Archive for the ‘NRR (not recipe related)’ Category

Since we just finished our 3rd course – Artisan Breads – I figure I should do another culinary school snapshots post.  The breads course was amazing.  We made so many different types and styles of breads.  Below is just a small sampling of what was made.

I’m still having a blast in culinary school.  I’m pretty proud of still maintaining my 4.0 average and 100% attendance record.  I miss my husband (a lot) but I know the time apart will all be worth it in the end.

Brioche a Tete

Epi Baguette


Multigrain Sourdough

Soft Pretzels

Light Rye Bread

English Muffins


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Back in August I stumbled upon Beantown Baker’s post about making homemade vanilla extract and decided that I just HAD to give these as Christmas gifts to all of the special ladies in my life this year.

So, I ordered the bottles, secured the beans, bought the vodka and got right to work.

The extract is so simple and pretty much does all the work itself!

Vanilla beans – 2 per jar

Wash and dry bottles well.

Add one or two beans to each jar and fill with vodka.

Close tightly and store in a box somewhere cool and dark (I used a corner of our basement).

Every week or so, take the bottles out and give them a good shake.

Your extract will be ready in about 2 months, but the longer you let it sit the better!

Husband Rating – 5 out of 5 – “Brilliant idea!  I had fun shaking these – LoL!”

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I just wanted to thank everyone who entered my recent sassyapron giveaway.

I have never had so many comments on a single post!  You guys rock!

51 responses were received.  Everyone’s last meal requests sounded so delicious!  The food choices ranged from lobster and duck confit to cheeseburgers and a milkshake – all very good choices!

I used the random number generator to determine the winner.

And the winner is…

Linnea of Linnea Ann Photography is the winner (check out her blog when you have a minute – it’s lovely)!  Linnea, you’re going to love the apron!  Be sure to take a picture of you wearing it when it arrives!!

I will email you soon to get your shipping address.

Thanks again to everyone that entered the giveaway!  And, if you didn’t win, but would still like a sassyapron of your very own, you can get it here.

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This week marks my 2-year Blogiversary!  I’m so proud with how far I have come in the kitchen and am so grateful to have such amazing readers.  So…to thank you for sticking with me, I’m doing a giveaway!

I love cute aprons.  I have a whole bunch decorating my kitchen.

Last year I purchased a few aprons from Etsy seller sassyapron and fell in love!  These are by far the most adorable aprons I’ve ever seen!!  I have one that is a cupcake pattern and one with multi-colored snowflakes.  I can’t even tell you how many comments I’ve received from people on my aprons!

To share my love of these aprons, I’m giving away this sassyapron half-apron and towel set.

The main print is a yellow/green honeycomb with little bees scattered all over.  It is trimmed with black and white polka dot fabric (100% cotton).  How cute are the little bees?!?!

To be entered to win this giveaway, please leave a comment below answering the following question: 
“What would you eat for your last meal?”

I love asking this question to other ‘foodies’ – the answers are always so interesting!  Personally, mine would be:  Caesar salad with blackened shrimp and garlic croutons, crispy pan seared salmon topped with lobster meat and hollandaise sauce, creamy garlic and butter mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, my Grandmother’s peach pie with vanilla bean ice cream and a big Dr. Pepper.

A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, August 20.  Good Luck!

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I’ve never posted a restaurant review here before, and don’t plan to do much of this in the future, but after our dining experience this weekend I just had to post about it!

For Christopher’s birthday, I surprised him with a mini-vacation to Frederick, MD and reservations at Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant VOLT.  Not only did we eat at a Top Chef restaurant, but we dined at Table 21 (their 21-course tasting menu served in the kitchen of the restaurant)!

Chef Voltaggio hard at work

This was, without a doubt, the very best meal I’ve ever eaten!  The food, the experience of sitting in a real working kitchen, getting to meet Chef Voltaggio – everything about our trip to MD was amazing!

