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

 

A clean-cut Charcuterie board.

FullSizeRender-2

Like I have said before, you are going to see so so many charcuterie boards here on my blog.. many different themes, and flavors are going to make an appearance, and have their front and center! Although, we’re into the middle of the first month of the new year, so I wanted to introduce a charcuterie board that has various layers of textures without all the cheese-y, and saltiness that usually comes along with an everyday charcuterie board.

Don’t get me wrong.. I LOVE cheese and meats; of all kinds. I mean at the end of the day thats what it means to charcuterie, BUT in todays culinary world, you can literally make a board of any kind. You can have so much fun creating, while also indulging in foods that have such good nutritional fats in them, that are clean to give you energy, so you start off the year with a right mind! Even when I’m eating healthier.. making sure that I’m getting lots of good fruits and vegetables, I will never deprive myself of everything that people think you need to let go of! This board is the perfect mix of everything good, while still enjoying what you love, so you’ll never miss the meat and varieties of cheeses… at least for just this little while anyway 😉 

FullSizeRender-9

On every charcuterie board that I put together, I always love having a focal point! The focal point could be fruit, a display of something edible, or a huge block of cheese adorned with herbs, jellies, and nuts. In this case, I thought the grapes looked glorious in the center of the tray.. along with giving it gorgeous pops of color, considering there was going to be more green, and orange on the tray than anything else!

FullSizeRender-6

One of my all time favorite things to do when “picking” off of a charcuterie board is taking any cracker/bread, spreading cheese on top, and then topping it with spicy salami. It is super delicious and so satisfying! If you love smoked salmon, this will give you that same deliciousness when you pop one in your mouth! I used tri-colored fingerling potatoes; steamed them, and cut them in half. Once the potatoes were all cut in half, I put a small dollop of cream cheese on each, then folded a piece of smoked salmon on the tops of every one of them. For the final touch (you can not skip this step it is essential!!) I sprinkled “everything but the bagel” seasoning all over, even letting some fall of the plate for that seasoned presentation look.

FullSizeRender

If you’re a sriracha fan as much as I am.. especially when it comes to sushi and smoked salmon, you can absolutely squeeze a drop onto each potato, just as I did.. for that little kick that your taste buds need when you’re doing a whole bunch of picking!

FullSizeRender-8

While were on the cream cheese, and smoked salmon train.. I’ll introduce you to these little babies! Cucumber canapés. If you crave sushi all the time, you will fall in love with this delicious hor d’oeuvre. I guarantee you! You’ll create these the way you did with the potatoes bites, except just switch out the potatoes for slices of cucumber! With these as well, you can drizzle sriracha on top, but instead I placed a few pieces of green onion for a bit of favor since the cucumber is very light tasting.

FullSizeRender-7

I always love adding something green, or some sort of vegetable to a charcuterie board, but being that we’re having the stuffed peppers, and the topped cucumber bites, I wanted to add a snack element onto the platter. My idea was to have the snack go extremely well with the smoked salmon on the board, and the thing that came to my mind was edamame, and that instantly made me think of the snap pea crisps! GUYS.. let me tell you, these are the perfect addiction to the charcuterie board! 

FullSizeRender-4

I wanted something with a little zip, and smoothness intertwined within this board, so the thing I thought would pair immensely was guacamole.

NOW.. Secret time: When you’re preparing these boards, especially for a number of people.. remember not everything has to be homemade! It will definitely save a huge chunk of your time, and maybe even some money in the long run! With saving time.. it will also give you more time to do other little creative things that will give people the “wow” factor that you want when you are entertaining!

All I did was take mini bell peppers, de-seed them, fill the halves with some guac, and top with green onions!

FullSizeRender-5

Speaking of buying already made goodies.. the chicken salad and sugar cookie hummus in the glass bowls are incredible additives that you could find at your local grocery store! I love taking ready to eat things and elevating them. With the chicken salad, I topped it with bright colored dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds. Then, on top of the hummus I put a nice little date in the center for a garnish! If you are really on a health kick and you want something sweet/sugary, a date is the perfect guilt quencher. You must try, even if you think you won’t enjoy!

