BBQ-ing with {Chef Zoe Schor}

Ada Street Chicago for Starving Artist IMG_1732-2 IMG_1735-3 IMG_1740-4 IMG_1749-5 IMG_1782-7

You all know how much I LOVE to eat, right? I. Love. It. Chicago is a huge food town, and Ada Street happens to be one of my favorite restaurants. So when I recently got the opportunity to chat with Ada Street’s Chef Zoe Schor I was insanely excited and honored! Chef Zoe honed her skills at incredible restaurants such as Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and Todd English’s Beso before joining the Ada Street team as executive chef. Her cooking is a blend of classical and contemporary styles & the result is an approachable, seasonal and diverse menu that always hits the spot for me.

I was able to watch Chef Zoe re-create a delicious dish she previously cooked for a Summer event at Ada Street last year. In honor of the restaurant’s patio opening – complete with a ping-pong table, astro turf, and a custom painted garage door by local Chicago street artist Ruben Aguirre – Zoe dished up slow-grilled bbq pork shoulder on top of corn sopes, topped off with a fresh grilled corn salad. YUM! It’s a perfect blend of perfectly seasoned & tender meat with a fresh and slightly spicy topping that harmoniously comes together with the earthy support of the corn sope base. I could eat this little dish all summer long!

The great news is that Chef Zoe will dish up this exact recipe at next weekend’s Starving Artist Party! She’ll be on-site, preparing bbq pork sopes for guests all night. Now that’s exciting..and even more reason for you Chicago peeps to join us at Starving Artist! Tickets are still available, but selling out fast, so get yours soon! And if you haven’t been to Ada Street yet, what are you waiting for?!!

XO

{All images by Miss Renaissance.}

Currently Baking {Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake}

Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake by Miss Renaissance IMG_1592-2 IMG_1656-6 IMG_1674-7 IMG_1695-10

Summa, Summa, Summatime…coconut somehow screams Summer to me! It’s not only one of my favorite ingredients to use/eat in baked goods, it also makes me long for hot days spent on a tropical beach somewhere. Toasted coconut used in a deliciously rich Pound Cake is basically perfect to me!! This recipe is easy & fool-proof. The cake comes out moist & fluffy (thanks to the addition of buttermilk) with exactly the right amount of sweet-coconutty richness. NOM! I could personally devour this entire loaf in about 2 days!

Bake it, have a slice (or two) with your morning coffee/tea and dare to tell me you’re not instantly smitten. Find the recipe here.

XO

Fashion to Fork {Gatsby Style}

Remember this Biz Spotlight from last year? Well, fast forward 9 months, and Elaina and I are becoming fast friends. A few weeks ago, Elaina approached me about shooting a video for her new series “Fashion to Fork” at my house & I was immediately convinced.

Little did I know that Elaina and her team would completely transform my living room, kitchen & roof deck into an amazing & magical vintage “Great Gatsby” fantasy world (my closet even made an appearance)! We had so much fun filming and prepping all day, and as you can see, we ate an amazing meal (with lots of bubbly) in true Boutique Bites style. You may even be able to spot me here & there throughout the video – I’m the blonde wearing a short, light-pink fringe dress.

Oh, and Elaina, any time you want to come over and transform my house while feeding me delicious food – feel free!

Have a wonderful weekend, Lovelies!!

XO

Currently Snacking On {No Bake Flax Energy Bites}

Flax Energy Bites by Miss Renaissance

Flax Energy Bites by Miss Renaissance

Flax Energy Bites by Miss Renaissance

Flax Energy Bites by Miss Renaissance

Flax Energy Bites by Miss Renaissance

Flax Energy Bites by Miss Renaissance

Do you ever find yourself craving a sweet snack (it usually happens to me mid-afternoon) and nothing will satisfy the urge until you get that chocolate bar, piece of candy or whatever else it is that squashes your sweet tooth? I normally find myself reaching for a piece of chocolate (or 2 or 3) or a big cookie…but since bikini season is imminent, I thought I’d try to develop a sweet & satisfying snack alternative that won’t make me feel so guilty.

