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Vanilla Snow Cream!

3/5/15


Is it snowing where you are?  Are you stuck at home with your kids because school was cancelled (again)?  STOP EVERYTHING YOU'RE DOING, go outside, scoop up some fresh (clean) snow and make Vanilla Snow Cream!  Ice cream made of snow!  It takes 3 ingredients!  You might not have sweetened condensed milk, in which case you might want to make a harrowing, 5 mph drive to your supermarket like I did, but it will be worth it.  Snow, vanilla extract and a can of sweetened condensed milk.  It's superb, I tell you, SUPERB!  Recipe here.  


Coconut Rice


While I sit here and watch the snow gently fall on top of all the other snow from all those other snow storms, I'm day dreaming of the sound of bongo drums, the smell of sunscreen and the taste of coconut.  "You put the lime in the co-co-nut and shake it all up."  I can't stop.  In fact, I'm going to make coconut cookies later on today, and the other night, I made this delicious sweet and savory Coconut Rice.  Go ahead and fill your house with this tropical flavor as well, because guess what?  This is the last snow storm of the season.  It's true.  Al Roker told Carson and Carson told me.


Coconut Rice
(Serves 4)

1 cup jasmine rice
2 cups coconut milk
1 T butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring rice, butter and coconut milk to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, toast coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning.  Once rice is cooked, toss with coconut and peas.  Cover until peas have warmed, then serve!


There is no reason for this photo.    

Turks and Caicos

3/2/15


If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably know I was torturing you with photos from Turks and Caicos last week.  Don't hate me!  I'm back home now wearing multiple pajamas trying to entertain all of my kids because of school closings and delays.  I simply couldn't help myself last week!  That was our first, EVER, true family vacation and it, was, sublime (and I will continue to overuse commas to get, that, point, across).  I'd like to share some super professional (no) photos with you and talk about our culinary hits and misses (there weren't any).

The above photo was taken at a resort called Amanyara.  To be clear, we did not stay there, we just went to check it out.  It's an incredibly extravagant, remote, GORGEOUS spot... but Carson and I felt  like we had to whisper to each other the entire time we were there.  Amanyara means "peaceful place" and oh my god was it.  I felt like I was at a rehab facility for billionaires.  It was probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen... and we enjoyed our time there, baking in the sun, sipping on tequila and ice cold beer and snacking on spiced pistachio nuts.  Beam me back, please! 

One night, Carson and I snuck out for an adult dinner at a restaurant called Infiniti at the Grace Bay Club.  It was an incredible setting... dining in the open air and staring at the ocean.  We ate simply grilled red snapper and buttery lobster tail and the most perfect kale salad.  And of course, more tequila, along with their complimentary bar snacks which were spiced popcorn and curried plantain chips.  (I might spontaneously sob as I write this post...)  


My handsome dinner date:


One day we took a (expensive) taxi into town and walked around a shopping area they call the Salt Mills.  We found a place called Island Scoop and ate THE BEST coconut and salted caramel ice cream we've ever had.  Everything is made right in the shop, and there's even an outdoor playground for the kids.  I highly recommend you find this place if you're ever on the island.  


Do you know what conch is?  It's basically a sea snail that lives inside those glorious shells you see everywhere and it is VERY popular on the island.  To eat, I mean.  I am a big believer in the "when in Rome" frame of mind when traveling, so I was happy to try it.  And I enjoyed it!  Especially when it was deep fried, it tasted like calamari.  The Conch Shack (I'm sorry, "da" Conch Shack) is a very popular place for both tourists and locals, and it may have been our favorite night out.  The tables are set up right in the sand, and you watch a man pull in the conch straight off a small boat.  There is live music, awesome t-shirts for sale and the best rum punch I've ever tasted.  




One day for lunch we walked along the beach to a place called Somehwere Cafe.  I love that name, and I loved the man named Jermaine who worked there and called everything "LOVELY" in a deep, island accent.  I keep saying "the best I've ever had" in this post, but when it comes to the Pina Colada I drank at Somewhere... HANDS DOWN PEOPLE, UNREAL.  I'm sobbing again just thinking about it.  We also ate delicious nachos and pulled pork tacos, and we lied about our son's age so he could sit upstairs with us (I mean, what's the difference between 5 and 6?).      


Everyone talks about Coco Bistro.  The restaurant is so popular, they even sell reservations on Ebay!!   We were very lucky to get in, and other then my 6 month-old breaking a plate within seconds of being seated, we had an incredible meal.  Blackened mahi and curried shrimp and spicy caesar salad and a ridiculous tuna sashimi appetizer.  The restaurant is set in a palm tree nursery so even when you look up, you see a sliver of the moon between giant palm leaves.  It's stunning.  The green trees against a bright red building with white, twinkly lights everywhere makes it feel like tropical Christmas.  And don't forget to say hello to Coco, the cat that roams the premises.    



We stayed at the Gansevoort, and on the last night we ate dinner in our room from the restaurant Stelle.  It was quite the relaxing and delicious send-off, and here's what we ate...

