Tuesday, July 31, 2012

summer to fall {lace}


It's always a sad time of year when stores start shuffling their summer clothes to the sales rack; every year, I swear it happens earlier than ever before. It's a weird time of year to go shopping, because there is still the whole hot month of August to consider, but I never want to spend a lot of money on strictly warm-weather pieces. It's during this month that I start to build a fall wardrobe out of season-to-season transition pieces. Lace is a perfect fabric to ease into autumn; whether layered with warm-weather pieces, cut in fuller-coverage silhouettes, or crafted with rich fall colors, lace can easily be worn this season and the next.







All images from Pinterest.

Monday, July 30, 2012

white peach & cherry sangria


Baltimore's Sunday farmers market provides the perfect inspiration for seasonal dishes and drinks to try each week. This month, peaches and cherries overflowed from the farm stands. At least to my knowledge, I'd never had a white peach before, but the free samples made me an instant fan. I don't have a great deal of experience cooking with either fruit, but I rarely shy away from trying a fresh new cocktail. White sangrias are usually made with brandy and a dry Spanish wine, but I had some pinot on hand, and liked the idea of something crisp and citrusy. The result was a summery, sweet sangria that was almost too easy to drink. Serving the drink in mason jars made it felt even more laid-back and seasonal.





White Peach & Cherry Sangria

Ingredients 

  One bottle Pinot Grigio
  1/4 cup brandy
  2 T. granulated sugar
  2 white peaches, sliced
  2 cups Bing cherries, pitted and halved
  Sprigs of lemon thyme (alternatively, regular thyme)
  3/4 cup tonic water

Directions

Combine first three ingredients in a large pitcher. Add white peaches and cherries. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, add thyme sprigs to pitcher (and glasses, if desired, for garnish). Add a splash of tonic water to each glass of sangria.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

grilled steak & gorgonzola pizza with balsamic reduction


This pizza was seriously amazing. I'm talking fancy-pants pizza perfection... or at least as close as my apartment kitchen can get. I mean, is there any possible way that this pairing of ingredients could go wrong? No. In fact, I could have probably just thrown bits of everything in a bowl and grabbed myself a giant spoon. But then I wouldn't have gotten to enjoy Adam's faces/noises/palpable delight as he devoured three quarters of our his pizza. 

Not only did the flavors blend beautifully, but the textures were equally amazing. Generous slices of steak with crisp blackened edges but tender warm centers, hot melted cheese with cooling chunks of Gorgonzola, leafy green arugula, and a drizzle of glaze had a party in my mouth, and I'm not even a little mad at the intrusion. This is one of my most proud Gingersnaps original recipes, and I would absolutely and resolutely demand every person make it tonight if I could. Do it!






Grilled Steak & Gorgonzola Pizza with Balsamic Glaze


Steak

   10 oz. New York strip steak
   Marinade, see below (optional but highly recommended; it was delicious)
   2 T. Olive oil

Pizza

   1/2 lb. pizza dough
   Flour (and cornmeal if available), for work surface
   Olive oil, for brushing crust
   1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese
   1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
   1/2 - 3/4 cup Gorgonzola (I used closer to 3/4, but I love bleu cheese)
   Handful of arugula
  
Balsamic Reduction

   1 cup balsamic vinegar
   1 T. honey
   1/4 t. black pepper

Directions

1.  If using marinade, mix ingredients marinate steak in refrigerator that morning.
2.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring balsamic vinegar to boil in small pan, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until vinegar is reduced by half. Stir in honey and pepper.
3.  Heat 2 T. olive oil in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Remove from heat, tent with foil, and allow to rest while making pizza.
4.  Roll pizza dough to a thin crust on a floured work surface (add cornmeal if you have it). Brush with olive oil, transfer to cookie sheet or pizza stone, and bake in oven until slightly golden, about 10 minutes. 
5.  Remove crust from oven, sprinkle with Fontina and Parmesan. Add about half of the Gorgonzola in large chunks. Return to oven and bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Meanwhile, slice the steak.
6.  Remove from oven, add sliced steak, remaining chunks of Gorgonzola, and arugula. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and stuff your pretty little face.
  



My Favorite Steak Marinade

My favorite easy steak marinade is a 2:2:2:1:1 ratio (long enough for you?) of pantry ingredients. The measurements I used for the marinade are:

2 T. olive oil
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. minced garlic





Wednesday, July 25, 2012

pretty girly things {dining}

Photo from Cherry Blossom Girl
Last night, I had a great girls night dinner with friends. Each lovely lady brought a dish, or of course wine, and they were all delicious. Sometimes it's so nice to just do something girly. While my annoyance grew as I waited for habitually late patients today, I found myself browsing sweet, feminine things. From a summery cocktail to an elaborate table setting, these photos just made me happy to be a lady (sort of).

Summer Sangria
Amazing table. Everything about it is perfect.  Photo from Wedding Chicks.
Pink Champagne Cupcakes
The cutest way to serve bread. Photo via Pinterest.


