union square farmer’s market

union square farmer’s market

my favorite way to spend a saturday is hanging out at the farmer’s market in the morning, cooking all afternoon, and eating delicious food all evening. and last saturday, i got to do all of those things. time for a … Continue reading

craft cocktails & a SNAP giveaway

there’s something positively exquisite about a well-crafted cocktail.

ginger-snapped.com | SNAP cocktails & a giveaway

fortunately, boston – and somerville, the neighboring town i live in – has a number of talented bartenders and watering holes that specialize in craft cocktails. i never do it in a crowded bar, but i always love when i get the chance to actually chat with a bartender who really knows their stuff and will talk to me about what i might like to drink. i’m a gin girl, but it usually gets me in trouble. i also love a spicy rye, and of course, a scotch that’s old enough to drink itself. my parents instilled an appreciation of fine wine in me from an early age, and you really can’t live in this area (or be a diehard football fan) without drinking good beer.

ginger-snapped.com | SNAP cocktails & a giveaway

i love a good cocktail, but when it comes to drinks that i mix at home, i tend to go simple. gin & tonic, dark & stormy, mimosas – i lean towards cocktails with two or three ingredients, maximum. i typically leave the fancy mixology up to the experts, and stick to wine, beer, and simple cocktails when i’m hanging out at my house. but one of my favorite things to find are specialty liquors. local brews, specialty bitters, and unique syrups that jazz up a classic cocktail and make it something new and exciting.  there’s something delightful about trying an unexpected combination of flavors, and then getting to share that with other like-minded, boozehound-type people. it helps that most of my friends share my affinity for delicious, well-blended cocktails, and we’re always on the lookout for something we haven’t tried before. i’d really like to start posting more cocktail recipes, since the simple ones that i make at home aren’t that difficult to recreate.

shake it up! follow me on instagram @ megjoneswall

shake it up! follow me on instagram @ megjoneswall

and seriously, guys. have you tried these craft organic spirits by art in the age of mechanical reproduction? because they’re too cool for words. literally, you have to try them to understand why they’re so fascinating and delicious and absolutely alluring, whether you sip them straight up or try them in one of many delicious custom cocktail recipes.

i’ve long been a fan of ROOT, a delicious, dark and spicy spirit that harkens back to the original 1700’s herbal remedy called “root tea,” which we call (in its non-alcoholic form), “root beer.” i was lucky enough ginger-snapped.com | SNAP cocktails & a giveawayto attend a launch party for the company’s newest offering, RHUBARB TEA, just a few weeks ago. and this new spirit is a lot of fun – sweet with hint of crispness, sour and tart but with a touch of spice. they even teamed up with union square donuts to create a scrumptious limited-edition donut using the spirit. but when i realized that they had an offering named SNAP, i knew we had to get together. i mean, come on. ginger-snapped and SNAP organic spirit. is there a more perfect combination? i think not.

and truly, this spirit is worth dropping everything for – seriously, stop reading and go find yourself a bottle. i was a little worried that it would be cloyingly sweet, or that the ginger’s spiciness would overpower everything else. i was wrong. rather than using artificial flavors to recreate the peppery sweetness of a gingersnap cookie, instead real ingredients like ginger, allspice, molasses, and nutmeg are distilled to create a beautifully balanced, buttery and warm spirit that hits all the right notes.

ginger-snapped.com | SNAP cocktails & a giveaway

beyond just getting the word out on this beyond scrumptious beverage, we’ve teamed up to host a fantastic giveaway! one lucky winner will receive a generous SNAP prize pack, which includes a SNAP mug, a sample pack of hella bitters, an art in the age t-shirt, whiskey disks, and a package of field notes for all of your tasting adventures!

entering is simple. all you have to do is comment on this post with your favorite cocktail (or cocktails-with-an-S, if you’re like me and hate choosing favorites). you can even get an extra entry for each of the following:

-like ginger-snapped on facebook
-like art in the age on facebook
-follow @ginger__snapped on twitter
-follow @artintheage on twitter
-tweet about the giveaway and include a link to this post (ex. i just entered to win a SNAP spirit prize pack from @artintheage & @ginger__snapped – you can too! http://wp.me/p1qaTw-ys)

for each additional entry, please post a separate comment on this post – combined posts with all entries will only count as one extra entry. the contest ends friday, july 5th at 11:30pm. the winner will be selected using random.org, and will be notified via email. see rules and regulations at the end of the post for more info.

