Tag Archives: Fashionable Food

Delicious Greek Yogurt Pesto

Basil from our garden, garlic, and walnuts

My love for pesto is fairly new. For the longest time I thought all pesto had pine nuts (which I do not enjoy) so I avoided it all together. Eventually I was introduced to walnut pesto and fell in love with the rich, earthy, nutty flavors.

Adapted from Jane Salzfass’s Spaghettini with Yogurt Pesto recipe featured in Great Meals in Minutes, pasta menus this yogurt pesto makes a great dip, sauce, or marinade and is perfect for sweltering summer nights when you can’t face turning the oven on.

You will need: 2-3 cloves garlic, 1/4 – 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh basil leaves (firmly packed), black pepper (to taste) – food processor

To Make: mince cloves of garlic in food processor (if using minced garlic skip this step). Add walnuts, salt, and olive oil to the minced garlic and blend in food processor until you’re left with a smooth paste. Slowly add Greek yogurt and fresh basil to the walnut paste mixture in the food processor and blend until well combined and bright green. Add salt and pepper to taste and chill covered in the fridge for an hour before enjoying.

mince garlic in food processor add walnuts, salt, and olive oil to minced garlic and blend in food processor until smooth. *(If I’m making pesto dip/spread I’ll keep this mixture a little bit chunky as opposed to blending it smooth when I plan to use it as pasta sauces)*add Greek yogurt slowlyadd basil leaves to yogurt mixture and blend until smoothWhile you can enjoy it immediately I’ve found that it’s best after its had some time to chill in the fridge (about an hour or so).

Every time I make this quick and easy pesto recipe I find another way to use it. Last night we had burgers with tomato, mozzarella, and a dollop of pesto and before I left for work this morning I put a couple of chicken breast in with the rest of the pesto to marinade so tonight we’ll be having grilled pesto chicken Caesar salads tonight.

I can’t wait to hear how you enjoy this delicious pesto so be sure to let me know in the comments below or on twitter or facebook!

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

If you follow me on twitter (which you should) then you may have seen my tweets about these little clouds of deliciousness. When the lovely Brooke of Cheeky Kitchen posted this oatmeal cookie pancake recipe on her ever inspiring blog I couldn’t wait for the weekend to get here so I could try them out. They were amazingly delicious and hearty.

 D smothered his in peanut butter and of course plenty of Vermont maple syrup.

I recently learned that I’m lactose intolerant so instead of buttermilk I placed two teaspoons of lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, added enough coconut milk to equal a cup (let the mixture sit for ten minutes and then add as directed). I kept it simple this time, deciding not to add anything but next time I want to try adding shredded granny smith apples and walnuts. I think the flavors and texture would work really well. I sadly didn’t get to test out the icing as the whole bag of confectionery sugar I bought last week went missing… kitchen elves 1, Caitlin 0.

What are you cooking up this weekend?

A Little Pepe in your Step

Like much of the U.S. Burlington is in the grips of an intense wave of  heat and humidity. Amidst predictions that tomorrow could be the hottest day of the whole summer I thought a cool cocktail recipe was in order.This cocktail calls for only two ingredients; ripe pineapple and gold tequila

First, cut your ripe pineapple into bite sized chunkswhat can I say, D likes to chop shirtless

Once you’ve got your pineapple cut up transfer it to a large container with a lid (We used a pyrex tupperware dish and large mason jars work well too)Next, pour enough tequila into your container to cover all the pineapple chunks. Then simply cover your container and place it in the fridge for 24-48 hours to really let the flavors marinate. Despite being shockingly simple this is a refreshing and sweet summer cocktail that leaves a lot of room for experimentation. Try adding a few squeezes of fresh lime juice or experiment with other type of fruit. Play around with it and see what works best for you.

There’s no wrong way to enjoy this summer treat but here are a few fun suggestions:

  • create fruit kabobs layering the pineapple with fresh strawberries and melon for a refreshing after dinner treat
  • serve the pineapple straight out of your chilled contained with fun frilly toothpicks (perfect for the beach, park, festival etc…)
  • place a chunk or two of pineapple in the bottom of a rocks glass, cover with the chilled tequila and garnish with a lime and cherry
  • drain the tequila into chilled shot glasses, spear a pineapple chunk and lime wedge with a toothpick and balance atop the shot glass for a fun chaser

What’s your favorite summer cocktail? How would you serve this summery sweet treat?

