Every year, I have high hopes for Halloween. I have lots of home decor and costume plans that I plan in my head well in advance. And every year, I realize it is the week of Halloween and I am without a costume or costume. I’m sure this year will be no different, but this year I finally executed on something that I’ve had in my head for a long time. Pumpkin beignets!! At first I tried a pumpkin filling– not so good, trust me. But a pastry cream spiced with pumpkin spice? Oh my, so perfect. These are best enjoyed fresh out of the fryer and quickly pipped with the pastry cream. The pastry cream can be made the night before and refrigerated so that the filling is ready as soon as your beignets are fried. Of course, obscene amounts of powdered sugar dumped over these beignets is required or they’re not beignets!
After spending a glorious afternoon at Leo’s Oyster Bar, along with HP, our newly adapted skills were put to the test in preparation of our very first raw seafood party. You might as well call us professional shuckers now. Honestly, it went swimmingly! We had so much prepping and enjoying the feast, we are already planning our next seafood bash. In the kitchen, we turned to our trusty HP Spectre to reference all of the important notes we took and to replay the oyster shucking tutorial we captured just a couple of weeks ago. With all the raw oysters we had on hand and our ever so lightweight HP Spectre by our side, we were inspired to take it a step further by experimenting with various toppings. Ideas were spewing out like rapid fire and tasting notes were being typed into the laptop, to ensure that we can share the adrenaline doused process with you.
As this amazing raw seafood experience comes to close, we just want to thank HP for allowing it to happen and for challenging our creative process. Our shared passion for design and function really pushed us to look outside of the box and ultimately, inspired us to explore unchartered waters in order to create something exquisite and delectable. The Spectre was essentially our sous chef during the party preparation process. It’s fast processor speed allowed us to toggle from web, email and video, with just a click and a swipe, just so we can fact check online and cross check notes. With raw seafood, you have to especially careful! The Spectre will certainly continue to come along with us for the culinary ride, in the kitchen and at the table. I’m excited to have the HP Spectre with me for all my future adventures.
It’s officially squash season and I am lovin’ it—I hardly miss summer. There are so many varieties, but one of my favorites is delicata squash. Unlike some other squashes, delicata cooks up quickly and it’s (relatively) easy to cut through, so a much more manageable squash to handle. Basically, perfect for frying! Okay, a few notes about this batter. It has vodka and beer—unfortunately, they won’t get you buzzed, but that carbonation and vodka, which evaporates quickly when it hits the oil, are the key for that ultra-light, crisp batter that practically shatters when you bite into it. Ugh, you know what I’m talking about! Top these delicata squash rings with fried fall herbs like sage or rosemary and a little flake sea salt and dip them in whatever you please. A garlic aioli would be over the top decadent, but I love them with just a little hot sauce. Please, please, please make these!
I know what you’re thinking: why would I go through the trouble of making these seemingly tediously-thin grissini breadsticks when I can buy them. I won’t lie, these take more time and effort than buying a box of these at the market. That being said, the recipe is a straightforward dough and rolling out these breadsticks is actually easy (there’s even a gif in this post to show you how easy it is!) and these taste INFINITELY BETTER than store-bought. Store-bought grissini breadsticks are thin and crunchy but are completely dry. True grissini should be mostly crispy and crunchy on the outside with just the slightest bit of chew on the inside with that great yeasty bread flavor that you don’t get with the store-bought variety. Also, making these at home means you can customize these with any flavor. I’ve teamed up with McCormick to use their herb grinders and flavored these with Italian Herb Seasoning, which works perfectly here since you want a small grind so the spices stick to the grissini better. McCormick’s herb grinders give closer-to-fresh flavor and aroma to liven up this homemade appetizer. You could season these with dried rosemary, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, parmesan cheese . . . anything! These taste so amazing simply dipped in some good extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and flake sea salt. Alright, I hope I’ve made my case to you for making these at home– you’ll love them!
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you probably know that my wife, Audrey, is the mastermind behind most of the food recipes I shoot/post – especially the baked goods (she’s always posting sneak peaks of recipe testing). I shake the cocktails, she bakes the sweets. It’s a nice little arrangement we have between the two of us. In addition to several margarita cakes, Audrey has also started baking her own pain au levain (lucky me)! Needless to say, our oven has been working overtime these past few weeks. So when Sarah had the idea of collaborating on a duo of lettuce wraps, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I wouldn’t exactly call this a simple recipe, as there’s quite a bit of prep involved to make the marinade and the sauce. However, most of the components can be prepared in advance. So, if you’re looking for a quick, healthy meal, and you have some time to get started the night before, you will definitely want to give these lettuce wraps a try. Don’t forgetto check out Sarah’s Ginger Lemongrass Pork Lettuce Wraps (also pictured), as well as the fun stop-motion of Sarah assembling the wraps down below.
It’s hard for me to describe just how excited I am for today’s post!! You see, my friend Alanna, aka The Bojon Gourmet, aka my blogging hero, wrote/photographed/gave birth to a cookbook! It’s called Alternative Baker, and inside Alanna drops some serious knowledge about the wonders of gluten-free grains and flours. That’s right, 140 gluten-free desserts at your fingertips!! Have I mentioned it’s quite possibly the most beautiful cookbook you’ll ever lay eyes on . . . have a look! When browsing this book, I feel like a little kid with his faced pressed up against the bakery case, ogling at row after row of sweets (can I have one of each, please?). The only thing that outshines Alanna’s photographs are her recipes. I was lucky enough to do a bit of recipe testing for the book, which quickly turned into recipe devouring. Speaking of devouring, today I wanted to make you these lovely little lemon ricotta shortcakes, topped with a mascarpone cream, fresh peaches, honey, and tarragon. I’ve altered a few things from the book, but everything is still gluten-free. Alanna uses a ricotta cream instead of mascarpone, and tops with fresh strawberries. However, it was hard for me to resist using peaches just one last time this season (summer, where did you go??!). So whether or not you’re gluten-free, I suggest you do yourself a favor and grab a copy (or five!), and get baking!!