I’m not ready to let go of summer… I know it’s nearing the end of September, and the weather today feels more like late October, but I’m still grasping on to the warmth of the sun and whatever summertime recipes I can easily whip up! Maybe you’re feeling the same way, which is why I’m sharing two delicious smoothie recipes from DRINKmaple. Forget coconut water – maple water is where it’s at! (Okay, I’m just partial to maple flavor anything. ) It’s a refreshing bottled water with just a hint of maple – perfect for a hot day.
I spent an afternoon this summer photographing these recipes with DRINKmaple co-founder Kate Weiler. And here’s a link to locations where DRINKmaple is sold. Enjoy!
Watermelon Mint Maple Water Cooler
1 cup of seedless watermelon
1/2 container (1/2 cup) of DRINKmaple pure maple water
1/2 cup ice
6 leaves of fresh mint
optional: to make this an alcoholic drink add a shot of cucumber vodka
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Strawberry Vanilla Maple Water Smoothie
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 medjool dates
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup ice
1 container (1 cup) of DRINKmaple pure maple water
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to have a backyard again… After spending years living in brick apartment buildings, I’ve been soaking up every second I can outside! It feels like a luxury being able to sit under a tree with a book without having to get in my car and drive to a park. Jeff and I have also been learning how to grill! He found a perfectly good Weber grill on Craigslist, cleaned it up, and we’ve been grilling up burgers and veggies over the past few weeks.
Our friends Kelly and Pat came to visit from Toronto this past weekend. Kelly is one of my nearest and dearest friends in the world, and her culinary knowledge and talent never ceases to amaze me! Before I met Kelly, the only green vegetable I ate was iceberg lettuce. So I blame my current, much, MUCH more sophisticated palate on her.
Her visit coincided with an invitation from OXO to participate in their #WhatAGrillWants blogger campaign, which was perfect because Jeff and I invited a bunch of people over for a cookout. OXO sent a bunch of new grilling tools to try out – a bladed meat tenderizer, a little salad dressing shaker, a corn stripper, a silicone basting brush, and 16 inch tongs.
I’m not quite sure what Kelly and Jeff are thumb wrestling over, but it was a fun moment in the kitchen as we prepared everything for the grill! Using a bladed meat tenderizer was interesting… I grew up with my mom and grandmother using a fork to do it, so I wasn’t quite sure how beneficial this tool would be. With 50 blades in the OXO bladed meat tenderizer, we sure saved some time! This tool is used like a stamp, and you have to push down really hard to get the blades through the meat. (With 50 blades in a tool, I’m GLAD it takes some muscle to press it down!)
OXO also sent a super cute and handy little salad dressing shaker, which we used to make a marinade for the pork.
I love this salad dressing shaker! You can’t really see it in the photo, but one side of the cup has measuring lines for cups, and the other has lines for ounces. And the cap has an airtight, leakproof seal, so it’s perfect for shaking up salad dressings or marinades. I wouldn’t hesitate bringing this to other cookouts or picnics!
While the pork marinaded, I decided to throw together a Cajun-style grilled corn salad. I looooove Mexican-style corn on the cob, but don’t really enjoy the mess that comes along with eating it. And I’ve been dying to use this delicious Cajun spice blend I picked up at the New Orleans School of Cooking during a recent vacation.
Onto the grill the corn went. We turned the corn every couple of minutes, and left them on the grill just long enough to get a nice, charred look. The OXO tongs came in really handy here – the tips don’t have sharp edges like a lot of other grill tools, so later on when we grilled other veggies wrapped in foil, Jeff didn’t accidentally poke holes through the foil with the tongs.
Then we got to use my favorite tool out of the whole kit – the corn stripper. This tool is so easy to use! There’s a blade on the bottom, which cuts the kernels off the cob, and they collect inside a little cup attached to it instead of spilling all over the place.
Once all the kernels were shed, I mixed in cheese, a tiny bit of mayonnaise, garlic, the Cajun spice mix, and some fresh green onions from our garden to create the corn salad. You can get the recipe at the bottom of this post! It’s a super easy cookout recipe everyone will love. It can be served warm right off the grill or chilled. I made a little more this week with an ear of leftover corn, and tossed it in with a regular salad. So good!
Anyway, the tongs came in handy again when it was time to put the pork on the grill. The basting brush was pretty cool to use as well – there are gaps in the center bristles that trap liquids, so we were able to spread a lot more marinade on the roasts.
