Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Girl Time! A Sipping Beauties Tea Party #SipbySip #Sponsored

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #SipbySip.
I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #SipbySip recipes. 
All opinions are mine alone.

Sponsored by The Republic of Tea, in support of their Beautifying Botanicals release, I invited some blogging friends to join me in making something made with tea, something to eat at a tea party, or a product review of the Daily Beauty or Beauty Sleep teas.

#SipbySip Posts

  Beautifying Botanicals

Okay, first, a disclaimer: techinically, 'tea' — white, green, oolong and black teas — comes from the same plant, called Camellia sinensis. Without Camellia sinensis leaves — think peppermint or chamomile  — it really isn't a tea. It should be called a tisane, an infusion, or a decoction of herbs, spices, or even fruits. But I'm willing to overlook that imprecision because The Republic of Tea is making some delicious tisanes that are gorgeous as well. I mean, look at that beautiful hue in my cup. 

I don't think it's a stretch to say that we all know to put good things into our bodies. So, I was excited to try these new products: Daily Beauty or Beauty Sleep.

The Daily Beauty is the Blueberry-Lavender Tea and also includes blue butterfly pea flower, hibiscus, rose hip, bamboo, and schizandra berry. I think most of the gals approached this one with trepidation, thinking that the lavender would be overwhelmingly floral or too reminiscent of soap or lotion. I know that I was pleasantly surprised by the understated flavor of lavender. And it has a beautiful look in the teacup.

The Beauty Sleep is the Chamomile-Rose tea and also includes blue butterfly pea flower, chamomile, hibiscus, rose hip, bamboo, and schizandra berry. This one was also lovely in the cup with a slightly more rosey hue. One of the girls said that this one was her favorite of the two. I still haven't decided, but I plan to brew a cup before bed tonight!

A Sipping Beauties Tea Party
When I decided to host a girls' tea for the Beautifying Botanicals release — since I have worked with Le Creuset in previous events —  I emailed my contact there and she sent me the Classic Whistling Kettle and a set of four tea mugs for my party. I placed tulips in the mugs and intended to send them home with my guests as goodie bags. But they all left without them. So, I'll have to have another party soon.

I also asked my best friend to borrow some tea cups, saucers, serving platters, and tea pots. She wrapped up and brought me a great selection. After I hand-washed them all and had them on my counter, Jake noticed them. "What are those for?" he asked, hesitantly since we are in the middle of a major downsize. Don't worry!  I assured him. They are all Jenn's and they will go back to her when this party is over
So, on a sunny Sunday, I sent Jake and the boys off to see the new Avengers movie and turned my patio into a girly haven. We cranked up ABBA's greatest hits, soaked up the sun, chatted, sipped, nibbled, and relaxed.
Here's my sipping beauties crew. I have known these ladies for over three decades each. And I'm appreciative that they answer my call to come over and give me feedback on teas or whatever I happen to be writing about at the time.
Forever grateful to have girl time! Thanks, Denise, Stephanie, Erin, and Jenn for coming over. Pia, you were missed.


On the Plate

Inspired by the flavor profiles of the Beautifying Botanicals, I planned a menu that included blueberries, lavender, and chamomile. I served blueberry scones with clotted cream, jam, and lavender-lemon curd; I poached chicken in chamomile tea and shredded that into a chicken salad for tea sandwiches; and I made pickled red onions and blueberries for my smoked salmon-mascarpone tea sandwiches.


We ended the meal with a refreshing salad of mixed greens, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, and goat cheese dressed in a light vinaigrette. I will post all of these recipes, eventually. For now, I'm just sharing the scones recipe.

Blueberry Scones 
makes 16 small scones or 8 large ones

Ingredients
  • 2 ½ C flour
  • ½ C organic granulated sugar + more for sprinkling
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 8 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 C sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C fresh blueberries

Procedure
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the dough resembles pea-sized chunks. Add the sour cream, egg, and blueberries, using a spatula to form a ball. Divide the dough in half.

Transfer to a floured surface and gently press into a disc. Place it on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and press the sugar lightly into the top. Cut the disc into wedges. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. The scone will be nicely raised and slightly golden. Serve with lemon curd, jam, and clotted cream.

Find them on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary products from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Spinning Plates Round-Up #FoodNFlix


This month, I invited my fellow Food'N'Flixers to watch Spinning Plates* with me. You can read my invitation here.

