Archive for July, 2013
Inspiration and Tea for the Dog Days
Saturday, July 13th, 2013
I found this quote on Pinterest this week and it struck such a chord with me.  I began to think about all of the creative moments of inspiration I have had in the past year or so and they all came when I was just doing the work of design.  Researching, brainstorming, looking at hundreds and hundreds of images and then it strikes like lightening.  The idea forms and the details come one after another and make my heart start to beat faster.  It’s part of what I love about this job.  Seeing it all come together is just icing on the cake…and a remarkable team surrounding me.
I would love to hear your thoughts about design and how you glean insight and inspiration in your own work.
I love iced tea and this recipe takes the essence of summer and distills it down into a glass.  One sip and you will be smitten.
Peach Basil Iced Tea
inspired by Toast on Market
Your favorite black tea for brewing iced tea*
1.5 quarts cold water
12 large basil leaves plus additional for garnish
1 cup peach syrup**
Place tea and basil leaves in a 2 quart pitcher.  Heat 1 quart of water in a kettle.  When boiling, remove from heat and pour over tea and basil.  Steep tea and basil leaves for 3-4 minutes.  Remove tea bags and leaves.  Add peach syrup to pitcher and allow to cool.  Serve over ice with basil leaves and a section of peach as garnish.
*I usually use twice as much tea as recommended and steep for half as long.  I find that I want the strength, but not the bitterness that comes from a long steep.  Also the basil will become more bitter the longer it steeps.
**Peach Syrup
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup sugar
1 medium peach, very ripe, quartered
Place peach and sugar in a pan and muddle the peach.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes.  I do not like my iced tea that sweet and the peach adds sweetness, so I have cut the sugar to 1/4 cup in this recipe.  If you like your tea sweeter, feel free to up the sugar amount.
Summer Salad and A Cool Cocktail
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Summer begins my unending obsession with cool salads and even cooler cocktails.  These fit the bill on all accounts.  The sweet and savory combination of the salad is so refreshing and exactly what I want in this season of melon and luscious ripe tomatoes.  
~Summer Salad~ 
Heirloom Tomatoes, Watermelon, Grilled Peaches, and Pesto Vinaigrette
Serves 4

2 cups watermelon cut into chunks
2 large Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced into wedges
4 large peaches, skin on, pitted and cut into eighths
2 large handfuls of Arugula (or other bitter or spicy fresh greens)
6-10 leaves of fresh basil, julienned
1 small shallot, minced
Pesto Vinaigrette*
Combine watermelon and tomatoes into a large salad bowl.  Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.  Place peaches, flesh side down, on a hot grill.  Grill for 2 minutes, or until grill marks appear and peaches begin to soften and smell highly fragrant.  Remove from grill, cool on countertop or in fridge.  Mix with watermelon and tomatoes.
Toss arugula and fresh basil with 1/4 cup pesto vinaigrette.  Divide greens among four salad plates.  Top with a large spoonful of fruit mixture.  Drizzle with an additional small amount of pesto vinaigrette and garnish with some shallots before serving.
*Pesto Vinaigrette

1/4 cup pesto
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup cold water
Salt and Pepper to taste
With an emulsion blender, combine the pesto and vinegar in a container.  With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified.  Keep the blender running and add water a tablespoon at a time until the dressing has a pourable and thin consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Dressing will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge with a film of plastic wrap directly on the dressing to prevent air from discoloring the basil.
Paloma Cocktail

2 ounces grapefruit juice
1.5 ounces good silver tequila
1/2 ounce Cointreau (optional)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2-1 ounce Tonic Water 
Place Ice, and first four ingredients in cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.  Pour contents over ice, top with tonic water and stir.  Garnish with fresh mint and lime wedge.  Be prepared to make many, many more.
I’d love to hear your favorite summer cocktails!  Drop me a line and share a recipe!