Saturday, April 18, 2015

Black Manhattan

Classic cocktails are classic for a reason. A well made Manhattan is a thing of beauty, balanced and complex, slightly sweet and boozy, and perfectly highlighting your whiskey of choice. Like most things though, variety is the spice of life and always has me interested in trying something new.

Recently, I've been playing with Amari.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


What a breakfast! Fried eggs and a buttermilk biscuit,  topped with fried chicken and gravy.

The Orlando food scene is growing steadily. When I first moved to the area more than a decade ago, most of my favorite places to eat (The Ravenous Pig, Prato, Cask & Larder, East End Market, Kabooki Sushi and so many more) weren't even in existence. My choices were mainly to eat at home or a chain restaurant. That is, until I found Dexters.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Bee's Knees Cocktail

My love of cocktails comes from the same place as my love of cooking. I find the idea of taking ingredients and creating something special, something personalized, to be fun, exciting, and extremely rewarding.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Easy Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Mixed greens, pears, blue cheese dressing and candied pecan crumbles.
I don't know why, but until recently I never ate blue cheese salad dressing. Vinaigrettes, Caesar, Ranch were all common options for me, but I never ordered blue cheese. Odder still because I love blue cheese in general, would use it in a loads of salads and top with vinaigrettes, but never ate or made creamy blue cheese dressing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Australian Shiraz: 2011 Footbolt and 2010 Elderton

A little less than a year ago, I joined a wine tasting group. We get together every couple of weeks and blind taste, building our palates and our knowledge base. Blind tasting and drinking wine for pleasure are very different things, but the process of going through a wine systematically and categorizing its fruit, structure, body, acidity, tannins and more has increased my pleasure when drinking more than I can say. So when I am drinking for fun, I enjoy drinking two bottles side-by-side to help me build those sense memories. Tonight I wanted to focus on Shiraz, Australian Shiraz.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chocolate Bouchons

Playing in the kitchen today.

I was craving chocolate and thought it would be fun to make Chocolate Bouchons. The recipe doesn't look hard and I've been planning on trying it for a while, but as I scoured my pantry for ingredients, I spied some almond flour left over from macaron making as well as coffee liqueur from last summer's obsession with mocha ice cream. Now, I usually don't play with recipes until I've made them as written, but I couldn't help myself. I broke the rules and what I came up with turned out so delicious, I might never make the Chocolate Bouchon recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook I've been holding onto for the past few years.

Ivan Ramen

It's no surprise that I love ramen. So when I heard that Ivan Orkin was setting up shop in New York City, I was eager to try his food.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bits 'O Brickle Cookies

I wish I could claim this recipe was mine. To be honest, I'm not even particularly fond of these cookies, but they are my husband's absolute favorite. So when he asks really nicely, or it's his birthday, or I just want to do something nice for him, this is what I bake. Technically, Hershey's calls them Brickle Drop Cookies, and even publishes the recipe on the back of the Heath Bits 'O Brickle bag, but my hubby asks for Bits 'O Brickle, so that's what we call them at our house.

2009 Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos

I'm an impatient gal. I try not to be, but sometimes, I just can't help myself.

I bought the 2009 bottle of Domaine Laroche Chablis last year, thinking I'd hold onto it for a few years, since Grand Cru Chablis can definitely take some age.

But I saw it in my cellar and could wait no longer. My impatience won out and I had to have it.

I am a devoted Chablis drinker. And while I can't say that I love every bottle I open, it is definitely a style that I know and love.

100% Chardonnay, this bottle contains grapes from the prestigious Les Clos vineyard. Aged on the lees in just 25% new French oak, there was a delicious combination of bright fruit, lively acidity, yet a richness in body and texture that sets it apart and elevates it. White flowers and wet stone on the nose with apple/pear, white peach and a touch of lemon coming through. I enjoyed every sip, and when the bottle was done, I lamented the fact that I had only purchased one.

I'll never know if it would've gotten better had I given it more time. Maybe I should have waited until 2019. Maybe then it would have transformed into something even greater. Somehow, I don't care.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bucatini with Almond Jalapeño Pesto

Bucatini with Almond Jalapeño Pesto Recipe

I first fell in love with Almond Jalapeño pesto in January of 2013. I had just returned home from visiting friends in Philadelphia and we had a wonderful dinner at Amis. They served it with bucatini and it seemed exotic, wholly unexpected, and to die for.  I loved it so much I immediately tried to recreate it when I came home. But where to start? I googled online for recipes but found nothing that inspired me. So imagine my surprise when I looked through my Babbo cookbook, and there in front of me was a recipe for Jalapeño pesto. Good old Mario Batali. His recipe used 6 jalapeños, 1/4 cup of blanched almonds, 1/2 diced onion and 1/4 cup of olive oil, pulsed and pureed in a food processor. It was good, but not exactly what I was looking for. I knew I'd have to play with the recipe to make it closer to what I had loved at Amis.