Friday, April 30, 2010

Mac n' cheese soup and buffalo chicken "fries"

I can barely type this post because I'm so full. But I promised my honey I would blog about the yummy meal he cooked for me; mac n' cheese soup and buffalo chicken "fries". It was delicious.

I randomly received a new cooking magazine in the mail called Cuisine at Home. It actually has a bunch of great recipes, but these were the first we tried. Make this dinner, you won't be disappointed. The photo doesn't nearly do it justice, as soon as the sun goes down and I don't have natural light my photos go south. Still learning!

Though the name of the mac n' cheese has the word "soup" in it, I think it is really more of a stove-top mac n' cheese. There is nothing very soupy about the dish, it is very creamy, cheesey...not liquidy like you would imagine with a soup.

Mac n' Cheese Soup (adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups dry elbo macaroni
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced celery
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose four
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodiun chicken broth
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups whole milk
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

Preparation

Cook macaroni in a pot of salted wsater according to ackage directions; drain and set aside.

Sweat onion and celery in butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in flour to coat and cook 1 minute. Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in broth, mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes, then whisk in milk and warm through. Do not let boil or base may become grainy.

Add cheddar, 1 cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before adding the next cup. Stir in macaroni, lemon juice, and salt; remove from heat.

Combine blue cheese and chives in a small bowl. Garnish each serving with blue cheese mixture.

Buffalo Chicken "Fries"

Ingredients

1/3 cup hot sauce (such as Frank's)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. honey
1 lb. boneless, skinless chickenbreast halves, slice lengh-wise into 1/2 inch wide strips, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

Preparation

Whisk together hot sauce, butter, and honey in a large bowl.

Toss chicken strips with flour in a large resealable plastic bag until coated; shake off excess four.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil inn a large saute pan over medium-high; add half the chicken strips, saute until browned, about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to hot sauce mixture and toss to coat. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken strips.

Do you have any examples of a great meal your honey cooked for you?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Inspiration board: a vintage garden bridal shower


I created this inspiration board for my friend Kristin's upcoming vintage/garden bridal shower. Kristin has 9 bridesmaids in her wedding and we are all working together to throw her an amazing shower. I can't wait!

Details:

- Flowers, flowers and more flowers: St. Paul and Minneapolis have awesome farmer's markets in the summer months with gorgeous and affordable wild flowers. We will likely use mason jars as vases.

- Vintage/floral tea cups and lacey tablecloths to incorporate into the decor

- Brunch food: quiche, mixed greens, scones, baguette and cheese, fruit, and other light bites

- Brunch cockatils: mimosas, bellinis and bloody mary's

- Dessert: cupcakes

Do you have any ideas that would be great for a vintage/garden bridal shower? I'd love to hear them!

{Photo credits: Better Homes and Gardens, Ruffled Blog, Style Me Pretty, Country Living}

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beautiful savory bites


I talk about sweets a lot here on Eat Drink Pretty but the truth is, if I had to choose between a cupcake or a plate of fries I would choose the fries any day. I am a huge salty/savory lover; french fries, burgers, chips, bacon, nachos, rice and soy sauce, buffalo chicken, I love it all.

These photos are just a little savory inspiration. How gorgeous and delicious do these little bites look? I would love to throw a party and serve (and eat, of course) each and every one.

How about you? Are you a bigger fan of sweet or savory?

{Photo credits: Style Me Pretty food/drink gallery}









Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brides magazine - funny

I am giggling as I write this post because another one of my wedding photos (this time of my actual wedding) was published in the April issue of Brides magazine. The reason it's funny is that the guy I am dancing with in the photo (and looking like I am having quite a good time) is not my hubby! It's actually a former coworker who was dancing up a storm that night after having one too many cocktails.

Photo credits to Sewell Photography (Jennie is so awesome). A couple of our post wedding pictures also shot by Jennie were in the March issue of Brides. I can't wait for her to photograph the dessert table I am designing! Maybe some of those photos will get published, too :)


Monday, April 26, 2010

Shortbread sandwich cookies

Aren't these shortbread sandwich cookies adorable? They are very simple, I used the shorbread cookie recipe from Fresh Home magazine minus the rosemary. The frosting is a cream cheese frosting with strawberry jam added to give it the pink tint. The frosting was a bit too sweet so next time I make these I may just add some food coloring for the color. Be sure to cut the cookies a bit thinner (since two cookies will be sandwiched together). They also only need to be in the oven for 9-10 minutes, since they are thinner.

