Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Time I Caught An Awesome Sea Bass - And Ate Him.

I am NOT a seafood person. Like at all. The closest I've gotten to eating any type of seafood is fried calamari that's been fried within an inch of its life. My husband is allergic to most seafood, so that's another reason I've always steered clear of it. So imagine my surprise when I actually ate sea bass and fluke last weekend!

My husband and I took Friday off from work, grabbed my father in law, and set sail on a 7am fishing charter boat for 5 hours. Being up at 4:45am? Not my fave. Spending the entire day outside fishing? One of my faves (I've been fishing since I was a kid). So I bit the bullet, grabbed some coffee and off we went.

Below is my "keeper" as they say - for all the non fisherman out there, that means the fish was of regulation length to take home! My father in law caught a few sea bass too, as well as a nice sized fluke! The mates on the boat take your keepers to the back of the boat to clean and cut, which is awesome. See photos and recipes for both below!


 Me and my sea bass!
 


 The beautiful 50 person charter boat in Long Island. Such beautiful weather and great company!
 
 
My husband rocks. The top is the fluke my father in law caught, and the bottom is my sea bass. I'm so glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Plus - everything Greg cooks is great so I knew he wouldn't steer me wrong!
 
 
To cook Sea Bass:
Season with paprika, garlic, salt, thyme and black pepper. Cook on grill.
 
To cook Fluke:
Marinate fluke in lemon, lime and orange juice, and rosemary for 15 minutes. Cut thin rounds of lemon, lime and orange, and cook fluke on grill directly on top of rounds.
 
Enjoy!
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Heart Shaped Donuts and Party Sprinkles!

Hi dolls! Wanted to share the super cute heart-shaped donuts I made this weekend! I went to a bbq yesterday, and wanted to bring something fun for dessert. I made chocolate donuts in my heart-shaped Wilton pan, and topped them off with an easy vanilla glaze and sprinkles. Check out the photo and recipes below, and my comments on how I think the recipe tasted. Enjoy!


Baked Chocolate Doughnuts
From the Wilton Heart Doughnut Pan package

Makes 24 doughnuts

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used Pam for Baking).

In large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla; mix gently until just combined. Fill each doughnut cup approximately 1/2 full (2 tablespoons batter).

Bake 4-5 minutes or until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when touched. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes before removing. Repeat with remaining batter. Finish doughnuts with desired toppings. Doughnuts are best served fresh.


Taste of Home
Quick Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until
smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken if desired. Spoon over
bread. Yield: 1/2 cup.


So here's my conclusion: the donuts LOOKED great, but the taste wasn't all that wonderful. I didn't have buttermilk on hand, so I looked up the sub - milk and vinegar. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, after the donuts had baked and I tasted one, they seemed to have a slight bitter after taste. So i'm assuming it was the vinegar. If I had time, I would have run to the store and picked up some buttermilk. Oh well, lesson learned I guess.

The vanilla glaze was great and very simple to make - I put some pink Wilton food gel in it to give it some color. I had some pink edible hearts and rainbow sprinkles to top them off with. They looked so cute, I just wish the taste was better. I definitely want to try more donut recipes using this pan. The prep didn't take too long, and the donuts bake quickly - 4-5min. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

DIY Burger and Hotdog Station

Hi friends! This weekend was really special, and it's not over yet! My cousin Rebecca came to visit us from Florida and we were all so excited! We wanted to do something special, obv. My husband found a few photos online of DIY burger stations and I was obsessed with recreating the idea with my own spin on it. See below!


 
So awesome, right?! I liked this display for a few reasons - of course it looked adorable, but it was also functional. My husband grilled all the burgers and hotdogs, and set them next to this station. Instead of preparing 11 people's plates, everyone helped themselves and were happy with all the options!

The clear glass servers in the front are actually mini dessert servers. The white servers behind that are small saucers. The four bigger bowls on each side are fun party bowls that I usually put nuts or snacks in. The beautiful plate that they're sitting on is from Tiffany's - a gift from my sister in law for our engagement! And lastly, the marker board I made myself. It was super easy! I bought a cheap picture frame from Michael's, put in some polka dot scrapbook paper, and used erasable markers to write down the menu. We change it every week, even if it's just the two of us home!



My beautiful cousin and I! So special that we got to spend time together <3 enjoyed="" for="" guys="" hope="" p="" reading="" thanks="" xo="" you="">

Friday, August 8, 2014

Delicious Skirt Steak and Buffalo Rice






I don't know how I got so lucky, but my husband really kicks ass. We've been making a conscious effort to go food shopping on weekends, and plan out our dinner menu for the week. We both work in the city, and get home around 7pm. Knowing that you already have the ingridients to prepare dinner is a great feeling! We are always looking for quick and tasty recipes that we can add to our dinner rotation. Above is a delicious skirt steak and buffalo rice that my husband prepared for us! It was so juicy, tender and flavorful! I asked him if we could have it once a week, it was seriously that good. Here's how he prepped the skirt steak:


Salt and petter both sides, then put a little olive oil (about 3 TBSP in a small dish). Add some paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of coriander, a pinch of cinnamon and mix until it's almost like a paste (the oil helps everything stick and mix together).


