Creating a Home Coffee Bar

Creating a Home Coffee BarThere’s nothing like a perfectly designed and functional bar area for easy entertaining, it creates both a beautiful and functional touch to any home. But what about that daily morning cup of coffee or afternoon tea. Something we use on a daily basis like a coffee machine and mugs, don’t seem to get as much design attention as liquors poured into beautiful crafted bottles.

I’ve cut back from my usual amount of coffee drinking but being European, I enjoy treating myself to a good quality espresso mid-day. Working in New York City you get exposed to many amazing things, including the best tasting coffee I’ve ever had from the most elaborate coffee machine I’ve ever used. The Swiss company Jura, has been making high-end appliances, and have made their mark amongst the field of espresso and coffee machines, including the Impressa One Touch. In one simple click, it uses the finest italian roast to produce an exquisite espresso with perfect foam, a latte macchiato, and any other coffee creation imaginable. It’s just like having an authentic brew in a beautiful al fresco Italian cafe. Which is why this amazing machine inspired me to share some tips and ideas to create your own at home coffee bar worthy of any European cafe.

Creating Home Coffee BarIf you’re fortunate enough to have extra space in your kitchen, create a custom space within your cabinets with shelves and drawers dedicated to your mini coffee bar. This one looks just as beautiful as any coffee shop, and is a treat in any home. Creating Home Coffee BarJust like a liquor bar, a cart with wheels can be moved around anywhere in the kitchen or dining space, making it great for any small space. Creating a Home BarCreating a Home Coffee BarMake your coffee area more appealing to look at, with art and a cohesive color palette. I love the neutral yet rustic look of a grey cabinet, or white selves simply decorated {top image via, bottom image source unknown} Creating Home Coffee BarI will forever love the look of a French inspired beach cottage, as in this space which uses a vintage desk for a small coffee station. At-Home Coffee BarPlace your coffee machine atop a beautiful tray, like this handmade marble one Creating Home Coffee BarBlack and White Coffee BarI love glass containers and rustic boxes, use different shapes and sizes to keep coffee capsules, shortbread cookies, spoons and other coffee must haves {top image via, bottom image via}

Some Coffee Bar Essentials:

Coffee Brewing Equipment: whether it be high-tech, a capsule type machine or a French press

Mugs, espresso cups, saucers, and spoons

Coffee Bean Grinder

Coffee Bean and Tea Selection

Carafes and Teapots

Containers

Flavorings: sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, liquid coffee syrups, rock candy stirrers

Dessert Liquors: Baileys, Sambuca, Kahlua, Portuguese Port Wine

{Top Image Sources 1.Impressa Z7 One Touch by Jura, 2.Chemex Coffeemaker, 3.Lip Tease Mug by Reiko Kaneko, 4.Success is Not for the Lazy Mug, 5.Pom Pom at Home Heritage Espresso Set, 6.Tonx Monthly Coffee Delivery, 7.Copper Kinley Sugar Bowl and Creamer from Crate and Barrel, 8.Fleur de Lis Cocktail Napkins and Park Ave Cocktail Napkins from One Kings Lane 9.Gold Dipped Porcelain Spoons and Brass Spoons from Leif}

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream It’s cherry season and while I love eating these rich juicy gems fresh as they are, I also love incorporating them into smoothie bowls, pie, and of course ice cream. With an overabundance of sweet and bright cherries in stores, and it being National Ice Cream Month, I decided to create a chocolate ice cream mixed with poached cherries. And let me tell you it’s delicious, and tastes just like chocolate covered cherries, even better! Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream IMG_4521The chocolate ice cream is smooth and decadent, yet not overly rich and dense, which comes from using high quality unsweetened cocoa. It really makes all the difference, and there’s no need to add more chocolate flavor with pieces once churned. The best part of this ice cream are the chopped cherries that remain soft, and add a nice chew against the frozen, creamy texture. The consistency of this chocolate cherry ice cream is like soft serve, with a more refined chocolate flavor. This is the kind of ice cream that can make any day so much better, and might possibly convert chocolate haters into chocolate ice cream lovers. The only thing I would do differently next time, would be to make double the batch.

