Monday, April 7, 2014

EAT: grapefruit brûlée



It's time to fancy up your citrus!  I know grapefruits are in season when I step foot in my local Central Market and am hit with the fresh fruity scent.  So fresh and so clean clean…smelling.  And it's the best time to buy them because they're super juicy and sweet when in season.  I usually just eat them as is - cut in half with a spoon to scoop, or occasionally sectioned if I have the time.  

I thought it might be fun to try this grapefruit brûlée recipe I found since it was so simple and I already had a kitchen torch that I've used for classic creme brûlée.  And it turned out scrum-diddly-umtious!  The sweet dark amber shell on top really compliments the grapefruit and I will for sure be making this again!

If you don't have a torch, do not fret - you can also get that rich amber bubbly sugar goodness by placing the grapefruit in a broiler.  Read on for the recipe below.  


Ingredients (original recipe from Bon Appetit):

- 1 grapefruit, halved crosswise
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- kitchen torch

Directions:

- Trim about 1/4" peel from bottom of grapefruit so that it's stable when upright.  
- Place the grapefruit halves face side down on a paper towel for roughly 5 minutes to soak up excess juice on the top.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on each grapefruit half, spreading as evenly as possible.
- Use the kitchen torch to heat the sugar and melt it until it becomes a rich dark amber color.

- If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can use your broiler.  Preheat broiler and place the grapefruit cut  side up on a lined baking sheet.  Broil the grapefruit, making sure to keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.  The sugar will melt and turn dark amber in about 8 minutes.  Let grapefruit cool before serving.




Happy Eating!
xoxo, NB

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DIY: watercolor jewelry dish



Watercolor dreamin.  Hands down, this is one of my favorite DIYs to date.  I'm borderline obsessed with all things watercolor.  Paintings, prints, ceramics, pillowcases, scarves - you name it, if it's watercolor then I am diggin it!  This project was so incredibly easy and fun to do.  The inspiration came from this watercolor mug by Free People Blog.  I think my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I first saw it.  Yeah, I know - crafty nerd alert.

Being the ceramic dish junkie that I am, I wanted to make a small version to hold my rings and other delicate jewelry in.  I also picked up a slightly larger plate for a different color combo to hold my keys and other knick-knack-patty-wacks that get tossed around the house.


Supplies:

- Porcelain/ceramic paint (I used Martha Stewart opaque glass paint, but you can use any paint suitable for ceramics)

- Paintbrush

- Ceramic of your choice

- Water dish and palette to mix water/paint


Directions:

- Choose your color combo.  You'll probably want to stick to 2-3 colors depending on how large your piece is.  I then started painting with the darkest shade.  The paint itself is thick so you'll need to add a good amount of water in order to get the watercolor effect.

- Remember, a little bit goes a really long way so start off with a small amount.  Starting from the top, dab/swipe some of the watered down paint and let it drip down.

- From here, slowly swivel the plate back and forth to get it to stream to different areas of the plate.  Repeat with the other colors.

- Fill in any holes that you would like with your paintbrush.  I also used a paper towel to dab areas too concentrated and to catch excess paint/water that dripped off the plate.

- Once you're done, place the ceramic piece in the oven.  Preheat to 350 degrees and then set the timer for another 30 minutes.  Be careful when removing the plate as it will be hot.




Enjoy!
xoxo, NB

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DRINK: rosé noir champagne cocktail


Hello April.  After enduring the blistering polar vortex, I think a drink (or two) is in order.  What better way to toast to Spring than with a glass of bubbly, blackberry-laced rosé cocktail. No muddling, shaking or bar tricks is required for this cocktail.  This is what champagne dreams and caviar wishes are made of.  We have the lowdown on this simple and refreshing cocktail below. 


The Rose Noir  

Ingredients: serving size: per glass
  • Bottle of rosé Champagne
  • 1/2 shot of vodka (I used Stoli blueberry vodka for this.)
  • 1 shot of blackberry preserves - approximately 2 tbsps (dropping a sugar cube in is an option too)
  • 1/2 shot of fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish: fresh blackberries and lemon slices


Directions:
  1. Add the vodka, blackberry preserves (sugar cube - if you decide to use that), and lemon juice to glass
  2. Stir the ingredients for 10 seconds with a stirrer.
  3. Add the rose Champagne to fill rest of glass, stir briefly, and garnish with the fresh blackberries and lemon slices. 
       Easy as 1, 2, 3!  
     
         I found the recipe on The Mason Shaker.

 

When I was in France last year, we drank rosé with almost every meal except breakfast.  Rosé (rosay) all day!  You can elevate any meal with this cocktail.  Perfect for brunch or a picnic in the park!  Go ahead and pop some bottles.   


Cheers! xoxo, NB.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

EAT: scandinavian almond bundt cakes




Hello all you crazy kids!  During a visit to my hometown (Amarillo, TX!) a couple of months ago, some family friends brought home some heavenly almond bundt cakes from a bakery called Nordic Gallery Bakeri.  SO GOOD - they were so fresh and moist and chewy.  I probably could have eaten the whole box myself - but unfortunately, there were other people around and that would have been frowned upon.

After not being able to get them off my mind a few weeks later, I started doing some research for a recipe.  Here's what I found:  Nordic Bakery > Scandinavian Baker > Scandinavian Cakes > Scandinaivan Almond Cake!  I also had to give myself a geography refresher - for those of you who don't know, Scandinavia is the cultural-linguistic region of Northern Europe that includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden.


I found a few recipes that are traditionally baked in a long Scandinavian pan but went with a mini bundt cake pan for re-creation purposes.

The result - not too shabby!  It's like an almond pound cake almost - still chewy on the outside and cakey inside.  Perfect with tea.  I've made it again since then and am craving it again now as we speak (or as I write).  Not as good as the bakery's, but it will do until I can get my hands on them again.

Ingredients:

- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- powdered sugar


Directions:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cake pan.
- Beat well sugar, egg, almond extract and milk together.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, then add to mixture.  Add melted butter and mix well.
- Pour into greased cake pan.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes depending on cake pan. Edges must be golden brown.  Cool in pan before removing - cake will break if removed to soon.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar.



Happy Baking!
xoxo, NB