On The Trail

June 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

Yesterday we hiked an absolutely GORGEOUS trail. Hanging Lake is  a  mile high trail in Glenwood Canyon so named for the beautiful bowl-like basin and waterfalls hanging on the side of the cliffs. It is a National Natural Landmark with a delicate ecosystem so the water is turquoise as no visitors may dip in.

I am by no means an experienced hiker and this trail was difficult in its incline but manageable with the tots we had in tow (not my kids). I found when I finished the way down, I was famished despite having lunch just a few hours before. I immediately took to Pinterest to find some trail mix inspirations. As trail mix has to be the easiest and most flexible thing to put together, I definitely did not want anything that required turning on the oven (especially since it is so hot all over!).

These were some of the ones I found that would be tasty and easily replicated:

The Picky Apple Trail Mix – I love the pumpkin seeds and coconut.

Snack Happy Trail Mix – Pistachios were a nice change from just almonds or peanuts.

Energy Trail Mix – The dried papaya and pineapple are quintessential trail mix components to me.

Glow Trail Mix – I’ve never tried goji berries but I hear great things and I love dark chocolate over m&m’s.

I think my ideal trail mix would include a mix of the following:

almonds +walnuts + pistachios+ pumpkin seeds + shredded coconut + dried pineapple + dark chocolate chips+ raisins


Food Book Roundup

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Seems like it is the season for celebrity cookbooks as many a star in the food world has taken up the pen. Maybe some of these can make it on to your summer reading list or perchance, the Book Club here?


Gail Simmons chronicles her rise in the culinary word from line cook and personal assistant to Top Chef Judge and host of the Desserts spinoff in her memoirs Talking With My Mouth Full.




Marcus Samuelsson’s tale begins in Ethiopa, continues in Sweden and leads to a James Beard award, three stars from the New York Times and a state dinner at the White House in Yes, Chef.



Anthony Bourdain is everywhere. His graphic novel Get Jiro, a critique of modern food culture is out July 3rd and he is signed on to publish the Mission Chinese book. All while aiding in wife Nigella Lawson’s unnamed ABC cooking show.



I’m especially excited to read former Times Restaurant Critic, Sam Sifton’s Thanksgiving out this fall.




Jessica Seinfeld has a follow-up to Deceptively Delicious in the works geared toward people who are “terrified” of cooking.

And it won’t be out until next spring but I am super psyched about, Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner, features staff meal recipes from New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants.

Grilled Fish Tacos

June 26, 2012 § 3 Comments

As I mentioned below, I have been slightly obsessed with grilling this past week. While our hot dogs and shish kabobs have been ideal cook-outs we wanted to do something a little outside the box (and healthy!). Enter grilled tilapia fish tacos. These were so finger-licking delicious and quick to prepare. While the fish was the meat & potatoes, the cilantro-lime slaw totally made the dish.

Slaw mix: 1 package angel hair slaw + 1/4 c. sour cream + 1/4 c. mayo + 2 tbs lime juice + salt, pepper, cilantro to your liking (I like it HEAVY on the cilantro… 4 heaping tbs probably)

We placed the tilapia in our new grill toy, the grill basket (similar here) and brushed. Basting liquid: 1/4 c. e.v.o.o +2 tbsp. lime juice + cumin, chili powder, garlic salt,  pepper, cilantro to your liking.

We threw some asparagus in a grill pan too (e.v.o.o + salt & pepper)

Cooked until opaque and flaky to the fork and serve on a warm corn tortilla with slaw, avocado and of course, more cilantro.

Does it get any more perfect?

Oh yea, the view ain’t so bad either!

Summer Steals

June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week has really kicked off summer for us. Since we were in CO for the Food & Wine classic and normally come out for July 4th holiday, we decided to stay right through. What says summer more than an outdoor grilling party? (I’ve learned since heading south that my family’s burgers and hot dogs do not a BBQ make). Luckily, right when I get the urge to make sangria, summer sales start! Wouldn’t these make for the perfect Backyard Grill Party?

Vallarta Outdoor Drink Dispenser, Pottery Barn; Oceana Outdoor Drinkware, Set of 4, Pottery Barn; Kaleidobug Cocktail Napkins, Anthropologie; John Newsdigate Butter Dish West Elm; Garden Tools Cheese Knives, Set of 4, Williams-Sonoma

Book Club- “Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home”

June 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I first read this book soon after moving to New York.. To give some perspective, I was 22, being paid in miniature peanuts (not literally, but you get the gist) and sharing a studio apartment with a friend (sleeping head-to-toe in a queen bed). And then here is Kim Sunée–with just one year on me, she is beautiful, exotic, and in possession of an international businessman millionaire boyfriend who whisks her off to the French countryside to cook luxurious dinner parties and lounge by the pool. I must have done something terribly, terribly wrong.

But Kim is deeply dissatisfied with her position and place.  Abandoned by her mother at just 3 years old in a South Korean market and then adopted by a family from New Orleans, she is on a life-long quest of self discovery. She isolates herself from her family, living abroad and is wooed by the founder of L’Occitaine and finds herself his mistress in his enormous house in Provence and globe-trotting around the world with him. Though her situation and misery may be a little unrelatable, the book is still a really enjoyable look into the life of the frenchmen–the strong relations of neighbors, the daily trips to the market. And of course, I love when recipes are included. I also like that some are just tips so you they are easy to apply to whatever you have. For example, some ways she recommends to use truffles:

“Toss cooked fettuccini with cream and shave truffles over. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, a crack of pepper and, if desired, Parmiagiano-Reggiano.” And “Toast baguette slices. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil; sprinkle with fleur de sel and shave truffle slices over.” SO easy, even I can do that.

