Friday, May 23, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Perfect Pairing: Spring loaded scoop

Finally!  The start of summer is here!  No wonder record levels of people are hitting the roads this weekend.  This winter made everyone crazy for warm weather and warm weather activities.  I can’t wait!

There has been a lack of posting in May on Perfecting the Pairing, mainly because of an  incredible trip to France.  I just got home a couple days ago and I am adjusting to real life.  I was in Paris for work and then extended for a few days of vacation in Nice.  I studied for a semester in Nice and this was my first time back.  I still adore it!  The trip was absolutely wonderful, mainly because I was joined by my fabulous boyfriend.  Talk about romantic!  Some highlights??  Well don’t mind if I do!

Exploring Paris, walks along the Seine, and Montmarte





Top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset



Speaking of the Eiffel Tower, my welcome reception dinner room (I was the meeting planner) had a pretty insane view.


The food and wine, obviously!




Clearly we hated this meal.



We finished our time in Paris with a dinner cruise on the Seine.  Wow.  Just.... wow.




My favorite part of Nice is the old section of the town, Vieux Nice.  Filled with tiny streets, old buildings, shops, and charm.



Eze is a medieval village between Nice and Monaco and is pretty much heaven on earth. 



This would be the most expensive mojito and gin and tonic in history but totally worth it because it came with a view.




On our last morning we went to the flower and produce markets in Vieux Nice.  





We couldn’t resist buying some strawberries to enjoy with our baguette sandwiches.  I forgot strawberries could be so good.  


Until next time Nice!


So, it was pretty a pretty amazing trip.  Fortunately, the best part of vacation (the man) came back to Chicago with me!

Muffins!  One weekend morning I was craving muffins and came up with these lemon poppy seed muffins with a lemon glaze.  They were so easy and tasty.  The glaze puts them over the top!

I have talked about spring loaded scoops on here many times, but I am going to keep pushing them.  They are the perfect tool for muffins, cookies, truffles, etc.  Every kitchen needs a set in various sizes!

One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Sweet Potato and Sausage Breakfast Hash

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Grilled Chili Lime Sweet Potatoes

Perfect Pairing:  Tongs


Don't look now, but I think Spring has finally sprung in Chicago!  It is about time.  It looks like it will be a lovely weekend for a wedding of two of my favorite people.  My cousin, Scott, is marrying the incredible Natalie on Saturday right on Michigan Avenue.  I am so excited for them and for the wedding! 

Since we have some warm weather you may want to fire up the grill!  Try out these grilled sweet potatoes.  They are the perfect warm weather side.
I absolutely adore sweet potatoes.  I think they fit perfectly into one of my favorite categories, sweet and salty.  They are great baked with a little butter and salt, but this grilled recipe is a fun change. 

Before grilling the potatoes I peeled and wedged them, and then par-boiled them.  I figured they would burn on the grill before they got cooked through.  You want to get them to just fork tender, but not mushy.  Before going on the grill they are tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili powder.  When they are done they are topped with fresh lime juice and zest.  It seems like an odd combination but it works really well with the chili powder.  Such a healthy side dish!

The potatoes will need to be turned occasionally on the grill, and the easiest way to do that is with a good pair of tongs.  I would put tongs on my short list of necessary kitchen equipment.  I really like the OXO version with the locking pop top.  I can’t tell you how many people I have watched struggle with how to “work” the tongs with that kind of top.  I get a kick out of it.

One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Simple Lemon Green Beans

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

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