Unlike other times I've hosted, I suggested this movie without having watched it ahead of time. So, it was a fun diversion one afternoon to sit down with my family, notebook in hand, and watch this documentary that looks at what goes into running a restaurant.

Based on the entries and comments I think the gals all enjoyed this selection. I'm glad!


Our Spinning Plates

First in was Kelley of Simply Inspired Meals who shared her Wild Blackberry Pie. Of the three restaurants featured in the film, Kelley was drawn to Breitbach's. She shares, "Breitbach’s, on the other hand, felt like the kind of restaurant my family would enjoy. It’s focused on family, excellent but not complicated food, with a warm inviting environment. I selected Breitbach’s as my inspiration. They make homemade pies every day."


Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm also shared a pie, a Grant Achatz Sr.-inspired pie: Michigan 4 Berry Pie. She writes, "There is a pie company in my small town of Michigan that is owned by the Achatz family.  The Achatz family has a long history of restaurateurs, cooks and catering.  ...There are Achatz pie companies throughout the neighboring counties now and  they are available to be shipped Nationwide.  Their most popular pie is the Crumb Michigan Four Berry Pie.  They offer free shipping.  The cost of one pie is $49.00.  They sell a ton of them." I'm not sure I've ever paid $50 for a pie, but Wendy's looks delicious, doesn't it?


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared three recipes for this event. Yes, three! First up was A Simple Guacamole, which was inspired by "La Cocina de Gabby is probably the humblest of restaurants but the one with the most heart."


Next, Debra shared Chef Grant's Best Burgers, writing, "Achatz’ food featured in the film was breathtaking and ambitious and too scary for me to try to replicate.  Instead, I found some humbler and more attainable recipes online like his mac‘n cheese and this great burger recipe."


And, lastly, Debra shared her Tri-Berry Pie in honor of Breitbach’s Country Dining. She reports, "We loved the berry-mix.  I had lots of blackberries and blueberries in the freezer and bought a carton of raspberries at the grocery store, hence the tri-berry pie.  Breitbach’s recipe uses two cups of raspberries and one cup of blackberries."


April of Home Sweet Homestead posted Breakfast Tacos for the event. Inspired by Gabby's restaurant, April says, "One of my favorite moments is when Gabby says, 'I could give you the recipes, but the true seasoning is in the person's hands'. I've felt that way about cooking my whole life, but was never able to sum it up as well as she did. Gabby learned the art of Mexican cuisine from her mother and grandmother, which is why I think their story touched me the most. Her food is made with love, the same philosophy I have about my own cooking."


Evelyne of CulturEatz wrote about Esquites, Mexican Street Corn in a Cup. Evelyne was also inspired by Gabby, sharing, "I could just relate to them the most. They are trying to survive, to not lose their house, the build a business. I saw many such small roadside restaurants myself during my trip [to Mexico]. It is really a question of survival for them. ...Funny enough, the food they prepared looked really Tex-Mex to me, even if she claims it was her mom’s cooking. Or I should say it looked very plain to what I saw, even compared to street food from street vendors." Her Esquites looks exquisite. I can't wait to try it!


Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures was also inspired by the Mexican restaurant in the movie. She published her Huevos Ranchos Tacos. "Ultimately, I decided to go a little Tex-Mex and make Huevos Rancheros Tacos, inspired by the Mexican restaurant as they introduce breakfast tacos to their menu in an effort to bolster their morning restaurant traffic. This delicious dish is quick enough to make for breakfast or hearty enough for dinner.  It is also a great way to stretch leftovers to feed a crowd!"


And I'll round out the offerings. As a food writer, I have been assigned to eat at a lot of great restaurants. And many times people ask me about the best meal I've ever that. I decided to share, probably, the most memorable in Food as Art + My Foodie Crush on Chef Cal.

Next Month...
There you have it. All the Food'N'Flixers' posts about Spinning Plates. Next month - May 2019 - Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting us as we watch Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! Read her invitation here and join the party! Seriously. When doesn't ABBA put a smile on your face?!

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sabzi Khordan (Fresh Herb Platter) #OurFamilyTable


Today the #OurFamilyTable is sharing herbaceous recipes! Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures encouraged the bloggers: "The first full week of May is National Herb Week. Show us you show stopping herbaceous recipes highlighting their flavors."


