Monday, June 29, 2015

Eats in Seaside, Florida

School's out for Summer! And with summer, comes many summer vacations. One of my favorite being a trip to Seaside, Florida

As the saying goes, "The new town, the old ways." And it couldn't be more true. Seaside gives the feeling of a trip back in time, an escape from time, and a grand time.

And part of that grand time comes of course with food, starting with Great Southern. One must order the Grits a Ya Ya - blackened shrimp with bacon, spinach, mushrooms, and cream served atop Gouda grits. With so many of the right combinations, the flavor of this classic dish with a modern twist is just divine. The fish of the day is always fresh and local. There's pimento cheese and Po' Boys for lunch. And for breakfast one mustn't overlook the beignets.

With all the wonderful fare, it's no surprise the place is always hopping, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For a more casual affair, on those occasions where your shoes are filled with sand and your clothing attire is just a swim suit, stroll on over to Pickle's located steps away from the shore. It's classic boardwalk bites like hot dogs, hamburgers, corndogs, and funnel cakes. Of course there are french fries, but don't forget the fried namesake!

Visit the rooftop at Bud & Alley's for a great view of the beach and water. It's quite refreshing, both the breeze and the drinks.

For a more casual dining affair, visit Bud & Alley's Pizza Bar right next door. The pizza is brick oven fresh and there's also nice outdoor seating on the back patio.

Or want to cook in the comfort of your own home? There's no better place than Modica Market.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Original Bermuda Bag

It's coming back! But did it ever really leave? Not in the world of a true prep.

What makes a Bermuda bag? Two things: First, a classic wooden handle. Secondly, a removable cover. Add a monogram or totally prepster pattern - think whales, tennis racquets, anchors, etc. 

Of course I am a total sucker for the pink and green, but look at these, could you really go wrong?! They're classic, they're timeless, and they're just my style...

* Images courtesy of Mark and Graham *

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mussels at Home

I love going to a French restaurant and seeing mussels on the menu. Serve them up with frites for dipping and I'm even more in heaven. But there are those times, especially after a long day, where all you want is the comfort of home. And what could be better than some fresh, tasty mussels with extra sauce for dipping in the comfort of your own home? Yep, got me too.

Now I know what you're thinking, but yes, cooking mussels at home is actually quite easy! Mussels are foolproof, just keep it simple. Here's one way to do so:

What you'll need...
1 bag of mussels
1/4 cup of flour
2 Tablespoons of butter
3-5 shallots, minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
3/4 cup of white wine
3/4 cup of cream
1 large saucepan with a lid

What to do...
Clean the mussels: Empty the bag of mussels in a large bowl, fill it with water, and add 1/4 cup of flour. Stir lightly to mix and then let sit for 30 minutes.

Drain the mussels in a colander and give them an extra rinse. Inspect each one for the following:
1) If cracked or already opened, discard.
2) If the mussel has a beard (a blackish grey string looking thing), pull it off and discard.

Melt the butter and Olive Oil in a saucepan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook to your liking.

Add the white wine and cream and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the mussels, stirring into the mixture, and turn the heat to a medium simmer.

Cover and cook for 8 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not pop open. Pour into a serving dish, or keep it casual and enjoy as is.

Serve with bread or homemade frites!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Peach Picking

As my 10-year-old nephew says, "It can't get much fresher than that."

Now off to bake a pie...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chimichurri for your Skirt Steak

With a mix of lovely ingredients, like fresh herbs and spices, Chimichurri sauce is so cool and refreshing. It highly compliments any summer steak, but I especially like it with my skirt steak. 

The sauce is so delicious that I could eat it by the spoonful! But don't worry, I'll resist...

1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh cilantro *
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Purée all ingredients in a food processor until combined.

Use a food processor, do not use a blender (I learned this the hard way).

* For those of you "super tasters" that are convinced that cilantro tastes like soap, just double up on the parsley instead, following a more traditional Argentine method of preparation.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Food Food in Austin, it's a place

The minute you walk into Food Food you are greeted by many things - friendly staff, an aroma of fresh food, and a plethora of sweet treats

When it comes to food at Food Food, I don't think you can go wrong, but everyone has his or her favorites... I'm such a sucker for the Curry Chicken Salad. And the gazpacho is amazing. Favorite sandwiches are the tuna melt and turkey reuben. The King Ranch Chicken is a classic, and they make darn good tamales and empanadas, it is Texas after all. 

