Brunch & Politics

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We are serious advocates of brunch. There’s really just something magical about it. Maybe it’s the hollandaise. Who can say? The point is, we love brunch. So for our April “dinner”, we had brunch. It was a beautiful Spring Saturday, perfect for casual conversation paired with benedicts and MIMOSAS (keep reading to see our twist on this brunch staple). Our guest was an old friend from High School, who we have been keeping tabs on via social media in addition to reading his articles published in the New York Times.

Yes, you heard correctly. Eli Yokely is his name, and political journalism is his game. In 2010 he founded PoliticMo, an in-depth political blog covering all things Missouri Politics. Eli resides in Columbia, Missouri and spends a majority of his time at the Capitol, reporting on House and Senate happenings, campaigns, and political issues ranging from marijuana legalization to the recent and sobering suicide of Missouri’s State Auditor.

The great thing about Eli (other than the accolades he’s received from the NY Times, Washington Post and countless other noteworthy publications) is that he knows politics as well as he knows journalism. He has been a political journalist since elementary school, founding the Halsey News Network, making sure that 5th graders everywhere (or at least in Webb City, Missouri) were informed of the state of things, politically. While he can speak fluent politic, he also has the rare ability to communicate political issues to the Average Joe’s and Josephine’s who may not know all of the jargon. To be honest, we were a little intimidated by Eli’s political prowess until we actually sat down to talk with him. He was as fun and casual as we remembered, and was never annoyed by our frequent questions regarding the similarities between his life and House of Cards.

As per usual, you will have to pick up our book, in order to hear all of the political secrets that were unveiled in our time with Eli. But we cannot speak highly enough of his skill, his humility, his taste in French champagne or his divine sense of humor. Check out his work over at PoliticMO, or, you know, the next time you’re on the streets of New York and pick up the local paper.

Now let’s hear it for a mimosa recipe.

This one is our take on the standard OJ and Champagne version, substituting the OJ for GJ (Ginger Juice) and muddled blackberries. Enjoy responsibly, y’all.

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Blackberry Ginger Mimosas

Serves 4-6

1 large ginger root, peeled, juiced and chilled

3oz Blackberries (or 2-3 berries per mimosa glass)

Champagne (or sparkling wine, either will be delicious)

In each champagne flute, pour 1/4 t. of the chilled ginger juice

Add 2-3 blackberries, and muddle with the ginger juice (you can use a pestle or muddler if you have one, or the handle end of a wooden spoon will suffice)

Pour Champagne over the ginger juice and berry mixture, until the glass is full to the brim, of bubbly.

Cheers!

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Cocoa Dusted, Blood Orange Rice Pudding

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We want to share with you a simple, yet SO yummy dessert that we served at our march dinner. While we and our guests both agreed it turned out tasting like one of those spicy, warm holiday dishes you can’t get enough of in December, it was equally as delicious enjoyed in the Springtime. And the great thing about this one, is it’s incredible served hot OR served cold. Believe us. We tried both.

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Cocoa Dusted, Blood Orange Rice Pudding

1 cup Arborio rice

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1 cup coconut milk (full fat)

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. Agave

2 whole blood oranges, peeled and pieced (Save a few slices for garnish!)

Zest from one orange

1 Tbsp Cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

Cocoa for dusting

Combine coconut oil, rice, coconut milk, water and agave into a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture reaches a “puddingy” (correct culinary term) consistency.

Serve garnished with a blood orange slice, and dust with cocoa.

If enjoying cold, allow pudding to chill for 4-6 hours or overnight before serving…if you can wait that long.

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January Dinner: Cocktails 101 and Versatile Pineapple Stir-Fry

&coeats-23It’s hard to believe that January has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday we were toasting to a new year, and the day before yesterday wrapping gifts and decking halls with holly. It’s undeniable, time moves quickly. Too quickly at times. January’s dinner was an absolutely perfect remedy to the flying time. But then, when isn’t a 3 hour long meal a breath of fresh air? In a world that values convenience over all else, its rejuvenating to sit down with friends and talk. Really talk. And eat. Really eat. To taste everything that is in a dish, recognize it and appreciate it. We had the opportunity to do just that with a couple of friends who love combining flavors as much as we do, but in a slightly different way.

Daniel Valentine and Lanna Jones are Joplin, Missouri’s bartenders. If you want a drink – a drink that’s not a Long Island Iced Tea, a Vegas Bomb or neon colored and too fruity – you go see Daniel and Lanna at Infusion, where they keep bar and take names Wednesday through Saturday, 4 to close. They have a deep love for their work and are passionate about exposing Joplin to the art that is craft cocktails. Daniel and Lanna use fresh herbs, local and organic produce for fresh squeezed juice and high quality, hard-to-get-your-hands-on liquor. We’re so digging their vibes. And these two have it down to a science. They hold the herbs in the palm of their hands, then clap their hands together, which heightens the aroma and flavor of the herbs immensely. Watching them make a drink is equally as enjoyable as drinking the finished product…almost.

