Monday, January 25, 2016

Rosemary-Thyme Cornbread Madeleines

I'll be honest.  There was a moment (or two or three) when I wondered if any semblance of a real winter would ever surface.  70+ degree temps through Christmas bode less than favorably for this Southern girl who longed for the more characteristically cooler weather that winter dreams are made of.  (And to finally be able to sport my new coat that I snagged in eager anticipation of some serious stylin' and profilin'.) :)

And then there was this past weekend.  Winter decided to dust off any remaining cobwebs from last year and finally make its entrance--accompanied by a blizzard effect in some parts of the country, and a milder, yet welcomed, cold snap in my parts.  Fleeting snowflakes made for warm and cozy inclinations, including whipping up some chicken soup for the soul--and baking a batch of homemade, herbed cornbread madeleines.  Life was as it should be.

Starting with my trusted cornbread recipe, I gave a savory twist to these delicacies--replete with fresh rosemary and thyme--and the yield was just as scrumptious as my sweet renditions.  And just as gorgeous.  Although the temps have already begun their ascent back to milder days of yore, I'll continue to relish my soup and cornbread combo--made all the better in the beautiful little package of madeleines.  

Happy Eating!

Rosemary-Thyme Cornbread Madeleines
1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs 

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
Heavy drizzle of honey (optional)

Special Equipment: Madeleine Baking Pan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease and flour the baking pan.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, pour the butter into a large bowl and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and stir to combine. To the large bowl, add the milk, eggs and honey (if using). Toss in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter into a madeleine pan(s) using a tablespoon measure.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until madeleines are light brown and the edges are browned (don't overbake!).  Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  (Repeat as often as necessary with remaining batter.) Serve warm and enjoy!


Friday, January 15, 2016

{Put an Egg on It}: Recipes, Cooking Techniques & More!

Herbed Baked Eggs
Welcome to the wonderful world of eggs!  Boiled. Baked. Scrambled. Poached. Frittatas. Omelets. (Okay, by now you get the picture.)  The incredible, edible egg is indeed one versatile and mouth-watering star ingredient fueling some of our most delicious dreams. 

I, for one, have taken to incorporating them into my diet more since the new year debuted (the boiled variety is a favorite for protein-fueled breakfasts and snacking).  But did you ever consider that when it comes to preparing them, technique is involved?  Well, there is.  And today's post is dedicated to all the egg-noshing, technique, and etiquette savvy, that I can muster.  If you're like me, you'll soon be saying, 'put an egg on it!'. 

Recipes ~

Herbed Baked Eggs are one of my absolute favorite ways to indulge.  Easy, yet elegant, they're even great for entertaining (think brunch).  For more ways to indulge, here are 44 (yes, 44) additional recipes to keep your egg recipe rotation in high gear.

Technique ~ 

What every good cook needs, but admittedly sometimes lacks, is the skill to pull off the runny, poached egg, light and fluffy omelet, and immaculate golden yolk that boiled eggs are made of.  If that's someone you know ;), then help is here.  These tips and tricks will have your egg game strong before you can say, 'what's for breakfast?'.

Etiquette ~ 

And once all the "work" is done, all that's left is the eating, right?  Well, before you do, make sure you know exactly how to eat them.  My quick and fun dining tutorial will equip you in no time.

Now... on to Happy Eating!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

{Taste of Atlanta}: Eight Sushi Lounge

Ceviche -- Ocean trout, tomatoes, sweet red onion, avocado and a yuzu dressing
As the Atlanta restaurant scene continues to burgeon, the Westside recently welcomed another newcomer to the fold.  Eight Sushi Lounge officially opened its doors in late November of last year--wooing diners with exquisite and creatively delicious sushi, sashimi and Japanese fare coupled with modernly styled interiors--and is worthy to helm the top of your restaurant outings in the New Year.

I dined at the restaurant in early December and feasted on an exceptional tasting menu that was as notable for its creativity and sheer beauty, as it was for the scrumptious fare.  And although my party was seated at one of the many cozy tables, no trip would be complete without even a momentary visit to the open sushi bar to witness art in the making.

Miso Steak -- Ribeye steak glazed with miso compote served alongside seasonal vegetables
Tuna Crisp -- Ponzu mayo, sliver sweet red onion, truffle oil
Eggs Benedict -- Bed of rice, spicy tuna, shiso leaf, sunny side up quail egg
Located in the Brady Complex at 930 Howell Mill Rd. NW, the restaurant is open nightly for dinner--and represents another delicious taste of Atlanta. ($$$)

Happy Eating!

Photos courtesy of Eight Sushi Lounge


Thursday, December 31, 2015

{In Case You Missed It}: 2015 Highlights

As I approach the end of another year (five years and running now for the blog), it has become clearer to me than ever that the love and sweat poured into D.M.R. Fine Foods is worth every ounce of effort.  Sharing my passions with you here and beyond, and getting to experience them in newer and more exciting ways during this past year, has made 2015 nothing short of phenomenal.  While you're always welcome (and encouraged) to devour the archives, I want to encapsulate the highlights that set 2015 apart for D.M.R. Fine Foods--and have us raring to go for an even greater 2016!

Where to start? There was no shortage of great recipes that made for a delicious year from start to finish.  Favorites included Rustic Strawberry Jam Crostini, Chilled Red Pepper Soup, Strawberry-Basil Sorbet, Buffalo Hot Wings, Crispy Flatbread Pizza, Raspberry-Ricotta Cake and so much more! Visit our recipes page to see them all.

