Entries Tagged as 'Easy'

Breakfast Sliders, Three Ways

0

27.6.14

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

Yes, because this happened.

Breakfast sandwiches are my undoing. My. Undoing.

They also happen to be one of the easiest things to throw together if you’re hosting a big brunch. Why put together a giant, meticulous meal if you all drank a little too much the night before and all you need is a hangover cure? Hold the grease.

One of my biggest qualms with the breakfast sausage they sell at my Safeway is that the patties are a little too small for a normal English muffin. So this time, I figured, you know? Why not cut biscuits and eggs to fit the sausage perfectly? And that is how the breakfast sandwich sliders were born. I’d recommend prepping all of the ingredients first, and setting up a breakfast sandwich slider bar — with the bases, proteins, and toppings all there for everyone to make on their own.

That’s what we did, anyway :)

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

From left to right:

{ the classic }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, cheddar

{ onion jack }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, pepper jack, caramelized onions

{ the california }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, spicy tomato mayo, avocado

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

Breakfast Sandwich Sliders, recipe after the jump (more…)

Popsicle Swap

0

19.6.14

I told you about my office’s soup swap before, which we copied from Shaeda’s office on the Hill. But since soup swap started, our little creative office decided that soup is just not enough. We evolved with cheese swaps, cookie swaps, and with the recent heat waves, have moved on to popsicle swaps.

But seriously, DC was the hottest spot in the nation yesterday at noon. Hotter than Death Valley. DEATH. VALLEY.

Meanwhile, I took a lunch break trip to Marshall’s, and when my coworkers asked me how it was outside, my response was “not bad.” Who am I?

Anyway, our popsicle swaps happen every Thursday afternoon for a few weeks. Each week, three members of our team bring in enough of one kind of popsicle for everyone to try. You have one (or two) on popsicle swap day, and the rest are stored in the freezer for you to munch on later in the week.

It’s a nice little break for our little muggy office. I meant to make my own popsicles for the swap, but with catsitting this little dude, freelance and AirBnb, I’ve just been a little too busy. In honor of popsicle swap, I’ve pulled together a few of the recipes that I’m just dying to try for this summer.

In the market for some popsicle molds? These are my fave.

margarita popsicles // sweetsonian

Margarita pops, because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Look at that pretty green hue!

blood orange popsicles // sweetsonian

Blood Orange Popsicles — my favorite citrus fruit, ever.

honey yogurt berry popsicles // sweetsonian

Honey yogurt berry pops — creamy and relatively healthy.

greek yogurt fudgesicles // sweetsonian

Greek yogurt fudgesicles — probably my favorite way to eat Greek yogurt. Ever.

While you’re at it, check out some of my other Sweetsonian cold treats: 

almond ice cream // saltine brownie ice cream sammies // firecracker popsicles

mint chip ice cream // honey vanilla affogato // strawberries & cream icebox bars

And, if you’re not following along on social media, check out Sweetsonian here!

{ facebook // twitter // instagram // pinterest }

Crab and Artichoke Green Salad

2

13.6.14

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

When the weather gets warm, I get food lazy. As in, I’m too lazy to actually cook, and end up just throwing together meals I can eat raw — salads, carrots and hummus, fruit… you know. And it’s okay, because the produce tastes better in these warmer months, anyway. I’m just waiting for it to get really hot, because the only good part about heat and humidity is the tomato season.

And when summer hits, you start hearing everyone talking about adventuring for some crab meat — in this part of the U.S., that means getting your hands covered in Old Bay and picking away at some Maryland Blue Crab.

My first foray into crab-eating was when I waited tables — at that seafood restaurant in Southern California, that I’ve written about so much. I know pretty much everything there is to know about seafood because of that job, and I’m generally grateful for that.

At the restaurant, we had live dungeness crabs, but in most of the salads, like around most of the U.S., we used canned jumbo lump crab meat, caught and packaged in the South Pacific (not so glamorous, but just say “South Pacific” and everything sounds better).