ginger-snapped.com | SNAP cocktails & a giveaway

and of course, no cocktail giveaway post would be complete without a yummy homemade cocktail featuring SNAP! this is a twist on the classic whiskey smash, which my husband and i are both mildly obsessed with. after playing around with a few combinations, we both loved this refreshing, sweet and spicy cocktail – and it’s really easy to make at home. feel free to substitute regular simple syrup if that’s what you have, but it’s ridiculously easy to make ginger-infused simple syrup at home, and is definitely worth the extra few minutes.

ginger-snapped.com | SNAP cocktails & a giveaway

gingerSNAP smash

7 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon ginger simple syrup
1/4 cup SNAP liqueur

in a cocktail shaker or large glass, use a muddler or end of a wooden spoon to gently muddle mint, lemon, and ginger simple syrup. add several cubes of ice and the SNAP. give a few solid shakes, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. garnish with fresh mint.

ginger-snapped.com | SNAP cocktails & a giveaway

contest ends friday, july 5th, 2013 at 11:30pm. all entries will be verified, and any entry that does not follow rules will be removed and disqualified (i.e. extra entries by participants that have not followed on social media or tweeted appropriately). winner will be notified and prize will be sent directly from art in the age. open to legal residents of the united states, 18 years of age and older. please note that ginger-snapped is not responsible for sponsors that do not ship their prize. if you win and do not hear from ginger-snapped or the sponsor within 30 days, please contact me by email. after 30 days, i may no longer be able to assist you. by providing information on this blog post, you are providing information to me and me alone. your information will not be sold or shared and will be used for the sole purpose of contacting the winner.

this contest is now ended. congratulations to the winner, #6 – kate hamman knapp! thank you to everyone who participated, and stay on the lookout for more cocktail recipes & contests, coming soon!

summer orzo salad

it’s june.

flowers

did you just do a happy dance? because i did.

drink stand

church window

i’ve spent most of my life living in new england, but i can’t help it – i really am a california girl, through and through. i’ve been to some amazingly beautiful places, but my favorites always have the same things: sunshine, salt water, and palm trees.

hancock?

but living in boston really makes you appreciate these warm summer months. they slip by so quickly, you have to take advantage of every warm, sunny day – because before you know it, we’ll be buried under twenty feet of snow and will be digging your car out, chipping ice off the windows, and longing for those hot, humid days of august.

gate

hat

alley

and boston is really gorgeous this time of year. greenery everywhere, happy dogs, bright flowers, cold beer, farmer’s markets, and all the best food festivals. fresh fruits and veggies, refreshing cocktails, and mouth-watering seafood. what could be better?

salad plate

i’d like to submit an often-overlooked lovely thing about summer. it’s easy, fresh, energizing, and completely delicious – yes, i’m talking about cold summer salads. i feel like dishes like potato salads, pasta salads, and grain salads sometimes get a bad rap – people think they’re so simple that they aren’t worth eating. they’re a grocery store cop-out. they’re generic and boring. but i think good salads can be absolutely fantastic. perfect as a side dish for a grilled dinner, easy to add protein to for a complete meal in a bowl, and fun to bring to a picnic or barbecue -what more do you need? i’ve already written about my favorite lentil salad, as well as a delicious pasta salad with tofu, but i want to submit a new one for the collection: mediterranean orzo salad.

orzo

this salad, like most others, is about as simple and easy to customize as can be. take orzo, add a bunch of stuff you like, stir it up, and eat it. i have a tendency to go a little overboard with fresh veggies and other goodies, so my recipe includes red onion, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, basil, and garlic, along with feta cheese, olives, and capers. you don’t have to use that much stuff if you don’t want – use what’s in your house, or what you find at the farmer’s market. use what makes you happy. 

garlic

 

clearly, garlic makes me happy.

salad closeup

mediterranean orzo salad

12 ounces orzo, cooked according to package directions
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed or diced
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 large handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
10 olives, roughly chopped (i used a mix of stuffed green and kalamata)
5 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 small red onion, finely sliced
2 tsp capers
salt and pepper to taste

in a large sauce pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. add garlic and allow to saute for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. add cooked orzo and stir, coating in garlic oil. put everything into a large bowl, and top with lemon juice and zest. add spinach, olives, feta cheese, tomato, pepper, onion, and capers. get liberal with your salting and peppering, and stir well. top with extra olive oil or lemon juice if you like.

