Friday, February 20, 2015

{Love in the Kitchen}: Raspberry Scones

I happen to love scones, although I don't bake them as often as I have in times past.  (And the reason for that is purely to steer clear of the temptation they bring...)  Still, whenever the opportunity for an occasional indulgence arises, like my recent Afternoon Tea fete while vacationing, I pause for the cause of scrumptious eats.  

The recent Valentine's Day stirring got me to contemplating recipes that I could make with a Valentine's twist.  And my beautiful copper biscuit cutters that I snagged during my travels last month, which happened to include heart-shaped ones, became just the inspiration I needed to return to the world of magnificent, homemade scones.  (Heart-shaped, no less.) 

I was drawn to the recipe for Raspberry Scones because, well, it included the traditional 'red-themed' accent that comes along with traditional V-day territory. (A bit corny, perhaps.)  And it read like a dream--although I've only used dried fruits in my scones in the past, so kneading the fresh raspberries into the dough, without making the biggest mess ever, was a feat.  The final look was a bit messier than usual, but taste trumps all, in the end.

So, if you're up for some love in the kitchen (and who isn't?), give these scones a try.  They come together and bake off quickly--and the bright and gorgeous raspberry hue gives them a rustic finish that's quite beautiful, if you agree that less than perfect can still be beautiful.  Finally, pair them with some delicious jam, or whipped cream, or both, for the ultimate breakfast, brunch, and tea bite.

Happy Eating!

Raspberry Scones
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar  
1 tablespoon baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt  
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 
3/4 cup buttermilk  
1 large egg yolk 
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 ounces)


Preheat oven to 400. In a food processor, pulse together flour, cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse until pea-size pieces form. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg yolk. Slowly pour buttermilk mixture through feed tube into processor, pulsing until dough just comes together.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle raspberries on top. Knead three times to fold in raspberries (there may be loose pieces of dough and a stray berry or two). Gather and pat dough into a 1-inch-thick square and cut or pull apart into 2-inch pieces. Place pieces, about 2 inches apart, on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle tops with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let scones cool slightly on sheets on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

{Eat.Drink.Shop.}: London's Borough Market

I was truly blessed to begin the new year indulging in one of my favorite passions: travel.  Returning to two of my best-loved destinations, Paris (my absolute favorite!) and London, for a winter vacation getaway was nothing short of thrilling, invigorating, and pure, unadulterated joy.  If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall me sharing a few photo highlights from my journey.  And because there's never enough time to share everything when you're in the moment, I will continue to share my most special moments and memories in the days ahead.  

To kick things off, today's post is dedicated to London's superbly fabulous Borough Market.  To say it's my kind of place is an understatement of grand proportions.  As soon as I arrived, I smiled broadly and deeply and took in as much of this treasure as I could before heading off to my appointment across town for Afternoon Tea (but we'll save that for another post.)  

My first encounter at the market was a full-on cooking demonstration with a menu of roast duck with baked heritage carrots and whole roast celeriac--not too shabby.  Had it not been for the lunch of gourmet fish and chips I had just consumed before arriving, I would have been all over that duck. :)  Thankfully, I was able to snag a copy of the recipes for my own keeping and relishing, and I have every intention of recreating those delicacies in my kitchen.

The market combined the best of outdoor gourmet food purveyors (think endless varieties of freshly baked breads, cheeses, chocolate truffles, ciders--I warmed myself with a scrumptious apple cider--fresh fruits, and so much more) with quaint eateries serving up the best in seafood, coffee, chocolate, and so on, to a specialty kitchen shop, bakery school, fresh flower market and more!  There was literally something for everyone and every taste.  And bringing it all together were the fabulous views of astounding architecture, both old and modern, that surrounded me, to inspire even heightened wanderlust.  

I could truly envision myself spending untold hours taking in this foodie mecca if London were my home--or at least if I had more time to spare while visiting.  But, alas, that's what repeat visits are for, no?  

A perfect view of the London Shard: purported as the tallest building in Western Europe
I don't imagine any future jaunts to London will be complete without a visit to Borough Market.  Without a doubt, it represented the epitome of...

Happy Eating & Happy Travels!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Maple and Black Pepper Glazed Bacon

So everything's better with bacon?  Well, if that's really the truth (and it is), then what do you say for MAPLE AND BLACK PEPPER glazed bacon?!  I'll let you happily ponder that for a moment...and while you're at, go ahead and grab a baking pan and rack, the star ingredient, some maple syrup, and freshly ground black pepper--and get ready to indulge in the perfect bite (read: sweet-salty-spicy-all-in-one).  

I don't do (pork) bacon very often, admittedly, but when looking to bring an extra special touch to the table, this recipe is worth the extra indulgence.  Pair with pancakes, or any of your favorite breakfast and brunch bites--or even serve as an indulgent appetizer course for "can't get enough" noshing.  

No matter how you slice serve it, it's guaranteed to please and evoke...Happy Eating!

Maple and Black Pepper Glazed Bacon

1/2 lb. thick cut bacon
Maple Syrup
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack over a baking pan and place bacon on rack in a single layer.  Roast bacon in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until it begins to crisp. 

Remove pan from oven and brush bacon on each side with the syrup and sprinkle with pepper.  Return pan to oven and continue to roast for another 3-5 minutes until crisped through.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

(Cook's Note: If you don't have a baking rack, place bacon on a baking pan in a single layer.  Before adding the syrup and pepper, remove bacon and drain the excess fat from the pan.  Also allow bacon to drain on paper towels for a couple of minutes before serving to blot any additional fat.)


