Blueberries, texture, dessert, and Addys!

Happy Friday to you all! My District 2 regional Addy award just arrived, so it seems like a good time to share the news!

Last year I was asked to be part of an amazing project: Cohber Fuel. 12 local artists were each asked to create an image for a calendar, based only on one word. My word was texture. This is what I came up with!

2B_blueberry-sea

This link will take you to my page on the Cohber site for a brief description, but you can also follow the Fuel button in the corner to see a video about the entire project and view the rest of the images. Cohber determined a printing technique to highlight each artist’s creation. My image had dimensional ink to highlight the texture!

2B_texture ink

I entered the image in the local American Advertising Awards show and it won silver. It then was forwarded on to the D2 regional show and won gold! (Page 30 in this PDF.)

2eat2drink-D2 addy

This seemed like the perfect excuse to make a blueberry crumble (like I really needed a reason?) It was super good, and I decided to make it gluten free so our son with celiac disease could enjoy it as well. It was fun trying to randomly come up with a recipe for this. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it!

2eat2drink-blueberry crumble-pIngredients for the berry mixture:

  • 2 lbs blueberries, washed
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pisco or brandy
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons Wegmans Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix

Get out your favorite 8″ square baking pan, throw everything in and mix it up. It should look like this. (I dare you not to eat some.)

2eat2drink-blueberries in pan-p

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup Wegmans Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, softened

Mix it all up in a bowl with a fork and spread evenly on the top with your fingers (only licking when you are done). Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Enjoy!

 

 

Disney during the “value season” – a dream come true!

January 2nd through mid-February is Value Season at Walt Disney World. We’d never pulled the boys out of school for a vacation, but with junior high looming ahead of us soon, this past winter seemed like our last chance to take advantage of the value season. In addition to the rock-bottom room rates, we were able to find amazingly cheap airfare AND a special offer for a free Disney Dining Plan, making this vacation offer too good to refuse. So, the boys and I dragged Rich away from his computer (yes, he was retouching right up until the last second!) and headed for the airport just ahead of a snow storm. What perfect timing!

Waffles a la Chef Mickey, Contemporary Resort.

Some of the dining highlights of this trip were: hot dogs at Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom (our first-night-at-Disney-World tradition!), brunch at Chef Mickey’s (who can resist Mickey-shaped waffles?), lunch at Hollywood Studios’ Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (great food and cool ambience), and pizza & pasta at Via Napoli (located in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion).

Pasta & pizza (and dessert!) at Via Napoli, Italy Pavilion, Epcot.

Some highlights from Epcot: Rich’s view on Test Track, hanging with Chip at the Land Pavilion, our son’s picture of Chinese lily pads, me & my crew, Spaceship Earth.

What did we learn by visiting Disney in January? We learned that the Value Season rocks! I know that winter weather in Orlando can be a little unpredictable, but ours was perfect. It was sunny with temps in the 70s during the day, the evenings cooling down just enough to make us perfectly comfortable in light jackets. Crowds were better than during our summer trips to Disney World, allowing for much more interaction with the Disney characters and shorter wait times for rides and shows. Because we snagged the free Dining Plan, we were able to eat at a few places that are normally beyond our budget, such as Chef Mickey’s and Via Napoli (and we loved them both!) We also learned that the best place to watch the Wishes fireworks show (in the Magic Kingdom) is behind Cinderella Castle, just in front of Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom, lunch at Hollywood Studios’ Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

Visit the Walt Disney World site to plan your vacation or to peruse their current special offers. If you’ve ever considered Disney World in the off season, but you’re just not sure – go for it! You’ll be oh so glad you did!

Our view on the way home. Can’t wait till next time!

Happy Father’s Day!

Yes, I know father’s day was yesterday. But….you didn’t actually expect me to “work” on father’s day, did you? Well…that is far from true, but doing the picture and the post proved to be a bit too much as I could absolutely NOT miss out on the eating part of this post.