It was so fun cooking outside with wonderful friends we don’t get to see very often. It’s just what we do. Thanks to OXO for making our cookout a little more fun and easy!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for OXO, and I received the grill tools from them for free. No other compensation was provided, and opinions here are my own.
- Vegetable oil (for the grill)
- ½ cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- ¾ teaspoon Cajun spice blend (or chili powder)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- green onions, sliced thin
- 6 large ears of corn, husks removed
- Turn all the burners on high and allow the grill to become very hot.
- Once you scrape the grate clean, oil it by dipping a paper towel in vegetable oil. Use tongs to oil the grate!
- Place the ears of corn on the grill, turning them every 2 minutes or so until the kernels start to char.
- Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, Cajun spice mix (or chili powder), black pepper, and salt.
- When the corn is done, allow to cool for a few minutes. Using the OXO corn stripper, remove the kernels from the cob and empty the container into a medium mixing bowl.
- Toss in the cheese, mayo, and spice mixture and mix until the corn kernels are coated. Top with green onions, to taste.
It’s been so long since my last post… How y’all doing? It’s been a looong winter, and I needed to step away from this space for a little bit. A few folks (including a dear photography client) suddenly and unexpectedly passed away this fall, then the holidays came around, then there was a carbon monoxide leak in my apartment building on a -6 degree evening, ended up suddenly moving to a new place, and was sick for almost a month.
Phew. It was a long winter. There was barely time to cook, never mind photograph, write, or indulge in the things that bring any sense of creative joy.
It’s now the end of March, and I’m just starting to get back into a normal routine. So, hi there! Happy almost spring! Let’s defrost and come out of hibernation, shall we?
Moving created an interesting culinary “problem”. I found a lot of dry and frozen ingredients stuffed in the back of my pantry and freezer that I totally forgot about. So there’s an effort right now to use up everything that’s still good, but has been totally neglected. And I want to make healthy meals that are quick to prepare. (There have been many whole chickens tossed in the crockpot with lemon and herbs over the past two months!)
Since my boyfriend is gluten-free, most of the recipes I make include gluten-free flours or bread products. One of the items stuck in the back of my freezer was a quiche and pie crust from Gillian’s, which happens to be based nearby in Lynn, Massachusetts. We had some leftover fresh red pepper, a few mushrooms, some leftover shredded cheese from a pizza, a carton of eggs, and a bunch of herbs.
Quiche! The perfect dish to use up leftover fresh produce. And I was in the mood for some comfort food that was not in the form of cookies.
No lie – the quiche came out so well, I could eat this whole thing in one sitting. But I will control myself. (Maybe.) I’m not sure if it’s the vegetables, the seasoning (this is what I used), or what, but it’s delicious. The Gillian’s gluten free pie crust tastes exactly like a regular pie crust! It’s so good!
I would have liked to style these photos a little more, but my props are still packed in boxes, buried in the basement. This is the first time I’ve picked up my camera since I moved. And now I have more space to work in, which is such a wonderful thing! It’s so good to be back in this creative space. xoxo
- 1 frozen pie crust (I used Gillian's Gluten-Free Quiche and Pie Crust)
- 1 cup chopped red pepper
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- Handfull of fresh baby spinach, chopped
- A few cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 Tbsp quinoa flour
- 1Tbsp no-salt dry seasoning mix (I used Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning sold at Costco and Amazon.com.)
- ½ tsp salt
- Pinch of dried parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread the chopped red peppers, mushrooms, spinach evenly over the crust and sprinkle with the cheese.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, quinoa flour, salt, and seasoning blend.
- Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Top with the tomatoes.
- Place the quiche on the center rack and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is set. Remove from oven and sprinkle the dried parsley on top. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
After a decade of being on the wait list for season tickets, Jeff wavered back and forth about spending the money when the opportunity finally presented itself this year. He took a gamble, and we found ourselves sitting in section 3 of the empty grandstands during some very cold April and May games. Fenway Park’s sold out game record streak ended – the stands were half full, and it wasn’t because of the weather.
We didn’t recognize most of the names on the roster, but they played a good game. Little by little personalities emerged, they helped lift our city up during some dark times, and they kept winning. But it seemed like no one really paid attention until August. Was it because of how the team ended the previous season? Or was is because of what Boston experienced in April? Or a mixture of both? Late in the summer, the stands became full again; fans cheering our team on.
