Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's All About the Hair

I must take a break from the tastiness that has taken over our kitchen and take a few moments to move over to something else I love to talk about- HAIR. I am piggy backing on Meghan's recent Liquid Gold post as I am equally excited about this hair discovery. Before I flew from the South in a Midwestern direction, it was imperative that I treat my hair to a good cut and some TLC. I trust very few hands with my hair and I am crossing my fingers that I stumble across some careful shears soon in my new town or else I'll have to deal with split ends and unruly hair until we head home for the holidays! During my "Last Cut" with Karen, she introduced me to a fantastic new product that created a result nothing short of a hair miracle! Earthly Bodies Marrakesh Hair Serum not only conditions your hair and tames fly aways, but it nearly cuts your time with the blow dryer in half. I don't really mind getting an arm workout with a round brush and a blow dryer, but anything to speed up the daily beautifying routine is always a plus. Another perk- this Moroccan oil smells DELICIOUS. Marrakesh now has a permanent home in my bathroom and for any of you girls who need a little mane taming and hair pick me up, add it to your daily hair routine, too! A sure way to add some extra shine to your hair...and your day.

image via {here}

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monkey Cream

The only appliance that hasn't gotten any TLC since we settled in made its debut today! I have been building up this moment all week and finally, we have our very first batch of homemade ice cream!! I have been a little under the weather all weekend long and ice cream, by the spoonful, is a sure way to lift the spirits and scare off the germs. I was just glowing as I opened up our new red Cuisinart Ice Cream maker that was given to me by my sweet sisters (the lovies) at my bridal shower back in June. I don't know that we will ever see the need to go out and buy ice cream ever again. Not only is the machine so simple to use but while researching ice cream recipes, I found that they are all easy to follow and only have a handful of ingredients. Who knew that this frozen treat was so easily attainable!? And if there is such a thing as The Newlywed 15, it might be just as easily attainable if we keep this Ice Cream maker on hand at all times. Thank goodness for Crossfit!

The first ice cream recipe I tackled is fit for a pair of monkeys! Chocolate paired with banana is one of my favorite flavor combos and I decided to mix in some nuts cause Mark likes a little extra crunch in his ice cream. As MOD would say, this stuff was good enough for swimming!

Chocolate Banana Chunk Ice Cream
Recipe from Cat Cora

1 cup heavy cream
1 pint milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup chopped bananas (1 large banana)
1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
1/3 cup chopped walnuts...I added these just for Mark!

If using an electric ice cream maker, place the body into the freezer overnight. It needs to be completely frozen to freeze the ice cream.

Combine the cream, milk, and 1 cup of the sugar in a medium, heavy bottom saucepan. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream mix and add in the bean itself. Bring to a light boil over medium high heat, watching carefully so the mixture doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat.Beat the yolks in a mixing bowl and slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream mixture. Gradually add the egg mixture back into the pot of cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon or reaches 170 degrees F, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a container. Cover and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 2 to 3 hours.

Put the ice cream maker together and turn it on. Pour in the cream mixture and let churn for about 20 to 25 minutes, according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir in the banana and chocolate when the ice cream is 3/4 of the way frozen.

Scoop. Serve. Smile & Enjoy. And if the banana gets to you, throw in a few monkey noises.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wait...there's More!

Last weekend was our first weekend in our new home together, a perfect excuse to celebrate. As if the ceviche was not enough, and keeping in mind our pumpkin waffle feast earlier in the morning, we decided to just continue the positive eating trend of the day and go ALL OUT. On our dinner menu? Grilled citrus chicken served on top of a bed of baby arugula with homemade sweet potato chips dipped in a citrus sour creamy-ness that was to die for! I did a little research this summer on a citrus marinade and after playing around on the Fourth of July, I came up with a little concoction that everyone loved. I re-created the mixture and let the chicken thighs sit in it for about 2 hours to really let the flavors mingle. We plopped the chicken on the grill pan and it was poultry perfection!

Citrus Chicken Marinade

Juice from 2 limes
Juice from 2 lemons
Juice from 1 orange
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. chilli powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

I usually add and mix as I go so you may find that you go a little lighter or heavier on certain things...don't be afraid to make it your own!

