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Longing for kitten… (a blackberry fig jam recipe) 

             

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

I grew up with the sheer luck of having at least seven cats at different times through out my childhood. Living in the country these cats tended to roam around the house and in the outside world, which led to most of them ghosting away and never coming back. Yet, there was always another cat to take it’s spot. All of those cats weren’t officially mine and at times I longed for a cat to be only mine that I could take care of.

Yet, there was one exception. A cat we had named Cheeseball who belonged to my middle sister, seemed to grow fond of me over the years. Like my estranged family they ignored most of the pets we had around the house so I watched over Cheeseball like he was my own.

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I remember taking photo shoots of Cheeseball, like he was a dashing model posing for every shot. Surprisingly he was quiet patient when it came to me taking photos of him. There were many mornings that I would come out of the bathroom shower and have him greet me at my feet. But if I didn’t pay every bit attention to him he would bite at my legs until I gave him a pat or kiss.

After moving away to go to musical theatre school in New York when I was 20, Cheeseball ended up running off to the neighbor’s house, because my family didn’t take care of him. Every time I would come back home to visit I would long for him to come over to the house, yet he never would. There were many moments when he would just stare at me from afar. It was hard watching him from a distance and not being able to reach him. I miss him still. I’m sure he is off in cat land somewhere chasing the sun and eating to his heart’s content.

I still long for a cat though. A kitten to raise. Maybe it’s because I can’t have children…? I don’t know, but I hope that I can be a mother figure to a kitten one day and give it all the affection in the world. Taking care of something and watching it grow is the most joyful I have ever been.

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Blackberry Fig Jam

Makes one 16 oz. can

Ingredients

1 cup of blackberries

2/3 cup of finely diced figs (about 3 figs)

3 tbsp and 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar 

1 cup of water 

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

1/4 tsp. of coriander 

1/2 tsp. of lemon zest

juice from half of a lemon

1/4 cup of cold water

2 tsp. of cornstarch 

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Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, add the blackberries, figs, sugar and water and set on medium to high heat till it starts to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Stirring  frequently for about five minutes.
  2. Lower the temperature to low heat and add the spices and lemon zest.
  3. Stir for two minutes until the spices dissolve.
  4. Raise the temperature again to medium heat and add the lemon zest. Let the jam simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. After ten minutes, add 2 tsp. of cornstarch to the cup of cold water and stir completely until the starch dissolves. Then add the starch mixture to the jam.
  6. Stir the mixture into the jam. After a while the jam will start to thicken. Continue to stir for five minutes or so.
  7. After five minutes set the jam mixture off to the side to cool for ten minutes.
  8. After ten minutes, use the immersion blender and blend until the chunks of blackberries have liquified.
  9. Gently pour the jam into a heat safe container, such as a maison jar and close with a tight lid and set in the fridge to cool.

Enjoy this jam along side a creamy hunk of brie and toast.

 

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Purple and Sweet Potato Egg Hash

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

Model: Daphne Selfe

This particular image kept on coming back to me for some reason. It struck me, because (obviously) the woman who is modeling in the picture looked significantly older (NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT ALL) than the pictures I normally post on here. I thought to myself, “Damn! This woman is rocking this suit!” I was curious and I wanted to find out more about this power house of a woman.

‘Daphne Selfe’ immediately popped up as soon as I copied the image into the Google search bar. I’d never heard of her before, but I continued to see words appear like ‘Oldest’, ‘Professional’, ‘Beautiful’, the list went on and on.  She has been modeling since 1949, which if I do the math correctly is 68 years…is that right?! That’s insane! Which, honestly, makes sense since she is the World’s Oldest Professional Model.

Her resume of work impressed me. I’m not going to sit here and write everything down about her and her accomplishments, but take a moment and just sit with yourself for a while. Women are amazing right?! I feel like it’s easy for women to forget how impressive and how impactful we have been to this place we call Earth. Even if we feel like we have zero importance in this world, we certainly do and we can certainly accomplish ANYTHING that we want to.

So, ladies and gents, take a moment and realize how special we’re as humans. I know this is turning into some type of ramble, but I think it’s important that we take those moments when we have time to and give ourselves a pat on our backs. We can do anything we set our minds to. If someone can work their butt off till their 87, then anyone can!

