Zin Wine Bar

Last week, we checked out one of Plymouth’s new hot spots: Zin Wine Bar. A cozy little restaurant, Zin offers an excellent wine list, and a respectable drink menu. They even had hot buttered rum, an absolutely necessary indulgence this time of year.
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I must say, the menu was rather intriguing, there was much I wished to try, but in the end I went with the Brussel sprout salad, the duck confit app, and the salmon for my entree. The brussel sprouts with shaved carrots, caramelized sweet onions, quinoa, me a red wine vinaigrette all finished off with a smear of black garlic aioli on the plate, blew me away. This is one of the best composed salads I’ve come across. I will certainly get this salad again.
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As for the duck confit with a ginger apple and cabbage slaw with Old World Olive Press espresso balsamic, I really thought this was a wonderful collection of favors, one that is right up my alley. However, I must say the dish was extremely over salted, which ruined the delightful flavors. A circumstantial mistake, I know these things happen, but it was a little disappointing. I also felt the dish was lacking in something to balance it out, and could benefit from a little greenery perhaps.

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The salmon, although overlooked for my tastes, (medium well, which is fine, considering a lot of places sell dry, well done salmon), was still moist. The accompaniments of tomato couscous, balsamic grilled eggplant, and a dill Creme fraiche, were all delicious, especially the couscous. This was a good simple plate, and if it had been a good bright medium rare it would have been perfect.

All in all, I really enjoyed the environment, and the food. And I do plan on checking it out again in the future. If you’re from the metro Detroit area, I recommend checking it out, perhaps for their Big & Bold wine tasting on December 5th. Maybe I’ll see ya there.

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Guest post on my dear friend Jennifer’s blog, the Onyx Plate. Check her site out!

The Onyx Plate

I know! I know! I know! I’ve been away for way too long, and my sincerest apologies to you, because I love you all dearly and have missed you! Don’t forget you can always keep up with me daily at my Facebook Page, The Onyx Plate. No telling what I will update next with on there (yesterday was my Bacon loving cat, Cinder).

Things have been absolutely fantastic here in the Food portion of my world with another magazine article published here in November, and another one on the way in December. (I’ll post the November article shortly for you on here.) I’ve bought new dishes to take photographs with (so excited!), and have been looking for newer recipes that have a healthy twist to put in them (it’s time). My two “Foodie” part-time jobs are going great as well! Did I mention I get to meet Curtis Stone Thursday??????????!!!@#$!%!#%!@#$!#$^#&????…

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Mushroom Brie-ger

First off, I must thank The Onyx Plate for coining the name “Brie-ger”. What I’m sharing with you all today, is a veggie burger I made for a wine tasting about a month and a half ago, as it was a HUGE hit, especially amongst my more carnivorous guests.

Ingredient List A
1 1/2# mushroom blend, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Spanish onion, finely chopped
5-7 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup (more or less to taste) Brie, chopped

Ingredient List B
2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup of breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 ts oregano
1 ts parsley

Heat some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over med-high heat, and cook the onion until translucent and starting to caramelize, then add your garlic. Sauté, while constantly stirring so as not to burn the garlic, then add your mushroom blend. You need to cook down these mushrooms until very tender, I would say 10-15 minutes. Be sure not to cook out all of the moisture in the mushrooms, then add the Brie, stirring constantly, until evenly distributed.

In a large mixing bowl, combine Ingredient List B with your sautéed mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper to taste. You are going to need to feel this one out, if your patty mixture is not cohesive enough to form patties out of, add more bread crumbs. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20-25 minutes to allow favors to mature.

Form the “meat” into burger patties. Melt some butter in a sauté pan on medium heat and sear the mushroom patties, until golden brown on both sides. Depending on the thickness of your patties, you may need to finish the burgers in the oven for a few minutes to make sure the egg is cooked, but don’t over cook them. The most amazing thing about these is how moist they are.

