Friday, August 4, 2017

Tea Time with Brandy: Summer Snacks & Sips


It has been quite a harrowing few weeks for Brandy. Though she has adored living in Lakeview these past 10 years, she felt she needed to move on to bigger and better things (specifically, a bigger and better kitchen). So recently, Brandy uprooted herself into a new place a little farther north, where she could enjoy a little more peace and quiet as well as a bit more room to stretch.

Of course moving house is never an enjoyable business. There's always that strange in-between period of living out of boxes and bags and feeling lost in one's own home. For that reason, Brandy has kept a few very specific things by her side to help with the transition.

A recent addiction to cold brew coffee led Brandy to Tall Tale Coffee, a local employee owned company with a store front cafe in Ravenswood. Through their home base, Tall Tale Coffee delivers their signature cold brew to doorsteps around Chicago. Eight cups of smooth, toasty coffee come conveniently packed in a fridge-friendly box with a spigot built right in, enabling the coffee to be poured and enjoyed straight away. Best of all, one can set up a subscription that will deliver a box every week, two weeks, or 4 weeks automatically. Brandy found this ready-to-go coffee invaluable during all those early morning unpacking sessions. She even got a code for her loyal readers to use in order to get their first box free when they sign up for a subscription: BUNNYBRANDY


In order to being her long days of packing and unpacking, Brandy had to load up with not only lots of caffeine for energy, but also protein. For this, she would quickly prepare what she liked to refer to as a Bibimbap Breakast Bowl using authentic Korean products from Sunny's Korean. Using a traditional bibimbap as inspiration, Brandy would quickly saute veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, and napa cabbage, using a touch of vinegar, sesame oil, and the Kimchee Seasoning to add spice, salt, and a touch of sweetness all in one go. She also loves to marinate thinly sliced beef in the Korean Teriyaki sauce and quickly cook it up with a little garlic and ginger. Finally, she'll whip up some simple scrambled eggs as a base (in place of rice in a traditional bibimbap), then add the beef, cooked veggies, some fresh veggies like sliced radish and baby spinach, and top everything off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. The result is a protein packed bowl of deliciousness that can be enjoyed hot, cold, or can be stored for a few days in the fridge to intensify the flavors.


Of course, all that protein and caffeine can't last all day, so a little sugar rush in the middle of the day is usually needed, and that is when Brandy found herself reaching for goodies from Everton Toffee Company. Inspired by a recipe created in 1753, Everton Toffees come in two different forms; Butter Toffee Caramels and toffee and nut covered pretzels. The caramels are soft and chewy and perfect for a quick hit of buttery goodness, while the pretzels are the ultimate in sweet and salty snacking. As tasty as they are on their own, Brandy's favorite way to eat these crunchy little delights is with ice cream. The salt on the pretzels goes incredibly well with a good quality vanilla, while the nutty, buttery flavor of the toffee is excellent with dark chocolate, meaning the ideal pairing in Brandy's professional opinion is a vanilla chocolate chip.


Finally, after a long day on her feat, Brandy likes to relax with a nice cocktail. Recently she's become a big fan of 1893, an all-natural sugar sweetened soda based on Pepsi's original recipe. The cola comes in four varieties; Original, Citrus, Ginger, and Brandy's favorite, Black Current. The fruity, more mature flavor of the soda makes it a perfect cocktail mixer, and Brandy's preferred cocktail to mix up is her play on a Whiskey Seduction, which she likes to call a Polite and Consensual Whiskey Conversation. The drink starts with 2 oz's of vanilla scented whiskey in a tall glass, then a few sprigs of basil are muddled into the liquor, followed by two ounces of a fruity red wine, then four ounces of the Black Current cola, ice, and finally, a squeeze of lime juice. The result is a smooth, sophisticated, and slightly sweet cocktail that fits any occasion, from a summer evening relaxing on the porch to a vibrant dinner party (or in Brandy's case, an early afternoon curled up in an arm chair, knitting and watching a baseball game).


The writers of this blog were provided with products by the companies mentioned free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.