Rosé Strawberry La Parfait Jar Slush

Rosé Strawberry La Parfait Jar Slush

Author note: This is a fun and simple way to serve drinks at your next summer get together. This recipe can also be found at Sur La Table.

6 ounces rosé wine

5 tablespoons strawberry puree (see recipe below)

3 teaspoons simple syrup (see recipe below), chilled

splash of Grand Marnier

  1. Fill a 12.2 ounce La Parfait jar (or whatever canning jar you have available) with the rosé, strawberry puree and simple syrup. Seal tightly with the lid. Shake and place in the freezer.
  2. Every 45 minutes shake the mixture until a slush like consistency develops (about 3 to 4 hours).
  3. Before serving, top with a splash (or two) of Grand Marnier. Serve with a straw.

for the strawberry puree

16 ounces strawberries, leafy ends removed

2 tablespoons simple syrup

  1. Cut the strawberries in half.
  2. Place both ingredients into a food processor and puree until the fruit is a smooth, soup-like consistency.
  3. Place in the fridge and chill before using.

for the simple syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

  1. Place the ingredients into a sauce pan and cook on low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat, bring to room temperature and then refrigerate in an airtight container.

Macaroni and Cheese with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

Macaroni and Cheese with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

Author note: I prefer to add the cherry tomatoes per individual bowl. This allows me to add as much or as little tomatoes as desired. This makes reheating the mac and cheese the next day for leftovers a bit easier—the noodles warm up easier and the tomatoes and basil stay fresh with every serving. There is nothing fancy about this recipe. It is a basic macaroni and cheese that is essentially a one-pot wonder. Feel free to use whatever cheese you prefer. If limited on time, a shredded cheese blend works wonderfully and makes for an even quicker meal. I warm my milk for about 3 minutes in a measuring cup in the microwave.

2 cups dry macaroni

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed

1 1/2 cups shredded manchego cheese

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

1 teaspoon kosher salt

cherry tomatoes, sliced

basil leaves, torn

  1. Boil the macaroni, strain and set aside.
  2. In the same pan that the noodles were cooked in, add the butter and melt over medium heat.
  3. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk. Continue to whisk until the flour has turned a light golden color, about 2-4 minutes.
  4. Add the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture is thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the cheese, crème fraiche and salt. Place the cooked macaroni into the cheese mixture. Stir to combine.
  6. Place into individual serving bowls, top with cherry tomatoes and basil. Stir well and serve warm.

Reverse Sear Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Reverse Sear Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Author note: The amount of steak used will determine your salt and pepper. Be liberal with the amount of salt used. Remove steak from refrigerator for about 1 hour prior to cooking. Reverse sear method works best with thick steaks, about 1” or thicker. The low temperature grilling portion of this recipe can be done in advance, up to an hour or so.

beef tenderloin filet (or your preferred cut of steak)

kosher salt

fresh cracked pepper

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter (or more if needed)

1/2 tablespoon canola oil (or more if needed)

instant read thermometer

  1. Salt and pepper the filet to taste. Some of the salt will fall off during cooking, so be liberal.
  2. Prep grill for indirect heat at 250 degrees.  An oven at 250 degrees will also work.
  3. Allow steak to cook until desired doneness as indicated by an instant read thermometer. This will take around 1 hour depending on your desired doneness (I prefer 135° for medium-rare).
  4. Remove steak from grill and wrap with foil.
  5. Set up grill for high heat around 500 degrees. Heat a cast-iron skillet over the grill, allowing several minutes for it to reach temperature. This can also be done on a stovetop burner.
  6. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and ½ tablespoon canola oil to the skillet. When the butter is melted and distributed around the skillet, add the steaks. Cook the steaks for 45 seconds per side. Remove steaks and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Roasted Saffron Yogurt Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro Garlic Vinegar

Roasted Saffron Yogurt Chicken Drumsticks

Author note: Chicken drumsticks are cheap. The most expensive element of this recipe is the saffron. It’s well worth the expense. This is a perfect make-ahead weeknight meal.

32 ounces plain yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads, crumbled

3 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

zest of 2 lemons

2 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks

cilantro garlic vinegar, for topping (see recipe below)

  1. Place all ingredients, except for the chicken and cilantro garlic vinegar, into a large bowl or glass baking pan. Stir well to combine.
  2. Place the chicken into the yogurt marinade and make sure it is covered (and coated) on all sides. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. 30 minutes before roasting, remove the chicken from the fridge. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top of the foil.
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and tap off excess yogurt. Place the chicken on the cooling rack (which is on the baking sheet).
  6. Place the chicken into the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes, turning the drumsticks every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve with cilantro garlic vinegar.

for the cilantro garlic vinegar

2/3 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

pinch of koshers salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup cilantro, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

  1. Place all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well and let sit for at least 1 hour.

Grilled Salmon with Creamy Red Wine Garlic Sauce

Certain holidays bring tradition and pre-established expectations. Unfortunately, those holidays also bring a level of stress which we tend to embrace as “that time of the year.”

However, there are holidays that actually have no expectation AND no stress attached. In my book, Father’s Day falls into this category of laid-back celebration.Perhaps it’s how I grew up and how we celebrated the men in our life. The family was always together. We spent quality time around food, conversation and each other. At the end of the day we congregated in my grandparents’ living room and watched as the fathers opened cards and gifts.

It was about togetherness.Having turned into parents six (almost seven) years ago, the celebration of parenthood has shifted a bit. It’s not just focused on the people who helped to raise us but it’s also about celebrating this current season of our lives as parents.

