Tomorrow is Derby Day, and it’s taken quite a bit of willpower to save my julep consumption for the weekend. As you know, we’re big Derby fans in my house. There’s no better reason to sip minty-sweet bourbon from a frosty glass like a slurpee. It’s an American tradition!! Now, I know that a Spicy Thai Mint Julep doesn’t sound very American, but hear me out. First, sweet and spicy is a classic combo that never fails. Second, the Thai basil adds an aromatic complexity that perfectly compliments the mint. Third, it’s a delicious cocktail and that’s all that matters, am I right?! I teamed up with Sarah for this shoot. Well, technically she had her own shoot (recipe coming soon), as she’s not a big cocktail gal. We both tried our hand at creating a cinemagraph (skip to the last photo), essentially a photograph that has a bit of subtle movement within an otherwise still photo. I’ve attempted a few others over the years (here, here), and needless to say it’s still a pretty difficult process to execute. If you want to see some stunning examples, checkout cinemagraph pioneers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. Maybe I’ll elaborate sometime on the whole cinemagraph process, but in the meantime I’ll leave you with a few Kentucky Derby picks. At 3-1 odds, Nyquist is the easy pick to win, however, I’m going with Mor Spirit . . . for obvious reasons. And for my long shot pick, I’m going with Suddenbreakingnews at 16-1. You’re welcome.
Mother’s Day in our family is always celebrated with a homemade breakfast. That’s been the tradition since I’ve been old enough to make scrambled eggs. Every year, I try to create something new and unique and this Mother’s Day I’ve decided to do a Cinco de Mayo inspired breakfast and give chilaquiles a try. Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish of fried tortillas covered in chile sauce. They’re often topped with eggs and queso fresco (one of my favorite cheeses) and Mexican creama. There are so many different varieties and if you want the low-down on all the different types check Yes, More Please’s recipe (which I used here, slightly adapted). Chilaquiles are so simple and delicious but take quite a bit of prep work to make the red and green sauce and fry the tortillas. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go through so much work for breakfast but for a special occasion like Mother’s Day this is the perfect dish. You can prep the sauces the night before as well and heat them up so that all you need to do is fry the tortillas and eggs in the morning. Serve these immediately after saucing for the perfect tortilla texture. If you wait too long, the tortillas will get too soggy.
I get the most joy out of setting the table whenever I entertain at home. The thought that I needed fancy tableware and expensive linens to successfully dress a table was quickly turned around once I learned how to get creative with items I already owned. Inspired by the brilliant combinations of unexpected ingredients of Curate snack bars, I’ve created place settings under four different themes. For instance, layering plates doesn’t have to look uptight and formal, mixing and matching glassware can look completely chic and intentional, and throwing the rules out when it comes to “proper” flatware is totally okay. Oh, and don’t forget the flowers! They are the key to pulling the elements of your tablescape together. No vase? Just put them in a water glass, like I do! See? It’s all about being resourceful!
Indulgent: There’s nothing more indulgent than pure whites, bright golds and dark colors like black and brown. I’m also a big believer in mixing metals so I love the unexpected addition of silver in the flatware. And if you’re looking to add a bit of extra richness to the mix, stick to a single color when choosing your flowers.
I love a good horchata. Smooth and fragrant cold rice milk with just enough cinnamon and just enough sugar so good that you guzzle an entire glass down before even realizing how good it was. I had never tried making horchata at home because I thought it would be too much work. And it certainly is work, although involves soaking ingredients. If you’re someone who is willing to make your own nut milk, this requires the same amount of effort. The only special tool I would say you need is a nut bag (although you don’t have to have it but it really makes things a lot easier and they are cheap). This horchata is not your typical horchata and not only because it includes a shot of espresso but also because I added cashew and coconut. The cashew gives the horchata a thicker consistency, which I love (although it may not be very traditional). Don’t forget your drink will be watered down with the ice and espresso. There’s a whole lot going on in my version of horchata but it’s packed with flavor and is irresistible!
I’ve been bit by the travel bug and just itching to return to one of my favorite places in the world, Turkey. Granted, we just welcomed our second baby so that might not happening tomorrow as I might have hoped. So what better way to fulfill a desire than through your belly?! I’ve been craving Çilbir, a Turkish dish that has been enjoyed as far back as the 15th century by Ottoman sultans. The combination of garlicky, herbed yogurt and poached eggs is unusual but surprisingly delicious and wonderfully comforting. The addition of an Aleppo pepper infused butter absolutely makes this dish, infusing just the right amount of mild spice and fragrance. Mop up the goodness with some warm, crusty bread and . . . well, a trip to Turkey can wait. At least for now.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 9th annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. If you aren’t familiar, PBFW is four action-packed days worth of epicurean events, featuring some of the best chefs and wineries in the world. Events include culinary demos, beverage seminars, lavish lunches, grand tastings and epic dinners. Guests have intimate access to chefs and winemakers, and best of all, unlike other food festivals, PBFW is set on a world famous golf course against the beautiful backdrop of the golden California coast. If you’re looking for an unforgettable foodie adventure, I can’t think of any better way to spend a long weekend.