You can expect to find these on the dessert table that I am designing in the next couple weeks!

Did you bake anything this weekend? Comment and share!!



Friday, April 23, 2010

A blogiversary and an inspired project!

Today is Eat Drink Pretty's blogiversary! One year ago I wrote my first post about a Martha Stewart crab dip. Since then I have published 235 posts all about delicious recipes, pretty cupcakes, gorgeous real weddings and much more. I cherish this blog as a creative outlet, passion, hobby, escape and a place that has connected me to many amazing people. I thank each and every one of you who stop by, send sweet emails and leave comments. I hope to celebrate many more blogiversarys!

To celebrate I have a fun project underway. I am designing (with the help of some amazing vendors/sponsors) a dessert table that is 100% inspired by Eat Drink Pretty. The vision is to bring my blog to life by asking the question, "if Eat Drink Pretty was a dessert table, what would it look like?" The colors and overall style of the table are influenced by the blog design; lots of pinks and grays, a chandelier and rows of tasty pink treats. The majority of the desserts will be homemade and inspired by the many recipes I have tried over the past year. Remember these amazing strawberry cupcakes? They will be making an appearance on the table along with a bunch of other desserts. The photos above are providing inspiration for the table though the final product will be unique to Eat Drink Pretty.

I have partnered with six awesome vendors who are going to help bring this vision to life. The photo shoot is taking place within the next couple weeks and I am hoping to post in mid-May.

Sewell Photography will be photographing the table. I know, without a doubt, that she will do an amazing job capturing all the details. Jennie is a wedding and lifestyle photographer located in MN. Her work has been published in local and national publications and she was named one of the top 3 best wedding photographers by Minnesota Bride Magazine. Be sure to check out her blog for all her recent work.

Jackie Just of Just Bloomed will be designing the floral arranagements. Jackie was one of the master-minds behind the gorgeous Candy Shop inspiration to reality feature on Style Me Pretty. She is also one of the most talented florists around and her beautiful work is often published.

Apres Party Rental is providing all the linens, backdrop, chandelier and a few other items. They have been great to work with and have an awesome showroom that showcases their huge selection of rental items.

I can't say enough good things about Erin from Hello Frosting. Her edible icing decals are absolutely gorgeous. Hello Frosting can customize most designs to suit a specific event theme (change colors and fonts) and she welcomes custom designs. I can't wait to show you the awesome design she came up with for the Eat Drink Pretty dessert table! Be sure to check out her Etsy site!

Lovely Scribbles is designing all the paper products and will be adding a special touch with her perfect calligraphy on all the dessert labels. Lovely Scribbles is a calligraphy business and Nikki also sells her intricate placecards on Etsy. Be sure to check out her blog with examples of her work.

And what would be a dessert table without a gorgeous centerpiece? I am super excited that Sweets Bakeshop is creating a 2-tier cake with a design inspired by Eat Drink Pretty. Sweets Bakeshop is a little gem located in St. Paul. Their cupcakes and macarons are as gorgeous as they are tasty and they are quickly gaining momentum in the wedding world.

As you can tell, I am beyond excited about this project. Thanks to all the vendors involved and most of all, thanks to Eat Drink Pretty readers who have truly given me something to celebrate today!!!

{Inspiration board photo credits: Country Living, Hostess Blog, Cannelle Et Vanille, Holy Sweet blog, Such Pretty Things}

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring wedding inspiration

My two best friends are getting married this year so I am constantly talking/thinking about weddings, which as you know, I love. After a few conversations about weddings today with my two besties (chair covers vs. chiavari, caterer tastings, invitations, etc) I thought I'd write a post on gorgeous wedding inspiration that I've recently seen. And since the spring weather is so inspiring in MN lately, I chose this beautiful spring photo shoot created for Style Me Pretty.

I have been in love with inspiration to reality shoots on SMP ever since I participated in one a couple months ago (with a bunch of awesome vendors!!!). It's amazing to see what creative and talented photographers, florists and designers dream up.

