Bri loves Brie ;)

Everyone that has known me for a very long time, or is really close to me in my life knows I love cheese. I mean I LOVE cheese. Brie is extremely special to me considering I thought it was so adorable that we had the exact same name, besides one little letter of a difference. 😉 In all seriousness though, it is by far my most favorite cheese on the planet. You can literally create any dish with it, and it will make it that much more perfect. I wanted to show you diamonds, how to adorn a beautiful brie board. Also.. knowing me I couldn’t pick just one way that I enjoy indulging with brie cheese, so I created this platter in a way that shows the brie both baked, and unbaked, along with all the amazingness that should be paired between the two differencing ways!

To start off any board/platter I always start with something big and colorful. A lot of the times that means fruit, and in this case; grapes! I actually love putting grapes on many of my boards, as you can probably tell from my recent posts. Secondly, after placing focal points, you want to “fill in your corners”. I believe starting off any huge platter to please the eye, needs the corners filled in with texture, and something fun to get the flow of the tray going.

IMG_0374

Once the flow has begun, I placed a plate down for the baked brie to be presented on, and I cut & arranged the unbaked Brie on the other side of the board. Starring at each other, but never touching..

IMG_0371

For the baked brie, all you need is a drizzle of honey, and to place it on a baking dish to get put in the oven at 350 degrees for almost 10 minutes. You can leave it in anywhere from 5-10, but I wanted this baked brie in particular to get a little more ooey-gooey as I like to call it 😉 so that it would spread immensely on whatever you fancy to smother it upon!

IMG_0390

Caramelizing a handful of macadamia nuts in a pan with a teaspoon of butter, and a tablespoon of honey to pour onto of the baked brie is essential to this board!

  • 3-5 minutes until the nuts are golden brown on medium heat

IMG_0435

The creaminess and meatiness of this delicious mild cheese goes absolutely outstanding with sliced apples, and crunched up cranberry filled dark chocolate bars.

To go along with both levels of the cheese.. I put together an onion, mushroom
“jam”. I sliced a whole container of mushrooms, along with one onion, thyme, honey, salt, and pepper. The longer you cook this mixture, the more “jam like” it will become. I started sautéing the vegetables in the pan on medium high heat to get as much  caramelization as possible, then after about ten minutes, I turn the heart down to medium-low for about another half hour. 

I decided to place the mushroom/onion jam in-between the two different types of brie to show the intention of being able to go along with either side.. with any adornments!

IMG_0397

Since I was topping the baked brie with honey glazed macadamia nuts, I couldn’t help but think that I didn’t have a choice but to top the unbaked brie! I did not want to leave her undressed.. that wouldn’t be fair. LOL I decorated around the baked brie with dried blueberries.. which by the way, if you’ve never had them, you MUST. They are so super yummy, and kind of honestly tastes like candy. Anyway, since I wanted to stay within the theme, I played blueberry preserves all over the unbaked brie. It couldn’t have paired better with the prosciutto that I put down later when the tray is more completed.

There’s some instances where I don’t actually love how the tray is looking until I’m almost finished arranging, and rearranging the food on the board, but I really fell in love with this platter instantly! It’s actually kind of ironic too thinking about the fact the I just have genuine love for everything on this board. Also, these are the fixings just about a little more than half way completed. If you are making this for entertaining, I highly recommend investing in cheese knives… as you can see it looks so professional, really put together, and it is just down right convenient for serving!

Decorating all different kinds of boards no matter what it may be, can might as well be considered a hobby of mine! I love decorating so much, even my house, so I intended on making this “Bri Loves Brie” board be as beautiful as it could have been because I wanted it to represent me and everything I love. 

  • Butter cookies laced with a dark chocolate layer on the side of it, butter crisp crackers, rosemary Triscuits, and prosciutto finished this board off in such a classic, yet glamorous way; while all having the flavors compliment each other when combined.

Again.. mentioning the “cheese knives”.. I think they look so appealing to the eye, and it looks like such effort was being put into the platter making process.

IMG_0442

Loaded with brie, and love.. this board is all of me and more. It represents what I love,  what I love to do, and what I love to indulge in. You can of course adjust the things that this tray is filled with, or keep is exactly the same; it’s all on your preference, and my opinion. This is a great idea for a wine night, an accompaniment on your island to have your guests nibble on at your next house party, or something like this is even ideal for a house warming party to bring everyone together to show them something special in your life. No matter what you make this for, anyone.. including yourself will be 100% happy as Brie with it 😉

 Get your Brie on diamonds!      xoxo

Dive into Dark Chocolate this Valentines Day!