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Purple and Sweet Potato Egg Hash

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

1-2 small purple potatoes

1 small sweet potato

1-2 eggs

2 tbsp. of olive oil 

sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper

1 tsp. of garlic powder

1/2 tsp. of white pepper 

Extra:

Cast Iron Skillet

Spatula 

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Directions:

  1. Cut the potatoes in small cubes and toss in the cast iron skillet on medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Then add the following seasonings. Sea salt, black pepper, garlic, and white pepper.
  3. Sautee the potatoes for 6 minutes. Then crack the eggs and add them to the cast iron skillet with the potatoes creating a circle around them. Season the eggs with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook/Sautee for another 3-4 minutes. Once the sides of the eggs start to turn a crispy brown, take the cast iron off the heat and serve at once.
  5. Enjoy for breakfast or a snack!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira

Blasting Pink Pickled Onions

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Photography by. Daniel Riera(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Aamito Lagum

I am currently curled up in bed watching Anime while writing this with a big tissue box right beside me. Yup, that’s right, I have a freaking cold!

I can’t even remember the last time I had a cold but this one is a killer. I think I took at least four showers today to try to get out the gunk that is lodge in my chest and nose, TMI?

I’m gonna make this post short and sweet and hope you guys are having a better time than I am. Not that I don’t enjoy endless Anime, I just wish I didn’t have this cold to pair along with it.

Without further talk, since I literally can’t talk, I’ll leave you with today’s recipe, it’s a yummy one! Enjoy and have a healthy week!

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Blasting Pink Pickled Onions

Makes One mason jar full

Ingredients

2 small purple onions

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

sprinkle of sea salt

sprinkle of mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. of cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Chop up two small purple onions into thin rounds.
  2. In a mason jar add the onions and the rest of the ingredients. Tightly fasten the mason jar lid and shake the ingredients like crazy till mixed well.
  3. Leave out for an hour or immediately refrigerate. The pickled onions will keep for a month in the fridge.

Enjoy on top of toasted rye bread with a little spread of goat cheese!

Photos by. Bernadette Mira

Sugary Cinnamon Coffee

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Photography by. Nicole Heiniger (Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Luma Grothe

This coming week is going to be, go, Go, GO! It seems the more I become accustomed to Jersey City, the busier I am, which I am totally okay with. My social circle is growing and I am finding things during the day to keep my wheels rolling.

Before the sun was about to go down, I quickly pulled my camera equipment together, turned on some Carole King for the mood and decided to make a lovely, sugary drink.   I made it for my husband, since if I drink even a couple of sips of coffee, I go coo-koo. I got the inspiration for the drink from Nicole Heiniger’s editorial shoot of the ‘Fashion Cow-Girl. Please take the time to look at the many photos from this shoot, you won’t regret it.

Enjoy today’s recipe for breakfast or even for a quick pick me up during the day.

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Sugary Cinnamon Coffee Drink

Serves 1-2

Ingredients 

2-3 tbsp. of coffee beans Counter Culture Brand

2 tbsp. of brown sugar

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

1/8 tsp. of nutmeg

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup of whole milk 

Extra:

Coffee Grinder

Tea Kettle 

2 cup French Press

milk frother 

Ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Prepare cold brewed ice coffee the night before or day of. Add desired mug filled with 4-5 ice cubes into the freezer to freeze while making drink recipe.
  2. Then with your coffee grinder, grind up 2-3 tbsp. of whole coffee beans.
  3. Then move the ground coffee to the French Press and start boiling  two cups of water.
  4. While the water is boiling, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt together with a fork. Then set aside.
  5. Once the water has come to a full boil, carefully pour two cups of hot water to your french press.
  6. Stir the coffee around with a fork or chopstick (I highly recommend the chopstick, because it won’t ding the side of the french press.)
  7. Once the coffee is stirred around, add a quick drip of the liquid (about 2 tbsp.) to the sugar mixture till it creates a creamy paste.
  8. Wait for 5 to 7 minutes to press down the coffee in the french press.
  9. While waiting, add the sugar mixture and combined it to a 1/2 cup of whole milk. Then pour into a small glass and set aside in the fridge to cool.
  10. By the 7th minute press down the coffee in the french press.
  11. Then add your coffee to the prepared ice mug. Add about 1/2-1 cup of coffee then add 1/3 cup of the milk/sugar mixture.
  12. Another added step to this recipe is to create a foam top. You will need a milk frother for this or some really mad beating skills–don’t take that a dirty way. Anyway, a milk frother is really handy, especially if you want to create latte art. If you have a milk frother, you may add 1/2-1 cup of coffee to your desired mug, then add 1/4 cup of some of the milk then use the rest of the milk to froth up with the milk frother. Then gently pour it on top once it is to the desired texture of your liking.