I rummaged through my pantry for ingredients that are dense (i.e. have lots of fiber and healthy fats), have amazing health benefits (flax has a great amount of omega acids), and are satisfyingly sweet on their own without added sugars (agave nectar is a great natural sweetener). Then I played around with the proportions and came up with these fun & surprisingly delicious bite-sized balls of sweet goodness. They’re yummy, have a nice texture, are SUPER easy to make (no baking involved here!), and one will usually satisfy my sweet craving for many, many hours.

Give these a try! They’re also great as a pre-workout bite or for packing on-the-go – so you won’t grab that bag of Doritos out of desperation on your next road trip!

XO

{All images by Miss Renaissance.}

Currently Brunching {Zinque}

Zinque, Venice

Zinque, Venice

Zinque, Venice

Zinque, Venice

Zinque, Venice

Zinque, Venice

Zinque, Venice

Happy Monday, Lovelies! For some reason I’ve been waking up extra hungry the past few days…ya know, when you crave a hearty, full-blown breakfast instead of the usual coffee & granola/yoghurt combo?! I have several go-to places here in Chicago when my big breakfast/brunch mood strikes, and I recently found the same type of gem while visiting LA.

Zinque in Venice is now one of my favorite places for delicious coffee (they use La Colombe beans) & hearty sandwiches/pastries. Their prosciutto-mozzarella-tomato panini is amazing, and so are their seasonal fruit pies (I had their pear pie last time, and as you can see in the picture – it’s a little piece of art.) The vibe & decor is decidedly simple & cool with an industrial edge. A few whimsical pieces, such as the vintage  piano, keep the interior from feeling too cold though. If I lived in the Venice area, Zinque would definitely be my go-to spot for casual meetings, laptop-time away from home, or even for an evening glass of wine. They have a nice selection of regional and international wine & beer, and I hear their light dinner menu is yummy & fresh as well.

If you’re ever in Venice, check it out and tell me what you think!

XO

{All images by Miss Renaissance.}

Currently Cooking {Chocolate-Coconut Chia Pudding}

Chocolate-Coconut Chia Pudding by Miss Renaissance

Chocolate-Coconut Chia Pudding by Miss Renaissance

 

 

Chocolate-Coconut Chia Pudding by Miss Renaissance

 

 

If Brussel Sprouts are the new Beets and Emerald is the new Black, then it’s obvious that Chia Seeds are the new Flax Seed, right? These little seeds are pretty powerful. They’re high in fiber, low in fat, and can be transformed into all sorts of interesting recipes.

For my first official foray into Chia Seeds, I went with a simple but super delicious pudding. Literally, all you need to do is combine all 5 ingredients in a bowl (a whisk is best), cover the mixture with plastic wrap & let it rest in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours. That’s it!! You’ll have a super yummy, heathy, and filling dessert. I love the combo of chocolate and coconut with the interesting Chia texture!

Do you have any favorite recipes with Chia Seeds? I’d love to hear about them.

 

XO

{All images by Miss Renaissance.}

 

Currently Baking {French Macarons}

Easter-inspired French Macaron IMG_7472-5 IMG_7477-6 IMG_7510-9 IMG_7546-13 IMG_7571-16

Easter-inspired French Macaron

IMG_7596-18

Easter-inspired French Macaron

The French Macaron…such a delicious but fickle beast! They’re beautiful, highly addicting, but also hard to perfect at home. In my experience, depending on the weather (i.e. random levels of humidity), the quality of ingredients used, the type of food coloring added, and even depending on my mood that day, macarons can either turn out beautifully or fail miserably. I remember learning how to make these little suckers back in my pastry school days, and even seasoned French Chefs still mess these up every now and then.

This being said, I love a challenge, so I decided to try my luck at some gilded & pastel-colored macarons at home – Easter is almost upon us after all! I made several batches in different colors, and some turned out better than others, but overall I’m happy with the outcome – they look fun, glittery (everything is better with glitter), and they taste amazing!

I like using Martha Stewart’s tried & true recipe – find it right here. If you want to get a little crazy, you can find the gold dust & edible glitter here & here.

I dare you to make a colorful batch of macarons this weekend…and let me know how they turn out!!

XO

{All images by Missrenaissance.}

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