Raspberry Mango Sangria

For me, nothing tastes better after a hot summer day than sangria. We make a lot of sangria over here and with this past weekend being L’s birthday, we wanted something new and fun! (and a little less like the rocket fuel we had made last month =)  L picked out this recipe from Everyday Food and it was really good! The original ingredients had lemon lime soda, but there are some non-soda fans in the apartment so we switched it out for the mango lemonade. Fantastic decision.
Yields 8 glasses.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 3 TB raspberry liquor
  • 1 bottle rose wine
  • 3ish cups mango lemonade (didn’t really measure this one)

Mix mango, raspberries, liquor, wine, and lemonade in a pitcher and chill for at least one hour.

Happy weekend indeed.

Bruschetta, Portobello, & Beef Burger

Now that it’s summer I really want a grill. To be more specific, I really want this grill. A little impractical I know, but it’s SO CUTE! And it comes with matching tools! Though… if I were to be perfectly honest with myself, what I really want is someone to man my impractical grill for me. Any volunteers =)?

For this burger, I was trying to re-create the best one I’ve ever had at Archie Moore’s Bar & Restaurant in CT (sorry Bartley’s and R.F. O’Sullivan’s). I think part of the reason it ranks as “the best” in my mind is that I was at a seemingly average chain restaurant and I was expecting my meal to be… well… average. Then… BOOM… it blew me away. It was also the first time I’d seen bruschetta since I’d been aware of my allergy and been able to order it, because they didn’t put parmesan in it. I was so happy… it was like a party in my mouth.
Burger adapted from EatingWell.
Bruchetta modeled after The Cooking Photographer.
Serves 4.

Ingredients:

Burgers:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, finely chopped
  • 3 TB plain breadcrumbs (Trader Joe’s has some that is sans dairy, it’s often hard to find!)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg

Bruchetta:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 TB Vegan Grated Topping (sounds so appealing I know. It does a good job on the parmesan flavor though)
  • 1 TB basil olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • 1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Mix beef, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, thyme, salt, pepper, and egg in a medium bowl. (I used my hands like the meatballs… it’s just easier) Lightly pack into patties. The burgers will cook better if you leave them with a bit of air. The original recipe only called for 12 oz. of meat, but I didn’t know what to do with 4 random oz. so I just threw it in and made 5 patties. You could make 4 big patties as well.

Heat grill pan (sigh) to medium heat and cook about 6 minutes each side, adding cheese with 2 minutes to go.

For the bruchetta, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Keep in mind you might want to loose some of the juice from the tomatoes.

On a toasted roll, top with mozzarella burger and bruchetta. Commence party.

Chicken Fried Rice

This is another easy meal I learned from H. What would I do without that girl =) Most of the items in this dish I often keep in our freezer so I can make some quick food on the fly. It’s great at any time, I even had it for breakfast the other day. Eggs count as breakfast right? You could buy all of the ingredients fresh as well, but sometimes I like not feeling pressured to use things right away.

The first time I tried making this I royally messed it up haha. There are 2 key steps to making a good fried rice. The first is to let everything in the pan get a little crispy. The second is to let the egg sit and don’t touch it! We’ll get to that in a second…
Yields 4 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB canola oil, seperated
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup bite-sized broccoli
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • soy sauce to taste
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TB green onion, chopped

In a large skillet heat 1 TB of the oil on medium heat. Add onion and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Next add in broccoli, corn, and edamame and stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green, 2-5 minutes. Transfer veggies to a different plate. Add the other TB of oil, rice, and a few splashes of soy sauce to the pan. Cook rice until slightly brown, starting to turn crispy.

Add the chicken and vegetables back to the pan and create a circular hole in the center. This is the most important part!! Beat the egg in a small bowl, and pour into the center of the pan. Let it sit for 60 – 90 seconds without touching it.

This is the part I messed up on. If you move the egg around before the 90 seconds, without giving it a chance to solidify, the whole dish becomes a gooey sticky mess!

After the egg hardens a bit, break into pieces and stir into the rest of the dish. Remove from heat and stir in green onion.

Double StarMallow Rice Crispy Treats

I found the cutest marshmallows at the grocery store! I thought… “these would make great 4th of July rice crispy treats!” Until I realized that the recipe calls for the butter and marshmallows to completely melt together and they’d really make a nice shade of purple. Then it came to me… DOUBLE MARSHMALLOW rice crispy treats. Now that’s a reason to celebrate!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Earth Balance Buttery Stick (the recipe from the Rice Krispies site says not to use substitute butter… I live to break the rules =)
  • 1 bag white mini marshmallows
  • 9 cups Crispy Rice (I bought generic) cereal
  • 1 bag red, white, and blue star marshmallows
  • red, white, and blue sprinkles

Line a 13 x 9 pan with wax paper. In a large saucepan melt the butter and white mini marshmallows. In the normal crispy treats recipe, there would only be half the amount of butter, but I figured I’d throw a little extra in since I was doubling the marshmallows. In a large mixing bowl stir together the colorful star marshmallows and the crispy rice cereal. (I added in a little more cereal than usual here too).  Add the buttery mix to the rice mix and stir until all of the rice is coated. Press mixture evenly into the pan and let cool.

