12.31.2013

New Year. New You. New Me.


































Hello dear friends. I miss you and I have some exciting news for you.

My sister and I have been scheming over the past months and now present you with: Honey & Sass!
It's the newest way to upgrade your everyday with scrumptious recipes (that ones you know all to well from here), a little style, a little homemaking, a little travel and just generally good life advice from me :)


Please visit immediately and often!

4.02.2013

Inspirations

Hello Dear Reader,

I started this little blog almost two years ago at the suggestion of a very dear friend. At the time, I had no idea what a blog was. I began following a few and reading them daily, completely inspired to carve out my little place on the World Wide Web. You have been a big part in my growth and all the big changes in my life since that summer day. 

I was obsessed. I read books on recipe writing, attended conventions, lectures and joined food blogger groups with much enthusiasm. So into it. I found a publisher, I got a few followers. I was front paged, twice. I bought a fancy camera and took some photography classes. You can probably tell by the photos exactly when that upgrade happened, it's a big difference from my iPhone. 

I have been having a hard time keeping that same level of inspiration and am going to take a creativity vacation. I am going to explore and dive into a bunch of new things. Hopefully I will come back with something extra exciting for you. A reinvented Super Fancy Chef. 

Thank you for your kind words and faith in me. I hope to speak to you all very soon. 

Rhiana

3.20.2013

Quinoa Black Bean Salad



If you had a time machine when would you go back to? Would you relive a magical high school dance, your first kiss or the day you met your wife, except maybe this time you are dashing and debonair? Would you travel back to just before a terrible mistake, stop an accident, a fight, or a war? Would you observe your parents as children, or undo some unkind thing that you have done?


I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about decisions I have made, good ones and bad ones, that have me in the place I am now, that have made me the person I am. It is overwhelming and sometimes depressing to think of things I wish I could go back a change. 


All this thoughtfulness has made me realize that although reflection is a good tool for lessons learned, more importantly we (and I mean “I”) need to focus more time on doing the right thing moving forward and reinventing ourselves into the people we want to be instead of regretting our mistakes. I know this is not a new concept, but it is an important one to keep in mind. Everyday can be a new beginning.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

makes 2 servings

Salad Ingredients
1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1 ½ Cup Black Beans, Cooked
2 Oranges, Zested and Segmented
½ Cup Red Onion, Chopped
¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
1 TS Honey
2 TS Cumin
2 TS Coriander Seeds, Crushed
Salt and Pepper 




Instructions
Chop the red onion and sprinkle with cumin, salt, pepper and crushed coriander seeds. Onions are best at absorbing flavors and the spices will stick to them. Add the zest of the oranges and the chopped cilantro. Mix in the apple cider vinegar, honey and olive oil. Toss. Gently mix in the beans, quinoa, and segmented oranges until fully coated and combined.

3.13.2013

Lolly's Lemon Cupcakes with Italian Meringue



Birthday Cards

I have a box under my bed, like many girls do, filled with mementos and cards that I have received from people who love me. They’re glad they know me, they are proud of me and they miss me. Some of the cards have sweet sentiments, scribbled signatures, inside jokes, and some of them have my name spelled wrong, one of them plays music.

The cards that say “Love Grandma” are all extra sweet, I can tell she must have read thousands of them looking for the exact words she was feeling at the time. Finding the right one is a special talent of hers.  I love to slide that box out from underneath the bed and read through those cards, the gestures are not overlooked or forgotten, but cherished.

Happy Birthday Grandma! This is my card to you!

Lolly’s Lemon Cupcakes
makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Lemon Filling
1 ½ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Cornstarch
1 ½ Cup Water (+ 1/3 Cup to mix with Cornstarch)
1 TS Salt
4 Egg Yolks
½ Cup Lemon Juice
3 TB Butter
2 TS Lemon Zest

Lemon Filling Instructions
Whisk the water, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Mix the Cornstarch and 1/3 cup of water until it forms a paste, gradually mix into the syrup in the sauce pan, stir until clear. Turn the heat down to medium/low. Stir the egg yolks and lemon juice until combined, then slowly stir into the syrup, then bring to a boil again. Once boiled, remove from heat and stir in the zest and butter. Set aside to cool.

