Category Archives: Happy Hour

Spicy Peruvian Paloma

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This heat wave in Southern California is pretty close to miserable. The real problem isn’t that it’s 95 degrees outside, it’s that it’s also 95 degrees inside our little home. For some reason, contractors and home builders around here must believe that us SoCal residents live so close to the beach that we would never need air conditioning. Im sure they thought, “that brisk ocean breeze should keep them cool?”…No. Not on days like this. Even our poor pup looks distressed. We all spread out from each other because you can’t possibly get too close for fear of immediate sweaty contact. We walk around with flushed cheeks and dry mouths and stare at each other with pitiable and tormented eyes. Please, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love where we live and feel so blessed to call this place home, but can’t a girl get a little AC?? I understand this all sounds so petty and actually pretty irrelevant when it comes to real problems, but hey, this is my little place to vent and when I am sticky and hot I want to complain…but just a little. Ok, I am done now. Mostly because I have found relief from this torridness and it comes in the form of a super refreshing cocktail. Kris and I frequent this particular delicious Peruvian restaurant in our little town and one of our favorite beverages is this signature cocktail called a “Peruvian Maid”, whose main ingredient is Pisco. Pisco is a Peruvian liquor and is made from fermented grapes. It is pretty high in alcohol content and has sweet tasting notes (think apples and grapes). Pisco is wonderful for mixing with other ingredients in cocktails yet also good on it’s own. I wanted to make a drink that took a little spin on the classic tequila Paloma (another one of my favorite summer time cocktails) and add something unexpected. A combination of two countries into one cocktail. Mexico and Peru meet in one glass (and fall in love!). Plus we had to add a little spice just for fun, because “heat” is the name of the game around here. I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did! 

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Spicy Peruvian Paloma

Serves 2


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Prep Time
5 min

Total Time
5 min

Prep Time
5 min

Total Time
5 min

Tools
  1. cocktail shaker
  2. .5oz and 1oz jigger (measuring tool)
  3. ice
  4. 2 bucket glasses
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz Pisco Porton (see note*)
  2. 2.5 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  3. juice of 1 lime
  4. 1 serrano, seeded and sliced thin (see note*)
  5. soda water
  6. grapefruit wedges, garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare two bucket glasses with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine some ice with the Pisco, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and a few serrano slices. Shake well and pour over the ice in the glasses. Top each glass with the sparkling water and a grapefruit wedge for garnish. Cheers!
Notes
  1. If you can’t find Pisco near you, vodka or tequila would be excellent substitutions.
  2. Serranos are super spicy. I only used 5 very thin slices and it brought a lot of heat. If you are sensitive, one or two thin slices should do.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Caramelized Cremini Crostini

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There’s this little secret I have to share with you. It might not be news for you, as you may be one of the lucky people who has already found the enlightenment. This classified information really needs an opportunity to come out of hiding and straight into every home and kitchen to shine like gold. So, here I am to deliver the broadcast…are you ready? You sure?? (Of course you are sure, you are still reading aren’t you?) Caramelized onions are THE BEST way to enrich flavor to just about any dish. A simple and incredibly delicious meal enhancer at it’s finest! It takes just minutes to prepare and truly makes all the difference, trust me on this one. I often prepare caramelized onions/shallots in the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge in an easy open container for quick additions to salads, sandwiches, omelets, and pastas. This time, I had a few large shallots lying around and decided they would be absolutely fantastic with a leftover half-bag of Cremini mushrooms I had in the fridge. A perfect pairing to stack high up on toast with melty cheese and fresh herbs. An ideal appetizer for a party or gathering, if you ask me. You will soon learn how the caramelization process brings out the natural sugars in the onions/shallots. As they start to brown, a deep richness and subtle sweetness perfume the air and the depth of flavor is obvious (and imminent). One of my favorite parts about this particular flavor enhancement is that it isn’t full of calories, like most seasonings are. Some would argue that bacon, for example, makes everything better. But, I would argue, caramelized onions are one step ahead (whilst being vegan, super low in fat, and high in fiber!). So move over bacon, there’s a new sheriff in town! 