IMG_0589

Of course, when we think of valentines day we think of a surf and turf dinner, an over-priced giant bouquet of roses, and one of those incredibly huge boxes of chocolates that us girls think we can eat in one sitting when were drinking champagne in our bath robes.. but it just never happens like that lol. It doesn’t always have to be so basic though, does it? you don’t always have to go on the same date everyone else is going on. When planning your valentines day for your significant other, or even a “Gal-entines Day” party that you’re throwing.. make it unique! Surprise everyone in your life that you love, and do something fun and indulgent! What better way to celebrate the day, than with chocolate? Lots and lots of chocolate 🍫!  My two friends from work are dating, and she happens to be obsessed with dark chocolate, and so that is exactly what he wanted the date night to be wrapped around! As soon as he said the idea, I knew I could create a killer tray for her that she’d fall in love with, and when I asked for anything specific, he replied.. “the darker, the better!” I must day diamonds.. he asked, and he did receive!

Even though I’m not a dark chocolate fan myself, I loved the concept and the challenge. The key to creating a monochromatic piece of art, is adding pops of color. It is necessary! A must have to make the eye fall in love, before your taste buds even get the chance to do so..

This is for sure something you could even do with your partner! It would be so fun to build a dessert board together, and then grab a bottle of bubbly.. or heck maybe even a big cold glass of milk ( you may need it with all the chocolate 😉 ) and watch a romantic film together. No matter if you want to surprise someone special, or see the joy in their eyes creating it with you, you will be so so happy with the outcome!

I can’t think of many people who will be sad with fruit covered in glorious, smooth chocolate, ooey gooey chocolatey cookies, and pops of colored candy..

IMG_0574

Instead of having dinner with 50 other people inside of a restaurant, paying big money to impress the one you love... impress them at home, spend half the money, and indulge in dessert for dinner! You for sure, will NOT be disappointed. Even if you need savory as soon as you’re finished with dessert.. just like me, the heart shaped pizza is all the rage this year, and they’re everywhere! I think it is beyond precious, and who doesn’t love a wine night in with pizza and chocolate? 😉

IMG_0586

You can add intricate details by cutting heart shapes into your brownies once they have cooled after baking, and dipping your own pretzels & fruit into dark chocolate instead of buying it already made. At the end of the day.. the cookies are pre-made, but no-one could ever replace those “famous” cookie sandwiches  we all know and love! It just is not going to happen. LOL

IMG_0597

If you’re planning on going out to dinner, and you are completely sold on doing the traditional valentines day, but still want to have a special evening when you come back home, you can certainly make a dessert board that’s ACTUALLY for two! Haha, but no seriously, if you’re wanting to indulge only a little bit.. this is the perfect amount, and it still looks romantically beautiful.

The size is your choice. Both beautiful, and can still definitely be presented as a valentines day gift!

IMG_0592

Happy Valentines Day, diamonds! Remember you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing on valentines day to have a perfect date with your loved one. All that matters is you show someone love, and compassion. Have fun dinning with dark chocolate, and I’ll see you next week for one of my favorite things in this life!

xoxo

This seasons, spiced soda.

IMG_0292

All of you I’m sure, might be questioning yourselves after your first glance of this picture… “it just looks like soda with orange in it, Bri?” Yes, thats half right, but it’s more than that! Flavoring & infusing drinks is a hot trend right now, and it is everywhere! Infusing water with delicious herbs and citrus’s in restaurants, hotels, and spas is the most popular thing to do right now, and you will for sure see it anywhere you turn! I love to infuse water mostly in the spring and summer because the produce has hit it’s peak, leaving you super refreshed and hydrated during the warm weather. When the cold months arrive, and snow starts to fall, you usually find yourself craving hot drinks to take the chill out you.  While there are some people who may be getting sick of hot cocoa, or craving something cold to sip on when the weather isn’t super “wintery” , I’ve got something fun for you to sink your taste buds into! 😉 

     Now, don’t get me wrong.. I love my coffee and hot chocolate, or even a cold weather cocktail if I’m feeling like getting a little crazy, BUT sometimes you just want a glass filled with a bubbly cold beverage, and thats perfectly fine! Some people are strictly a regular soda person, and I totally am not. I, for some reason cannot stand the aftertaste, so even though my drink is diet, you can absolutely use regular soda for your own enjoyment!