this dish is great warm, and is also really yummy to make the day before and serve chilled. or you can do what i do and have some right after you make it, then put it in the refrigerator and eat some more later.

salad bowl

 

happy june! and get excited – i have another amazing giveaway coming up in the next few weeks!

scones & a giveaway

in my house growing up, maple syrup was something of a necessity. bacon was mandatory. pancakes were always made from scratch. and breakfast was an extremely big deal.

square plate | ginger-snapped.com

but it took my family a little while to figure out that real maple syrup is a completely different thing than the super sweet syrup that comes in plastic bottles shaped like a lady. my immediate family is from the west coast, and i always grew up eating the fake stuff, not realizing that there was something vastly superior being consumed on the other side of the country. we didn’t know hardly anything about it, but my parents wanted us kids to be comfortable in our new homes and to try foods that were more specific to our new home of new england. after moving from southern california to northern vermont, my parents bundled my brother and i into the car, drove us out to the woods, and tried to take us maple sugaring…in september.

cinnamon | ginger-snapped.com

obviously, we were all a little disappointed to learn that sugaring happens in the spring. and to be honest, when my family first tasted pure, made-from-tree-sap syrup, none of us were that crazy about it. but it seemed ridiculous at our weekly sunday brunch to take my father’s incredible, fluffy, chock-full-of-love homemade pancakes and smother them with fake syrup, so we gave the real stuff a shot. and the more we tried it, the more we fell in love with the pure, delicious flavor of authentic maple syrup. it’s impossible to imagine going back now.

syrup | ginger-snapped.comthis is all a little embarrassing to admit, since i now do my best to consume as many local foods as possible and put real emphasis on eating natural, whole, healthy foods – but i try to just remind myself that we’re all a little foolish when we’re younger. after all, i used to hate tomatoes. clearly i had a lot to learn.

and while i’ve tasted some truly delicious maple syrup over the years, the syrup crafted at sweet brook farm, right here in massachusetts, is one of the best i’ve ever had. rich, sweet, with complex, beautiful flavors. i use it for all kinds of things, from pancakes to oatmeal to chicken to bacon, but i really love it in scones – it adds so much flavor and moisture and makes these perfect breakfast pastries light and sweet and positively lovely.

of course, any good quality maple syrup will work in the following recipe, but i’m giving you a chance to score your very own bottle of sweet brook farm syrup, along with some other yummy local treats! but first…

napkin | ginger-snapped.com

maple syrup & toffee scones

1/4 cup really good maple syrup
1/3 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled or steel-cut oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/4 cup toffee bits, plus extra for topping
2 tablespoons brown sugar

preheat oven to 400 degrees.

in a small bowl, mix together maple syrup and milk.

in a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, toffee | ginger-snapped.comand sea salt. add cubed butter – you can either mix this with your fingers, or lightly pulse in a food processor until mixture is crumbly. slowly add syrup and milk mixture until dough is just holding together, but isn’t sticky – you may not need the entire mixture. add the toffee bits and stir gently.

dump dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times, just enough so that the dough stays together. press dough into a square or a circle, and cut into 12 even pieces. i like squares, but you can also do triangles, or split it into 12 little round balls – whatever makes you happy. place the scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, with at least half an inch between them. mix brown sugar with a bit more toffee, and sprinkle mixture onto the top of each scone.

bake scones for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. eat these warm, preferably with hot coffee and a few friends. you can add butter, honey, jam, or more maple syrup, but they’re delicious all on their own.

crumbs | ginger-snapped.com

in honor of my 100th post, i’m delighted to announce that i’ve partnered with eat boutique to give away one of their exquisite and delicious local artisan food gift boxes! if you don’t know about this beautiful blog and shop, get your butt to their site right now. maggie batista and her talented team find the best of local syrups, spices, cookies, and other goodies and package them all up into these beautiful gift boxes that you can send off to your friends and family. i’ve both given new-england-gift-box-2_1024x1024and received these as gifts, and they’re an absolutely wonderful thing for any food lover in your life.

the winner of this giveaway will receive a special new england gift box, made just for ginger-snapped, containing taza chocolateQ’s nutssalt traders saltsweet brook farm maple syrup, and new harvest coffee beans. all items are produced right here in new england, and the chocolate and nuts are both actually from somerville, where i live – i can personally vouch for their deliciousness.