Now that I live so close to Maryland, pickin’ at crab is a cherished summer activity, perhaps after a beautiful day sailing or floating on a donut-shaped inner tube at the shark tooth capital of the world. If you have access to fresh jumbo lump crab meat at your grocery store, it will taste slightly less briny and will only be slightly more expensive — but otherwise, canned jumbo lump crab meat works a-okay.

The tartness from the lemon makes this salad perfect for a hot day, provided you’ve just pulled the ingredients out of the fridge. I, in fact, ate one for dinner one night, and jarred another to take to work the next day. The flavors held up perfectly.

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

Crab and artichoke green salad // sweetsonian

 

Crab and Artichoke Green Salad, derived from the Fast Diet Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 can artichoke hearts
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3.5 oz.  lump crab meat
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced chives
salt and pepper
1.5 teaspoons olive oil
3.5 oz (ish) arugula or mixed greens

Instructions: 

First, remove and drain both the crab meat and artichokes from their respective cans. While they’re draining, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and minced garlic in a small bowl.  Slice the artichokes, if you prefer.

Toss the greens, chives, artichokes, and crab meat with the dressing. Serve with fresh shavings of parmesan cheese.

Hazelnut Lemon Cake with Roasted Blueberries

0

09.6.14

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Summer has arrived, swiftly warning me of its brutality.

Today is my day off — I didn’t have much planned except for yoga this evening, but Kristen invited me to speak to her 6th and 7th graders about having a career in art. While one class seemed more interested in knowing if I knew “how to hack” or not (I told them that Google knew every single thing they did on the internet, so it was in their best interest to not hack), some students were genuinely interested in learning more about art and design.

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

I sure wish I had someone to talk to about careers in creative when I was younger! My newspaper advisor in high school (now a client!) was always supportive of my want to pursue design as a career, but being part of a family who only cared about finance made art school impossible.

It’s weird, isn’t it? I have friends working in almost every industry that exists. Some whose parents are creatives and encouraged creative careers — some of that backfires and sometimes it works. There seems to be a delicate balance. My parents strongly (forcefully) encouraged me to pursue finance and accounting. Sophomore year of college, I took an accounting class, and was doing pretty well. I hated every minute of every econ class I ever took, and I went into that accounting class with an A. But halfway through the final, I thought to myself, why the hell am I here? I hate accounting. I refuse to ever take another accounting class again.

So I walked out of the final exam. I got a C.

My dad wanted to kill me, but I knew I had made the right decision. It was the decision to choose my own courses, and to finally stop letting my parents dictate what I wanted. Back then, I wanted to be a CIA operative. I started taking Arabic classes, and I excelled. My parents rolled their eyes.

And don’t get me wrong, I loved my college experience, and my Arabic wasn’t bad — I had a couple of job offers for career paths close to being a CIA operative (but not quite the real thing). And I liked it, but there’s just no comparison to how much I love what I do now. I don’t think time was wasted, per se, but man, twenty-seven year old Sarah would loooove to travel back to 2004 and whisper some advice to high school Sarah. It wouldn’t be to specifically go to art school, but it would have been to stop letting my parents scare me into a career that I didn’t want.

Instead of the year and a half of economics classes for the business major, I could have been taking illustration and design. I can take those classes now, but sometimes, I wish I had a better base.

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Of course, the grass is always greener. Who knows, if I went to art school when I was an undergrad, the recession could have killed any marketing budgets that could have funded a budding career — especially in Los Angeles.

It’s one of the many reasons why I love talking to kids about my job. I tell them about how I always loved art and creativity, and that I was somehow able to make it my full-time job, and that these days, it’s much easier to find work in creative than it was ten years ago. And half of the interesting stuff lies in the fact that I didn’t go to art school. I technically didn’t have to go to school at all. But it shows that you don’t need a degree in whatever the rest of your life will be spent doing.

And when the kids ask me how many hours I spend working, it’s always shocking to add it up and tell them sometimes up to 70 hours a week. I can see their eyes bug out, but I always supplement it with telling them: You know, if you’re lucky enough to really love your work, it won’t always feel like work. Which is true. Now, if I could just turn writing this blog and making yummy treats my full-time job. That would be a treat, wouldn’t it?

