Tag Archives: rants

Recipe: Bacon, Mushroom and Chicken Pasta Alfredo with Garlic Bread Crumbs & Italian Margaritas

23 Jan

Today I was eager to cook something simple yet full of flavor.  I decided to go the Italian route by choosing pasta Alfredo and garlic bread. I honestly could have made it easy on myself by tackling the Alfredo Sandra Lee-style (Semi Home Made) with a pre-made sauce, but wanted to challenge myself by making it from scratch for the first time.  I’ve also been watching a lot of Chopped and was inspired to use some left over hot dog buns I had in my fridge for the garlic bread instead of using more obvious choices.  I had to take the garlic bread idea one step further though.  I wanted to process the bread into crispy and flavorful crumbs.  And of course, as a Bartender, I wanted to marry this meal with the perfect cocktail.

Now, after having made dinner, sitting down and reflecting on it, I really wish there was hidden cameras in my kitchen.  I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.  I burned my garlic bread crumbs so I had to create a new batch of garlic spread and start all over again in a mad dash.

Well, I’ll stop babbling now and get to the good stuff.  Below you will find photos of the finished products and the recipes (all modified by me to my liking).  The photo of the meal was indeed taken by me, but the Italian Margarita photo is not mine.  I was not able to rim the glass with sugar due to lack of counter space and the bread emergency and I forgot to buy an orange to garnish it, but the Margarita photo below is what it would have looked like had I done it right.

BACON & MUSHROOM ALFREDO SAUCE

1 Pint Half & Half
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Shallot, Minced
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1/4 Cup Parsley Chopped
1/2 Pound Bacon, Cooked and Chopped
1/3 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, Chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil (maybe a little more)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add 2 minced garlic cloves and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in flour until well-blended.  Add half and half.

Stir sauce over medium-low heat.  Do not allow sauce to boil or stick to bottom of pan.  Reduce heat if necessary.  Allow sauce to thicken (about 20 minutes), stirring frequently.

In a separate saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Sautee mushrooms, shallot and remaining garlic until translucent and tender.  Do not brown.

When sauce is near desired consistency, add Parmesan cheese.  Stir to melt cheese for 2 minutes.  Toss in most of the bacon and parsley (leave some to top your dish), salt and pepper to taste and mushrooms.  Stir for another 1-2 minutes.  Remove sauce from heat.

GARLIC BREAD CRUMBS

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, Softened
2 Large Cloves of Garlic, Smashed and Minced
1 Heaping Tablespoon of Freshly Chopped Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Splash of Olive Oil
Bread of Choice

Simply mix all ingredients together.  Ideally make this early on and refrigerate so that the flavors develop and really penetrate the butter.  Soften again before applying to bread.

To create the bread crumbs, use any bread of your choice, and make sure it’s sliced fairly thin.  Cover bread in garlic spread place on baking pan and broil.  All breads will vary in time so just keep your eye on it.  As soon as it looks toasted, pull out of the oven.  Chop the bread into smaller pieces and grind up in a food processor until chunks have become crumbs.

Place crumbs back on baking pan and put back into the oven.  This shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes.  Be careful not to burn.


FINISHING TOUCHES

The chicken was seasoned with salt and pepper and sauteed over medium heat in olive oil with fresh garlic and shallots.

I chose to marry the chicken, sauce and pasta together before plating.  Once plated I topped it with the bread crumbs, remaining bacon and a little bit more of chopped parsley for an extra burst of color.

ITALIAN MARGARITA

1 oz Amaretto (Almond Lequeur)
2 oz Sweet and Sour Mix
1/2 oz Tequila of choice
1/2 oz Tripel Sec
Sugar for Glass
Garnish with an Orange Slice

Top glass with ice, poor in ingredients, shake and serve. If you want to get fancy, rim the glass with sugar and garnish with an orange slice.

If you’ve never rimmed a glass before, the easiest way is to get a slice or lemon or lime and squeeze it around the rim of the glass. Then tip glass into a small plate with sugar. Pat the rim around on the side to make sure the sugar sticks all around the border..

