One of my favorite morning rituals used to involve strolling with my dog down the block to the corner cafe. I’d sit outside on the front patio with my dog and a strong cup of coffee. I was particularly in love with a special spiced coffee that the cafe dripped to order. Several spices were included in the blend, but one in particular sang louder than the rest: cardamom. In the Middle East it’s actually quite common to combine cardamom and coffee. I’m not sure why it’s not a bigger deal out here. That was all a few years ago. Sadly, the cafe has since shuttered. Now I treat myself to my own cardamom coffee, usually on the weekends, along with a bar of Ghirardelli® Sea Salt Soirée dark chocolate. Coffee, cardamom, roasted almonds, sea salt, chocolate . . . talk about a few of my favorite things! The perfect pairing to go with, well, the perfect pairing.
This is what I love about cocktails!! Incorporating savory ingredients like fresh herbs and pickled roots keeps things interesting to say the least. So when Karen told me she was getting her grilled kimcheese on, I knew just what to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good classic cocktail. I’m a booze nerd, big time. But what really gets me excited is fresh produce. This magical recipe is a Scott Beattie creation (of course). If you’ve never pickled anything before, here’s a good reason to start. So let’s all get creative, shall we? After all, imbibing is meant to be fun!!
Okay guys. There’s something going on with kimchi and . . . cheese. I don’t know where it’s coming from or if it’s even a thing. But, it’s something. Take for example: this. And this. It’s madness and, I KNOW, it doesn’t make any sense, but after tasting the combination, I think kimcheese should be shared with the world. What better way to pair the two than in the quintessential American grilled cheese? This grilled cheese will blow your mind. First, start with some damn good kimchi. Next, make sure you cook your grilled cheese on a medium-low heat. The key to a good grilled cheese is low and slow so that the cheese melts but the bread doesn’t burn. Third, let’s be honest, the best part of the grilled cheese are those burnt edges of cheese that fall out of the sandwich and get crispified in all that melted butter. So I cut to the chase and made an inside-out grilled cheese with an entire layer of that cheese crisp on both sides. Grilled kimcheese sandwich: it’s the future.
Kimchi is an incredibly versatile condiment. For those who haven’t been introduced to the wonderful world of kimchi, kimchi is cabbage that is fermented in chili, garlic, onions and other seasonings. Because kimchi is naturally fermented, its natural bacteria is great for your digestive health. Over the years, I’ve started incorporating it into many dishes but I love to eat it with just about everything. (Tip: Kimchi and eggs go really well together!). I only recently started trying Mother-in-Law’s kimchi and I am hooked. It’s tangy, effervescent, and got incredibly complex flavors compared to other brands of kimchi I’ve tried. You can buy it here or I usually get it at our local Whole Foods. Be prepared to pick up many jars of this stuff because you’ll go through it really fast. Stay tuned, because we’ve got some kimchi-inspired dishes for you this week!
Our Meyer lemon tree is exploding!! Seriously, there’s more fruit than we know what to do with. We’ve given plenty away to family, friends and neighbors, but it just keep on coming! I think it’s about time to strip it down, juice, and freeze for later. But first, a good Meyer lemon recipe is in order. Audrey has been experimenting with different lemon cakes for a couple weeks now, and finally settled on this slight adaptation from the one and only, Tartine. It’s perfectly moist due to the sugary glaze and a big helping of almond paste. You can find almond paste at the grocery store, but I included simple instructions on how to make your own.
For me, when it comes to comfort food, nothing epitomizes comfort food more than a large pot of hot and spicy carne adovada. Carne adovada is pork braised in chiles and a mixture of spices of cumin, coriander and cinnamon until its falls apart and soaks up even more of that delicious chile sauce. I make this dish all the time. It’s one of those great throw-it-in-the oven-and-forget-about-it-dishes. It simply requires a bit of prep work, but the work is worth every minute and makes a huge difference. For starters, throw away that bottle of chile powder. NOW. As long as you have a blender, making a chile sauce from dried chiles is really simple and totally worth the extra effort. Second, I’m a big fan of using whole spices and grinding them yourself. Sure, if you have some ground cumin or coriander you can use it, but consider switching to whole spices. Not only do they last longer, but the flavor is more complex and intense. I love eating the carne adovada with some warm tortillas that I simply throw over an open flame for a few seconds on each side and creamy avocados. This is one of my all time favorite dishes and I hope you make it soon!