Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Y is for: Yellow Corn Mexican Panzanella Salad

I swear when I made this salad last week it was still summer. It was 85 degrees and I was still running the AC.

And then suddenly overnight it switched to fall. It's ok though, all these veggies will still be in season for at least another week or two (or more if you live in Cali), so this can be your farewell to summer celebration of corn and tomatoes and padron peppers.

I made this out of a hodgepodge from recent Blue Apron shipments and random stuff I had on hand. I love doing that. It makes me feel like I'm on an episode of Chopped.

Except without the high pressure. And TV cameras. And discerning judges. And wacky ingredients.

(OK, it's not really like Chopped at all, but it's still fun).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

W is for: Watermelon Mint Mimosas

Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with the bubbly.

I like other wines and cocktails and even the occasional beer too (I mean, I don't discriminate my alcohol), but there's something about a nice glass of champagne that just makes me happy.

I don't normally order mimosas. (As my friend Laura would say: "I'll have a mimosa, but hold the OJ.) My philosophy: if it's good champagne, why ruin it with juice? And furthermore, why dilute my morning buzz with other liquids? (Unless it's a cup of coffee with Bailey's in it.)

However, I will make an exception if it's particularly fresh and delicious, and this one certainly fits the bill for a boozy August brunch.

Because, as my mom captured on a restaurant window recently: "A brunch without mimosas is just a sad, late breakfast."

Monday, August 17, 2015

W is for: Watermelon Skewers with Feta, Mint & Cucumber

Where has this summer gone???

Seriously, I know I say this every August, but this particular summer seemed to fly by faster than most.

Inevitably, my blog posts suffer in times like these. Take these little watermelon skewers for example. I made and photographed them over a week ago, and I'm just now getting around to posting.

I'm choosing to hold onto these summer days as long as humanly possible because I know what comes next... the beautiful colors of fall, and then 6 months of miserable East Coast winter.

These skewers are a perfect way to highlight the fresh flavors of the season and squeeze those last few drops of summer before it's gone.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

W is for: West Hartford Happy Hour

My friend Jeremy and I started this blog post in November of 2014 out of our love for West Hartford happy hours and our desire to share it with the people of central Connecticut.

In reality, I'm not sure how much this appeals to the majority of my blog readers, so perhaps it was a bit selfish on our part. Not that we need an excuse to go to happy hour every week, but this certainly gave us one.

The West Hartford Center happy hour phenomenon really is something. They truly are the cheapest and best happy hour deals I have ever come across. I'm curious how and when it all started. Which restaurant decided it was going to offer great food and drinks at ridiculously low prices, the popularity of it forcing the hand of every other restaurant in the center? This, we may never know. But I can confidently say we do know which ones are the best. You know why I know? Because we tried them all. Every. Single. One. It was our duty in order to bring you this comprehensive list.

Because we started this project 9 months ago, some of the specific food and drink items might be tad outdated, but we stand behind our rankings. For this reason, we plan to revisit some of these spots on "official blog business" and update them where needed. (Because... you know, for the integrity of the blog). Special shout out to these fine establishments of WeHa for providing us a fun project over the last year and to Jeremy's lovely fiancĂ©e Rita for putting up with our semi-weekly excursions.

To help judge value and make us do math when we're tipsy, we set a budget of $40 for two people (tax and tip not included). As for the rating system... it's pretty simple. Scale of 1-5, four categories, bonus points for happy hours that go three hours or are offered on the weekends. They are listed in order of highest total score to lowest. Cheers!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

V is for: Vegan Valencia Orange Sherbet

As a kid, trips to the Great Falls, Montana mall were synonymous with the Orange Julius stand. If you've never had one (and unless you grew up in the Midwest), the best way I can explain it is like a creamsicle blended up into a shake.

It was orangey, it was creamy, it was delicious.

That's what this orange sherbet reminds me of.

I decided to make it vegan to go along with the alphabet theme, so I subbed coconut milk for the dairy here. I actually LOVED this substitution, as it gave it a bit of a tropical feel.

You'll need about 2 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice, which will take about 8 oranges. To speed up the process, store the oranges and the coconut milk in the fridge until you're ready to make your sherbet. (And yes, it's sherbet, not "sherbert.")

Thursday, July 2, 2015

U is for: USA USA Boozy Popsicles

Never before has a post been more appropriate than it is this weekend.

Not only will we be celebrating our nation's independence with BBQ's and fireworks on Saturday... but Sunday we will be cheering on the U.S. women as they try to capture their first World Cup title since 1999.

In other words, a lot of red, white and blue.

Enter these slightly boozy, super fun and extra delicious popsicles. Perfect for cooling down on a warm summer day and celebrating good ol' 'Merica.

Also... special shout out to my friend Jeremy. I was feeling a little un-inspired and tempted to skip over the letter "U" all together this time. But he insisted I stay the course and came up with a few ideas to help get me going.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

T is for: Tuna Tartare Tacos with Mango & Avocado

My friend Stephanie celebrated her 30th birthday last weekend and kicked off the day of festivities with a BBQ at her place.

I asked what I could bring, and she put me in charge of bringing an appetizer of some sort.

That left my options pretty wide open, so I decided to make something that I could also share on the blog.

I've been wanting to do some sort of tuna tartare for awhile, and I felt like this was a perfect opportunity. It's a nice appetizer for a hot day because it's served cold and is very light to contrast with the heavier BBQ fare.

Plus... who doesn't love mini tacos of any sort?!?
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