And to any of you ladies that read my blog and are engaged, congratulations!!!! I'd love it if you left a comment with your wedding date and any details. I hope you are enjoying wedding planning!!!

{Photo credits: Steve Steinhardt via Style Me Pretty}



And in case you don't follow Eat Drink Pretty on Twitter or Facebook, you missed an announcement on a fun project I'm working on. Tomorrow is my blogiversary and I will have all the details then. Don't miss it!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Guest post: rani in the kitchen part 6 - potato poha


Today's guest post is part 6 in the series "Rani in the Kitchen", written by my friend Amy. Click here for parts 1-5.
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I love today's recipe, Potato Poha. This is second part of my last post, which was a breakfast post. This recipe is great because it is SUPER simple and quick. You can eat this recipe anytime during the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a snack! I make this recipe often instead of basmati rice, or as I did last week, to go nicely as a type of Indian hash brown recipe with curried scrambled eggs!

So lets start with the basics. Poha is a flattened rice that is eaten in many parts of India. You can read about it here.

Poha is often used as a snack-type food, but can also be a nice change from plain basmati rice. I often make the recipe below with peanuts instead of potatoes as a mid-afternoon snack for Jay and I.

One small catch to this recipe: I'm fairly certain poha is only available at Indian supermarkets. So in order to make this, you'll almost certainly have to venture out and get some. But hey, what's cooking without a little culinary adventure? So Google an Indian grocery store near you! I usually buy the Swad Thick Poha. I know others that buy the Thin Poha, but I really like this kind the best:

After you get your Poha, you should hvae the rest of the ingrediants handy. The recipe takes about 20 minutes to make.

Aloo Poha (Potato Poha)

Ingredients

1 large russet potato
2-3 handfuls of thick poha
11/2 Tablespoon of Turmeric
1 Tablespoon of black or brown mustard seeks
1 medium onion
1-2 green chilies or 1 teaspoon for red chili powder
1 inch grated ginger (or 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger paste)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
Handful of cilantro
Salt to taste

Preparation

1. Peel the potato, cut into bite size cubes, and boil until you can put a fork through it, but not mushy (6-8 minutes). Drain the water.
2. While the potato is boiling, put two to three handfuls of poha in a colander. Rinse the poha well, drain, and sprinkle with turmeric and salt and set aside.
3. Thinly slice and chop your onion
4. Thinly slice and chop your chiles
5. Heat oil on medium high heat in a non-stick pan. (I've found this recipe always cooks better in a non-stick pan)
6. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. They should quickly start to pop, then add the onion, and chiles. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add the potatoes and ginger (and chile powder if you did not use chiles above). Saute until the potatoes start to fry and brown.
8. Add your damp poha mixture into the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes.
9. When the poha is well coated with the sides and starts to dry out, turn off pan.
10. Sprinkle lemon juice, salt, and freshly chopped cilantro into the mixture.

Feel free to add peas or peanuts into this mixture as well. Poha is sort of like fried rice, you can make it a million different ways!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring tea


The ladies in my family went to Spring tea yesterday at my mom's church. It was the second annual tea we've had together and it was a great time. I don't know exactly why, but spring tea is inspiring. Maybe it's spending time with the awesome women in my family, being in a room with 65 other women of all ages or the English chef that prepared the best tea treats. Whatever it is, I will always think fondly of tea time.

Here is the menu from the "Spring Tea"

Tea sandwiches (chicken cashew and cucumber triangles)
Cream scones with clotted cream and lemon curd
Trifle and cake
Tea, tea and more tea

The photos are not great due to the glaring fluorescent lighting.







Monday, April 19, 2010

Rosemary shortbreads


I was inspired to make these rosemary shortbreads after they were featured in the spring issue of Fresh Home magazine. I love the idea of using fresh herbs in baking and who can resist rosemary's woody fragrance?

These small cookies require some patience because the dough has to be refrigerated overnight. Well worth the wait, they come out of the oven crunchy, crumbly and delicious.


