I’m one of those people who will start getting sad about the end of a vacation 2 days before the end. I do the same thing with summer. While we still have hot days and temperate summer nights, I’m already lamenting shorter days and the end of summer– which in my case means eating an insane amount of summer fruits like tomatoes. My markets are bursting with so many great varieties. I’ve made savory tomato tarts before but I had been eyeing this Ottolenghi Tomato and Almond Tart recipe for a while now so thought I’d try a new one. What piqued my interest about this one is that it’s a savory version of a frangipane tart (a sweet fruit ground almond tart). This is filled with a savory almond mixture of ground almond, ricotta, parmesan thyme and garlic. The almond paste mixes with the juicy sweet tomatoes when it’s baked and oh my, it’s perfect. You can use any tomato you’d like, but I’ve used different heirloom tomatoes which happened to look particularly delicious when I made this. Enjoy this last bite of summer!
I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had cocktail cake on my mind for months. Thankfully, there’s a baker in the house to turn my twisted fantasies into reality! Actually, come to think of it, this whole margarita cake might have been Audrey’s idea in the first place . . . even better! That said, it probably wasn’t the best timing, given the fact that Fiona’s favorite two words right at the moment are “birthday cake”, and it’s been quite the chore just to keep her little fingers away. Some serious recipe testing went into this one. First, not enough tequila. Then, too much tequila (I know, can you believe it?). In the end, I think we found the perfect balance. Because everyone deserves a slice of cocktail cake, right?! Except for Fiona . . . she can stick to chocolate. 🙂
A couple notes: four layers (2 cakes) is a lot of cake, so feel free to cut this recipe in half. I made it both ways, and it works quite nicely for either. Also, special thanks to Sarah for the lovely cake plate and silverware!! It wouldn’t have been nearly as pretty without you!
Have you tried kefir before? Kefir is a cultured milk product that is similar to yogurt and has the same probiotic benefits of yogurt. It’s a bit sweeter than yogurt and slightly tart– the flavor is like a combination of yogurt and buttermilk. I’ve been on a kefir binge lately, my local super market carries different brands and types, both plain and flavored. The flavored versions are SO delicious but contain quite a lot of sugar, so lately, I’ve been buying the plain unsweetened kind and adding my own natural sweeteners. I also love adding granola for some texture. This stuff is seriously better than your typical parfait and if you’re looking to change up your breakfast routine, make this kefir bowl!
Pop quiz!! Summer is great for . . . a) grilling b) cocktails c) spending time with friends outdoors, or d) all of the above. If you answered, ‘all of the above’ then go ahead and pat yourself on the back. While you’re at it, why don’t you pour yourself a cocktail. Speaking of which, today Erica and I are celebrating summer by gathering our families together for a casual brunch. We built a simple cheese platter with grilled baguette, soft-boiled eggs, seasonal fruit, and of course, Hangar 1 cocktails! Grilled cocktails no less. After all, it is grilling season. Pluots (plum + apricot hybrid) are one of my favorite fruits to grill because I feel their flavor significantly changes when charred over the hot flame. Eaten raw, pluots have a pretty intensely sweet flavor. They’re delicious, don’t get me wrong, but rather one-note. However, as often happens when something is cooked (especially grilled) the flavor deepens. In the case of pluots, a savory tanginess emerges, that when combined with the sweet caramelization of the charred fruit, makes for a truly magical combo.
I love using Hangar 1 Straight Vodka in these situations. Perfectly balanced, fresh, and crisp, it’s the ideal vodka for fresh-picked, seasonal cocktails. I started off the party by grilling a ton of juicy pluots – that way the drinks were flowing early. For some reason grilled fruit is always a crowd pleaser. We added a few of the extra grilled pluots to our cheese platter, because if there’s anything that’s as delicious as grilled fruit + vodka, it’s grilled fruit + cheese! Anyway, I hope you enjoy these cocktails as much as we all did. Let me know if you give them a try, and/or if you’re inspired to experiment with any other grilled fruit libations. Happy grilling!
Anybody who knows me knows that I’ve always had the blackest of black thumbs. I’ve never been able to keep anything green living – not even cacti. Honestly. So I’m happy to report that after the last couple of summers spent cultivating the beginnings of a modest vegetable garden, we’ve got beautiful, sun-kissed plum and cherry tomatoes that thriving! In fact, they’re growing so wildly and rapidly out of control, we have more tomatoes than we know what to do with. Until that is, I started roasting them and devouring them over eggs, on toast, alongside fish, and recently, tossed into pasta. I love how the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes compliments an herbaceous basil and spinach pesto, creamy burrata and salty prosciutto. It’s the perfect dish to latch onto those last few weeks of summer . . .
Today we’ll be discussing two of my favorite words in the English language: drink and summer. You see, my days of closing down the bar have come and gone (apparently along with sleeping in past 6am, and having a full head of hair). And while I love a good nightcap as much as the next guy, I’m a day drinker at heart. Set me out back in a hammock on a warm summer day, ballgame on the radio, and a cocktail in hand, and I’m one happy camper. Extra points if that cocktail has pickled watermelon rind, fresh herbs, and sotol!! Well, what do you know, that’s exactly what I’m mixing up for you today. If you couldn’t already tell, today we’re celebrating #drinkthesummer 2016 (links below), where dozens of creative imbibers are offering an abundance of seasonal drink recipes that showcase summer’s bounty in lovely liquid form. No disrespect to the stone fruits and the berries out there, but summer is all about watermelon in our house. Here, sweet watermelon juice and agave are countered with tart bursts of pickled rind and lime. A chiffonade of fresh mint and cilantro add depth, all punctuated by a nice earthy sotol . . . perfect for summer sipping if you ask me! Again, don’t forget to check out all the other yummy summer drink links below. A special thanks to Sherrie from With Food + Love for organizing!!