When I begin to make a plan, like with all gatherings, my mind instantly ponders “how can I be intentional with this celebration, make it personal and memorable?”This Father’s Day I have no pre-existing tradition that has to take place. What I’m craving this year is grilled food and quality family time.

With this plan Randy will be doing some of the cooking on his day of celebration, but I’m pretty sure he’s okay with that, it’s something he enjoys. Cooking together is a part of our story and one that brings us closer together.

I also wanted the main entrée to be special and unique– not something we grill every weekend, like steak. I’ve selected a beautiful Alaskan salmon from Market Street to place on cedar planks and grill.However, I want to add a bit of unexpected pizazz to the meal, so a creamy red wine reduction will be served on top of the salmon.

To make this day possible it means a trip to Market Street. Gifts will be selected from the dish department, a free cookie will be picked up from the bakery for the kids and all the delicious ingredients will be gathered from throughout the store.

This time though I’ll also get a little something extra– a free knife, I’ve earned enough reward points to acquire a handy MasterChef utility knife to add to my kitchen from their Rewards Program.What I love about this meal is that it’s a celebration together. While Randy grills I plan to prepare a small tray filled with presents, homemade cards and cold drinks.

I’ll make the sauce and prep the salmon. While the grill heats up I plan to be outside with my family of five (this includes the dog). As a family we’ll gather and celebrate the man who pours so much into us.A homemade meal made together combined with the freedom of summer sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a man who genuinely loves, wholeheartedly leads and never passes on an opportunity to make us laugh.

Happy Father’s Day!

Grilled Salmon with Creamy Red Wine Garlic Sauce

Author note: Use a grilling thermometer to guarantee the correct temperature for doneness. Trim the salmon to fit the cedar planks. Depending on the salmon selected you may have to remove bones.

pounds salmon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
cedar planks, soaked for at least 30 minutes
creamy red wine garlic sauce (recipe below)
fresh parsley, chopped, for toppings

  1. Heat grill to 350-400 degrees.
  2. Place the cedar planks onto the grill and let heat for a few minutes.
  3. Salt and pepper the salmon and place on the cedar planks.
  4. Grill, skin side down for 15-20 minutes to desire doneness.
  5. Remove and top with red wine sauce and fresh chopped parsley.

for the creamy red wine garlic sauce

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, rough chopped
2 cups Pinot noir
8 thyme sprigs, tied
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon juice

  1. In a saucepan add the oil, garlic and thyme. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Increase to high, pour in the red wine and add sugar. Stir to combine.
  3. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. Bring heat to medium and add the butter. Whisk it into the sauce as it melts.
  5. Lower the heat to low. Add the cream, salt and lemon juice. Stir well to combine. Serve immediately.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own and I appreciate your support of the brands and companies I love.

Butter Lettuce Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Butter Lettuce Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Author note: Use as much or little vinaigrette as desired. I prefer a sopping wet salad with this vinaigrette because it’s so good. Sometimes I will add thinly sliced radishes and shallots, but most of the time I prefer just the lettuce and cucumbers. Butter lettuce is also referred to as Boston Lettuce of Bibb Lettuce.

1 head butter lettuce salad

1-2 hothouse cucumbers, peeled

dijon vinaigrette (see recipe below)

  1. Rinse the lettuce. With a knife, gently chop into bite sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
  2. With a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumber into thin strips. Then, cut the strips into two inch pieces. Place the cumber pieces into the salad bowl.
  3. Pour the Dijon vinaigrette over the salad. Toss and serve immediately.

for the dijon vinaigrette

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Place all ingredients into a canning jar and seal tightly with the lid. Shake until all ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

A Pleasant Little Menu | Wedding Shower Brunch

There was a season of my life where it seemed like several weekends out of the summer involved parties celebrating the nuptials of a dear friends. A few lucky times, I would be one of the friends who got to throw the get-together.

The more I hosted, the more I realized being a good hostess is an art form and it takes practice to perfect it. Hosting is hard. But once you figure out the ins and outs, it becomes a blessing not a burden.

Shower after shower my group of college girlfriends and I developed a systematic and successful approach to hosting. A few of the techniques we discovered that made the party successful were:Delegate responsibilities to the proper hostess. For instance: the outgoing hostess should greet, the organized hostess should manage checking off the list of day-of requirements, the creative hostess is in charge of table arrangement, etc. Having everyone at the post they feel most comfortable makes for a more relaxed gathering.If possible, have two hostesses greet at the door to offer to take purses, jackets and gifts. One can direct the party goer to the gathering while the other puts up the belongings and gifts.

Make sure there is plenty of seating for everyone attending. Cluster the seating in groups of three or four to encourage conversation.

Prep the night ahead if possible– arrange flowers, set-up the food and drink stations, etc. It makes the day of celebration less stressful.Add fresh flower arrangements randomly throughout the party rooms make for a romantic and beautiful touch. By prearranged or get creative and make your own.Have a blend of homemade and pre-made food.

Aim to have everything set up 30 minutes before the party starts. This way all hostess should be able to catch their breaths AND be ready to smile and celebrate. These days with small children it seems as though the opportunities to host showers, weather wedding or baby, are getting fewer and fewer. However, I have now taken this same approach of shower hosting to dinner party hosting and it still applies– albeit it there is only one hostess versus the five or six I started off with.Celebrate your loved ones milestone with a party that is filled with intentionality, beautiful touches and delicious food. The next time your throwing a wedding shower let A Pleasant Little Kitchen be the hostess that arranges the food menu. And as always, these recipes are all make-ahead friendly which is huge when it comes to party throwing.

Watermelon Rose Granita


Fresh Fruit

Chive and Cheese Frittata

Arugula Salad

Cherry Tarts

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