hi there!

I’m Mari.
On Marivelous Me! you’ll find recipes, food gifts, food I’ve traveled for and food solutions. Poke around, maybe you’ll find inspiration for something you’re working on. Enjoy! 


Beer Can Chicken

This post is for all the dads out there that will be on their patios this Sunday evening grilling and drinking an ice-cold beer. It’s about combining those two loves into one foodstuff. Have you figured it out? Yes, it’s the magically awesome beer can chicken. It’s ridiculous to look at while it's cooking but it makes one super moist and bursting with flavor chicken.

Happy Father’s Day! Just don’t wear the tie your kids gave you while grilling (it's a serious fire hazard).

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Happy Hour: The LH-ish Boilermaker

I thought boilermakers require the following:

  1. A shot glass full of liquor plopped into a pint of beer
  2. A bunch of frat boys chugging as fast as possible
  3. A lot of high-fiving and howling

That is until last week. Mr. Mari and I went to Laurel Hardware and on their tidy list of cocktails was the LH Boilermaker. Intrigued, Mr. Mari ordered one, and then another. Fantastic. Their boilermaker comprised of Buffalo Trace bourbon, Luxardo Apricot, lemon juice, and Magic Hat #9 Ale. Mr. Mari and I both noted that our bartender snuck some other brown elixir into the mixing tin that’s not listed - but no matter. I was converted. It got me thinking about all the drinks one could make with just the simple concept of liquor + beer. Endless. No wonder there’s so many high-fives and woop-woops.

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Chia Seed Pudding

As a kid, there were commercials on TV advertising Chia Pets. “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” I never gave much thought to what was actually growing on those ceramic figurines, they just magically sprouted hair and fur! It wasn’t until a couple years ago when I started hearing about chia seeds and their health benefits that the light bulb went off - Ohhhh! Chia Pets were covered in… chia seeds! Doh! 

Chia seeds are, I will admit, a little weird in texture. Once expanded, they look and feel a bit like tomato seeds but you'll probably never manhandle chia seeds post expansion. They’re a little slimy (like tapioca) and pop-crunch in your mouth. They aren’t quite as firm a pop as poppy seeds but you kinda see where I’m heading, right? I haven't done a really good job at selling chia seeds but you should try them because they’re really good for you (lots of Omega-3), a super easy way of getting some fiber in your diet and are pretty carb friendly. Did that work? 

My friend shared this chia seed pudding recipe with me. Really simple, she said. And oh, yes it is. She eats her coconut milk version without any sweetener but I like it with just a skosh more sweetness. Feel free to doctor it as you like since it’s like eating tapioca pudding - the possibilities are endless!

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A Proverbial Fork in the Road & French 75s

When you come to a fork in the road, take it! - Yogi Berra

It’s been about a year since I made Marivelous Me my fulltime gig, and while it’s been an absolute blast, I’ve come to the realization that I really miss people. Working on a blog day in day out is pretty much a solo effort. Often, days go by and the only human I see and talk to in person is Mr. Mari. While I love Mr. Mari with all my heart, it turns out I need a bit more in-person human contact on a day-to-day basis. Who knew?

I find myself at a proverbial fork in the road. I love working on Marivelous Me, but I’m itching to get back into the food world, physically. What does that mean exactly? I’m not entirely sure yet, but for now at least, it means I won’t be posting here everyday. I gotta get back out there. For starters, I enrolled in a bartending course a few weeks ago, just passed my tests and got my diploma. Woo hoo! So, for now, I’ll leave you with a recipe for one of my favorite classic cocktails: A French 75.

A big shout out and hand clapping to my readers - for your encouragement, funny comments and practical questions. I'm on a new adventure so wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted on where this road takes me…

FRENCH 75 - serves one (but at least double the recipe!)
Adapted from Eben Freeman

1-1/2 ounces London dry gin
1 lemon, rinsed
2-teaspoons simple syrup
2-ounces dry sparkling wine or Brut champagne

Put a champagne flute in the fridge to chill while you get your drink together.

Using a channel zester, remove the lemon rind in a continuous spiral. Don't worry if it breaks, just try and get pieces that are at least 6-inces long. Juice lemon into a non-reactive container. 

In a shaker, add gin, 3/4-ounce lemon juice, simple syrup and ice. Shake until really chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into chilled champage flute and top with champagne. 

Twirl 6-inches of lemon zest around your finger to make a spiral. Carefully place into champagne flute. À votre santé!


Furikake & Cocktails

One of the foods Japanese people love is furikake. Furikake translates to shake + cover. It’s a condiment that’s made up of salt, sugar, teeny bits of seaweed, and dried fish. In other words, it’s an umami salt bomb. It’s traditionally sprinkled over white rice (at breakfast) to make white rice more interesting. Frankly, looking at the types offered, I think its origin was as a substitute for actual proteins. Some options include dehydrated egg (sounds weird but Japanese people eat eggs with rice so…), seaweed, salmon (again, Japanese people eat salmon for breakfast), wasabi, bonito, shiso, and so forth.

