One good thing about working in kitchens is the amount of diversity you come across with your co-workers. It is typical that in most kitchens there is someone of mexican discent working. since working at the Greenbrier, I have worked with many passionate and food driven chefs and I have never worked anywhere else where I have seen so much creativity. One of the chefs in our kitchen is crazy about making this fruit drink just about every day for our family meal. I finally went up to Armando and asked him what the deal is with him making these delicious and refreshing drinks. He told me that this melon water or Agua Fresca is a very popular drink in Mexico. Traditionally when they drink water they add any fruit of choice preferably watermelon for a delicious flavor. I did some research on this tradition and according to the Hawaiidiner.com, this beverage literally translated as “fresh water” is a drink made from what ever fruit is in season and usually has a sweetener such as sugar added to it. You will find these drinks all over Mexico on the street or in restaurants and the distinct fruitiness balances very well amongst Mexican cuisine. This beverage can also be see in the Philippines.
I watched Armando prepared this tasty beverage one day and asked if it was okay to copy the recipe and add it to my blog. You can use any fruit you like, we prefer to use compressed melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. We compressed them due to the fruit we received this year not being as sweet as it should be therefore compressing it in simple syrup added great sweetness to it.
To make you:
-Add into a blender or vita prep any kind of fruit cut into small chunks up to the top. For this recipe we used all three melons as mentioned above.
-Add in 1 cup lemon juice
-Add 4 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, cooked down)
-Add in small handful mint leaves (optional)
-Strain though a fine mesh strainer or chinoise
-Serve over ice and enjoy.
You can also add in berries if preferred for additional flavors. This is a very delicious and light refreshing beverage. Goes wonderful with hot/spicy foods, and great to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Pictured above is an example of how to start the beverage with adding everything into the blender prior to blending.
When my boyfriend and I were in Columbus, OH back in November a Chef we worked with at The Greenbrier had told us of a few good places to check out while we were there. After catching a live Bluejackets hockey game we had a few hours to spare before heading back to West Virginia. We decided to check out the food scene. There are a multitude of breweries (which I had no idea Columbus had), a quaint little German town, and a ton of other good restaurants and food locales. Brandon and I were told to check out Pistacia Vera, a dessert boutique in historic German Village for some really outstanding macaroons. I’ve never been much of a macaroon fan until I had the privilege of tasting theirs. Their signature item is Macaroon sandwich cookies with either butter cream or ganache filling. These were the freshest, softest, most flavorful cookies I have ever tasted. Flavors included: maple walnut, passion fruit, orange cranberry, pistachio, nutella, mocha, and vanilla bean. Depending on the season they do have other flavors. The flavors of each cookie just exploded in my mouth and blew my taste buds away. I think about these cookies everyday they are that good. Their menu also includes tortes, tarts, pastries, cookies, preserves, and pate de fruits having over 60 seasonal confections and pastries. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend you check it out. All desserts are made from scratch, fresh daily and they have many gluten free, dairy and vegan free products. For a Menu or more information on background of the cafe go www.pistaciavera.com
In the Picture to the left is fresh from scratch a pistachio orange fig dacquoise (Gluten free) and to the right is a Passion fruit Chambord flourless cake (Gluten free & nut free).
Most of everyone has heard of Jeni’s Ice cream and if you haven’t I suggest you do some research to locate the nearest one and go check it out. I’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone who has gone there. I decided its my turn to see what its all about. I am a home cook myself just as she was and making ice creams is one of my favorite things to do when I have the time and money. I bought her book with hopes that I would find good recipes and easy techniques on how to make ice cream better than the store . Upon reading her book and testing out a few recipes I’ve become very happy with each result. If your looking for good quality of texture and consistency I would stop by a jeni’s Ice cream nearest you. My favorite flavor of the batch would have to be the salty caramel. Perfect sweet to salty ratio. Her recipes are made specifically for at home making and are easy to follow. I bought the book and continue to use it every time I make ice cream. If you are unable get to a Jenis location, she does sell her products online for you to buy. Check out her website at http://jenisicecreams.com/ for product information and other goods.
