Category Archives: Happy Hour

Caviar w/ Potato Blinis

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One of my favorite things to do with my husband is recreate some of the fancier meals we have had while dining out in the comfort of our own home. There is something so special about having a dinner with the one you love in the place where you are most vulnerable and where you are the most at peace. It is so utterly important to take time away from the insanities of life and remember to look back into the eyes of the person that holds your heart. I often try to make meals for Kris that will not only impress him but will give him the feeling that I put an enormous amount thought and adoration into every element. It really is so imperative and necessary for him and I to plan date nights like these, with each other, to keep our marriage functioning and viable. I wouldn’t have it any other way. One of our favorite (and a bit lavish) indulgences is caviar. Now this might seem intimidating or even a bit daunting to someone who has never delighted in such a treat, but it is honestly one of the most fun and entertaining meals to put together. It is always impressive and eloquent, yet one of of the most important factors is that it does not have to break the bank. Caviar is not only for the well-to-do and wealthy folk; in fact, there are caviars for everyone and every palate.  There are a few things about caviar that you should know, if this delicacy seems a bit unfamiliar:

1. Caviar is meant to be savored and tasted. Like, really tasted. The individual eggs should spread along your tongue and the roof of your mouth. You should be able to identify one or several kinds of flavors; it can be nutty, buttery, salty, briny, earthy, or fishy depending on the type. Take into account what exactly you can taste and make the experience be about all that is happening in your mouth. 

2. Traditional accompaniments to caviar include (but are not limited to) the following: potato blinis (or potato pancakes), creme fraiche or sour cream, hard boiled egg crumbles (I have the perfect hard boiled egg recipe here), fresh chives, and minced shallots. Ice cold vodka or champagne should be enjoyed between each bite to cleanse the palate. Do not accompany with red or white wine; it will too heavily compete with the flavors of the caviar. 

3. Expensive caviar does not equal the best. Caviar is enjoyable because everybody’s preference and appetite is different. You may find that the moderately priced tin is your absolute favorite and the more expensive simply doesn’t suit you. The price on caviar is based upon how rare the eggs are and is not based upon taste; so find what it is you like and experiment with that. 

Now that you have an idea about how culinary exciting and intriguing caviar can be; plan your next date night. Valentine’s day is just around the corner and it would be super fun to show your partner exactly what caviar is all about. Impress the ones you love with a memorable meal and enjoy! 

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Caviar w/ Potato Blinis

Serves 4


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Prep Time
1 hr

Total Time
1 hr

Prep Time
1 hr

Total Time
1 hr

For the Potato Blinis
  1. 1 Russet potato (about 1lb)
  2. 3 Tbsp flour
  3. 1 TBSP Creme Fraiche
  4. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  5. 1/4 tsp pepper
  6. 2 organic brown eggs
  7. 1 organic brown egg yolk
  8. a few tsps of unsalted butter
For the Accoutrements
  1. 2 hard boiled organic brown eggs, finely diced
  2. 1 large shallot, minced
  3. 1 TBSP fresh chives, finely diced
  4. 2 TBSP Creme Fraiche
  5. Caviar* (see note)
Instructions
  1. Peel the potato and cut into 8 small cubes. Add the potato to a large pot of water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. While the potato boils, start on the accoutrements; mince the shallot and finely dice the hard boiled eggs and chives. Set them aside in separate decorative bowls.
  2. Drain and remove the cooked potato cubes into a large bowl. Mash the potato with a fork. Add the flour, creme fraiche, salt and pepper. Add the eggs one at a time completely combining before adding the next egg. Make sure to get as many lumps out as you can. Set the batter aside (it should look like a light yellow pancake batter).
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a little teaspoon of butter and once it melts, begin spooning out batter into small pancakes (I use a TBSP measure to make sure that all my potato pancakes are even in size). Let cook for about a minute or two before flipping (there should be dark brown marks on the surface). Cook for another minute or two on the other side and then place onto a plate. Continue this process until all the batter is used (adding more butter to the pan when needed). You should end up with about 16-18 mini pancakes.
  4. To assemble the potato pancakes: spread a small amount of creme fraiche on the pancake and top with a few chives, shallots, and egg crumbles. Top with about a teaspoon of caviar and enjoy! Drink ice cold vodka or champagne in-between bites to cleanse the palate and then repeat!
Notes
  1. We love the Lascco Whitefish Caviar (2oz jar) from Gelson’s, which happens to be the least expensive of their loot. Other caviars that we like include Sturgeon and Bowfin. Feel free to try any of your choosing; after all, we all have different preferences.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

