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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So Fresh and SO EXCITED!

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Hey, y’all! We are so, so excited to tell you about some serious creative collaboration taking place in our community. On May 23rd and 24th, from 10am-6pm, we will be participating in Joplin’s first-ever Pop-Up Shop! Ourselves, and seven other makers will be setting up shop and selling some made-with-love products to the public. That’s right. We are selling stuff! #swag

For our first official selling venture, we have developed three recipes – one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert – which have all of our typical attributes: gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and organic. When you come to the pop-up shop, you will have the opportunity to purchase all of the ingredients needed to make one of these recipes in one box. You heard right. You don’t have to do any shopping – we’ve done that for you! Each box will contain everything you need to whip up the course(s) that you purchased at the Pop-Up Shop, as well as a recipe card with step-by-step instructions. The following is a list of the recipe boxes that will be available for purchase:

Appetizer: Spinach and Garlic Hummus

Entree: Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl 

Dessert: Raw Peanut Butter and Carob Slice

Box pricing will be released in the coming weeks, as will the Pop-Up Shop location!

In addition to our meal boxes, there will be apparel, prints, party supplies, stationery, sweet treats and SO MUCH MORE from some of Joplin’s most talented artists. We feel so honored to be a part. Please stay tuned for updates, and mark your calendars – this is going to be two days of “oohs” and “ahhs” you won’t want to miss!

https://www.facebook.com/events/817946238284940/

The Ultimate Galentine’s Day and Pesto-y Potatoes

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Up until a week ago, we knew Valentine’s Day as an annual holiday, to be celebrated on February 14th , with your sweetheart, and then promptly swept aside in preparation for Easter. However, last Saturday, our perceptions were shattered as we celebrated Valentine’s Day on February 21st with – get this – 10 other women. It was such an affair to remember, that we have vowed to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the entire month of February from here on out, making it more of a season than a once-a-year holiday. Don’t expect to see us in anything but perfectly clashing pinks and reds in February 2016.

Our guests for February’s dinner were Ashley LeBlanc and Melissa Simmonds, co-founders of Write It Down Stationery here in Joplin. They launched their first line of stationery on the 21st, and it is nothing short of spectacular. We had the privilege of catering their launch party, which was complete with strawberry milk and donut party favors (the really colorful, sprinkly kind of donuts), wines to pair with each of our courses, and a valentine exchange! It was, to put it simply, rad.

Ashley and Melissa’s motto for Write It Down is, “Sweet, simple whimsy for generous souls.” And their first stationery line is just that. They feature a series of sharable cards, which are perforated at the top, so that you can tear off the top portion and share the love. It’s not re-gifting. It’s paying it forward. It’s generosity. And it practically defines simple whimsy! These chicks have got it going on.

Ashley designs all of the cards by hand – watercolors, hand-lettering – there’s really not a lot she can’t do. Melissa is in charge of the marketing, social-media and blog side of the biz, and helps Ashley with their DIY segments, as well as features on fellow creatives. Their first line includes a “Thinking of You” card, a “We Work Well Together” card, a “Thanks-a-Million” card, multi-occasion floral cards, a hearteye emoji card, and a card stating, “I’d Share My Doughnuts With You”, which is of course reserved for only the most exclusive of relationships. A love for stationery and paper products runs deep in Ashley and Melissa, and it shows in the quality of their product. They may operate out of a home office, but their stationery looks anything but homemade. Both their online presence and their physical cards are beautifully designed, meticulously crafted and certified impressive.

Pulling off a launch party can be a difficult task. We know that from experience. As you’ll be able to tell from the photos, Ashley and Melissa did it, and they done did it good. We tip our hats to the ladies who not only will be supplying all of our holiday, and any other occasion you can think of cards for the rest of our lives, but who also have found where their talents and passions collide. Seriously check out the stellar team behind Write It Down Stationery. When you do, you’ll be impressed, humored and most likely be craving doughnuts for the foreseeable future.

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We’d also like to share one of the recipes we created for their Launch! We hope you enjoy P.S. This would also be a killer St. Patty’s recipe, which only just now crossed our minds…hooray!

Roasted New Potatoes with Sweet Pea Pesto

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

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4 Small-Medium New Potatoes, cut into wedges

1 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Pesto:

1 Handful Fresh Basil

1/3 C Sweet Peas (frozen or fresh, defrost if frozen)

½ C Pine Nuts

Squeeze of lemon wedge

½ t salt

1 T parsley (fresh or dried flakes)

Preheat oven to 385 Toss potato wedges with EVOO, salt and pepper and lay one flat side down on a baking sheet Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crisp.

While the potatoes are baking, put all pesto ingredients into a food processor, and blend until smooth. The pesto should be slightly gritty. Let the potatoes cool for 5-10 minutes. Once they have cooled spread pea pesto over the top and serve! If you have extra pea pesto, put more on your potatoes, or grab a spoon.

Bon Apetit!

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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Collaboration: How we do what we do

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This post is pretty much going to have nothing to do with us. And we’re pretty okay with that. We’d like to share a few photos from our December dinner, and introduce to you the people who made it possible, and will continue to make &Company dinners possible for many months to come.

When we started dreaming about &Company, we knew we wanted to collaborate with talented people from our hometown. We were, however, skeptical as to whether or not they would want to be involved. Not because they are selfish snobs who don’t care to give fledgling businesses the time of day, but because they are talented and therefore busy and therefore we don’t want to make them feel overwhelmed! So… that being said… it turns out that we have been the ones who are overwhelmed. We have been the ones who are amazed at the talented people in our community willing and desiring to be a part of &Company.

Take, for example, Drew Kimble of 12Eighty-One Photography. He is easily one of the most sought after photographers in Joplin, if not the entire 4-state area. Chances are if there is something important or fun to be photographed, Drew Kimble will be there capturing everything. He photographed my wedding and I have been recommending him ever since. Not only is he dynamite behind a lens, but he is a fierce friend and was on board to photograph our dinners from day one. There is no one else we’d rather have documenting our dinners. Drew, we love you and are beyond grateful for what you bring to the table (pun very much intended).

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Another one of our collaborators is one of our long-time best gal pals Ashley Snyder of Ashley Lauren Design Studio. She approached us after our launch party asking if she could do our table settings and we were like, “um, duh”. Ashley has always been a creative, making every space she designs classical and trendy but also absolutely her own. She makes it look effortless. Our dinner would have lacked the ambiance and atmosphere that made it so magical, had it not been for Ashley and her design genius. We love you, Ash, and it’s such an honor to be teaming up with you on things other than Mario Party (which is still bomb).

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Finally, we’d like to thank the incredible  women of Art Feeds, who we featured in our last post and who will be featured further in our book. They were, like everyone else we have worked with, so willing and generous to give up their time to help make our dream a reality. One of the reasons we chose them for our first dinner is that we have watched Meg and Brooke pursue their dreams like champs and make Art Feeds a prominent, respected fixture in our community. Their passion and genuine joy is contagious. Their love and admiration for children and their creativity is real and they are changing lives with it, daily. In short, they are inspiring – to us, as small business developers and creative thinkers, and to a city in the process of rebuilding and overcoming. Art Feeds, we thank you for inspiring, believing, giving back and doing all of that with a smile and pep in your step.

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