Sunday, March 29, 2020

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

What's your response to stress? 

Do you crank the music to eleven and jump on the treadmill? Text your friends silly memes all day, to spark a brief giggle? Clean the closets? Reorganize an already-sparkling pantry? We all have our own coping mechanisms for dealing with the current situation of the world. Mine is to cook... and eat, but I try to keep that in check by feeding others!

In times like these, I find myself going back to the recipes of my childhood. A time when I wasn't thinking about public health, or if toilet paper would be stocked in the grocery store. Boo-boos were kissed away by your mom, and there was a sense all was right with the world, even if you didn't understand most of it. My hands start itching to make simple foods that will fill the house with warmth & memory. Banana bread is a quintessential American recipe that does just that.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pantry Friendly Cooking & Recipes

"May you live in interesting times."

An old saying that can be taken as a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. It certainly is hard to see the bright side of the interesting times, at this moment. Whether we are social distancing, quarantining, or sheltering in place, we are at home and mostly remaining there. We've all been stocking our pantries for weeks with kitchen basics and making sure our neighbors are doing the same. What was considered a vague danger that was oh-so-comfortingly far away, has became a reality at our doorsteps.

Still, food has an amazing power to bring people together. Pantries loaded with all the staples are waiting to be made into meals that are not only nourishing, but comforting. We may not be able to be as open and social as we were a few weeks ago, but don't despair! Make time for 'wine dates' with friends over FaceTime, have your kids Skype their friends over lunch, and prepare a meal over-the-wire with loved ones. Share and enjoy food & company!

We have to keep social distancing, but we don't have to be socially isolated.

I have gathered together a few of my favorite recipes that will be easy to prepare and also won't stress your pantry stock. Very quickly, a few things that should be waiting in reserve over the next few weeks....

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Spicy Tuna Tartare

My husband wears many hats in this family.... he is a playful dad to three boys, an accomplished member of the medical community, a super talented food blog photographer (he's always been the official STTHB photographer!), and an ever patient husband. What not as many people know is that he is also an excellent cook!

I've previously written about the cooking moves that impressed me when we were first dating, but he's always finding new ways to express those talents. He can cook a mean steak, create a mushroom or wine reduction sauce from heart, and he's always ready to whip up a stir fry with whatever is on hand in the fridge. He's inventive, and flies by the seat of his pants while working in the kitchen... and I'm the lady busy taking measurements! I like to think we balance each other out!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Liquid Sunshine (Whisky & Cara Cara Orange Cocktail)

Like many New Englanders, I consider myself plenty hardy. Cold temperatures in winter? A little ice & sleet? No problem. A dip in the ocean on a Maine beach in May, when the water is still bone-chilling, but the sunshine is warm? I'm there. But...BUT... the winter gloom gets me every time! I tease my husband that I'm solar powered, and if I don't get my fix I'm going to much less lively and spry!

So, with that in mind, we made a quick trip down to Southern Florida, and stayed just north of Miami Beach. The air was warm, the sands were soft, and there was most definitely plenty of sunshine! My vitamin-D collector was in full glory, sunbathing on the pool deck (I use a high SPF, don't worry!), then diving into the ocean and pool with my boys. It was amazing.

While down there, my husband & I had the chance for a night out (thanks to my in-laws offering to watch the kids!), and we chose to go to one of Miami's great steakhouses, Bourbon Steak. Michael Mina and Gabriel Fenton have created a space and menu that is simply divine. There are plenty of old-school favorites sharing space on the menu with new classics. The service was just the right mix of knowledgeable and attentive. The fresh seafood appetizers were amazing. The woodsmoke flavor of the perfectly-cooked steaks, and the savory, rich sides were incredible. Their gourmet carrot cake had me blissed out in a cream cheese frosting heaven!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Zesty Ground Beef Tacos & Cilantro Lime Crema (sponsored by Hood Sour Cream)

It's time for the Big Game! In our house, we're gearing up to feed some hungry sports fans. You may still be looking for the perfect meal to serve while watching the game - well look no further! I've got you covered!

We enjoy hosting casual get-togethers around here, and when you have to feed a large number of guests, a self-serve main dish is a great way to go! Something full of fresh, high quality ingredients, and big bold flavors. A taco bar is a great way to hit all of the above! This year, I wanted to take it up a notch: We elevated this humble big game dish by creating a gourmet spice mix & herbaceous crema. Presenting my Zesty Ground Beef Tacos with creamy Cilantro Lime Crema, using Hood Sour Cream!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Quelque Chose Patisserie, Ottawa, Canada

If you follow me on Instagram (hint: @straighttothehipsbaby), you'll see that I travel up to the 'Great White North' fairly often. My husband is originally from Ottawa, Canada, but we've had an amazing time travelling all over that vast country! Each city and Province has it's own unique feel & flavor. Vancouver, in British Columbia, was all about fresh seafood (and outrageously good ramen). In Montreal, Quebec, I reach for delicious poutine, or a table for provincial French food at Joe Beef. The Banff /Calgary area of Alberta, serves some of the highest quality and most amazing meat preparations I've ever experienced!

Ottawa is interesting too. It's a mishmash of different cuisines and cultures, all spilling out from one city. It's the national capital, like the Washington D.C. of Canada, so there is a focus on international influence and cultural diversity. It's not a huge city like Toronto or Montreal, but you can find terrific Thai, Italian, Mediterranean, or French food - anything you're looking for, and there are five-star restaurants when you want something fancy, all of which can be had while rubbing elbows with diplomats & government officials!

But, it wasn't the 'small menu and extensive wine list' restaurants of the city that caught my eye on our last visit. It was a beautifully focused & high quality macaron shop that completely stole my heart. Walking into this gorgeous, unpretentious, little patisserie was like stepping into another world of color and magic. Quelque Chose Patisserie is a family run business, serving up the best fresh macarons in the city.