Browsing Category

FOOD + DRINK

FOOD + DRINK

The Porthole Infuser Turns Drinks Into Tasty Art

porthole infusion vessel

Originally designed to prepare and serve the seasonal time-lapse cocktails at the Aviary, Porthole is a stylish infuser designed by Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail design studio. It has been available to the public since their extremely successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2012. They raised over $700,000. I can see why. A look at their gorgeous infusions is enough to convince most amateur mixologists that they need one.

porthole by crucial detail

Personally, if I would get one, it would be to make and serve spa water, fruity lemonades and iced teas. Here are a few recipes that you can make at home:

Porthole is currently backordered at Crucial Detail but they should be back in stock in june, just in time for Father’s Day.

Sourcing:
The Porthole Infuser $99 USD at Crucial Detail

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Fun bowls for kids

west elm organic shaped rice bowl

We often eat our main dish in a big bowl, inside of a dinner plate. He often asks to eat on the same dishes than us. But the bowls I use are way too big for a 3 years old. On top of that, he likes green, which is not a popular color for tableware. My collection of Japanese porcelain bowls from Anthropologie comes handy. I love their casual elegance but I want more options for him.

anthropologie rice bowls
+ Atom Art bowls and Inside Out bowls $8 USD.

So, this morning, I went to West Elm to get him a few bowls. Tableware are at 20% off right now at West Elm. I’m sure that my son will be pleased the next time we eat pasta since he will eat his in a bowl similar to our sage pasta bowl by Sophie Conran. I added bowls covered with the patterns and textures to complete his set.

west elm cereal bowls
Potter’s Workshop dip bowls and Organic shaped dinnerware in mint.

I can’t wait to see his reaction when I show them to him. I know, I am probably more thrilled than he will be by my purchase. Nonetheless, this makes me happy.

+ top photo: rice bowl from the Organic shaped dinnerware collection.

FOOD + DRINK

FoodtoEat is a Platform for Street Food Vendors and their Customers

foodtoeat online platform for street food vendors and restaurants

This is not another post on food trucks. Instead it is a look at how a 25 year old woman founder has launched an online ordering platform for restaurants with delivery services and street food vendors. Currently serving New York city, FoodtoEat.com is one more online service that wishes to make it easier for their consumers to find and buy take-out food. Two things from their offering grabbed my attention. What I like about their business approach is what I will discuss here. Continue Reading

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

Easy Tips for Brewing a Good French Press Coffee

brew french press pot tips

brew french press pot tips

I always start my day of work by brewing a pot of French Press coffee. I am picky about which coffee beans I buy. It has to taste fresh and strong. If it is not, I will throw it away. I will take extra steps to ensure a great cup of joe but I am not a coffee snob. Although I grind my own beans right before brewing my coffee, I won’t make a fuss if some grounded beans from yesterday are in the pot.

coffee french press pot

Here are the few essential steps to brew a robust French Press pot.

1. A coarse grind

The larger particules eliminate the unpleasant sludge caused by the fine grit. I take that with caution. The coarser setting of my old entry-level grinder does produce some powder and tiny coffee bits. But the metal filter of my Bodum pot doesn’t a decent job at keeping them out. I found that pouring the coffee into a carafe as soon as it is ready diminishes the effect.

If you are on the market for a coffee grinder, go for a burr grinder instead of a blade one. Be prepared to invest $300 or more for a grinder that will produce an even grind time after time. Remember that an entry-level burr coffee grinder will always beat the best blade coffee grinder. Fopr the moment, I will continue to use my 25 years old grinder.

2. The right amount of coffee

Personally, I put 2 rounded tablespoons for 2 mugs and a half of coffee. I have an 8-cup model but I don’t fill it up. Find what works for you and for the coffee beans that you use.

3. The water temperature

Water should be about 200ºF (anything between 195-205ºF is fine). I don’t need a thermometer since my Breville electric kettle has a French Press setting. Otherwise, know that the right temperature is slightly lower than boiling temperature. It is because you don’t want to burn your coffee.

4. Pour a Little, Stir and Set the Timer

I initially pour a third of the total water that I will use to make a press pot. I stir with chopsticks until I create a small foam. I set my stove the timer to 3:40 minutes. Since I aim for a total  brewing time of 4 minutes, I offset the stirring time and the time it will take me to cancel the timer and reach the pot.

5. Fill the Pot

Pour the hot water. Add the filter assembly. I put down the filter a little, just enough to make sure that the coffee is fully immersed.

french press coffee pour in mason jar

6. Pour into a Carafe

As soon as the timer rings, I pour me a cup and pour the rest into a Mason jar. To avoid the sludge, don’t pour every sip of liquid. I also throw away the bottom of every mug. Maybe, it is time that I invest in a better coffee grinder after all.

 

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Alessi’s Folding Cake Stands: from Anna Gong to Fatman by Marcel Wanders

fatman by marcel wanders :: folding cake stand for alessi

Like many Alessi products, you may not want to hide this cake stand. Marcel Wanders designed the Fatman cake stand for Alessi.  Wanders put a whimsical touch by dressing as a clown the round structure that you see when the three stainless-steel cake platters are folded. I love it! It is fun, beautiful and, as a bonus, it saves space. I might put it on my wishlist for my birthday — which is next month, by the way. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

My Weekly Meal Planner Experiment: Conclusion

spaghetti alla norma

It’s time to write my post-mortem. First, I shortened my weekly meal planner experiment by 2 weeks because I learned nothing new from the last two weeks. When I started this little experiment my hope was to add more recipes to my repertoire, and to start planning ahead. Let’s see how I did point by point.