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream The cherry infused simple syrup is liquid heaven, pour it over your ice cream with fresh chopped cherries and a piece of extra dark chocolate. And make sure to save it to top a yogurt parfait or a refreshing summer cocktail.
Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

Ingredients {Makes 1 Quart}

Poached Cherries

2 cups – Fresh Cherries

2 1/4 cups – Granulated Sugar

1 1/2 cups – Water

1 tablespoon – Cherry Liqueur

Ice Cream Base

Poached Cherries

1 3/4 cups – Heavy Cream

1 cup – 2% Milk

1/4 teaspoon – Salt

1/4 cup – Natural Cocoa Powder {measured then sifted}

3/4 cup – Granulated Sugar

5 large – Egg Yolks

1 teaspoon – Pure Vanilla Extract

Recipe {Adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones}

Poach cherries, by bringing the sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer, add the cherries and liquor, and cook until fruit is soft, blister and pop slightly {about 5-7 minutes}.

Let the cherries cool completely in the syrup, and refrigerate until the ice cream is ready to churn. Drain the cooled cherries, saving the syrup and squeeze out the pits. Chop into 1/4 inch pieces, and chill until ready to add into ice cream.

Make the ice cream base by, whisking the yolks, just to break them up in a medium heat-proof bowl. Add in the remaining sugar and whisk until smooth, set aside.

To infuse the milk and cream, combine the cocoa with the remaining sugar, then whisk in 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth. Add more milk if necessary. Whisk in the cream, remaining milk and salt in a heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring until the cream mixture begins to bubble around the edge, then reduce to medium.

Uncover pan, heat over medium-high heat, then reduce it to medium heat once the mixture hits a slight simmer. Slowly ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the yolk mixture, while whisking. Add one more ladle of the hot mixture to the yolks, making sure to whisk quickly so you don’t curdle the eggs. With a wooden spoon, stir the cream mixture as you slowly add in the egg-cream mixture to the saucepan.

Cook the ice cream base over medium heat, stirring constantly until it has thickened, and creates a clear path on the wooden spoon {about 1 to 2 minutes}. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container, over an ice-water bath, and discard the mint. Using a clean spatula, stir the base frequently until its has cooled to room temperature and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Freeze the ice cream, by adding the vanilla into the chilled base, stirring until combined. Freeze in your ice cream machine following your manufacturer’s directions. While the ice cream churns, put the container that you’ll keep your ice cream into the freezer. The ice cream is ready once it reaches the consistency of soft-serve, or the paddle creates a distinctive path as it churns. Fold in the chopped cherries. Enjoy right away, or place in your container, and freeze until later.

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato Pesto

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato PestoFor me, there is no vegetable far superior than the tomato, especially in the summer when juicy plump heirloom variations are in abundance. I prefer them just right before their most ripest stage, when they are a vibrant red, that give with a slight squeeze, and can still be sliced into thick slices that melt in your mouth,. They posses an acidic sweetness that are best simply eaten as is, like summer’s apple. Each day I nibble on handfuls of cherry tomatoes waiting to be picked from the vines in my garden, yet there’s still no better sight than heading to the farmer’s market and seeing tables filled with tomatoes that showcase every color of the rainbow.vFrom green, to orange, yellow and even brown, each unique and distinctly their own, not only in appearance but in flavor. As I filled up my basket to the brim with an array of colorful tomatoes, I kept wondering what I would make with them. A fresh salad with basil is always a delight, but these needed to be transformed into something special. An ode to their amazing taste, and summer. For quite some time now I’ve been wanting to make a tomato tart, and so these gems were beautifully laid fresh atop a roasted tomato pesto and cornmeal crust.

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomatoes and PestoAfter making this galette and ice cream, I had somewhat perfected that art of cooking sitting down and realized something much greater. Another feeling arises when you cook, or in this case making dough, sitting down; you’re not as rough. You a take a conscious relaxed approach to breaking up the butter into the flour with your fingers. Extra love and delicate care goes into what you’re doing. There is no rush, just the calming motions that will become a flaky crust. Just as Daron “Farmer D” Joffe says about the feeling of being connected to the land when you have a part in bringing it to life, the same goes for cooking or baking. You feel much more connected to your meal, and the process of putting it together when you sit down, literally becoming closer to the ingredients themselves.Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomatoes and PestoHeirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomatoes and PestoHeirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato PestoThe pungent lemon scent invigorates your senses, and brings out the sweet delicate basil tones. You see every leafy vine in full detail, and gain a deeper appreciation not only for where your ingredients came from, but what they will become.

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato Pesto Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato Pesto Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato PestoSoftly slicing each beautiful juicy heirloom tomato into thick yet delicate slices with the utmost of care, sitting down to cook becomes even more therapeutic. You should really give it a try.

