Grapefruit Mint Sorbet

by Alyssa Stevenson

This was shared on We Denton Do It today - in the midst of this muggy stormy week.

In other news - I forgot to put conditioner in my hair this morning (Have you ever done that? It's terrible!) and am living in tangle-city today. Also, I absolutely adore Sophia Coppola. These are a few interviews that make me swoon and want to sit and have tea with her. 


We've reached that glorious time of the year where spring and summer are colliding and all that we crave are those bright, sunny flavors. The weather isn't warm enough to be 'hot' yet, but man is it humid. Warm and humid days call for something cold and refreshing. While, yes, this often means ordering an icy cocktail and sitting on the front porch of Oak Street Draft House - other times, you just have to make ice cream. 

That's right. We said make ice cream. Don't worry, though. This doesn't mean much for our Beth Marie's habit - it just means we'll be having twice as much ice cream. What could possibly be wrong with that?

While we're not normally proponents of single function kitchen gadgets, something in us is totally okay with an ice cream maker... maybe because it makes those long summer nights that much better. We shouldn't have to leave the confines of our own kitchen if we just really want to try a new flavor of ice cream or sorbet. Like grapefruit mint. Yes, grapefruit mint; full of lightly sweet, incredibly refreshing and beautifully balanced flavors. Try not falling in love with that dusty ice cream machine crammed in the back of your coat closet now.


Grapefruit Mint Sorbet

4 c fresh grapefruit juice (You must absolutely use fresh grapefruits this - do not dare try to use anything that comes from the juice section of the grocery store)

3/4 c white sugar

8 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 c of the grapefruit juice, the sugar, and the mint leaves to a simmer. Remove from heat and make sure all the sugar’s disolved, let the mint steep for 5 minutes.

Strain out the mint and add mixture back to the remaining 3 c of juice. Put in the freezer to get extra cold, 30-45 min, then follow manufacturers instructions on your ice cream machine.

Citrus Salad

by Alyssa Stevenson

In welcoming spring like days over at We Denton Do It


35 D has come and gone, SXSW and all of those other spring break shenanigans have left me not only sleep-deprived, but nutrient-deprived and on the outs with tequila for awhile. As much as I love the incredible music, the late nights, and being constantly surrounded by fun friends, all of it has left my poor body tired. 

As a result, all kinds of deliciously fattening foods sound absolutely unappetizing (sorry pizza, burgers and cookies) and I've only been craving fresh vegetables and hot tea. (Who am I? Not even wanting coffee -- the sweet nectar of the caffeine gods -- definitely not normal.) This is probably a good thing, right? Spring time is closing in, so its kind of a spring cleaning for my body. (That can be a thing - right?) Out with the bad, in with the good! 

So I'm making salads. Lot and lots of giant salads packed with nutrient-rich foods, so that I can stop feeling sluggish after all of the craziness and start feeling fresh and bright.


Therefore I'm sharing with you my favorite salad right now, a really flavorful citrus salad. This guy is nutrient and flavor packed. Its exactly what I need to be able to get back to late nights, lots of shows... and maybe a few tequila shots. 

Citrus Salad 

  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 cup fresh edamame
  • ½ hass avocado sliced
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

On a plate pile the avocado, grapefruit, navel oranges and edamame. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Drizzle the dressing over the citrus salad. Enjoy. Your body will thank you later. 

Whiskey Spiked Chocolate Pudding

by Alyssa Stevenson in

In case you missed it over at We Denton Do It

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We all know by now (and if you don't - start catching up over at Little D After Dark or The Pink Antler) that I have a soft spot for both nostalgic recipes and booze. That's right - I may or may not have taken a liking to spiking my favorite childhood memories. Just like right here - one of the most comforting desserts (or snacks) that I can think of - now with bourbon added in. 

This may actually be the best way to bring bourbon to work. Just pack up a cup of this pudding, wear a Cosby sweater while enjoying - and try not to dance too much or people might get a little bit suspicious. 

