foodie

To my husband…

Today is my husband’s birthday. The most used sentence or thought that runs along the lines of, “I don’t know what I would do without you…” couldn’t be truer in our relationship. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. He has gotten me through some tough moments in my life.

There are times when I think that he saved me from a bad situation when I was coping with a toxic family. He was the only one that took the time to understand me and genuinely cared about what I was going through. I have never met anyone else like that. Someone that is so kind and patient. He gave himself completely to me on the nights where I was curled up in ball on the bathroom floor contemplating suicide. He helped me out of that dark hole with his love and kindness. I will always be thankful for that.

So today is for him. Life can get in the way sometimes and it’s hard to stop and remember that we have loving people in our lives. It’s important to take the time to remember that. I have a loving husband and friend by my side for the rest of my life which is pretty amazing.

So, Happy Birthday my love. May this coming year bring you joy, growth and success, for you deserve it. Love always, your kitten.

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake

By. Lady and Pups

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

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Christmas Time is Here (Julia Child’s croissants with cranberry jam filling)

I will always remember that Christmas.

That time of year is back again and I can already feel the anxiety setting in. There are times when I can’t help but think about the past. Especially about the time I opened up to my adoptive father about being sexually abused as a child.

Christmas time when I was a younger was all that I waited for with every passing year. I remember decorating the house till every room was filled with some sort of tinsel or sparkling lights. I cherished every second of it. You couldn’t stop me from dancing to the Grinch soundtrack with The Who’s singing “Trim up the tree with Christmas fluff…” That time of year was magical for me. Over the years it unfortunately lost its sense of innocence. That Christmas when I told my father about being abused left me raw and alone. I will always remember that Christmas.

The week before Christmas I had to say goodbye to my husband. We were both celebrating the holiday with our families, me in Virginia and him in Florida. He was my boyfriend at the time, but I still found it difficult to leave him. Maybe it was because I knew that I could confined in him about being abused. As soon as I made it back to VA with my adoptive parents I felt this sense of gloom over the house. Before entering the house that I grew up in, I looked up at it and all the memories of being abused flooded in. How I stayed in that house for years, I still don’t know how.

When Christmas Day came along I kept on contemplating if I was going to tell my father or not. My mother who already knew and saw me get abused said, “It’s up to you Bernadette.” I had to build up my courage throughout the day until by 8 pm or so I sat my father down and told him.

The moment went by so quickly. All I remember is him saying a joke afterwards about me being abused and him getting me a wet wash cloth to wash away my tears. That’s how it was with them. They think by washing away the problems that they will magically disappear. That method never works.

Now, that I am estranged from them, I can’t help but feel that Christmas has to be perfect. It’s not healthy to think that way and I’m slowly working on it. Even though this year has been tough in so many ways politically, socially and personally,  I have a loving husband. I have a silly dog and a new family in my husband’s family. I have met new people who I can consider real friends. I know that 2018 will be better. I know this because I will keep on trying to live for me and not for the family I grew up with.

Julia Child’s Croissants

Volume Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking 

By Julia Child and Simone Beck 

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 1/4 tsp. of yeast

3 tbsp. of warm water (100 degrees)

1 tsp. of sugar

Second half of recipe

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tsp. of sugar

1 1/2 tsp. of salt

2/3 cup of warm milk

2 tbsp. of canola oil

1 3/4 sticks of chilled unsalted butter 

Cranberry Jam

Makes 3/4 cup

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

Pinch of pepper and salt

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

1/3 cup of fresh orange juice

1/2 cup of water

 

Croissant Recipe: Equivalent version of croissant recipe. Here is a video of the master herself making some croissants on the show the French Chef.

Directions for Cranberry Jam:

  1. Throughly wash the cranberries, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a medium size sauce pan, add all the ingredients and stir on medium to high heat until it starts to simmer.
  3. Once it comes to a simmer, turn down the heat between low and medium. Stirring frequently for 15 minutes or until the jam comes to the wrinkle stage.
  4. Once the jam has come to the wrinkle stage, take off the heat and cool for five minutes.
  5. Pour the jam mixture through a fine mesh sieve with a glass bowl underneath to catch the jam. Do this with a spoon and patience. This should take about 10 minutes to get all the mixture through.
  6. Cool the jam in a glass jar and leave in fridge until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

I often wonder…

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Photography by. Bernadette Mira

I often wonder how people discover their “true calling”. Reading through Julia Child’s Life in Paris is fascinating and leaves me the question of how will I know what I would like to do as a career?  I mean Julia was in her late 30s if I remember correctly until she found her calling. Well, began to experiment with the idea of cooking. Perhaps, I am too picky when it comes to these things but I don’t want to be stuck doing something that I  don’t enjoy for years to appease others. I did that once, and I’m not going back there again (fingers crossed)!

