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Belly Up to the Bar: Mardi Gras Jambalaya

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Miriam Zelinsky | 0 Comments

What holiday is more bacchanalian than Mardi Gras? Hands down New Orleans corners the market when it comes to Fat Tuesday festivities. But it doesn’t have to be all about booze, beads and boobs. The name of the day comes from using up all your fancy food to make way for a time of fasting. No one is saying you need to do the fasting bit, but I know I never pass up a chance to chow down on some festive fare. And if I can’t make it to the best carnival celebrations in the world, you can be sure that I will be enjoying myself locally. 

There are many traditional foods when it comes to Mardi Gras. Fastnachts, king cakes, and pancakes top the list but if you want to feel truly naughty you need something with a healthy amount of HEAT. At LJP, Miriam is her Highness of Hotness when it comes to spice. Just sample a few of her famous bloodies and you may need to call the fire department. I should probably buy stock in Tabasco. This spicy jambalaya incorporates my favorite decadent ingredients with enough heat to make the ladies want to tear off their tops and earn some of those beads. Pair with your favorite Abita beer straight from the Big Easy itself.  Bon appétit!

1 ¼ tsp paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp dry oregano

½ tsp dry thyme

freshly ground pepper to taste


1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 cups chicken broth

3 links andouille sausage, sliced (not a smoked variety) must be raw

1 sweet onion, diced

1 cup sweet pepper, diced (I used Yummy Orange but use whatever you have on hand)

3 stalks of celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 oz canned diced tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 cup medium grain white rice

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

  1. Mix ingredients for the spice blend together and set aside. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown sausage on both sides. 
  3. Once the sausage has released some of the fat and is mostly cooked add the onion, sweet pepper and celery and cook until fairly tender. If it doesn’t release fat you may need to use some oil before you up in the vegetables. 
  4. Add the garlic and 1 tbsp of spice blend and stir to ensure even coating.
  5. Add the tomato paste and cook to caramelize a little . Add two cups of broth, tomatoes, Worcestershire, bay leaves and rice. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender. If it starts to burn or stick too much add ¼ cup additional broth at a time. Sauce should be completely thick, this is no like a soup. Consistency should be similar to paella or a dry risotto (not as creamy).  This will take about 30-40 minutes. 
  7. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with a little of the remaining spice blend. Cover and cook until shrimp are done approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with parsley and season to taste. Serve on a plate or bowl. There should be no pooling sauce (see image). 

Optional: Growing up in MD I like a little Old Bay on my shrimp. Feel free to use this to season the shrimp instead of the spice mix in the second to last step.


Posted on February 19, 2015 by Miriam Zelinsky | 0 Comments


It's still freezing back east with no sign of spring ahead. That means one thing: all of us gathering at our favorite watering hall at happy hour and/or on the weekends to stay warm with our favorite beverage.  My drink of choice is tequila. It hasn't mistreated me the same way vodka, gin (barf) or even the brown stuff has.  

I can't help but take notice of the influx of recent articles documenting the health benefits of tequila. That's great news! Not only are experts hailing it as the "healthiest" liquor, but it aids in digestion, lowers bad cholesterol, helps with depression, lowers blood glucose levels, and since the agavins don't enter the blood stream, it can help you feel full longer. And as an added bonus, if you eat the worm at the bottom of the mezcal bottle, you've just added protein!  

This is what Forbes and the Huffington Post have to say about the benefits of tequila.

Buzzfeed recently came out with a list of 24 "glorious" ways to drink tequila. I want to try EVERY recipe in this article, from the sparkling champagne margarita, tequila mojitos, to the spicy tequila cocktails there is something in this article for everyone, even the beer drinker! 

Here's the link to the recipes.




Lazyjack Press in Miami

Posted on February 10, 2015 by Miriam Zelinsky | 0 Comments

Lazyjack Press doesn't just make ties and bow ties. We also make a variety of other accessories, some of which are perfect for your next getaway, especially if you're trying to escape the polar vortex!

My uncle, Shahram, is an renowned fashion photographer. He's lived most of his life working in London, Paris, and Milan. Let's just say, he's worked with everyone (and he has great stories!) To see some of his photos (including lots of hot models) and for additional information, visit:

Besides being a talented photographer, Shahram is also a huge fan of Lazyjack Press. Below are some photos of his recent trip to Miami with some of his favorite LJP accessories.