I’ve had at least 3 PERFECT peaches this week–so ripe the juice dribbles down my chin and I have to eat the whole thing as fast as possible. For this reason, I think this recipe stood out for me and I can’t wait to try it:

Wild Peaches Poached in Lillet Blanc and Lemon Verbena

6 medium-size ripe wild peaches
1 (750-ml) bottle Lillet Blanc
1/3 cup sugar
2 to 3 tbsp. honey
1 (3-inch) piece orange rind
Squeeze of fresh orange juice (from  quarter) 4 to 5 fresh lemon verbena sprigs, plus leaves for garnish.

Cut an X in blossom end of each peach. Plunge in boiling water, about 30 seconds. remove and peel peaches. Place peeled peaches in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot. Pour Lillet Blanc over. Add sugar, honey, orange rind and juice. Gently crush lemon verbena leaves with hands to release fragrance and add sprigs to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and poach, occasionally turning peaches gently for even cooking, 20 to 30 minutes (depending on ripeness) or until peaches are tender when pierced gently with tip of knife. Carefully remove peaches and place in a  large serving bowl. Turn heat to high and cook poaching liquid 6 to 8 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Pour over peaches. Let cool and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with more lemon verbena leaves. This is also delicious with a swirl of creme fraiche or soft vanilla ice crème fraîche and grated Amaretti di Saronno cookies. Serves 6

Food & Wine Classic In Aspen- Part III The Vino

June 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ok, Ok, I promise this is the last post about the event, but there are just too many good things to share! We signed up for two wonderful wine tasting events that were so much fun, I am dying to turn both ideas into a lively house party.

The first was hosted by Danny Meyer called “Swill for the Grill.”  The set-up is simple- 6 wines and 6 proteins. We were then told to sample each wine with each meat and evaluate with an appropriate smiley face to indicate if we found the combo “yummy, eh or yuck.” It was marathon tasting at its best and it really zero-ed in on your personal preferences without intimidating wine jargon.

6 wines, 6 meats – Beef Short Rib, Lamb, Veal Sweetbreads, Bacon, Duck, Chicken. May be hard to replicate if you have a lot of vegetarian friends…

The second tasting was hosted by Richard Betts who brought along 3 world-renowned sommeliers. It was a blind tasting with 7 glasses in front of us and 7 matching brown paper-bagged wines one the table. We were then handed a handy-dandy wheel-o-wine that was really a map to follow based on aromas and tastes that you got when beginning to taste each wine. Following the fruits, oakiness, earthiness, etc. you watched the pool of possibilities narrow (PS the star sommeliers were unreal, they literally had it nailed to the vineyard and year most times).

Richard Betts is coming out with a “scratch & sniff” wine tasting book that features a 2 ft. pull out of this wheel!! Should be available this holiday season

These events were both before we even got into the Tasting tents. Truthfully, if your goal like me is to sample everything possible, it can be somewhat difficult to remember distinguish all your preferences. But here were some wines that particularly stood out for me from the weekend:

Sandhi Chardonnay This had a really nice golden color and full body to it.

Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes This was the one wine I like paired with every meat during Swill for the Grill. Of course it’s a little pricey so we’ll save this for “special occasions.”

Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir I tried to do a theme of Pinot Noirs when sampling in the Tasting Tent (with many exceptions) and this was one I particularly liked. Plus it’s at the right price point and I can pick it up locally.

2011 Secco Italian Bubbles Bianco Starting off the night with something bubbly is the perfect way to add some pizzazz and this was fresh with hints of fruit and lots of tiny bubbles!

I must have really liked this gin… the vendors gave me a free apron

Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin I realize this is not a wine but it is so, so, so good. Gin cocktails are usually my go-to on a menu (unless they are paired with orange) but this gin is so good, you can just shake it with some ice and it goes down smooth as silk. It smells lemony with hints of lavender and I wouldn’t mind my entire home smelling the same way.

This wraps up my Food & Wine Class recaps… I feel like Senior Prom is over! Can’t wait to return next year.

Food & Wine Classic In Aspen- Part II The Food

June 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Aside from being a magical weekend of beautiful nature, star sightings and master chef wisdom, the focus was to celebrate culinary delights. The highlight dishes were served from Food & Wine’s annual Best New Chefs. The annual “Best New Chefs” event typically held Saturday night was replaced with the Chefs working the Tasting tents–two at a time at each Tasting event. Nashville’s own Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of Catbird Seat made the list this year (must make reservation ASAP)!

The menu for the weekend

Hard at work feeding the hungry crowds. Look at that cheese!

Amish Pork Belly; Fluke Americaine; Sauteed Corn; Short Rib and Tongue Rendang

Besides the New Chefs exhibit, there were vendors from all over the world offering their unique and inspiring dishes–definitely something for everyone!

Louisiana Shrimp

There was a Spain-themed tent that served up delicious Spanish tapas every day.

Truffles in Paradise

Olive Oil vendor had the best idea…. vanilla bean ice cream topped with E.V.O.O and sea salt–surprisingly rich and delicious!

The Afternoon Saloon on Friday and Saturday at the Hotel Jerome served up signature drinks perfect for the warm afternoon sun and mouthwatering passed hors d’oeuvres to tide attendees over through the afternoon session.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a recap on the most fun job of the weekend–wine tasting!

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