Mango Mojito overhead

Welcome Summer with Mangoes and Goat Cheese

Memorial Day weekend is here, and with it comes the brightest and boldest of seasons. There’s something about the sunshine this time of year that makes colors more saturated and alive. I want to absorb that feeling; to eat it and drink it. So I set out to capture the season’s vivacity in two new recipes.

To stay grounded in the season, I took two warm-weather staples – chips and cheese dip and Mojitos – and recast them with vibrant ingredients. First, the appetizer.

Goat Cheese Pomegranate detail

Seed Crackers with Goat Cheese, Apricot Thyme Jam and Pomegranate Seeds

This is almost too easy to call a recipe! But it’s so good that I just had to share. 😉

Ingredients

  • 30+ seed crackers (I like Mary’s Gone Crackers brand)
  • 1 log goat cheese
  • 1 jar apricot jam
  • 1 t fresh, minced thyme
  • Pomegranate seeds

Directions

  • Spread goat cheese on crackers, followed by a dollop of jam.
  • Sprinkle minced thyme.
  • Top with 3-4 pomegranate seeds.
  • Enjoy!

Goat Cheese Pomegranate Snack

For a refreshing Summer drink, I looked to the Mojito. There are myriad fruit Mojito recipes out there, but the bright, sunny taste of mango fit my definition of “summer in a drink” best. I tried a few variations, and ended up with a simplified version that can be whipped up relatively quickly in a pinch. Just remember to keep extra simple syrup and mangoes on hand!

Mango Mojito

Simple Mango Mojito

Ingredients

  • 2.5 oz of white rum (mango rum would be even better!)
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1 oz of simple syrup (or to taste)
  • 6 mint leaves
  • Soda water
  • 1/4 a mango, cubed
  • Ice cubes

Directions

  • Muddle mint leaves with 2-3 mango cubes.
  • Shake rum, syrup and soda water and ice cubes in a shaker.
  • In an empty glass, add mint leaves and non-muddled mango cubes (Note: you may also freeze the mango cubes to act as ice cubes. Freezing them also ensures you always have some on hand!)
  • Pour rum mixture over fruit.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and extra mint leaves, if desired.

Hope you enjoy these little tastes of sunshine as much as I did. Happy Summer – and cheers!

Jen

Mango Mojito detail

Kenmare in the Ring of Kerry

Travel Journal: Ireland

The present moment is where all signs, parallel worlds and miracles are to be found.

-Paulo Coehlo.

I love this quote because I believe miracles and magic truly are only found in the present. And that is why I strive to capture everyday moments with my camera. To celebrate the now. By doing so, it forces me to live in the moment, and not get too caught up in what’s next. And nothing forces you to live in the moment quite so much as travel.

Last summer I traveled to Ireland with my husband and his brother and wife. We planned a few things, but mostly, left large chunks of the day to explore and be spontaneous. Here are a few things I learned by truly turning myself over to the present while in the Emerald Isle.

1. Find beauty in the details

…because beauty is everywhere.

Ceiling detail inside Dublin Castle

Ceiling detail inside Dublin Castle

Flowers in Kinsale

Flowers in Kinsale

Bike and door at Trinity College

Bike and door at Trinity College

2. Eating local is always better

…no matter where you happen to be.

Irish Mussels in Dublin

Irish Mussels in Dublin

Guinness pint at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

Guinness pint at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

Olives at the town square market in Kinsale

Olives at the town square market in Kinsale

Wild blueberries growing in the Wicklow Mountains

Wild blueberries growing in the Wicklow Mountains

3. We are all small beneath the large, unending sky

…and so the worries and troubles of today don’t really matter. They are small, too.

Valentia Island sheep

Valentia Island sheep

Charles Fort

Charles Fort

Ross Castle in Ring of Kerry

Ross Castle in Ring of Kerry

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

 

I am trying to keep these things in mind every day. I find when I do, each day can have that vacation feeling, too. Sláinte!

Persimmon Sea Green

Food Palette: Winter Persimmons

I’ve always been fascinated by this illusion: place one color next to another, and watch it take on new meaning and intensity. Color inspiration can come from anywhere – textiles, everyday objects, nature, and of course, food. For my post series Food Palettes, I explore how the color of food can be both appetizing and creatively stimulating.

This week I spied some particularly lovely persimmons at my local grocery. Such a beautiful and underrated fruit! There’s an almost velvety texture to their tight skin that’s very regal and old-world. When I look at them I can imagine dining with nobility in centuries of yore!

PersimmonCloseUP

Today’s palette takes inspiration from the proud persimmon and the subdued light of winter.

Persimmon Seagreen Palette