I posted the Wegmans apple crostata back in January. That was awesome. The apple-cranberry and cherry versions were both superb. But, the strawberry rhubarb crostata (enter the choir singing sweet melodies) is heavenly goodness, and my all time favorite so far. Thus….it was the obvious choice for my father’s day dessert. Its light as air crust, and sweet filling are still on my mind today. Take a peak and tell me you don’t want one…..

The strawberry rhubarb crostata. This totally makes it worth saying “shazam”!!

I hope all of you fathers out there had a terrific day with your family. I know I did. Happy belated father’s day!

The perfect chocolate martini, or “Heaven in a glass”

This post required a fair amount of “research”. While on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico, we had a few chocolate martinis at the Copamarina resort. They were excellent! But we had no idea what the recipe was. So…..after some experimentation, and some more experimentation…..and a little more……..we came up with a delectable treat!

Over ice in a martini shaker add:1 oz. chocolate vodka, 1 oz. triple espresso vodka, 1 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur, 1 oz. Kahlua Mocha, 1/2 oz. black raspberry liqueur, 2 oz. milk or half and half or cream (whichever you prefer), and a touch of dark chocolate syrup. Shake it up! Then pour in your martini glass….. after rimming the edge with chocolate shavings and drizzling a swirl of dark chocolate syrup around the inside of the glass.

Sip and enjoy!

The perfect chocolate martini!

Sweet Apple Goodness!

Heather and I have many favorite desserts. The apple crostata is the newest on the list. The large size is $12 (small is $6), and quite the bargain in the bakery section at Wegmans. It’s worth every penny for its light as air crust and sweet apple goodness. I had actually purchased the cranberry apple crostata 3 times with the intention of shooting it, but we ate it first. When I went back for it the 4th time, the apple cranberry had been phased out. Thus, Heather presents the apple crostata! I have to add…they have now phased out the apple, and are on to cherry! My apologies, as I’ve been a little too busy to get this shot posted. But I hope you jump at the opportunity to get a cherry crostata!! Let me know if it’s as good as I’m dreaming it is…

The super yummy apple crostata!

Happy Birthday, Big Poppa!

You may not know it, but that’s Rich’s nickname around here. And you also may not know that yesterday was his birthday! It was a wonderful, wacky day, despite the constant rain clouds and occasional complaints from the boys about it being the last day of summer vacation. Regardless, we made the most of it! Between showers, we even found time to fire up the grill. For his birthday dinner, Rich wanted tuna steaks, which we had with basmati rice, diced jalapeños and shitake mushrooms. As for a salad, we went totally unconventional and had watermelon topped with spring greens, queso fresco, cucumber julienne, chopped green onion, grilled tomatillo (as a sauce), sea salt & crushed pepper, and red chili olive oil. Oh, and the boys had macaroni and cheese (though two of them consented to try the tuna, and actually liked it!) We paired our tuna with a 2009 Burgans Albariño. We kind of love Spanish wine, and this was a very good one. It’s quite fruity (in a peachy/apricot way) without being overly sweet. It has a nice, crisp finish, and went beautifully with the meal. For dessert, a chocolate dome. I once made the mistake of referring to this particular dessert as a “chocolate boob” in front of the boys, and thus it shall always be known in our household. In between photo shoots, Rich found time to play Black Ops with the boys, and later, to cuddle on the couch with me. Yeah, it was a good day!

Watermelon queso fresco salad.

2009 Burgans Albariño.

Seared tuna steak...ready for its close up.

Tuna by candle light.

The chocolate, um, dome.

You know you want one…the creamy root beer float!

What would summer be with out the root beer float? Our boys have been asking for them ever since the weather started to warm up. While they may not be too picky about the quality (yet), Heather and I are always searching for the best ingredients (which are the key to a great drink). We stumbled upon Iron Fireman Root Beer during a visit to Custom Brewcrafters in Honeoye Falls, NY. It’s fabulously deep, creamy and spicy, with hints of wintergreen and anise and a dark foamy head. It paired marvelously with Perry’s Vanilla Bean ice cream to create our summer classic!

The Iron Fireman root beer float!