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.


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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!