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Alyssa's Bourbon Spiked Chocolate Pudding

3 cups whole milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large egg yolks

3 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. bourbon (I used Blanton's Original)

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk with the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. When well blended, whisk in the egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups of milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently so as not to scorch the bottom. As soon as the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer. Gradually whisk in egg mixture, stirring quickly to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring until pudding thickens enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon, 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until completely melted and the pudding is smooth. If there are any small lumps, you may want to run the pudding through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the vanilla extract and bourbon.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours - or until the pudding is thick and set. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream for an extra decadent treat. 

We Denton Do It

by Alyssa Stevenson in

Its time for all kinds of changes over here. New personal website - new website and format for Little D After Dark, and lo and behold - I am now a part of We Denton Do It, which we just relaunched last week. Its beautiful. I'm pretty proud of the work we're doing over there. Committed to Denton and it's amazing creative culture - check out what we're about, see my interviews with some pretty cool bands, and check out the recipes I'll be posting over there. 


    Newly Revived Denton Website Hopes to Connect and Grow Creative Class

    Local culture blog, We Denton Do It, is pleased to announce the relaunch of their website

    We Denton Do It started with ambition in September of 2010 as a local music video blog. They later grew to cover Denton-related business, photography, politics and the like. Overtime, they informed the Denton public on things such as the East McKinney Taco Corridor, Secrets of Denton County and plenty of wonderful Denton musicians and artists.

    We Denton Do It’s relaunch harkens back to their origin two and a half years ago. Back then, local musician Judson Valdez fronted a late band called Baruch the Scribe. One of the We Denton Do It founders, Jordan Smith, shot a video interview with the band at TWU’s Little Chapel in the Woods. Their first post back today features Valdez’s new band, Chambers, in a music video also shot by Smith (of SMTHFMLY). This new video was filmed in the Little Chapel, as well.

    Upon their re-entry to the scene, We Denton Do It plans to narrow the scope of their content to Denton-related music, arts, dining, business and politics while at the same time exponentially increasing the amount of content they put out. “We’ve always wanted to be able to put out daily content, but we’ve never had the manpower or the caffeine. Now that we’ve acquired a few more enthusiastic contributors and Seven Mile Coffee has opened, we’re good to go,” We Denton Do It editor, Will Milne, said when reached for comment. “People talk about it all the time, but there’s lots of awesome stuff going on in Denton that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We hope to be able to throw some of those lesser known things - even if it’s just the crappy local Guatemalan place - into the limelight if we can.”

    We Denton Do It is a local culture blog dedicated to inspiring our city’s creative class while simultaneously creating a tighter community.

Pistachio and Chocolate Salad

by Alyssa Stevenson in

This was my article for the February issue of Little D After Dark... and since it's now almost a week after Valentine's Day, why not post it?


Oh Valentine’s Day, the most stressful of all holidays. It’s all hyped up for this super romantic day or evening, with expectations of giant displays of affection. Admit it – even the people who claim they aren’t into Valentine’s Day love it when someone surprises them a cheesy card and candy. It really is the thought that counts right?

I feel like in the recent years the day has had some extra hype – thanks a lot Martha Stewart and mommy bloggers everywhere. Now people make their own candy bars and print their own labels with cute sayings on them. Good grief – what happened to the good ol’ days of dropping a card with a cat on it and a heart shaped lollipop in a box? Give me those back.

So lets take the pressure off of our selves. Lets simplify this. While we’re at it, lets get this super romantic dinner underway. 


The real point is to just share the moment with someone right? A few candles, some good music, and wine is really all that it takes to make the night a little more romantic. So instead of serving up dry chicken covered in sauce with too much wine and over cooked mushrooms – or trying for reservations in an over crowded restaurant – lets just make a simple dish. A salad. A salad that would be hard for anyone – anyone at all  - to mess up.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to call this the easiest dish I have ever given you. If you burn water making mac and cheese, you’ll still have a tough time messing up this salad.

Besides the dressing – the base of the salad has only three ingredients. Three. That’s it. But three pretty amazing ingredients – and one especially unexpected ingredient. Chocolate. That’s right -deep dark chocolate right there on your salad.  See, I’m taking care of it all with this one dish – no need for dessert – so you can get to the good stuff faster. And by good stuff I obviously mean watching whatever Nicholas Sparks movie your partner wants to watch on this most romantic night of the year. (What were you thinking… get your mind out of the gutter. C’mon. This is a classy holiday people.)


