A Girl & Her Food
                   

23.11.16

La Costa #MixedWithTrop

La Costa #MixedWithTrop


Holy smoke!  I have an addiction to mezcal cocktails. Mezcal has been popping up at the liquor store and cocktails are being shaken up at the hottest bars around the country. The smoky flavor of artisanal mezcal is created with a handcrafted process that has been used for hundreds of years. The pinas of the agave plant are cooked on a wood base fire in an underground earth pit lined with volcanic rock, and finally covered by earth for multiple days. I haven’t been lucky enough to see mezcal in production, but I plan to head to Mexico to experience this tradition, hopefully sooner than later. Speaking of traditions, the holidays are approaching, and a mezcal-based cocktail is a funky way to add a warm twist to any festive holiday gathering.  I promise it to be a welcome game-changer. 

The inspiration for my cocktail comes from a local mezcaleria, Mezcaleria Las Flores,  located in a cute North Side Chicago neighborhood. The drink, called the Must Collect, is a silky mix of Balam Raicilla Mezcal, watermelon, Green Chartreuse, fresh lime, honey and cilantro salt. My taste buds were blown away by the accompaniment of the watermelon, honey and cilantro salt. The watermelon was such an excellent way to tie all the flavors together. I can't wait to serve these up in a few weeks! Cheers! And Happy Holidays everyone.
 





La Costa

Makes 8 cocktails

Ingredients:

4 cups of Tropicana Watermelon Juice
1-½ cups of Mezcal (I used Balam Raicilla)
½ cup of fresh lime juice
¾ cup of Green Chartreuse
1/8 cup of honey
8 cups of ice cubes
Cilantro Salt to garnish glasses (recipe below)

Preparation:
In a pitcher, combine the all the ingredients expect the cilantro salt. Stir well. Serve immediately.







Cilantro Salt
Makes about ¾ cup

Ingredients:
1 medium bunch of fresh cilantro (leaves removed from stems)
½ cup of coarse Kosher salt

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Line the baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spread the cilantro leaves out on it in a single layer. Place baking sheet in the oven and let the cilantro dehydrate for about 30 minutes or until the leaves are dry. Let cool.
Using a spice grinder (I used a clean coffee grinder) or mortar and pestles, pulverize the dried cilantro and then stir into coarse salt.


How to line the glass with cilantro salt:

Spread the cilantro salt evenly on a plate.
Squeeze fresh lime juice in shallow bowl of lime juice then dip the rim of your glass or cut a lime and moisten the rim with it.  Next, you dip the rim into the plate of cilantro.

NOTE:

I recommend serving La Costa in an ceramic mug. I purchased mine for $1.99 at Cremeria La Ordeña.






This post was sponsored by Megan Media and Tropicana and all opinions are my own!

27.9.16

Q & A at Chicago Gourmet Sponsor Country Financial with Chef Kevin Hickey and Check Please! Host Cat De Orio




Since 1925, Country Financial has supported the agriculture industry and local famers. They continue to help restaurants understand what it takes to be financially secure in the industry. As an avid home cook and supporter of the farm-to-table movement, and one deeply rooted in the Chicago restaurant scene, I was ecstatic to join Country Financial with Chef Kevin Hickey at Park Grill for an exclusive Q&A session.  The discussion was led by Check Please! host Cat De Orio and Chef Hickey, and they discussed his passion for farm-to-table and what it means for the Chicago restaurant industry.



When I arrived at the Park Grill for the Q&A, I was greeted by a refreshing mimosa and charred beef carpaccio.





I listened to Cat and Kevin discuss how they both attended Green City Market before Chicago Gourmet. It brought a smile to my face as I did the same.   Every Wednesday and Saturday at Green City Market, I run into Chicago chefs picking up the local and seasonal ingredients for their kitchen, and that has in turn inspired me to do the same in my home kitchen. I may have to spend a little more on the plums, potatoes and peppers, but I get to engage with the farmers and know exactly where my food is coming from. I have been a firm believer of quality over quantity and Chef Kevin and Cat affirmed my belief during their Q&A.  The farmers will take time to educate you on their produce, and even offer their recipes on how to prepare!  Who knew you can make an amazing garlic scape pesto??

There aren’t many “food bloggers” in Chicago like me, as I know every farmer and they know me. I take time each season to visit the farms and REALLY understand the process from seed to harvest to table.  To be honest, it tastes so much better even if it costs a bit more.   There is a sense of satisfaction when you can form a connection with your food.  If we all supported local farms, the cost of their produce would decrease.


After the Q&A, I got to catch up with Cat, who has been a dear friend of mine for many years, and Johanna of Mommacuisine. These girls not only are #girlboss ladies, but they also support the farm-to-table movement in and out of the Chicago restaurant scene.



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of COUNTRY Financial.  The opinions and text are all mine.