As for the amazing combination of flavors in this tart, well it’s like no other. Plain basil gets a summer infusion with charred tomatoes, that add a depth of smokiness that compliment well with the fresh heirlooms I chose. The yellow tomato with its sour tone, much like a green tomato, becomes less intense paired with the orange, my favorite, a sweet yet slightly tangy variation, which all balances out with the overly ripe brown quality. Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato Pesto Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato PestoWith a dash of fresh ground pepper and chopped basil, this has become one of my favorite summer meals, and will sure to be a hit with all this season.
Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato Pesto

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Roasted Tomato Pesto

Ingredients {Makes one 8″ tart}

1 recipe – Cornmeal Tart Dough

3 large – Heirloom Tomatoes {use a colorful variety, and slice into 1/4″ thick slices }

1/2 cup – Roasted Tomato Sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons – Basil and Parsley Pesto

Handful Fresh Basil

Fresh Ground Pepper

Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F, and generously butter your tart pan. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness, onto a clean surface dusted lightly with cornmeal. Place into tart pan, cutting off edges, then poke holes using a fork onto the bottom of the shell. Place a piece of parchment atop, and fill with baking beans. Bake until edges are firm and golden {about 35 minutes}. Remove baking beans and parchment, bake until bottom is golden {about 5 to 7 minutes}. Cool completely.

Remove excess water from roasted tomato sauce, and combine into a bowl with the pesto. Spoon tomato pesto sauce onto the bottom of cooled tart shell. Layer tomato slices atop, starting from the outside edge slightly overlapping each slice, then finishing with the center. Finish with chopped basil and fresh ground pepper, and serve.

Cornmeal Tart Dough

Ingredients {Makes one 8″ tart}

1 cup – All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup – Ground Cornmeal

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons – Unsalted Butter {cold, and cut into small pieces}

teaspoon – Coarse Salt

2 tablespoons – Ice Cold Water

Recipe

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt, Using your fingers, or pastry cutter, blend the butter into the flour until coarse pieces. Add in the water, blend until incorporated and dough is smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Basil and Parsley Pesto

Ingredients

Large Handful {about 1 cup} – Basil

Large Handful {about 1 cup} – Flat-leaf Parsley

1/4 cup – Toasted Sunflower Seeds

1 – Garlic Clove

Juice and Zest of one Lemon

Coarse Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

1/8 to 1/4 cup – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Recipe

In a food processor, blend the basil, parsley, sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper, Slowly add in olive oil into you get a creamy consistency. Set aside, or save in an airtight container.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 pound – Tomatoes {cut in half}

Olive Oil for brushing

Coarse Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

1 tablespoon – Balsamic Vinegar

5 Basil Leaves {chopped}

Recipe

Pre-heat grill and oil the tomatoes. Grill cut side up, until charred and cooked through {about 5 minutes}. In a bowl, chop tomatoes and mash with salt, pepper, balsamic and basil. Set aside, or save in an airtight container.

I’m Loving…

Another week, and many more things to love…I'm Loving...I’ve learned to never doubt my abilities and dreams. {Image via}

I'm Loving...I haven’t seen a wedding inspiration more stunning than this Gatsby shoot.

I'm Loving...Such a dreamy European honeymoon send off photo shoot.

I'm Loving...I have a serious thing for feminine bohemian gowns.

I'm Loving...Feathers look like beautiful pieces of art in clear frames.

I'm Loving...An all-white outfit is my kind of summer uniform.

I'm Loving...Summer calls for minimum face makeup, and a bold orange lip.

I'm Loving...How lovely are these diamond friendship bracelets, perfect for bridesmaid gifts.

I'm Loving...I’m too chicken to get another tattoo, but these are sweet and not permanent.

I'm Loving...Any which way you eat them, fresh heirloom tomatoes, mozarella and pesto are just too good.

I'm Loving...Creme Brulee filled strawberries are a simple and uniquely special party dessert.

I'm Loving...No matter how old you are, a s’mores birthday cake is always delicious.

I'm Loving...Block all those pesty bugs from your food with these handcrafted basket domes.

I'm Loving...The Lucent App has helped stay consistent with my mediation, and helps start each morning on a positive note.

I'm Loving...A white dress, and a sunny day on the beach makes a beautiful photo.

I'm Loving...Beautiful images of Norway have given me the biggest desire to travel there.

Into the Garden: Flowers

“To build a garden, is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey HepburnInto the Garden

Nature is perfect, calming, beautiful, invigorating, soothing, and can evoke so many emotions within just one breath of fresh air. I’m an outdoor girl, one who is extremely connected and driven by my surroundings. I feel more like myself when I’m outdoors, surrounded by trees, listening to the birds and the peaceful stillness nature provides us. So it’s no surprise the garden is the favorite part of my house. It’s where I work, relax, exercise, enjoy my meals, become inspired, and feel a true connection to the land. I come from generations of farmers, so the love of the land was born into me. Years in college and living in an apartment, I missed the freedom of sitting on the deck looking at the multitude of wonderful little greens popping in corners, being able to sink my toes into the grass, and smelling flowers still fresh from the morning dew.