To pair with the chicken salad I decorated the plate with some texture.. crispy buttery crackers, and sea salt pita chips for the hummus. Since the hummus is sugar cookie flavored; when paired with the hummus it ACTUALLY tastes like you are eating a sugar cookie. As close to the real thing as you can get without seriously eating one, that is!

FullSizeRender-3

In the end, the board looks gorgeous, quite refreshing, and so satisfying! You can serve this to guests at a party on your island around all your other food choices for something a little lighter, or you can enjoy with another person for a late night dinner, if you just do not have the desire to do dishes that night. That HAS to be one of the best perks about creating a board/platter.. there are NO dishes besides the knife and cutting board you used to prepare everything. Also, I think anything that is in collage form is insanely appealing to the eye. It just really draws a person in.. making them try things they maybe thought they’d never eat before.

Have fun boarding into this new year diamonds.. the healthier way 😉

xoxo

The snowflake Hot Chocolate

FullSizeRender-4

We have stepped foot into the new year, and the holidays are over; except.. winter has only begun! Many of times it seems like after Christmas is over, and the decor comes down we forget to enjoy winter for what it is. When were not shoveling piles of snow, and we have a chance to relax in our comfiest lounge wear, there will be the ultimate wintery mix of hot chocolate waiting patiently for you to get it hot on the stove top.
We need to take time for self care and relaxation in the winter time because that’s when people feel their most vulnerable. The cold weather; especially if people love the heat sometimes can make you not really feel like yourself. The goal is though, to have positivity throughout every season. You just have to know how to do the seasons right and treating yourself to a lovely mug filled with deliciousness is the most perfect way to start!! 

 This hot chocolate is super thick and rich. It’s luxuriously chocolatey, while having a winter vibe to it by mixing milk, and white chocolate together. When I was thinking of a cozy hot chocolate that gave me winter vibes I couldn’t help but think to use both chocolates. One chocolate to me.. is classic, but it’s not teaching anybody anything creative. Then on the other end of the spectrum, white chocolate to me is a little too sweet just on it’s own. In the end diamonds.. we’re actually getting the perfect cup of cocoa! 

                             RECIPE: 

  •  Heat up a small sauce pot to medium low heat with two cups of milk. (milk of your choice.. the end result will be rich regardless) 
  • When the milk becomes hot.. almost reaching boiling point add.. a half a cup of milk chocolate chips, and one cup of white chocolate chips. 
  • Add 1 tbsp of sugar 
  • Add 1tbsp of cocoa powder 
  • Whisk all of the ingredients together until the liquid becomes thick, and very very hot.  ( Only takes a few minutes ) 

     Grab a beautiful winter mug, fill up your cup. Top it off with whipped cream, chocolate syrup (the good kind (; ) a few of both chocolate morsels, and finally an oversized snowflake marshmallow to finish it off! There wasn’t anything more fitting than topping it off with a gigantic snowflake, am I right?! [: 

               Enjoy your winter sipping, diamonds! 

     I’ll be back next week with a charcuterie board.. that you definitely won’t recognize!  Oh! And don’t worry.. it will fit right into your new healthy New Years resolutions! 😉 

Mimosa mornings

IMG_4430

 Every Christmas morning my family has a huge breakfast with all different kinds of meats, eggs, and breads. The most wonderful brunch drink combination you could create is mixing champagne & orange juice. It just tastes like a slow.. amazingly happy holiday meal, as soon as I put the first sip into my mouth. It definitely wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Now, of course, yes; Christmas Day is over, unfortunately! Fortunately though, mimosa mornings travel into every morning for my mom and I up until New Years day! I celebrate the holiday season until the new year ..considering every happens so fast, and life gets super busy around this time of year that it gets hard to let yourself really actually enjoy every aspect of it. 