to enter, click the link below to enter through rafflecopter – the form is also available on the ginger-snapped facebook page. you can earn extra entries by following on facebook and twitter, or by tweeting about the contest. these boxes can only be shipped within the US, so the contest is only open to US residents. the winner will be selected with rafflecopter. the giveaway ends friday, may 24th, and the winner will be announced right here, as well as on facebook and twittergood luck!

this contest is now closed. the lucky winner is emily olson – congratulations! i’ve emailed you, so let me know where we can send your lovely prize. thanks to everyone who entered, and keep your eye on the blog because i have another giveaway coming up in june!

maple syrup & toffee scones | ginger-snapped.com

citrus & chicken

it’s been an overwhelming few months.

ginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta salad

getting through the end of winter and welcoming spring with open arms. beginning a photography class and trying to boost my resume, fantasizing about working with food and drinks and words and photographs and social media and all those lovely things all day, every day. trying to come to terms with ginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta saladthe death of my long-ill grandmother and a bombing in my city, all in the same week. running a half marathon in dc a week and a half after the marathon bombers were apprehended, and being overwhelmed by support and love and refusing to give in to fear.

i haven’t known what to say here. too much has happened, and it feels like i’ve been struggling to keep my head above water. but as well as not writing, i haven’t been cooking either. and i miss both. these things keep me grounded, keep me together. they remind me of who i really am, what i want. and these things that i often take for granted, getting lost in a beautiful novel or letting my words spill out into the universe or playing with old ingredients to create something new – i need them. even if my dream job doesn’t exist, even if i end up doing something completely unrelated to food or visual media or writing – i need to keep doing this.

this blog is a selfish thing, really. sometimes it keeps me sane. it reminds me to take joy in small victories, to continue writing and taking pictures and staying in touch with other food-loving people in my life. it makes me happy, even when it’s not easy.

ginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta salad

so does this recipe, actually. except that unlike my blog entries, this recipe takes about twenty minutes to prepare.

ginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta salad

the story of this dish is a little strange. i’m taking a photography class at the new england school of photography with a delightful photographer named keitaro yoshioka, and it’s absolutely wonderful. and after classes on the basics, on light, portraits, sports, families, and landscapes, we finally got to my bread and butter (pun only partially intended) – still life photography.

naturally, after playing with some other objects, i just had to start shooting food. wanting to play more withginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta salad natural light, as well as use studio lighting and some other techniques we’d learned in class, i chose several vivid citrus fruits, cut them into various shapes, and spent a delightful afternoon playing around with my camera.

of course, i was left with some images that i really loved…and a large tupperware bursting with fresh-cut citrus, just waiting to be used in some bright, tart, addictive dish.

what else could i do but start cooking?

ginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta salad

the great thing about cold pasta salads like this is that you can adapt them to whatever you have on hand. try adding capers, or bell peppers, or a little red onion. leave out the feta or switch it up for another cheese that you like. use greek yogurt with lemon juice instead of the vinaigrette if you’re pressed for time or want it to be creamier or simply aren’t in the mood to dice up a shallot. and if you don’t happen to have a refrigerator full of cut-up fruit, you can use whatever you like. try all lemon, add some more lime, or focus more on the grapefruit. it’s completely up to you – think of this recipe as more of a rough guideline.

ginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta saladcitrus chicken & pasta salad with honey-citrus vinaigrette

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast or chicken tenders, shredded
12 ounces pasta, cooked al dente
1 large tomato, diced
6-8 basil leaves, finely diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, as needed to taste

vinaigrette
(this recipe makes more than you’ll need for the pasta salad – use the rest on greens, veggies, or as a marinade for fish or poultry!)

1 medium shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

in a large bowl, combine shredded chicken (this is my preferred method of preparing the shredded chicken), cooled pasta, tomato, basil, feta cheese, and red pepper flakes. in a mason jar or reusable container, combine shallot, honey, olive oil, white wine vinegar, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper. toss as much dressing as you like in with the chicken and pasta mixture, then add extra salt and pepper as needed. you can serve this warm and eat it immediately, or chill it until you’re ready – it’s yummy either way.

ginger-snapped | citrus & chicken pasta salad