Into the Garden: Flowers

Now, I speak like my garden is large and lush, secluded from the business of daily life, but in actuality it’s quite the contrary. I can currently see the 9/11 Memorial building in clear view, an old boat parked in a mechanic’s parking lot, and the sounds of cars driving along a busy road, yet somehow I tune it all out. The wind carries the smells of rich soil, and fragrant roses, ruffling the leaves and branches on trees, creating a soothing melody. I can honestly say I go crazy in the winter, there is no visual life, just the dark quiet and stillness of life working below the ground, and I just like nature, waiting for the days to finally warm up to begin their cycle again and emerge.

Into the Garden: Flowers

I had always had a part in planting some flowers and taking care of the herbs, but it wasn’t until my time in Arizona, away from my garden, that I realized my passion for taking care of the land, sustaining and helping it thrive, was much greater. This year I wanted to take initiative to grow more flowers that I loved, like peonies and garden roses, and special greens, like dusty miller, along with creating my own space for fruits and vegetables.

Into the Garden: Flowers

From the first sight of the Hyacinths and array of beautiful Tulips, some lush with large buds others bright and pointy, that had never emerged so forcefully in the garden until this year; I felt complete once again. Nothing made me more excited and happy than walking outside every morning and seeing a new colorful bloom making its way through the ground, or seeing my beloved Sarah Bernhardt Peony bush stemming with more lush blooms than ever before.

Into the Garden

No matter what mood I am in, all it takes is a walk around my garden, seeing the different varieties of plants growing, the endless greens ranging from light to dark, the tall, the short, and the wild ones trellising along the fence. Each of every single flower is unique and precious to me, always putting a smile on my face. Stepping outside and taking part into the beautiful earth that lies beneath our feet, is more than anyone needs to feel whole and optimistic, no matter their present life.

Into the Garden Into the Garden Into the Garden Into the Garden In the words of Daron “Farmer D” Joffe, “Nature is perfect, and one should remember to be grateful for the abundance it provides.” Nature teaches us a very valuable lesson about life, just like the ever-changing flowers and seasons, life changes every day, whether one day is sunny and in full bloom with wonderful opportunity, the other may be dark and gloomy, wilting with worry and sadness, it still manages to grow and thrive amongst all the outside forces. Into the Garden This passion of mine, has led me to take many photographs of my garden, and document its growth throughout the summer. Even though we’re only halfway through the season, it’s amazing to see how much it has changed. These are just a few photographs of the flowers that have brought life into my garden so far. Into the GardenInto the Garden Into the Garden Into the Garden Into the Garden: Flowers Into the Garden: Flowers Into the Garden: Flowers Aside from always having fresh flowers in the house, the garden boasts with tiny treasures of colorful dahlia petals and pretty greens, that I’m pressing for some upcoming projects.
Into the Garden: Flowers Into the Garden: Flowers Into the Garden: Flowers

Fresh Mint Ice Cream for National Ice Cream Day

Fresh Mint Ice Cream It’s not too often I crave something specific, usually it just needs to be sweet, or chocolate, or any kind of ice cream, but for days I just couldn’t get the taste of velvety and refreshing mint out of my head. I wanted to make this mint ice cream as fresh as possible, without the use of extracts, which meant for lots of fresh mint. I can easily say I probably used a good fifty to sixty mint leaves, and with so much growing in every corner of the garden, ice cream was of course the only thing I would’ve done with it, especially it being National Ice Cream Day today and July being the month dedicated to my favorite food.Fresh Mint Ice Cream I used spearmint, peppermint, and lemon mint to create a heavenly mint flavor that wasn’t over-powering, like most mint ice creams. This one has a smooth flavor, a sweet earthiness, that honestly would’ve gone without the dark chocolate chips, although I still added in for good measure. It’s a subtle mint flavor, which I enjoyed. Perhaps I’ll add one hundred mint leaves next time, but what I know is that peppermint extract won’t be making its way into my icy delight.
Fresh Mint Ice Cream Fresh mint creates a more refined and delicate herbal ice cream, the kind that make you utterly happy and blissful eating a bowl, or maybe even two bowlfuls. Topped with fresh mint, or scooped atop a warm slice of this galette, you just can’t get a more refreshing indulgence on a hot summer day. Fresh Mint Ice Cream Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Ingredients {Makes 1 Quart}

