Category Archives:Food & Drink

Happy Hour: Ginger Rose And Black Tea Cocktail

We love the concept of a mixing ginger liqueur with black tea for a hot summer day. Today’s recipe is from A Better Happier St. Sebastian.


Ginger Rose + Black Tea Cocktail

makes 1 drink

1 oz rose simple syrup
2 oz ginger liqueur
4 oz double concentrate black tea
sparkling water to top
lemon wedges for serving

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, stir to combine simple syrup, ginger liqueur, and black tea. Stir until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a glass and top with sparkling water. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Content Curated by Heather Day.

Meyer Lemon Honey Tart with Salted Shortbread Crust


Meyer Lemon Honey Tart with Salted Shortbread Crust 

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup butter plus 1 tbsp, cut into 1 inch cubes
2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 Meyer lemon or thinly sliced regular lemon (if you dislike lemon slices in your tart, omit this)
1 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon (if omitting slices, increase juice by 2 tbsp)

Lightly grease a 9″ springform pan with oil.  Whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Place butter and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth.  Add the dry ingredients and pulse until mixture looks like medium-size pebbles and the dough doesn’t come together completely.  Dump the dough into your prepared pan and press it evenly onto the bottom and 1 1/2 ” up the sides of the pan.  It’s important to get the crust up high enough otherwise the filling will spill out and you’ll have a messy oven.  Your can prepare the crust a day ahead, just cover and chill.
Filling:  Use a mandoline or your super duper knife skills and thinly slice one Meyer lemon into paper thin rounds.  Remove the seeds.  Mix the sugar, honey and lemon zest together in a medium bowl.  Add the lemon slices and toss to coat.  Let sit until lemon is softened and sugar is dissolved, 30-45 minutes.  This mixture can be made a day ahead.  Cover and chill.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl to blend.  In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt.  Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine, so there are no lumps.   Whisk in the lemon juice and gently stir in the lemon slice mixture.

Note:  if not using the slices, in a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, honey, lemon zest and 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice.  Let stand 30 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.  Proceed with rest of the recipe – adding it to the egg and flour mixture and whisking until smooth.

Preheat oven to 300*F and arrange rack in upper third of oven.  Bake crust until edges are JUST starting to turn brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour filling into hot crust.  Bake for another 25-30  minutes, until filling is set (not jiggly).  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Chill for at least 2 hours before unmolding ring.  Serve cold.  Serves 8.    039newRecipe from Bon Appétit, January 2013. Photography by Sweet Sugar Bean.

Content curated by Heather Day.

Happy Hour : Oliveto

Ready for Happy Hour?! We are too. Here is one of my absolute favorite drinks (and Creative Director of Shinola, Daniel Caudill’s as well) made by mixology expert Pip Hanson over at the ever-so-classy Marvel Bar located below and owned by the same folks at The Bachelor Farmer.

This drink is called the Oliveto, made with unique and fresh ingredients such as whipped egg whites and of course, pure olive oil. It is so tasty and refreshing, we wanted to share the recipe!


Yields: 1 drink


•2 oz. dry gin
•1 oz. fresh lemon juice
•1/4 oz. rich simple syrup (2:1)
•1/4 oz. Licor 43
•1/2 oz. full-bodied extra-virgin olive oil
•1 fresh egg white
•3 ice cubes


In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, Licor 43, olive oil, and egg white. Shake well to emulsify. Add the three ice cubes and shake until most of the ice is gone. Strain into a stemless wineglass and serve. Enjoy!

Content curated by Sara Chars.


Polenta Topped with Fresh Fava Beans and Crimini Mushrooms

Heather joined Natasha Pecor in the kitchen again this week after a quick trip to the farmers market where they sourced all of the fresh ingredients for lunch.
10432482_10202350942791765_4321275174655286839_n 10357245_10202350906870867_7935044540003192592_nFava Beans and Crimini Mushrooms
2 lb. fresh fava beans (in their pods)
1 lb. cremini mushrooms
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
olive oil
sea salt 
fresh ground pepper
1) Shell the fresh fava beans by removing from the outer pod, blanching the beans, and removing the outer white skin. Yumsugar gives a good debrief here.
2) Chop onion and garlic. Slice mushrooms. 
3) In a saute pan, saute the garlic and onion at medium heat, adding the onion first and allowing both to brown slightly. 
4) Add in the mushrooms and stir occasionally. After approximately 5 minutes, add in the fava beans and cook for an additional 8 minutes. Make sure the water has cooked out of the mushrooms. 
5) Add salt and pepper to taste. 
6 cups vegetable broth (or water) – more if you prefer creamier polenta
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups cornmeal
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Arrabiata or marinara sauce (optional)
1) Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. 
2) Decrease the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 20 minutes. 
3) Turn off heat. Add in olive oil or butter, and stir until into the mix. 
Add polenta to a bowl, top with the crimini and fava bean mixture, parmesan, and arrabiata or marinara sauce (not pictured). Serve hot. 
Recipe by Natasha Pecor
Photography and Food Styling by Heather Day