Lemon Italian Meringue Ingredients
1 Cup Superfine Sugar
5 Egg Whites
1 TS Cream Tartar
3 TS Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Water

Lemon Italian Meringue Instructions
Combine the sugar, lemon juice and water over high heat, bring to a boil to create a simple syrup. Whisk the egg whites in your stand mixer on a low speed until fluffy, add the cream of tartar and increase the speed until peaks form. Return to low speed and then pour the syrup (should be warm) slowly into the fluffed whites. Beat until stiff and glossy.

Cupcake Ingredients
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Cup Milk
2 TB Lemon Juice
1 ½ TS Baking Powder
1 TS Salt
2 TS Vanilla Extract

Cupcake Instructions
Cream the butter and sugar in your stand mixer until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure to combine well after each addition. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, and all the remaining dry ingredients in another. Alternate adding each mixture to the ingredients in the mixer until fully combined. Divide the batter into a papered cupcake pan. Bake at 350° until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, that should take about 15 minutes. Once you take the pans out of the oven then leave the cakes in the pan for two or three minutes, before removing to cool completely.

Assembling the Cupcakes: Once the cakes are cooled, slice along the wrapper separating the top from the bottom. Spread about 2 TBs of the Lemon Filling on the bottom and then return the top. Cover with the Italian meringue and then if you wish you can garnish with candied lemon peel curls.

3.10.2013

Pupatella Salad #3 (As Remembered)

Can we talk about evolution for a second? It is something that I have been thinking a lot about recently, maybe because I am on a diet and evolution is totally working against me, or at least - not working with me. So, you know how back in the day, when we were all hunter's and gatherer's and food's availability was inconsistent and usually out of our control. (Well that is unless you had a studly husband or brother keeping you steadily supplied with buffalo). Our bodies remedied this by storing calories like a crazy coupon lady stores Tide and Garden Style Ragu. We might need them later, on a rainy day or when we were hibernating during winter; we could survive on our stored fat. Smart right? 

Well, cool evolution. Get with the times, I can't even remember the last time I missed a meal. I am not going to starve to death anytime soon. I don't need this stored fat, I don't need you to store anymore either. Can we maybe... disable that bodily function? You are doing such a great job with the shrinking pinkie toes and reduction in body hair. Just stop, I am safe, promise. I need you to work on this storing fat thing for me. Please! I am getting really tired of eating salads. 

Pupatella Salad #3 
makes 4 servings

Dressing Ingredients
2 TB Shallot, Diced
2 TB Fennel Fronds, Diced
2 TB Parsley Diced
2 Garlic Cloves, Diced
2 TB Tarragon, Chopped
6 TB Grapefruit Juice
(use can use white wine vinegar if you can't get enough juice)
2 TB Olive Oil 
Salt & Pepper to taste


Salad Ingredients
4 Cups Arugula
1 Fennel Bulb, Thinly Sliced 
(minus 2 TBs you dice for the dressing)
1 Avocado, Diced
1 Green Apple, Thinly Sliced
1 Grapefruit, Segmented and Juiced
1/4 Cup Shaved Parmesan


Instructions
Peel and segment the grapefruit setting the pulp aside and squeezing the remaining juice from the pith, if it is not quite 6 Tablespoons, add the needed amount of white wine vinegar. Dice the shallot, garlic, fennel, tarragon and add to the juice/vinegar. whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld while you do the rest of the chopping. Go to town on the rest of the fruit and veggies, adding them one by one to the bowl with the dressing. Lastly add the Parmesan and arugula, toss with your hands, serve and enjoy! 