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So, here I am. Spending most of the days carving out a schedule that wont leave me completely exhausted but filling it out with enough projects to leave me feeling productive. I have been playing with the idea of creating my own career, because being a young black woman in these times and let’s be honest ANY time, I have to create something meaningful for myself. I have learned through all the job interviews that no matter how talented I am that no one is going to give me the job I would ideally want because I am black. I am plunging in head first and fully going into the deep waters to discover myself.

I honestly have nothing to lose at this point. At the brink of living a world where everything seems to fall apart literally every week, I need to make the most of it while I can.

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Roasted Carrots and Potatoes with Hummus 

Serves 4

Ingredients 

Hummus

1 can of drained chickpeas 

1/4 cup of Tahini 

1/2 tsp. of paprika 

1/2 tsp. of cumin

1/2 tsp. of oregano 

1/8 tsp. of sea salt 

1/8 tsp. of black pepper

1/8 tsp. of lemon zest

juice from half of a lemon 

4 to 6 tbsp. of olive oil

extra oil for drizzling

Roasted vegetables 

4 to 5 medium size carrots 

1 medium size russet potato cut into half moons 

sea salt and pepper to season 

1 to 2 tbsp. of olive oil to coa

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F having a rack directly in the middle.

2. While the oven is preheating, throughly wash the vegetables and pat dry with a paper towel.

3. Then cut the stems/greens off the carrots and cut the potato into half moon shapes (diagonally).

4. Add parchment paper to the baking tray and add the vegetables to the tray while fully coating them in olive oil. Then season generously with salt and pepper.

5. Roast the vegetables to 30 to 45 minutes or until tender to the touch. Then let rest for five minutes and serve with hummus.

6. Prepare the hummus in a food processor. Add all the ingredients one by one and season to taste. Serve in a big bowl for easy reaching and sharing.

Note: If the hummus is too thick or dry, add water or olive oil 1 tsp. at a time until desired texture.

Enjoy…or as Julia would say, Bon appetite!

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Mascot Grape Sorbet with Toasted Graham topping 

  Photography by. Bernadette Mira

The past couple of weeks have kind of been a blur. With the ups and downs, I try to remember the ups rather than the downs. It’s easier to get through the day trying to remember the positive things in life. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

So for today’s recipe, I unfortunately don’t have much to say or  have an insightful anecdote. I guess, remember that even through this tough time, in this difficult and painful world that love still exists. If we all remember that and strive for a better world, perhaps maybe it will happen. I’m truly cynical as person, but deep down I still believe the world can be better someday.

 

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Mascot Grape Sorbet

Ingredients 

1 pound of Mascot Grapes

2 tsp. of Pinot Grigio wine

pinch of nutmeg

1/2  14 oz can of condensed milk

Graham Cracker Topping

Ingredients

Two original graham crackers 

2 tbsp. of good butter

sprinkle of cinnamon 

pinch of sugar

pinch of sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. In a food processor add 1/2 of the grapes and mix until combined.
  2. Then with a cheese cloth or fine strainer, strain the grape juice into a separate bowl while leaving the seeds and pulp behind.
  3. Once all the juice has been strained add it into the food processor again while incorporating the 1/2 can of condensed milk, nutmeg and pinot grigio. Mix until well combined. Then set aside.
  4. Heat up a medium size sauce pan on low to medium heat and add the other half of the grapes to the pan.
  5. Once it starts to simmer, start squashing the grapes with a wooden spoon to get out the juice. When all the grapes have been squashed, cover the pan for five minutes on low heat to simmer.
  6. After five minutes, strain the juice into a separate bowl.
  7. Once all the juice has been strained add it to the food processor with the first mixture. (Should get about 1/2 -3/4 cup of juice from this)
  8. Pulse the mixture together until fully combined.
  9. Then pour the mixture in a tightly sealed container and freeze over night.
  10. Extra step:(Not necessary) The next day add the sorbet to the food processor and blend again and freeze again for another day.
  11. To prepare the graham cracker topping, heat up a non stick pan to medium to high heat and add 2 tbsp. of butter.
  12. While the pan is heating up finely crumble up two graham crackers then add them to the pan.
  13. With a wooden spoon stir the graham crackers into the butter while adding the cinnamon, sugar and sea salt.
  14. Once the graham crackers have turned slightly browner for about 2-5 minutes, take the pan off the heat and pour the graham cracker mixture into a separate bowl. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Then serve on top of the sorbet. Enjoy!