The Stylish Palette: How to Style your First Sips

Last Sunday I introduced The Stylish Palette, a series combining my love of fashion and wine. In the first Stylish Palette post I shared my picks for red, white & bubbly to sip on the Fourth and style tips each bottle. This week I wanted to do more of an introductory post.

Firstly I want to thank Abby from Dedalus Wine Shop in Burlington, this series wouldn’t have been possible without her patience (with me) and passion (for wine). Wine like with some fashion trends (harem pants, I’m talking to you) can take some easing into. Here are a few tips for trying out new wines and fashion trends.

You Already Know What you Like

Just like fashion, getting into it wine can be intimidating but if you look at what you already know/like and build off that it can make it much easier. “Think about what flavors you already like and look for wines with complimentary tastes” suggests Abby. “If you love apples and citrus fruits then try a wine with crisp, clean, fruity qualities.”

Unique, 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, $11.25

Similar to knowing what flavors you already enjoy, when it comes to experimenting with new fashion trends look at what styles you already gravitate towards. Look for trends that will compliment the pieces you already have and highlight your personal style.

One of this seasons hottest summer trends is bold floral prints. If you’re used to a more muted or neutral color palette you can ease into the trend by looking for floral prints done in pastels or by adding bold accessories.  This will allow you to build off what you already know and are comfortable with.

Romper, Wedges, Satchel, Fedora

What trends are you experimenting with this summer? When it come to trying new things do you dive right in or do you prefer to ease into it?

The Stylish Palette: Red, White & Bubbly

I am so excited to share The Stylish Palette with you!

Each Sunday in July I’ll combine two of my passions, fashion and wine. Thanks to Abby at dedalus wine shop in Burlington I’ve got tons of great tips for picking the perfect bottle to match not only your price range but your style.

In honor of the Fourth of July Abby helped me find bottles of Red, White and Bubbly perfect for whatever patriotic partying you’ve got planned.

Red: Betts & Scholl, 2008 Grenache, $21.50An Australian wine with flavors of guava and blackberries it’s one of Abby’s personal favorites. “I’ve found a sweet spot with bottles in the $20 – $25 price range. At $21.50 this grenache is one of my favorites, lighter in style but you don’t realize how much it really has going on until you open it.”

Style this bottle with:

A light gauzy shirt dress, statement sandals, bangles, and loose boho beach curls. This is the perfect wine for a torch lit backyard dinner party over looking the beach or a casual bbq with friends.

White: Aveleda Fonte, 2009 Vinho Verde, $10.75Abby described this Portuguese white as a “perfect porch sipping wine.” Ideal for hot summer days this refreshing white is smooth, light and slightly effervescent. I usually drink red wine so Abby suggested this vhino verde would be the perfect white wine to start with. It’s also low in alchol so you can enjoy it all day long. This white is casual, fun and easy to enjoy just about any where.

Style this decidedly laid back bottle with:

Your favorite beach cover up, vintage chevron bikini, floppy straw hat or head scarf. Casual but always stylish this bottle is meant to be enjoyed with friends on beach blanket, picnic table, or out on the boat.

Bubbly: Riondo Pink Spago Argento, $13.75    When it comes to choosing the perfect bubbly there are two main categories, champagne or prosecco. Champagne is strictly made with grapes from the Champagne region of France. Prosecco is a sparkling wine made from a variety of grapes. Abbey described this girly bubbly as “sweet 16 in a bottle.” Prosecco hass fat, lazy bubbles that aren’t in a hurry to go anywhere while champagne is full of tiny, busy body bubbles that are always racing around.

Style this fun bright bottle with:

 Toast the fourth with this bottle from a roof top deck, poolside cabana, or backyard party in a brightly colored silk tank, gold sequin skirt, wedges and a golden summer tan.

What type of get together are you planning for the fourth? What types of cocktails will you be celebrating with this holiday weekend? 

Rainbow Brite Delights

My first rainbow cupcake… YUM!

