Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mellow Melon

I'm of the belief that watermelon is perfectly delicious just as it is, but if you're looking to jazz it up a little, try out this recipe. It may seem like a lot of flavors going on, but it comes together really nicely. This recipe also raises an age-old question of personal taste: do you salt your watermelon?

Paula's East Watermelon Dessert
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen and the Food Network

1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons grey salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 (5-pound) watermelon

In a large bowl, add all ingredients together except for watermelon.
Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut into 1/2-inch slices and remove seeds. Cut the watermelon into cutes and place in individual bowls. Drizzle with the pineapple mixture and serve.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Keep it Cool

I recently came across this wooden cooler at World Market, and I think it's perfect for the person who does a lot of outdoor entertaining. It's made from acacia wood, and is sleeker and has more character than the bulky plastic version. Plus, you can leave it out yearlong. Could be a great Father's Day gift for the dad who's spending his summer outside.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Measure by Measure

Sometimes it's the little things that make me happy. I'm currently loving
the idea of these sunshine palette measuring bowls from Anthropologie. They're so bright and cheery, I think they'd make baking an even more pleasant
experience. Best of all, they're on sale for $7.95.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summertime Blues

One of my favorite summer treats is blueberry cobbler. It's just so rustic and relaxed, the way summer meals should be. It also begs to be paired with vanilla ice cream, which is always a plus. This recipe is low effort, tasty, and I just love the addition of lemon zest. It gives it a little "hmmm." Try it and hopefully you'll be left with something resembling this.

Blueberry Cobbler
Recipe courtesy of Real Simple

2 pints blueberries
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, toss the blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon flour. In a medium bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and the remaining flour and sugar. Add the butter and blend with your fingers or 2 knives until coarse crumbs form. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Drop mounds of dough over the blueberry mixture. Bake until the berries are bubbling and the top is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Serves six.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Garden Utensils

I landed on an Etsy shop today called Monkeys Always Look, which offers the cutest combination of kitchen and garden. What first caught my eye were these charming garden markers made from antique silverware. The pieces are made to order and can say whatever you like. You can even choose whether you want a spoon or a fork. The rest of the shop features a variety of succulents in containers like bowls, teacups and other vintage-looking dishes, making them perfect for a sunny windowsill in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Seaside Accessories

Jewelry is an easy way to incorporate summer into your wardrobe, and there are loads of beach and ocean-inspired pieces currently available. Banana Republic has a starfish-themed necklace, ring and earrings. At Anthropologie, you can adorn your finger with a sparkly sea turtle or yet another starfish. They also have the washed ashore necklace, which is a cluster of shells strung on silk. And over at Etsy, you can find a clam charm with a pearl inside and herds of seahorse pieces. If you can't get your body to the beach, bring the beach to your body.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cocktail Cravings: Blissini

If you're having mom over for brunch today, offer her an antioxidant-packed cocktail. The blissini (how cute is that name?) contains pomegranate and orange juices and Italian sparkling wine. Substitute sparkling water if you like. It's girly, not too sweet and a great variation on the usual brunch beverages -- perfect for Mother's Day.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network

1 1/2 cups Prosecco, chilled
1 1/2 cups orange juice, chilled
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, chilled
Mint leaves, for garnish

Combine the Prosecco, orange juice, and pomegranate juice and pour into 6 Champagne glasses. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Winning Combinations for Mother's Day

So I'm a little late writing about Mother's Day gifts, but fear not, there's still time. In fact, Crate and Barrel has gone through the trouble of pairing different items and packaging them together, which makes shopping even easier or provides inspiration if you don't have a Crate and Barrel nearby. So don't just give mom a new teapot, pair it with her favorite flavor of tea and some fun utensils. Give your green-thumbed mama a new pair of gardening gloves, a flower pot and seeds of her favorite flower. If mom likes to knit, give her a tote bag filled with a couple skeins of yarn and a new set of needles. You get the idea. Piecing together a gift with different things can be a lot easier than trying to find that one perfect item, and mom will be so impressed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Enchiladas

I like to think of enchiladas as Mexican comfort food -- warm, gooey and a tasty combination of flavors. Cinco de Mayo gave me the perfect excuse to try my hand at the dish. It had just the right amount of spice and came together surprisingly fast. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Chicken Enchiladas
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence and the Food Network

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
8 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool. Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute. Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set. Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Derby on My Mind

Tomorrow marks the 135th Kentucky Derby, and though I've never attended the event, it encompasses everything I love: classic southern dishes like fried chicken and barbecue, a fancy drink, my favorite pie and a reason to dress up. One day I hope to make it to Churchill Downs, but for now I'll just have to imagine I'm there, mint julep in hand, wearing seersucker, some festive headwear and a lucky charm.


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