 

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Bathroom Pizza…

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Photography by. CHANEL(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Don’t be alarmed by the title, there is more to this story I promise…

My husband and I had a period of when we were away from each other. At the time we were boyfriend and girlfriend and during that period, I was unfortunately overwhelmed with a toxic family while living with them. My loving husband was up in Jersey City finding us a home. I was devastated that I couldn’t be with him and experience finding our first place together. Fortunately, his mother (my now mom) was able to help him.

We spent most of our days apart chatting on the phone and Skyping. Now skyping can be one of the most frustrating forms of communication. I was living literally in the middle of nowhere and the reception was at best okay during the early morning, not sure why that was. So, it was always in and out while we spoke with each other. Yet, I cherished those conversations.

One of the most memorable ones was when my husband found a place for us and it was his first night alone in the apartment. He described the place as being gross and dusty and needing a very good clean. He said that he was feeling lonely too and wish there was something to cheer him up. I can’t remember if it was his idea or mine or the both us, but he ended up spending his evening talking to me on Skype while bathing in a bathtub and eating a box of pizza. It was one of the most hilarious moments that I got to experience with him. He seemed content at that point even though we weren’t together and  knowing that made me happy.

A couple of years later, we decided to recreate that moment together. The idea of having pizza while eating in a tub and watching anime was extremely tempting. So, we spent the evening making a homemade pizza that was topped with delicious, oily, salty meat.(My husband’s favorite) After making the pizza we got the tub ready and the Ipad set up with one of our favorite anime shows. Unfortunately, after a while the temperature of the water and the heat from the pizza was too much for me to handle and the bathtub experience only lasted for maybe five minutes. We still laugh about it, because it really shows what type of relationship we have. That we’re able to be flexible even when things don’t work out exactly the way we want them to. So, if you ever get a chance, enjoy the silly moments of life and cherish them.

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Bathroom Pizza (Pesto and Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Ingredients 

Serves 6-8

Pesto sauce:

One can of pesto 3.5 oz or half of can

3 big garlic cloves 
 2 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese and mix

5-6 white mushrooms thinly sliced

Tomato sauce:

4 big garlic cloves minced
One 6 oz can of tomato paste
 1 tbsp of honey
Sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of red pepper flakes
Pinch of white pepper
2 tbsp of oregano
1 tsp of basil
8 to 10 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of minced fresh tarragon

Toppings:

 1 small purple onion diced in circles  

half of a small red pepper chopped in strips
2 andouille sausage chopped in circles
8 oz of grated mozzarella 

Extra:

Olive oil

Yeast

Sugar

Flour

Corn Flour

Pizza Stone

Medium size bowl 

Damp dish towel

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Directions:

  1. Firstly make the pizza dough. I used this wonderful  pizza dough recipe from Sarah’s Cucina Bella website. Follow as instructed. While the dough is rising, continue to the following steps bellow for the sauces.
  2. In a small to medium size bowl, add the can of pesto, two big minced garlic cloves and goat cheese. Combine together. Then set aside.
  3. Then slice the other big garlic clove (3rd one) in long slices. Once finished wrap in plastic wrap and set in fridge.
  4. Then thinly slice the white mushrooms and set aside in fridge also. Preheat the oven at this point to 450 F.
  5. For the Tomato sauce, add all ingredients to a medium size bowl and combine. Set aside in the fridge with plastic wrap on top till ready to use.
  6. Prepare the toppings for the pizza. Grate the mozzarella and set aside till use. In a medium sauce pan sautee half of the purple onion and some of the red pepper with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sautee on low to medium heat until slightly brown. Set aside when finished.
  7. In the same pan or cast iron skillet, add the sliced sausage with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sautee until slightly brown or slightly crispy. Then set aside until ready to use.
  8. Once the pizza dough is done, lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough into a circle. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.)
  9. Then, create a uniform layer of corn flour onto the pizza stone so the dough doesn’t stick. Then carefully transfer the pizza dough to the pizza stone.
  10. Then its time to add the sauces, cheese and toppings. Start with adding the pesto sauce to half of the dough. Then add the tomato sauce to the other half. Once the sauces are on the pizza add the toppings accordingly.
  11. Pesto side- sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, garlic
  12. Tomato side- sauce, mozzarella cheese, sautéed onions and pepper.
  13. Once finished add the pizza to the oven. Bake for 6 minutes. Once the 6 minutes are up add the sausage and the remaining onions and peppers to the tomato sauce side. Then bake again for 15-20 minutes or until the sides are crispy brown.
  14. Enjoy!!!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira

A lovely Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

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Photography by. Bernadette Mira Hagen

Where do I even begin when it seems like decades since I have written down my musings and even a recipe!? So much has happened this past year and even just this current year. You know what I mean…dare I even speak his name? It’s like the evil, demonic Voldemort in Harry Potter. Maybe if all pans out well, all of America will rally together and we will put an end to him. Maybe WordPress isn’t the best place to discuss this, but I want to be candid.

