Friday, August 29, 2014

Fashion Friday: In Between

A while back I had this OBSESSION with animal rings, I ended up with quite the collection including this crazy looking fish which happened to compliment this dress from H&M. I love this floral pattern because it could easily be worn in the fall or winter months. Lately we're getting little hints of fall, it's finally getting to be cool in the morning and evening ours and you saw some of the leaves starting to change in last weeks post .Hopefully come September we'll finally get a break from these intense summer afternoons!

Outfit Details
Dress - H&M (old)
Sandals - JCPennys
Fish ring - Forever21 (old)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Fresh Basil, Ricotta, and Balsamic Fig Drizzle

It astounds me sometimes how beautiful food can be. Just a plain old tomato can come in so many different colors and provide unique flavors and textures depending on the variety. I think that's what originally attracted me to food, being an artist first and foremost, it seems natural that I was attracted to visually pleasing food...

With tomato season coming to an end, I had to grab these beautiful heirlooms before the fall season. I wanted to highlight the tomato first and foremost, so by combining it with some fresh herbs and creamy ricotta all held together by a vessel of flaky buttery goodness, it's the perfect summer dish.

There are multiple ways you can prepare this tart depending on your preferences. I personally like cooked tomatoes over raw so I baked the tart dough halfway, then spread the ricotta blend, followed by the tomatoes and topped with a little more parm cheese, balsamic, and salt and pepper, then baked it in the oven for about 6 min. OR you could fully bake the tart shell, wait for it to cool and then spread ingredients on top, it's up to you. I also want to give a shout out to Oli+Ve olive oil and vinegar store in Atlanta, GA this balsamic fig vinegar is amazing!

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Fresh Basil and Ricotta

serves 8-9

for the dough...

Makes one 9 inch pie crust

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, leveled
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

for the filling...

2 cups crumbled ricotta cheese
2 cups grated Parmesan
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 TBS freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)
1 1/2 lb. (750 g) heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
aged balsamic vinegar for garnish


1.To prepare crust mix salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour melted butter into bowl and mix. Slowly incorporate flour, adding a little at a time, then mixing just until combined. Spread over greased tart pan and press down, creating an even layer and going up the sides of the pan. Store in fridge for at least 20 min. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Before placing in oven, poke holes with a fork (to prevent the dough from rising in the oven) and bake for 10-15 min.

2.In a bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan and basil and season to taste with salt and pepper (I also added a squeeze of orange juice to bump up the flavor). Using a small offset spatula, spread the mixture into the cooled tart shell. Top with the tomato slices and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil leaves and balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chocolate Bread Pudding for Two

Bread pudding has always been one of my favs, probably because it manages to transform my undying love of bread into a dessert so I now have the ability to have bread for every meal of the day. Whenever I make this recipe, I usually always take the traditional route, every once in a while I go a little crazy and add some whisky sauce or a scoop of ice cream... UNTIL NOW!

I came across this killer recipe idea from Alton Brown who, being the genius he is, decided to throw some chocolate chips into an already tasty dessert, BUT he didn't stop there, no sir you also add hot chocolate mix and espresso!!! Bread + chocolate + coffee + cream = possible all of my favorite things combined into one edible creation! I had to cut adjust this recipe and limit myself to 2 servings for my own safety, there's no telling what I would've been capable of doing with a whole pan of this stuff.

Chocolate Bread Pudding for Two

serves 2 (obviously)

1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup hot chocolate mix
2 cups half-and-half
2 ounces espresso, slightly cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS unsalted butter
5-6 medium slices of stale challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes*
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or more if you fancy)


1.Butter two ramekins and set aside. Place the eggs and yolks in a blender and pulse for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar while blending, then hot chocolate mix followed by half-and-half, espresso, and vanilla until well combined.

2.Pour a little bit of the milk mixture at the bottom of each ramekins followed by cubes of bread and repeat, pressing down with a spatula ever so often to thoroughly saturate the bread. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours, or refrigerate for up to 8 hours to allow the bread to soak up all that creamy goodness.

3.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake until the internal temperature reaches at least 170 degrees F, about 35-40 minutes. If you noticed the tops getting crispy, you could brush the tops with melted butter about halfway through the baking process. Remove to a cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.

**My bread is so dark because I used whole grain bread (you might remember THIS post I did last week) but I really wouldn't recommend it - definitely stick to the challah or a lighter white bread.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fashion Friday: Signs of Life

You guys! Fall is coming!!!

Growing up in Florida, I always think it's interesting how most people have negative connotations of fall. I always remember the weather people complaining about the 60 degree weather and longing for the hot summer temps to return. Fall/winter is often associated with the death and/or dying of life but I have always considered it a new beginning, to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall" and believe me, it can't come soon enough!

Outfit Details
Dress & Necklace (s/o) - Forever21
Shoes - Steve Madden @ tj maxx

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Parmesan & Asparagus Herb Crustless Quiche

When I saw this beautiful asparagus on sale, I HAD to nab some up.

Asparagus and I haven't always been the best of friends, in fact, I just started liking this vegetable within the past couple of years. Let's face it, asparagus isn't the best smelling veggie in this world and the flavor can be overpowering at times but if you get a good batch and cook it just right, these little green spears are hard to beat.

As a kid I always remember asparagus being bland and super stringy, which can easily happen if you leave the butts on! I always take one spear and gently bend it in half, the spear should break off, this naturally tells you where the "butt" part starts and gives you a good idea about just how much you need to trim for the rest of the bunch. With this recipe, I decided to leave the crust of this quiche because I was feeling lazy to reduce the calories and make it lighter for summertime. I am also taking full advantage of my herb garden before the cool fall and winter months take over. This quiche was super tasty, with the flavor of fresh parsley, asparagus, and golden brown baked Parmesan bits in every bite, I am willing to bet this will convert any asparagus hater.

Parmesan & Asparagus Herb Quiche

2 TBS butter
1 bunch asparagus, diced, to yield 2 cups chopped asparagus
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, or more to taste
6 eggs
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 tsp. ground yellow curry (you could use Dijon mustard instead)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Nonstick cooking spray


1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2.Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, and add the butter. When the butter is bubbling, stir in the asparagus, and sauté it for 2 minutes. Add the herbs, sauté it for 1 more minute until it is fragrant, and remove the pan from the heat.

3.In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, curry, cheese, and salt until they are thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared pie plate. Place the asparagus in desired design or pattern.Bake it for 20 minutes, uncovered, until the quiche is set, or a few extra minutes if you want it a little browned. Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or let it cool, cover it tightly, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
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