So now that we’re all done, I just have to say that dinner came out sooooo incredibly delicious and I’m quite proud of myself.   And though I think these recipes are perfect as is, I’d like to know if any of you would do this a little differently?  Are any of you inspired to give this a shot for yourself??  Comment to let me know and come back and comment again with pictures if you do!

-Emily Sixx

And the Twilight fans are barking…

13 Dec

My intern, Marjorie, is the drummer in a band called Brand Name Punk. A little over a week ago she posted up their latest music video on YouTube and started sharing it with the world on Facebook. Of course, like any other unsigned band, their goal was to somehow go viral and get as much attention as possible. Well, let me tell you, I think they nailed it!

The song is titled “Hopes and Dreams” and it’s about a guy who is so obsessed with Kristen Stewart he manages to kidnap her and in his own little fantasy world believe she’s in love with him too. In the video they act this all out with a life size cardboard cutout of said actress. The band member with the obsession ends up spending way too much time with her and his bandmates decide it’s time for the affair to end. They kidnap “Kristen” again and destroy the cutout for the sake of the band’s survival. It’s silly. It’s cute. It’s HARMLESS!!!!

Well, I’ve seen their total view count go from 300 to over 18,000 in three days and let me tell you that it’s causing quite a stir from Kristen Stewart fans! Most seem to be taking this video quite seriously and believe they actually want to kill the girl! The nasty comments are numerous! Here are a few:

“It’s amazing what people do to get views and publicity. This disgusting thing should get banned and censored. Trying to steal fame out of our Kristen, and hurting her image in that form… so shameless, so repulsive.”

“Everyone who is a true fan of Kristen would NOT think this was funny. It doesn’t matter what they were actually trying to say with this video, they fucking BURNED a cardboard cutout of her. This is like porn for her haters. And if you think you’re a Rob fan and like this video, think again, because he’d lose his shit if he ever saw his girlfriend being disrespected this way. Fucking insensitive assholes. I’m flagging the shit out of this until it’s taken down.”

“horrible. way to promote killing an actress who already has too big a share of haters just itching at the bit for some inspiration to take it further than expressing their 1st amendment rights. fuck you!”

Bottom line, it probably IS illegal to use her image in the video without her consent. I honestly can’t say for sure, because I don’t know those laws, but come on! Seriously people?!?! These Twilight fans are way too much. You should see some of the comments that were left in Spanish!

Take a look at the video for yourself and let me know what you think!

Realize what you have before it’s gone…

6 Nov

Last night I was requested to Bartend at a private party.  This particular event was a very elaborate Housewarming party for a really nice family that was very excited to be settled into their new home (which was HUGE), and of course, share it with their friends and family.  They invited loads of guests, had tons of food and alcohol, a DJ, servers, valet,  you name it.

The party started fairly early and by midnight it was still going hard.  Belly dancers were about to come out and put on a show when the unfortunate happened; The host’s mother passes out and experiences a stroke.  Immediately they got on the phone with 911/Rescue and did all they could to keep her alive until the medics arrived, and even then they had to pump her chest and do God knows what to try to make sure she was getting enough oxygen.

Long story short; Grandma is gone.

I was the last of the help to leave.  I had to wait for the host and the rest of the guests to leave so that I could go back into the yard to gather up my equipment.  There I had a talk with the host’s daughter, who is my age.  She is a sweet woman, and was mourning, of course.  And as she vented she said a lot of things that I too felt when my grandfather had passed away: “All the times she called me and I didn’t pick up because I was too busy.  All the times she invited me over and I didn’t go.  And now she’s gone and there’s nothing I can do to fix that.”

My grandfather, Abuelo Rey, passed away about four years ago.  I still cannot see a picture of him or even talk about him without tearing up or just all-out balling.  Even now, writing this, I can’t help but cry.  His death is one that I accepted when it happened.  He was sick and regressed fairly quickly in last two years of his life, so I knew that when it was his time it was his time.  It was for the better and I accepted that.  But what I did not accept or forgive myself for was the fact that I had barely been around for those last two years of his life.