Beyond my own cooking and baking forays, were equally delicious restaurant tastings and brand openings, food festivals, including the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival and perennial Taste of Atlanta Festival.  Not to mention the thrill of my award of dinner for two at the Beard House in NYC from the James Beard Foundation and a share of this post on their Instagram feed. Swoon!

And last, but certainly not least, was the continuation of my beloved Pop-Up Cooking School and Holiday Pop-Up Shop.  

I started the year with an enviable travel bucket list that combined long-standing favorites with new, yet to be seen, territory.  I'm elated to share that I made every place on the list (with an extra or two along the way)--with the exception of one due to a last minute downturn in weather.  You'll have to stick around in 2016 to learn which one that is because I won't let it get by me next year.   

What could be dreamier than starting my year in travel in Paris and London for a winter holiday?  It was followed by weekend getaways, R&R beach escapes, NYC, and finally Argentina and Uruguay.  Laden with beauty, great food, amazing people and cultures, adventure, shopping, art and more, as travel goes, it was phenomenal on all counts. I'll be sharing more in upcoming travel postcards, so wait to be inspired.

A passion of mine since seemingly forever (just ask my mom), I loved bringing more of myself to the blog on this front.  From beach style, to Labor Day garb, to New York Fashion Week(!!!), 2015 served up some truly memorable moments in fashion.

From interiors to dining alfresco to makeup and beauty to simple pleasures, there was no shortage of lifestyle inspiration in 2015.    

Beyond the festivals, restaurants, businesses and brands I was fortunate to work with this year, my collaborations as a contributing writer with Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine's For the Love of Food column and as a PopSugar Select Food member continued in full force.  I was also proud to add UPSCALE Magazine to the list as a contributor to their annual Luxury Hotel and Spa Guide in the June 2015 issue.

The biggest thrill of them all remains connecting with my readers, supporters and patrons through the blog, events, social media and beyond.  Thank you for the support and enthusiasm that makes it doubly fulfilling.  I hope you enjoyed all we had to share in 2015 and stay plugged in as the New Year unfolds.  (**Check out this quick video collage of some of the year's favorite moments.) 
Here's to the happiest of New Years--and may it be our best one yet!



Friday, December 18, 2015

The Holidays! {A Playlist}

Did anyone ever dare to celebrate the holiday season and make merry without music (errr, a playlist)? Well in case there's the remote chance that you haven't given the slightest thought to festive tunes, or would prefer a little help on this front, allow me to share a few of my favorites.

From classic, nostalgia-inducing songs, to soul-stirring renditions, to a hint of pop and old school hip-hop (no rhyme intended), this playlist has something for everyone's musical delight and is equally perfect for entertaining.

So here's to more merry, merry and happy, happy in your holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Citrus Pound Cake

I spent my recent Sunday afternoon drinking in the fading sunshine... and baking a cake.  It wasn't the fancier variety of cake that may immediately come to mind.  But one equally special, all the same--and for all the right reasons.  Reasons like a beautiful, moist crumb, and wave upon wave of citrus infusion.  From zest and juice, to syrup and glaze, there was no mistaking the bright flavors and under notes that have made this cake a personal favorite for many years now.  I especially love it during the holidays when a little something extra special is the order of the day. And slice after decadent slice proves perfectly special.

Rather than go my more traditional route of lemon only (lemon pound cake is a wonder), I decided to mix things up a bit more and combine the flavors of grapefruit, orange and lemon.  Did I say this was a citrus pound cake?  And it's one of the most addictive desserts (or breakfasts, if you eat cake for breakfast.  I do.)  The absolute best part, however, is that it yields two cakes--one for savoring and one for sharing (or freezing until you're ready to indulge your sweet tooth all over again).

There's really not much left to say, other than you have to bake it.  And thank me later.

Happy Eating!

Citrus Pound Cake
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
4 large eggs, room temperature
Grated zest of one grapefruit, one orange and two lemons
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of citrus juice (combination of 1/4 cup each of grapefruit, orange and lemon), divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons citrus juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the citrus zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup citrus juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup citrus juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the citrus juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.  (Cook's Note: If freezing the cakes, don't apply glaze until you are ready to serve.) Enjoy!   

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Travel Etiquette 101: 3 Steps for Making Every Journey a Success

More than a list of do's and don'ts, etiquette, at the core, is about consideration, courtesy and respect.  And while you may not be able to master the varying customs and norms of every culture, the universally guiding principles of good manners (also known as the golden rule) will carry you far and leave you in good (social) graces.

So wherever your travels take you next, remember to bring along these simple travel etiquette tips for a successful journey.

  • Smile!  A smile can hardly ever be interpreted as anything other than warm, friendly and welcoming.  It's an indispensable asset for establishing positive connections.  

  • If traveling abroad, learning a few basic words or phrases in the local language will both endear you to the locals and enhance your connection.  It's a small sign of respect that will take you far and garner the willingness of others to help you, ultimately making your experiences more rewarding.

  • Relax and remain open to learn new things!  Each journey should enrich your cultural and social I.Q.    

With these tips in tow, being a great global citizen will be easier than ever.

Happy Travels!

This post originally appeared on TravelistaTV.
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