Arugula Salad with Pistachios and Chocolate

Adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

For the Vinaigrette

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

3 tbsp champagne vinegar

1 tsp course sea salt

5 tbsp olive oil

For the Salad

About 16 ounces of arugula

¼ c finely chopped dry roasted pistachios

4 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I use 72% cocoa)

Make the vinaigrette first. Combine the mustard, vinegar and salt in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Add the olive oil and whisk vigorously to emulsify. Taste and adjust as needed.

Put the arugula in a large bowl and add a modest spoonful or two of the dressing. It’s best to err on the side of underdressing first – since arugula is delicate and needs less dressing than other greens. Using your hands, toss the arugula carefully making sure its coated evenly. Divide the arugula between two plates and sprinkle each with the pistachios and chocolate.


by Alyssa Stevenson

SAG awards, Golden Globes, Oscars.... the awards season is upon us - and as great as some of the films from the last year have been, I am definitely ready to stop talking about Les Miserables.  

I am however, really looking forward to these few... Matt Porterfield, Michel Gondry, Coen brothers, Baz Luhrmann - thanks for continuing to create things I want to watch. I think popcorn and Junior Mints will have to become a staple of my diet. 


by Alyssa Stevenson

I can't believe that I've been writing for Little D After Dark for over a year now... I was going through my archives on my computer, cleaning out files and getting organized - and realized that this interview never made it up on the blog... so I'm posting it for you now. Especially since it is February once again, and this Valentine's Day post is still fun. This is an old article - and I hate to say, but I haven't kept up with Andi - so I'm not even sure of what she's up to these days - but I wanted to share this with you anyways... 


A sexy night. A romantic holiday. A day created by card companies and chocolatiers. A day when florists are overwhelmed, and restaurants are all booked up. The only day of the year when grocery stores sell out of both strawberries and chocolate simultaneously.

Why all of the pressure to impress - keep it simple friends. Why not make a simple cup of tea? Or even a simple dessert that takes almost no effort?

The catch - its not only delicious - but also happens to be wholesomely aphrodisiacal.

Andi Sterling of Wholesome Homebrew graciously opened her sweet kitchen to me and we chatted over tea about tea blends, fermentation, brewing methods, and how she was  seduced into the world of home brewing. Andi is drawn to the alchemy of the brewing world - the reverence and patience required for each step, the chemistry of the ingredients mixing with one another and their inevitable effect on the body. 


But really her love of all of these things is driven by their innate ability to connect people. Sharing a cup of tea can be an intimate time to share your life with a friend. Brewing a batch of beer with a group and then coming back in a few months to check on the batch can be ultimately rewarding as you share the work of your hands with one another.

I was already aware of the obvious health benefits of tea- but Andi started to teach me about the benefits of other brewed drinks.

Kombucha - something she is becoming widely known for in Denton - packs in the health benefits with active probiotics, glucosamines, antioxidants and detoxifying bacterial acids. In fact - after a few minutes of chatting, it started dawning on me how endless the health benefits are with the brewing and fermenting processes.

She has recently been seduced by the magic peppers create when adding them to recipes and teas. It is common for people to experience pleasurable and even euphoriant effects from ingesting capsaicin - found in chili peppers, which is attributed to the pain-stimulated release of endorphins. So she started adding spice to her kombucha infusions, like 'Honey Jalepeno', 'Black Cherry Cayenne' and 'Red Chili Peach.' The combination of sweet, tart, and hot is invigorating and refreshing. Totally hot.


However endless the health benefits  - what Andi really treasures is sharing the creative process with others. She wholeheartedly believes that the creative process itself is the most beneficial part since it feeds the soul and connects us to one another. She aims for Wholesome Homebrew to be a workshop and education driven small business. She will be teaching workshops at Cardo’s Farm this spring - and is planning out a few community brew projects for later this year.

While there Andi introduced me to an amazingly tantalizing tea blend to get the senses going. Matcha-Cha-Cha is an amazing blend of ceremonial grade matcha (a green tea powder), cinnamon, pure cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, and honey. On top of it all - for your special night, with a special someone - it happens to be an aphrodisiac. The blend can be combined with hot water to become a warm, earthy and spicy drink to share. My chosen way to enjoy it is even better. You can mix a spoonful of the blend into  a generous scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream (I would grab a pint from Beth Marie’s) and drizzle with your favorite hot fudge.   

