Feb 25, 2011

Happy Friday + Thank You

The first week for Pretty Tasty Things has been indescribable. Thank you all so much for your wonderful feedback and compliments. I’ve been wanting to do something different outside of my 8-4 job, and I’m pretty proud that I actually did it. Every day that I’ve come home from work this week, I look forward to sitting in front of my laptop and getting a post together. I’m actually really excited about this new direction. I hadn’t had that feeling in a while, so for that, I’m happy this blog is putting a smile on my face. With that said, I’m going to enjoy my weekend, drink a few cervezas at Bellytimber tonight and drink a few more at the Wine Festival on Saturday. I hope you do the same. Enjoy!

Look forward to next week where I’m giving away a prize to a reader, and I’ll show you how to make café con leche and more tasty things! Oh, in case you were wondering, the photo above was taken in Barcelona. We were drinking a few cervezas at Mirablau on the hill of Tibidabo enjoying the beautiful views of Barcelona.

Feb 24, 2011

Chef Mike Isabella, Top Chef 6 + All Stars

Right now, I’m completely smitten by a single comment on my Pretty Tasty Things Facebook page. If you’re a big fan of Top Chef, you know who I’m talking about right now. Chef Mike Isabella, chef/owner of restaurant Graffiato opening in Spring 2011, and a contestant on Top Chef 6 and the current season, Top Chef 8 All Stars, wished me luck with my blog on Facebook yesterday! So this is a shout-out to him, his amazing talent and energy. I do have to thank my sister, Sharon, for putting in a good word for me. She was lucky enough to take a photo with him while dining at Zaytinya (he was a chef at the time) during Restaurant Week last winter in D.C. As soon as Graffiato opens, I’ll be sure to make a reservation! And you should, too!

If you caught last night’s episode, Chef Isabella rocked it! Congratulations for going to the next round of Top Chef All Stars!

[ Photo credit: Top image is Graffiato’s logo designed by The General Design Company in D.C.]

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Feb 23, 2011

Cafe con leche in Espana

Café con leche sounds so much better than the American translation, coffee with milk, doesn’t it? While Jared and I were in honeymooning in Spain for eight nights, we literally had café con leche every day and it was glorious. I don’t know, there’s just something about how they make their café con leche that I am obsessed with. The one to one ratio of espresso to scalded milk made us feel alive every morning and even re-energized us mid-day. What I wouldn’t do just to go back to Spain and spend 2 euros for a cup. You know we loved it so much when looking back at our 2,000+ photos we saw a photo of every café con leche we had for every day we were in Spain.

Day 1: The very first day we arrived, we wanted to sample authentic Spain cuisine so literally steps away from our hotel near the La Catedral de Barcelona was a restaurant called El Cafe D’en Victor. There we experienced our very first café con leche accompanied with delicious tapas. We never looked back.

Day 2: Barcelona—In the midst of the ongoing strikes, we found comfort in enjoying a cup before **** hit the fan. Literally.

Day 3: Barcelona—After touring Barcelona all day, we got off the bus and found ourselves seated at a very local restaurant where no one spoke English. All we said was “Manchego, croquetas and cafe con leche” and we were happy.

Day 4: In Sevilla, our favorite city, we spent 2 amazing nights. We wish we had stayed longer! Our hotel, Hotel Casa 1800, was absolutely beautiful located right in the heart of the city. They offered tea time and all the café con leche you could drink! I say, free café con leche is the best café con leche.

Day 5: Sevilla—This café was situated along a fairly busy “calle” in Sevilla where people just sat outside, ate, drank and laughed with friends. It was amazing.

Day 6: Madrid—What a complete change from the beautiful weather in Sevilla. What were we thinking having a café con leche outside in the freezing cold? Unfortunately, the café con leche wasn’t able to warm us up!

Day 7: Madrid—Our hotel was off the beaten path so we had to take the metro to get into town, but before we began our journey we found a cute café with the nicest Asian owners who made a darn good café con leche.

Day 8: Madrid—My most memorable café con leche was in Madrid at the cutest little eatery I’d ever seen. I forget the name of it, but the café con leche was presented in a small drinking bowl. It was beautiful. Who knew a cup of café con leche would look as pretty as its’ taste.

Stay tuned for the next post next week’s post where I show you how to make your own café con leche here in the States and at the comfort of your own home, plus a giveaway!

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Feb 22, 2011

Recipe Box from Rifle Paper Co.

Heirloom Recipe Box and Recipe Cards by Rifle Paper Co.

Don’t you just love this? While planning my wedding this past year, I found an amazing artist that specializes in stationery and invitations. Her name is Anna Bond and her company is Rifle Paper Co. based in Winterpark, Florida. Her business is growing…fast! Check out her online shop where you can find the cutest recipe cards. I also saw the recipe cards with the cute floral pattern sold at Anthropologie. Brides, if you like out-of-the box invitations and budget isn’t a issue, I would look into her more. Her designs are hand-painted, whimsical and unique to the client.

Here are a few samples of her wedding invitations I found online:

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Feb 21, 2011

Recipe for: Homemade French Fries

From the kitchen of: The Good Stuff Cookbook by Spike Mendelsohn

You will never open up a frozen bag of French fries ever again after you’ve made them from scratch. There’s nothing like it! It’s a little tedious, but well worth it. The best part about these homemade french fries is that you can flavor them with whatever herbs your heart desires. This recipe from Spike’s cookbook, yes the crazy guy from Top Chef, calls for fresh rosemary and thyme. I had never tried anything like it before. Just delicious.

Ingredients:
5 large-size red bliss potatoes
Canola oil for frying, a liter
1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme
salt, preferably sea salt

Directions:
1. Slice the potatoes. Scrub the potatoes and pat dry. Use the mandoline slicer to cut the potatoes 1/8-inch thick.

2. First round of cooking. In a deep pot, heat about 3 inches of oil until thermometer reads 250°F. Once it reaches that temperature, add about half of the sliced potatoes to the pot. Fry until tender, but have no color. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels on a cookie sheet. Repeat the procedure with remaining potatoes. After all strips are cooked, refrigerate until cool.

3. Chop rosemary and thyme. While the strips are cooling in the fridge, chop the fresh rosemary and thyme. Roughly chop and enjoy the amazing smells.

4. Second round of cooking. After the strips have been cooled in the fridge for 15 minutes or more, reheat the oil to 350°F. Add the cooled potatoes a few handfuls at a time until they fry up golden and crispy. Make sure the oil is hot enough. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. While warm, toss with rosemary, thyme and salt. Enjoy with your favorite condiment and serve immediately!

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