I served these on the plate, with no bun, and topped it off with a wilted salad of arugula, shaved fennel, and toasted almonds in a warm bacon vinaigrette. My, oh my, was it tasty 🙂

Love

“If you see the world metaphorically going to hell in a hand basket, then take responsibility for that behavior in yourself and clear it. Clear it for yourself and it will begin to clear for all of mankind. Be the change.”
-T S McAuley, in his amazing book, It’s All About Me (he gave away the e-book version for free)

I want to share with you all what I have learned about love recently. A lot of you have probably heard somewhere that all emotion derives from either love or fear. The way I look at it, everything either comes from a standpoint of loving intent, or not. All that other stuff (jealousy, neglect, fear, anger) comes from the lack of love in your perception/ intent.

I have been trying to open up myself to the love all around me, trying to see the love in everything, from a stranger holding open a door to a server trying extra hard to put a smile on your face for the brief time your paths cross. This is not an easy practice to cultivate. Our minds have a tendency to see all possible sides to every die that life casts, and we’ve been conditioned for most of our life’s to focus on the more negative aspects of a given situation. I realized a few years back that in most circles, stories of woe, shadings of victim-hood had become a currency, a mark of status among peers. Somehow hearing about how hard ones personal universe could be trumped how beautiful and creative life is at its core. How many of your friends or coworkers have an inspiring story to share on a regular basis? How many times do you bring a truly positive outlook on a given situation to the table?

“That flat tire you experience on your way to work could save you from a much more serious wreck at the next light, or could set you up for one,” I can’t for the life of me recall who wrote this, but it has stuck with me. It illustrates the fault in our judging processes. We focus so much energy into labeling things as “good” or “bad”, but one can never know the grander scheme. What seems like good fortune today could be your undoing tomorrow. What is the end of your world this week, could prove to be the most transformational and growth-inducing moment of your life. There are lessons to be learned in every seemingly positive and negative occurance.

These are all things I’ve known in theory, and tried to implement in practice for some time. But recently I went to a Spirit-Science retreat in Asheville, NC called Bhakti Bliss. This whole weekend, secluded from the awe-inspiring connective capabilities of my smart phone, with a hundred or so other beings from around the continent, was my most transformational experience yet. The first day, everybody was still a little… Clique-y, for lack of a better term. Sticking with their given packs for the most part. But as we went through eye opening workshops, and guided meditations, nature walks, yoga, etc, we all started transforming into more of a tribe. By the end of the weekend we were all family, with no boundaries to the expressions of love. I made many life long friends, and we all left with a sense of family that extended beyond our group. I feel more connected to everything and everyone I’ve come in contact with since. The point of telling this is to share that I have realized that without seeing life through the eyes of love your much more likely to miss the lessons, fail to see the beauty inherent in everything. The more love you pour into the world, the more life pours the same back into you. The same is true for every state of being. Victimizing yourself perpetuates that lifestyle, and so on.

Life is beautiful. Take a second to look at things in a different way. Our creative power is limitless, look at your smartphone. Think about how a hundred years ago, telepathy was a thing for stories, now sending an SMS is “literally sending your thoughts through space and time at the speed of light” (-Jason silva, highly recommend watch in his videos). We created the capacity to do things we used to only dream of. Joe Rogan commented on his podcast about how people will drive hundreds of miles to stand in awe of the Grand Canyon. While it is absolutely breathtaking, everyone ignores the sky above them. The sun is a constant nuclear explosions millions of miles away that provides us with all of our energy. The moon just so happens to orbit our planet in a way that continues to provide that light and energy to us, while we are not in view of the magnificent sun. Beautiful stars as far as the eye can see, an we all ignore it to speed home to see what horrible things the news can tell us about our world.

Take a pause in your everyday life. Whether it be on your way to work, to appreciate the blue sky, rolling clouds, emerald green vegetation. Take a pause to notice your breath, in and out, our most basic connective interaction with the world. How beautiful it is that we can take our environment inside of us to nourish us and feed our organs. How deeply do you breathe on a regular basis? How shallow? Paying attention to breath alone is a life changing excercise.

I know this jumps around, but the point is, we all need to be more receptive to life. Be more open to the positive energies all around. Be more aware, more conscious. Shake the confines of the negativity seeking mantle thrown on you at birth. Be as open as you can to love in whatever way it is presented to you. It will absolutely change your life.