This past weekend I had my very first rainbow cupcake! It was an impulse buy as we were leaving Junior’s and even though I was stuffed I still managed to find room for this colorful (and wildly moist) cupcake. The frosting was perfectly sweet and surprisingly light, topping each bite perfectly… *sigh*

I loved Rainbow Brite when I was a little girl so naturally I jumped at the chance to enjoy this similarly colored confection. Stylistically Ms. Brite was ahead of her time, she’s been sporting a perfectly chic color blocked mini dress for decades… but I digress.

Even if you’re not a fan of this season’s color blocking trend or Rainbow Brite (though I don’t know if that’s possible) here are a few places for inspiration, recipes and the how to’s when it come to making your own Rainbow Brite Delights!

Our Best Bites is a wonderful resource for all types of recipes accompanied by beautifully shot pictures and easy to follow instructions.  They also have a great recipe for colorburst cupcakes (and Sara is a Rainbow Brite enthusiast like myself!)

Looking for a more multi-media approach? Check out this great video, it lays it all out step by step.

Want your eye makeup to match your cupcakes? Then this tutorial for Rainbow Brite eyes is a must watch.

Were you a Rainbow Brite fan growing up? Have you ever tried/made your own rainbow cupcakes?

How to Get Your Boyfriend to Eat Broccoli

you can see the sizzle

Broccoli has always been one of my favorite vegetables and is a staple in my diet and fridge. I toss it in when I’m making spaghetti sauce, I add it to salads, eat it raw with dressing, broccoli is a verstile veggie. Usually I have at least one broccoli crown in the crisper.

D on the other hand hasn’t always been a fan of this superfood but all my harassment delicious cooking has him “developing a taste for it” now.  One broccoli dish that D really enjoyed (without any coaxing from me) was stir fry broccoli. I used this recipe as starting point and made little tweaks as I went.

Instead of using 1/4 cup of veggie oil like the recipe above calls for I coated the bottom of a med – large size fry pan with toasted sesame oil. I also substituted Bragg’s for regular soy sauce. Personally I just prefer the taste of the Bragg’s.

I didn’t have any chicken broth so I used chicken bullion and while I was warming the bullion I added a few slivers of ginger to the broth. I strained the broth and then slowly added in the corn starch, sugar, salt, and Braggs.

While the sauce was simmering I added the broccoli to the sautéed garlic and sesame oil. I cooked it high for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

After cooking on high for 4 minutes I slowly added the sauce to the broccoli and cooked the mixture on high for another minute or so, constantly stirring.

Once all the broccoli was coated with sauce I turned the heat down to low, covered the pan and let the broccoli simmer in the sauce until we were ready to sit down and eat, about 4 minutes. I wouldn’t recommended letting it simmer longer than 10  minutes as the broccoli may start to get mushy.

Serve with your favorite Asian inspired meals or with cheese burgers like we did. It was delicious but the next time I make this dish I’m going to try adding a little bit of spice. If you’re not a fan of spice you  could  add some peanut butter and honey to the sauce mixture and throw some chopped peanuts and sliced carrots in while the broccoli cooks for a more pad Thai style dish. Don’t be afraid of playing around with the flavors and ingredients and make it your own.

Are you a broccoli fan? What veggies do you have a hard time eating? What recipes have you been experimenting with lately?  

Dinner and a Wait

April 29th – May 5 is Vermont Restaurant Week! Restaurants all over the state offer lunch specials and prix-fixe dinner menus for $15, $25 or $35 per person. It’s a great opportunity to try new restaurants or restaurants that are normally in the (splurge/special occasion) bracket! To kick off restaurant week D and I decided to grab dinner at Miguel’s on Main, a small Mexican Restaurant & Cantina in Burlington.

When D and I arrived at Miguel’s it looked busy but we were seated promptly by the friendly (and fashionable) host who told us a server would be with us shortly. After 15 minutes of sitting at our table with no water and no waitress D called the host over. The host apologized, quickly brought us waters and promised to send our waitress right over. Five minutes later our waitress finally stopped by and with no mention of the wait we’d had asked if we wanted drinks. To be safe we gave her our entire order (drinks – dessert) and prayed that the first 20 minutes of service had just been a fluke.

More than a half hour after being seated our drinks and chips n’ salsa arrived.

