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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Link Love: Easy Holiday How-Tos

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

With Christmas only a few days away, it's safe to assume that most people have gathered and wrapped all of their gifts, planned their menu(s), and staked some time for creative and relaxing indulgences.  Yes?  No.

More likely than not (if you're like most of us--ahem), there's still more to do.  So to help get you (sanely) through the remaining days of planning and prepping, I'm sharing a few of my favorite "how-tos" for everything from simple finishing touches (read: how do I get my gift wrapping to pop?) to DIY bath and home indulgences, to one fabulous starter (or final) course to round out your holiday noshing.

So relax, breathe, indulge--and enjoy a Merry Christmas.

Soothing Bath Soaks
Transform your home bath into a spa-esque sanctuary with tub teas and let relaxation replace holiday stress. (Martha Stewart)  

By Candlelight
The warmth and glow of candles instantly set a mood for equal parts calm and indulgence--and when they're easy, homemade candles, what's not to love? (Eat Boutique)

    Put a Bow On It
If your gift wrapping skills need a boost, let the finishing touch of a perfectly-tied bow do the trick. (BuzzFeed Life)

Say Cheese
Arranging a cheese plate can be tricky--flavors, textures, etc., etc.  These tips for creating a perfect cheese plate will take away the guesswork and leave you with a delicious spread. (Martha Stewart)  

Blessings & Happy Eating!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Pop-Up Shop {Photo Highlights!}

Last weekend reminded me, once again, of what I love so much about food, as I hosted my Holiday Pop-Up Shop. The thrill of creating--and sharing--food that you love and seeing the delight it brings to those who enjoy it is like no other.  I was so fortunate to share my passion with my customers as they tasted, savored and shopped my select holiday menu of cookies, candies and savory treats.  And I was even more elated to witness their wonderful (if not colorful) reactions to my food, up close and personally.  (Every cook's dream and what makes it all worth it, for sure.)

Westside Market served as the beautiful host location for an afternoon of holiday cheer and scrumptious, festive eats that will always be remembered.  While we weren't able to capture each and every customer who supported us during the event, we definitely captured the spirit of them all and invite you to see our photo highlights from the big day!

Thanks again to everyone who supported this event and helped to make it a success!!

Happy Eating & Holidays!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cranberry-Orange Smoothie

Cranberries.  Orange.  If you're like me, these words conjure up notions of delicious holiday fare from luscious cranberry sauce and hand pies to one of my favorite combinations of these classic flavors, cranberry-orange scones.  And now I've discovered yet another delicious (and healthier) combo of these flavors that's also a nice balance to the decadent fare that's the norm during the holiday season: Cranberry-Orange Smoothies.

Frozen cranberries and bananas (I like the frothy effect of frozen fruit), combined with orange juice, low-fat milk and honey, makes for one refreshingly good (and good for you) drink.

Happy Sipping!

Cranberry-Orange Smoothie
Recipe adapted from The Daily Meal

¾ cup orange juice
1 cup of frozen cranberries
1 cup milk (or non-dairy substitute)
1 banana, frozen and quartered
2 teaspoons of honey (or agave nectar)
Combine ingredients in blender (add liquids first).  Blend until smooth and enjoy!