Bourbon Caramel Salted Brownies

by Alyssa Stevenson

The new year is for new resolutions - cleaning up your life, loosing weight, getting healthy, forming new habits that make us happier, healthier, and better people in general. Right? Or maybe not. Lets face it - you’re going to join a gym, buy a bunch of work out clothes that you’ll wear once, decide to cut out sugar, carbs, fat and alcohol all together - and then one or maybe two months later your new tennis shoes will be at the back of the closet, barely worn, carbs will have found their way back into your pantry and your time on the treadmill will be something you’ve completely forgotten about.


Why? Why not just forget about the resolutions that aren’t going to stick and instead - resolve to live life a little more in the moment, and just indulge a little more. Everything in moderation right? Including indulging. Let’s all just agree here friends - a little bit of chocolate, bourbon, caramel and salt never really hurt anyone - did it? Lets just go with no this time. 

So I’ve crafted the perfect brownie for you to practice this new resolution with - seize the day! Eat the brownie! Maybe have a spoonful or two of the caramel... Maybe three. And let me apologize now - I realize that lately this article has become “what else can Alyssa bake bourbon into?” and I promise to take a break from the bourbon after this. Really. Or at least I will in my recipes. (Because seriously, why would I ever really quit loving bourbon? I won’t.) But seriously - after you have these brownies you will forget about my baking with bourbon habit and just thank me. Your friends will thank me because will insist on sharing - and then you will regret the sharing because someone else ate the last brownie. And then you’ll have to make another batch. Because they are that good. I’m not kidding. So go ahead - forget about those silly resolutions and indulge a little instead. 


Bourbon Caramel Brownies with Smoked Sea Salt 

Bourbon Caramel Sauce 

2 c sugar

1/2 c water 

2 tbsp light corn syrup 

1 c heavy cream

1/3 c bourbon

1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Cook without until the sugar is dissolved, washing down the sides with a wet pastry brush. Continue cooking, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. Let cool for 1 minutes, then stir in the bourbon and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Let the caramel sauce cool and come to room temperature.  

Bourbon Caramel Salted Fudge Brownies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1/3 c unsweetened cocoa 

2 c sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

1 c all purpose unbleached flour

1 tbsp smoked sea salt **

1/2 c bourbon caramel 

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch square cake pan. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and one at a time whisk in cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. When all of the ingredients are fully incorporated add the cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the batter, and swirl with a butter knife. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the batter. Bake the fudge brownies in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, until the edge is set, but the center is still just slightly soft. Do not overcook - they are not the same overcooked. Let the brownies cool at room temperature for about an hour, then refrigerate until firm, about an hour. Cut into 12 squares, serve at room temperature or warm with ice cream and extra caramel. 

**Smoked sea salt can be found at specialty food stores, and while I prefer smoked sea salt for this recipe, you can use a Maldon finishing salt also. 

Happy Friday

by Alyssa Stevenson in ,

 Friends - this week has left me worn out - and I cannot wait to wind down tonight with a few fun friends, a fire on the back porch and some really good wine. 


But in the mean time - I wanted to give you a sneak peek of the recipe I've been working on for the next issue of Little D After Dark... (I can't wait to share this month's article with you next week!) that I'll be shooting with the fabulous Chris Newby this weekend. 








And just because... a few questions Woody Allen (my favorite) has never been asked before. 




Chicken Noodle Soup

by Alyssa Stevenson in

Last week I came down with a kickin' sinus infection - that just about knocked me out. Talk about kleenex city... just mounds of them... everywhere. It was terrible. Thank goodness for my amazing doctor who got me back on my feet pretty quickly - but as soon as I was better it seemed like everyone else was getting sick! Oh geez. Thankfully I had put away some chicken soup I made earlier this fall - I made a giant batch about a month before - for sharing and saving - since the cold, flu and sinus season was creeping in. And lets talk about something - this is really hearty, full of flavor, packed with goodness soup. If you grab a can of condensed chicken and have it after this - you will be so sad. So if you're that attached to your little can of soup - don't try this recipe. It will spoil you for life. 