I’ve been putting shiso furikake on my eggs in the morning but thought that it must have other uses. Here’s a thought: cocktails! It can be used in lieu of salt on cocktail glasses, like on my 'hiso-hito (see recipe after the jump).

Happy holiday weekend, Everyone! Have fun, be safe with that grill and see you back here on Tuesday!

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Tip: Slicing Meat Almost Wafer Thin

Other than my mom, I don’t know anyone that has a meat slicer at home. Since I don’t own one, I have to make do with other methods. When I need thinly sliced beef, fish or pork, I take a steak or tenderloin and pop it in the freezer for an hour or two. It’ll harden enough that you’ll be able to slice it pretty thin. If it doesn’t seem firm enough towards the middle, pop it back in the freezer! Just be sure to have a very sharp knife and separate your layers with wax paper. The pieces may not be transparent or carpaccio thin but thin enough that you’ll thank me for saving you the extra two-feet of counter space for the meat slicer you no longer need to purchase. 


Avocado As A Quickie Snack

Sometimes when Mr. Mari and I are looking for a really quick snack, one that requires very little brainpower, we look to our counter for a ripe avocado. Since avocados have a lot of fat (good fats but fats nonetheless) we split one fifty-fifty. 

Instead of peeling, slicing and arranging it on a plate (who’s got time for that?), pour a little salad dressing into its built-in well and boom, snack away. For something light and easy, a squirt of lemon juice and a little coarse salt. Yum. For this I used some ginger dressing but sometimes I’ll just use soy sauce and sprinkle on a few sesame seeds to give it a veggie California roll vibe. Add a little yogurt and some chopped nuts and it’ll be like a chilled avocado “soup”. Or add some salsa to the well and scoop with tortilla chips or crumble some chips on top. I certainly don’t have time to break out a molcajete mid-afternoon, do you?

Note: If you only need one half, just store the remaining half with the pit intact. Cover with plastic wrap and press the film against the flesh. It should stay green for a day.


Candied Ginger Slices

If I cooked a single cuisine, my spice cabinet and fridge would be pretty easy to navigate. My mom barely breaks out of the Japanese food family so her spices pretty much read soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar, shichimi, togarashi, dashinomoto, wasabi powder, sugar, salt and vegetable oil. Me, I dabble in a variety of cuisines so my fridge and cabinets are chockablock with spices and pickled things from all over the world. I’ve got a homemade mole paste from Mexico (one of my former employees had it shipped from her town in Oaxaca - a super score!), preserved lemons and harrisa from Marrakech, Japanese pickled plums, Thai shrimp paste, etc. I literally have an unquenchable thirst when it comes to dried spices and herbs. I joke with Mr. Mari that in my fantasy kitchen, I’d have an entire wall devoted to spices. One of the things I used to buy was candied ginger. You know, one of those McCormick jars with crystallized ginger nuggets. At $9.00 a jar, I decided enough is enough; I could make my own for a fraction of the cost. Now I’m wondering what other spice cabinet goodies I can make. Mr Mari, I need a bigger kitchen...

To make whatever quantity you want is very simple. Just divide the weight of your ginger by 4. This will give you your number for sugar (in cups) and water (in cups). For example, if you have 6 ounces of ginger, you would need 1-1/2 cups sugar and 1-1/2 cups water. Easy peasy, right? You’ll also need a candy thermometer. As an experiment, I draped and folded the sugared pieces over and around chopsticks to make them three-dimensional. Totally unnecessary but I wanted to see if the pieces would dry wavy. Yup. 

6 ounces ginger, rinsed
1-1/2 cups sugar + more for rolling
1-1/2 cups water 

If sugaring, put ½-cup sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

With the back of a paring knife, scrape off all the skin. Rinse the root. Slice the root as thin as possible. Place in a small pot and cover with water by ½-inch. Bring to a boil, cook for ten minutes and remove from heat. Dump out the water, rinse and repeat one more time. Add sugar and measured water back in the same pot. Bring to a low boil. Occasionally wash down the sides of the pot using a pastry brush with cold water.

Cook until the thermometer reads 220 degrees. Remove from heat.

If sugaring, while the syrup is still hot, lift up a few pieces with a fork and drain well, the least amount of syrup is best since you want just a thin layer of sugar to coat each piece. Transfer to your sugar bowl and toss to coat. Shake off any excess and let dry on a piece of waxed paper. Repeat as you wish. Once dry, store the sugared pieces in the sugar you rolled it in at room temperature. They should keep for a few months.

If you’re not sugaring the ginger, leave the syrup and ginger pieces out to cool. Transfer to a container and store in the fridge. It’ll probably keep up to one year. Enjoy!