Now, for the creation that involved breaking in the new Mandolin that Andi surprised us with! (Thanks, Lovie!) I never understood my dad's excitement for this tool until I received one of my own. Homemade sweet potato chips seemed like a good avenue to test out this tool and let me tell you, I fell in love immediately! The blade creates a smooth, thin cut and the Mandolin is very user friendly. In about ten minutes time, I sliced up about three medium sized sweet potatoes in no time.

Sweet Potato Chips

3 Medium sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Emeril Lagasse

3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. lime zest

For those of you with a Mandolin at home, I recommend cutting them on the 1/8' setting. This was the perfect thickness to make chip that was not too crispy but also did not yield a soggy result. Arrange chips on baking sheets. Brush or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked pepper and salt. Toss and mix so that all chips are evenly seasoned. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes, or until they are nice and sizzly. You will know when they are ready. Serve with Emeril's Sour Cream dipping sauce.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ceviche, Man

Our honeymoon to Turks and Caicos was beyond perfect and we are missing the island life. In fact, our Pandora station has been set to UB40 since we got back and we still can't get enough of the island tunes, man. More on the Turks and Caicos later but how breathtaking is that beach!?

When you travel with me, it's still all about the food and what we ate during our week on the island was by far, some of the best food I have ever eaten. I came home with a lot of recipe inspiration for sure and so did my husband! That's right. On Saturday, MM did some research and whipped us up some island inspired ceviche. Ceviche is a seafood dish made with raw fish and fresh citrus and spices. The acid in the citrus cooks the fish and the result is spectacular. Ceviche is often mixed with fresh tomatoes, onions and cilantro- all flavors that pull it all together.

We made our way to The Fresh Market to pick up some fresh Carolina skimping and using the frozen ones. The rest was up to the chef. He chopped and diced and mixed it all with love and it was an island delight! The perfect appetizer for a summer's end Saturday dinner. I could have made a meal of this stuff. Cilantro has become one of my favorite fresh herbs to cook with and adds a unique flavor to anything you add it to. Much like my beloved tomato, basil and mozzarella, cilantro, onion and tomato create another beautiful marriage of fresh flavors. And look at the presentation! My food loving heart is smiling for sure. There might be some fierce competition in the Moore kitchen.
Shrimp Ceviche

1 lb. large peeled and de-veined shrimp, chopped
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
5 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (Frank's Red Hot or Texas Pete)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 avocado- peeled, pitted and diced
1 bag tortilla chips

Place shrimp in a large bowl with the lime juice. Stir together to coat the shrimp with the lime juice. Let this stand about five minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque. Once the shrimp are pink, the lime juice has cooked them. Add in the onion, tomato and cilantro. Mix everything happily together and cover in the fridge for about an hour. Letting the ceviche sit is key. After the mixture has marinated, the shrimp should be a light pink color with a white center. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, hot pepper sauce and salt & pepper. Serve creatively and top with chopped avocado and garnish with tortilla chips for dipping.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bring on the Pumpkin

Although I terribly miss the south, Fall in North Carolina just doesn't compare to the Autumn seasons of my childhood in the Midwest. The crispness in the air is just different and college game day is not a sweltering 95 degrees! I can't wait to pull out my boots, cardigans, long sleeved tees and we simply cannot forget the jewel tone flats! (ahem, MOD)

The flavors of fall are a burst of happiness in my mouth and I cannot wait to give MM his full dose of spice flavored things this year. I often find myself standing in the middle of my kitchen looking around and deciding which new appliance I want to use that day. There are so many and I want to be sure to give them all the equal attention they deserve. On Saturday, we decided to give the waffle iron a whirl, by way of the Kitchen Aid mixer of course. I broke out my first can of pumpkin of the year...Pumpkin waffles for breakfast?! Please and thank you! I hopped on over to one of my very favorite sites, Smitten Kitchen, and found a wonderful recipe that I must share immediately!

