Thursday, March 5, 2015

What to expect at South Beach Food and Wine Festival, is it worth it? You like food? Then check this out.

Okay so things started pretty boring... waiting in line for an hour. We had tickets and were waiting that long on line. So that SERIOUSLY sucked. Below is the line, you cannot even see where they take your ticket. BUT it was February and it was fabulous weather in Miami. As a New Yorker I cannot complain. I was surrounded by Palm trees and other food loving people!

So finally I can see some signs we are close!  Smiling faces welcoming me and giving me a Goody Bag and a wine glass. The goody bag just has some food samples and some brochures no one is keeping.

FINALLY I am gonna go in.... YAY!

First Stop, the Barilla Tent because the line was not insane. Perfectly al dente pasta! YUM! Plus how Italian is this chef, I loved that!

Speaking of lines, there were lines EVERYWHERE. Honestly it was a bit of a cluster fuck. You are not sure if this is really indeed a line or people chillin. Well I pushed past it and no one complained. You kinda gotta wrestle your way to a taste of some good food.

What you can expect at the Grand Tasting Village

  • Tents and booths from major food companies showing you what you can do with their products.
  • Stages with your favorite food stars cooking or just talking (RR was dropping the f-bomb)
  • Restaurants serving up some small bites (yum)
  • Liquor and or beverage companies serving up some drinks (the funnest part)

I found the mixer I NEEEEEEED!! Like holy shit, how awesome is this thing?! Right? Soooo me! If someone from Kitchen Aid is reading this... I will love you FOREVER if you send me one! Please and thank you!

I discovered I LOOOOVE Mezcal Margaritas A LOT!

Funny story- liquor lines were shorter than food lines, so I drank a lot before I ate... well not A LOT A LOT... but a little a lot. LOL

Okay I drank and THANKS Uncle Michael for being my DD- you're the bestest!

The Hard Rock had a tent where it looked like a bar inside. Chicks in bikinis and shit. Yeah it's Miami so it comes with the territory. How sexy is the bartender below?!

Oh and you get this killer awesome view of the ocean the whole time!  So damn pretty!
Like how is this the same ocean we got here in NY?

Full service bar tent with sexy lady bikini bartender- SWEET!

So THIS was what I loved the most that I ate... Plantain pot pies or some shit by this AMAZING Cuban Restaurant. I am obsessed with Cuban Food!

It was plantain on the bottom, then some cuban rice and beans with mojo pulled chicken. It was like Cuba in a bite.

Random idea: it would be awesome to make cultural bites, one for each culture. Like an appetizer or amuse bouche.

They also made a killer mofongo sooooo effing good! I NEEED to make some of this!

I just looked up and pinned a recipe!

I saw Rachel Ray and was pretty close... she was drinking, a little drunk and totally dropped some f-bombs! LOVED it! She seems so real! Her husband was there making one hell of a margarita too.

Never was a HUGE fan of hers, but I can see the appeal. She is generally really sweet and seems genuine.

But you cannot leave Miami without drinking from a coconut... they say there was rum in this, but I think it was a lie...

So all in all, shit was crowded. Get there an hour before the thing starts and be prepared to wait in line.

When you see a line, it may not actually be a line. Just kinda shove your way to a table... nicely.

Drink lines are shorter, so get your drink on first to tolerate the madness.

So if you can stand waiting in line and events with many people it is totally worth doing at least once. It is quite pricey and you gotta wait, but it's pretty fun!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bourbon Spiked Vanilla Quinoa Pudding

Why would you waste your time with rice pudding when you could use quinoa and make it healthier?! This recipe also spikes it with a little bourbon for fun.

You guys... I realized I've never seen a recipe for quinoa pudding. So naturally I got on that shit STAT. I mean it's a no brainer. Why have I not made this before? It's just like a slight twist on the classic and you are adding all the nutrition of quinoa and it's health enough to call breakfast....


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adventures in Food, Wine and Beer in Florida Pt. 1 #SOBEwff

If you ever wanted to know what it is like attending a Food Network Food and wine festival, I've got your look inside here of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

A month ago, for the hell of it, I wanted to see when the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was... I remembered my uncle told me he could score me tickets if I ever wanted to go. Yeah I realized it was only a month away and just like that I decided I was going to go to Miami! I am no rich fuckin chick, so even affording airfare was a struggle, but the food and the beach beckoned me!

So a HUGE thanks to my Uncle Michael who hooked me up with free tickets, a place to stay and a ride there! Seriously the best uncle EVER!

I thought I would take you INSIDE SOBEwff so you can see what it's like and basically drool over some #foodporn

Friday- Best of the Best Food and Wine

Exactly as the title suggests is what it was. THE best of all the damn best chefs in all the land making the best fucking food they make.