IMG_0285

     You might think that oranges remind you of summer, but they’re actually more of a  winter fruit. Blood orange, and other oranges including naval which is what I chose to use, and I really think it is the best choice. When naval oranges are ripe, they are deliciously sweet and so so juicy! They are my most favorite orange of all time. 

I remembered when I was really young, and lemon & lime flavored soda’s came out! That was what everyone wanted to get their hands on for so long, years ago. Now.. especially at restaurants, we’re all just so used to throwing lemons, or limes into our drinks ourselves! In this case.. were throwing oranges! 😉

We are not just infusing soda with oranges.. we are mixing flavors, people! I am all about mixing flavors with food, so there is no difference at all when it comes to what I drink! I have been extremely into cherry soda recently, and I wanted to change it up the other afternoon when I was craving something a little bit different; during these winter days. I looked at my fruit bowl on my counter top, and a light bulb went off.. “AHH, the perfect seasonal soda!” 

IMG_0290

Not only was it filled with a cherry burst, and a flavor blast of orange, but the mixture of the two made it something completely different from anything I have ever sipped before! Honest to goodness, diamonds, you’ll need to experience it yourself. The orange combined with the cherry made it almost taste like there was also a bit of berry in there, while leaving a winter spice in your mouth! I know it sounds a tad insane, but it would even be a great Christmas cocktail if you added some cinnamon whiskey into the mix for next year. It would be a holiday hack for a cold drink option! It sounds skeptical that you would want to add cinnamon whiskey with cherry, but it will compliment everything so well with the orange. Mark my word! Without spiking it though, it is pure deliciousness every time the infused bubbles hit your tongue when you take a sip. 

IMG_0293

So simple, and so refreshing for any day you deicide to spice up your soda this season! 

 

Stay hydrated, diamonds 😉                                xoxo

 

Cody’s Cutlets.

IMG_0249

My very first FRIED post ever here on deep fried diamonds! I guess a little Pun intended 😉 Most of the time… eh, more like ALL of the time I make everything super fancy, and decorated when I entertain, or concoct a new recipe, but these pork cutlets speak for themselves. They’re decorated in their own special way, with the most unique, delicious breading.. dressed in deliciously golden brown crispy bits; ready to be devoured! 

There used to be a catering place in my hometown that were known for their “cutlets”, and my boyfriend Cody fell in love with them years and years ago, the first time he indulged in them at Easter dinner with my family. When the place closed down a little while back, he was heartbroken with the fact that he would never have the best cutlets ever again…. so he thought 😉 . We celebrated his 26th birthday last week, and have all been trying to eat clean since the new year started; you know..no junk, no fast or fried foods, SO I thought I would surprise him by making the absolute best pork cutlets I could fry up, trying to bring that memory back when he took that first bite of the cutlets he had soooo long ago.

IMG_0217

I Like frying in a deep “stew pot” if you will, so that it gives the grease more air space and room so that if the oil starts spitting up a bit it has a harder time getting the stove greased up, along with giving the cutlets much needed room to fry!

Fill the pot or frying pan up of your choice with vegetable oil about an inch in a half, to two inches from the bottom. Let the oil heat up on medium low heat for about ten minutes. I know that doesn’t seem like the heat is high enough to be able to fry with but TRUST ME: the oil will heat up hot, and once you start frying you definitely do not want the oil to be so hot that it will burn, or develop into something much worse..

There are different dredging/frying techniques to create your own personal breading to turn into your traditional breading that you use when breading, and frying pretty much anything, but the only way I think these should be breaded is tossing them in high seasoned flower with salt and pepper, then laid in whisked eggs for a nice little egg bath if you will, and lastly, pushed in cracker meal ONLY (no breadcrumb!) seasoned with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and paprika.

IMG_0220

Obviously before breading anything you need to start with meat, or there are no cutlets! I believe the only cut of pork to use for pork cutlets is “the butt”! You need the fat! It is so necessary for a GOOD pork cutlet.

IMG_0211

Instead of using dredging bowls to bread your pieces of pork in, I used big plastic food bags; that way you can put the pork in, close the bag with your fist and shake shake shake! And in a flash everything is fully coated the flour, and breading.

When using the bags you can fill them with more product than you would if you were doing it in bowls because you’d probably only be able to really do it properly with five pieces at once.

“Test the waters” 😉 Before loading up your oil will freshly breading cutlets, and having them not fry properly for you because the oil is unfortunately too hot, or not hot enough, test the oil by frying one ,or two pieces to see how long you’ll be frying each side. Then once they are completed there is no better thing to do than to give it a bite to see if the seasoning is perfect for your taste buds!