Before 2017 began, I got married back on November the 5th. It was nothing huge, just a few family and friends. I wanted to make it special for my husband and I. We have for the past almost six years we’ve been together have had to deal with my deceased family for many reasons. Dont worry, they’re not dead, just very toxic to have as a family. Anyway, in my head I wanted needed the wedding to be perfect to make up for their absence. Which puts so much pressure on a person to do EVERY SINGLE THING RIGHT. To my surprise though, the wedding was and has been the most perfect, magical day of my life so far.

Quickly after that, America was on their feet to the surprise of HIM winning the election. So, this past year I have done a tremendous amount of thinking of what I can do for myself to keep myself happy and to keep going. My conclusion is to keep on making art, no matter what form that may be in. Be it fashion, photography, making a gif video for Instagram, that is what is going to help America through this rough time. Rallying together, bringing art at the center, because that is what makes us as humans so special. We have the ability to create amazing things, so why not share it? Without much more talk, here is today’s recipe. Enjoy it, because everyone deserves a drink and also enjoy it because it’s damn delicious if I say so myself.

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Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Serves 1-2

Ingredients 

1 hearty Grapefruit 

4tbsp. Of good Gin 

dash of nutmeg 

dash of sea salt (optional)

3-4 ice cubes 

1/2-1 cup of Tonic water 

Extra 

Cocktail Shaker 

Directions:

1. Vigorously roll around the Grapefruit on a flat surface in the palm of your hand to release the juices.

2. Cut the Grapefruit in half and gently squeeze the Grapefruit juice in the cocktail shaker. (May use both halves of the Grapefruit if you decide to make two Gin and tonics. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, be sure to remove the Grapefruit seeds.)

3. Add the nutmeg, sea salt, Gin and ice cubes to shaker. Quickly shake the ingredients together while holding the top intact.

4. Remove the small cap to the shaker and pour into wine glass or glass of your choosing. Then add the Tonic water and stir together with the other ingredients.

Enjoy with a slither of Grapefruit on the side!

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Ferrero Rocher Granola with Kendall

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Photography by. Inez and Vinoodh(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Today’s inspiration is a young woman who is almost literally on EVERY single page of EVERY fashion magazine. She is on the cover and the main hit of Vogue’s September 800 page issue. Through the well-known fame of Keeping up with the Kardashians, she has been able to make a name for herself. This young woman is none other than Kendall Jenner. To learn more fun facts about her, watch 73 questions by the Vogue Channel.

Kendall Jenner, isn’t afraid to speak her mind and she definitely commands the runway with her striking features and also having an amazing walk. I was very intrigued by the photo above taken by Inez and Vinoodh. I wanted to create something that would feature chocolate to resemble the nut-brown color from the outfit and purse that Kendall holds. So, enough with the chit-chat, here is today’s recipe…

Ferrero Rocher Granola

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled cereal oats

1/2-1 cup of whole grain rolled oats

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

1/4 cup of raw agave syrup

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of coriander 

1/2-1 cup of wheat germ

1/2 cup of golden raisins

1/2 cup of finely diced dried apricots

1/3 cup of Ferrero Rocher chocolate

Extra

parchment paper

baking sheet 

big bowl 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine all ingredients together, except for golden raisins, apricots and chocolate.
  4. Mix the granola mixture with your hands or stir with spoon.
  5. Once well combined, spread the granola mixture onto the baking sheet. Set aside until oven is ready.
  6. Finely dice apricots and chocolate and add golden raisins to a small bowl. Then set inside the fridge to chill.
  7. Add the granola mixture to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Once the timer has made it to 10 minutes left, add the apricots, chocolate and raisins.
  9. Keep on baking until golden brown.
  10. Take granola out of oven and let it cool completely.
  11. Keep granola in large zipper bag or glass container in fridge. Enjoy with milk, yogurt or even by itself! (Warning, this recipe is addictive–enjoy with caution)

 

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Photo and gif by. Bernadette Mira and Garrett Hagen