But wait, I can't forget about my loving kitchen assistant and his ever expanding kitchen skills. This time, he was on his own. I gave MM some fresh Granny Smith apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and with my simple instructions, the result was brilliant! We had our very own cooked apples atop the wonderfully fluffy Pumpkin Waffles.

Pumpkin Waffles
Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks (as in, far softer than the over-beaten whites you’ll see in my picture above). Folk them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter (about 2 cups for four 4-inch Belgian waffles) into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

Ironically enough, today is the first day of fall. I suggest you celebrate your first fall weekend and whip up a batch of these. Your taste buds will surely thank you. And if you have any dreamy fall pumpkin recipes, please send them my way. I'm always looking for creative ways to get pumpkin on my plate.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Little Lovie is Legal!

I have several tasty weekend eats to post, but those will just have to wait. I could not let this wonderful day go by without wishing my sweet baby sister a Happy 18th Birthday!! Andi (the middle sister of the wonderful Lovie trio) reminded me that this week in our hometown is the Victorian Festival! I had a quick flashback of the 1992 festival when we had to rush out early because our mother was in labor. Our lives changed for the better that day for sure. Since Natalie is now nestled up in the mountains at my beloved alma mater, Appalachian State, I offered to buy her a tree hammock or banjo lessons for her birthday. She said she just wanted us all to be together in the same state as soon as humanly possible.
I love you sweet little Lovie!!! Happy Happy day!! I wish we were all eating our heavenly cloud of an angel food cake together right now. Hope your day has been fit for an Italian Mountaineer Perfect Princess!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Introducing My New Sous- Chef!

Our newlywed kitchen has not even been open for a full week and I have already found myself a sous-chef. I am going to have more help in the kitchen than I thought! As expected, our kitchen was the first thing up and running in our new home. Maybe it is the newlywed bliss but every night has been a gourmet, five star experience in the Moore House. We started off easy with turkey burgers and and Ilios Noche inspired salad on Wednesday night. Our first meal in our house must have been extra inspirational because the next night, my sweet husband was in the kitchen with me and insisted on making caprese orzo himself! I provided him with simple directions and he was a perfect student in the kitchen! A good kitchen needs impeccable knives and MM has become very acquainted with our 8 inch Wustoff chef's knife. After chopping up garlic, basil and tomatoes for our orzo dish, he decided he wanted to take over. The end result was a perfect blend of what I have dubbed as the holy trinity of all foods (basil, tomato and mozzarella). Oh, I just love my kitchen assistant so much!

Sharing the plate with our end of summer orzo was a twist on marsala, made with tilapia and some fresh green beans tossed with garlic and herbs. If you are tired of broiling or grilling tilapia, this is the way to go! All that we did was sautee mushrooms with a tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Once the mushrooms were we removed from the pan and sauteed tilapia fillets that has been brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. After the tilapia was mostly cooked, the mushrooms were incorporated back into the pan, adding a quick pour of red wine. Let it simmer for another 2-4 minutes and serve. The wine gives the fish a rich flavor and you can never go wrong with a extraneous amount of mushrooms!

If we continue on this culinary trend that we have started to spoil ourselves with, I have a feeling that this blog is going to get a lot more attention than ever before! My heart is smiling and our new home is full of more love than I could have ever imagined!

P.S, While we were mid-post, my sweet baby sister skyped us from Appalachian State! I miss her so much and promised I would give her an extra special shout out tonight. Love you Nat!!! (remember the life lessons the newlyweds gave you!!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We Did!

Well...we are officially Mr. & Mrs!! We have been married for almost two weeks now and could not be happier. Of course, there are more posts to come, but I wanted to pop in and come out of blog hiding! I cannot wait to share favorite details and special moments from our wedding, convince you all that Turks & Caicos is the most perfect honeymoon spot and now that this new chapter has begun, I think that a blog makeover is in order!

September 4th was, without a question, the most magical day of my life. The entire weekend was so full of love and I think that anyone who celebrated with us can tell you that we all had a lot of FUN! To have our closest friends and family as witnesses to starting our new life together was beyond a blessing. Thank you to everyone who made our weekend unforgettable. We love you ALL!!!