Now, being that we are not filling the pot entirely with the vegetable oil, that’s why I don’t take temperatures. If you do “deep fry” anything you can certainly take the temperature to make sure that you reach 350 degrees, and to insure that it stays at that temperature, as well. In this case, we are simply just pan frying!

If the testing went right, fill up the pan with your cutlets. Fry each side for approximately five minutes, or until golden brown and crisp! Honestly.. it may not be the “perfect” way to do things, but ever since I was young, and I would watch my dad fry homemade chicken fingers he never waited until one side got completely crispy. The goal is to make them perfectly golden, and never over done because you do not want to dry them out. That is a crime! The best way he found that they come out is turning them over each four times. The crispy breading turns out so so incredible that way.

Also, take into considering one cutlet might get done before the other. Being that they are hand cut after trimming the fat from the pork butt, you can’t assume that a smaller piece will get done at the same time as a bigger piece. Science will prove you wrong every time lol

IMG_0240

When the frying process is coming to a close!

From the first batch straight out of the oil, to the last! They look insanely delicious, and I know it sounds a little crazy, but if you look closely, you can almost see little wrinkles throughout the breading that resembles what a pug’s body looks like, and THAT my friends, is how you know that breading is going to be mouth watering! Which is exactly why we use the cracker meal instead of any sort of bread crumb. We want scrumptious crumbs when we take our big bites! You can dip them in anything you want, but they are truly amazingly tasting to the point  that you don’t even need anything at all, and that’s coming from a condiment queen!

P.S. Cody loved them so much, and said that they were “the best cutlets he has ever had”!

Have fun frying diamonds 😉 I’ll be back with an incredible game day dip.

 

xoxo

The Snowed-In board.

IMG_0183

Every single time it snows.. even if I’m not home in that very moment, I immediately want to snuggle up in my pajamas, make a hot cup of cocoa, and munch on a smorgasbord of snacks! I love taking days like that where you just take some time to relax, indulge, and forget about things, for just a few hours. I think that doing things like that, that you love; what makes you happy is just as important as making a living for yourself. You Can’t work, and never be treated for it, am I right? Almost as if you’d be working for nothing, and not even in the sense of money. Since during a snowstorm you’re usually staying in anyway.. you might as well make the most of your cozy time! The best way to do that, especially if you’re having a lounge fest with the rest of your family, or maybe some of your girlfriends battled their way through the snow to come over to indulge in the snowy festivities with you… is to make some sort of a huge platter board!

When you’re lounging all snuggled up on the couch.. you are some what rolled up in a ball.. SO I got a little creative and wanted to mimic that with the food we were eating in the special instance. I chose to make three different flavored wraps, and cut them into two inch pin wheels. This effect also makes for great presentation.

IMG_0154

  • Top middle– A spread of ranch and drizzled hot sauce. (choose high quality ranch and your favorite hot sauce!) Believe me.. the ingredients you use DOES make a difference. Do not cheap out on yourself !!
  • Bottom left- Drizzled spicy brown mustard.
  • Bottom right– A spread of good mayonnaise, then drizzled with yellow mustard.

 

IMG_0166

  • Top middle- After the hot sauce I added buffalo chicken from the deli, and topped it with tangy blue cheese crumbles before rolling.
  • Bottom Left–  On top of the drizzled mustard I added Cooper sharp cheese with slices of sweet Lebanon.
  • Bottom right– On top of the mustard I added white American with slices of bologna.

All of them before the roll ups begin.

IMG_0173

Look how cute they look all rolled up!

IMG_0177

The arrangement before the fries arrived! I l enjoy placing the rolls sectioned off within their own flavors, across from each other. After piling the pinwheels onto the board, I decorated the platter with snacks that go extremely awesome with sandwich like goodies, and that of course has to be chips and pretzels. I chose plain sourdough pretzels, along with regular kettle cooked potato chips for that extra crunchy goodness.

Whenever I create something like this I always love adding vinegary elements to be board along with fresh ones, so that calls for pickles, olives, and fruit!

  • Bread and butter pickles
  • Plain green cocktail olives
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Red Grapes

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous those little root vegetable fries are?! I’m really digging how they give the board just a pop more of color, aside from the strawberries decorating the edges.

IMG_0189

Talk about gorgeous, and also such a great game day platter that anyone could end up throwing together in no time at all! If you sit back and think about it… usually you have most of these ingredients lying around anyway unless you’re one to not keep lunch meat in your fridge, but ever since I was a little girl that is something you can always always find in my house.

