Guys can you believe it . . . Fiona is two years old!! Well, technically she’ll be two on Monday, but we’re having family over this weekend to celebrate. I know it’s cliché, but it really does feel like she was born just yesterday. Where’d the last two years go?!! (Yikes, I’m kinda scared to look in the mirror!) Little Fiona monster has be been my roll-dog since day one. We dance, we wrestle, we cook, we read, we have coffee dates, and even the occasional happy hour. I’m so incredibly lucky to have a job that allows me the flexibility to see my daughter so often. I know it’s rare, especially these days, and in this country, and it’s certainly not something that I take for granted. Fiona, I love you. And now . . . spumoni time! (I always wanted to say that.) So whether you’re celebrating a birthday, stuck in the middle of a heatwave, or you’re simply just a sucker for creamy cherry ice cream sandwiched between two buttery pistachio shortbread cookies, dipped in gooey bittersweet chocolate, these beauties are for you!
To achieve the classic spumoni trio (pistachio, cherry, chocolate) I added some homemade pistachio butter to a classic shortbread recipe. If you’d like your cookies to match that pistachio-green you see in a traditional spumoni, you can add a bit of matcha powder as a natural food coloring. It won’t alter the taste, but gives a bit of green color, if that’s something you’re looking for. I added a teaspoon, and my cookies went from a light blond, to more of a yellowish-green, natural pistachio color. Again, totally optional. For the ice cream I used store bought. I really wanted to cut the ice cream in the same shape as my cookies for a cleaner look. But, if you were looking for a delicious homemade cherry ice cream recipe, I highly suggest Alanna’s (as well as her ice cream sandwiches).
I don’t know why we’re not all adding rice to our salads. It may sound weird to you, but if you’ve ever added croutons or quinoa or cous cous to your salad– this is no different. It adds a little more substance and texture to an otherwise ordinary arugula and strawberry salad. In my opinion, you have to use cold or room temperature rice– warm rice just doesn’t work here. Also, the combination of strawberries, goat cheese and herbs is SPOT ON. This is my new favorite summer salad and be prepared for other rice-salad variations. I’m hooked!
I have a confession to make . . . I purchased a shaved ice machine. I’m talking industrial strength, 60 lbs of metal, with a 6-inch stainless steel blade. This thing can crank out 300 lbs of shaved ice in an hour. Did I mention that I was jealous of Erica and Karen’s trip to Hawaii? Hehe. The truth is that ever since our honeymoon in Kauai, I’ve been fascinated by the whole concept of shave ice. Growing up, I’d only tried snow cones. Don’t get me wrong, snow cones are great! It’s just that, once you get a taste of that pillowy-soft, melt-in-your-mouth Hawaiian shave ice, it’s hard to go back to the cone. So look out, because the rest of the summer I’m going to be experimenting with bold, seasonal, fresh flavors, all drizzled atop mounds of fluffy ice. Also, I totally understand that you probably don’t have a commercial-grade ice machine sitting next to your toaster (nor should I, frankly, let’s be honest), but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out these syrup recipes. In fact, there are a few very highly-rated consumer-grade shaved ice machines online. Sure, they probably won’t be able to shave 300+ lbs of ice per hour, but assuming you don’t have any plans to work the county fair this summer, they should do juuust fine. Crushing ice in a blender, food processor, or even by hand are all good options as well. After all, it’s all about keeping cool, am I right?!!
I’ve been in a funk this past weekend as I came back from an incredible family vacation in Maui last week and adjusting to real life has been rough. If you’ve been following our Instagram account, you’ve seen that we’ve been living in paradise for the past week. The weather was perfect, the water was warm and clear and it was so nice to enjoy each other’s company without the interference of work obligations. Pure bliss. We mostly drank Mai Tais between swimming, paddle boarding, swimming, snorkeling and more swimming. We also had some amazing poke at Eskimo Candy in Kihei which was the inspiration for this pokeritto. You may be familiar with a sushiritto– essentially, a huge sushi roll. This rendition subs some of the sushi ingredients with poke ones. These are easy to travel with and, even though you may not be lucky enough to enjoy them on a Hawaiian beach, they would be perfect for a summer picnic at any beach!
Breakfast is a big deal in our house. It didn’t always used to be this way. Most days, Audrey and I could both probably survive on coffee alone. But ever since little Ms. Fiona popped out, breakfast has become yet another formal sit-down family affair. She’s definitely the hungriest in the morning, and her appetite seems to taper off throughout the day. I have no idea if this is typical 2-year-old behavior, but it seems to be working for her. Consequently, I’ve expanded my breakfast playbook. This is a girl that just this morning ate her own half-stack of pancakes! Anyway, ever since I first laid eyes on Lily’s Jalapeño Cheddar Waffle Rancheros, I knew I’d be making them one day (channeling my inner Wayne, “It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.“). And so, they finally made their appearance earlier this week, complete with fried egg and all. Of course, I topped it all off with our Cheeseboard Papi Chulo Sauce, because well, no explanation needed . . .
While Karen and Erica are currently sipping piña coladas and mai tais on the beach in Maui, I’m stuck here in the middle of another foggy Berkeley summer. But before you feel sorry for me, just know that I’m sipping on my own tropical cocktail, while on the living room floor cooking “doodles” (noodles) and “mynies” (brownies) in an empty cast iron skillet, with Fiona. I couldn’t be happier. Truth be told, this cocktail was inspired by my own trip to Hawaii this past May. Audrey and I are HUGE shave ice fans. In fact, I may or may not have just purchased a commercial grade shave ice machine (more on that later). My favorite shave ice flavor from my trip was a lemongrass shave ice from Wailua Shave Ice in Kapaa, Kauai. To up the ante, it was topped with a syrupy blackberry condensed milk. Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about that perfectly fluffy bite ever since…it was heavenly! So, while this cocktail doesn’t call for pillowy shaved ice, or even condensed milk, the flavors are spot on. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some imaginary cooking to do.