French 77

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While I know January is normally time for cleansing and hitting the gym and starting that diet you have been putting off for months, sometimes you just need a little enticing treat. A little break during happy hour should be welcomed when you are working so hard in other areas of your life. I often feel that we take on too much at once, or at least I know I do, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to bury our heads in work and in daily tasks, and we regularly forget to take that step back and just breathe. I personally struggle with this time and again. When I am not working, I fill my days off with to-do lists, workouts, errands, and assignments and I am constantly trying to tell myself to relax and enjoy the day for what it is worth. Today, I did just that. Kris and I are super fond of this little cocktail and we love it so much we knew we had to share it with you. It is a little spin on the classic French 75  and is incredibly delicious. It encompasses just the right amount of sweetness with a strong and biting piney undertone and the bubbles give that extra special effervescence. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to tell you that when I saw the Michelle Brut Champagne, I obviously had to buy it. So fun! We hope that you enjoy because we definitely are! Xo. 

Ps. Kris- “Why did you write an ‘Xo’ at the end?” 

      Me: “Because I’m drunk, honey.”

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French 77

Serves 1


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Prep Time
3 min

Total Time
5 min

Prep Time
3 min

Total Time
5 min

Tools
  1. cocktail shaker
  2. .5oz and 1oz jigger (measuring tool)
  3. ice
  4. champagne saucer or flute
Ingredients
  1. .5 oz of Meyer lemon juice* (see note)
  2. 1 oz gin
  3. .5 oz elderflower liquor (St. Germain)
  4. .5oz champagne or prosecco
  5. Meyer lemon twist, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice. Add the lemon juice, gin, and St. Germain. Shake vigorously and pour into a champagne saucer or flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a twist. Cheers!
Notes
  1. I love using Meyer lemons because they are naturally sweeter and less sour than regular lemons. If you cannot find these beauties any lemon will do.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Salsa Bruschetta

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This ridiculously warm weather we are having in the middle of January is kind of amazing. Yes, I think it should feel more like winter and I agree that we desperately need it to rain but I am a sun worshiper at heart. I love the warmer climate and everything that encompasses it. I can never have enough barefoot sunset strolls while wearing tank tops and shorts, even when it is the middle of winter. I will never tire of it and that is why I will always call this place my home. The false summer that we are having not only makes me want to hit the beach immediately but it also makes me crave all kinds of summer time foods. Today, I was yearning for tomatoes. Tomatoes always speak “summer time” to me because that is when they are quite literally the most wonderful things to put in your mouth. During their peak season they are incredibly juicy and possess so much flavor. The best part is that we are so fortunate to be able to get amazing tomatoes all year long in our grocery stores. Therefore, I didn’t have to wait 3 months to fulfill my craving today.

I had bruschetta on the brain, but I wanted to kick it up a notch with a bit of a latin twist. I imagined the flavors of classic Mediterranean bruschetta with a Southern California perspective. I love the brininess of the capers next to the spiciness of the jalapeño and the red onion. The feta cheese and basil give it that Italian spin while the cilantro brings it right back around to Mexico. Salsa meets bruschetta. Bruschetta meets salsa. You get the idea… 

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Salsa Bruschetta

Serves 8


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Cook Time
2 min

Total Time
22 min

Cook Time
2 min

Total Time
22 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 fresh thin ciabatta loaf, cut in quarters, and then each quarter cut in half lengthwise, so that you have 8 thin slices.
  2. 1 lb grape tomatoes, sliced in quarters (remove as much of the juicy seeds as possible)
  3. 1 jalapeño, seeded and de-veined, finely chopped
  4. 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
  5. 2 TBSP capers, drained of the juice
  6. 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
  7. 5 basil leaves, stacked on top of each other, rolled up, and sliced “chiffonade” style
  8. 2 garlic cloves
  9. 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  11. 1/2 tsp pepper
  12. 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  13. Maldon Salt for sprinkling* (see note)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the diced tomato, jalapeño, red onion, capers, and cilantro. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and pepper and mix to combine. Set aside.
  2. Toast the ciabatta slices. I use a very hot grill hot pan to toast the bread because I like the look of the grill marks. Feel free to toast your bread in the oven or toaster oven if that is your preference. Once toasted and still warm, rub the garlic cloves on all 8 slices. You should see the garlic melt into the toast.
  3. Top each piece of toast with some of the tomato mixture, some crumbled feta, the basil chiffonade, and a sprinkling of the Maldon salt. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you do not have a fancy finishing salt, such as Maldon, substitute for 1/2 tsp of sea salt and add to the tomato mixture at the same time as the pepper. I highly recommend that you purchase a flaky finishing salt at some point because the flavor is unparalleled. The salt can be a bit expensive but will last you a very long time.
  2. This makes 8 servings as an appetizer. I like to serve this as a main lunch course for two by simply cutting the recipe in half.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Rosemary Rye & Root Cocktail