Pictured: Lazyjack Press Go-Bag ($60-$70), our flip flops w/Re-Rack ribbon ($39), and our signature cap in cornflower w/ our Re-Rack design on the back closure ($26). All of these accessories are made here in the good 'ol USA! Shop these products here.


Belly Up to the Bar: Vietnamese Street Food, Bánh mì

Posted on January 13, 2015 by Miriam Zelinsky | 1 Comment

Half the fun of this sandwich is in the name. From the people who brought you a restaurant called Pho King (pho is pronounced ‘fuh’), the Vietnamese seem to have cornered the market on the double entendre. For those cheeky gents who like a good pick up line, simply ask, “Do you wanna bánh mì?” Although this could earn you a slap in the face, hopefully you will get a confused look and a “pardon me?”, whereupon you regale the young lady with your culinary prowess of how you can whip up some great street food, perfect for the post bar munchies. Also tasty for romantic picnics in the park, whip up your bánh mì, throw them in your go-bag and watch as this tasty sandwich enlivens the taste buds of your adventurous date. Just make sure you both partake! As huge garlic and onion lovers here at LJP, this is the cardinal rule of eating with your mate.

ăn ngon miệng nhé!

M. Perrelli

While it looks like a lot of ingredients, for the most part you can do a lot ahead of time.

1 lb lean ground chicken

1 scant cup chopped cilantro

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 cup whole wheat panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1-2 tbsp fish sauce

salt and pepper

1 tbsp lemongrass paste (or finely chopped fresh)

1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients and form into balls. I like to use a very small ice cream scoop that some bakers use for drop cookies. This will keep your hands cleaner. Heat a table spoon of neutral oil and pan fry on all sides. You can also bake them in the oven for 15 minutes or so depending on the size of the balls

1-2 carrots

1 small cucumber

rice vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce

pinch of sugar

pinch of salt

Using a vegetable peeler make long or short strips of carrot and cucumber. Mix remaining ingredients together and marinate the vegetables to create quick pickles.

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 clove crushed garlic

¼ cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients and set aside. If too loose add more mayo.

1.5 baguettes or 6 club rolls (heated in the oven until warm)

6 tbsp chicken liver pate (1 tbsp per sandwich)

½-1 cup cilantro leaves

Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili sauce

garlic lime mayo


quick pickles

¼ of a red onion sliced

Split the rolls and spread 1 tsbp of pate per sandwich. Add the pickle, cilantro and onion. Add one layer of meatballs and drizzle with mayo and chili sauce. Press down when closing sandwich so that the meatballs flatten making it easier to eat.

Belly Up To The Bar: Mushroom Tart and Beaujolais Day

Posted on November 26, 2014 by Miriam Zelinsky | 0 Comments

We are counting down to the biggest eating day of the year in hours at this point. Whether or not you are hosting the main event or contributing to the hors d’oeuvres, everyone wants their dishes to be delicious and memorable. Lately many people are changing their diets and more people are going vegetarian than ever before. Our mushroom tart can be served as a meatless main, light first course or during a cocktail hour before the bird is done. Thanksgiving is a day when oven space is at a premium.

What makes this dish the perfect pairing is that you can serve it hot or room temperature. In addition, it travels well so whatever your culinary restrictions you will wow your relatives with this tart. If you are low on time you can even make the filling ahead and chill until you want to bake. Meeting the parents?

Add a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau Villages as a hostess gift. The lightness of the Beaujolais won’t overpower the delicateness of the mushroom flavor. We prefer red wine in general and serve it with the turkey as well. And since Beaujolais Day is right before Thanksgiving each year it makes a timely pairing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-M. Perrelli

Mushroom Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 tbsp minced red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

1 minced clove of garlic

5 oz mushrooms, reserve 2 for slicing as garnish and chop the rest

1 tsp herbs de Provence

2 tbsp white wine

4 oz Neufchatel cheese

1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper



1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Unfold pastry and place on baking sheet.

3. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

4. Add onion and sauté 1-2 minutes.

5. Add mushrooms and herbs de Provence and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids and the mixture has cooked down.

6. Add the white wine. It is finished cooking once the wine evaporates.

7. Place mixture in a bowl and mix with the three cheeses until smooth.

8. Season with salt and pepper (you can also do this during the cooking stage above).

9. Use an icing spatula to spread mixture over the puff pastry leaving a half in border around the edge to create a crust.

10. Top with reserved mushroom slices.

11. Bake 20 minutes. It can be cut in any shape that suits your use.

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