welcome

 to the colorful journal of Marissa Berrini, creative director, artist and curator living in Los Angeles. Launched in 2010, Marissa's online journal tells of adventures with her husband Sam, their fur kids, the occasional cocktail creation and lots of conversations with inspiring people. This blog serves to celebrate tiny victories, inspiration for those times you're stuck in a rut and bring together a community that wants more than a perfectly curated feed of eye candy. Sometimes you just got to throw it out there and see where it goes!

Tried & Tested: Bourbon Pecan Pie + Apple Cider Margaritas

Thanksgiving Table SettingThanksgiving was a hit this year, not only did Sam and I enjoy a fantastic meal with great friends but we added to the delicious feast a couple of homemade treats of our own. Seriously this is a big deal. It's a guarantee that Sam will make his family's secret recipe of stuffed mushrooms (super scrumptious by the way) but this year was special because Sam actually got me in the kitchen to whip up some creations of my own. Well, not exactly my own recipes but a girl has to start somewhere before she can revival with top chefs like Ratatouille, right?

Racking my brain on what to bring as my newly developing kitchen skills are fragile, it hit me like a ton of cranberry sauce while I was enjoying some quiet time at my local Atwater Village fave breakfast spot, The Village Bakery. Pie would be my game! This declaration popped in my head like Homer Simpson and his visions of donuts and beer. (Mmm...beer) Now this might seem like a radical idea since I'm just a novice in baking land BUT luckily for me The Village Bakery was offering up a pre-made pie crust that had my name all over it. Honestly, it's all about the baby steps here people so I could justify this purchase. After money was exchanged and some enthusiastic support from The Village Bakery staff was offered, my next step would be what type of pie to make? Thank the bourbon heavens because I already knew it would have to have some of our favorite liquid libation. Narrowing down the options and luckily I've been on a pinning storm, I quickly remember a good lookin pie by The Bite House: Bourbon Pecan Pie. Since that was settled, my next problema was which cocktail to bring? I couldn't possibly do double bourbons. Nope. No way. Especially since in my family, margaritas are the holiday drink of choice. My mother makes a mean marg. My pinning storm came in handy once again and gave me the Apple Cider Margarita from How Sweet It Is. With recipes in hand, next stop would be the dreaded grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. Yes, it was a nightmare but it was all in the name of chow town bliss. Here is the breakdown for each item so you can see what learning lessons occurred on this T&T and get to cooking your own. I highly recommend both of these recipes.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon Pecan Pie:

This was a complete joy to make. The Bite House recipe was less intimidating than I had imagined and with my mom one text message away I was able to curb the freak out moments. The crust from The Village Bakery was kept frozen until it was time to pre-cook for 10 mins. This buttery, flaky pie crust was just as wonderful as the team at Village had described. Perfect compliment to the bourbon. Speaking of, our preferred bourbon of choice is Buffalo Trace. It's sweeter than most bourbons and works VERY well with the maple syrup. The mishap that occurred during this culinary journey was: the mixture. I had way too much of this sweet sticky syrup for the depth of the pie crust. So in my excitement, my pie crust runneth over on to the floor where Willie Nelson sat waiting. We now call him Bourbon Hound, as 20 mins later the pooch was laid out in his dog bed looking like he had a hell of a bender.

Recipe from The Bite House:

Ingredients

• 1 pie dough in a 9″ pan, pre-cooked for 10 minutes. • 1 cup maple syrup • 1 cup brown sugar • 1 shot bourbon • 3 eggs • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 1 1/2 cups pecans

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, mix all ingredients but the pecans. Add 1 cup of pecans, lightly crushed. Pour over the pre-cooked pie dough and top with the remaining pecans. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the center is no longer wobbly.

Apple Cider Margarita

This drink blew my mind. I was a little uncertain how this would turn out since growing up in Margaritaville I prefer spicy or traditional margs. Thanksgiving morning, I had to test it out before the rest of the house woke up. My morning cocktail time as I like to call it. It was love at first sip. I couldn't believe how the gold tequila really did warm up the drink. No need for my slippers on this cold morning. Our preferred tequila is Hornitos Tequila based on my mother's recommendation of course.

Recipe from How Sweet It Is

Apple Cider Margaritas

Yield: serves 1, is easily multiplied

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 ounce Grand Marnier 1 ounce gold tequila 5-6 ounces sweet apple cider orange segments and apple slices cinnamon + cane sugar + coarse sugar for glass rimming cinnamon sticks for garnish

Directions:

Add a few spoonfuls of cane sugar, coarse sugar and cinnamon to a plate. Run an orange segment around the edge of the glass, then press into the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat the rim. Add a few orange slices in the bottom of the glass, fill with ice, then add the Grand Marnier, tequila and apple cider and stir to mix. Garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Enjoy!

Note: As a rule, I generally prefer silver tequila in my margaritas, but the gold here really gives a “warmth” that matches the cider and cinnamon perfectly.

So what did you make for Thanksgiving or better yet what plans do you have for Christmas dinner? 'Tis the season for holiday deliciousness!

Big thank you to How Sweet It Is and The Bite House for sharing these treats. Be sure to follow both of these culinary wizards at the following:

How Sweet It Is: Twitter / Pinterest / Facebook

The Bite House: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Photos by me

Music Mania 7 / Silver & Gold Holiday Music

Thankful For These Fur Kids: Meet Willie Nelson + Buju