We chose Daniel and Lanna for our January dinner not only because they make a mean drink, but because they have refused to be stagnant. They believe in innovation, in changing with the times, thinking outside of the box and taking risks. They also believe in Joplin and the potential it has to be a city full of life and culture. Like our past guests, they are inspiring and dedicated in the midst of challenges and discouragement. Also, because they make a mean drink.

We served Daniel and Lanna a Thai-inspired meal, and they crafted two cocktails that paired perfectly with our appetizer and main course. For more details on the drinks, you’re going to have to wait for our book. But we can assure you that they were original, delicious boozy glasses of perfection that you won’t find on any average drink menu. As far as the meal we served, it was colorful, full of spice and unbelievably easy. We are going to share our Pineapple Chicken Stir-fry with you all, because it’s incredibly versatile. Maybe you don’t like pineapple. Totally fine. Sub another fruit or veggie. Maybe you’re allergic to basil (if that’s the case we are SO sorry). But really, no big deal. This meal would rock with cilantro, too. It’s absolutely acceptable to make this one your own. We hope you enjoy.

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Pineapple Chicken Stir-Fry

(Serves 6)

1.5-2 pounds chicken breast (omit if you’re an herbivore)

1 Pineapple, diced

2 Red Bell Peppers, diced

2 C Sugar Snap Peas

6 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 T fresh Ginger, minced

1/2 to 1 C Fresh Basil, chopped (plus more for garnish)

1/4 C Olive Oil

1/2 C Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce, if you’re not Soy free)

1/4 Rice Vinegar

2 C Mung Bean Sprouts, divided

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Defrost and cut chicken into 1 inch pieces, then transfer to a bowl and drizzle with coconut aminos and sea salt. Let marinate for at least half an hour.

Heat Olive Oil in a skillet over medium high heat, until it’s nice and shiny and coats the pan.

Brown chicken on medium high, adding coconut aminos and rice vinegar as you stir.

Add all of the vegetables except the bean sprouts, and continue to stir.

Stir meat and veggies until they crisp slightly, then add 1/2 of the mung bean sprouts and stir for another minute.

Transfer stir-fry to a large serving platter, and garnish with leftover bean sprouts and fresh basil.

Serve along Jasmine Rice (and a craft cocktail) and enjoy!

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Recipe from December’s Dinner: Honey n’ Clove Spiced Nuts

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Our December dinner with the Art Feeds gals and their husbands was definitely our favorite dinner (other than our launch party) thus far. It was also our only dinner (other than our launch party) thus far, but who’s counting? We loved every minute.

When guests arrive for dinner, it’s always in good taste to get a drink in their hand and an appetizer in their belly. So, we served these Honey n’ Clove Spiced Nuts, along with Boulevard Brewery’s KC Pils. It was a delightful pairing, perfect for any holiday party or a night at home, as you binge-watching Gilmore Girls.

We hope you enjoy this recipe and please, share it with your loved ones!

Honey n’ Clove Spiced Nuts

Preheat oven to 275.

1/2 C Raw Almonds

1/2 C Raw Walnuts

1/2 C Raw Hazelnuts

1/2 C Raw Pecans

1 t. Clove

1/2 t. Cayenne

1/2 t. Cinnamon

Dash of pink sea salt

1 T Extra-virgin Olive Oil

1 T Honey (Local preferred!)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the nuts and stir.

Combine oil and honey in small bowl, and spices in a separate small bowl.

Pour oil and honey mixture over the nut mix and stir until nuts are well coated.

Sprinkle the spice mix over the nuts and stir until well coated with spices.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the nut mix evenly. Nut clusters are okay.

Roast the nuts for 15-20 minutes, or until they are fragrant and crispy.

Baked Apples with “Date Paste” & Roasted Almonds

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This was by far the most popular dish at our launch party, and we are thrilled to share it! It may be the easiest dessert you’ll ever make, but it’s sure to wow the people you’re serving it to.

“What an enchanting evening! The ambiance was so warm & inviting, and the food…WOW! My favorite part was the apple dessert! 🙂 -Launch Partygoer

2 Apples of your choice (we used Braeburn) cored and sliced into 8 wedges per apple

One half pound of dates (this made more than enough paste, but it’s never a bad idea to have leftovers)

Water

1 tsp. Cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Almonds: soaked in filtered water with salt overnight, drained, and roasted at a low temp for 6-8 hours (or purchase Almonds already roasted)

Preheat oven to 375

1. Place apples on a baking sheet with 1-2 inches in between each slice. Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes, until apples are juicy and aromatic.

2. Meanwhile, put dates, cinnamon and salt in a food processor. Slowly add water and blend, until date paste reaches your desired consistency (we used about a 1/2 cup).

3. Roughly chop or crush 1/2 cup of roasted almonds.

4. Once the apples are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, scoop 1-2 Tablespoons of the paste on each apple slice, top with the crushed almonds and serve!

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Welcome to the & Company Eats Blog! We are honored you are checking it out. Recipes, people, and fun is to come in future posts. Check back regularly to see the latest thing being cooked up or maybe we’ll just post a funny joke we heard.

-Meghan & Shaylea