2 cups – Heavy Cream

1 cup – 2% Milk

1/2 cup – Granulated Sugar

1/4 teaspoon – Salt

5 large – Egg Yolks

About 50 Mint Leaves

3/4 cup – Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

If you prefer, a more intense flavor use 1 teaspoon Organic Peppermint Extract into the base just before freezing

Recipe

To infuse the milk and cream, stir the cream, milk, half of the sugar {1/4 cup} and salt into a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat. When the cream mixture begins to bubble around the edge, stir in mint. When bubbles resume around the edges, remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Taste the base every so often, to test the intensity of the mint flavor.

Make the base by, whisking the yolks, just to break them up, in a medium heat-proof bowl. Add in the remaining sugar and whisk until smooth, set aside. Uncover pan, heat over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium heat, once the mixture hits a slight simmer. Slowly ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the yolk mixture, while whisking. Add one more ladle of the hot mixture into the yolks, making sure to whisk quickly, so you don’t curdle the eggs. With a wooden spoon, stir the cream mixture as you slowly add in the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook the ice cream base over medium heat, stirring constantly until it has thickened, and creates a clear path on the back of the wooden spoon {about 1 to 2 minutes}. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container, over an ice-water bath, and discard the mint. Using a clean spatula, stir the base frequently until it has cooled to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Freeze the ice cream, in your ice cream machine following your manufacturer’s directions {about 30 minutes}. While the ice cream churns, put the container you’ll keep your ice cream in the freezer, as well as the chocolate chips in a separate bowl. The ice cream is ready once it reaches the consistency of soft-serve, or the paddle creates a distinctive path as it churns. Fold in the chocolate chips. Enjoy right away, or place in your container, and freeze until later.

Traveling to Playa del Carmen: Rivera Maya

Traveling to Playa del CarmenIt’s crazy to think it’s almost the middle of summer already, but somehow I still find myself looking back at photos from Mexico, with a big itch to just keep traveling. Often times vacations can be filled with lots of activities and touristy attractions, that are well worth it, especially if it’s one of the wonders of the world. Which of course I always love having the opportunity to see, because they’re well-known sites for a reason, but if I had to choose my favorite places to travel when I go to a new country, it would have to be the small towns that many do not see. It’s the kind of towns that show you how the people truly live and what makes the country what it is. Traveling to Playa del CarmenYou become more fulfilled on your travels interacting the locals, and get a better sense of their culture, just as long as you’re safe doing it of course. Now, Playa del Carmen is popular amongst tourists, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and resorts along the main road and beach, yet somehow the hustle and bustle of foreigners and locals intertwine into the spirit of this city.Traveling to Playa del CarmenThere are the loveliest of French cafés with beautiful chandeliers hanging above outdoor seating and garden teapots, and authentic taquerias with mariachi players serenading those savoring refreshing margaritas and guacamole. Shops range from ones filled with lovely Mexican linen dresses, that I wish I came home with all, to family owned jewelry shops, like the one we encountered on of our resort’s employee on his day off helping his mother work. Even befriending us, complete strangers, whose job is to cater to us, and showing us true hospitality, introducing us to his family and even offering us a sampling of his homemade tequila and liquors. That’s the kind of memory and experience you get venturing in your own, not on some tour.Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del CarmenThen there was the scenic beach, with rich blues and iridescent greens and golds, simmering as waves crashed onto the sandy shore. When I look back at these beautiful images, I’m instantly reminded of the smell in the air. The pungent aroma of salt and fish, a smell so strong it could take anyone unexpectedly by surprise, growing stronger as the wind picked up. Yet so pleasant and invigorating all the same. Traveling to Playa del CarmenThe fishing boats side by side, some coming back from a hard day at sea, while others just there wading along with the rhythm of the ocean. I always seem to take photographs of boats, especially when they’re fastened along the shore or dock, wherever I go. They’re just simple fishing boats, nothing as fascinating as a grand sailboat, most times old and run down from the hard the sea. Yet, I find them intriguingly beautiful. Whether it’s my love for the sea, or that they’re merely not just fishing boats but a means of life for many, a resource for food, and an escape to relax and fuel one’s passion. It’s not something to just look at and photograph, it’s its purpose and story that makes it beautiful enough to capture. Traveling to Playa del CarmenThere was much to be seen in Rivera Maya and Mexico, but there is also much to be seen all over the world. Not sure where if when my next big travel will be, but I’m thankful for this recent adventure.Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen Traveling to Playa del Carmen