 

     Since the hustle and bustle has slowed down a pinch.. grab your most festive holiday champagne glass, and enjoy the holiday season! Whether you’re indulging in brunch, or an early dinner.. a fruity mimosa will go with absolutely perfect with anything paired. Normally in the winter time I am not into fruity beverages being that I’m very very seasonal and I constantly have to go with whats in the seasons, BUT to me, a mimosa tastes exactly like Christmas. 

IMG_4411

     Even if you’re not putting a ton of different flavors of fruit out to pop into your champagne, you can still make it look super cute and decorative for you and your guests! Always remember.. you don’t have to go over the top.. spending a lot of money in order to something something look nice, while also tasting good, and leaving loved ones with memories you’ll never forget. 

  • Being that it’s the season of reason and green I wanted to only do berries to give the cocktail the bright holiday red color that we all love and desire! 

IMG_4421

                        Fill the champagne glass up almost half way with the berries. 

IMG_4425

     After you drop some gems of fruit into the glasses for however many drinks you’re making.. fill it up half way with orange juice. 

                                Pour, pour, pour your favorite bottle of bubbly! 

IMG_4431

     I think that the bubbles look insanely cool after the champagne gets poured, and the bubbles start to slowly fade away!

Cheers! To celebrating the holidays all throughout the new year. Enjoy your loved ones, have fun, feel blessed, and take time for yourself diamonds. xoxo 

I’ll see you next with with a winterized hot hot chocolate! 

The sugared season!

IMG_4238

The Holidays are all about baking. That is an absolute given! Sugar is all around us.. in everything, and even topped on things, or rolled into cranberries as a garnish. It is the season of sugar for sure, and the only decision you have to make is white or brown?! 

IMG_4243

The two questions you might ask yourselves are “When should I use which sugar?” and “What is the difference between the two sugars?”

      When you should use: White vs. Brown

Brown sugar: I absolutely love and adore using brown sugar while creating sauces, and glazes. It makes it super rich, while also leaving it a little sticky (in a good way) and thats kind of what you need around the holiday season with all the mouth watering Christmas ham, and sweet potato casseroles being shared. Also, although people mostly use white sugar in pies and baking than brown sugar, I think it makes the best apple pie filling. It mixes super well when using cinnamon, molasses, or maple syrup! This type if sugar is also essential to me when concocting barbecue sauce, or homemade butters.

White sugar: White sugar passes the test on being able to be used in honestly, pretty much everything we’re able to consume, lets be real here! For me though, I use only white sugar in things that I would never put brown sugar in.. as for ALL types of cold salads, and dressings. These are dishes and things that you need super fine, extremely sweet, molasses-less sugar for! Of course too, baking anything with white sugar is totally acceptable. I mean what would a Christmas sugar cookie be without some sweet sweet sugar in it? (white sugar, obviously lol) White sugar is essential for making jellies and preserves, and of course rolling churros, fried dough, and snickerdoodle cookies in some cinnamon sugar. The brown kind is completely off limits for that task! LOL

                  The difference between the two: White vs. brown

White sugar: It is sweeter and processed beyond brown sugar because there is no molasses inside the white. Also, OBVIOUS reasoning but the main difference is that white sugar is well.. white. Its concentrated more, leaving it much sweeter than brown, so it you put too much into something it will be very hard taking that overly sweet taste away, so just be cautious of that. This type of sugar is definitely more refined, and it takes longer to get to the end product especially with being that the concentration is higher.

Brown sugar: It contains molasses and is less processed than white sugar. It has more minerals in it compared to white, but unfortunately neither have any very good health benefits. They both should be consumed in moderation in your daily life. Just as I said with the white sugar too, it is brown in color.. so adding it to something will change obviously the taste, but the color as well!

IMG_4242

Happy holidays, happy baking, and happy sugar season diamonds! 

           xoxo

 

Picking Pretty, petite-ly.

