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Coffee Milk Kick Shot

Posted on: Friday, April 18, 2014

A Rhode Island native recently introduced me to the state’s signature beverage, Coffee Milk. To many, this sounds like an odd combination. To Rhode Islanders, this is a staple and with much pride and enthusiasm, a must-try drink. After mixing a glass of milk with 2 tablespoons of the ubiquitous Autocrat Coffee Syrup (“the more syrup the better for the super sweet taste”), I was intrigued by the sweet and creamy blend. It reminded me of chocolate milk with more of a punch.

The smallest state’s bold, jolting syrup inspired me to revamp the afternoon treat into a nighttime libation. Similar in a bizarre way to a White Russian, I decided to mix coffee syrup, vanilla ice cream and yes, vodka in a shot glass for a mini pick-me-up. 

Coffee Milk Kick Shot

1 scoop  vanilla ice cream (I used Ben and Jerry's Vanilla)
ice cubes
1/2 shot vodka
1 shot light cream (or milk-your preference)
1/2 shot coffee syrup (Autocrat Coffee Syrup)
sprinkle of coffee granules
Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a small glass (a shot glass works well). In a shaker, combine ice cubes, vodka, and cream and shake vigorously. Pour the frothy mixture atop ice cream. Drizzle with the coffee syrup and a sprinkle of coffee granules. Serves 1.
Instead of an after-dinner cordial, try this mini burst of sweetness at your next get-together. It's also a great way to kick off a long weekend!

Honest Fruit Blends

Posted on: Monday, April 7, 2014

After her Miami getaway, I met up with Kara in Denver to spend the weekend with our East Coast transplanted pal, Kimmy. We spent the weekend relaxing, catching up, strolling through the sprawling city and surroundings, catching some live music, and of course, indulging in the local fare. A common trend out there is eating “honest” food and living healthy. Kimmy introduced us to one of her favorite spots, True Food Kitchen and we instantly fell in love. We each paired thoughtful and crazy salads with vibrant juice blends. For me, the Carrot Lemonade (carrot juice, ginger, honey and lemon), for Kara the Cucumber Refresher (cucumber and honey lemonade) and for Kimmy, the Kale-aid (kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger).
After a weekend of rejuvenation in every sense of the word, I flew back to Boston inspired to sift through Kara and my collection of fresh beverages as the first buds of Spring are surfacing. 

For breakfast on the go the following Monday, I whipped up an
Avocado, Mango and Coconut Smoothie 
Throughout the week I drank ice-cold glasses of 
Cucumber, Lemon and Lime Infused Water
And for a sweet treat, I opted for cooling and not too sugary 
Cantaloupe Granita
Fresh, fruity ways to jumpstart your day!

Miami Getaway

Posted on: Tuesday, April 1, 2014

To escape the Connecticut chill, soak in some sun and coincidentally brush up on my Spanish, I flew down to vibrant and lively Miami. With a clear focus on relaxing, tanning and sampling some good food, I was amazed by the diversity in restaurants and cuisine. When I wasn’t people-watching on the beach, I was strolling down Collins Avenue and side roads off of Lincoln Avenue in search of some local foodie finds. Here are a few highlights:
Bourbon Blackberry Lemonade (signature cocktail)
Fried Green Tomato BLT: Pork Belly, Greens, Tomato Jam, House Made Pimento Cheese
Llewellyn’s Fried Chicken with Spicy Tabasco Honey
Charred Okra and Chilled Watermelon
Mojitos are a must! Larios on the Beach 
Khong River House 
Thai Garden Lavender Infused Beefeater Gin, Yellow Chartreuse, Fresh Lime, Fresh Pressed Cucumber Juice
Burmese Fresh Noodle Wraps: Roasted Red Chili, Peanuts, Palm Sugar, and Lemon Juice Minced with Chopped Cilantro, Sweet Black Soy Sauce, and Sriracha Wrapped in Fresh Burmese Style Noodles
I returned north relaxed, inspired and eager to get back in the kitchen. Stay tuned!

Warm from the Oven

Posted on: Monday, March 10, 2014

While visiting home over the weekend, our mom suggested we bake a big batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the week ahead. Growing up, whether it was coming home late from an indoor field hockey game in Topsfield, seeking a sugar boost for after-school homework, or having friends over for an impromptu gathering, our mom always made sure to have the cookie jar filled with this go-to recipe. The combination of bittersweet chocolate chips and walnuts (never raisins) and a hint of cinnamon are blended into a chewy cookie that’s sweet, salty, and substantial. I drove back to Connecticut with a tin filled to the brim with the aromatic oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. I keep a stash in the freezer for a pick me up after a brisk walk through the woods with Shiloh or to pair with my morning cup of coffee.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 c light brown sugar
3 t vanilla
4 large eggs at room temperature
3 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
3 t salt
3 t cinnamon
6 cups oats
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips
2 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter on high until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs (one by one) until light and creamy. Add the sugar until fully incorporated. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture in batches until just combined. Stir in the oats. Using your arm strength, mix until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Using a large spoon, divide the dough into equal portions, each about 2 T. Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Lightly push down each ball of dough with your hand and bake cookies until golden brown and still puffy, 11 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. 
Depending on the size, makes about 40 cookies.
While forty cookies seem like a lot, they will vanish before your eyes!

Awards Show Ready

Posted on: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We are less than a week away from the Academy Awards- a night full of fashion, underdog wins, teary speeches, and of course, decadent parties. Usually, Kara and I have similar if not the same taste in movies. We will watch anything Boston-centric, love a good Hitchcock thriller, enjoy David O. Russell story-lines and Wes Anderson’s offbeat comedies, and refuse to sit through any fantasy epic. 

Whether interested in the Oscar nominees or not, we always look forward to gathering a group of friends to watch and nosh. For this year’s show, I am planning to play off of the themes of a few of Kara and my favorite films, Blue Jasmine, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street with a spread of assorted appetizers and cocktails.

In Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett’s character, Jasmine is a deeply troubled New York socialite who loses everything and flies across country to San Francisco to impose upon her sister. With vodka seeming to be her constant companion, a cocktail only makes sense.

In American Hustle, a crime-drama set in the 70s, Christian Bale’s character, Irving Rosenfeld forms an interesting bond with Jeremy Renner’s character, Camden, New Jersey Mayor Carmine Polito. Polito flashes his Italian-American flare, so I’ll serve two of my favorite Italian foods, creamy burrata and crispy arancini. 
Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Arancini 
In The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonard’s Dicaprio's character, Jordan Belfort is obsessed with money, drugs and excess in every sense of the word. To showcase his infatuation with only the best of things, I’ll put together some swanky, refined bites featuring seafood and chocolate.

Grilled Potato Rounds with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche 
Chocolate Truffles with Chile Salt 
Since candy and popcorn go hand in hand at the movies, I’ll make sure to have big bowls of our sweet and salty Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Fluff Popcorn on hand throughout the evening.

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