The treats were wonderfully sweet, sticky, and crunchy. You definitely couldn’t tell “real butter” wasn’t used and they were 10 times better than store bought.

Couscous Salad

I made this pizza again last night. I bought the ingredients a few days before, but then had to wait… and wait… for it to be cool enough to heat the oven at 450 degrees.

In the spirit of summer, avoiding the oven, and because I just took a fantastic blog class from them, I’d like to share one of my favorite salad recipes from the girls at We Are Not Martha. It’s cool… it’s refreshing… it’s got veggies… it’s got carbs… it’s got protein… what more could you want?!
Yields 8 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry couscous cooked according to box (if you get the 5.8 oz box that’s exactly what’s in there, I just usually buy mine in bulk)
  • 5 oz. bag baby arugula, chopped
  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled silken tofu (yea… I often pretend tofu is feta haha. tofu of course tastes like nothing, but the look and texture is very similar)
  • pinch of celtic sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 3 limes

Mix all of the ingredients together in a very large bowl. That’s it! I prefer mine to be chilled for an hour but it tastes great as is too.

To be fair, the chopping takes a little bit of time. My goal for this year is to be a better chopper. I feel like my time in the kitchen could be cut in half with an efficient flick of the wrist. Wonder if there’s a class for that =)

Eating & Drinking Through Ireland

Feels like just yesterday I was flying out on my first overseas adventure to meet up with P and C on the Emerald Isle! After watching Bobby Flay’s Food Network Special on Ireland, I couldn’t wait to taste the dishes from “one of the world’s new superpowers when it comes to food”. I was also curious (and a bit anxious) how I’d get on with my allergy in a country that admittedly loves it’s butter =D I mean, I had a lot of stuff I wanted to do in Ireland…

@ The Bailey, Dublin 2
@ Soho, Cork City
@ Jameson Distillery, Midleton, Cork

There was no time for being sick haha! I visited a lot of restaurants, but want to highlight my top 3 picks. First up was The Half Door Restaurant in Dingle, Kerry. I had the Sautéd Mushrooms with Brandy & (Irish) Bacon Sauce as a starter…


and the Cromane mussels garlic & white wine sauce. All of the items on the menu were made to order so they had no problems modifying for me.


Next up (after quite a long drive, P is such a trooper and tremendous tour guide 😉 was the Trattoria Restaurant in Galway. I had the Penne Gamberetti e Courgette. Of course I had to ask what both those words meant (prawns and zucchini =) The homemade pasta was outstanding!


Last but certainly not least was a visit to Cafe Paradiso in Cork City. This was one of the places Bobby Flay stopped at during his tour and I was dying to go! The restaurant is strictly vegetarian but has an amazing variety of food and types of cuisine. C and I got the Gingered Sweet Potato Springroll with Coconut-Chilli Dip and Sesame Mizuna Salad…


and the Paradiso Chips with Rosemary Truffled Aioli to share.


And I got the Potato, Caramelised Onion & Lovage Tortilla on Wilted Greens with Braised Puy Lentils, Rosemary Aioli and Sweet & Hot Pepper Jam. I said they have an amazing variety of food… and they do… you should check out the menu. Only after the 3rd dish came out did I realize I just ordered loads of potatoes. But hey, when in Rome… er… Ireland! Everything at Cafe Paradiso was made to order as well. The waitress said they could have modified anything on the menu for me, but advised which dishes would still retain the best flavor which I found really helpful! Bonus points for her.


All of the restaurants I visited were really accommodating and if Ireland will have me back, I would visit again in a heartbeat.

Raspberry, Banana, and Nut Smoothie

It’s official, I’m jumping on the smoothie bandwagon for the summer. It’s a balmy 81 degrees in Boston today, though my apartment feels a bit warmer. As the weather heats up nothing in my apartment seems appealing. Even less so if it means turning the oven on!
I really like smoothies because in addition to cooling you down… all the ingredients are blended together… which means your body doesn’t have to do much work to break them down… which means you’ll stay even cooler 😉 A smoothie is perfect any time of the day too. I eat them for breakfast or as a pre/post gym snack. I have a few up my sleeve that I want to share, but this one seemed perfect for the weekend!
Adapted from: Real Simple
Serves 3.

  • 2 1/4 cups almond milk
  • 2 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 3 bananas
  • 3 TB peanut butter
  • 3 TB agave nectar
  • 3 TB flax seed oil
Combine milk and raspberries in a blender and blend until most of the raspberries are broken down. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.