Red Wine and Hazelnut Quinoa

After a week of holiday festivities and rural suburbia, it feels good to be back in New York City.  I didn’t have much food to make for dinner, but I grabbed what I had and made something delicious.  I’m really excited about this recipe because I’m always in need of something that is good when served cold.

I would normally say to omit an ingredient or two if you want, but in this recipe it is a good idea to add in everything.  The snap peas add and little sweetness and crunch, as do the hazelnuts.

2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 small onion
1/2 red bell pepper
handful sugar snap peas (about 10)
1/4 cup cooked hazelnuts (about 20)
1 T olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 450°.
2. Dice the bell pepper and onion.
3. Put the quinoa, red wine, water, onions, bell peppers, salt and oil into a rice cooker. 4. While the quinoa is cooking, put the hazelnuts in the oven for 10 minutes.
5. Cut the snap peas.
6. When the hazelnuts are done cooking, let cool, then crack open and break the nuts into pieces.
7. When quinoa is done cooking, add in the tablespoon of oil, and mix in the snap peas and hazelnuts. Chill for 10 minutes.



Tea Party Time

Today I hosted my 2nd annual tea party!

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has ALWAYS had a cup of tea in her hand.  Everyone always talked about their mom getting a morning cup of coffee, but mine had a cup of tea, and I thought she was special for that.  That’s why I drink tea now, I much prefer it to coffee anyway.  As I’ve grown older, I have found I enjoy hosting and entertaining guests.  Tea parties seemed like a good idea to me, so last winter I planned a tea party for my friends.  I got rave reviews, so I decided to make it a yearly tradition.

There are many traditions, etiquettes and particular ways about a tea party. One of the most misunderstood facts about tea party etiquette is that one should lift their pinky when sipping one’s tea.  NOT TRUE!  I don’t follow many of the traditions because I don’t expect my guests to know them, but this one I do.

My tea parties are small gatherings, so I break out my mom’s china and set the table for my guests.

I serve traditional items such as scones, tea sandwiches and, of course, tea.

I make raspberry scones and a few plain, served with clotted cream.  This year, unfortunately, I couldn’t find any so I use a quick, easy and delicious alternative: sour cream and sugar.

The most traditional tea sandwich is cucumber and cream cheese.  Many people are turned off by it, but it’s delicious, trust me, I had to make more for my guests earlier today.  There were four sandwiches on my menu today:
1. Cucumber and cream cheese with scallions
2. Hummus with red bell peppers
3. Peanut butter and jelly
4. Turkey and tomato with mayo
All sandwiches were served on 7 grain bread, with the crust cut off and cut into triangles.
When making your own tea sandwiches, get creative, but also keep it simple.  Don’t put too much, or too many layers.

This is my cup of english breakfast tea.  I thought I wouldn’t have enough tea cups for everyone, so I used one I got for Christmas from my sister.
Serving tea can be tricky at a tea party.  It is suggested to brew a whole pot of one type of tea, then boil a pot of water if someone would like a different kind.
I find it easier to boil a kettle of water and have my guests choose their own bag of tea.
Sam enjoying her tea!                       When we finished, we played poker

Hajera, Jenna, me, Sam, Kristina and Christine.  A toast to a successful tea party!

I hope you enjoyed this post and begin to plan your own tea party!  Let me know if you have any questions about hosting your own tea party, and please share details of your party.

xxx G

Zucchini Vegetarian Lasagna

My favorite go-to dinner is Zucchini Parm.  It is more of a lasagna, but either way it’s delicious, and it tastes even better as leftovers.
Preparation takes a bit of time but always rewarding.  It helps a lot if you have a mandolin to cut the zucchini strips.

2 1/2 medium zucchini
16 oz tomato sauce
1 lb sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/8 cup milk or water
bread crumbs
olive oil
9x9 in oven-safe pan

Pre-heat oven to 350°
1. Cut the ends of the zucchini and cut it in half, then slice it long ways into 1/4 in strips.
2. Whisk the egg and milk (or water) together and grease the pan with oil.
3. Dip each zucchini strip into the egg wash, then into the bread crumbs and place each strip into the pan, placing the first layer in 1 direction and the 2nd layer in the other.

4. Spread sauce over zucchini.  Then rip a slice (or 2) or cheese into strips and place it onto of the sauce.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have used up all your zucchini.  When you are finished add extra sauce and cheese to the top layer.
6. Put the pan into the preheated oven and turn the heat up to 400°.  Bake for 25-30 mins.


Tuesday Night Vegetables

Tuesday’s are my longest day at school, 9am to 9pm!  It is always an exhausting day, so I usually pick up a chicken pita for dinner from the greek restaurant around the corner from me, Souvlaki GR.  It is so DELICIOUS!  But tonight I cooked up some vegetables and they are so delicious.  I have a few other posts lined up, but I can’t wait to share my recipe with you.
As some of you may know, everything I cook now has quinoa in it.  I had a quinoa patty, and quinoa and rice stir fry for lunch,  so I think I got my serving for the day.  BUT, I am absolutely certain that in the future it will be an ingredient in this recipe.  I honestly didn’t even think to put it in because I was so hungry and I grabbed a bunch of things from the refrigerator. But anyway, onto the important part.

5 red potatoes
1 t olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 green onion
1/2 large zucchini
1/2 can (or 7 oz) chicken (or veg.) broth
1/2 pack of baby broccoli
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional)
4 T tomato sauce
pinch of flour
salt and pepper
grated cheese

1. Wash and boil potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender.
2. While potatoes are boiling, wash and cut zucchini (1/2in coins, then quarter) and baby broccoli, mince garlic and cut green onion.
3. When potatoes are almost cooked, heat a large skillet and add oil, green onion and garlic, cook for 1 minute
4. Add zucchini and chicken broth, cook for 3 minutes.
5. Strain water from potatoes and cut the potatoes into quarters and add to the skillet, wait 3 minutes, then add broccoli (and quinoa if using).
6. Simmer until the broth is almost absorbed about 7-10 minutes then add the tomato sauce, flour, salt and pepper.
7. Cook for 1 more minute then serve hot with grated cheese.

* Vegans can sub the flour for a vegan flour or starch and omit the grated cheese!

I hope you like it!
xxx G

Ice Cube Innovation

New York has amazing tap water, so my ice cubes are nice and clean, but that ‘freezer’ taste still gets into my water when the ice melts.  But i found an easy and tasty way to change that!  I just add lemon juice, raspberries, or other fruit into the ice cube try before freezing it.

Other fruits I recommend:

Try it out and let me know what combinations you come up with!

xxx G

Miniature Ceramic Houses

Here are 4 (of 25) glazed houses from my slip casting tutorial!  I’m going to make hundreds and eventually sell them, but for now you can ogle. (I learned that word from crossword puzzles. GO ME!)

Over a year ago I began this post. And did an awful job.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!
Anyway, between then and now: I made a bunch, gave them away to my classmates, made some more and sold them at the Degenerate Craft Fair this past December.  I also have sets being sold in my Etsy Shop, Mellow With a Punch.

I also updated my photo technology, so my documentation on all of my bottles is limited.

Below are a few photos of the collection sold at the DCF.  More photos  and details on pricing can be found at my store on Etsy.  If you would like to purchase bottles, or have a set custom made  please feel free to contact me via Facebook or Etsy.





Gionna Forte-slipcast 2

Cinnamon Honey Cookies

All I can say is that I LOVE these cookies!  I made them for my friend’s birthday party so I figured I share them with everyone.

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon

2  T sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375°

Step 1- mix together the butter, egg, honey and sugar in a bowl

Step 2- in a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together, then combine into the first bowl.

Step 3- scoop the dough with a teaspoon and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes

Step 4- while cookies are baking, mix sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl

Step 5- remove cookies from oven and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture onto the cookies.

Happy baking!