Brown Butter Basted Lobster Tail   


Wagyu Beef Cheeks West Indian Curry


Pan Roasted Salmon


Soy Honey Cured Tuna


Shrimp Caesar (with BACON)


So there you have it.  I had never been to Turks and Caicos before this trip, and I fell in love with it.  The people are lovely, as Jermaine would say, and so peaceful.  The atmosphere is serene and the island is still relatively quaint and remote.  The food is authentic and delicious.  The trip from NY is quick and direct.  It's perfect, and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to reconnect with my family in such a perfect place.   

Oscar Party Ideas

2/20/15

If you're having an Oscar party this weekend, or you just want to make something festive for yourself, here are some ideas from my blog.  I haven't seen many of the movies, but if Julianne Moore doesn't win for Still Alice, I will throw things at my TV.  Have a great weekend!


Broccoli Rabe with Garlic


I wish I had something super warm to offer you this morning, like oatmeal or soup or hot porridge.  What even is porridge?  Whatever it is, I want a giant bowl of it, right now, resting on my lap.  I want to eat porridge, sitting in a hot tub, wrapped up in a wool sweater.  

Actually, I just want to go on vacation and eat guacamole.

  This sautéed broccoli rabe IS warm, just not the kind of warmth I'm craving right now on this 1-degree morning.  But it's mighty tasty.  If you're not familiar with broccoli rabe (my computer keeps auto-correcting that to "rage"), it's broccoli's leafier, slightly more bitter cousin.  But when it's sautéed with loads of garlic, sprinkled with red pepper flakes and drizzled with good olive oil and lemon... it's SO delicious.  This tastes just like it does when served in restaurants, and it's super easy to make yourself.  Enjoy, stay warm, and I'll try to check in later with some Oscar-themed ideas.

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic
(Serves 4)

1 bunch broccoli rabe, stems trimmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  While that's happening, place cold water in ice in a large bowl.  Once water is boiling, drop in broccoli rabe, stir and cook for 1 minutes.  Remove with a pair of tongs and place in ice bath to stop cooking process.  Let it sit there for a few minutes, then drain.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté for a few minutes until garlic starts to golden.  Add broccoli rabe and sauté for 5-7 minutes, tossing with tongs to coat with the garlic and red pepper.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon and another drizzle of olive oil.



Dipped Pretzels

2/18/15


Yes, Valentine's Day has come and gone... and these pink and red treats look like they should have been posted PRIOR to February 14th.  But, I don't do anything on time anymore soooo, there you have it.  When you have to put "shower!" on your to-do list, just like that with an exclamation mark, then you know you're not going to have your blog posts organized like the rest of the blogging world.  I'm sorry.  But only sort of sorry, because if you'd do me a favor and imagine that the candy melts are GREEN, then you could say I'm a month early for St. Patrick's Day treats!  I'm awesome!  


These are really easy to make and fun for children too (if you're okay with them looking extremely messy).  Simply melt candy melts (or chocolate) in a disposable decorating bag.  I do this in my microwave for 30 second intervals, massaging the bag in between each to help with the melting process.  This usually takes about one minute and thirty seconds... and make sure to fill the bag only 3/4 full so your candy doesn't ooze out.  Then, fold the top over a bit to make it easier to dip your pretzel.  Dip, twirl, let the excess drip off, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet... 


Decorate with more piping, sprinkles or mini chocolate chips!  Mmm, coconut would be yummy too. The possibilities are endless, just make sure to decorate quickly because the candy sets fast.


I found pretzel bags that made them very presentable and easy to travel with.

Valentine's Day Treats

2/13/15

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day this weekend?  Are you going to eat chocolate?  Are you going to make heart-shaped pancakes?  Are you going to drag your sweetie to see Mr. Grey on the big screen?  However you celebrate, you should probably make some of the treats below, because that's what Anastasia Steele would do (I have no idea, I only read half of book one...) 


The Crispy Egg

2/11/15


There are many different ways to cook an egg, and I thought I'd tried all of them.  Scrambledhard-boiledsoft-boiledbakedpoachedsouffléddeviled or simply fried.  But that is not all of the ways, oh nooo.  Have you heard of The Crispy Egg?  I sure will capitalize every beginning letter because The Crispy Egg demands respect like that.  Essentially, The Crispy Egg is simply a fried egg... but it is also so much more.  IT'S SO CRISPY!  (Said like the little girl in Despicable Me says, "IT'S SO FLUFFY!")  You can almost pick up the entire thing and eat it like a piece of pizza.  Or, you could probably put it on a pizza!  That would be delicious.  Or a salad, or simply a piece of toast.

Read this tutorial for more information, it's as simple as can be.  


The Today Show...

2/10/15


I may not have slept at all last night, I may not have eaten breakfast due to nerves (while still consuming WAAAAY too much coffee), but I just had a very fun morning at the Today Show!  Carson and I tried to show you what real life cooking looks like, at least at our house - complete with crying (fake) babies, nosy (beautiful) neighbors and (hilarious) work calls.  Thank you for having me, Lovely Today People!  Check out the segment (and find the recipes) by clicking here.

p.s. I usually cook in grey pajamas, not heels, but ya gotta have a little fun on TV :)

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