Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple raisin fig bread pudding

For Thanksgiving I ended up making a delicious apple raisin & fig bread pudding, with fig ice cream on top. It was a hit! Very simple recipe, long baking time and memorable taste. This dish is nice if you are having a dinner party, because it's great to make ahead of time but instead of serving it with ice cream, serve it with a hot bourbon sauce or anything warm to balance out the room temp pudding. Check out the recipe and add whichever dry ingredients you like! I suggest serving them in little mason jars or mini souffle dishes!


2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup Marsala or brandy
9 white sandwich bread slices
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk (do not use lowfat or nonfat)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped


Combine raisins, figs and Marsala in small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 8-cup soufflé dish. Spread 1 side of each bread slice generously with butter. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Transfer to prepared dish. Mix sugar, eggs and egg yolk in large bowl. Whisk in cream and next 4 ingredients. Stir in apple, raisins and figs with Marsala. Pour over bread and stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Set soufflé dish in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to large pan to come 1 inch up sides of soufflé dish. Bake until custard is set and top is golden and puffed slightly in center, approximately 1 3/4 hours. Serve warm.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mission fig ice cream

I got my hands on some mission fig ice cream last night and decided that I am going to base a whole dish around it. I wanted to steer away from your quintessential ice-cream-is-dessert frame of mind, and use it with something savory...Until I found a savory dessert recipe that I'm trying to wrap my head around, hoping I can master the recipe.
We all know desserts aren't easy, but I'm up for a challenge.
How does a Pine nut tart with rosemary cream topped off with mission fig ice cream sound? Stay tuned!

"Cheese is alive. Nurture it!"

Seldom is it that I don't finish a block of cheese, but on those rare occasions that I do, I prefer wrapping it in this cheese paper that I bought at Star Provisions in Atlanta. You can purchase it directly online or seek out a retail shoppe that carries it. The pack comes with several sheets of double plyed paper, as well as blank labels, allowing you to write in which cheese it is, when you bought it, etc. It's perfect for the cheese lover in your life. The paper maintains proper humidity and allows adequate oxygen exchange to keep cheese alive and tasty! Formaticum cheese paper claims it "will be the difference between good cheese and bad cheese." Check out their website and get your hands on some

Sunday, November 21, 2010

For dinner last night...

Last night one of my favorite girls in the world came over, my cousin Deven. Since we were little, we always put our minds together to create yummy and pretty somethings. This something last night was a delicious pomegranate sauce to top off our grilled pork chops. We served them with sauteed spinach on the side. The spinach was sauteed with olive oil, ginger powder, caraway seed, rosemary and a lemon wedge. Interesting combo right? It was great. For the pork chops, we rubbed them with coriander, s&p, cumin and cinnamon and popped them in an oiled skillet. Once they were done, we took them out of the pan and poured a cup and a half of POM Wonderful juice to soak up all the pork flavors until it hit its boiling point. We scooped out some pomegranate seeds from about half of a pomegranate and added the fresh juices too. We put about two tablespoons of butter and voila, it was ready to be poured over our chops! Such a great fall dish, try it tonight!

Craft Appeal

Craft Appeal is a community for sharing great handmade work and by voting, you can help award the most appealing art and crafts from around the world.
Check out Olives & Grace on Craft Appeal and support us by giving us your vote!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Loving this wine right now...

So delicious. Exactly what I was looking for tonight! It's a Super Tuscan... a little Cab Franc, a little Sangiovese & a little Cab. Bought it for $30 at the Wine Bottega on Hanover Street.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuscan Beef Stew with Polenta

Today the temps hit under 40 degrees, so I thought, what's more comforting than a hearty beef stew? I stumbled upon this easy recipe at Epicurious (of course). Here it is:

(For stew)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, cut into medium dice
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds stew beef, such as boneless chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium tomatoes, halved
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make stew in heavy, large saucepan over moderately high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add beef and sauté, stirring occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add wine and thyme, stir well, and bring to boil. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then lower heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes, until beef is tender, about 2 hours.

