I hyperbolize a lot. Especially when it comes to food. I can’t help it, I just get so excited about sharing and talking about food. So when I tell my friends and family that I’ve had “the best [fill in the blank],” they always take it with a grain of salt. But the other day, I truly had the BEST nectarine I’ve ever tasted in my LIFE. Honestly, I’m not exaggerating. The nectarines were from Goldbud Farms and they looked like ordinary nectarines from the outside. But they blew my mind! For starters, they were perfectly ripe. But there was an unusual vanilla perfuminess that filled your nose when you bit into them. I didn’t even know nectarines could taste like that. Words just don’t cut it here– the taste was indescribable. Although technology isn’t quite at a place where I can share the flavor with you, I can share this amazing salad that I made with those nectarines. It’s a fantastic mix of summer’s bounty on one plate. I love the use of nectarines because they’re just a little more sour than peaches. The salad is simply and assembly of ingredients. I kept the ingredients in large chunks so this is more of a fork and knife salad. The one thing I recommend is to use the best ingredients you can find. That means using ripe tomatoes (I’ve used heirloom here), good buffalo mozzarella, quality extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt (I use Maldon). And, of course, unicorn nectarines.
Rinse and dry the leaves of the little gems. You can also use any other lettuce you like, such as butter lettuce.
A lobster roll is simple to make. There are a couple of things that make a perfect roll: minimal mayonnaise and generously buttered and toasted rolls. The hardest part is just preparing the lobsters and extracting all that good meat out of every nook and cranny. It gets a bit messy but I personally find it fun picking through the shells. Just try not to eat all the meat before it makes it into the sandwich!
Nothing epitomizes summer more than a lobster boil. It’s best enjoyed outdoors and with friends excited to get their hands dirty and their bellies full. And the best thing about a lobster boil is that it feeds so many people, but you actually spend very little time actually cooking. I made this boil with small potatoes, smoked keilbasa sausage, yellow corn and fresh clams. Everything goes in one pot for about 20 minutes and the feast is ready. The only plan ahead you really need to do is to order your live lobsters.
Lobsters From Maine provides a list of companies that can ship live lobsters. Our lobsters came live in a small box packed with ice packs. You simply need to keep a damp towel over them, store them in the refrigerator, and cook them within 24-48 hours. And whatever you do, do not store them in water or cover them in ice.
Start by boiling water in a very large stock pot. Add a few handfuls of salt to make the water salty. Prep your clams by loosely tying them in cheese cloth. I divided the clams into two separate sacks of cheese cloth. Make sure to leave enough room so they can open. Tying them in cheese cloth helps to keep the clam meat from falling to the bottom of the stock pot when they open.
I take breakfast very seriously. My kitchen is equipped to whip up some yeasted waffles or eggs and soldiers any time of the day. It’s stacked with trays of muffin tins and popover pans, even though I only have one oven. And coffee? Good god, where do I start. Fancy a latte? Turkish coffee? French press? Single cup pour over? Here are some of my must-haves for brunch entertaining– hover over the image and click through for product info!
It feels good to be back. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. The last month has been a freeze on all things fun, relaxing and normal as I was studying for the bar exam. With the endless days of stressful study, I thought the finish line would never come, but last week I finally took that [expletive] 3-day test. It still doesn’t feel real and sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize: wow, I’m really really done with law school! So now that I’ve got my life back, I made a dish for my favorite meal of the day– breakfast. I know what you’re thinking: savory bacon granola doesn’t make any sense! But breakfast is one of those places you can really do some bold sweet-savory mixing. I’m generally a savory breakfast person (except when it comes to Todd’s blueberry muffins). Basically, give me anything with a runny egg on it and I will probably love it. A savory breakfast lends itself so well to some added sweetness, like from fruit or maple syrup. This granola is that perfect balance of sweet and salty. There’s a bit of maple syrup and tiny bits of bacon studded throughout. I also added flaxseed (which not only has a lovely nutty aroma but is a good source of omega 3 fat), sunflower seeds and dried apple. The granola is great as a snack, but crumbled over a runny egg . . . this may just change the way I have eggs forever.
Make sure the granola is cooled entirely before storing it in an airtight container. The granola will be good for up to 5 days. Feel free to play around with different combinations. I’m thinking of adding sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and cranberries next time!
I know what you’re thinking . . . “What the heck is Todd doing making food?!! Isn’t he the drink guy? Does he even own an oven?” Yes, I confess, I’m more adept at handling a penguin shaker than a chef’s knife. However, spending so much time with Karen and Erica has its perks. In addition to expanding my social life, I’ve started to learn my way around the kitchen a bit. Also, as I’ve mentioned, my wife is a serious baker. In a dream life, we’d move to a small California coastal town and open a bakery together. I’ll drip coffee in the front, and she’ll bake cakes, cookies and fresh pastries in the back. I’ll toss flour all over myself to feel productive, sip cup after cup of coffee, and chat with customers. Every once in a while I’ll grab a blueberry muffin or two and sneak down to the ocean to catch a few waves. Sounds like a plan . . .
I Instagrammed a photo of these a while back and everyone seemed to love them. And as it turned out, these were the tastiest blueberry muffins EVER, as they have whole fresh blueberries and a thick blueberry sauce mixed into the center. The recipe is adapted from the one and only, A Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, which is kind of amazing to say the least.