Happy Hour : Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler

We made it. Happy Friday! Let’s celebrate with a drink (or two). I’d like to make this cocktail we found on Martha Stewart this weekend. Enjoy! Watermelon Cucumber-Cooler


  • 5 cups cubed seedless watermelon (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 large English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2/3 cup vodka
  • Ice
  • Cucumber slices, for garnish


  1. Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl or pitcher. In a food processor or blender, puree watermelon. Pour watermelon puree through sieve, pressing on solids with a rubber spatula (you should have about 2 cups juice). Puree English cucumber and pour through sieve into watermelon juice.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together lime juice and honey. Add to watermelon and cucumber juices, along with vodka. Adjust sweetness with more honey if desired. To serve, fill four glasses with ice and top each with cocktail. Garnish with cucumber slices.

Do More of What Makes You Happy :: Taupe & Birch

A simple concept to keep in mind this weekend.

Content curated by Heather Day.


Dinner with Natasha & Michelle : Rosemary-Almond Ricotta Stuffed Spinach Ravioli

T & B snuck into Natasha Pecor’s kitchen where she, along side Michelle Wei, made Rosemary-Almond Ricotta Stuffed Spinach Ravioli.
Taupe & Birch : Spinach PastaIngredients:

  •  2 cups of fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 cup of chopped almonds (slivered or sliced will work as well)
  •  2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves
  •  garlic
  •  1 tbsp lemon juice
  •  1 tsp lemon zest
  •  parmesan
  •  olive oil
  •  sea salt


1) Prepare or purchase spinach pasta dough. We used Emeril Lagasse’s recipe to make our dough.

2) Using a pasta maker, create strips of pasta dough approximately 3 inches wide by 9 inches long.

3) In a medium saucepan, sauté chopped almonds until golden brown.

4) Chop rosemary leaves. Mix ricotta, almonds, rosemary, a squeeze of lemon, lemon zest and salt to taste. The filling should be flavorful as is, test it before stuffing pasta and make adjustments as you see fit.

5) Place tablespoons of the filling onto pasta strip with 1-2 inch gaps between. Put second pasta strip on top. Cut into approximately 3 inch x 3 inch squares. Each pair of strips should yield 3 raviolis.

6) Use fork prongs to crimp and seal the edges of the raviolis.

7) Once your raviolis have been made, cook them in a pot of boiling water on low heat. Raviolis will float when cooked completely (approximately 2-3 minutes).

8) In a sauté pan, cook garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once garlic becomes golden, add raviolis and sauté for several minutes and season with a pinch of sea salt.

9) When serving, top with fresh parmesan.

Taupe & Birch : Spinach Pasta Taupe & Birch : Spinach Pasta

Recipe by Natasha Pecor & Michelle Wei.

Photography and styling by Heather Day.

Spirit Plate : Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons

We just can’t get enough of Spirit Plate. Their website is super easy navigate and very informative on the topic of nutrition . This week we’ve teamed up with Spirit Plate again to bring you a delicious desert. Enjoy!

Spirit Plate : Cocoroons


  1. 3/4 cup organic raw almond flour
  2. 1 1/2 cup organic unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  3. 5 Tbsp organic agave nectar or equivalent choice sweetener
  4. 1/4 cup organic raw liquid coconut oil
  5. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 3-finger pinch pink himalayan salt
  7. 1/4 cup dark chocolate of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 190°F. Yes, you read that right! We’re going to dehydrate the macaroons instead of truly baking them. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until throughly incorporated. (Separation is normal!)
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and use hands to mix well – yay for finger-licking!
  4. Use a rounded measuring spoon – I prefer the Tablespoon size – to scoop up enough mixture to fill it. Use your fingers to pack it in, creating a dense macaroon. Turn the spoon upside down and tap it lightly to release the macaroon into your hand. Place flat side down on parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, continuing to create mounds and gently placing them on the baking sheet until the entire mixture is used up.
  6. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Keep an eye on it in the last ten minutes to prevent toasting. You may need to take off or add on a few minutes according to your oven.
  7. As tempting as it may seem, do not touch macaroons until thoroughly cooled! They will be very delicate whilst warm and need to set up.
  8. Once macaroons are cooled, melt chocolate in the microwave or double boiler, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Dip flat bottoms into melted chocolate, shaking off the excess, and set on parchment sheet curved side down. Place in fridge to set up the chocolate. Serve chilled!