Enjoy!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira 

Colorful Spring Rolls

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Photography by. Morelli Brothers(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Whenever I feel a lack of inspiration, I always turn to colorful fashion photos. I’m not sure why honestly. Trying to combined food along with fashion photos to create a recipe can sometimes be a nightmare when the photo is SCREAMING colors!! BUT I find it helpful. It gets me out of the box that I’m comfortable with. It’s easy to create a dish that has the colors, reds, browns, greens and yellows, because let’s be real that’s what most of the food we consume on a daily basis looks like. When I push myself out of that zone, I am able to create dishes without feeling like it needs to look EXACTLY like the photo I’m comparing it to.

So, today’s inspiration features the Morelli Brother’s photography. I was instantly drawn to the scene and the vibrant colors of this photo. Seeing the other people in the background behind the women, just adds to it. It says, “Wow, look at these two confident, colorful, fashionable ladies!” I couldn’t help but think, “Man…I REALLY want that dress!”

Without much more talk, here is today’s recipe! Enjoy!

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Colorful Spring Rolls with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Serves 3

Ingredients

1 carrot peeled and julienned

1 handful of thinly diced cilantro 

half of a small purple cabbage thinly sliced

half of cucumber julienned

Spring roll wrappers 

Cooked baby shrimp (optional)

Extra: 

Pot filled half way with warm water

Large Plate

Spicy Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

3 tbsp. of Soy Sauce

3-4 garlic cloves minced

1 tbsp. of Hoisin Sauce

1-2 tbsp. of Chili Sauce 

1 tbsp. of thinly sliced cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare day of or day before. Thinly slice carrot, cilantro, cabbage, and cucumber. Then set aside in an empty bowl. (If you’re adding shrimp, cook ahead of time. Follow directions on bag and set aside till ready to use.)
  2. Then prepare the spicy garlic sauce. In a small bowl add all the ingredients (including the thinly chopped garlic and cilantro) Then mix all together and set aside.
  3. Prepare a medium size pot of warm water. Be careful to only heat it to about medium heat or you might burn your hands if it’s too hot.
  4. Once the water is warm, bring the large plate onto the next burner beside the warm water. Add one spring roll wrapper at a time. Leave the wrapper in the warm water for about five seconds, then gently add it to the empty plate.
  5. From there you can add the veggies and optional shrimp. (I find it helpful to add most of the ingredients in the middle of the spring roll wrapper, then roll it from there. Try not to fill it up to much or you’ll have difficultly rolling it up.)
  6. Then repeat the process to make more spring rolls.
  7. Once finished, enjoy with friends and the added spicy garlic sauce.

 

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira

Spicy Grilled Sriracha Corn

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Photography by. Steven Meisel(Top) and Bernadette Mira(Bottom)

Tomorrow is 4th of July and I am looking forward to relaxing and celebrating with delicious food. These two lovely ladies Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington photographed by the brilliant Steven Meisel, inspired me to create a dish that any person would enjoy for this 4th of July.

Naomi and Christy are definitely legends in the model world and are rightly so. They both give such expression and life into the photos they have modeled for. It was exciting to see the work that they both have done and being inspired by them.

By the looks of these two women, it’s time to stop with the chit-chat and munch down on something spicy, sweet, salty, AND OH SO butterlicious!! So, here we go! This 4th of July I introduce you to…

Spicy Grilled Sriracha Corn

Serves 2

Ingredients

Two medium size ears of corn

Sauce-

2-3 Tbsp. of Sriracha

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of black peppercorn

1/2 tsp. of red chili pepper flakes

pinch of ground garlic

pinch of sea salt

Garlic Butter-

2 Tbsp. of good butter (Kerry Gold)

1 tsp. of finely chopped garlic

Extra:

Grill Pan or Standing Grill

Vegetable oil (for brushing corn)

Brushing utensil

Tongs

Cook’s Notes: Corn with the husk intact, is so much better than the plastic wrap ones.

