Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wine cork board

 I drink wine, and as most of you know I like to collect useless crap in hopes of doing great things with it. I have started collecting wine corks, and getting  friends to save them for me too. My plan is to make a wine cork board for my kitchen, then onto trivets, and then who knows what.
design #1
Yesterday at the thrift store I found the jackpot of all jackpots! A huge bag full of corks. I know what you are thinking. I didn't drink all that wine, but lets be real I wasn't going to get out without becoming a wino. I was thinking it was going to take at least a year to gather up all the corks, lucky for me I have a lot of friends who drink wine.
 Nowadays buying a bottle of wine will not guarantee you a cork- I read someplace it's something of 9% of wine bottles are closed with  plastic stoppers or even screw tops. Now this messes with my project, the look of plastic "corks" are just not the same.
 I found a frame at goodwill for $2.99 it's Medium sized. I could have done a huge one but really don't have the patience for one that big.

you will need:
25-200 corks depends on the size of frame and design
picture frame without the glass
glue gun with glue sticks
design #2
I have been researching designs, so many possibilities. No idea how many times I have placed the corks in the frame, just to take them all out again. With the timeless saying "measure twice, cut once" repeating in the back of my head.  In this case "place twice, glue once!" I have it down to 2 designs. Design 1 is with the corks lying on the sides with labels showing, this way it uses up less cork. Design 2 is with the corks standing up showing the wine stain, this adds some character. But uses up 3-4x more corks then the first one.  Right after taking the photos my little walking disaster decided to help me and picked up the frame. Corks all over my living room, a toddler's dream!
 I have yet to decide what design to do. So please let me know which design you like better in the comment section. I am still waiting to glue. I will update once I decide on a pattern, and show the finished product.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Brussels Sprouts

I have had the reputation of not liking green things from when I was a kid. But really no joke I love green things- with a few exceptions. Broccoli is my first love then green beans, peas, Brussels Sprouts and artichokes. I would say that is pretty good. However Brussels Sprouts have only been on my radar for about a year and a half. My dad always cooked them in balsamic vinegar. I started liking them when I visited my friends restaurant Hunger in Seattle. She cooked me amazing Brussels Sprouts. I couldn't get enough and so the love affair began.  Of course she cooked them in butter. The saying is always correct: butter is better, fat is fabulous. I started eating them with everything, on pizza was the best. Oh the cheesy goodness of them on pizza.
Now I am trying to cook my veggies in less butter, and fat. A few days ago I was experimenting with cooking them light. The first attempt was blasting them in the oven on a high temp with some spices. It turned out pretty good, I ended up dipping them in Dijon. So the next night I decided to roast the Brussels Sprouts in Dijon and some spices. Wow was that a horrible idea- I still ate them but it was horrible. Now I have  been looking for great Brussels Sprouts recipes, here are a few along with my quick blasted Brussels sprouts

Blasted Brussels
2 cups Brussels Sprouts
1 tsp. minced Garlic
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher Salt (optional)
 Heat the oven to 450*, while preheating cut the ends off each sprout and remove any leaves that might look discolored or bad. Depending on the size I always cut them in half or even quarter, it helps them cook faster. Wash the sprouts and leave them pretty wet. Spread over a single layer on a baking sheet. Once all spread out sprinkle with garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt if using.  Cover with a sheet of foil. Roast for about 7-9 min, then remove the foil cover. Turn the oven to BROIL. Broil uncovered till they start to brown at the edges. This should only take a few minutes. Take out and let sit for a few, because those suckers are going to be HOT! Eat them as they are or dip in balsamic dressing or Dijon mustard.
Below is a little link love:
shaved-brussels-sprouts-salad from cooking light looks fresh and exciting
roasted-brussels-sprouts simply roasted is really the way to go from the Barefoot Contessa
bucatini-with-cauliflower-and-brussels-sprouts from Food and Wine sounds delish in this complete meal I would just use whole wheat pasta instead of white.
warm-brussels-sprout-leaves from Sunset looks fun taking the leaves off them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Avocado Tuna Salad

I love tuna salad sandwiches. Lately I have gotten rather picky of what I put in the mix. I must point out this not the average tuna salad it's spectacular! Tuna is a great protein, however the mayo is making it not as healthy as I wanted. By replacing the mayo with avocado. Yes that's right avocado, It adds some "good" fat into the sandwich along with the necessary moisture to bind it all together. I like my tuna salad spicy, but to each his own. So if spicy is not for you then just omit the pepper flakes. I was sceptical at first but it really is yummy! The amount is enough for 5 servings of 1/4 cup each.

Avocado Tuna Salad
12oz. Can of Tuna (Albacore Tuna in water)
1/2 avocado
1/2 tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 TBS red onion diced
1 tsp. minced garlic

 Drain the tuna, get all liquid out. Combine the avocado with olive oil, lemon or lime juice and Dijon mustard, mash it good so it's all creamy! Add everything to the tuna, mix till combined. Wow you just made tuna salad. Now what to put it on? Well going with no carbohydrates put it in a lettuce wrap. Or I toast some 100% whole wheat bread and spread it with more Dijon and pile that tuna on. To make it a tuna melt, put sandwich open-faced under the broiler with a slice of cheese to melt it.