Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Donut" Deluxe

I spend a good amount of time at the hair salon each month, with my head wrapped in foil, sitting under the dryer as I cook away my gray.  Usually, I am mindlessly flipping through pages about who made the latest fashion faux pas or what the hemlines are doing this season.  Occasionally, I will stumble onto something of interest. That was the case last week when I found a picture of an "apple donut".  It was a thick round slice of apple, core removed, slathered with peanut butter and dipped in granola to imitate the look of a sprinkled donut.  It was a quirky idea that caught my eye.  As a food stylist, I am constantly storing little nuggets like that in my memory for later use. While I enjoyed the playful approach to the snack, I kept imagining the rough assault on the roof of my mouth.  As I was making my breakfast this morning, a light bulb came on - I could create the same look with my french toast... a similar concept but with a much softer texture.  So, I cut my bread into donut shapes, sliced and cored an apple and got to work.  I sauteed the apple rounds in butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon until just barely tender. I dipped and flipped my french toast and slid each one right on top of an apple ring.  I spread a generous amount of peanut butter on the warm french toast and sprinkled it with sunflower seeds, pepitas, and raisins.  Absolutely scrumptious!  Topped with maple syrup, it was certainly better than any donut I had ever had.  Who knew that inspiration would be lurking under the warm air of a hairdryer?  I wonder where the next idea will come from....

*Tasty Trick: I used a splash of caramel coffee creamer in my french toast batter.  mmm. mmm. mmm.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cucumber Basil Cocktail

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade... then spike that lemonade and forget all about the lemons you were handed in the first place.  Ok, maybe not the healthiest approach, but an effective one nonetheless.  Feeling a little beat down lately, I decided it was time for a delicious cocktail recipe... something summery that would take the edge off.  I started with 2 shots of white tequila down in the shaker.  (I'll be honest, I bought Espolon because of the cool black and white illustration on the label... I mean, c'mon, it's a skeleton riding a rooster. How could I resist?)  Next, I muddled cucumber slices and fresh basil, then added a splash of lemonade.  After a few good shakes,  I strained out the muddled shrapnel and poured the delicious nectar into a chilled glass with ice.  A sprig of basil and two or three cucumber rounds were added for aesthetic appeal and there was only one thing left to say - wow! Refreshing, delicious, and beautiful.  So take that, life... keep on throwing those lemons, I'll just keep making them awesome.