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Caramelized Cremini Crostini

Serves 4


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Cook Time
20 min

Cook Time
20 min

Ingredients
  1. half of one baguette, about 10 slices
  2. 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  3. 5 oz Cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  4. 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  5. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  8. 5 oz Cambozola cheese (or any soft blue or gorgonzola cheese you like)
  9. 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  10. 1 TBSP chopped fresh chives
  11. red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Place the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with about 1 TBSP olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes and then set aside.
  2. While the baguette slices are baking, heat 2 TBSPs of extra-virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot slices, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss for about a minute. Add the Cremini mushrooms and sauté all together for about 10 minutes, continually stirring to avoid burning. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss together for one more minute and then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Top each baguette slice with a bit of the shallot/mushroom mixture and then a slice of Cambozola on top. Place back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chopped fresh parsley and chives over the top. Option to sprinkle red pepper flakes. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Double for the recipe for an easy party appetizer!
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Fry-Fecta w/ Vegan Chive & Onion Dip

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When I think back on the parties my parents had when I was little, I remember a few things in particular. I remember the way my parents would prepare days ahead of time; cleaning and organizing the house, arranging the patio furniture so that it would be perfectly accommodating for all our guests. I remember the way my mother smelled when she got dressed up just before the company arrived. The thing I remember most was the habitual appetizers they would present for everyone to snack on. They were only put out on special occasions and that is why I have such fond memories of the food. We always served päté with some soft cheese, whole grain mustard, and seeded crackers as well as some baked brie with crusty bread. They would also serve things that were a bit more kid friendly, although I personally thought the päté was divine, like ridged potato chips with the BEST sour cream and onion dip. I don’t recall it being anything fancy, maybe just one of those seasoning packets mixed with sour cream but I loved it. Now, in my adult life, the only difference is that I still crave those creamy onion flavors but would never purchase the artificial stuff. I wanted to make my own onion dip but instead use wholesome ingredients that are nutritionally beneficial yet still taste amazing. This vegan and healthy dip is seriously one of my favorite things I have ever made to accompany baked “fries”. The fries are a combination, or trifecta if you will, of my favorite veggies; organic carrots (of many colors), parsnips (otherwise known as carrots spicier cousin), and sweet potatoes. The mix of these not only creates the most beautiful presentation of fries you have ever seen, but tastes incredible while providing ample amounts of vitamins and minerals. Ridiculous. Fry-fecta in full affect! 

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Fry-Fecta w/ Vegan Chive & Onion Dip

Serves 4


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Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
27 min

Total Time
37 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
27 min

Total Time
37 min

For the Fries
  1. 1 small sweet potato, peeled, cut into fries
  2. 3 parsnips, ends cut off and peeled, cut into fries
  3. 3 small carrots, ends cut off and peeled, cut into fries
  4. 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 tsp ground cumin
  6. 1/2 tsp ground chipotle chili powder (substitute paprika if you do not want the spice)
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  8. 1/2 tsp pepper
  9. 2 TBSP fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
For the Vegan Chive & Onion Dip
  1. 1 cup soaked cashews (soaked in water overnight and then drained)
  2. juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1 tsp worcestershire (anchovy-free if vegan)
  4. 1/2 cup plain organic almond milk
  5. 3-4 TBSP water or milk (until desired dipping consistency is reached)
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp pepper
  8. 1 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  10. 2 TBSP fresh chives, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 385. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or aluminum foil. Using tongs, mix the carrots, parsnips, and sweet potato fries with the olive oil and spices until evenly coated. Make sure the fries are in one even layer and aren’t overlapping. Bake for 20 minutes, toss them again with tongs, and turn up the heat to 500. Bake for another 7 minutes, keeping a close eye so they don’t burn, and then set aside.
  2. While the fries are baking, combine the soaked and drained cashews, into the blender. Add the lemon juice, worcestershire, and almond milk. Add a few tablespoons of water until you reach the desired dipping consistency you like. Add the spices, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings (I added a tiny bit more salt, onion powder, and splash of worcestershire). Pour into a glass bowl and then add the chopped fresh chives and mix well.
  3. To serve, place the fries on a platter with the chive and onion dip, and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. There will be leftover chive and onion dip! There are endless possibilities for this sauce: use as spread on burgers or sandwiches, use as a dip for a veggie crudité, or serve with you favorite chips!
Adapted from A House In The Hills, Paprika Parsnip Fries
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Healthy Caesar Salad w/ Crispy Capers