The salsa was fresh and even though both D and I thought it could have used a bit more heat we enjoyed it all the same. D ordered a Corona and I decided to try their Ginger Fizz (brandy, ginger beer and lemon juice served over ice). It was delicious! Fizzy, sweet and perfectly strong (it helped take the edge off the service for sure).

D and I ordered off Miguel’s restaurant week menu To start I had the Ahi Tuna Ceviche with cucumber and chopped jalapeño. D opted for the Duck Confit Quesadilla, with dried cherries, green chiles and Monterey Jack.

Please note: at this point D was so hungry I didn’t dare ask him to wait while I photograph his quesadilla!

D’s quesadilla was excellent. The sweetness of the dried cherries worked well with the gameyness of the duck and the melted Monterey Jack cheese was a great finish. My ceviche was equally as tasty (though I was hoping for more of a bite from the  jalapenos) the tuna was fresh and the marinade was light enough that the flavors could really shine through. After how wonderful our starters were D and I hopped that the negative aspects of our visit to Miguel’s were behind us, but we had no such luck.

Thirty minutes after our starter plates had been cleared we were still without our main course. The couples sitting on either side of us both commented on how slow/poor their service had been so while we didn’t take it personally we were obviously frustrated. Ten more minutes of waiting brought the host over to our table, he graciously offered to buy us a round of drinks and apologized for the wait.

Almost two hours after we were seated our main courses arrived My Alambres ala Mexicana, skewers of beef tenderloin, sweet peppers and shrimp served with rice and salsa tomatillo.

The rice, veggies, salsa and wrap were good but the tenderloin was tough and the shrimp was dry. I ended up picking at it and then turned the rest over to D who picked a bit more.

D’s Pollo Santa Fe was very good. The chicken was stuffed with a moist and very flavorful honey-pecan cornbread. After we’d eaten D’s meal and picked at mine we were tempted to ask for the check but we figured that we should stick it out till dessert.

Miguel’s Maple Flan & Dessert Nachos Since D and I were splitting the desserts I got to photograph both!

Not surprisingly dessert was the best part of the meal (and not just because we go to leave afterward either). The flan had a perfect texture and rich maple flavor. The flan was surrounded by a light and sweet sauce that D (Mr. Maple) declared to be golden grade b maple syrup. It was wonderful. The dessert nachos came with chocolate covered tortilla chips (that still had a great salty crunch despite the chocolaty coating) and a fresh strawberry and mango salsa. The fruit salsa tasted fresh and came topped with shredded basil that provided a nice complimentary flavor.

Overall I left disappointed, the food was good but wasn’t worth the wait and the service (with the exception of the host) was ok at best. Would I recommend Miguel’s for dinner, no, but if you’re in the neighborhood and looking to kill some time stop in and try it for yourself.

Scrumptious Shrimp Scampi

If you follow me on Twitter then you know may have read my tweets of bliss after eating this meal.D adding a final dash of pepper

I’ve been a fan of Simply Recipes for a long time. The recipes are richly detailed and are accompanied by beautiful (and detailed) photographs. A few weeks ago I tweeted about this shrimp scampi recipe from Simply Recipe.  Not only did it look delicious but after glancing it over it seemed relatively quick and easy.

D and I decided to have the scampi over linguine. We followed the recipe and then I cooked a box of linguine according to the package directions. Once the pasta was cooked I drained it and then returned it to the warm pot and added butter, salt, pepper, some fresh parsley, a squirt of lemon juice and a generous portion of shredded Parmesan cheese. The light dressing on the pasta went perfectly with the garlicky goodness of the shrimp.

Just to make sure we were getting enough carbs I made a quick batch of garlic bread. I melted some butter, garlic, and pepper in the microwave and brushed it over half inch thick slices of local Italian bread. I topped them with parsley and more shredded Parmesan cheese then put them under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. They were super easy to make and ended up being perfect for soaking up all the sauce at the end.

Over all this recipe was quick, easy and absolutely wonderful. We will definitely be making it again. D and I agreed that the next time we make it we’re going to add some more heat. We also talked about adding bay scallops and using sherry instead of white wine. I love recipes that lend themselves well to substitutions.

What food blogs do you follow? When you’re trying a new recipe do you follow it to the letter or do you treat it more like guidelines?