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

The Winter season is definitely alive and well, as evidenced by the recent snow storms and arctic-like chill taking place.  Right behind the priority of staying safe and warm, typically comes the desire for warm, comforting fare that will perfectly knock off the chill and make cabin-fever something to be relished rather than dreaded.  And here enters the perfect cold weather antidote to fit the bill:  my (no recipe) Chicken and Vegetable Soup.

The best things in life can sometimes, quite actually, be the easiest--and most delicious.  And this soup proves that with a bit of pantry and refrigerator foraging, that couldn't be any truer.  Gathering up staples that you've likely got on hand to assemble a quick, easy and satisfying soup, is just what the doctor ordered when good, fast, comfort food is on the agenda.  Canned beans, broth, fresh veggies, seasonings, spices, and a store-bought rotisserie chicken, combine to give you home-cooked goodness--without having much of anything to cook. 

A quick heat through to warm and flavor the broth and ingredients (I like my veg to remain crisp, so I don't simmer for very long) takes sheer minutes and you're off to "homemade" soup heaven to keep that winter chill at bay.

I chose a favorite pantry staple of cannellini beans and fresh vegetables including fennel, carrots, red bell pepper and jalapeno.  The shredded chicken, seasonings and spices (cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper) rounded it out and made for a flavorful broth turned soup-base.  For the finish, I added a spritz of fresh lemon juice, fennel fronds and jalapeno peppers (optional).

Happy Eating!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Creole-Spiced Shrimp and Polenta

Some dishes are made to bring pure, unadulterated joy.  For me, that usually entails bold, unforgettable flavors and some measure of comfort-food-esque, homey goodness.  This past weekend, that joy was realized in my kitchen, as it has been so many times before, as I brought together two of my favorite things: bold, creole flavored shrimp and creamy polenta (a slight twist on the beloved shrimp and grits).  

So first about the shrimp (they deserve their own homage).  As the undisputed star of the dish, along with its natural, rich, dark, spice and flavor laden juices, it couldn't be easier to prepare.  A simple assembly and toss of the majority of the ingredients, followed by an oven-bake of 30 minutes, yields perfectly cooked, scrumptious, bread-sopping (with or without the polenta) noshing--and makes this dish perfect for when you're looking to get dinner on the table in under an hour (read: busy weeknights or lazy weekends) or equally when looking to serve up a bit of wow-appeal to guests and fellow diners.  Easy, quick, and oh so good.  Got it?

When I first started making this dish, it was just me, those irresistible shrimp, crusty bread for sopping up those must-have juices that form while they're baking in the oven and (possibly) a mixed greens salad here and there.  Then one day not so long ago, it dawned on me that this would make the perfect marriage with a base of creamy, luscious polenta, similar to our Southern classic of shrimp and grits.  And wah-la, the rest was history. 

So as you continue to brave the cold, wintery days ahead, be sure to infuse your eats with a bit of uncontainable goodness and joy with this simple, yet satisfying, recipe.

Happy Eating!

Creole-Spiced Shrimp and Polenta
(Cook's Note: For the shrimp, you can use as much (or as little) of the spicier ingredients as you like to suit your palate.) 
A bit of pre-dinner mise en place

Creole-Spiced Shrimp
Instant Polenta
Water (milk or broth, optional)

When shrimp has about 10 minutes or so left in the oven, bring a large pot of water to a boil. (Cook's Note: Use a ration of 3-parts liquid to 1-part polenta).
Once water has reached a boil, add in salt to flavor and then stir in polenta and stir continually until done (also following package instructions, as needed).  

Remove shrimp pouch(es) from oven.  Serve over polenta in individual servings or in a large family style serving platter.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

{Be Inspired!}: 2015, Better Than Ever

It's 2015!  Although it's reality now, the sound of it still strikes me as a bit futuristic, somehow.   And for this new year, I'm once again reaching for the best--the best of my personal self and growth, the best in my relationships, the best in my career, goals, dreams and aspirations--and the best of D.M.R. Fine Foods (which actually represents a mix of them all.)

So before too much more time elapses, I want to know what 'best' looks like to you this year.  What are your dreams? Goals? Inspirations? Plans?  AND...what would you like to see more of from DMRFF?  

I'll continue sharing more of the food, travel, culture, lifestyle, and inspiration for the good life that we've done in the past (with a few new additions perhaps :)), but I want to know what specifically resonates with you and keeps you coming back for more.

I'd love it if you would drop me an email or leave a few comments on the post to share your thoughts; hearing from you is always a highlight for me and will help us navigate the road to best together! 

Thank you & Happy Inspired Living!

Image Source


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

{In Case You Missed It}: 2014 Highlights

When 2014 began, I couldn't have dreamed of all the great things in store for me and D.M.R. Fine Foods. And now that we're at the very end, I can honestly say that it was a year filled with some of my best moments in food, travel, culture and lifestyle inspiration!  

The highlights included having my dream of launching my very own cooking school become a reality, to more wonderful travel, to continued sharing of my love of food through favorite recipes, writing and collaborations, to a very festive, fun and delicious holiday pop-up shop, to working and connecting with some of Atlanta's premier restaurants, festivals and design brands.  And lastly, but never least, it was another great year of having the opportunity to share with the readers and supporters of D.M.R. Fine Foods! 

Thank you for your continued support and feedback.  Here's to an even greater year ahead and to sharing it all with you!  Check out some of my favorite 2014 moments in this short video, and I'll see you in 2015!

Here's to the Happiest of New Years!

xx, Dawn