Directions:

  1. Shuck corn.
  2. Prepare grill pan or standing grill.
  3. Bring grill to a medium heat and lightly brush with oil.
  4. While the grill is heating up, prepare the corn and spicy sauce.
  5. Lightly brush corn with vegetable oil on all sides and set aside on plate.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together sauce ingredients until well combined.
  7. Brush the corn with the spicy sauce till completely covered.
  8. By this time the grill pan should be hot. Add the corn to the grill pan.
  9. After five minutes, raise temperature to high heat so the corn can get grill marks.
  10. Grill the corn for 12-15 minutes. Periodically flip the corn on every side so each side gets grilled.
  11. While waiting for the corn to be done, mix up the garlic butter ingredients in a small bowl. Then set aside.
  12. Once the corn has finished, transfer the corn to a plate to serve with garlic butter on the side.

Enjoy and Happy 4th of July!

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Photo by. Bernadette Mira

Spicy Lamb Curry with Jourdan

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Photography by: Zee Nunes (Left) and Bernadette Mira (Right)

Here it is everyone! Like I said, I aim to please. Today’s recipe is representing those spicy dishes. The type of dishes where your tongue starts to tingle and you feel a tear roll down your cheek. This is also the type of dish that I hope Jourdan Dunn herself would approve of. It’s Italian meets Indian meets Thai meets Jamaican and probably a bunch of different cultures mixed together!

The photo taken by the ever so great Zee Nunes blew me away. I didn’t think  Jourdan Dunn could get any cooler, but she’s rocking a kick ass afro! She’s representing the curly girls and natural girls. I love it! Jourdan’s outfit and her personal tastes inspired me to create a dish featuring homemade pasta and a spicy curry dish, that I’m sure she would enjoy eating.

Enough with the talk, here’s…

Spicy Lamb Curry

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Marinade for lamb-

1 pound of cubed lamb

1/2 cup of whole milk yogurt or greek yogurt

1 tsp. of turmeric powder

1 tbsp. of yellow curry powder

1/2 tsp. of crushed mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. of red chili flakes

1/2 tsp. of garlic powder

1/4 tsp. of ginger powder

sea salt to sprinkle

Sauce-

1 can of Thai Kitchen coconut milk 

half of a finely diced onion

3 finely minced garlic cloves

2 tbsp. of fresh ginger grated

2-3  diced Jamaican hot peppers (more if you want more spicy-ness)

1/2 tsp. of black peppercorn or black pepper

3 tbsp. of yellow curry powder

1-2 tbsp. of turmeric powder

1/4 tsp. of onion powder

1/4 tsp. of garlic powder

1/4 tsp. of coriander

1 tsp. of ground mustard seeds

1 tsp. of red chili flakes

Topping-

Fresh chopped basil or Thai basil

splash of lime juice

Extra-

Olive oil

Homemade pasta (The recipe I used wasn’t great, so I suggest using packaged pasta or rice. If you feel up to the challenge, try making homemade pasta. I hope you find a good recipe.)

Dutch oven or big pot to store curry

Ziplock bag

Plastic gloves (to cut hot peppers if you want to be extra cautious)

Cook’s notes: Here is the correct way to chop hot peppers.

Directions:

1. Prepare the lamb to marinate over night or for at least 6 hours.

2. If lamb doesn’t come prepared into cubes, cut into even sliced cubes.

3. In a small bowl combine the spices to the yogurt. Stir until well combined.

4. Add the diced lamb into the marinade sauce. Coat until completely covered.

5. In a ziplock bag, store the marinade lamb in the fridge over night or for at least six hours.

6. Next day or day of, bring olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven to a simmer. Then add the marinade lamb to the pot.

7. Next we will start the ‘browning’ process. (Well, that’s what I like to call it.) The lamb will need to be cooked on both sides to get a nice, caramelized brown on each side. Periodically check each side to get the desired brown you want.

8.Once brown, with a heat thermometer, check the lamb’s temperature making sure it reaches to 145 or above. (I allowed mine to get to 160)

9. Once it reaches a safe temperature, remove the meat and set aside in a small bowl.

10. On medium heat add more olive oil to the pot. Then add diced onion, garlic, ginger and hot peppers. Stir every now and then until the onions become translucent. Once translucent add the ground spices and stir well until combined.

11. Next, add the lamb back into the pot along with the coconut milk. Stir and cover on low-medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Or until your pasta or rice is done cooking.

Enjoy on top of rice, store-bought pasta or homemade pasta!! Add basil to top and a splash of lime to brighten the dish. Be sure to keep a glass of milk near by or bread if you can’t handle the spice!

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Photo by. Bernadette Mira