I’m sure after all of this iv’e made you hungry for some great deli eats! Throw on your comfy clothes, grab a platter, and get rolling! You won’t regret it.. you may just even find that it’s snowing when you take a glimpse outside as you make your way into the living room to indulge in a snowed-in board, and HEY, if it’s not snowing.. pretend!! 😉 

Spicy Sriracha salmon lettuce wraps (create your own!)

IMG_0117

     As you guys may have learned from my last post.. I love love love salmon! Smoked or pan fried.. which is what you are seeing on this gorgeous white platter, right here. I adore this fish so much, so I never want to get bored of it!! Finding creative ways to play around with it, so it will always be super enjoyable in various ways, is what I aim for! This is such a fun way to be inventive with your salmon, making a great date night idea for interacting with your significant other, or perhaps.. your first time making him, or her dinner. 😉 My favorite way to eat food is by “picking”! The idea of taking different flavors and textures; combining them to design a whole other meaning of what being a foodie is really all about, makes what I do so fulfilling to me. You don’t ever just want to eat, you want to enjoy what you are eating, even if it is good for your body! I truly believe sometimes thats why most people see “eating healthy” as boring, and something that they feel they will never be able to do forever because they are forcing themselves to do it. Fortunately.. feeding your body good things doesn’t have to just mean fueling yourself with plain chicken and broccoli, and these make your own lettuce wraps will not be something you are eating with force. 

           Some people who think they don’t like salmon.. I truly believe never had gooooood salmon.. if you guys know I mean by that. If it is over cooked.. like any fish; forget about it! It needs to be panfried on medium heat, skin-side DOWN to get that skin nice and crispy.. just as if you were eating skin on a chicken wing! Once it is nice and crispy.. being in the pan for 10 minutes, flip it on over to the other side. Cook the other side the same way for about another ten minutes. If you have small piece of salmon, cut the time in half. 

For the final step, that gave this salmon the delicious creaminess it deserved for these lettuce wraps.. I mixed equal parts of mayonnaise, and sriracha in a small bow..lathered it all over, letting it soak into this fatty piece of fish right before I pulled it off the heat. Lastly, all you need to do is put it on a platter and flake it apart a little, to easily get a nice chunk to wrap in the middle of you butter lettuce.

IMG_0132

 You can for sure use any rough leaf lettuce that you would like for these wraps but I really do not think that there is anything more perfect for this than “butter lettuce” or also known as “bib lettuce”. It holds everything you put into it without breaking, while being crisp, tender, and super mild tasting. Sometimes lettuce can be a little bitter, which is why I truly believe that there are people that prefer to not eat anything green or “healthy”, but this lettuce is perfect, and you must give it a try. Even if you do not like salad..I feel it in my heart, and soul that you will like these wraps.. very much so! 🙂 

 After piling your little lettuce cups with salmon.. I highly advise various veggie choices with different colors, and textures to adorn it with! 

I sliced cucumbers, mini orange bell peppers, and tri-colored steamed potatoes into small strips. 

IMG_0141

While enjoying a meal.. of any kind I was always always the type of person to say that I needed a side dish, or chips, fries, a side salad. Something! I would feel like you can never ever just eat one certain thing and say you had or meal, or lie to yourself and say.. “I love what I just ate”. Being a chef, and a total food lover, it is ALL about options. In that case, I choose to decorate the platter with yummy spicy tuna rolls (staying with the spicy theme here) and some spicy crab salad.. just incase you wanted to change your taste buds a tad during your dinner journey through this wrap making jungle gym. 

The crab salad is just some imitation crab meat, mayo, cajun seasoning, diced onion, and celery. 

 To decorate this platter board.. I decided to drizzle sriracha where I thought was needed, and would please the eye. I wanted to do it over the potatoes so that it would soak into them, giving them TONS of scrumptious flavor and zap! I also wanted to do it around the plate with the salmon because well.. one it looks gorg, and two.. if you’e putting this out for a party of some sort, you want your guests to know that it has sriracha in it. Thats letting them know right away what’s in it, without having to be around constantly to let me know first hand. 

IMG_0127

     CHOPSTICKS.. for the final touch! Super cute for “eating with your eyes” and the proper way to indulge in the lettuce wrap feast. 

Have fun wrapping diamonds, and I’ll be back in a few with snow and game day boards! 

                                                                                       xoxo