We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Sabzi Khordan
Fresh Herb Platter

I used to have a friend from Iran. And whenever we ate dinner at her house, I remember her platters of clipped herbs. They were always so crisp and refreshing. I loved it!

In reading Louisa Shafia's The New Persian Kitchen, I realize that these platters are on the table at almost every dinner. Where we have our green salads, they have their sabzi khordan. Use whatever herbs or greens you have. Tonight I used fresh mint, fresh dill, and baby lettuces.

Ingredients
  • feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ground cumin
  • 2 bunches of whole herbs or greens
  • nuts (traditionally, they serve walnuts; I had pistachios)
  • radishes, quartered
  • tomato, sliced into wedges
  • flatbread for serving

Procedure
Slice your feta cheese into serving-sized pieces. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin.

Arrange your platter with alternating colors for a pleasing platter. I did: feta, fresh mint, yellow tomatoes, baby greens, radishes, and fresh dill with pistachios in the center.

To eat: pick up some herbs and place them in a manageable piece of flatbread. Stuff the flatbread with herbs, cheese, a radish or tomato, and nuts. Fold in half and eat. Delicious! I will definitely be serving sabzi khordan more often.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Lavender Panna Cotta with Lemon Curd #BrunchWeek #Torani #Sponsored

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek.
I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. 
All opinions are mine alone.

Here we are at the end of #BrunchWeek 2019! Boo. But what a line-up of bloggers, recipes, sponsors, and prizes we have had. Take a look at my introductory post for the event. And a quick shout-out of gratitude to our fearless leaders: Terri of Love and Confections and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures!

Saturday's Recipes

BrunchWeek Beverages



BrunchWeek Appetizers and Salads



BrunchWeek Egg Dishes



BrunchWeek Breads, Grains, and Pastries



BrunchWeek Desserts



Lavender Panna Cotta with Lemon Curd

Panna cotta, which just means 'cooked cream' in Italian is one of my favorite dishes to make because it's flexible, easy, and still impressive looking. I recently made a Sakura Panna Cotta with a cherry blossom suspended in a gelée. Other versions have included a Passion Fruit Vanilla Panna Cotta, Salted Juniper-Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta, and a Marigold Petal Matcha Panna Cotta.


In this version, I decided to use one of the syrups from event sponsor Torani. And I used sugar from another sponsor Dixie Crystals in both the panna cotta and the lemon curd topping. I opted for Torani's lavender syrup because I enjoy mixing herbaceous notes with desserts.

Ingredients makes 4

Yogurt Panna Cotta
  • 2 T water
  • 1 packet powdered unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 C whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar (prefer Dixie Crystals)
  • 1 T lavender syrup (prefer Torani)
  • food coloring, optional and prefer natural food coloring/dyes)
Lemon Curd
  • 1 C fresh lemon juice
  • 4 t fresh lemon zest
  • 1 C granulated sugar  (prefer Dixie Crystals)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 12 T butter, cut into cubes
Finishing
  • Lemon Curd
  • heaving whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • organic lavender blossoms, optional



Lemon Curd (this can be done ahead of time and makes more than you need!)
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.

Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

Yogurt Panna Cotta
Have four ramekins or glass dishes ready. I place them on a small baking sheet that fits in my fridge. Set aside.

Place the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let soften for 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime, combine yogurt, sugar, and lavender syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat gently until the mixture just comes to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add the softened gelatin. Return pan to the stove and heat gently until the gelatin is completely dissolved, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.



Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large measuring cup with a spout. Stir in food coloring, if using, until you get the shade that you want. I mixed in a couple drops of red and blue to get a pale purple hue.

Pour about 1/2 C into each dish. Let stand until cooled to room temperature, then  place in the fridge for 3 hours to chill until set.

Finishing
Remove the panna cotta from the fridge. Top with a spoonful of lemon curd. Use a small spoon to push the curd all the way to the edge of the glass. Add a dollop of whipped cream; you can use a piping bag if you want a design. Garnish lightly with lavender blossoms. Serve immediately


Enter to Win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Joyjolt, Sweets & Treats, Torani, Sarcastic Cooking, Dessert for Two, Sweet Phi, and The Little Ferraro Kitchen for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six (6) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Winners have 48 hours to respond once chosen, or they forfeit the prize and another winner(s) will be chosen. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Breakfast Nachos #BrunchWeek #Sponsored

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek.
I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. 
All opinions are mine alone.

