Thursday, March 31, 2016


Sharing Sunday Brunch

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend.  This holiday, like most in my family, is full of traditions. On Easter Sunday we all gather together for a big breakfast and every year the food remains the constant.  We have egg casseroles, cold polish sausages (picked up from a special polish market), rye bread, hard boiled eggs with horseradish and vinegar and danishes. Being on Nantucket means that I am far away from my family in Indiana.  It is hard to be away from those traditions but it does give me an excuse to host dear friends and share in some of those traditions.  
We kept a few but also added a few twists.

The Menu
Spring Frittata with Smoked Salmon and Dill
Hash Brown Cups
Shaved Fennel Salad with Grapefruit and Hazelnuts
Hard Boiled Eggs, masterfully decorated by the man of the house
Bloody Marias 
(Not Pictured, the beautiful fruit that our lovely guests contributed!)
Recipes at the end of this post!

An Easter Brunch
One essential tradition, the EGG HUNT!  The night before, the husband and I had a sophisticated Saturday of egg decorating and movie watching.  The kit we bought was intense and included paint and glitter!
Egg Hunt Preparations!
Our fingers were stained for days.
Great Artist at work
Going for the layered look

On Sunday we leisurely prepped and cooked.  Jonathan's main focus was the bar!  He is the mixologist in the house and I love watching him play and create.
The Bar is ready!
I did get him away from the bar for chopping assistance

Bloody Maria

Bloody Maria
Hiding for the HUNT
What's the difference between Mary and Maria?
Tequila of course!

Your favorite Bloody Mix, McClure's is our fav!
Rim glass with a mix of smoked and kosher salt
Add 1.5 Shots of your favorite Tequila
Jonathan garnished with dill, celery, and pickles
A squeeze or two or fresh lemon and lime juice

Serve over ice and enjoy.

Nice hiding spot
The final step of party prep was hiding the eggs.  Jonathan was very excited about this part.  He filled plastic eggs with his Easter favs like Cadbury Eggs and Starburst Jelly Beans (adults...adulting)

What's an egg hunt without a Mimosa?
Our friends arrived and we luxuriated over brunch and conversation.  Eventually we made our way to the yard for our Hunt.  Our friend, Mr. I'm-Not-Hunting-Easter-Eggs, took off in a full sprint and beat us all.  I think the mimosas put him in the spirit.

We all sat around the fire and enjoyed a perfect Nantucket Sunday.  Missing my family and our traditions made me host this brunch and sharing those traditions brought me so much joy and created brand new traditions.

That's why I cook and share in traditions and to learn about the stories of others! It is my favorite!


Smoked Salmon Frittata with Smoked Salmon, adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart.  Here is a link to the original recipe

12 eggs, beated
1 cup milk
4 ounces goat cheese
5 scallions, white and light green parts chopped 
10 ounces smoked salmon crusted in black pepper corns (Or whatever salmon you like)
1/2 fresh dill, chopped
1.5 tsp salt
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, cheese, onions, smoked salmon, dill, and salt.  Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into the pan and cook, pulling back the edges of the frittata with a rubber spatula until it begins to set.  Reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 15 minutes.  Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the center is set.  Allow the frittata to cool for five minutes and then transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into wedges and serve on a pretty platter.  

Hash Brown Cups, adapted from a recipe by Minimalist Baker!  Here is a link to the original recipe

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 small white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 egg
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spread your shredded potatoes in an even layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 30 minutes.  This helps draw the moisture out of the potatoes and start the cooking process.  Remove potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature.  Increase oven temperature to 425 F. 
Once the potatoes are cooled, mix them with all the other ingredients.  Oil a muffin tin and pack each spot with about a 1/2 cup of the potato mixture.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Shaved Fennel Salad

1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp capers
1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil and Salt and Pepper.
In a large serving bowl, toss together all the ingredients.  Dress the salad right before serving.

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Everyone loves Carrot Cake!

Happy Birthday to you!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Coconut

I love birthdays and I believe everyone deserves their absolute favorite cake on their birthday.  The most recent birthday requests have all been CARROT CAKE.  So I have had the opportunity to play and experiment with different recipes and mixtures to create the most delicious carrot cake. 

This cake is so simple to make and doesn't make a huge mess in the kitchen.  It is a two-bowl situation.  I shredded my own carrots but you can also buy those bag of pre-shredded carrots.

