Sushi restaurants may be commonplace, but it’s nice to find one that offers a fresh twist on an old favorite. At Sushi Maki in the Brickell section of Miami, sushi is served up ocean fresh alongside steaming noodle bowls and fried treats. It’s casual and fun, and the food tastes great.
One thing I loved were these petite tacos layered with fresh diced salmon, scallions, and a cool creamy sauce. I chose the salmon, but they also offer ahi and spicy tuna. I could have eaten quite a few, but I saved room for the vegetable spring rolls, crisp fried and very tasty indeed.
The Brickell location on South Miami Avenue is a great place for people watching, especially on a weekend night as the clubs begin to fill. Indoor and outdoor dining available with a parking garage just a block away.
Sushi Maki, various locations throughout the Miami area.
After a season of indulging in Grandma’s butter cookies and Sister Lucy’s Snap Crackle Pop Pie, the body knows exactly what it needs. Veggies!
Treat yourself to a luxurious platter of grilled or roasted vegetables. Choose those that inspire you, but make sure your selection offers plenty of color and crunch. For my New Year’s platter, I grilled asparagus, mushrooms, sweet peppers, zucchini and grape tomatoes. All you need is a great grill basket, a bit of olive oil, and a sprinkling of sea salt. If you want more punch, toss a few teaspoons of your favorite herb mix over the grilling vegetables.
Grilled veggies are terrific plain, topping a salad, or folded into your favorite pasta. Leftovers also make fantastic sandwich layers. Enjoy!
One bite of perfection is often enough, and this year on Savor the Salt, I’ll be exploring small bites for every occasion.
Though we all might need to trim down after a season of over-indulgence (myself included), I meant to post this bite-sized sweet sooner. So today’s new year post starts with a tiny sweet treat. Since we all have birthdays and other celebrations to attend throughout the year, this diminutive treat might be just what’s called for. Are these Maple Dreams indulgent? Yes. And are they just the right portion size? Absolutely!
Sweets in moderation are exactly what’s called for at special celebrations – especially when they combine the amazing flavors of chocolate and nuts.
One batch double fudge brownies
1 cup whipped cream, unsweetened
1/2 cup maple frosting
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1-inch round cookie cutter
Pastry bag fitted with large star tip
Method of Preparation:
1. Bake brownies until fudgy. This typically means taking them out of the oven at the low end of the recommended bake time, and allowing them to rest until they are cool enough to be handled.
2. Using the 1-inch cookie cutter, cut brownies into as many rounds as you’d like to serve. There are two methods to consider here. You can bake the brownies in a 9×9″ pan, or you can spread out the batter onto a baking sheet with sides and adjust the cooking time to make crunchier rounds. Since the fudgy middle offers a great bite in this dessert, I prefer baking brownies in the traditional method, cutting the rounds then halving them at the center to create two slimmer discs that can be neatly layered.
3. Arrange half of the brownie rounds on your serving platter about 1 1/2″ apart. Set platter aside.
4. In mixing bowl, whip maple frosting until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Fold in the unsweetened whipped cream and combine until you have a smooth mousse.
5. Transfer mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe mousse onto center of each brownie round.
6. Top each treat with a second brownie round and mousse. Sprinkle chopped roasted peanuts on each dessert. Enjoy!
Reserve any extra bits of brownies and nuts to create ice-cream or yogurt blend-ins. Simply store in a zippered bag and freeze until needed.
I love a good story, and when I learned how Frances Shaw created her muffin company, I knew I had to share it. Ever wonder what it takes to grow a brand? Read on and you’ll find out.
Sometimes, the brightest inventions come from the darkest of times. For Frances Shaw, graduation from SCAD was a few credit hours away when a medical diagnosis of fibromyalgia left her homebound for two years. An additional diagnosis of celiac disease compounded her difficulties but prompted her to start baking gluten free. Undeterred by the temporary setback of leaving school, Shaw put her education to work and designed a business model for healthy, “allergy-smart” muffins that taste great.
Frannie’s Gluten-Free Muffins soft-launched in 2011 to Atlanta stores. “The market needed a new type of muffin – one sensitive to nutritional needs like mine,” she says. Fifteen million Americans suffer from food allergies, Shaw states, “and I wanted to help make life tastier for some of those people.” Under her supervision, each muffin is now handmade at a local gluten-free bakery in Decatur, GA. Working with “quality non-GMO ingredients and organically grown fruits and vegetables as well as eggs raised free of antibiotics and hormones, Frannie’s Gluten-Free muffins are free of seven and sometimes all of the top eight major food allergens.”
Growing a Brand
Even with tasty products, a successful gourmet business needs great design and packaging to blossom. Shaw credits her Savannah College of Art and Design training in motion media design and film for her solid start in the highly competitive natural foods market. Establishing process, sequence, and protocols were critical for a successful launch. Shaw quickly realized that rapid business growth also demanded the visual appeal of sophisticated branding and marketing.
She immediately called on the talents of classmate and friend Natasha Sokulski. “Collaborating was a natural fit.” As the freelance senior art director at Jack Morton, “Natasha immediately understood my objectives for the brand,” Shaw explains.
The two brainstormed during an early strategic planning session. “Natasha created a clean, but unique and eye-catching design, beginning with a logo that clearly communicates our mission for gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and soy free products. From packaging and business cards to marketing materials and web design, Natasha has developed a fun look that differentiates the brand,” Shaw explains.
Sokulski developed packaging that would be visually distinctive and resistant to temperature changes while also preventing allergy cross-contamination and preserving freshness. Frannie’s Gluten-Free Muffins are stocked in freezer cases in natural foods sections of Kroger stores and specialty retailers throughout the southeast. “To stand out among the competition, we relied on clean typography and fresh colors to balance the distinctive graphics for each SKU,” Shaw says.
In consumer goods packaging, functionality and flexographic printing are essential. “Our freezer-safe package features a tamper-evident seal and a clear view window to highlight the product,” Sokulski points out. “Designed to be durable enough to withstand storage and distribution, each package also maximizes informative impact but still looks bright and distinctive on the shelves of stand-up freezer cases.”
Sokulski and Shaw are incorporating an expanding product line into a comprehensive advertising campaign to increase national brand awareness. “We share a powerful partnership,” Shaw says. “I’m very excited to see where our collaboration on Frannie’s Gluten-Free Muffins will lead.”
One thing is certain. I predict these partners will be cooking up more delicious muffins for us all!