If you've been following for awhile - you've seen a few chicken noodle recipes on here - thats because its my favorite, and a staple, and always getting a few new variables. This is my favorite for sharing and saving - enjoy all winter long. 


Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole chicken, roasted and shredded

4 tbsp unsalted butter

6 large carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced 

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground thyme

16 ounces Reames egg noodles, or homemade egg noodles

8 cups chicken stock

4 cups


Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots and celery and onions to the pot, followed by the herbs and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for ten minutes to meld flavors. Add the chicken stock and water and allow to simmer for another ten minutes. 

Increase heat and add egg noodles and chicken. Allow to cook for another thirty minutes, adjust seasonings to taste. 


Caramel Apple Pie with White Cheddar Rosemary Crust

by Alyssa Stevenson in

 So the second pie I took to the pie party was actually my personal favorite - an apple pie with a gooey apple cider caramel and rosemary and aged white cheddar in the crust. Yum. Just yum. 




So as you probably know by now - I really like a nice sweet to salty balance - I salt my dark chocolate brownies, I add a little fleur de sel to my chocolate chip cookies, I almost always double the salt in my pie crust - just because it makes the sweet so much sweeter and the flavors really pop. 


And thats what this amazing crust does for this pie - the aromatic rosemary and that amazingly flaky crust are just set off by the saltiness of the white cheddar... making the caramel and the apples even sweeter and more flavorful. 


There is just nothing wrong with this pie. Nothing. (Not that I can find anyways.) So I urge you friends, do yourself a favor, get to peeling, and make yourself a perfectly perfect pie. Like now. Like, right now. Your weekend will thank me later. (Even if your waistline won't.) 


Caramel Apple Pie with White Cheddar Rosemary Crust

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary 

1 teaspoon salt 

2/3 cup shortening 

1/2 cup finely shredded white cheddar cheese  

7 - 8 tablespoons cold water

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, rosemary, and salt. Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in shredded cheese. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water at a time over part of the mixture, gently toss with a fork. Push to the side of a bowl. Repeat until all the dough is moistened. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball. Roll half of the dough into a 13-inch circle and line a 9in pie plate. Roll the remaining half into a 13 inch circle to cover the pie with. 


For the Filling: 

For the cider caramel:
3 cups apple cider
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Pour cider into heavy bottomed pot. Boil cider until reduced to 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Add butter & sugar, cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 1 cup. 

For the pie:
5-6 cups sliced gala apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cider caramel, warmed
1 large egg, beaten

In a large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, vanilla, and caramel. Mix well. Spoon apples into pie plate. Cover with remaining crust. Cut 4 steam vents into top. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar. Allow to bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbling. 


Oh - and while you're waiting on that pie to bake - here is my current favorite pie making music... a little Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes... 



Lemon Meringue Pie with Gingersnap Crust

by Alyssa Stevenson in

This friends was the "winning" pie of the night for the sweet side - but it was only one of two that I brought. And I must say, I think the other was just as good. But the great thing about this amazing little pie is that the gingersnap crust really makes the tangy filling sing - and I must say that my meringue was just about perfect - almost marshmallow fluff consistency kind of perfect. 





Alyssa's Lemon Meringue Pie with Gingersnap Crust  


1 box, or 2 dozen gingersnap cookies

2 tablespoons melted butter

Crush cookies in a food processor until fine. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture into bottom and sides of 9-inch tart pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.


4 eggs

2 egg yolks

1⁄2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

5 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2 inch cubes

Zest of 1 Meyer lemon

Whisk together eggs and egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl, add lemon juice and sugar, stirring until smooth. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly until it thickens. Remove from heat and immediately submerge the bowl in an ice water bath just enough to cool the outside of the bowl—about 10 seconds. Remove from the ice bath. Add butter piece by piece. Add lemon zest and stir lightly to combine. Pour the lemon filling into prepared tart pan. Bake about 10 minutes until filling has set. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.


1⁄2 cup egg whites (about 4), warm

1 cup sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Place egg whites in mixing bowl. Place the bowl in a warm water bath to heat the bowl. With the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed un- til soft peaks begin to form. Raise speed to high and grad- ually add the sugar. Beat the mixture until stiff and glossy peaks form. Spread the meringue over the tart, covering to the edges. Create peaks the meringue while spreading it by pulling up with the spatula. Form enough points to cover entire tart. Use a kitchen blow torch to brown the meringue all over, or put back into the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes. 