Spirit Plate : Cocoroons Spirit Plate : Cocoroons


Recipe and photography by SPIRIT PLATE for Taupe & Birch.

Details from recipe can be found here.

Ratatouille of Grilled Vegetable

Grilling season is finally here! This week, we borrowed a recipe from Alice Walters’ Book: The Art of Simple Food. 


Prepare all of the vegetables, seasoning them with salt as you go. Trim the ends from:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 medium summer squash

Cut into 1/4- inch slices
Peel and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices

  • 1 large onion
  • Cut in half lengthwise and remove the stem and seeds from:
  • 2 sweet peppers
  • Remove the core from:
  • 3 ripe tomatoes

Cut off the ends and then cut in half crosswise.
Prepare a medium-hot fire and place a grill over it to preheat. When the fire is ready, clean the grill well and oil it using the cloth or paper towels. Pile up a few coals under the part of the grill to make the fire hotter there. Brush all vegetables with:

  • Olive oil

Put the tomatoes cut side down on the grill over the hottest area of the fire. Leave them for 3-4 minutes, turn them and cook them another 4 minutes and remove them from the grill. At the same time arrange the other vegetables over the medium-hot fire and grill them about 4 minutes on each side. Keep turning as needed to keep them from burning, checking for the doneness at the stem ends. Remove when tender and set aside to cool down. When all the vegetables are grilled and cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/2-inch squares. Combine in a bowl with:

  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • salt
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped or cut into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoon extra-vergin olive oil

Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more oil, salt, basil, or garlic. Serve warm or at room temperature.IMG_1375

Need an extra side? Try this one!
Carrot Salad (not pictured)

  • Peel and grate
  • 1 pound carrots

Make the vinaigrette by stirring together in a small bowl:

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper

Whisk in:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Taste and adjust as necessary. Toss the carrots with the dressing and:

  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

Let the salad stand for 10 minutes. Taste again if needed, add more salt, lemon juice or oil.