Slather your mixture on both sides of the steak, and throw in a VERY HOT pan for about 2.5 minutes on each side. Cut on a bias across the grain into thin slices. We served it over rice - Knorr Rice Sides, Buffalo Chicken Flavor. The rice is quick and easy, and has a little kick to it. It married great with the steak.

So there it is, folks! I will try to share some of our daily recipes as we make them. I made a little dry-erase menu board, and update it with our weekly menu. It reminds us of what we need to buy at the store, and gets us excited to cook together.

Hope you guys enjoyed! xoxo, Dana and Greg

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bourbon BBQ Hickory Smokehouse - Our New Favorite Local Joint!

As some of you know, my husband and I just bought our first house a few months ago! Since then, we've been decorating, nesting, and exploring our new town. Last week, we tried a new restaurant - Bourbon BBQ Hickory Smokehouse in Wyckoff, New Jersey. We walked in, and it felt very homey. It's pretty small (about 12 tables) and very casually decorated. Any restaurant that has a roll of paper towels on each table is OK by me. They also had various homemade bbq sauces on the table which my husband loved to sample. We liked it from the moment we walked in!

We visited on a Thursday, and there were a lot of people dining. Always a good sign. My husband was smart enough to read up on the place beforehand, and it's BYOB. We brought a bottle of chardonnay, which ended up being a funny conversation starter with our very nice waiter. Later, an older gentleman came over (who we think was the owner/manager) that was very sweet - he said he lived in our town for 33 years and chatted with us for a while. Very friendly and welcoming staff!

Now to the food. We ordered 6 buffalo wings as an appetizer. They came out with bbq sauce instead, but we ate them anyway. Very well cooked and crispy, good flavor. For dinner I got a half rack of ribs, fries and mashed potatoes. Can you believe the below is a HALF rack of ribs?! They were very good, I can't believe I almost finished them. Fries were good - nicely seasoned and crispy. The mashed potatoes were very good - I like a hearty, thicker mashed. They came with gravy on top which isn't my favorite, but it was pretty good nonetheless. My husband got the sampler - ribs, brisket and pulled pork. He liked the ribs and brisket. He said the pulled pork wasn't bad, he just wished they were a little smokier. All in all, the food was great, the atmosphere was warm and laid back, and the staff couldn't have been nicer. We will definitely be back and bring our friends!





Hope you guys enjoyed! If you are in the area and love bbq, you should pay them a visit! xo

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looking for the BEST Donuts Ever? Your Search is Over!


Everyone has that food or dessert that reminds them strongly of their childhood. Judickies Bakery in Bayonne NJ does that for me. Every Sunday dinner, holiday or birthday, my grandparents would stop at this fabulous local bakery and pick up the most delicious donuts on the planet. “Dunkin Donuts donuts are great too!” you argue. They are. But there’s something manufactured about Dunkin Donuts and chain bakeries to me.

Judickies donuts are different. They taste like…a little Italian woman is in the back rolling out the dough and preparing them by hand with care. Deep frying them. Choosing what sprinkles to decorate the tops with. Putting the new batch in the front bakery window. They taste like LOVE. As an adult, my eyes still light up when my grandmother brings a dozen to a family gathering. They are just as good as the first day I bit into one. If you are remotely in the area of Bayonne, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a sprinkle donut!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Candied Grapefruit Cupcakes! Food Network Recipe and Mother's Day Weekend Food!

Hi friends! I hope all the mommas out there had a wonderful mother’s day! I was very fortunate to get to see my mom and my mother in law in the same weekend! We had a barbeque at our place on Saturday, and took my mom to brunch on Sunday. See photos below!

So the real reason for this post - I made these killer cupcakes! I wanted to try something new and fun. I subscribe to Food Network magazine (which I absolutely devour each month, so much great info) and these citrusy cupcakes caught my eye. I will tell you – they are time consuming to make from start to finish. I think it took me about 2 hours to make the batter, let the cupcakes bake, make the frosting, then candy the fruit. All in all, I think it was totally worth it because they seemed to be a big hit!

They were sweet and tart all at once! The candied zest really adds a little extra something to it. They're a great alternative to just plain old chocolate and vanilla cupcakes - refreshing and springy!

Now, for the rest of Mother's Day weekend!

My awesome husband and his new baby! Let's just say we've been eating a whole lot of awesome grilled meats!


Example: This perfect lamb cooked two ways. It was absolutely delicious!




Growing up, my parents always had fresh flowers in the house. So now I do the same thing! Bought these beautiful lillies from Shop Rite, believe it or not!

My lovely mother in law came over for a BBQ!



My sister in law brought over her fondue set. We had chocolate fondue with fruit for dessert!



On Sunday, we took my mom to this cute little brunch place in Fort Lee called Khloe Bistrot
The furniture and decor was very antiquey and quirky.
And the most important part - the food was fantastic!
It's a very small place, and the food took a little while to come out, but everyone enjoyed their food. Very highly recommended. It's BYOB so we brought a few bottles of white wine. So fun!


And last but not least - my "little" brother is all grown up!
He moved out of the house and has his own awesome apartment all to himself.
So proud of him!

Hope you guys enjoyed this post! If you're interested in the Pink Grapefruit cupcake recipe, click this link!