Adding new recipes to my repertoire. I tried a few new recipes. But with a toddler and a busy schedule, it proved to be harder than I originally thought. For one thing, the fact that Zack is neither a fan of chicken nor steak reduced my choices. Several new recipes that inspired me where either too long or require ingredients that are normally found at the grocery store. This leads to planning ahead. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 6

italian sausage and vegetable one pot dish

My meal planning was business. I wished that I could report a new recipe but it didn’t happen. So, you will see many common faces on last week’s menu:

  • Monday: What was in my pantry dictated what we ate that night. I served spaghettini with a garlic, olive and tomato sauce topped with freshly ground Parmesan.
  • Tuesday: I made what is comfy food in my home: my spicy Italian sausages with vegetables one pot dish.
  • Wednesday: Zack’s appetite was really back. He adored my scaloppine al limone. I originally planned to serve Brussel sprouts but the ones at the grocery store had seen better days. I relied on my trusted asparagus and rice for completing my menu. Zack had chocolate one or twice before. He was delighted at his first bite of Dixies from Laura Secord. This crunchy pecan pieces and chewy caramel covered in milk chocolate is delicious!
  • Thursday: A friend offered that we exchanged babysitting duties to each have a night out. Therefore, Zack had a little friend over for Valentine’s Day. For the occasion, my husband cooked a kid-pleasing meal: sloppy joe. I made for us an arugula and spinach salad.
  • Friday: We were due for some spicy shrimps. We each ate a bowl of stir-fried prawns and noodles from “Off the Shelf: cooking from the pantry” by Donna Hay. For dessert, we had more Dixies, thanks Laura Secord who sent Zack a box as a Valentine’s gift after they heard that he loves them so much. A big thanks to Katia and Laura Secord!
  • Saturday: My husband and I celebrated a friend’s birthday at a French restaurant while my toddler went to dinner at an Asian restaurant with my mother-in-law.
  • Sunday: I craved for a simple winter meal. We ate a Chinese fondue with cauliflower and button mushrooms.

That was it!

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 5

what's for dinner week 5

My little experiment on recording what we eat for dinner continues. Last week was special because my toddler was sick for half of the week. He ate bread and chicken soup several nights in a row. I am glad that he now has regained his appetite.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week:

  • Monday: After a morning of running errands and an afternoon filled with accounting duties, I welcomed the comfort of a simple healthy meal. I paired boiled green beans and Brussel sprouts — topped with butter — with the Dijon mustard steelhead trout fillets cooked by my husband.
  • Tuesday: I had a craving for chicken and couscous. I cooked a her early Donna Hay cookbook titled  Flavours. It a grilled lemon chicken breasts on a bed of almond, sage, lemon and caper couscous salad. If you don’t own the cookbook, have a look at Emily’s Culinary Adventures. Emily shared how she makes the recipe.
  • Wednesday: We ate a cheese fondue with an assortment of charcuterie (Grison beef and prosciutto), sweet onions, sour onions and sour gherkins.
  • Thursday: I went to a concert that night. Since I was in a hurry, we ate pasta with a ready-made sauce.
  • Friday: It was sushi night.
  • Saturday: Since we were at the ski cottage, I cooked a simple meal. We grilled steelhead trout fillets with a touch of Dijon mustard and oil live on top. Rice and grilled asparagus were our side dishes. For dessert, we ate a delicious apple and cranberry pie from a local bakery.
  • Sunday: Since we arrived from the ski cottage at a time where the grocery store would be full, we ordered pizza. Our usual place is closed on Sunday. We ate it with a Greek salad.

I will continue this experiment until the end of the month.

+ sourcing: Celeste Dinnerware at Crate & Barrel

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 4

crisp chicken legs

Deciding what’s for dinner was easy this week. I only wish that it would be as simple to feed my toddler boy. I don’t know if it is because he had a cold, but it was not less enthusiastic by my cooking this week.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week:

  • Monday: We started the week with an easy pasta night. To save time, I served the Florentine Spinach and Cheese sauce by Classico on spaghettini. We added extra cheese with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.
  • Tuesday: My husband had an event that night. To enough me to pass more time with Zack, I stopped by Tourtière Australienne and bought their delicious Lamb roganjosh pie. I served it with the leftover  potato, rutabaga and carrot mash from last Sunday.
  • Wednesday: That was our fish night. My husband cooked to perfection steelhead trout fillets that he lightly covered with Dijon mustard before cooking. I made us a tropical fennel salad and side of green beans.
  • Thursday: I cooked Jamie-Oliver’s tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes that I served with the remaining leftover  potato, rutabaga and carrot mash.
  • Friday: I took a day off from cooking. We ordered something that it always a hit with my toddler: our usual vegetarian pizza, extra ham with a mix salad.
  • Saturday: In honor of the Super Bowl, my husband cooked his delicious chili con carne. He achieved a right balance of spices to be enjoyable but us and our toddler.
  • Sunday: I made us a chicken pilaf rice. I used a recipe from the first cookbooks that I bought when I moved to my own apartment for university. It is so easy to make and delicious. The best part is that the leftover is enough for two lunches.

Do you plan your meal weekly? If so, what do you eat on an average week at your home?

CAKES + desserts FOOD + DRINK

Cream Cheese Frosting: Not Too Sweet

cream cheese frosting

Earlier this week, I was looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe that was not too sweet. Thanks to Martha, I found the perfect balance. I cut her recipe since I needed only one cup. The ratio of 4 onces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of unsalted butter and half a cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar works for me. Then, add half of teaspoon of the best vanilla extract for the ultimate taste.

For the right texture, don’t use bar cream cheese at room temperature. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 3

watercress salad

The reason why I started to chronicle what we ate for dinner every week was to vary our meals. So far, it is working. I don’t know if reading my weekly menu gives you ideas for what to cook for dinner to your family but, on a personal note, I see the benefits of keeping track of what’s for my dinner. You should give it a try.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week: Continue Reading