The fun part of working in an Italian restaurant is the use of as much authentic Italian food as possible. One of the garde manager menu items, that is common on most menus is a cheese plate. There are many varieties of cheese in the world as I’m sure most of us know, and it seems every time I’m around a cheese cooler in the store I’m finding another cheese I’ve never seen or eaten before. I was introduced to a wonderful Italian cheese the other day called Ubriacone cheese. It is translated in Italian to “drunken”. When I first picked up the cheese I was curious because the color was a pale yellowish gold and it almost looked like Parmesan Reggiano by the texture. I was confused by a cause of a dark purple rind that smelled like wine. I took a bite and sure enough the first thing that came to my mind was this would go excellent with a glass of Pinot Noir. Ubriacone (Ubriaco) is from the province of Treviso in Italy and made from raw cows milk. This young cheese is soaked in local wine, both red and white then covered with crushed grape skins, seeds or stems left after from the wine making process (wine must) and then allowed to mature for six to ten months. The cheese is then pierced with tiny holes to let the flavor and aroma of the wine permeate the cheese. As mentioned above it is covered with grape leaves to keep mold from entering the holes of the cheese. Ubriacone has a hint of pineapple and a slight nutty taste. The texture is firm and slightly crumbly similar to Parmesan. If you are a wine lover like myself, this cheese would pair well with medium bodied wines and sweet or sparkling wines such as Prosecco. You can buy this cheese online at http://www.dibruno.com for $12.99 / 8oz.
It’s that time of the year with Thanksgiving being a few days away and Christmas to follow shortly after that. Everyone is back into the swing of things with pulling out their favorite holiday recipes from entrees to desserts.
As most people do most of the same cooking every year I decided to try something different. I spend most of my day cooking and when I’m not cooking on my days off I like to try baking instead. I’m no pastry Chef but I do love the challenge of trying something new with recommended recipes or something I’ve come across in a magazine. This year I decided to try meringue cookies. A college room mate of mine loves the vanilla meringue cookies from Trader Joes and back in college we would always have a box waiting in the kitchen as an after class snack. I always thought about making my own except I never got around to doing it. I figured given the winter season it would be good to try making a cookie with a peppermint flavor that would pair well with another seasonal treat like hot chocolate.
Making a meringue is not hard by any means. It’s all about whipping egg whites to the right peak, but for whatever reason it took me 3 times to make before the meringue came out perfect. From my experience some recipes that you find in a magazine don’t always work out at all because you don’t know how well tested or proven they are. using my knowledge of food I was able to figure out what I was doing wrong to finally accomplish the proper texture I was looking for. If you’re a fan of mint and meringue, I encourage you to try this recipe for yourself. They are a wonderful after dinner treat and something to snack on while drinking hot chocolate. You can use a different flavor of extract if you don’t like peppermint.I added red food coloring into the meriunge before piping to give a candy cane effect.
-3 Large egg whites
-3/4 Cup sugar
-1/8 teaspoon peppermint (or other flavor) extract
-1/8 teaspoon salt
Method of Prep:
-Set oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
-On medium-high speed whisk egg whites and salt together until a foamy white color appears, approximately 1 minute.
-Add in sugar at 3 different times, within 2 minutes of each other until soft peaks form
-Add in extract and combine for 1 more minute.
-Grab a piping bag and insert round piping tip
-Fill piping back with meringue and pipe onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
-Set in oven until dry, roughly 1.5 hours
Welcome to my new blog! I am new to this therefore the first year of this blog is going to be a work in progress. I’m going to look to this blog as my stepping stone to my career as a food writer. I don’t know much about designing a great website, however I do know that I love food and wine. I want to use this site as a way to blog about new recipes, restaurants, hotels, stories, and wine to others who don’t live their life around food or the hospitality industry but still enjoy it. I’m looking forward to updating as much fun and useful information on here for all to enjoy and in return would like any feedback you have. I have a secret passion for baking and I enjoy going to new restaurants or food scenes with my boyfriend Brandon, who is a huge help to me with this blog. I love to cook, travel, read, write, have fun and drink wine. I’m driven to eat and I hope you will join me on my journey through life’s culinary and hospitality scene.Thank you and enjoy!