“That which you project into the core of your being will manifest into the material reality at some time, somewhere; why not make it Love?” T S McAuley

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Recommendations:
Tim McAuley – Soul Surfer – author of “It’s All About Me” an amazing read about finding the answers to everyday life.

Jason Silva – modern day philosopher, epiphany addict, wonder-junkie. This guy is inspirational.

OCG Project – Pheonyx Roldan Smith’s website, this man is a positive force in the world, doing amazing things wherever he goes, and an absolute delight to talk to in person.

Spirit Science – Jordan David’s creation, featuring short animated films and much much more to share ideas about meditation, consciousness and the like with the world. Watch with an open mind and heart, Jordan has a great message and absolutely radiates love and creative energy. He is responsible (amongst many others, victoria mclellan, forest sage, elijah thoth to name a few) for the Bhakti Bliss retreat mentioned above.

My dear friend, Jennifer’s amazing blog, go check it out, and send my love!

The Onyx Plate

I do! I do! I do! Who loves supporting local companies and businesses??? I do!

So with that said, I am pleased to bring you my first ever contest. Woohoo!!!  On top of that, what better thing to kick off the first contest with than some of the most amazing BBQ Sauce ever!

I’m so in love with Tay’s BBQ Sauce that I would like to give you two bottles of it. One is their “Sweet and Smoky”, and the other is their “All Purpose”. I think they both should be labeled all purpose because I use them each on everything! Below are a couple of links for you to check out two posts I’ve already written about this culinary delight called Tay’s Southern BBQ Sauce.

BBQ Sauce Makes Life Sexier

Quick and Easy Dinner Alert!

Gosh I love this stuff!

A little tidbit from Tay’s website…“Tay’s Sauce, LLC was…

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The Perils of Hospital Food

I realize I suddenly disappeared and thought I should explain.  My daughter is now 31 weeks pregnant; we almost did not make it to 31 weeks.  Last Tuesday she began having pre-term contractions that turned into a real crisis.  She was admitted to the hospital to stop the contractions and developed pneumonia.  We spent the week under the watchful eye of some very amazing nurses and doctors and thankfully, the contractions are under control.  I brought her home yesterday (September 10th) to begin five weeks of complete bed rest.

So what does this have to do with a food blog?  Oh, my friends, it has a lot to do with a food blog.  You see, you certainly do not fully appreciate food until you are forced to eat hospital food.  To call it “food” is giving it too much credit.  They brought her items that were supposed to be eggs, sausage, chicken, soup, and vegetables but they neither tasted nor looked like anything I have ever considered edible food.  I find this rather ironic because proper nutrition is the most important aspect of a healthy body.  How do they expect patients to eat properly if the food they serve is not appetizing in vision, smell, or taste?  What they serve is bland and unappealing that prompts patients to beg their families to grab something from some fast food joint to satisfy their hunger.  I understand the dieticians have to provide a nutritious meal however, they can do that and still make the food palatable.  What good is a nutritious meal if the patient does not eat it?

For example, the scrambled eggs they brought my daughter were bland, dry, and visually appalling.  They could have easily added a bit of cheese and diced tomatoes to give them a little taste and improve how they look.  If food looks good, people will at least try eating it but when it looks like something you would feed a dog, nobody will eat it.

They served a hunk of chicken breast covered with some type of white goo they called gravy.  The meat was rubbery, dry, and tough and had no flavor at all.  The gravy was the consistency of wallpaper paste with less taste.  The squash that was served with it was boiled until it turned to mush.  I do not even want to discuss the glob of stuff they called rice.

It takes very little effort or cost to add taste and appeal to ordinary food items like eggs, rice, chicken, and vegetables.   Staying in the hospital is bad enough but when you are fed meals that are uneatable, a weeklong hospital stay can seem to last a month.

As soon as I got my daughter home, I fixed her a healthy and fulfilling home-cooked meal.  I made homemade spaghetti sauce served over thick noodles with a side of sour dough garlic bread.  Now that is how you feed a patient.