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Now that I am fast approaching the ripe age of 29, I have realized a few things about myself. I have been having a bit of a quarrel with my inner being and I have these moments when I forget who I am, or perhaps what I like, or what I really want. For example, when at the local coffee shop I often look at the menu like I have never seen it before and have no idea what I have a hankering for. Because I don’t like to hold up a line, I quickly decide on a hazelnut macchiato or some fancy warm drink that doesn’t suit me. All along, I wanted coffee. Just a cup of black coffee… simple and straightforward. I usually leave the shop with disappointment and regret. Why do I do this to myself? The other day, when Kris and I were celebrating a close friends birthday, he went to the bar to get us drinks, he asked me what I wanted and I could not make a clear decision. Did I want to be as I was in my early twenties, and get straight to the point with a beer and a shot of tequila? Was I feeling more mature with a Ketel One and Soda? Or should I stick to what I know I love, a glass of red wine? The options were haunting me! It was like I couldn’t decide which person I was anymore. I ordered the vodka-soda and sipped it down, but felt it never really hit the spot. I should have ordered the wine. These internal battles take the best of me! I made a conscious decision soon after to stop this chaos and embrace the fact that I actually do know exactly what I want. I will forever walk in to the coffee shop and feel completely ok with a black cup of joe, and then when out with friends, I will be throughly fine with a nice glass of cabernet. I have reached an age where I am happy to announce that I have wholly decided on certain things that I cherish and that I want to appreciate this exact moment. This is the purpose for this post in particular. 

If Kris were to order a salad, when we dine out, it will almost always be a classic caesar. He is a big fan of crispy and crunchy lettuce with a cheesy dressing. For me, I rarely choose this option. I hate that restaurant caesar salads are made with romaine lettuce. Sometimes, when my indecisive past-self, was faced with the decision on which salad to choose I would occasionally pick that fresh crispy romaine caesar, and the amount of times I experienced disappointment was perpetual.  I have this philosophy, that if the salad isn’t held up by any cruciferous or super green lettuces then it is somewhat wasteful and provides a lot of empty calories. This is why I love a good arugula, kale, or spinach salad as my starter. A salad where you can see the nutrients, literally. I decided that this does not have to be a “black and white” decision any longer. We can love a caesar salad for its tangy and creamy dressing, keep the classic crunch, and add vegetables that make it worth our while. That is why I love this recipe. The dressing is amazing, and quite possibly my favorite Caesar dressing I have ever tasted. It makes quite a bit so you will have a fresh jar on hand for about a week. The crispy capers and olive bread croutons add so much more texture than typical caesars require, so there will never be any mistakes/fails in future salad meals. Cheers to making decisions and openly declaring what we know we adore! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do in our home!

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Healthy Caesar Salad w/ Crispy Capers

Serves 4


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Prep Time
15 min

Total Time
15 min

Prep Time
15 min

Total Time
15 min

For the Caesar Dressing
  1. 2 TBSP whole-grain dijon mustard
  2. 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  3. 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  4. 1 tsp worcestershire
  5. 3 garlic cloves
  6. 1 tsp anchovy paste (see note)*
  7. juice of 1 lemon
  8. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  9. 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  10. pinch of salt and pepper
  11. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Crispy Capers
  1. 1/2 cup capers, drained
  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Olive Bread Croutons
  1. about 1/2 of an olive bread baguette
  2. drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
For the Caesar Salad
  1. 1 romaine heart, chopped
  2. 1 10oz bag “Cruciferous Crunch Collection” (see note)*
  3. a few shavings of a good Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish
For the Caesar Dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients, except the olive oil, in the bowl of food processor or blender and pulse to combine. While the motor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil until it is emulsified and combined well. Set the dressing aside. (Store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for about ten days)
For the Crispy Capers
  1. Drain the capers from their juice in a fine mesh sieve. Place the capers between a few a paper towels to dry them well. In a medium sautee pan, add the oil and heat on high heat until almost smoking. Add the capers and fry them for about 3-4 minutes or until they begin to open up, like little flowers, and become crispy. Turn off the heat, and pour the capers and oil onto several layered paper towels on a plate, to drain the excess oil. Set the crisped capers aside.
For the Olive Bread Croutons
  1. Preheat oven to 350. I find that ripping the pieces from the baguette, instead of dicing into squares, yields more rustic looking croutons. The ripped up pieces of bread also get more dressing in all the little nooks and crannies. Rip up about half of one a baguette, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until desired crunchiness is reached.
For the Caesar Salad
  1. Combine the romaine heart and cruciferous greens in a large bowl and mix with your hands. Add the crispy capers and the olive bread croutons and pour as much or as little dressing as you like into the salad. Mix to combine with salad tongs. Top with a few shavings of the Pecorino Romano and serve immediately. (This salad does hold up pretty well, as the cruciferous veggies are pretty sturdy. I was still eating mine dressed from the fridge for another day!)
Notes
  1. Anchovy paste is what makes Caesar dressing so unique and it really gives a lot of flavor. I highly recommend that you use it. If you are vegan, it is ok to omit it, but do add a tiny bit more salt to taste.
  2. I love the bag of salad called “Cruciferous Crunch Collection” from Trader Joe’s. It has a mix of kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage, and red cabbage. I use the entire bag mixed with 1 chopped romaine heart. Please feel free to make your own combination if you cannot find this near you; I would substitute 2 cups shredded kale, 2 cups shaved brussels, 1 cup shredded red cabbage, 1 cup shredded green cabbage. You can add more romaine and less of the others if that suits you as well.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Sweet Potato Ricotta Crostini w/ Roasted Grapes & Thyme