Pie Party

by Alyssa Stevenson in

Once, not so long ago, a super fun friend hosted a Pie Party - a gathering post turkey day where we gathered with pies, sweet and savory, delicious all around, competing for two really funny looking trophies taken from a local middle school. 


This really happened. 


And yes - I was tied to a five year old who "beat" me in the end by arm wrestling for the title of best sweet pie. 



And this week, as I finish up a few projects and try to heal from a nasty upper respiratory infection - will share with you the recipes to the two fabulous pies I baked and brought along. 



The Moist Maker

by Alyssa Stevenson in



"Just a sandwich? Look, I am 30 years old, I’m about to be divorced twice and I just got evicted! That sandwich was the only good thing going on in my life! Someone ate the only good thing going on in my life!"




Thanksgiving is behind us friends, which means turkey (or tofurkey, or turducken for that matter) and all of our favorite family recipes have come out to play, and are now chilling in tiny tupperwares in the fridge. Mom made the stuffing, Dad fried the turkey, and aunts and uncles from all around brought in the best dang casseroles that Thanksgiving has ever seen.  


I don’t know about you - but I generally stay out of the way on big holidays. Even though I love to be in the kitchen, its my job to cook large meals on a normal basis, and I can certainly whip up any side dish that would be desired, my family seems to have it pretty under control. I generally make the cranberry sauce or the cranberry relish. (Ahem, this is the real stuff... not the canned, although we have a plate full of the ridged slices that are so loved by some people.)


And while I do love the actual meal itself, there is that part of me that actually likes the leftovers even more. Maybe its because there is less fuss about it the second time around, maybe its because some dishes are just made to have leftover. Maybe its because I love the old Friend’s episode where Ross’s sandwich gets stolen and its a really big deal. Just maybe. 


**If you are reading this and are too young to know what Friends is, and you have no idea what I’m talking about, and could care less about what happened to Ross’s sandwich I suggest you stop reading this right now and go watch the sitcom that changed television for ever in its entirety. Like, now. Like, right now. Go on - scoot. Or just Google ‘Friends, the one with Ross’s sandwich’ and you can thank me later. 


So what we have here is Monica’s Moist Maker Sandwich. Its pretty amazing. Its pretty chockfull of Thanksgiving goodness in every way. Its pretty perfect for all of those amazing leftovers you've got sitting in your fridge, waiting to be eaten one last time. 


Monica’s Moist Maker Sandwich 

(From the one with Ross’s sandwich)

(Also known as Thanksgiving sandwich)


3 slices of good bread, toasted (you may also substitute leftover dinner rolls)

3 slices canned cranberry sauce

1/2 c of turkey gravy, divided

3-4 thick slices roasted turkey (or fried, or whatever)

1/3 c stuffing

1/4 c whole cranberry sauce


Take one piece of bread and in a shallow bowl or on a plate, soak the piece of bread in 1/4 c of turkey gravy. Set aside. 


On one slice of bread slather all of the gravy, then pile on the turkey, followed by the slices of canned cranberry sauce, then the gravy soaked piece of bread (the moist maker), then stuffing. On the other slice of bread spread the whole cranberry sauce. Place the second piece on top of the sandwich pile, sauce down. Press down, enjoy. 


Santa Glen

by Alyssa Stevenson in ,

My super fun friend Glen Farris has been kind enough to me this year to let me into a few of his company's music festivals - such as Index Fest and Untapped Fest. And since he has worked so hard this year to bring the Denton and DFW area so much excellent music and fun time fests - I decided to feature him in next month's Little D After Dark column. 

So yesterday, like the trooper he is, he put on a fuzzy Santa hat, had a glass or two of bourbon, and shared in many giggles with Chris and I as we shot him and a super tasty treat for the next issue. 



I can't wait until the issue comes out and we can share more of our amazing shoot and a new recipe with you! 

And thanks Glen - for bringing us great tunes all year 'round. 