We are inching closer to the end of #BrunchWeek 2019! Boo. But what a line-up of bloggers, recipes, sponsors, and prizes we have had; there are a couple more days to go. Take a look at my introductory post for the event. And a quick shout-out of gratitude to our fearless leaders: Terri of Love and Confections and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures!

Friday's Recipes

BrunchWeek Beverages



BrunchWeek Appetizers and Salads

  • Breakfast Nachos from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
  • Cheddar Cheese Bites from Family Around the Table


BrunchWeek Egg Dishes



BrunchWeek Breads, Grains, and Pastries



BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides



BrunchWeek Desserts



Breakfast Nachos

I wanted to feature product from one of our generous event sponsors: Cabot Creamery Cooperative. They sent me multiple pounds of shredded cheeses for recipe development. For these, I went with their 4 Cheese Mexican. I tossed around several ideas and the words 'breakfast' and 'nachos' came out of somewhere. So, I ran with it.


But, instead of using chips or tortillas; I decided to make oven roasted potato crisps as the base. And I topped it all with poached eggs because eggs are what really say 'breakfast' to me!

Ingredients

Potato Base
  • 2 organic potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil

Toppings
  • 1 can organic pinto beans, drained
  • 1 C refried black beans
  • leftover shredded beef or chicken, optional (omit if vegetarian)
  • shredded cheese (prefer Cabot)
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • eggs
  • candied jalapeno peppers


Procedure

Potato Base
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Use a mandolin slicer to slice potatoes thin. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat with oil, then spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet.


Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.


After 20 minutes, the potatoes should be crisped, golden, and blistered.

Sprinkle the potatoes with cheese, beans, meat, and more cheese.  Place in the oven and heat through until everything is warm and cheese is melted, approximately 7 minutes.  

While nachos are in the oven, cook eggs; I like to poach them.  When nachos are still warm and gooey, slide eggs onto the top.  

I serve them as is and let everyone put on their own salsa, sour cream, and candied jalapenos, if wanted. Serve immediately. 


Enter to Win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Joyjolt, Sweets & Treats, Torani, Sarcastic Cooking, Dessert for Two, Sweet Phi, and The Little Ferraro Kitchen for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six (6) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Winners have 48 hours to respond once chosen, or they forfeit the prize and another winner(s) will be chosen. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Guava Gin Fizz #BrunchWeek #Joyjolt #DrinkforJoy #Torani #SweetsSquad #Sponsored

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. 
I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. 
All opinions are mine alone. This recipe is intended for readers 21+ years and older.

Welcome to the third day of #BrunchWeek 2019! What a line-up of bloggers, recipes, sponsors, and prizes we have for you. Take a look at my introductory post for the event. And a quick shout-out of gratitude to our fearless leaders: Terri of Love and Confections and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures!

Wednesday's Offerings

BrunchWeek Beverages

BrunchWeek Appetizers and Salads

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains, and Pastries

BrunchWeek Main Dishes

BrunchWeek Desserts


Guava Gin Fizz

This recipe was inspired by the delicious guava syrup that I received from event sponsor Torani. I did some recipe testing early on and made a Double-Decker Guava Tres Leches Cake but I really wanted a fun libation to pour into the Stella glasses from sponsor JoyJolt


Then I added in a citrus garnish on my 'rock candy sticks' from sponsor Sweets and Treats. This drink adds a level of pizzazz to any brunch table. Cheers!

Ingredients makes two cocktails

  • 4 T + 2 t, divided, guava syrup (prefer Torani)
  • ¼ C gin
  • ¼ C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • lemon twists and slices for garnish
  • sparkling water, chilled
  • Also needed: ice, cocktail shaker
Procedure

To a cocktail shaker filled with ice add gin, lemon juice, and 4 T guava syrup. Shake well and strain into two glasses filled with ice. Top with chilled sparkling water. Add in another 1 t guava syrup on top and garnish with lemon twists and slices.

Enter to Win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This recipe is intended for individuals ages 21 & up. Please drink responsibly. Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Joyjolt, Sweets & Treats, Torani, Sarcastic Cooking, Dessert for Two, Sweet Phi, and The Little Ferraro Kitchen for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six (6) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Winners have 48 hours to respond once chosen, or they forfeit the prize and another winner(s) will be chosen. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

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