch bowl. If you have a big group and want to dazzle them with a refreshing, light but very boozy drink then this is definitely the way to go.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce simply syrup
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce creme Yvette
  • 1 ounce MIJA red sangria
  • 1.5 ounces gin (Plymouth or Beefeater work best)

Note: if building as a punch, multiply the quantities above by how many people you’d like to serve.

Measure ingredients into a cocktail shaker and give it a hard shake for 30-40 seconds. Using a hawthorn strainer, strain into a rocks glass and enjoy!

Note: if building as a punch, put all ingredients into a punch bowl, add ice and stir slowly for several minutes. Serve with ice in punch glasses.

These ingredients work so well together. They compliment each other rather than try to overpower. It’s light and floral with just a touch of sweetness. Since gin is a more neutral liqour but with earthy qualities is plays very nicely with the sangria by highlighting it’s sweetness. Similarly, the gin mixes well with the creme yvette and bring earthy tones and slight juniper out. Adding a pop of citrus (lemon) brightens up this cocktail and adds balance.

Really, think drink is SO delish. It does require a bit more of “expert knowledge” because it contains creme Yvette (not to be confused with creme de violet!) but it’s worth it.

Like bourbon? Tomorrow I’ll share the bourbon recipe I designed to highlight the sangria in a different way. Stay tuned!

  
Tee-hee. Little tease. I sat on a beach for three hours by myself because tourists are so silly and run to the first stretch of white sand they see. Explore for a hot second more and you stumble upon this beauty.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

  
That’s my lone towel!

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Butternut Squash – Ginger Soup

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Mother nature is starting to get on my nerves. After this disgusting winter we have I was expecting oodles of sunshine and heat. Right, OODLES! I demand OODLES of sunshine! But no. Mother nature has been torturing us with barely 60 degrees, rain, cloudy, overcast and a crappy Red Sox season.  WTF Mother nature. WTF. This is the worst.

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Anyways, stupid mother nature, and I’m still constantly cold. So, I made soup. Hot soup. Soup I cherished for probably a day and a half because it was so cold and I ate it for every single meal.

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And this soup is supppahhh healthy with a bit of a kick. I’ve been on a crazy ginger kick and ask for extra when we order sushi. So I opted to see how it worked in a soup and it was SO DELISH!

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 quart vegetable stock

Boil butternut squash until uber soft. Strain and return to pot. Add butter and use a hand stick mixer to mash up the butternut squash until smooth. (You can also do this in a large food processor.)

Once the chunks are all broken up, add all other ingredients. Continuing to use the hand stick mixer, puree until… soupy!

Serve with a tad bit of shredded parmesan cheese on top.

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Now everybody pray we get REALLY warm weather. How’s the weather where ya’ll are?

Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Soup | Leave a comment

Veggie Frittata’s

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I am all about a quick and easy morning routine. I like to wake up and go, go, go. And since I have that “sleep till the last minute and then run out the door like a maniac” approach to the mornings, I have tried to simplify the breakfast process as much as I can.

This little recipe is perfect because I prepare the entire thing the night before, pop it in the fridge over night and wake up, bake and eat.

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You can absolutely use any vegetables you have in your fridge at the time, these are just the ones I used.

Ingredients

  •  eggs
  • 3 tbls milk
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tbls Italian seasoning
  • pinch red pepper chili flakes
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 diced Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup diced broccoli
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper

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*Prepare two 5″ casserole dishes by spraying with non-stick spray. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

*Dice up all vegetables and set aside. Scramble the eggs and milk together in a separate, large bowl. Slowly fold vegetables into egg mixture. Add seasonings and cheese while gently folding ingredients together until well combined.

*Using two 5″ prepared casserole dishes, evenly spoon your egg/veggie mixture into the dishes. You can either put the dishes directly into the oven or place them on a baking sheet for ease.

*Bake for 15-20 minutes or eggs are cooked through. Let cool and enjoy!

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I got these awesome dishes from my parents for my birthday a few years ago and love making individual meals for people in them. If you don’t have one you can easily do the same thing with cupcake holders or one big casserole dish.

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Enjoy! Now I’m off to begin my new summer reading and lay outside and soak up the loving sun.

Posted in Breakfast | 1 Comment

Baking Lesson Thursday – mise en place

It’s Thursday and you know what that means. I don’t work till 6pm and have the entire day to putter around my apartment and clean the be-jeezus out of it. I love it. Like, OCD love it. I put on a facemask, a cheesy movie or loud country music and put everything back in it’s proper place.

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It’s a practice that I’m trying to put into place not only just on Thursday’s and not only just in the organization of my apartment. The theory, a kitchen term called mise en place, refers to always having  things in place. It is a french phrase that means having everything that a cook might need during a shift prepped, organized and arranged before a shift.

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Here is one of my baker friends photos before he began to bake brownies. Everything is ready to go. Everything is portioned out. If he was doing two batches then you’d see each one of those bowls twice.

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And this motto kind of flows into my life, or at least, I try to make it that way. It’s important to me to have everything where it belongs. Of course we make a mess but I try to start each day with everything being in order. I try to start my day with everything mise en place.

I want to have all the ingredients I’ll need to make my day successful.

I also apply this mentality to the bar I work at. My station always has my bar tools in the exact same place. The liquor wells are always set up the exact same and my shaker tins are always laid out in the same place. This way, when the bar is super busy I can grab and go. I can build cocktails without having to look much at what I’m doing and spend more time talking to guests to figure out what they want.