While beef is simmering, make polenta
Pour olive oil into large serving bowl and swirl to coat. Set aside.
In heavy, large pot over moderately high heat, bring stock to boil. Lower heat to moderate and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until polenta thickens and pulls away from sides of pan, about 10 minutes. Transfer to oil-coated serving bowl and keep warm.

Serve When beef is tender, use tongs to remove tomato skins (if desired) and thyme sprigs. Transfer stew to large serving bowl. Serve polenta alongside.
(PS- I used Pastene instant Polenta... takes 4 minutes and is a definite time saver and just as good)

Olives & Grace!

I couldnt be more proud to announce the finalized concept, created by my best friend, Sofi and I. Olives & Grace will be your source for personalized gifts, favors and more. Stay tuned for project and event announcements. In the meantime, find us on Twitter and Facebook! Our website is it is currently in the making, but keep checking for our progress! Thank you for all of your support.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

uncommon goods is probably one of my favorite places to find quirky gifts that you cant find anywhere else. They have great cheese boards, wine glass sets and everything in between. Let the gift giving season begin!

Peppermint Bark Soap

It's a beautifully layered handmade soap with an oatmeal base with scents of candy cane and fresh peppermint leaves, it's infused with cranberry seeds. Definitley a holiday favorite and one of my most edible bars!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My business card

My business card surounded by fresh flowers & herbs that I regularly use in my soaps!
Photography done by Megan Elmstrom

Just in time for Thanksgiving...

Somebody needs to make this soup. It's SO ridiculously easy. It's afordable and it's delicious. Seared scallops over pumpkin soup with toasted hazelnuts, just in time for Thanksgiving. This recipe serves 2, here it is-


12 oz fresh sea scallops
1 can (15oz) unflavored pumpkin puree
2 tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts
8-10 chives, chopped
1 cup of chicken broth
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp evoo


  • Toast chopped hazelnuts- place in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Set aside.

  • Combine pumpkin puree, honey, butter and broth in a medium saucepan and heat the mixture on low until it is warmed- add s&p to taste

  • Preheat skillet over medium/high heat. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season them with s&p to taste. Add oil to the pan and add the scallops. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until they're firm, browned and caramelized

  • Pour soup into bowls. Add scallops and hazelnuts and garnish with chopped chives

So yummy and quick. Great as a first course if you're having an intimate holiday dinner party! Somebody make it and send me your thoughts!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Coffee & Cream

Tonights menu

Today in Boston the weather is cold and wet with snow in the forecast! To me, the cold is all about cozy, warm, comfort foods (and big sweaters and boots and candles and wine). So, tonight I'm trying a new recipe that I found. It's a Pumpkin soup with sea scallops and toasted hazelnuts (1st course) Then I'm going to grill some pork chops and finish them off with a red onion, pomegranate, orange & parsley gremolata! Oooo lala. Stay tuned for photos and recipes. YUM.

Soap Menu

For those of you who arent familiar with the boston jack soapline soap MENU,
here it is!

The Vanillas-

· Rosemary vanilla sage
· Tahitian vanilla chamomile
· French lavender & vanilla
· Creamy vanilla butter pie
· Brazilian sea salt, cracked pepper & vanilla
The Cucumbers-
· Thyme ginger cucumber
· Cucumber mint
· Cucumber wasabi cilantro
· Cool chamomile cucumber
The Holidays -
· Cinnamon apple butter pie
· Brown sugar fig
· Candy cane peppermint
· Cranberry apple butter pie
· Holiday vanilla cranberry
· Christmas tree
· Brown sugar spiced eggnog
· Walnut gingerbread

And I've added one more that I'm THRILLED about... it's a coffee and cream soap bar. It's a fabulous kitchen soap because it takes away smells from the skin like garlic and fish. Perfect for the holiday cooks! Treat your holiday host with a bar!

Holiday rush

Believe it or not, It's November. The holidays are right in front of us and I've been cranking out some serious batches of soap. I've been selling to two local, North End, shops (Eclectic in North Square and CLUTCH on Endicott St.) plus all the personalized orders in between and last but not least the craft fair in San Fran that is set for November 21st! I won't be there, but my gracious and lovely Sofi will be there to represent us and our soaps! So, if you're in the San Fran area, message me for event details and go pick up some lucious soaps!