Author Archives: Sarah
Do you have a favorite cocktail? One that you always order when out with friends, your go-to drink? I have two. Gin and Tonic with Hendricks and a slice of cucumber, and Peach Bellini Martinis. The combination of sweet and fruity with a sour lemon bite is perfectly balanced. I love this recipe as an after-dinner drink or paired with a salty appetizer.
There are many varieties of pears, most commonly divided in two categories: European and Asian. The soft skin and interior of the European ripened pears are distinctly opposite of the crisp and round Asian pear. Both are useful in many different ways. The tree-ripened European variety is sweet and soft suitable for cakes, tarts, and sauces when cooked down to a mouth pleasing texture. Any variety of pear will work well for this recipe.
Did you know that breakfast as we know it did not exist for the better part of history? Breakfast is a relatively modern tradition. Much of the world believed that one meal a day was more than acceptable, and consuming more than one meal was an act of gluttony. During the middle ages, the monastic lifestyles and religion of Rome dictated patterns of meal consumption. Meat was only allow half of the year, and no food consumption was allowed before morning mass.
The bright orange glow of an open fire casts endearing light onto giggling faces. Low murmurs of delight can be heard in waves as rounds of melting sugar slowly turn golden-brown (and a few hopelessly burn beyond recognition). The pre-collected roasting stick is pulled back from over the fire, and the marshmallow on its tip is delicately slid between two graham crackers and a nice chunk of chocolate. The result is a gooey, sweet, beautiful mess that sticks to hands, covers mouths, and ultimately makes for a very happy evening!
It's mid-April in Michigan, and I have a feeling that yesterday was our last snowfall. *knock on wood* It’s blue skies from here on out. Plants are starting to grow and it’s finally springtime! Our weather is moving in the direction of cool cozy mornings and warm sunny days. Our lives are about to be filled with fresh fruits and vegetables from our gardens and farmer markets. Sun-ripened beautiful berries, morning-picked greens, and countless varieties of heirloom tomatoes. In the next few weeks, strawberries will begin to show up in our marketplaces. The intoxicating smell of local in-season berries is like nothing else. I can’t get enough!
Pretzels certainly have a twisted history. The exact moment of invention is a little unclear, but most historians can trace the history to around 610 AD. Italian monks presented their students with baked dough shaped in the form of crossed arms. Crossed arms were their traditional symbol of prayer. As the tradition spread throughout Europe, the three holes were widely accepted to represent the holy trinity. The spread of Catholicism throughout Europe and eventually the new world increased the popularity of the soft, doughy snack. Dairy, meat, and eggs are prohibited during the period of lent and the pretzel was a simple and delicious way for Catholics to enjoy a snack without breaking tradition.
Sweet potato waffles are the perfect way to welcome the cool mornings of spring! The soft sustenance of sweet potatoes perfectly compliments the crunchy texture that waffles are known and loved for. Be prepared for the color of these waffles… a bright, beautiful orange. A reminder that spring has finally arrived, and our lives are about to be filled with more color than seemingly ever before.
I live for weekend mornings. Waking up with the sunrise, eating a leisurely breakfast, catching up on social media, and spending time with those I love most. Pancakes, eggs, and either bacon or sausage is typically on the menu. Along side is toast, butter and jam to cleanse the pallet.
In 2014, my family spent our spring break in Florida - Orlando to be specific. Orlando is the home of Disney World, Universal Studios, and a host of other amusement parks. Families pack the parks and tourist attractions day-in and day-out. Restaurants such as Hard Rock Café and Rainforest Café offer high priced food to hungry tourists happy with a burger or sandwich. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these commercial restaurants. They have their place, and I’ve been known to patronize a few. But what I’m really interested in is local food and history. Where did these dishes come from, why was it made, and who made it first? Aside from oranges, gator bites, kumquat jelly, and conch fritters, the one dish Florida is consistently credited with creating is key lime pie. Key lime pie originates in the coastal city of Key West.
Did you grow up with a recipe that didn’t seem to fit into your family heritage, or the culture or region you resided in? You love it of course because you grew up loving it, but it’s unclear how and why it was always available in your home. Baklava is one of those quizzical foods for me. The treat was always at holiday celebrations, birthdays, and occasionally would even show up in our lunch boxes.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I look forward to it before I fall asleep at night. It makes an incredible difference falling asleep if I know that I’ll wake up with a healthy breakfast already prepared. It’s like having your outfit already picked and laid out for the day. An ease in my life. Now I love a good elaborate breakfast with a multifaceted array of different flavors - savory and sweet all together on the same plate. Bacon happily sitting next to eggs, lavish fluffy pancakes, savory hash browns in a pile next to fresh fruit, and maple syrup on top of it all. That’s what the weekends are for - being able to sit down with a mug of coffee and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with our loved ones. I don’t know about you, but my weekdays are packed with obligations - children, spouse, work, friends, and other haphazard activities. Weekdays are just not the time for an extravagant breakfast.
Rhubarb is a classic garden perennial found in many spring planting beds. This plant’s large crimped leaves emerge early on in the season, with its bright red stalks following close behind. As a small child, I have wonderful vivid memories of gardening with my family. As the ground began to thaw and the days turned warmer and longer, my parents and grandparents began to till the soil in preparation for seeds and seedlings. Our rhubarb seedlings were first lovingly sown inside, waiting on a sunny ledge in our home while the cold winter weather continued on.
I consider myself a Michigan native, but I've certainly ventured beyond the borders of the beautiful state. As self-proclaimed wanderer, daydreamer, and adventure seeker, I rarely turn down an opportunity for a new venture. I love to take risks. This wanderlust also extends to my choice of food - I’ve always been adventurous when it comes to trying new cuisines, flavors, or interesting food combinations. (There are a few things I simply cannot swallow, but don’t we all have those…)
There is nothing quite like homemade vanilla butterscotch pudding. Creamy and smooth with a silky lightness that can only come from careful cooking, stirring, and babysitting of what can be a finicky dessert to prepare. I encourage you to be diligent and persistent in the creation of your pudding, as the results will be worth your time and patience.
As Michiganders, we are accustomed to the beauty of our state. The large expanses of crystal clear lakes, the white sand beaches, and the abundance of greenery. Trees, particularly maples, sumacs, dogwoods, and oaks tower above us and provide a spectacular display of color in the chilly fall months. There is no better way to describe our state than as being #PureMichigan!