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Hazelnut Lemon Cake with Roasted Blueberries, adapted from Diana Rossen Worthington

Ingredients:

3/4 cup hazelnuts, finely ground
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Zest of half a lemon

1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned and picked over
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Combine the flour, walnut meal, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork, and set aside.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the sour cream and lemon zest. Slowly add the dry ingredients (I have this thing to keep my KitchenAid mixer from spraying flour all over the counter) and mix until just blended.

Pour the batter into your loaf pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Pour the blueberries into a baking dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with brown sugar and butter, and stir to combine. Roast them in the oven until the blueberries are about to burst — about 10 minutes.

Serve each slice of cake with a spoonful of roasted blueberries, and garnish with mint (optional) if you like.

Matcha & Mint Ice Cream

0

03.6.14

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

Swamped! Too much work. Not enough ice cream.

Hope you all enjoy the mild summer weather we’re having here in DC. And… make this ice cream. You won’t regret it.

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

Matcha Green Tea & Mint Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons ground matcha powder 

 Instructions:

Combine the milk, cream, and matcha powder in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil for just a moment, and reduce the heat to low. Add the mint leaves into the saucepan, stir and muddle with a large spoon, and turn off the heat entirely. Let the cream steep with the mint leaves for 30 minutes to one hour — the longer it steeps, the stronger the mint flavor.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar, mixing with a fork. When you’re done steeping the cream, run the mixture through a sieve to remove the mint leaves. Then, turn the heat back on, and bring the mixture to a boil once more, again, immediately removing the heat once the boil starts.

Using a smaller measuring cup (I used a 1/4 cup), slowly pour the hot mixture into the bowl with one hand as your vigorously stir the mixture with a fork in your other hand. Gradually add one or two cups until the custard is fully incorporated, and then combine the custard with the remaining cream in the saucepan. Run the mixture through a sieve one more time to filter out any egg scrambles. Let chill completely in the fridge, and run the mixture through an ice cream maker according to its manufacturer’s instructions.

Broiled Balsamic Artichokes with Pesto Mayo

0

19.5.14

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

It’s been a while since I worked in the restaurant business. But, aside from the managers I worked for, I do look back on my days as a hostess and waitress pretty fondly. I was by far one of the youngest people working in that restaurant, and frequently referred to as the baby — which I never really minded. It was only another means for me to dip my toes into the social lives of the wait staff of Los Angeles, which is its own beast in and of itself.

Back then, I always felt like I had multiple lives. There was my life at UCSB, pretty and pristine on the beach, with jungle juice (bleghh), running to the Goleta Pier, and fake-fighting with my gay over the hot TA that would eventually become one of my oldest friends. Then, there was my life at the restaurant, counting cash in my parents’ car, triple-seating my ex’s new love interest whenever she picked a fight with the guy, and capping off our late-night shifts with underage cocktails at Fridays (the mojitos were exciting back then, but I shudder at the thought of ever going back to a TGIFridays in the San Fernando Valley). And finally, there was my life at UCLA — football games on the weekends, Red Bull all-nighters in Powell Library, and finally living in my own apartment in Westwood.

The worlds rarely collided. It was as if I teleported between entirely different dimensions when I crossed the borders between Los Angeles, Calabasas, and Santa Barbara.

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

I wouldn’t trade in those days for anything. Since then, friendships have come and gone, and my little brother is even working at that exact restaurant. I see patterns in his social life and his thought processes that reflect what I went through as one of the younger members of a restaurant that was about to graduate from college.

And he mentions things like trying to hide his relationship with another hostess, and, well, I did the same thing when I worked there. But in hindsight, I try to give him advice that would help him be less foolish than I was — even though I know too well that those words of wisdom would be fruitless to a 21-year old in lurve.