It was heaven for any foodie.

For me it was a bit awkward at first since everyone was ummmm dressed a lot fancier then me. You see every damn chick is in a fancy fuckin dress and heels all gussied up... I'm there all Sophia beach chic in my black and white plaid pants, a turquoise tank and flip flops.... OOOPS! But I snapped out of it quick... there was AMAZING food to be eaten and I got a lanyard for my wine glass. Does it get any better?!

Okay maybe if it were craft beer and wine..... I gotta get in touch with their people dude and make that happen.

First thing I ate was one of the most memorable sweets, Momofuku Milk Bar had Pretzel Cake and Birthday Cake Truffles. TO FUCKING DIE FOR!

Basically is was compressed cake in truffle form (I need to figure out how to make this happen, though I am sure it has a million and a half calories.). The pretzel cake truffle tasted like just that pretzel cake and it was make with Brooklyn BEER! It was sweet, rich and just the right amount salty! The birthday cake was the same except like vanilla cake with sprinkles, but just as amazing!

Graham's Port was sooooo damn good, 20 years was the best... mellows with age. I would totally make brownies with this!

CHOCOLATE- BEST EVER by Norman Love. It was as beautiful as it was delicious! I cannot stress enough the deliciousness of this chocolate! Holy SHIT! Soooooo damn good! The fillings were spot on and tasted fresh!

The weird infusion thing was more eye candy than mouth candy.

LOTS of music... I kinda danced but no one else did.

Not gonna like: Wine was wasted on me... I knew nothing of the vineyards and drank it to have a nice even buzz the whole night. But hey it served a purpose...

Oh and acrobats and a dress made of desserts. The acrobats were amazing- the dessert was terrible. Tasted like pudding from a box with some chocolate crunchies.

This was the prettiest piece of art I ate...

Also I did not expect to likr Octopus, but this was good! Also the chef is Turkish... Greeks are supposed to hate turks, but he was cute and he cooked good. Total keeper and I don;t believe in prejudice! I believe in food and love!

This chef was so intense and really looked like he was completely into the food, I was captivated!

Lastly I didn't get a picture of this plate, but DAYUM horseradish and goat milk and marinated beets.... AMAZEBALLS! Crazy, crazy good!!

Until next weeks when I will return with actual food I made and recipes! I hope you enjoyed reading even 25% as much as I enjoyed this.... just the first night!

XOXO, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Celebrating Life's Achievements

In life, for every challenge you overcome, you should celebrate. I chose to create a badge, like you do in games to celebrate each challenge I overcome.

I like to call this life badges. You know how when you play a video game or check in with various app you get a badge. It seems silly but it makes you feel accomplished. Like woooo hooo I achieved something.

Most of my badges come from Untapped, the beer drinking app. Drink a bunch of domestic beer and get a "land of the free" badge.

Well why not celebrate our own achievements and accomplishments with a virtual badge of sorts.

Since I am a designer I whipped this up real quick for myself. Why? What did I do?

Well here in NY it has been SUPER cold, like 10º, I tried to used my husband's gym membership, but the douches at LA Fitness said I couldn't. I was sooo pissed, I thought well now I cannot work out. Since it's been so cold I have been eating A LOT because I am inside and cooking. Since I needed a workout, I bundled up and ran in the 10º with the wind whipping at my face, dodging ice and snow piles and traffic. I ran 1.5 miles and by the time I got home I couldn't feel my thighs since I was so cold. But I totally defied the odds and went for it. I conquered! I killed it!!

That is how I found my power again! Working out does that for me!

I love food, you all know this. So I eat lots.... #WhyIRun

Feel free to join in. If you defy the odds and go out running in the cold I will send you the badge to share on social media or on your blog!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Easy Veggie Skillet Lasagna

You love lasagna, but you lack the time it take to make it. No problem, this lasagna comes together in minutes only messing up one skillet! Even better it's loaded with vegetables!

Lasagna, how I love these, but how I hate to build one! Yeah I am lazy sometimes and I have a FT job, so you think I will be making lasagna very often? Bitch please...

Yeah I am a realist when it comes to food and preperation.

So I have seen lots of these skillet lasagnas. But they like cut up the lasagna noodles and it all gets mixes together and it looks like a mess. So I set out to make my own that actually resembles lasagna but in a skillet.

I LOADED this up with veggies so you don't have to feel quite as guilty for ingesting so much cheese. Onions, Peppers, mushrooms and zucchini!

I kinda upped the cheese factor too with just a baby bit of burrata- the QUEEN of all fresh mozzarella! It makes my heart sing with joy and I kinda hum a happy song when I bite into a piece.