IMG_4353

Christmas time is in full swing, and the holiday season is all around us. This is the time of year where every party you attend you’re going to find beautiful charcuterie boards and platters. Most of the time though they are HUGE.. which I mean how could that be a bad thing right; when it’s all the cheese and meat you could ever want, laid out tremendously on a platter for your picking desires? Although, what if in this case you are not having a partying, or your not appearing at one? What if you’re finishing putting up the star on the tree, or hanging the last string of lights outside, and you want a gorgeous, but petite pick try for you and the family?! This is absolutely positively, what you have been dreaming about creating. It’s the perfect size, even if you choose to have a few loved ones over, watching Christmas movies in front of the tree, with some hot cocoa.

IMG_4346

Charcuterie is to have cuts of meats and cheeses spread all over on some time of board, or platter, but lately it has BLOWN UP since that meaning first arrived. It is so much more than just that; it is an art. No matter what size, no matter what goodies you fill around it, it’s delectable, and eye-warming, especially during this wondering season we’ve arrived in.

IMG_4320

When I was arranging this adorned platter, I thought about what I was in the mood for. That’s what you always want to start out with, a few cheeses, and things to build your board off of. I started with plain goat cheese, and sliced fresh mozzarella, along with rich butter crackers, and cheddar olive crackers that are in this cute little pin-ball shape. Since, the crackers were olive flavored, I knew I wanted to pair green olives with them. Now.. just for a little snacking tip; if you take the cheese ball, spread some goat cheese on, and finish it by laying down on olive right at the very top, just as you would finish putting the last ornament on the tip of the tree, it will take your taste buds someone they’re never been before. The salty goodness paired with the creaminess and crunchiness is off the chain, good!

IMG_4321

You could even see the chunks, and bits of flavor inside those cheese crackers, and thats exactly what you want when you’re picking.. flavor!

Now for the meats arrival. I picked two cheeses, so I’m going to pick two meats. Instead of pairing prosciutto, and sopressata… which I would normal do, but with this flavor combination I wanted to have some fun with it, being that my family and I were just watching some movies, and Christmas shopping online! I took salami, and put just enough cream cheese in the middle that when we roll it up.. it is going to be filled just enough, but not too much to that point that it would be spilling out everywhere.

  • FYI DIAMONDS- if you have never tried this combination, you must! It is sensational, and will still be popular 100 years down the road! Also, this combination is a dream onto of a toasted bagel. It could possibly show up on the blog a little later down road!!

Just roll those babies up, and assemble!

For the second meat of my choice, I took a good bologna, and rolled it up just as I did with the salami, except without the cream cheese!

  • Fun fact – a bologna sandwich was my all time favorite sandwich to eat when I was a little girl and well… it still is.. shhh 😉

IMG_4341

After piling on the meats along with the cheese, and the first few things we added on, just fill in the spaces with different types of crackers, and fruits of any kind! I even love to decorate the platter with strings of green onion, especially around Christmas time since it gives it that beautiful color we need for holiday nibbling.

Normally I think fresh herbs, or even more so rosemary for this season would look super incredible to the eye, BUT the reason I chose the scallion is simply because it went so well with the goat cheese, salami, and crackers that I picked. Thats the thing you have to keep in mind as well.. just because you see all of us chefs, and foodies doing something specific, don’t feel obligated to incorporate it into your platter if you feel another piece of food, or garnish would fit the bill!

IMG_4337

A suggestion for showing off meats.. either rolling them as I did, or folding them back and fourth… almost creating a fan like texture is the way to go! IF the meat isn’t filled with anything, of course.

IMG_4350

Regardless of the size, how you arrange, and present all the food is definitely key to building a charcuterie board. It looks inviting, delicious, and so so colorful, decorative for the holidays! 

This was the perfect thing to munch on while walking around the house looking at decor, online shopping for the perfect gifts, and enjoying Christmas films by the tree.

Picking pretty, for sure! Enjoy diamonds, and I’ll be back next week with some sweet sweet knowledge ( ;

xoxo