Perhaps I don’t want him to get attached because I know that it’s easy to get lost in these worlds. Being 19 or 22 in college in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara feels so unreal at this point in my life. The things I worried about then, the silly problems that stressed me out or made me feel invincible or made me cry — looking back, I wish I knew so much more about why they did or didn’t matter. I come from a family that doesn’t acknowledge emotions at all, so I had no idea what depression was when I went through it. I didn’t know what it was until it hit me in the face. But since leaving California, I feel like I’ve inadvertently surrounded myself with people who have their own stories, their own comparisons of their separate lives that have helped me understand my emotions, how to become more self-aware, and when to recognize when you have real issues to face, or when you’re having a mini panic attack over something that will be an invisible speck in the grand canyon view of your entire life.

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

And really, I’ve just recently come to terms with anxiety — what it is, what it actually feels like, and how to deal with it. Emotions are so incredibly layered, and part of me wishes I met the people I’m so close to now back in high school, when self-awareness could have come in so, so handy. These days, I can just pop some ibuprofen after one too many cocktails, or something else when I realize that I’m physically stressed about something that really doesn’t matter. Like when I’m suddenly overcome with doubt or guilt for some memory that pops into my head from my waiting days or from high school. It’s weird how the littlest memories can strike the most negative or positive emotions for me. Perhaps, you know what I’m talking about.

That being said, science is a wonderful thing. And so are friends who help you through your anxiety. Maybe I’m just rambling at this point.

This recipe was actually one of the recipes on the menu at that restaurant I worked at, where I went through just roller coaster after roller coaster of emotions. I even checked their current menus to see if it was still there, but they’ve since taken this artichoke item off — so I improvised as closely as I could. It was pretty successful, and brought me back a little bit, for better or for worse. For the good moments, it’s nice to sit in bed and reminisce the late nights we spent smoking cigarettes in backyards in Los Angeles, or the pool parties I used to throw in my parents’ Christmas-light-ridden backyard. For the anxiety-inducing moments that I can’t push out of my head on my own, well, there’s always a half a Xanax in my bag. I’ve never been so thankful for science.

Recipe after the jump.

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

(more…)

toad-in-a-hole sriracha grilled cheese

2

13.5.14

toad-in-a-hole sriracha grilled cheese // sweetsonian

Disclaimer: I promised Shaeda I would wait to make this until she was in my apartment. I broke that promise. But can you blame me?

Toad-in-a-holes take me back to being a little kid, visiting my grandmother. I don’t know if you all remember this, but before the American Girl dolls were a thing, the American Girl books and paper dolls were a thing. And being the bookworm that I was, I powered through all of them. Naturally, I look most like Samantha (most is a stretch) so she was my favorite, but my grandmother, having grown up in New York during World War II with the victory gardens and all, well, her favorite was Molly.

And when I was sufficiently obsessed with the book series and the stories of all of the characters (Grandma read every single book after I powered through each one), they came out with a series of cookbooks. I can’t remember if I had every single one, but I know that I had Molly’s. And, one of the recipes we made — usually for breakfast for Grandpa — was the toad-in-a-hole. A piece of toast with a hole in it, and a fried egg right into the bread. It’s delicious.

toad-in-a-hole sriracha grilled cheese // sweetsonian

toad-in-a-hole sriracha grilled cheese // sweetsonian

And I’ve had this idea for a few weeks now. A toad-in-a-hole grilled cheese. It’s been making me salivate. And with all the spin classes I’ve been going to, well, I’ve been letting myself ease into some carbs. So I made this.

But I wanted it to have a kick. So I threw on some sriracha. Obviously, it would be fun to use homemade sriracha, but I haven’t been home much lately, so I haven’t made any of that this year. The classic green top worked out great.

My only regret is that, next time, I’ll add in some slices of avocado. Now that would be perfect.

toad-in-a-hole sriracha grilled cheese // sweetsonian

toad-in-a-hole sriracha grilled cheese // sweetsonian

 

Recipe after the jump. (more…)

Cava Fresh // Harissa Sausage Rolls

0

28.4.14

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

I wanted to save this picnic-y recipe for later in the year — needless to say, the past couple of months have been INSANE and I did so without even trying.

This past weekend was my much-needed antidote to traveling too much and letting stress creep back into my life: spending Friday night relaxing, Saturday at spin and reading on a patio, and Sunday bike riding all over DC and paddle boating in the Tidal Basin really helped me lower the blood pressure spikes that come as a consequence of freelancing too much, wishing I was in New York, and missing the beach.

