Championing Charcuterie Boards As Meals

I really love cheese. When I was a vegan (on-and-off, on-and-off, though I do firmly believe in eating less meat and more fresh, plant-based foods), I would struggle with the deep-rooted cheese urges I had. After officially re-introducing meat and dairy back into my life, I SLOWLY started eating cheese. Note, I am for the most part, lactose intolerant. Also note, that does not stop me from having cheese. It does, however, mean that I take a chance on an upset stomach. But I do it for the cheese. Because I love the cheese.

I love making charcuterie boards not only for the cheese, but because it's also a quick and delicious way to get full and happy fast. I am totally all for having these as meals. Why not!  My latest board was a combo of pantry items and leftover fridge things I needed to get rid of. Here's my list:

  • Crackers, basic grocery store ones
  • Extra sharp white cheddar and mild cheddar cheese
  • Dates
  • Apple and pear slices
  • Walnuts, cashews, almonds
  • Raw honey
  • Fig Jam
  • Genoa salami
  • Prosciutto

Not the fanciest, but I promise it's still friggin' tasty. I've also developed new favorite combos. Enjoy below:

  • Cracker, extra sharp white cheddar, raw honey, pear slice, almond
  • Cracker, extra sharp white cheddar, Genoa salami, fig jam, coarse mustard
  • Apple slice, mild cheddar, raw honey, prosciutto

I find myself making these combos lately and eating tons. Officially stuffed you guys. What's your favorite combo? What are you putting on your charcuterie boards?

Weekends are for Sleeping In & 2 O'clock Breakfasts

Happy Monday all! Reflecting on the past two days, I realized I haven't had a weekend at home in a while. I have spent most of my weekends trying to get out of New York, so it was pretty unusual to spend this one in my own bed and making my own food. I won't complain though, it was nice to relax and be lazy! Having a 9-5 forces me to ensure that my weekends are not chaotic or stressful; that's the last thing I want during the limited time I have to chill out. With that said, I spend the past 2 days sleeping and eating in. I don't usually wake up too late but this last Saturday and Sunday saw me pulling the covers over my head past 10:00am. My rested and happy body surely needed that though!

What I love about these weekends at home may honestly seem like the most mundane, uninteresting thing. But all I want to be able to do is make a fresh cup of coffee with my French Press!!! Seriously, it's one of those little things that I cherish because it indicates that 1) I am not in any kind of rush 2) I can sit and enjoy that black liquid gold and 3) I can use one of my countless mugs (I have a problem with buying mugs, but that's another story)! AND, I also get to take my time and cook! I'll be honest with you, we did order brunch on Sunday due to pure and utter laziness, but I managed to cook on Saturday.

My go-to weekend wake-up meal is ALWAYS something savory. I cannot eat oatmeal or granola without thinking about eggs! Growing up in a Filipino household groomed my taste buds into expecting a savory and salty morning meal. We would sit at our breakfast table while my mom plated us eggs, bacon, and RICE. Yup, RICE. I crave rice everyday meal of every day. But anyway, back to Saturday's late breakfast, sort of brunch. I made cheeZy eggs with parsely and sea salt - yum! Add in some toast that has been warmed on a skillet coated in coconut oil and turkey bacon and I call it a WIN! What is your go to weekend breakfast? I'd love to know!

Julia Child, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, & My Kitchen Disasters

This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!
— Julia Child

Mastering The Art of French Cooking was one of my first cookbook purchases years ago when I started to love food and cooking. I knew it was an essential for anyone who loved cookbooks and wanted to dive deeper into technique. I also ADORE French food, particularly BUTTER and MUSTARD. Who wouldn't though?? Today I tried making pastry dough in an effort to satisfy my craving for a veggie pot pie.

IMG_8960.JPG

Julia writes, "A good French pastry crust is tender, crunchy, and buttery. " Ultimately, my crust turned out not-so-crunchy and pretty sad and deflated. Tender and buttery though, I NAILED. Add to my ongoing list of recipes/technique I need to work on! For me, recipe failures are never really that....they are lessons that help you grow as a cook and help you get to know your kitchen and your technique. I quite enjoy these "fails" not only because I always have fun with food, but also because I know it will only get better with practice. I do definitely recommend purchasing this cookbook, which you can find almost anywhere, as a staple for your cookbook collection. I also recommend first having wine and watching Julia and Julia, the cutest movie about this legendary woman!

Skillet Potato Hash & Garlic Olive Oil Tagliatelle

I am a messy cook. I am also fond of kitchen experiments. I am more than likely making up a recipe, throwing ingredients in without measurements (unless we are baking, of course) and working with whatever groceries I have on hand. I also probably have a glass of wine on deck because, well why not? Today's science/food experiment of choice was a potato hash concoction with tagliatelle that rocked my world. I happen to think that the turkey bacon I fried first made this dish especially bomb, but that's just my opinion. Cut the turkey bacon out to make this dish vegetarian or vegan and I promise it will still be just as delicious. Swear to you!  

INSTRUCTIONS

Fry turkey bacon in olive oil until bits are crispy. This is the base of the dish, adding that extra flavor! Skip for vegetarian option.

On medium to high heat, add onions, garlic, kale, and mushrooms. After they sautee for a moment, throw in potatoes until cooked through. 

Season hash with salt, garlic powder, chili flakes, oregano, and fresh parsley. Taste until you get the desired amount of seasoning. 

Top dish with fresh parsley, more chili flakes, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.

Meanwhile, boil tagliatelle until al dente. Strain and immediately sautee with olive oil, 1/2 of the parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.

Mix tagliatelle and hash for a delightful, carb-ful plate of happiness.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

4 cloves (or more) garlic. You can never have enough garlic in my opinion.

3-4 slices turkey bacon, diced

1 cup mushrooms, finely diced

2 cups small potatoes, cut into quarters

2 cups fresh kale, chopped

1 cup parmesan cheese

Visiting Portland & Other Coastal Maine Towns

Summer '16 has been all about visiting Maine. I've fallen in love with bits and pieces of this state and make every effort to visit. Super glad my better half has family there and I can always throw in a Maine roadtrip as a long weekend trip idea. What do I love about Maine? Honestly where do I start?! From the scenic, quiet towns to the incredible fresh food, there is no shortage of amazing and beautiful moments to be made. Planning a fall visit? I'll tell you where to go and what to eat!

PORTLAND

Eat at: Eventide Oyster Co. for the brown butter lobster roll. This is a MUST.  Honeypaw for unique Asian Fusion eats like the lamb khao soi noodles, fry bread with uni butter, and honey soft serve ice cream. Street & Co. for the lobster linguini. Boda for late night Thai food. 

Go sailing with Maine Sailing Adventures. Reserve through their website and pick your choice of sail. The acoustic or wine sails are great! Spend 2 hours on the water with good drinks and good people.

Watch the boats and the sunset on Eastern Promenade.

KENNEBUNKPORT

My favorite little town in Maine! 

Eat at the famous Clam Shack on the bridge. 

Take photos of the scenic views and enjoy a piece of New England. 

 

 

FREEPORT

Shop the Freeport outlet shops, particularly the 24-hour LL Bean Flagship Store, spanning several buildings for home, hunting, fishing, camping. Eat at their very own lobster shack too!

Reid State Park in Georgetown, Maine was a great spot for beach, lake, and camping grounds. It is absolutely stunning here, go!