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“Things on Toast”. I have always been an avid supporter of this kind of eating. I even thought that if I was ever lucky enough to write my own cookbook one day, that this is what it would be titled. I am lover of bruschetta, tartines, crostinis, or anything for that matter that is served on a toasty crunchy little vessel. I think because I am someone who is a devotee to textures, I am kind of obsessed with the way different foods come together in your mouth in a single bite. A creamy center amid a cripsy frame is what I am all about. Layers and levels of flavor as well as composition are what make food enjoyable and, in my opinion, set the tone for artistry and craftsmanship. You can build an incredible meal when you really start to consider what exactly makes individual ingredients standout or blend in. Here is my food for thought: not only is important to think of “things on toast” as one structure with several stories, each supporting and holding the next level up, but all food should be understood in this way. This recipe, in particular, is one of my most favorite, simple yet seemingly fancy, toast creations. I love the crunchy rustic loaf paired with the velvety sweet-potato cheese, topped with the roasted grapes that taste like candy, and sprinkled with earthy and aromatic thyme. It has depth of flavor and really emphasizes the antecedent “food for thought” proposition. Also, I can not help but mention that it’s star ingredient is taking us straight to Healthy Town, USA. Sweet potatoes are nutrient dense little miracles packed with extremely high levels of antioxidants and many essential vitamins and minerals. It is a superfood that some experts believe we should eat every single day. I could easily get on board with this campaign and I think I’ll start right now…. 

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Sweet Potato Ricotta Crostini w/ Roasted Grapes & Thyme

Serves 4


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Cook Time
25 min

Cook Time
25 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sweet potato, skinned and diced in 1/4″ cubes (1 small sweet potato)
  2. 1 cup red grapes
  3. 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided
  4. 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
  5. 1 TBSP milk (I used almond milk, use whatever you have or use water)
  6. 8 small slices of a crusty rustic loaf
  7. salt
  8. pepper
  9. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  10. 1/4 tsp cumin
  11. minced thyme for sprinkling (about 1 TBSP or less)
  12. honey for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Place the sweet potato cubes on a small rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Toss with your hands to make sure all the sweet potatoes are covered in oil and spices. In an 8×8 glass baking dish, add the grapes, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss with your hands. Set the grapes aside. Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 10 minutes. Once, the 10 minutes are up add the grapes into the oven alongside the sweet potatoes. Roast them together, side by side, for 12 minutes. Let both grapes and sweet potatoes cool a bit.
  2. After a minute or two of cooling, add the roasted sweet potatoes to the bowl of food processor. Add the ricotta, cumin, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. I added 1 TBSP of almond milk to thin out the mixture just a bit.
  3. Toast the slices of the rustic loaf in the toaster oven or under the broiler. Spread the sweet potato ricotta cheese mixture on the toast, top with a few roasted grapes (be sure to stick the grapes into the spread to avoid them rolling off the toast), drizzle honey over the top and sprinkle with a little bit of fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately while the toast is still warm! Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This recipe makes enough for 8 slices of toast and would serve 4-6 as an appetizer. If you have extra sweet potato ricotta spread leftover, save it in an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before serving again.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/