I will admit, there are plenty of reasons to get tired of DC… but when DC does weather right, it’s just enough to make you fall in love with the city all over again. That sums up my Sunday. Beautiful weather, biking, and a couple of Moscow Mules.

Anyway, it’ll be another long week at work, ending with the most important of all days: the end of my mid-twenties. I’m looking forward to wrapping up some event photography from the day job and relaxing on a patio with the closest of friends, one of them being a a late-twenties favorite — Spanish sangria.

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

Major props to Cava for providing the delicious dips for me to work with! I’ve been obsessed with the spicy harissa dressing ever since my first on-site photo shoot, and I was pretty excited to use this one in a mash-up of a finger foods snack that Emily introduced me to: sausage rolls. These would be a perfect appetizer for a dinner party, or even a picnic. Jazz in the sculpture garden, anyone?

Xo!

Follow Cava here :)

Cava Mezze: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Mezze Grill: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Foods: facebook // twitter // instagram

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

Harissa Sausage Rolls

Ingredients:
1 package puff pastry, thawed
4 or 5 pieces sausage of your choice — Andouille would be my favorite for this recipe.
Cava harissa — I used about half of an 8 oz. package.
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds, black or white

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Flatten out your puff pastry sheets, and measure them out to fit each link of sausage you have, with about a quarter-inch of extra pastry on each end of the sausage. Also measure how wide the pastry should be — you’ll want just enough to roll around the sausage and then seal with a fork.

Using a spoon, spread a generous amount of harissa dressing on the puff pastry, distributing as evenly as you can.

Then, place one link of sausage on the pastry, and carefully roll the sheet of pastry around it. Use a fork to press into the dough at the end, sealing it tight. Set aside, and repeat until you have used all of your puff pastry or sausage. Place on a plate, and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

When chilled, remove the rolls. Using a sharp knife, slice into half-inch rounds, and arrange on your prepared baking sheet. Combine 1/4 cup water with your beaten egg, and brush the egg wash onto each piece of puff pastry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the puff pastry is a golden brown.

 

Cava Fresh // Crazy Feta Artichoke Dip

2

14.3.14

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

Happy Friday! This morning started off pretty chilly, but the weekend forecast here in DC is looking pretty darn gorgeous. Hoping you all get to have a nice weekend, too!

If you follow me on le twitter and instagram, you’re probably aware that I started working with Cava Mezze and Cava Mezze Grill to photograph all of the beautiful dishes and ingredients on their menu — and, as a food photographer who gets to chow down on everything after photo shoots are done, I can definitely say that the food tastes even better than it looks.

Liz and Nikki set me up with a couple of their dips, so this is the first of two recipes I’ve put together — a twist on an artichoke dip that my stepmom makes (which is really just one of the biggest highlights every time I go home to visit). With the added kick from Cava’s Crazy Feta, it’s the simplest of ingredients, and I’m not sure I love anything more than I love feta cheese.

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

 

I made this little pot of crazy feta artichoke dip for a friend’s birthday, which we celebrated Wednesday night over homemade pizza and bottles upon bottles of wine. I mentioned to the host that I made it with the Cava Crazy Feta dip, and she opened her fridge and revealed a few of the Cava dips that she already had in store… so they’re pretty much everywhere these days :)

We ate the dip with a fresh loaf of sourdough bread, heated in the oven and ripped apart by hand. I suggest you do the same! And look for Cava’s amazing products in your grocery store — here in DC, they’re at Whole Foods. And pretty much in everyone’s fridge.

Follow Cava here :)

Cava Mezze: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Mezze Grill: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Foods: facebook // twitter // instagram

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

Crazy Feta Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 package Crazy Feta by Cava Foods
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the egg, and then mix in the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and half of the parmesan.
  3. Stir in all of the Crazy Feta, and add the artichoke hearts, breaking them apart by hand as you add them to the bowl.
  4. Once completely mixed, transfer them to an oven-safe bowl, and top with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and hopefully bubbling.
  6. Cool slightly, and serve with pita or tortilla chips.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers