December Random Bites

The holidays are upon us (in case you didn't notice!).

I am way behind in my wrapping, shopping and cooking.

Henry & I have both been down with a miserable flu this week. Aches, chills, fever, coughs, the works.
At least we have each other to share the misery with.
I had better get my act together, I have already had to cancel 2 holiday parties.

Bah humbug. :(

Here are some December highlights.......detox begins in January (maybe).

How cute are these custom cookie cutters? I love them! I have the whole alphabet!

I made a Sicilian relish for swordfish (recipe here).

The next day, tossed that same delicious relish made w/ olives, capers, raisins, and other good stuff with roasted cauliflower and served it on the best toasted bread topped with an anchovy on top.

Delicious stuff.

More good stuff:

I recently had the opportunity to try and review Kyocera products. Their fabulous chef's knives and ceramic coated frying pans.

If you want the sharpest chef's knife you will ever use, light on the wrist and can slice thru a cardboard box (why would you ever need to do that?), then this is the knife for you. It never needs sharpening and no rusting like some knives after washing.

FYI: I have swapped all of my German knives for Japanese knives..

The Kyocera ceramic coated deep skillet is the best non-stick pan I have ever used.

You can use metal utensils without scratching, and you couldn't make something stick in these pans even if you tried.
I made a tortilla Espanola and flipped it effortlessly in this pan.

These are my personal opinions, I do not get paid to promote these items.

Miami Bites:

I snuck out for a little fun in the sun in Miami last week.
The weather was perfect and there is nothing like being on a beach in December when it's snowing and grey here in NJ.

This is not my grandmother's Miami Beach that I once knew.

We didn't do much in South Beach, but instead, went to the hip, new, cool gentrified areas during Art Basel Week.

Midtown, aka The Design District on the Mainland is where it is all happening.

A very Meat Packing District feel with chefs doing all "farm to table" stuff, in a once warehouse only neighborhood.

We had a delicious dinner at Michael's Genuine, a farm to table restaurant that is all the rage. Their concept is to use what is local and in season to create beautiful, simple food (wow, who da thunk it?).

Michael was a pioneer in this once wasteland of a neighborhood, and started Michael's back in 2006.
It's packed every night of the week in now the hippest area in Miami.

Highlights were the pork belly w/ kimchi & peanuts, and the octopus (huge tentacle) with potatoes.

We also ate at The Cypress Room in the Design District (literally, underneath I-195).
A very Brooklyn feel to the place, with an elegant dining room, extraordinary food, hip vibe and a price tag to match $$$$ (warning).

We started dinner with frogs legs lollipops and an amazing red shrimp crudo with coconut (wow to both dishes!).
Pork belly and a smoked beet salad w/ Robiola cheese and bacon dust (yeah, I know what you're thinking, Henry thought the same thing, just say "crushed bacon"). Ridiculously good, no matter what it was called.

I laughed at the server (who was so fabulous) when he brought out the fancy slice of cake and said it was decorated with "pomegranate jewels". I said "you mean seeds?".

The food was off the charts (and the bill was too). :)
This is a place for the true "foodie" in you.

My favorite meal in Miami was at Yardbird, Southern Table & Bar, voted Bon Appetit's top 50 restaurants in the country.

I usually don't eat fried food, but this place made me crave biscuits forever.

A Southern farm to table restaurant, where everything is in-house made, including the honey butter and all other ingredients are locally sourced.

Warning: If you are a diet, don't bother. Most everything is fried and so delicious you will want to eat the whole thing.

Best thing we ate in Miami were these Fried Green Tomato BLT's. Topped w/ pork belly, homemade onion jam and in-house made pimento cheese.
OMG. Yes, really.

Husband had delicious fried chicken, and I had biscuits for dessert, because I wanted to.
TO DIE FOR. Who knew I liked biscuits?

The second visit we had a plate of fried chicken on biscuits w/ pickled onions.

Bloody Mary's w/ pickled okra and bacon, and bacon buttermilk cake, the best thing in the universe.

Loved this place so much, we went twice!

Here's a recipe that never made the cut, the photos didn't come out well, but it was delicious.

I roasted fennel slices and carrots, sprinkled w/ cumin, dill and kosher salt.

Dab on some plain yogurt mixed with honey and harissa.
A really good winter side.

One last note:

I am turning 50 in a few days.
Yes, I said it.

It's hard to believe that I will no longer be middle-aged (I think 40 classifies you as "middle-aged"? shhhh).

For my birthday, I would like world peace, but that ain't happening.

So, I am requesting this Lady Baltimore Cake instead.

Made with layers of meringue frosting studded with pecans, raisins, dried figs, and candied orange peel, I want this.
But I will not bake it, simply because it's a major production and I don't really need it.

However, if my favorite birthday cake baker is reading this, feel free to bake it for me, I will gladly eat it!!!!!


Sue in Calif said…
Happy Season.

You may have heard this dozens of times...I wanted you to hear this
from someone JUST GETS BETTER AT 50...
Welcome to the best decade ever!
A true fan!
Anonymous said…
Now that YOU'RE turning 50, I finally believe 50 can be FABULOUS!

Happy, happy birthday in a few days, joyous Hanukkah & Xmas, and a wonderful 2015!

Feel better.

(OMG those tentacles!)
Alicia said…
Welcome,welcome.Lady Baltimore .....How appropriate.... Fanny Farmer would be happy!
lisa is cooking said…
I hope you're feeling better soon! I want all of this food. Especially the caper relish with an anchovy on top. Happy Birthday early and Happy Holidays!
Natalia said…
I love your Random Bites - and am glad you are feeling better.

I'm a HUGE fan of Kyocera knives; my father loves to cook & has been cooking for years (mom cooks too, but says since he likes it, why not). A few years ago, I bought him a set of Kyocera knives and later bought them for myself as well - love them!

I dream of returning to Miami someday; was there when I was 17 & boy was it fun! I guess going with the hubby will be a different kind of fun!

Lastly, love your idea for a Lady Baltimore Cake - hope someone bakes it for you. I also turn 50 (in 10 days) - Happy Birthday to us!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Happy birthday Stacey. You look great... For any age, but no one believes you're fifty!
So much in this post...i want those knives and that pan. Loved the food you made from the bruschetta to the carrots, which are pretty, by the way. Miami looked like fun. I hope to take some of your suggestions for the food places when I'm there next month. And that Lady Baltimore cake? I'm going to make it for you. Maybe not for your birthday, with all I've got going on rigt now. But sometime this year. You can bank on it.
Eileen said…
Happy Birthday, Stacey! I hope someone makes that Lady Baltimore Cake for you!
Have a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year. Am looking forward to Stacey Snacks 2015!
Portia825 said…
Happy Birthday! But no one thinks that 50 pushes you past middle age. In fact, in most studies now, they say that it ends between 60 and 65. You are not old!
Unknown said…
I LOVE my new non stick pan from my GREAT Kitchen store in South Orange. It's made by WOLL - a German maker and nothing sticks and I too can use metal utensils. Most used pan now in my arsenal - and I've every ALL-CLAD and STAUB pot around! And bah humbug to my 40's - 50's are waaaaay better!
Patsy said…
Happy birthday, Stacey. And just so you know, the anticipation of 50 is much worse than the reality (speaking from terrorized experience!). Don't worry. And maybe even gloat a little that you actually look 35!
Sheri W. said…
Welcome to the 50's...they aren't so bad! Happy Birthday!
Emily Caron said…
Wow the food in Miami looks/sounds amazing! Hope you two are feeling better... Xoxo
Lisa in Indy (your ol' DE friend) said…
Thank you for the fun travel post from Miami! There's nothing worse than being sick during the holidays. I hope you, Henry and your families have a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy new year! Happy Birthday, you young chic!
Happy Birthday Stace, You're not getting older you're getting better!You remind me of Christie Brinkley she never ages and always looks fabulous. Continue enjoying life just the way you are with that handsome husband of yours! xo