28.7.16

Angeleno Magazine's #DineLA2016 7/31 at Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica


Join me at Angeleno’s annual signature culinary event celebrating the best restaurants in the city returns! Bend the standards with us with live music by Dave Damiani and the No Vacancy Orchestra with special guest stars Donny Most and Renee Olstead, beats by RedShoe LA and inventive dishes from the city’s finest chefs.
Enjoy delicious bites by
The Arthur J | Avec Nous | The Belvedere | THE Blvd | Broken Spanish | The Cannibal | Charcoal Venice | Del Frisco's Grille | The District by Hannah An | Everson Royce Bar | FIG | Grand Food & Beverage | Hanjip | Herringbone Santa Monica | Kali | Knead & Co. Pasta Bar | Little Sister | Locanda Del Lago | M Café | Moruno | Obicà Mozzarella Bar | Pizzeria il Fico | Porta Via | The Raymond 1886 | Redbird | SALT | Salt's Cure | Sambar | Spread Mediterranean Kitchen | Trois Familia | Union | Viviane | Wally’s Beverly Hills | WEST Restaurant & Lounge | WOLF
Cocktails, wines and sips served by
Angel City Brewery | Cast & Plow | Gran Cosecha Tequila | Icelandic Glacial | Jarritos | Kim Crawford Wines | Koffee Reinvented | Malibu Beach Inn | Rattleback Rye | Red Bull | Santeria Rum | 50 Bleu Vodka
Thank you to our partners
Argyle Grant | Choura Events | Delta Air Lines | The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows | F. Ron Smith and David Berg of Partners Trust | Gentry Jackson | KCBS 2 | KCAL 9 | O'Gara Coach Company
A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Mission, so refunds are politely declined. All guests must be 21+ with ID to attend and require ticket (printed or digital) to enter.

To purchase TICKETS, click HERE 

15.7.16

windy city smoke out and TownPlace Suites





Come join me and TownePlace Suites by Marriott 
for their upcoming, brand new partnership with ? that will be announced at Windy City SmokeoutTo celebrate the new partnership, and kick off the Windy City Smokeout weekend, TownePlace Suites is hosting a celebrity BBQ battle with country music trio Sister C vs. musicians Jordan Gray & Joey HydeThe exclusive event takes place Friday, July 15 at 1:15pm.


For tickets, click here 




24.6.16

Grilled Portabello Caprese using @StellaCheeses Fresh Mozzarella







The best part of dairy, in my opinion, is by far what is considered FRESH CHEESE.  It comes in so some many different textures, from so many different milks, from different animals, all having its own unique flavor.  Different cheeses are to be enjoyed in different settings.  One of my favorites however, due to its versatility, is mozzarella.   The range in flavor from different mozzarella is extraordinary, and I can always make use of it in whatever dish I am cooking.   One of my favorites is Stella Fresh Mozzarella.  I love to use Stella’s to either just cut up and enjoy with some fresh tomato, basil, olive oil, and a nice balsamic vinaigrette for a fresh salad (so simple!), or sometimes I’ll step it up a notch and transform into a tasty melted delight.  For today’s post, I’m going to share with you a grilled portabello caprese! Click here to receive a coupon towards your Stella Fresh Mozzarella purchase. 

Ingredents:

2-3 portabella caps
2-3 Stella Cheese fresh mozzarella, sliced
2-3 tomato, sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Balsamic vinegar to drizzle 
Salt and pepper to taste




Preparation:

Preheat grill to medium high heat. 

Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.


Grill mushrooms with gill facing up for about 8-10 mins. 


Slice Stella's fresh Mozzarella 




Slice the tomato


Chiffonade the basil 


Top portabella with tomato and cheese 




 Place the grill pan under the broil until mozzarella melts and bubbles. 

Remove from grill pan and dress with basil and drizzle balsamic vinegar. 





Serve and Enjoy!


For more Stella Cheese recipes or information, head to Stella Cheese because #freshisbest! 







20.5.16

Grilled Beer Can Turkey


As Chicago’s weather seems to be cooperating, grilling season is FINALLY upon us…  And that means its time to head outdoors, and enjoy the warmer temperatures with a cold brewski and some cooked protein. One of my favorite things to enjoy in the summer is a juicy beer can chicken.  But seeing as I missed Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be fun to feast on a beer can turkey with crispy skin and juicy succulent meat.  As turkey is usually found dry on so many tables, this is a sure fire way to keep things tasty and moist.  It is hands down my favorite way to enjoy this bird, and there is no reason to wait until November to eat turkey again!  Try it! For additional recipes, head to The National Turkey Federation! 





 ingredients

1     1 12-14 pound turkey, cavity cleaned, rinsed and patted dry    
       2 1 pint Half Acre Daisy Cutter
1     1 cup water



For the Rub:

1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

preparation


Preheat the grill to 350 degrees. Prepare the chicken by applying your spice rub, making sure to season the meat under the skin of the turkey. Season the cavity and skin with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice  Place the turkey on the open beer can so that the beer can is inside the cavity of the turkey. Make sure the beer can is open and half full, I recommend drinking the first half, or it will explode. You can also cut the top of the can completely off, using a can opener, which will allow for extreme succulence. Place the turkey upright on the grill over the grill pan and over indirect heat. Grill the turkey, covered for about  1 1/2 hour - 2 hours.  Enjoy!