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Peachy suggestions for your summer table

May 28th, 2015 No Comments


Peaches, my favorite fruit, are back in season! And while I love to just devour them straight from the fridge, we should have a little patience and incorporate them into some dishes.  A few of my favorites along with other ideas below.  The best thing about peaches, they don’t need much!

  

  • Appetizer: served on toast with salty blue cheese
  • Salad: chopped with arugula, avocado, toasted sliced almonds, and a tangy dressing. Protein of your choice!
  • Dinner: Peach chutney over chicken (Recipe is from Cardamon Hill, AMAZING Indian in Atlanta)
  • Dinner: Grilled with grilled shrimp or PORK CHOP!
  • Dinner: Sautéed with my pork tenderloin
  • Side: Grilled or lightly sautéed with green beans, toss with slivered almonds and sherry vinegar (via bon appetite)
  • Dessert: Don’t fuss over cobbler or pie. Roast sliced peaches with butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, and agave. Served with cashew ice cream, sprinkle sea salt. Or with homemade whippedcream. My easy instructions for both here.

 

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If I’m going to eat spinach instead of drink it

July 10th, 2014 No Comments

bon appétit spinach salad

 

These days the only way I’ll take my spinach is in a glass, either as part of a smoothie or juice blend.  Then I ran across this salad recipe in bon appetit.  Now I’m reconsidering and might even be motivated to have a little dinner party.  (If you’ve been gone for a while I’m single and on some sort of cooking strike.)

Spinach Salad with Crispy Onions and Dates

Via bon appétit June 2014

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Fresh spinach
  • bag of dates
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Blend 2 pitted dates, 1/3 cup veggie oil, 1 tsp lime zest, 1/4 cup lime juice in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup veggie oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat and sautee shallots until crispy. About 5-7 min.  Remove from pan and place on a paper towel.
  3. Chop 3/4 cup of dates.
  4. Toss it together!
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Maple syrup on my salad? You betcha!

December 5th, 2013 No Comments

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The other night at a dinner party I was blown away by the salad they served.  Spinach never tasted so good! The reason, it tasted like waffles…with a side of bacon :)  And I couldn’t exactly put my finger on why.  When I asked the chef she spilled her secret: maple syrup!

This salad is sweet with a hint of savory.  Perfect to serve with chicken and butternut squash.  That’s what popped into my mind.  I’m sure you’ll find tons of other combos and additions to make it your own.  Guests will love it because it’s so unexpected and unique.

FALL SALAD WITH MAPLE CIDER DRESSING

Salad

  • Spinach
  • Chopped fuji apples
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Blue cheese
  • avocado
  • Candied walnuts

(I’m not a blue cheese fan so I opted out of that and the walnuts.  Honeslty, I didn’t miss them)

Maple Cider Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Chopped chives to taste
  • Garlic, salt, pepper to taste

 

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Home-made whipped cream for summer fruit desserts

September 5th, 2013 1 Comment

Fruit cobbler

 

 

Now class, what’s my cobbler missing in this picture?  Nope, not ice cream.  Whipped cream!  Better for you and easier to make.

Whether you eat the delicious fruits of summer raw or roasted, a dollop of whipped cream completes the dish by cutting the sweetness.  And why not make it when it’s SOOOO easy?!

In this How-To video I share my two secrets to delicious whipped creme.

As for what you make to go underneath it, I love simply roasted fruits.  This summer I’ve been crazy for peaches so that’s usually what makes it into the pan.

Roasted Peaches

All you need to do to the fruit you’re roasting:

Coat with a little melted butter, sugar of your choice (I use sucanot), cinnamon, vanilla, and a squeeze of fresh lemon if you have it.  Put it into an oven set at 450 and wait until the fruit softens to your liking.  The smaller you cut the fruit, the quicker it will cook.  I cut mine in all different sizes so they have different textures.  (Above, before picture.)

If you want to make an official cobbler, like the one I have above, or a pot de chocolat, to go with your whipped cream, check out my recipes here. 

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Mary’s spiked lemonade for Labor Day!