Food Styling by Heather Day

SPIRITPLATE : One-Day Juice Cleanse

Today we are thrilled to share one of our favorite go- to sites for all things food, SPIRITPLATE.  Nabila Daredia has built an inspiring blog around her passion for food and living a healthy lifestyle. The Dallas- based artist took a moment to answer a few questions and of course, share some awesome juice cleanse recipes.
Thanks  for taking the time to share your recipes with T & B. We’d love to hear more about SPIRITPLATE.
Thanks so much for having me! I’m so excited to work with T & B! Well, SPIRITPLATE is a food and lifestyle blog with a focus on clean plant-based food. We believe that the best thing we can do for our bodies, for each other, and for the world, is to eat more clean plant-powered foods which is essentially organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. We seek to combine nutrition education (REAL) and inspiration (SOUL) with practical application (FOOD) in one place that is both appealing and accessible.IFh37_9YU9S_fCxUeb8caAQD0h3ES7g8BjL2SSyZ3fU
What inspired you to start the website?
As an artist I kept trying to bring food into the ‘artspace’. In college I would create performances inviting the audience to eat, tableaus using corn husks and pistachio shells, and in situ paintings on the ground using rice. Growing up in an Indian household meant I was constantly surrounded and influenced by food and cooking and the rituals involved. It was belatedly that I realized where it was all heading.
I was jumping from job to job after college, as well as going through rehab for my spine. I was born with two extra vertebrae which lead to a life of constant fatigue, weakness, and extreme back pain and I was determined to change my fate. My chiropractor recommended a personal trainer, who recommended strength training alongside a vegan diet. The change was immediate and long-lasting; not only have I not experienced any severe back pain over the course of the year since switching my diet, not only was I bouncing around with endless energy, I became obsessed with this new food culture of veganism and the plant-based cooking that came with it. A whole new world of flavors and rules that had my mouth watering!
Of course I couldn’t contain my excitement over this sort-of aha! moment I was going through: Bring art into the foodspace, I realized, rather than the other way around. My husband encouraged me to document my recipes and experiences and here I am! My site is quickly becoming a kind of portfolio and I’m enjoying every minute of it.
I love that you found a way to turn a difficult situation into something positive to share with the community. You mentioned that you’re an artist. Can you tell us how has your artistic background influenced your cooking?
A big part of food and especially food blogging is the visual element – we eat with our eyes. I tended to avoid technology when it came to art, preferring the earthy feel of doing things manually. That’s completely changed. I’m discovering new ways of showcasing the vibrant colors and patterns and compositions inherent in food, particularly through photography.
I was also always looking to symmetry in my work – now it’s more about striking the perfect balance in the photos: of colors, of textures, of light. I think I’m more susceptible to the colors and textures after studying Fibers and Textiles in college – the difference between cotton, wool, and silk is now the difference between cilantro, chives, and pesto as garnishes.
Of course, there are drawbacks! I have to be careful as the artist in me loves purple carrots and white asparagus, but my wallet and husband sure don’t! I also love really technical recipes, but blanching and pureeing and flambe-ing are oftentimes unnecessary. Plant-based foods – fruits and vegetables and seeds and grains – are just so beautiful in their natural state, untouched. I’m beginning to understand the beauty in keeping food simple, affordable, and accessible, and my art is certainly leaning in that direction as well.
Do you have any favorite websites, blogs, or magazines that you would recommend?
I absolutely love This Rawsome Vegan LifeGreen Kitchen Stories and Laura Miller of Sidesaddle Kitchen/Tastemade on Youtube. VegNews is a great magazine that showcases vegan recipes, interviews with world-renowned chefs, as well as informative and instructive articles. I also really like Mind.Body.Green. Most blogs and sites I come across I find through hashtags on Instagram: there is so much out there, it’s incredible!
Many of us live busy lifestyles and taking the time to cook can often seem so daunting. How do you manage your schedule and still find the time to cook? Do you have any suggestions?
I think the answer to that is threefold:
1. Make it a priority. If eating well is as important to you as your morning coffee, your HBO show you’re recording, or the work you do for a living, then you’ll find the time for it. For me it was a huge priority before it became my work, simply because it was a matter of my health. Think of it this way: food is your body’s fuel. You wouldn’t put diesel in a Mercedes now would you? What you put in is what you get out. We can spend our day in brain fog, stressed and fighting for more energy with our fourth expresso, or we can load up on fruit and exhibit such mental clarity and energy, wondering why more people don’t eat this way. When it’s that important, you make time. To save time,
2. Plan ahead. Wash and cut your fruit and vegetables right after you go grocery shopping. As you put everything away, make bags or mason jars full of your goodies. Smoothie bags with all the ingredients you need to dump in a blender and go. Snack packs. Salads in a jar. Boil your pasta, rice, quinoa, oatmeal, etc ahead of time. Secondly, make extra. Leftovers are great! I highly recommend investing in mason jars and glass tupperware for breakfast, snacks, and lunches on the go. If you know you’ll be eating out, check out the menu beforehand to decide what you’ll get – every restaurant, steakhouse or no, does fruits and vegetables.
3. Keep it simple. I think as a culture we think that the more complicated food is, the more ingredients it has, the more it’s been cooked and sauced, the better it is. Nine times out of ten, the simpler, humbler food is better for you. Just toss some fruit and veggies in your bag and go. There’s nothing faster, simpler, or healthier than peeling a banana, or biting into a carrot. That’s real fast food.
It’s not easy and that’s understood. My mom used to hand me tomato-egg sandwiches or a steaming bowl of beef stew without my having to lift a finger. With work, and living on our own or with a significant other, eating well is a totally different animal. We all have cheat days, days when we wonder how we ate that entire tub of ice cream instead of dinner, or survived just on energy drinks. I think if 80% of the time we’re eating consciously and eating more plants, the other 20% will even itself out.
Thanks for the advice. What are some of your goals with SPIRITPLATE? Where do you see it going next?
I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now. I just want to get better at it. Building a following would be nice! In the near future we’re looking to make some how-to videos and produce an e-book. Right now I’m volunteering with a local nonprofit, a veteran-run urban farm called Eat The Yard, which has been such a rewarding experience! In the longterm, we would definitely love to do some nonprofit work through SPIRITPLATE. That would be the ultimate, I think, to create something that lives up to its name and gives back. Real soul food!
Nabila has kindly shared a few recipes from SPIRITPLATE for a One-Day Juice Cleanse.
Content Curated by Heather Day
Recipe and photography by SPIRITPLATE for Taupe & Birch.