The most recent cake was baked for my good friend Kathleen. (Photo Above) She is a nutritionist and she has great info and photos on Instagram @mininutrition!  I gussied up her cake a bit with candied walnuts and coconut.  It added a nice little crunch to the cake.

Check out the Recipe and make a birthday extra special!

2 cups shredded carrots
8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease two 8 inch round cake pans.
Mix the carrots, pineapple, coconut, raisins, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Combine the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients until the flour in well incorporated.  Now toss in the walnuts and get them evenly distributed through your batter.  No mixture required, just you and a spoon will do!

Pour the batter evenly into your two cake pans and bake on the middle rack of your oven for 25-30 minutes.  Check the cake after 25 minutes.  Oven temperatures vary and so your best bet is the good old-fashioned toothpick test.  Insert a toothpick into the center of your cake and if it comes out clean, it is done!  Allow to cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes.  After they have cooled slightly, carefully remove the cakes and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.  In the mean time you can make frosting and toppings!

Cream Cheese Frosting

10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla. Next, add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue until all of the sugar is incorporated.  This makes a good amount of frosting.  I always hate it when I run out mid-frost.  If you have leftovers...lucky you!  Use it as a fruit dip...delicious!


The world is your oyster as far as cake toppings!  I "topped" based on the birthday boy or girl.  For Kathleen's cake I candied walnuts and just when the sugar was beginning to turn that light caramel color, I added some shredded coconut.  I also tossed in a little cinnamon and nutmeg.  I have also candied carrots and toasted walnuts.
This cake got the candied carrots.
I kept it simple on this cake, toasted walnuts.  Classic.

 So many people have enjoyed this cake.  It has become a go-to!  Today I woke up and played with my bundt pan and cream cheese glaze (Note: Definitely a longer baking time on this one, 45-50 minutes).  I topped this lovely creation with more of the walnut and coconut topping (had to get it out of the house....was eating it by the handful....dangerous).  Next time I tackle the carrot cake I want to add some booze because...why not!  I am going to soak the raisins in rum and maybe brush a little rum on the cake layers before frosting.

The Bundt Cake Version

Now that I have mastered the carrot cake...I await my next challenge.  Is your birthday coming up?  Let me know and I'll bake you a cake :)  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Cookbook Party

What a CRAZY few weeks it has been.  I have been away from my blog for a bit and I am excited to dive into this new post.  But I have to confess...bloggin' is tough!  I really respect all the bloggers out there that invest their times and hearts into their stories!

Instead of getting down on myself for being absent, I will celebrate the opportunity to share my most recent deliciousness!

One of the greatest things about food is sharing it and what better way to do that than a PARTY! I have a wonderful group of friends that love an excuse to gather and eat and so we have been meeting for monthly cookbook parties.  Our friend suggested the idea and we all ran with it.  There are about 12-14 people who join the festivities.  Everyone brings their own plates.  This was a fun way to make our table feel cozy.

We choose cookbooks that teach us something new and that have a strong online presence.  That helps us all get our hands on the recipes.

Here are the first few books we explored

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Warm Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts

The next party was a little chaotic.  Nantucket was hit by a big snowstorm that changed our plans up a bit.  The party was split up.  We had a few people in town gathered together and the rest of us braved the storm to gather at another location.  We explored recipes from The Hemsley Sister's cookbook.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the delicious dishes at this gathering.  The storm threw us for a loop.  I made the BB Brownies and the Whole Roasted Cauliflower.  Both recipes were delicious.  It was fun watching everyone try the brownies made beans?!  The texture was great and they were so chocolately and decadent....yummers.

So much variety in this beautiful yellow book!

We gathered around this book last night

We had a wide variety of dishes from Chicken Lemon Rice Soup to Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies!!
I brought the most delicious salad and I am still dreaming about it this morning....Warm Kale, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad.  Here is a link to the recipe

 Simply, wholesome, delicious...I will make it again and again!

So happy to share this beautiful dish!
This salad was easy to prep and full of flavor.  It was a fun afternoon of prepping!

Spice Blend!
Roasting Squash
Here are a few of the other dishes that were served.
The table is set

Cookbook Crew!

Start a cookbook club!  Do it!  It's a great excuse to gather and share and eat!  We researching our pick for April and I can't wait!!