If you are not familiar, it's basically a little fresh mozzarella purse filled with cream and more fresh mozzarella scraps. It sounds weird, but it's amazeballs. I assure you!

This is EASY and sooo damn delish I know you will do yourself a happy little cheese dance!

Easy Skillet Veggie Lasagna

by Sophia @ NY Foodgasm
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Keywords: entree healthy vegetarian Italian

Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 6 no bake lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe's 3-cheese)
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 4 oz. burrata
1- preheat oven to 350º
2- In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil.
3- Add the slices of zucchini and cook on both sides, about 2 mins a side.
4- Remove cooked zucchini slices, add in the rest of the veggies and cook until onions are slightly browned.
5- Remove vegetables and turn off heat.
6- Place down 3 no bake lasagna noodles, add sauce and vegetables.
7- Lay down the sliced zucchini and 3 more lasagna noodles and more sauce.
8- Add the cheese to the top ricotta, mozzarella and burrata.
9- Bake for 15 mins and then 5 minutes at 415º
Powered by Recipage

Monday, February 9, 2015

10 Valentine's Day Beers to Get You in the Mood! #CraftBeer

Whether you're single or attached, you can sure use these amazing beers! Chosen especially for Valentine's Day, they either remind you of chocolate, dessert or even flowers!

I teamed up with Melissa from Drunk and Unemployed to bring you our 10 Valentine's Beer picks and they are pretty epic!! Check out our video!

1. Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate
Chocolate Stout / 550ml/18.7 oz / 5%abv
Roasted organic chocolate malt and organic cocoa
Taste: Smooth and Creamy
Available Year Round
Bottom Line: It's the most intense chocolate flavored beer, like sexual chocolate!

2. Southern Tier Creme Brulee
Imperial Milk Stout / 22oz. / 9.5%abv
2 hops, lactose sugar
Taste: Vanilla, custard, brown sugar, caramel, sweet and balanced, rich and milky
Available February
Bottom Line: THE best dessert beer on the market, very sweet and vanilla for days!

3. Elysian Avatar Jasmine
IPA / 1pnt 6oz / 6.3%abv
Dried jasmine flowers added to boil and hopback
Taste: Very floral nose. Balanced flavor of
Available Year Round
Bottom Line: It sounds weird, but it totally works! The floral with the hoppy IPA flavor is a winner! Drink your flowers!

4. Shiner Birthday Beer
Chocolate Stout / 12 oz / 5%abv
Brewed with chocolate malt and real cocoa
Taste: Chocolate Cake Frosting
Available Limited
Bottom Line: Like vanilla fucking frosting, drink this bitch up and you may wanna get in your birthday suit!

5. Founders Big Lushious
Imperial Stout / 22oz. / 7.8%abv
Roasted malts, dark chocolate, tart
Taste: Jelly Rings/Chocolate covered jelly
Available Limited
Bottom Line: This is one bold bitch and makes no apologies! If you can't taste the raspberry or chocolate, you're flavor-blind.

6. DogFish Head Festina Peche
Berliner Weisse Style / 12oz / 4.5%abv
Ale Brewed with Peach Juice
Taste: Peaches, Hops, Tart/Sour Crisp
Available Seasonally
Peaches offer potassium, phosphorus, iron, A and
C-all key ingredients to enhance “performance.”
Bottom Line: An aphrodesiac delight, millions of peaches and not too sweet!

7. Wells Banana Bread

Fruit Beer / 11.2 oz / 5.2%abv
Malt Beverage with Bananas and Banana Flavoring
Taste: Banana Bread
Available Year Round
Bottom Line: It's like you got slapped in the face with a banana!

8. Lindemans Kriek Lambic

Lambic / 12oz. / 4%abv
Lambic with Cherry Juice and wild yeast
Taste: Tart/Dry Acidic/Sweet Finish
Available Year Round
Bottom Line: Like a tart cherry soda with alcohol!

9. Long Ireland Chocolate Porter
Porter / 22oz/Tap Room/Select Local / 5.8%abv
Malted barley and cocoa nibs. Aged for about a week and a half on cocoa nibs.
Taste:Duncan Hines chocolate cake/Pudding
Available Limited (Tap Room)
Bottom Line: Like chocolate pudding, minus the Cosby Creeper!

10.Barrage Brewing Yada Yada Yada

Brown Ale / Tap Room / 6.8%abv
Chocolate, peanut, caramel, brown ale
Available Limited
Bottom Line: How about some snickers in your brown ale? That's what it tastes like!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Valentine's Croquembouche Challenge (and fail) #ValentinesCroque

The adventures of a non-pasty chef trying to build a croquembouche. It wasn't pretty or easy, but I learned A LOT! 