Aside from the readily available, each day offers different lunch and dinner specials. Wednesday night has always been beef tenderloin, and the sweet little old ladies wouldn't have it any other way.

The desserts smugly tempt you the minute you walk through the door, and once again on your way out. The smiling cashiers always patiently await your decision as to whether or not you want to add to your order. A cowboy cookie, banana pecan bread, or a macaron? Sure, why not...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, my mind is on barbecue. And you can't talk about Texas BBQ without mentioning Rudy's. It's a classic.

Rudy's locations are multi-functional, consisting of both a bbq stand and pump station! The original location, founded in Leon Springs, Texas, was a gas station, garage, and grocery store - hence the "country store" aspect. 

Granted, after it was first introduced in 1989, the barbecue has since taken over both the grocery and gas services. And once you have it, you'll understand why. Rudy's serves up all the basics: red-rimmed smoked brisket, fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs, and house jalapeño sausage.

And plenty of sauce on the side:

With an abundance of oak trees in Texas, Rudy's is unique in using oak wood for their pits as opposed to hickory or mesquite.

When you first arrive inside, it's time to queue in line, but don't worry, there's plenty of entertainment.  First there's the Cutter Cam where you can watch the butchers hack away at all the meats, making you feel even more hungry.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ode to the YETI Cooler

With Spring in full swing and Summer fast approaching, the propane tank on our grill has already had to go for a fill up (and that doesn't take into account the use of our charcoal kettle). 'Tis bar-b-que season, and you can't beat the heat without an ice-cold drink in hand. And where do we all turn for that? Our trusty cooler, of course.

 YETI makes quality, made-to-last coolers that really get the job done. Drinks stay cold and even the ice won't melt. Recently we received this YETI Hopper:

Easy to carry, yet promising to keep cold for days, my husband is eager for the summer and making good use out of it with a trip to the Salt Lick.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lavender Mosquito Spray

April showers bring May... bugs!

Summer is soon upon us and we all know what that means - mosquitos... But not to fear my friends, here is one of my favorite bug repellents. Brought to you by Lavande Farms, specializing in Lavender fields, the spray not only smells lovely, but it actually works.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Philosophy's Birthday Cake

For my husband's birthday I kept nagging him about what kind of cake he wanted. He, unlike me, does not have a sweet tooth, so finally one day he said, "Just make me that cake that's on your soap in the shower. The recipe actually sounds pretty good."

Of course, I shot him back a dubious look. Cake recipe from the shower? On soap, no less. What was he talking about? Was my dashier husband loosing his marbles already?

Well, turns out, once again for not the first time and what won't be the last time, my husband was more observant than me. While I hastily lathered clean each day with a soap that I thought was meant to smell like birthday cake, here he had noticed the product itself was only half the story. On the label was a recipe - kitchen lovers rejoice!

So, make the cake I did and it turns out that Philosophy not only provides lovely bath products, but fabulous recipes, too! Next up, Cinnamon buns....

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup cooking oil
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup of water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter flavoring

Combine flour and salt. Beat margarine, butter and oil for 30 sec. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add one egg at a time; beat for 1 minute after each. Combine milk, water and flavorings. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Cool 15 mins. Remove from pan. Cool on wire rack.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Green Jacket

It’s that time of year again: “A tradition unlike any other,” The Masters.

From Pimento Cheese sandwiches to the classic Caddie jumpsuits, there are many traditions at The Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, GA.

Most notably of the traditions may be the 1st place grand prize, a Green Jacket awarded to the tournament winner. It's a classic three-button blazer not unlike the one men in my family have worn for generations to Sunday service and brunches. However, this one is the uniquely iconic Masters Green; well, the shade is called Pantone 342 to be exact.

Since 1967 Hamilton Tailoring Company of Ohio has produced the famously recognizable green blazer. But, the fabric is produced from a mill in Georgia, of course. In 1990 the head of Hamilton Tailoring bought a roll of 500 yards of fabric, enough to make 200 jackets. A smart investment if you ask me.