August 22nd, 2013 No Comments

 

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In my circles of friends, I’m famous for my little vodka infusions and killer cocktails.  This one came together on a whim and we were all pleased with how it turned out.  In making the mix, I threw everything in so I have no idea how much of what I put in.  So, I’m guessing it doesn’t really matter.  What does, is the time you allow it to marinate in the fridge.  You should have the blend mixed and chilling for at least 12 hours.

In a pitcher combine:

  • Good vodka (at least Tito’s) – about 1/2 of a 750ml bottle
  • Water – about a cup
  • Three big lemons squeezed in and a couple of the actual lemons
  • LOTS of mint

Makes 12 small cocktails.

Serve over a lot of ice (NO MIXER) with finely sliced cucumber and a mint sprig.  It’s refreshing on a hot day and absolutely delicious!

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Before you start taking these bad boys down, might I suggest this trick to prevent your hangover.

 

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How to fold a napkin (2 different ways!) for your next dinner party

August 14th, 2013 No Comments

When I have new friends over for a dinner party, one of them usually asks me to show them how I folded their napkin.  If you’ve been with me for a while you know I’m big into setting a pretty table.  That comes from years of watching my mom.  She’s the real pro!  The presentation makes people feel special, the process is fun once you get into it.  Kinda like putting together a puzzle: try this candle stick here, a tea lamp over there, silver or gold chargers, etc.

In this video, I show you the simple steps to folding the napkin, two different ways.  The first technique I learned when I was waitressing at The Argyle Hotel on Sunset after college.  That was such a long time ago…That hotel underwent much needed renovation and is now The Sunset Tower.

The second method is too simple to be called a method; the additions of ribbons and flowers make all the difference.

Mary Rambin table setting 2013

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The best remixes on the web RIGHT NOW.

March 27th, 2013 No Comments

Hypemachine Screenshot

The other day I asked musician and SoulCycle instructor Kym (we taught together back in the day), “Where do you guys find all of the killer music you play in class?”  Her response: Hypemachine.

HypeMachine – HypeM.com – aggregates the songs being played across all of their vetted hipster music blogs.  On the homepage you’ll find a list of the most popular songs being played right now.  If you refresh the page, the list changes, that’s how current the popularity engine is!  Above the list you’ll see you can filter the list with options like “Remixes Only” or “No Remixes”  which seems to have some songs without techno beats.

As I’m writing this post, I’m just letting the site stream whatever it wants.  It’s a pretty cool mix of stuff that isn’t too intrusive.  I think the more I dig, the more fun workout and party songs I’ll find.  You could just turn on HypeM in the background of a party and not have to worry about it.

The killer for me is that if you want the song, you have to buy it, which means I can’t include it in my rdio collection.  I found the artists on Rdio, but not their HypeM remixes.  I’m totally spoiled by unlimited music synced across all of my devices on Rdio.  I expect those of you who use Spotify can simply download the mp3 and add it into your library.

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A delicious dish for meat lovers

January 3rd, 2013 No Comments

Without any meat!

In this case, that’s a good thing because beef bourguignon is a b!tch to make.  Smitten Kitchen’s mushroom bourguignon that is just as rich and delicious takes about an hour! Plus, you really can’t go wrong with Deb Perlman’s recipes; I’ve been making them for years.

Some of you might remember me tweeting about my attempt and epic fail making Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon for Valentine’s day one year.  My BF said he loved it, it wasn’t terrible….it wasn’t great.  But I did set the fire alarm off – twice – trying to control the heat on his glass-top stove.

Anyway, this recipe is much easier and perfect for cold January nights.  Definitely a great one for a dinner party because you can prepare ahead. It doesn’t have any protein so you’ll have to prepare that separately.  We paired it with a chicken grilled on The Big Green Egg, but it really wants steak on the side.   I also served it with eggs and toast for a “Steak and Eggs” breakfast; such a welcome change from our usual omelets.

Smitten Kitchen’s Mushroom Bourguignon

*Serves 4, lasts about 4 days in the refrigerator.  I made it exactly as directed except I used wheat flour and a little more than 2 tablespoons.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 pounds portabella mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well)
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth (beef broth is traditional but vegetable to make it vegetarian; it works with either)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
  • Egg noodles, for serving
  • Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.

Mushrooms before and after

Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.

Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.

Mushrooms stewing down

Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.

To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

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