Rosemary Shortbreads (adapted from Fresh Home)

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks butter, I used unsalted butter at room temperature)
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preparation

In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment for about 3-4 minutes). Combine the flour, rosemary and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape into two 8 1/4 inch rolls; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place 2 inches aprt on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pan to wire racks. Store in airtight container.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Champagne Friday


I feel like celebrating simply because it's Friday...it has been a long week. What better way to celebrate then with one of these lovely champagne cocktails?

{Photo and recipe credits: Martha Stewart, recipes (from left to right): top row, red currant champagne cocktail, mandarin cocktail, semifreddo bellini. Bottom row: pear and cranberry belllini, classic champagne cocktail, frizzante mojito}

Eat Drink Pretty's blogiversary is next Friday (4/23). I have a fun project that I am working on and will announce on that day so stay tuned!!!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A chic dessert table by Couture Cakery


This gorgeous, chic dessert table was designed by Couture Cakery. Jasmine (cake artist and owner) drew inspiration from Amy Atlas, incorporating her clean and elegant style.

I love everything about this table; the amazing cake, indulgent cupcakes, colors and damask design. Perfection.

The photos were taken by Thomas Beaman Photography.


I'm not sure this cake could be more awesome. I love the bling and the custom-made stand.


Marshmallow pops dipped in white chocolate.

These lovely gourmet cupcakes include dark chocolate cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache and topped with Oreo, raspberry Chambord and peanut butter buttercream frostings.


These are actually white chocolate dipped Oreos with a designer print by Sweeties. Too pretty to eat.


Gorgeous dress cookies from Edible Art.

Thanks to Jasmine of Couture Cakery for sending this yummy eye candy my way! Be sure to check out Couture Cakery's website for more pretty photos of cakes and cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fried fish tacos with cilantro-lime crema


I discovered something dangerous this evening. Frying. You would think that with all the time I spend in the kitchen I would have attempted to fry something at some point. But until today I never really had. And now I know how easy frying is. Like I said...dangerous. I spent about ten minutes during dinner naming off all the foods I wanted to fry next; onions, sweet potatoes, donuts, etc.

I fried a white, flaky fish that Erik caught a couple months ago up north while ice fishing. He was especially proud of himself when we realized how great the fish tasted. I secretly attributed it to the batter and frying technique, he attributed it to his fishing skills.

I combined two recipes to create this dish. I think the fried fish turned out so well because the batter was simple yet perfect (a combo of beer and flour) and the oil was at just the right temperature (thanks to my digital thermometer).

Fried Fish tacos with cilantro-lime crema (adapted from Epicurious and Cooking Light)

Ingredients

Crema

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Tacos

1 quart vegetable oil (4 cups)
12 to 16 corn tortillas
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup beer (not dark) - I used Corona Light
1 pound cod fillet, cut into 3-by-1-inch strips (I used whatever it was that Erik caught ice fishing, any white fish would work)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To prepare the crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat 1 inch oil in a 10-inch heavy pot (2 to 3 inches deep) over moderate heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360°F.

Meanwhile, separate tortillas and make 2 stacks of 6 to 8. Wrap each stack in foil and heat in oven 12 to 15 minutes.

While tortillas warm, stir together flour and salt in a large bowl, then stir in beer (batter will be thick). Gently stir fish into batter to coat. Lift each piece of fish out of batter, wiping any excess off on side of bowl, and fry fish in batches, turning once or twice, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

I served the tacos with rice, black beans and the following accompaniments: shredded cabbage, radishes, tomatoes and queso fresco.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Real party: an adorable baby shower


My friend Maija attended this adorable baby shower last weekend and showed the photos to me during a meeting (we were multitasking). A huge sucker for cute candy bars, I knew I had to feature this shower and was thrilled when mom-to-be, Adrienne agreed. Adrienne is the owner of design firm, Studio 29 Interiors so it is not surprising that this shower is super stylish and incredibly cute. Just wait to you see a peak into the baby's nursery.

The lovely photos were taken by Tricia McCormack.

Everyone loves a fun candy bar and I adore the idea of filling the candy in mason jars for the guests to take home as favors. They are a nice departure from cellophane bags.





Cookies hung from ribbon on branches.








Love this nursery! The design above the crib is actually inspired from the dad-to-be's tattoo. A stencil was made out of the tattoo then airbrushed onto the wall. How cool is that?


Thanks, Adrienne, for sharing your adorable baby shower!