Summer Sunday breakfast

Seeing as it’s been so long since my last post (most humble apologies!), I wanted to officially say, “happy summer”! I hope yours has been as busy and as fun filled as ours, so far.

I thought I’d share our thyme French toast breakfast with you, as it was delightful. Fresh figs are always a highlight for us, and this was no exception. Especially with the addition of good Italian bread, thyme egg batter, and agave nectar.

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Make your egg batter for the french toast with several egg whites, only one egg yoke, a dash of milk, a little salt and pepper, and thyme.

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Quarter the figs and throw them in a hot pan with some blue agave nectar to slightly caramelize them.

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Top with maple syrup and a little powdered sugar, and your day is off to a good start! Enjoy your Sunday!

16 reasons for Irish eyes to smile

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! My friend Kerry said Bushmills 16 Year Old Single Malt was one of his favorite Irish Whiskeys. Given that he grew up very close to the distillery, I reckon he must know what he was talking about. And he does.

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Irish eyes smile when they see Irish legs.

The whiskey is aged separately for 16 years; some in oloroso sherry casks, and some in bourbon casks. Then it is blended together and aged in port wine casks for 7 months. This last step gives it the distinctive reddish hue.  The sweet smell of honey is the first thing you’ll notice, blending with what might be roasted nuts. The fruit of the port is apparent in the initial taste, followed by the honey and a nice spice. It’s smooth and elegant with a drier spicy finish. Highly recommened by Kerry and myself.

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Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

Sláinte!

I want a mojito in Old San Juan!

It’s been cold. (Apparently too cold to do a post since New Years Eve…sorry!) I’m sure everyone is aware that it’s been a cold winter. The polar vortex, or whatever the heck is causing this cold spell, has been all over the news. I feel like this tree.

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I want to be warm, walking down the brilliantly sun-lit blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan with my beautiful wife. We would start towards El Asador on Calle de San Francisco. Along the way we would see a picturesque purple balcony and a few cool cats hanging around. When we arrive, we would sit at a table with a view of the street. The awesome bartender, Daniel, would make us mojitos with Don Q Cristal. They would be super refreshing. Daniel would bring our order of ceviche. It would be excellent and flavorful. We would sit, laugh, and enjoy.

What is your warm thought of the day? Cheers!

Have a jazzy new year!

I wanted to bring y’all back down South to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve. It seems like a festive way to end the year!

Jackson Square is right in the heart of the French Quarter. A mounted Andrew Jackson rides in the center, surrounded by lush gardens, grand architecture, haunted restaurants, and lively, talented street musicians. As we walked towards the area, we could hear jazz music echoing off the buildings. A small group had gathered to perform for the passing crowds. They were very entertaining!

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After listening (and photographing) a bit, we wandered through the square on our way to dinner. It was a very relaxing area with people scattered about reading on the grass.

Muriel’s is right on a corner overlooking Jackson Square. It was featured on our ghost tour. They set a place for the resident spirit every night.

Have a safe and happy evening and a fabulous new year! Cheers!

Bánh Mi. The perfect sandwich, part 2.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was slightly out of the ordinary for our family. We decided to mix it up and serve a sandwich. But what kind of sandwich? Let’s take a stab at the perfect sandwich, I thought….the Bánh Mi. It was a hit, even with the little ones (although they may have skipped a few of the ingredients).

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From the bottom running clockwise, our sandwich consisted of: roast pork loin (marinated in white vinegar, Asian BBQ sauce, chopped ginger, soy sauce), Wegmans Asian BBQ  sauce, bacon, sliced jalapeños, cucumbers (marinated in equal parts white vinegar and sugar), Wegmans ciabatta baguette, Sriracha sauce, pork liver pâté, fresh cilantro. Don’t forget a nice spicy Gewürztraminer to go with it. I still think our house white, from Chateau Ste. Michelle, is excellent.

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This is a must try. In fact, it’s time for leftovers. Enjoy!

Happy Haunting from the Vieux Carré

All Hallows Eve will be filled with hauntings, especially in the Vieux Carré, or French Quarter. But…we will be protected with our voodoo doll for protection from evil spirits and phantoms. While we drink sazeracs (and eat candy.)

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I thought a Halloween post would be the perfect way to introduce the Sazerac, a drink that is as much a part of New Orleans as Halloween celebrations are. Its roots can be traced back to a French Quarter apothecary, Antoine Peychaud, in the early 1800s. But the drink was modified to its current recipe in the early 1900s to feature Rye instead of Cognac. It’s extremely flavorful and highly recommended.

Our voodoo doll came from Marie Laveau’s House Of Voodoo on Bourbon Street. It’s a  great little shop with many voodoo dolls, talismans, and charms.

There are many variations on the Sazerac recipe, but I chose to base mine on Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure, an excellent absinthe from Philadelphia Distilling. Start by chilling an old fashioned glass by filling it with ice, then gather your ingredients.

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey. I used Russel’s Reserve small batch.
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure
  • lemon

In a separate glass, over ice, mix the rye, simple syrup and bitters. Stir until chilled. Dump the ice from the old fashioned glass and give it an absinth rinse. Pour in enough to coat the entire inside of the glass, dumping if there is a lot of excess. Strain other ingredients into glass. Garnish with some lemon peel twisted over the glass. Sip to appease the spirits (and yourself). Á votre santé!

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Typical French Quarter halloween decorations adorning 2 balconies. The top photo is complete with a bubble machine. The bottom photo is complete with an undead Boston Red Sox fan, which is very fitting for today. Congratulations to the World Champions!

Fall is in the air. And in my stomach.

I cheated. I had a donut before I got home. “I’m sorry,  I couldn’t help it,” I told Heather. She was very forgiving, as she understood my situation. I had a bag full of apple cider donuts from The Apple Farm, here in Victor.  It was my second trip in a week for these irresistible treats. How could I resist opening the bag, even before I got in the car?? It was difficult with the bags of apples I was carrying (which were also really good!), but I managed.

Honestly, donuts are never my first choice in baked goods. I generally find them to be too dry. So…a couple weeks back, when Chef Mark suggested we make a special trip to go get some, I was a little skeptical.  But these donuts are an exception; moist and flavorful. Yum.

I figured a Pumpkin Harvest Ale pairing would make for a nice fall snack, and I was right. Cheers!

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