I honestly used to blame it on the boyfriend that I had at the time.  Though I loved him very much, he was a very selfish person so we only ever did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to and how.  We spent a lot of time with his family, but barely any with mine.  I made countless plans to go see my Abuelo and Abuela, but at the last minute he never wanted to go so I’d give them another excuse as to why I wasn’t going over to see them.

I do realize now that my partner was in no way the blame of my absence.  Though these actions did contribute to his selfishness, the ultimate decision to go or not go was mine.  I didn’t have to rely on anyone but myself to go spend time with my family.  If he didn’t want to come with me, well that should have been his loss and his loss alone.  Instead, I allowed it to be mine as well.

And though I feel in my heart that this doesn’t matter, because while he was in his coma in the hospital, not responding to ANYONE, he responded to ME.  Once his eyes closed, he never opened them again, but when I went to see him, I sat down on the bed next to him and I held his hand.  I held his big, almost lifeless hands and I leaned over and softly spoke into his ear.  I told him that it was me, and that I was sorry for not having come over all the times I said I would and that I knew I was a horrible granddaughter, but I loved him very very much.  And as I spoke I felt his hand starting to tighten up, tighter and tighter.  Once I gave him a kiss on his cheek he gave me one last tight squeeze and then that was it.  He passed away a few day later without having responded to anyone else.

Because of that, part of me feels forgiven, but it still weighs heavy in my heart no matter what.  I still remember everything about my last visit to his house and I remember his voice as clear as day.  I miss him so much, and I really wish he were still around.  But alas, thinking like that will never make a difference so what’s the point?

I guess what I’m just trying to get at here is that you should never take anyone for granted.  Age doesn’t matter; I’m not only talking about the elderly.  You never know if today could be yours or anyone else’  last day, no mater what age.  I’ve also lost young friends to very unfortunate circumstances, but their stories would require a whole entry of their own.

Just, don’t ever put off for tomorrow what you could do today.  Always follow through when you tell someone you’re going to see them or spend time with them.  And never be afraid to tell someone you love them when you know you do.  You never know when it will be your last chance to do so, and once that chance is gone, there is no getting it back.  In life and death there are no do-overs.

I’m no one’s second choice!

3 Nov

**All names have been changed to protect identity**

Quite some time ago while I was actively searching for love on Match.com, I received a really amazing email from an Indian man named Sayeed.  It was a little longer than I like my icebreakers to be, but he was so well written, talked about a lot of the things I had mentioned on my profile and said just enough about himself to really intrigue me.  I checked out his profile and he seemed pretty interesting, but when it came down to his photos, I just couldn’t tell if I’d be physically attracted to him or not.

After a bit of thought, I decided I’d wait a few days to respond because I already had a date planned for the following evening with a Bavarian man, named Aldric.  I wanted to see what would come of our first date before initiating anything with Sayeed.

The day of,  Aldric suggested that we meet at a place called Green Street Cafe in Coconut Grove, and even though I didn’t really like the venue due to it’s pretentiousness and yuppie customer-base I agreed.  You can’t say I’m not a good sport!

Being the only Cuban in Miami not running on Cuban Time, I arrived early and sat at a table on the outside and ordered a drink while I waited for Aldric to arrive.  As I sat there I couldn’t help but notice a man standing at the bar in front of me.  He had a deep tan, gorgeous long wavy hair and was dressed up in a sexy suite.  For a while I could only see part of his face, but when he turned around I nearly choked on my drink !  It was Sayeed, and he was beautiful!!!

Now, the longer I waited the more I worried about Sayeed recognizing me and totally ruining my date with Aldric, but after a little while I realized what was really going on here.  He wasn’t going to notice me at all!   He was acting very nervous and kept looking around.  He brushed his hair with his hands repeatedly and kept looking at his phone….Yup!  He was there waiting for a date as well!

Sayeed’s date arrived a little before Aldric did so of course I had to scope her out.  She too was from India and was incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t hate!  They actually made a really cute couple.