Monday, July 23, 2012

herb preservation


This idea is so genius in its simplicity that I'm not sure how I haven't thought of it before. I'm perpetually frustrated by the amount of produce that gets pushed to the back of the fridge, and subsequently into the garbage. Grocery stores are to blame (or so I tell myself), as they seem to only sell gigantic bundles of leafy greens that could almost never be used before their expiration. To preserve fresh herbs for later use, simply chop them up and add them to a muffin tin (I used miniature ones, but either size would work) with some olive oil and freeze. Once frozen, you can transfer the frozen disks to a labeled Ziploc. The next time you need a burst of flavor, simply add a disk or two to a saute pan and go right on cooking. Genius!




Sunday, July 22, 2012

my week in photos

Hair Ties: Anthropologie; Shoes: Sperry, Love Bracelet: ASOS

If you're a regular reader, you've probably noticed that I've been pretty MIA this week. I really only have to say one word to convey the reason for this:  Comcast. Isn't that enough said? As it turns out, my budding iLife can do many things, but Gingersnaps is not one of them. This week, I went a little loco for accessories, which helped brighten up the rainy weather here in Charm City. While new purchases may not be the wise choice, I was thrilled with all of my finds. Life was a little hectic as Chubs "helped" us move (again), but he was rewarded for his efforts by an overnight (supervised, of course) visit from pretty little girlfriend, Harper. With my internet finally up and running, I'm excited to get back to regular posting... and a connection to the world.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

strawberry & mascarpone ice cream


After many rounds of experimentation with homemade ice cream recipes, I have found two things to be true:  practice makes perfect, and Jeni of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream is a genius. I've gushed over her cookbook before, so I'll spare you that repetition; however, I've come to realize that her basic ice cream base is the key to achieving smooth, creamy success, and can be adapted in infinite ways. For this Strawberry and Mascarpone Ice Cream, I adapted her Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk recipe to my liking (an incredibly easy endeavor). Simply follow the directions as written, omitting buttermilk, using juice of 1/2 lemon, and adding 5 oz. mascarpone. The result was an ice cream so creamy and luxurious that you would swear it came from a fancy-pants creamery.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

margarita verde


I love tequila. Butterball (my late-night alter ego) loves tequila even more. Most people shy away from drinks they've perhaps overly indulged in during long nights, and regretted during even longer mornings. The magic of tequila, for me, is that a margarita is almost never unpalatable, even after a couple of college spring break trips to Mexico. My margarita love has been mixed, muddled and tested before, here and here), but to me, it never gets old. This variety sports my favorite color, and some refreshing summer flavors to boot: cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro jazz up that classic tart lime flavor. Most people would serve this over a hearty amount of ice, since it's pretty potent, but as I had no ice on hand and even less patience, I just went for it (read: aggressive, but great). Steeping the tequila with flavor is the best way to build a cocktail with layers of depth and flavor.




Margarita Verde
(Makes 2 cocktails... or one really big one)

  • 4 oz. tequila (in this case blanco)
  • 2 oz. Cointreau
  • 4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • Handful of cilantro sprigs
  • Kosher salt for rim, if desired 

1. In a small bowl (or mortar and pestle if you're all fancy), muddle cucumbers and jalapenos with a fork or spoon. Reserve a few cucumber  and jalapeno slices un-muddled for garnish. Add tequila and a few sprigs of cilantro, and allow mixture to steep for several days... ideally. If you really can't wait, just mix it all up and use it that day.

2. When tequila is rich with fresh n' spicy flavor, strain tequila into cocktail glasses. I reused some of the jalapeno bits by scooping them into the cocktail itself. Add Cointreau, lime juice, and ice. 

3. Add reserved cucumber slices, jalapeno, and cilantro to the cocktail, and on the rim for garnish, if desired.

Friday, July 13, 2012

just splendid

Blouse: Splendid, Shorts: Madewell (similar), Sandals: Aldo, Sunglasses: ASOS

While packing for our recent vacation, I made the decision to leave my DSLR at home. I wanted to travel lightly and be more carefree, focusing less on photographing moments, and more on enjoying them. Thus, my point-and-shoot Canon had to suffice. Therefore, this is less of an "outfit" post than an item post, because I love this Splendid Pocket Blouse so much that I just had to share it despite a shortage of quality photos. This blouse is the perfect blend of slouchy yet form-flattering, and is insanely soft and comfortable. I wore it as both a bikini cover up, and with simple white shorts and sandals for lunch. And... I may also have it in white. Oops. You can never have too much of a good thing and what not? Sure, let's go with that.




Monday, July 9, 2012

lamb burgers with feta, pine nuts, and mint


Engagement to an Englishman means learning to love lamb. This was not a difficult task. I do love lamb. I couldn't decide whether to make these burgers in a "Mediterranean" style, or going with more of a spicy curry kick, so I did a bit of both and the result was amazing. A lot of feta, some pine nuts (because I'm obsessed), fresh mint from my newest farmer's market find, and just a little kick made for an awesome combo. The feta topping can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, and the only side you need is a simple salad, making this meal insanely easy to prepare at dinnertime. Please note that when debating what flavor of mint to buy, I found one called Mojito Cocktail. Sold.