So, have you ever wondered what is served during a 21-course dinner?  Wonder no longer!  Here we go (click on any of the pictures for a larger image):

1.  “Nitro” mint lemonade with crown royal, strawberry foam and mulberries

2.  Prosciutto chips and dip

3.  Celery root macaroon filled with foie gras

4.  Tuna tartare with cilantro, jasmine rice, soy, yuzu and avocado

5.  Yellow corn chowder with Maryland blue crab, cucumber and coconut

6.  “Chicken Parmesan” with tomato fennel dipping dots and opal basil (picture 1)

7.  Cherry Glen Farm goat cheese ravioli with maroon carrots, yellow oyster mushrooms and sage

8.  Lobster with butter, garlic, sunchoke and fennel

9.  Halibut with cauliflower and white truffle

10.  Arctic Char with red onion, potato, cucumber and chive

11.  Skate wing with truffle gnocchi and yellow corn (picture 2)

12.  Veal sweetbreads with fennel, kalamata olives, capers and meyer lemon

13.  Tuscarora beets with goat cheese mousse, watercress and balsamic (picture 3)

14.  Red wattle pork belly with calypso beans, carmellini beans and mostarda (picture 4)

15.  Border Spring Farm lamb loin ratatouille

16.  Pineland Farm beef with yukon gold potato, chanterelle mushrooms and bacon lardon

17.  Point Reyes blue cheese with almond, apple, walnut and balsamic

18.  Goat cheese cake with blueberry and marcona almond (picture 5)

19.  Meyer lemon ‘tart’ with apricot, cherry and basil

20.  Textures of chocolate with caramel and chocolate ice cream (picture 6)

21.  Assorted chocolates, candies and macaroons

I can’t believe we ate all of it!!  You practically had to roll us out of the restaurant!

Honestly, the only thing I really didn’t enjoy was the foie gras.  Everything else was incredible!  The ravioli, pork belly and halibut were definitely our favorites, though.

I wish we had more restaurants like this in New England!

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Special thanks to my good friend, Mrs. LLL, of Life, Love, & Laughter for tagging me in a recent blog post.

This post isn’t food related – but I’m enjoying the opportunity to let my readers know more about me!  Enjoy!

1.  Who is your style icon?

I absolutely adore Kate Winslet – have for years.  She’s a fabulous actress, has great style and is someone I think most girls should look up to b/c she has a very positive body image and isn’t stick thin like most of Hollywood these days.

2.  What is your favorite Socialite Lit. book?
Honestly…I have no clue…what an odd question.

3.  Favorite party theme.

Game night!  We love getting together to play games with friends (board, video, lawn…all kinds of games)

4.  Go to Halloween costume.

A witch, I suppose.  I have a great black hat covered with feathers (that the cats just can’t wait to get their little paws on)!

5.  Extravagance you can’t live without.
Eyebrow waxes.  At $10, it’s not all that extravagant, but it would be free if I did it at home.  It’s so tedious that I’d rather just pay someone to rip the suckers out!  LOL!

6.  Living person you admire.
My Grandmother (I’m not sure she’d want her picture plastered on the internet, so I’ll leave the pic out of this one).  She’s the greatest lady on the planet!  All of my friends wish she was their Grandmother.  She’s kind, loving, helpful and is my inspiration in the kitchen (especially when it comes to pies)!

7.  Greatest fear.

Drowning.  Not just dying in general…but drowning…I can’t hold my breath for long and really don’t care for water at all.

8.  Trait(s) you deplore in yourself.
I admit I can be a little lazy some days…but I certainly don’t deplore anything about myself.

9.  What talent would you most like to have?

Musician…I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the violin.

10.  What is your greatest achievement?
Well, I’m not that old, so this one is tough.  I guess I’d say doing everything on time and in the right order (graduate high school, boyfriend, graduate college in 4 years, apartment, move in with boyfriend, get engaged, get job, have wedding, buy house and maybe someday have a baby).

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Bon Voyage!

Greetings all!

I just wanted to post to let everyone know that my blog will be pretty quiet over the next 2 weeks.  The hubs and I are about to embark on our first-ever trip to Europe (Amsterdam and Paris to be specific)!   

I’m certain I’ll have a bunch of restaurant reviews and pics of wonderful food when we return.  Stay tuned!

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