Aldric eventually arrived and we had our date.  He was really sweet and it went well enough for me to agree to a second date, but now my eyes were setting on Sayeed as well.  I had to meet him!  I had to see what he was all about!

The next day I decided to respond to Sayeed’s email without making any mention of Green Street .  We went back and forth for a while and eventually moved on to the phone. We hit it off and in time, decided to meet each other in person.  On this date, however, I called the shots on the location and decided we’d meet at Transit Lounge.  For those of you not familiar with Transit (which is now closed) it was the coolest dive bar/live music venue in Miami.

Once again, I was the first one there, but this time I did not run into any other Match.com-ers.  At one point in the night, I did bring up the Green Street story and we had a great laugh.  Turns out that was his first date through Match.com and he was beyond nervous.   In the end, Sayeed and I  hit it off quite well and before getting into my car, I agreed to see him again.

A few days passed and we continued to chat, but no solid plans were made for the second date.  , Sayeed finally sent me a message saying that he had decided to take the other girl seriously and could no longer see me, but wanted to remain friends.  Of course, that was fine by me.  If it’s not meant to be, I am not one to force it!

However, two weeks later, Sayeed reached out to me again.  Turns out that after he decided to get serious about the other girl, she decided to get serious with someone she had met before him!  He now wanted to see if I’d like to go on our second date!  Hahahhaa!  As if I’d totally allow myself to be someone’s second choice!  My response was “Thanks, but no thanks. ”

And then I called up Aldric.

Label Whores

9 Oct

WARNING:  It’s not a personal attack on anyone in particular and really doesn’t have anything to do with people who make lots of money!

Obsessing over labels has never been much of an issue for me.  I could only assume it’s because I was not raised in a particularly well off family, but for that I am grateful.  I’ve learned to be able to tell the difference between a want and a need, even though I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard.  But in the end I’ve always managed to get by making the right decisions.

Now, for the people a little more financially fortunate I can see where it’s totally normal for them to spend $300+ on a purse or on a pair of shoes (even though it makes little sense to me). Money spent is relative to the money that’s made, but what blows my mind are those that are struggling on a daily basis going above and beyond to be able to say they own a “Louis” or whatever other Foo Foo name is hot at the moment.  I’m not here to bash the labels themselves, because after all, it’s nice stuff…The clouded judgement some people have in regards to these labels thanks to our materialistic society is what I’m going after.

At the end of the day, is it really necessary to spend the majority or sometimes all of your money on something such as a purse?  A purse is something that’s meant for you to store your belongings in, and of course, your money.  But what is the point of having a purse if you have no money to store in it?  I personally used to work with someone who would complain every day about how she didn’t have enough money to buy diapers and food for her baby, and how she couldn’t afford anything more than what was on the dollar menu for lunch, yet every week she’d come in with a new fancy bag and super expensive shoes.  The worst part is that she’d brag about her new items and how much they cost.

REALLY?!!?!?!  You’re going to let your child starve and walk around in dirty diapers, but go and buy this crap that you don’t even need just to feel some sort of social validation?!?!  I don’t know if to be disgusted with society for making her think this way or just with her for being so weak!

What brand shoes, purse, jewelry, and/or clothes you wear does not define you.  You are no more and no less the person who you are inside with or without these material things.  How can some people think that in order to be cool they have to spend and exuberant amount of money on items that are nothing but a want?  The cutest part about it is that they could find these items for a fraction of the cost if they were just a little patient and shopped the right way (Outlets, Ebay and Craigslist are a girl’s best friend!).

I’m not trying to say that anyone is stupid for falling into the label trend, but I am saying that at the end of the day, you’re spending way more than what you really need to be spending on things that don’t really matter.  Instead of spending $500 on a purse, spend $85 and actually start a savings account with the difference. What about setting that money aside for your children or future children?  How about taking a little weekend getaway? Memories with those you love last way longer than any material thing.

We all have our opinions…It’s what makes the world go round, and this is mine.

That’s my rant of the day…I’m out!

-Emily