September's Dinner In The Garden

by Alyssa Stevenson in ,

Friends, I've shown you photos, I've shared recipes, but this is the best glimpse into the first Dinner in the Garden with Earthwise. 

Our friends the SMTH FMLY were kind enough to come out and help us document the experience, and they have done an incredible job. If you were a part of this dinner, thank you for joining us, for your support, and for being a part of an incredible evening. 

Dinner in the Garden from Jordan Smith on Vimeo.

If you'd like to be a part of the next event, keep up with this blog, we'll start selling tickets for the third and

fourth dinner in the new year. 

Honey Cheesecake with Spicy Candied Pecans

by Alyssa Stevenson in ,

To finish the first Dinner in the Garden we served cheesecakes baked in small kerr jars made with local honey and dairy alongside freshly pressed Bookish coffee. They were not only amazing - but the distinct honey flavor and the spicy pecans really made it distinctively fall flavored. Which makes it a perfect dessert for repeating with friends around the table as the weather continues to cool down and the leaves begin to change. 

Honey Cheesecake with Spicy Candied Pecans


1 lb pecan halves

1/4 c olive oil

1/4 c honey

1 tbsp salt

2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp rosemary 


Preheat oven to 300F. In a large bowl whisk olive oil, honey, salt, cayenne pepper and rosemary. Add the pecans and toss until evenly coated. Spread the pecans on a half sheet pan and allow to bake for 10 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about an hour. Break up the  pecans and store in jar at room temperature for up to three days. 



1 lb cheesecake, softened

3 eggs

1/2 c honey

1 pint sour cream


Preheat the oven to 325 F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time and continue to beat on low until combined. Gradually add the honey and beat for 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and beat until well combined. Pour the cheesecake filling into mason jars. Set the mason jars into a roasting pan and fill with water until the water is half way up the cheesecake jars. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheesecakes are firm, but not cracked! After removed from the oven, allow to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 4 hours. 


For serving the cheesecakes, pull from the refrigerator about an hour ahead of time and top with a small handful of pecans. 


Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Cream Sauce

by Alyssa Stevenson in







Now that I have a moment - I'd love to share with you all your new favorite fall recipe that I created for the first Dinner in the Garden. People are often intimidated by gnocchi - the soft potato pillows of the pasta world - but it is neither difficult or intimidating. And this basically foolproof recipe just about ensures that you'll have happy faces all around the dinner table. Generally sweet potato gnocchi is served with a simple brown butter and sage sauce, but I found those to be unfilling and in need of something richer and creamier. So the sauce was born - and after round after round of recipe testing I finally found the perfect combo. 

So start enjoying fall flavors - and share this with friends as soon as possible. 


Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Cream Sauce 


For the gnocchi: 

2 lb sweet potatoes 

2/3 c whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

2 c all purpose flour 

(plus another 1/2 c flour for the work surface) 


Preheat oven to 425 F. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and and bake until tender and fully cooked, about an hour. Allow to cool slightly. Cut in half and scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl and mash until smooth. Mix the ricotta, salt, and pepper into the mashed sweet potato. Add 1/2 c of flour at a time, until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle flour across a clean work surface and divide the dough into 6 small balls. Roll each ball into a 1 inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 1 inch pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi pieces in three batches, allowing to cook until tender but still frim to the bite, stirring occaisionally - about three minutes per batch. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet. 


For the sauce: 

4 tbsp unsalted butter

1 large shallot, peeled and finely minced

3/4 c chicken broth

1 c half and half

1 tsp chopped fresh sage, and 1 small bunch fresh sage leaves

1 c chopped pecans 

Fresh salt and pepper, to taste 

In a large skillet heat the butter and add the whole sage leaves in small batches until crispy, and remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a small stack of paper towels to drain. Add the pecans to the butter and allow to toast lightly, remove and place on the paper towels with the sage. By now the butter should be starting to brown a little bit - add the shallots and cook until tender. Add the cream, chicken broth and chopped fresh sage and boil until reduced by half. Salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and pulse in a food processor until smooth. Set aside. 

In a large skillet over medium heat add 1/4 c of unsalted butter and gnocchi - and cook until the gnocchi is lightly browned and heated through. Remove and serve with the sauce poured over, and dress with the crisped sage and toasted pecans.