2.27.2013

Seared Scallops with Chili Mango Gastrique

She watched herself in the spotless mirror as she snapped the necklace in back of her neck,  brushed her shoulders back and stood up a little straighter. Pearls. Her heels clicked down the stairs and she sideswiped her shiny Kate Spade Speedy on her way out of the front door. She pointed with a surgeon’s precision and beeped the doors to her sedan unlocked and smiling slyly at the neighbor. She sat down in the driver’s seat and let out an incredible sigh before looking left and then right before backing out of the driveway. Same songs on the radio, she is so sick of this soundtrack. 

She doesn’t normally go into the city, but her man has been out of town and she needs a little fun. Double checking the address she has a flash vision of smashing into the car in front of her. She wasn’t even close to the car, but her heart stops none the less. She put both hands square on the wheel and let out another deep sigh – well at least that would bring a little excitement to this life – she let herself think it for a second, and then immediately pushed it out. She has every reason to be happy, why is she so unsatisfied? A fancy dinner date will help, even if it is with herself. 

Sitting at the table, she sips her water as the waiter recites the Saturday night specials. She checks her lipstick in the reflection on the spoon, and then looks up as he asked – Anyone joining you tonight miss? – She smiled, adjusted the silverware alongside her plate – no, it’s just me and I will have the scallops. 

Seared Scallops with Chili Mango Gastrique
makes two servings with a little extra sauce

Ingredients
3 TB Sugar
2 Dried Chilies, Whole
1 TB White Wine Vinegar
1 Cup Mango Juice
1 ½ Cup Vegetable Broth
10 – 12 Scallops
1 TB Grape seed Oil (Any lightly flavored oil with work)

Instructions
Place the sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat stirring until the sugar begins to melt and then dissolve. Keep cooking and stirring until the sugar caramelizes in to a deep golden color (about 5 minutes). Gradually add in the vinegar, watch out for sizzling splashes, the mixture will harden and then melt again, after one or two minutes. Add the juice and chilies bring to a boil and allow the sauce to thicken (about 5 minutes). Add in the broth and boil until the gastrique is reduced to about ½ a cup. (About 15 minutes) Spoon out the chilies and discard. Turn heat very low and keep warm while preparing the scallops. 
 

To sear the scallops; warm the grape seed oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Place in the scallops and cook each side for just under two minutes, or until golden brown. I served these with a little horseradish mashed potatoes and wilted baby kale. Once you plate them, drizzle the sauce over the top and enjoy!



2.23.2013

Cilantro Lime Garbanzo Salad (Mess In A Bowl)


My house is a mess, everything is covered in dust and what am I doing? Making more of a mess, of course. I spend an hour and a half going through old magazine clippings of recipes and then another forty minutes dusting under my bed. It is now the cleanest part of the apartment. I did a few dishes and ate popcorn while watching a French movie about a chocolatier. I uploaded a few CDs onto my computer and mailed a card to my Grandma. I took a shower and worried for a few minutes if I am actually losing my hair. I mean, so much comes out when I wash it. I thought about getting some pictures printed and then get them frames. I collected two giant bags of clothes I never wear and watched the Kardashians while I was at the gym. I eavesdropped on my neighbors a little. Someone please invent a supersonic space age vacuum that is inside your base boards and constantly sucks up all the dust. I will love you forever if you do it. Ok, Ok, promise. I am getting my vacuum right now and cleaning this place up and then I am going to get some chocolate.
Cilantro Lime Garbanzo Salad (Mess In A Bowl)
makes two servings
Salad Ingredients
1 ½ Cups Garbanzo Beans
2 Cups Spinach, Chopped
½ Cup Cilantro, Chopped
¼ Cup Red Onion, Chopped

Dressing Ingredients
1 ½ Limes, Juiced and Zested
2 TS Dijon Mustard
1 TS Brown Sugar
½ Jalapeno, Diced
1 TB Cumin
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper 

Instructions
In a small pot, cover the garbanzo beans in water and bring to a boil over high heat. Allow to cook for about ten minutes and then strain and cool. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to emulsify. Chop the onion, spinach and cilantro. Toss all the ingredients together and eat some, pack the rest for tomorrow’s lunch.