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 forget to 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.
For the chicken satay marinade
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin (ground)
- 1 teaspoon coriander (ground)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 inch stalk lemon grass (halved and sliced into 1/8 slices)
- 1 bulb from a large shallot (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
For the cucumber relish
For the peanut sauce
For the chicken marinade
- Place all the marinade ingredients into a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Slice the chicken lengthwise into ~ 1/4 inch slices. Lay the slices flat on your cutting surface and pound any uneven areas, so that the strips are of uniform thickness.
- Add the chicken strips to the marinade, and toss to coat.
- Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- If using wooden skewers, now is a good time to soak them in water before grilling.
For the cucumber relish
- Add the sugar and vinegar to a small bowl, and whisk to combine until the sugar dissolves.
- Add cucumber, shallot, cilantro, and chile (if using) and stir to coat. Set aside.
For the peanut sauce
- Place all peanut sauce ingredients into a medium bowl, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
To cook the chicken
- Brush your grill with oil - fire to medium-high heat. Thread your chicken strips onto the skewers, so that they will lay as flat as possible.
- Place chicken skewers on the grill, and cook until internal temperature reaches 165° F, flipping halfway through (~3 minutes for each side).
- Remove from grill, and assemble your lettuce wraps.
To assemble lettuce wraps
- Lay the lettuce leaves out on a serving platter. Remove a chicken strip from the skewer, and place inside the lettuce leaf. You may need to cut the strips in half if they are longer than your lettuce.
- Add a dollop of peanut sauce, a bit of the cucumber relish, and garnish with mint, cilantro, carrots, peanuts, Thai chiles, and a squeeze of lime.
- Grab the wrap like a taco, and devour! Best served while the chicken is still warm.
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!!
For the shortcakes
- 1/2 cup gluten free oat flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons millet flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest from half of a large lemon
- 3 tablespoons cold (unsalted butter, diced)
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons cold heavy cream (+ 2 teaspoons for brushing the shortcakes)
- coarse sugar (for sprinkling)
For the mascarpone cream
For the shortcakes
- In a large bowl whisk together the oat flour, millet flour, tapioca flour, corn starch, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
- Add the butter pieces. Use your finger tips to work the butter into the dry ingredients, until the butter is the size of small peas.
- Chill in the refrigerator until cold (20-30 minutes).
- Remove the flour mixture from the refrigerator and add the ricotta and 3 tbsp of cream.
- Stir until the dough comes together in a rough ball.
- Stack a rimmed baking sheet on top of a second rimmed baking sheet, and line with parchment paper.
- Working quickly to keep the dough cold, put the dough on a surface dusted lightly with oat flour, and form it into a disc. Cut the disc into six equal pieces, shaping each into a ball. Place on the sheet pan, and flatten slightly. Chill the shortcakes in the refrigerator 30-60 minutes until firm.
- Position a rack in the upper third of the oven, and preheat to 425° F.
- Brush the top of each shortcake with the remaining two teaspoons of cream. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
- Bake on the upper rack of the oven until golden on top (15-20 minutes).
- On a wire rack, let cool completely.
For the mascarpone cream
- Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on medium speed until the cream holds soft peaks. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Toss the sliced peaches with the honey and tarragon, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Use a sharp serrated knife to slice the shortcakes in half horizontally.
- Place the bottom half of the shortcake on a plate, add a dollop of mascarpone cream, and top with a large spoonful of honeyed peaches. Add the shortcake top, drizzle with more honey, and garnish with a few fresh tarragon sprigs.
(images by HonestlyYUM; recipe slightly adapted from Alternative Baker)
My entire childhood was spent living within just minutes from the Pacific Ocean so naturally, the sounds, smells and tastes of the sea have always been a part of my DNA. I can’t imagine living too far from a large body of water or even surviving a diet without my beloved fruits de mer. In a recent brainstorming session with Karen and Todd, we threw around the idea of hosting a party at my house, with a decked out raw bar. Surprisingly, it’s something none of us have ever attempted. The thought of handling raw shellfish has always been a bit intimidating, as well as it is, I’m sure, for many of you. We’re also lucky enough to live in California, where the luxury of going out for fresh seafood and raw oysters is conveniently accessible. But honestly, how fun would it be to throw a little at-home party, with an impressive raw bar, to celebrate the start of fall?
With the help of the team at HP, we tapped the experts at Leo’s Oyster Bar, one our favorite raw bars in San Francisco, to learn everything we need to know about oysters. For example, did you know that it takes up to 18-24 months for a single oyster to fully mature? Digest that fact before you devour your next dozen oysters! With HP’s Spectre Laptop on hand, we were able to jot down notes, download our photos and edit a fun video, all while feasting on a bountiful spread. The super thin and lightweight design had made the Spectre my traveling companion as of late. I love that I can bring it with me everywhere I go, making working away from my desk a breeze. And I’m just smitten with the super chic design, which happens to compliment the gilded design details of Leo’s perfectly. Can we lunch like this every week? We can’t wait to recreate the experience at home and share it with you. Stay tuned!
And to learn more, don’t forget to check out the HP Spectre.
Za’atar is one of those spice blends that you absolutely should have sitting in your pantry along with your jar of herbs de provence and steak seasoning blend. It’s a ubiquitous Middle Eastern spice and everyone has their own proprietary blend but it often has dried thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and sumac. Sumac is a crimson colored spice made out of a sour berry that I am obsessed with since I love anything sour! Sumac is available at most major markets in the spice aisle but you’ll definitely be able to find it at any Middle Eastern market. Today, I’m showing you two easy ways to use this spice. One is a simple appetizer of labneh, creamy thick yogurt, drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with za’atar. The second recipe is a za’atar roasted chicken. I’ve made chicken legs here but you could just as easily use this rub on a whole chicken. Go and make a jar of za’atar now!
I told you it wouldn’t be long before I jumped back behind the controls of my diabolical shaved ice machine. I feel like a frozen mad scientist!! I just had to give you at least one more recipe while the weather cooperates . . . although who knows when things are gonna cool down here in the Bay Area. September and October are typically our hottest months. Ugh. Well, at least I have an excuse to keep experimenting with icy treats!
Today’s recipe is inspired by my love of coffee + my love of New Orleans. A little homemade cold brew (although store bought could also work) mixed with some roasted chicory root syrup for that NOLA coffee flavor we all love. Pour over shaved ice and top with a drizzle of condensed milk . . . mmmagical!! But wait, there’s more! For a boozy twist, add a splash of St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur. Now, in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Let’s kick some ice!” Sorry, not sorry. 🙂
For the shave ice
For the cold brew concentrate
- Very coarsely grind the coffee beans. If the grounds are too fine the coffee will become murky. Combine water and grounds in a container and seal. Let steep for at least 12 hours. Strain through a coffee filter and store in in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the chicory syrup
- Add the sugar and water to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat down to low, and add the chicory root and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Let cool to room temperate then transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the shave ice
- In a mixing glass, mix 2 parts cold brew concentrate to one part chicory syrup (feel free to adjust the coffee to syrup ratio to suit your sweet tooth). Stir the cold brew coffee and chicory syrup mixture to combine. (The exact amount you need really depends on how much ice you're using, how big your bowl is, etc.) Fill a bowl with shaved ice. Top with generous amount of the coffee syrup mixture. If you're making it boozy, add a shot of the NOLA coffee liqueur. Pile on more shaved ice, then pack/sculpt the ice firmly with your hands, creating a mound atop the bowl. Add a bit more of the coffee syrup mixture. Top with a drizzle of condensed milk. Serve with spoon and straw.
(images by HonestlyYUM)