July 25, 2014

Weekend Brunch: Southwestern Brisket Hash and Strawberry Blueberry Scones

One of my favorite meals to plan, if not my absolute favorite to plan, is brunch. I like preparing a savory main and ending the meal on a sweet note with a breakfast pastry (which is my preference for dessert anyways...). Nick usually makes some nice strong coffee for everyone and drink white wine (since we don't like mimosas) and it makes for a long, relaxing meal that's enjoyed during the late morning and early afternoon sun glow.

A couple weekends ago I made a fantastic brunch menu for some friends. The main was a brisket hash with some southwestern flair and spice. We served it with soft tortillas so the hash acted as a breakfast taco filling.

Yum. Potatoes, Rainbow Chard, and some taco seasoning thrown in:) This photo is missing the fried eggs that I tossed on top and it still looks gorgeous! 

We followed with some strawberry blueberry scones that were just right - flaky, buttery, just slightly sweet, and chock full of fresh berries. I loved these scones.

Recipe from: http://hoorayforoffweekends.com/2011/06/03/strawberry-and-blueberry-scones/

Brunch is easier because it's not as complicated as dinner which involves preparing an appetizer, salad or side, main, dessert, and cocktails (at least if you're me). It's also more relaxed and longlasting because you're in weekend mode. I can't wait for some brunching this weekend!

July 24, 2014

Happy Hour: Blueberry Margaritas and Watermelon Strawberry Citrus Sangria

Hi guys!

As social chair of the firm I work at, I take my job very seriously. I try to create weekly happy hour drinks that are unique but still appeal to the mass population of ten people that work here. So hard.

This Watermelon Strawberry Citrus Sangria was a huge hit. I used half the watermelon juice it asked for (the recipe calls for juice of about a whole watermelon) because I honestly didn't have any room to add more liquid to the pitcher we had on hand (this makes a LOT of sangria) but I think it was for the best because it made the drink less sweet and watered down. I also used lemon instead of orange juice because I find oranges are too sweet (and I don't like anything that reminds me of a mimosa) so lemon was the tarter, better way to go in my opinion.

Recipe and photo from: http://joythebaker.com/2013/07/watermelon-strawberry-citrus-sangria/

Another recipe I tried recently was this simple blueberry margarita. You just need to make some blueberry simple syrup to give your drink a rich, purple color and a nice sweetness to it. I thought it was a tad too sweet but still really easy to drink overall!

Since Thursday is my Friday at work, we enjoying happy hour right now :) Yay for four-day work weeks! 

July 22, 2014

Newlywed Lasagna and Berry Mascarpone Tart

My friend recently received a bunch of cookbooks at her bridal shower(s) and I admit I turned green with envy. Luckily, she is so generous, she lent me some of her books indefinitely (well, I assumed it was indefinitely) and I've been busy trying some recipes from a particularly photogenic book called "The Newlywed Cookbook." The author of the book is delightfully amicable and her recipes are the kinds of food/dishes I want to be eating everyday - flavorful, fresh, and not too hard or time-consuming.

One of the first recipes I bookmarked and tried was this Make Ahead Lasagna (in which you make the sauce and meat if you want, a day in advance). The main change I made was to use whole-milk ricotta instead of cottage cheese, which I think was a more authentic gesture. Maybe the cottage cheese was a healthy alternative but if you're eating a meat lasagna, I think you're better off not worrying about healthifying it because it's just not meant to be that healthy or light.

I also added 1-2 tsp of red chili pepper flakes to the red sauce to give the dish a very light kick. Overall, this lasagna was simple and rustic and totally hit the spot!

If you're looking for a quick and easy dessert to go with this lasagna, I highly recommend something lighter and fruitier. This berry mascarpone tart ties in with the lasagna well because of of the cooling effect of the masacarpone, the mild sweetness of the berries, and the it's just straight up pretty!

Oh, and did I mention the mascarpone is mixed with lemon curd for an extra tart punch of flavor? Lemon curd is always a good idea in dessert...now I just need to find a lemon curd donut recipe! 

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