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There is one thing that can push my husband, Kris, into all the holiday nostalgia, and it’s not apple pie, it’s not butternut squash, and it’s definitely not pumpkin spiced lattes; it’s a perfect whiskey cocktail. Ok, so maybe it isn’t just during the winter months that he adores a whiskey drink; it is purely something he loves at any time of year. Although, to me, this cocktail screams “winter time” and must be enjoyed while the outside air is brisk and chilly. It is the perfect libation to enjoy with friends while wearing festive sweaters next to the fireplace in a cabin in the woods. Or, just at home on a rainy night alone. Really there need not be the “perfect setting” to enjoy this cocktail, just whenever or wherever are thoroughly good enough reasons. The piney rosemary gives a lot of freshness to the spicy warmth of the whiskey and the root liquor is full and sweetness with a touch of anise. Its delicious and one of our favorite drinks to make at home. Kris and I both hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! 

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Rosemary, Rye, & Root Cocktail
Serves 2


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Ingredients
  1. 3 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
  2. 1 oz Root Beer Liquor (we used Blackmaker brand)
  3. 3 sprigs rosemary
  4. soda water (optional)
  5. ice (we like to use the large 2″ cubes inside the glasses for a slow melting effect)
Instructions
  1. Prepare two old fashioned glasses with ice (we use the large cubes here) and with a sprig of rosemary in each. In a shaker combine ice (regular size cubes here), whiskey, root beer liquor, and the remaining sprig of rosemary. Shake vigorously and evenly divide over the ice of the two old fashioned glasses. Top each cocktail with soda water to the top of the glass. Cheers!
Notes
  1. Kris liked his without the soda water although I really enjoyed the added effervescence.
  2. If you do not like the taste of whiskey add a bit more root beer liquor, but just be aware that it is pretty sweet.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Wasabi Albacore Tuna Salad

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As much as I love to be in the kitchen, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to prepare a well-rounded meal at any given moment. Today was one of those days. My to-do list was about a million tasks long and it seemed that there was no end in sight. After tackling a few assignments the good ol’ tummy started talking. I decided to make one of my favorite go-to, on-the-go, simple lunches. Tuna salad has kind of always been a refrigerator staple in my life. Growing up, my mom always had a tupperware full of a white tuna salad with all the classic mix-ins; chopped onion and celery and mayo. As I love her exemplary version, I have to say that this new spin on the old favorite is pretty killer. Instead of using regular mayonnaise, I use the most amazing Wasabi Mayo from Trader Joe’s. With a every bite of tuna salad you get a hint of wasabi and a bit of spiciness that opens up the nasal passages and awakens your senses. I pair it with a crisp Granny Smith apple for a little sweetness and serve them on top of the ultimate vessel; a Ritz cracker. The cracker is the way to go if you serving this an appetizer, but feel free to slab this salad between to hearty pieces of squaw bread for a ridiculously delicious sammy. I promise that once you taste this tuna salad you will never prepare it any other way. Enjoy! 

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Wasabi Albacore Tuna Salad

Serves 6
A new twist on the classic tuna salad; a hint of wasabi, crisp apple, and sweet relish make a party in your mouth!


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Prep Time
10 min

Prep Time
10 min

Ingredients
  1. 2 5oz cans solid white Albacore tuna, packed in water (make sure it is dolphin safe)
  2. 3 organic celery stalks, diced
  3. 1/2 of a Granny Smith apple, diced
  4. 3 TBSP sweet relish
  5. 1/4-1/3 cup Wasabi Mayo (see note for vegan version)
  6. 1 TBSP chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  7. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  8. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  9. 1/4 tsp pepper
  10. Ritz Crackers, for serving
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, add the tuna (after you have discarded and drained the water out of the can), wasabi mayo, and relish and mix to combine well. Add the chopped apple, celery, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix all ingredients until everything is evenly coated.
  2. Serve the tuna salad on top of Ritz Crackers.
  3. Keep any left-overs in a air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Notes
  1. If you do not eat eggs, and want to use a vegan mayo, you could probably add a bit of wasabi paste to your favorite vegan mayo. Although I have not tried this, I am imagining it could be quite good!!
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/