With the Fourth of July coming up this weekend I finally feel like summer can officially begin. And you know what that means . . . that’s right, it’s slushy season! Cocktail slushies to be exact. Trust me, there are few happier moments than chilling in the backyard on a hot summer day, surrounded by family and friends, the grill ablaze, and an ice cold cocktail slushy in-hand. I like to blend up a giant batch for the whole family (unleaded for the kids, of course). The best part is, the Vitamix practically does all the work for you. Seriously, before I got my Vitamix I was always hesitant to make frozen cocktails. No matter how good the recipe, there was always the danger of leaving big ice chunks floating around the drink. Consequently, the cocktail would be thrown out of balance, and I was left with a lumpy mess. Not this time. I filled the Vitamix container with ice, watermelon, lime, a little balsamic, and vodka. The result was a perfectly smooth, perfectly balanced cocktail slushy that will be making several appearances at our house throughout the summer.
Do you remember where you were when you had your best “ah-ha!” moments? For me, the lightbulb always goes off in the shower – the only place where I can seek solitude these days. No phone, no computer, and no toddler. So it was in the shower one morning, that I was envisioning making blueberry pie for the 4th of July because really, it doesn’t get more American than that, right? Or wait, maybe ice cream sandwiches instead. Those are always crowd pleasers. Hmmm, what if I replaced cookies with mini blueberry pies? Blueberry pie cookies?? Ice cream sandwiches made with blueberry pie cookies?!?!?!? Honestly, American. Honestly, YUM. Ding, ding, ding. I nearly ran out of the shower with a head full of shampoo suds.
My obsession with fried chicken began way back when I was in the womb. When my mother was pregnant with me, the only thing she wanted to eat was fried chicken, and outside of her pregnancy, she never ate fried chicken. So, I had a taste of the good stuff early on. And since I could start cooking, I’ve made fried chicken using all kinds of methods. When I saw this method used by Tyler Florence at Wayfarer Tavern that I hadn’t seen before, I knew I had to give it a go. He bakes the chicken first on low heat in the oven, marinates the chicken in buttermilk and then dredges and fries up the chicken. I’ve changed up the recipe a little since I’m not a huge fan of fried chicken seasoned with herbs, but I used the same technique. The results were incredibly crunchy skin and juicy meat– exactly what you want in fried chicken. Serve these with some fresh buttermilk biscuits and you have yourself a pretty stellar 4th of July dinner!
I don’t know whether to call this a dessert or a breakfast because it would be appropriate for either occasion. The classic clafoutis is a cherry clafoutis which will do perfectly well since cherries are abundant but I wanted to change things up a little and use peaches. I added a whole lot of fresh vanilla bean to this which goes just perfectly with sweet ripe peaches. If you’ve never had clafoutis, it’s like an eggy pancake batter (imagine a souffle without the lift or perhaps after it’s been sitting out for a while). It’s custardy and barely sweet, allowing the fruit juices to ooze into the batter and permeate the batter. And clafoutis couldn’t be easier to make– it’s rustic simplicity is why I keep coming back to this dish. That and those browned edges. Last but certainly not least, the vanilla infused creme fraiche, in my opinion, is really the star of the dish. It’s elevates the clafoutis into a complex peaches and cream. Trust me, you’re gonna love this!
Last week my wife surprised me with a delicious birthday meal. One of the dishes she made was this beautiful plate of roasted yams, jalapeños, green onions, goat cheese, and fresh figs with a balsamic reduction. It’s one of our favorites from the celebrated Jerusalem cookbook. I still remember how tentative I was the first time I gave this dish a try. At first glance, it seems like an odd combination of ingredients. But like all perfect recipes, the final result is bursting with flavors much greater than a simple sum of its parts. With figs in season, I thought it was about time I shoot it for the blog – which really was just an excuse for seconds. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!
It’s official– I’ve moved across town to my new home in Silver Lake in Los Angeles and said goodbye to my little abode in Culver City. I love the neighborhood and just as I’m moving out a long-time resident is opening up a new restaurant. Akasha Richmond, chef and owner of Akasha in Culver City has recently opened her second restaurant Sambar inspired by the flavors of India right next door. I was instantly fascinated by the menu and, as a self-proclaimed Indophile, I was truly impressed by Akasha’s depth of knowledge of Indian cuisine. Her menu takes you far and beyond the same old saag paneer and tiki masala you seem to get at every Indian restaurant. The turmeric naan is made from freshly grated turmeric and the sev (crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour) topped on the sevpuri chaat is made from scratch. It’s so rare that you find something like sev handmade! So in honor of my love for all things Indian, I bring you some of my favorite South Asian inspired links!