When I was asked by Jenni if I wanted to participate in the Valentine'e Croquembouche Challenge immidiately I thought I should say no because... WTF is a Croquembouche?! So after I Googled it I stumbled upon some images and my first thought was, HELL NO!

Here is the REAL translation of Croquembouche from Wikipedia:
A croquembouche or croque-en-bouche is a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel.
In Italy and France, it is often served at weddings, baptisms, and first communions.

Here is my translation: 
A croquembouche or croque-en-bouche is a tree made of cream puffs piled on top of each other and stuck together in sticky caramelized sugar, that induces random and loud cursing.
A Photoshop recreation of what it may have looked like...

But back to me bring Croque-propositioned by Jenni...
I already knew this was gonna be a HUGE challenge to me. Firstly- I am not a pastry chef and I never even made a cream puff, ONCE! Yes I was a cream puff virgin. Secondly, logistically and structurally how the hell do I get it to stay together as a tree.

So in preparing for this I made cream puffs for the first time and they were a pretty major fail. They completely lacked puff! After some coaching from Jenni I tried again. Then it was puff perfection! SCORE! Now at least I got the technique of making the cream puff down.

Now what kind of puffs do I make? Well I made regular puffs colored pink with your traditional side (or girly side) paired with chocolate flavored cream puffs filled with chocolate stout

Then I planned a day to make ALL the cream puffs, fill them with cream and build this bitch. I didn't realize how damn tired I would be just from baking like 60 creampuffs, Yup 60!!

So they are all baked and ready to be filled and it is already like 4pm. A food blogger's worst nightmare since I only got another hour of dim daylight. (I ONLY shoot in natural light!) Plus I was losing patience. One can only bake for so many hours!

So now I gotta build this thing in an hour or really less. I skip making caramelized sugar and just grab caramel.

Rookie mistake!

It doesn't harden like the sugar does and in stead I got a mess or cream puffs sliding all over and falling. I ALMOST make the tree- then ALLLLLL the puffs slide and fall.

$&&&%^^%^$^#&%%    ^$%##^*#&##%&#%n   &#&%#&%#%#&

All my spoken word was a barrage of curse words..... I only had today to build this thing.

I wish this tale of an epic struggle ended in complete triumph, but it did not. Sometimes life does not go as planned. Things get messy and overwhelming and you just get tired.

I gave it my all, but while the cream puffs themselves were a triumph, the croquembouche was not.

But I did learn A LOT!

I learned to make a darn good cream puff.
I leaned that sometimes you can't take shortcuts.
I learned that I still have the WORST time estimation skills
I learned to give yourself WAY more time that you think you need
Lastly I learned it's okay to fail especially when you go into a challenge knowing it is way over your head.

When I took on this challenge I gave myself permission to fail. If I did not, I would have gone CRAZY and went through another dozen eggs... I actually really was like BUT, what if I make caramelized sugar at 6am tomorrow, perfectionism is a hard inner voice to tame. But I tamed that bitch.

So as much as this post is about the almighty croquembouche it is just as much about accepting failure.

You never know when life will throw you a crouquembouche... never shy from it, but always learn from it!

The recipe for the profiteroles (cream puffs) I used was a standard recipe here

My Chocolate cream puffs had about 1/4 cup cocoa powder in place of some of the flour.

Cream was 2 cups heavy cream and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, with 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar to keep stiff.

The chocolate ones were filled with a chocolate stout cream made with the recipe above + 1/2 cup beer and 1 oz of dark chocolate that I cooked and reduced by half, then folded into the cream.

Thank you Jenni from Pastry Chef online for inviting me to take part in this challenge!

Check out all the other lovely Croquembouche below!

About the Valentine's Croquembouche Challenge

Welcome to our Valentine Croquembouche Challenge (#ValentineCroque). We are a group of intrepid bloggers who occasionally like to push ourselves well out of our comfort zone to meet baking challenges fearlessly. Jenni Field of Pastry Chef Online, whose tagline is Fearless in the Kitchen, challenged us to make Valentine’s-themed croquembouche. Traditionally, a croquembouche (French for “Crispy in Mouth”) is a tower of cream puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream and held together with caramelized sugar (the crispy part).

We are here to show you that you do not always have to be bound by tradition, so we created croquembouche that adhere to the spirit of the dish if not the actual letter. You’ll find all sorts of combinations of flavors here (including a savory version) that will hopefully expand your idea of croquembouche. Not all of our croques were wildly successful, but we all learned something, and we all pushed ourselves. Besides, blogging shouldn’t always be about aspirational and often unobtainable Pinterest moments. It should also be about the near misses and the journey we take when we take a chance. Thanks for joining us today.

If you’re interested in participating in future challenges, please contact Jenni.


Valentine Croquembouche Challenge