Lamb Burgers with Feta, Mint, and Pine Nuts
Serving Size: 3 burgers
 
1 lb. ground lamb
1/3 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 pitas, lightly toasted
Mixed greens or Romaine
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 T.
3 T. toasted pine nuts
2.5 T. chopped fresh mint (you could use basil if mint isn't your favorite)
1/4 - 1/2 t. crushed red pepper (easier to mix into the topping than curry powder)


Directions:

Heat a non-stick skillet with 1 T. olive oil over medium-high heat. 

Gently combine ground lamb with cumin, curry, salt and pepper. Form three patties, with slight indentations in the centers of each burger (almost like a donut). Cook in heated skillet for 4-5 minutes per side, flipping only once.

While burgers cook, or ahead of time and refrigerated if you like, combine the last five ingredients in a bowl.

You don't have to toast the pitas if you're short on time, they'd still taste great, but I did. Stuff the pita with some lettuce, spoon feta mixture over lettuce, add a lamb patty... and spoon a little more feta mix on for good measure.

*Note: I actually added a scant 1/4 t. of ground allspice to my burger, but I know this isn't a spice people often have on hand, and I really don't think it made much of a difference at all. So I omitted it from the list.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

my week in photos



A mid-week holiday makes for a strange week; one that moves quickly, yet is strangely unstructured. I've already shared with you some pics from the fourth, but I've got to be honest: the holiday was pretty much all that happened... and I loved it. Adam and I spent the last few days relaxing, spending some nice time together, and finally starting to get our apartment assembled. Here's a quick glimpse into the only things I wore besides scrubs and sweats.





Thursday, July 5, 2012

all american

Shirt: F21, Skirt: H&M, Shoes: Coach, Earrings: South Moon Under, Ring: Adam
As usual, another holiday managed to sneak up on me so quickly that I didn't have anything patriotic planned (other than some pathetically easy pudding pops). Luckily, I had been looking for an excuse to wear bright red lipstick for the first time ever. Call it Emma Stone inspiration, or maybe just me opening up to new things, but pairing red hair and red lips was out of the box for me. I did some research and found out that Cover Girl Flame 300 happens to be the ideal red for my coloring, so I went with that. Throw on some classic nautical navy and white, red nails, gold shoes and sailor knot earrings, and you've got yourself a pretty patriotic look. Add in a golden retriever as good looking as Oliver and now you're just showing off.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

patriotic pudding pops




You may be wondering if I actually elected to make pudding pops for the fourth of July. When's the last time you had a pudding pop? I'll bet it's been 20 years for me. The decision to make them came about something like this internal dialog:  "S*%$. I have nothing to post in time for a holiday... again. S*%$, I am poor". Enter my approximately 70 cent pops (considering I already had some food coloring on hand). They were a nice little easy treat, though I accidentally bought sugar-free pudding mix while online grocery shopping (#notkosherwithme). 

I also confirmed a few facts during this iPhone photo shoot, including the fact that I have oddly large eyes, the usuallly-sacred iPhone struggles in imperfect lighting, and that as a dentist, I actually quite like my own teeth. I digress, but the point is these were cute, easy, and crazy cheap treats that made me pretty happy during this heat wave. It's barely a recipe, but I'll jot it down for you anyhow.

Patriotic Pudding Pops
Serving: about 6 popsicles

1 package instant Jell-O pudding mix (I went with cheesecake flavor)
2 cups cold milk
Red and blue food coloring

Prepare pudding according to package directions. Separate into three bowls or cups. Color each segment of pudding appropriately by slowly adding drops of food coloring. Layer in popsicle mold, paper cup, or glass. Freeze. Eat. Enjoy.

 
 

Monday, July 2, 2012

slutty brownies


Calling a food slutty is both an intriguing and aggressive name... or so you would think. These so called "brownies", however, are beyond a simply promiscuous treat. They are aggressively slutty. Indulgent, gooey, and full of about five amazing flavors {brownie, Oreo cookie, Oreo cream, chocolate chip, and cookie}, they couldn't be much more sinful. You could top them off with a scoop of ice cream to be really over-the-top, but I didn't have any on hand. I've seen about 101 recipes for these tasty treats, but they're all basically the same, and they're all incredibly easy. I learned it from word of mouth, which came with a guarantee that these lovely ladies would be the hit of anywhere you go. I'm aware that the size of brownie I chose to photograph is immense, and that was just perfectly fine with me.




Slutty Brownies
Serving size: 8x8 inch pan

1 package pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough (or a boxed mix)
16 Oreos
1 box brownie mix, and ingredients required on brownie box

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease 8x8 inch glass pan or baking sheet with butter, oil, or cooking spray.
3. Press cookie dough in even layer in pan.
4. Layer Oreos evenly over dough.
5. Mix brownie batter according to box, and pour over top of Oreo layer.
6. Bake for 35- 40 minutes.
7. Enjoy them immensely, preferably gooey from the oven, or set enough to cut bars/take photos.