People are always surprised to hear that I love my vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. And then when I insist they try it – I get great pleasure in knowing that I’ve convinced them that it is, indeed, a winning combination. The grassiness and fruitiness of extra virgin olive oil and the delicate brininess of the sea salt flakes brings out the flavor of the vanilla and adds a wonderful, rich subtleness to the ice cream. It’s simply divine and if you haven’t tried it . . . well, give it a try and let me know what you think!
It’s important to use the best ingredients here. Use your very best dipping olive oil, flakey salt and the best vanilla ice cream you can find.
You can’t buy happiness but you can buy ice cream. Whenever we’re in the mood for scoopfuls of creamy, ice cold delights, we head to Oakland’s Fentons Creamery – the oldest continuously operating creamery west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1884 by Elbridge Seth Fenton, it’s the birthplace of flavors like Toasted Almond, Swiss Milk Chocolate and Rocky Road! With Fentons’ 120th anniversary just around the corner, Todd and I took a tour of their in-house production facility, where over 50 flavors are made and mixed by hand. Batch by batch. And what better way to end a visit than with one too many sundaes of gargantuan proportions? So good and so classic. Put an ice cream spoon in me!
Before our trip to Florence, I told Karen the first thing we had to indulge in was Neapolitan pizza. And of course, a heaping plate of mind blowing truffle pasta. There is something about Italian pizza that many, including me, have tried to emulate – but have fallen short. But that sure hasn’t deter me from testing pizza dough recipe after pizza dough recipe, searching for that perfect crust. I’m excited to share that artisan baker Ken Forkish‘s “Same Day Straight Pizza Dough” formula comes pretty darn close.
I should warn you that Ken’s recipe is pretty tedious compared to some of the recipes I’ve used in the past – especially when it comes to the mixing part. The physical part of making the dough actually doesn’t take long at all – it’s the amount of time you’ll need to let the dough rest throughout the process that requires a bit of pre-planning. But the fermentation allows the dough to develop some amazing flavors, making this pizza dough recipe my favorite thus far.
I’d prefer not to curse here on the blog – but this recipe is *&$#%@ de-li-cious. I first heard about the infamous Aperol spritz back in the day from my best friend Adam who wouldn’t shut up about the damn things. Perhaps I was jealous that he had been to Italy and I hadn’t. Frankly, I just wasn’t into sipping anything that didn’t contain rum and/or Coke. Quite a bit has changed since then. I’m married, I have a big fluffy dog, and I carry a concealed mini-bottle of Aperol on me at all times (it’s a great conversation starter). So when Erica and Karen came home from Florence raving about their new favorite cocktail, the Aperol spritz, this time I was prepared. As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been on a frozen kick lately (I blame summer) so a float was the logical move to make. So if you’re a fan of Aperol, Prosecco, sorbet or all of the above, do yourself a favor and give these a try!
Start by making the Aperol sorbet. If your ice cream machine requires any prep, such as freezing the machine’s base, be sure to do so in advance.
A few weeks ago, Erica and I went on a short trip to Florence to have some fashion fun with Luisa Via Roma. It was my first time in Italy ever and I just fell in love with Florence– I mean, who doesn’t? It is just so damn charming, from its quaint bridges to its narrow cobblestone streets. Everything is so old world. So picturesque. My art history undergrad-self was giddy at the Uffizi. And of course, there was food– as much as we could stuff our faces with in 72 hours. There was gelato, panini, and pasta . . . and lots of espresso along the way. Some of these shots were taken when Erica and I were wide awake (from jet lag) and ready to go at 6 a.m. The city, which is usually packed with tourists, was empty and quiet. It was perfect. Florence, I’ll be back again!
I am hunched over in the back corner of Peet’s Coffee here in Berkeley, sipping an almond milk cappuccino (whaaaat?) and I am overwhelmed with emotion. Perhaps I am excited about the holiday weekend – a chance to escape with my wife and Grizzly up to the tranquility of the Sierras. Or maybe it’s simply the gin martini I had for lunch. Probably both. Regardless, it’s sure to be a fabulous Fourth of July – full of food, drinks and family.
Speaking of the Fourth, what’s more American than apple pie? Why, berry pie of course!! I haven’t been able to take my eyes off Linda’s dreamy pie picnic all week.