Make sense? Just a little tid-bit of information for you. A little insight into chef/bartender lives. Hope you enjoyed it!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

To My Momma

As everyone and their mother knows, yesterday was Mother’s Day. I love my little mama so much, she’s simply the best. One of the strongest women I know and a crazy awesome role model to me for the past 28 years.

For this Mother’s day, my parents had a bbq at their house where we hosted a small handful of family members and per usual, I was in charge of some part of the meal. This year I made stuffed mushrooms and tomato, basil, mozz, cucumber… things.

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I love making the basics and jazzing them up. This time around, the stuffed mushrooms (recipe to come later this week) was simply but with a swath of mozzarella on it. After they were cooked and cooled a little, I drizzled one swipe of balsamic glaze across it.

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I also cut red and orange cherry tomatoes in half and layered them with mozzarella and cucumber. I diced up basil super small and sprinkled it all over. I drizzled just a tid mid of olive oil over the skewers too.

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To make the presentation a little special for the mother, I set them on display in champagne glasses. So cute! And easy! It brought a little but of elegance to our backyard bbq.

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Anyways, back to my mother. She’s amazing. Literally amazing. She’s passionate, driven and simply one of the smartest woman I know. I go to her for everything. From financial questions to love-life questions to interior decorating. And she’s always there for me. Always.

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I don’t think I have enough words to tell you all how much I love my mom. I tried to spoil her as much as possible in the last two days. We did margaritas and guacamole, spa pedicures and then my boyfriend brought her flowers. We love that little woman.

What did you all do this past weekend to celebrate your moms?

Love you mom!

 

 

Posted in Appetizers | Leave a comment

Peanut Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It’s SUMMER. SUMMER TIME. My favorite time! Last weekend we went to to Gloucester for the day to enjoy the an early day at the beach.

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If you don’t know anything about Gloucester, it’s situated on the North Shore and is a huge fishing/boating community. Remember the book The Perfect Storm? That’s it.

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So many ships out of Gloucester were lost at sea and hundreds of thousands of men went down with them. The shoreline has monuments and tributes scattered all over it to remember these sailors. One of my favorite statues is the one pictured above, a mother with her two children looking towards the sea for her husband and his shipmates. I don’t know why it just moves me. In the background, kind of toward the right you’ll see a house and I caught the resident coming out onto the Widows Walk. This little terrace was named after the wives of sailors who used to come out on the terrace and watch the water for their husbands. So many were lost at sea that the terraces were named “widows walk.”

So that’s some of Gloucester. And because of the beautiful weather and I want to be on the beach I’m eating lighter and healthy! YAA!! So boyfriend and I made these awesome ground chicken with peanut sauce, and yummy crunchy stuff. All wrapped up Boston Bibb Lettuce. Nom Nom.

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Ingredients

  • 1 package ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup peanut sauce
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • asian sprouts
  • bag of shredded cabbage
  • 2 tbls olive oil

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Add your olive oil to a large sautee pan. Once hot, add onion. After a minute add the ground chicken. Continue to “mash up” the ground chicken and break it all up. When the chicken is cooked through, gently drain it by either dumping into a bowl lined with paper towels to soak up the grease or by pouring the grease out into the trash. Whatever is easier for you!

Return the pan to the heat and add the peanut sauce. Continue to stir for a minute until the sauce is completely soaked into the chicken. Put in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, gently pull off 10 leaves from the Boston Bibb Lettuce head. Keep them as intact as possible. Wash them VERY delicately (I pat them down with a wet paper towel).

Put your shredded cabbage in one bowl and the Asian sprouts in another one.

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Line ’em up and make some TACOS! If you want an extra kick add some sliced avocado!

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DYI Sushi Lettuce Wraps

Oh hellloooooo sweet summertime. It’s finally mildly warm and even though I’m in long sleeves and pants, I want to be outside all the time.

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So boyfriend and I took a fun little day trip to Newport Rhode Island to walk along the cliff walk, see the mansions and, of course, dine at some fabulous restaurants. It was splendid.

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And after having a seafood filled lunch at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar we were on that healthy seafood kick and bought some sushi-grade tuna on our way home.

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I’m trying soooo hard to eat healthy (aka, not a million carbs/sugars/sodium) and since I was craving sushi, I decided to make my own rice-less version of a tuna roll.

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I’m also on this weird ginger kick. I LOVE eating raw ginger. OHHHH IT’S SO GOOD!! And it’s SO GOOD FOR YOU! (post coming on the health benefits! don’t worry!)

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So I took all the flavors that I LOVE in sushi and blended them together with some tuna, and extra boston bibb lettuce we had kicking around the house.

Ingredients

  • 2 baby sweet peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 avocado, cut into strips.
  • sushi grade tuna, cut into strips
  • Boston Bibb Lettuce, approximately 8 pieces

Mix your ginger, shallot, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice and champagne vinaigrette in a small bowl. Cut your sweet peppers and avocado into strips… aiming for them to be just shorter than your lettuce pieces.

Fill each lettuce piece with a a few strips of peppers, one strip of avocado and one strip of tuna. Drizzle with your vinaigrette and enjoy!

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We only made 8 mini wraps because it was an appetizer (for a shrimp-based dinner!) but this is so easy if you want to make into a meal. Just double everything but the tuna. Unfortunately, you have to (usually) buy a larger piece of tuna. I used just a few slivers to make this app. But fear not my followers! I’ll post a recipe soon showing what you can do with the rest of it.

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Posted in Appetizers | 3 Comments