Boston has celebrated eight sports championships since 2002. The 2002 Patriots Super Bowl Parade was the only one I ever attended – I started working in TV news that week and I assisted directed TV coverage for the rest of them. I worked the night when the Red Sox won in 2004, and I was out of town when they won in 2007. It felt incredibly special to be in town and off the clock this year for everything.
On Thursday, Jeff received an email invitation for season ticket holders to gather at Fenway Park for the rolling rally kick off celebration. Little did we know how much fun it would end up being! The rest of this post features photos both of us took.
CSA’s are pretty fantastic and convenient, but Boston’s first community supported chocolate?! YES. It’s starting up next month, and runs through March 2014. This was a really fun photography project to work on! Find out more about EH Chocolatier’s CSC program here.
Sloooowly catching up on blog posts! More about that “time-when-I-dropped-everything-and-ran-away-across-the-pond-for-six-days”! I’m not going to bore you with photos of the changing of the guard ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace – I’m sure you’ve seen photos of the London guards before. And I couldn’t take photos inside many of the museums I visited. (The National Portrait Gallery, The Tate Modern, The British Museum…) But if you’re ever in London, you have to go to The British Library! I’m a total literature/history/music geek, so I spent a few hours drooling over Jane Austin’s writing desk, the original copy of Handel’s “Messiah”, Beatles lyrics scribbled on scrap paper, and The Magna Carta, to name a few. It’s absolutely incredible to be surrounded by such history.
We also took in a view of the city on the London Eye.
And saw some really entertaining street performers.
And ate some ice cream. Melissa and I never saw a shell-like ice cream “cone”.
And we visited Westminster Abbey. Photography is prohibited in most areas of the abbey, so I can’t share too much of my visit. But the abbey is stunning, and much larger than what I imagined. I had no idea that behind the alter we’ve all seen on television, there’s a huge section where kings and queens are entombed. Again, the history geek in me completely freaked out! Kings, queens, writers like Tennyson and Charles Dickens, and scientist Issac Newton are buried in the abbey.
And then – please don’t be too jealous – we spent a day at Harry Potter Studios London. It’s not an amusement park – it’s the actual sound stages that the movie was filmed on. And it totally honors all the people who worked behind the scenes to make the magic happen for all of us, which makes this television director very happy. The amount of detail that went into every single aspect of the film series is astounding. I think I photographed every inch of the place!
Eventually, it was time to return to reality. I’ve been wanting to visit London since high school, and now it’s finally checked off my list. I have no idea where my next travel adventure will take me, but it will probably be somewhere here at home. A cab driver laughed at me about visiting London before seeing the Grand Canyon… She has a very good point.
Let’s call this the “time-when-I-dropped-everything-and-ran-away-across-the-pond-for-six-days”. The summer was incredibly busy between the full time job, a large food photography project, photographing a few weddings, and spending some weekends away. It was wonderful and fun, but I was pulled in so many different directions that I needed to hit the “reset” button. So when my old college roomie Melissa mentioned she was travelling to London, and invited me to join her, I jumped at the opportunity. Okay, maybe I didn’t jump…there was much indecision over the cost of travelling to London. I’ve been working so hard to save money, and London is not a bargain destination. But I never traveled there, so I chose to seize the opportunity.
I had a half-day to myself before Melissa arrived, so I spent the morning wandering around. I absolutely love getting aclamated to new cities by wandering around. I love taking in the sites, the locals, getting a sense of how roads twist around, exploring little odd shops, and visiting cafes. During my walk, I came across the Somerset House, which I had been told about when I arrived. What happened to be on exhibit? Ferran Adrià and The Art of Food!
The exhibit was an overview of how Ferran Adrià began his career as a chef and went on to be one of the world’s top chefs. He developed art through culinary and scientific creativity, and created a new philosophy about food. During the beginning of his career, a chef told him that “creativity means not copying”, which drove Adrià to develop a style of his own. (And if you’re from the Boston area – are you familiar with Harvard’s Science and Cooking Lecture series? This guy had a *little* something to do with it! Or Modernist Cuisine, anyone?)
So I wanted to share a few photos from the exhibit! There was sooo much to look at, read, and take in, but I picked a bunch of my favorites from the exhibit to share.
Part 2 of my trip to London coming sometime soon!