This mezze platter has all the flavor profiles I love: bright, sour, herby and savory. This one features two of my favorite dips: muhammara, a Syrian red pepper and walnut dip and baba ganoush, a roasted smoky eggplant and tahini dip. Both are full of intense but balanced flavors and summer is a great season to make these since prepping these dips involves charing and roasting the bell peppers and eggplants. Using an outdoor grill makes things a lot easier. Hummus and baba ganoush are pretty typical in mezze spreads but you’ve probably never heard of muhammara. I’m addicted to the flavor of muhamarra, even though I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers, and pretty much will eat it with anything. The ingredients are simple (roasted red peppers, walnuts, garlic and pomegranate molasses) but they come together to make such a bold, earthy and flavorful dip.
If I learned anything after making this gorgeous sandwich, inspired by one that I recently fell in love with at my local haunt Southie and literally ordered 3 days in row, it’s that I should really make sandwiches a bigger part of my weekly lunchtime repertoire. Especially when it involves layers of all of my favorite ingredients. The combination of herby ricotta, crunchy zucchini, peppery watercress, creamy avocado and zesty sun-dried tomato into a single sando is summer epitomized. It’s so simple but oh, so tasty. Plus, it keeps well which makes it a great picnic option! There’s really nothing else to say except that it’s honestly YUM.
Oh Cynar, how you’re misunderstood. No one can pronounce your name (chee-nar), people hardly even know you, and when they do, they assume you taste like artichokes. Not surprising, I suppose. It might be time for an outfit change . . . just a thought. ICYMI, Cynar is yet another lovely Italian amaro. Yes, artichoke is one of the many flavoring ingredients, but certainly not pronounced, if even noticeable. It is, IMHO (okay, that’s enough with the acronyms) a quintessential amaro. Bright, bold Italian label? Check. Bitter, sweet, and herbal all at the same time? Check. Although Cynar definitely leans more bitter than sweet, which I appreciate. That being said, today we’re making a dessert drink – our first since the Spanish Coffee, if I remember correctly. I first heard about Cynar flips from the one and only Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who in turn credits his friend Ben Sandrof for his discovery. What I loved so much about that cocktail was that it combined both Cynar and the flip, both under appreciated, into one magical libation. It’s luscious, it’s creamy, and dare I say . . . it’s sophisticated? I decided to take it one step further into full dessert mode by substituting the sugar for a homemade chocolate syrup. My friends, you no longer need be afraid of Cynar, nor flips for that matter. Chocolate Cynar Flips FTW!! Wait, I said no more acro—oh whatever. Cheers!
A few weeks ago, with the help of director Tatia Pilieva, I had the pleasure of meeting the the new HP Spectre for the first time. I must say, it was intrigue at first sight. It’s impossible not be immediately drawn to the laptop’s luxurious color palette, with its ash-colored matte aluminum body and shiny copper trim. And first feel, it’s no surprise that the HP Spectre is the world’s thinnest laptop, weighing in at only 2.5 lbs and comparable to the width of a AAA battery. With the amount of recipe research and photo editing we do here at HonestlyYUM, I knew this would be the ideal tool of us to use in the kitchen and to take on the road. Although we’re just getting our feet wet with this sleek number, breaking it in with some fun recipes, we’re excited to share all the exciting adventures we’ll be taking it along this summer. Stay tuned! And the meantime, be sure to take a minute to check out how we feel about our laptops and our first encounter after the jump . . .
If you’re not familiar with Berkeley’s beloved Cheese Board Collective, let me fill you in. In the 1970s, The Cheese Board, along with Peet’s Coffee, was one of the first gourmet establishments in a little area of North Berkeley, which is now known as the Gourmet Ghetto. Soon after it’s success, Alice Waters open Chez Panisse across the street and well, you know – the rest is history. Today, the worker owned and operated business continues to thrive with a cheese shop, bakery, and pizzeria. Sitting down to an entire pie and cold brews, while listening to live music, has become a family tradition. And if you’re a regular like I am, then you know what I’m talking about when I say that Cheeseboard Pizza isn’t Cheeseboard Pizza without their Papi Chulo hot sauce. Holy Moly. This stuff is GOLD. If you like cilantro and green peppers, then you’ll love this green sauce. I can’t believe it’s taken me years to attempt to recreate it at home but hot damn, I think I’ve got it pretty close. Make this sauce. Drizzle it over pizza, grilled meats, tacos, eggs . . . everything. Trust.
Anyone from the Bay Area can tell you that the fog is as much a part of daily life as the California sun, perhaps even more so. Born and raised here in Berkeley, I feel a particularly strong connection with the fog. Like an ocean wave it rolls over the coastal hills, across the bay, and engages all of my senses. Growing up, my friends and I used to explore the Berkeley paths, trying our best to get lost in the cool, dense fog. Countless times have been spent wandering the misty hills with my pup, and more recently exploring the Tilden Park trails with Fiona. In short, there are few places I’d rather be; it’s home, my happy place. Thus, you can imagine my intrigue after hearing that Hangar 1 was producing vodka made from California fog!
Fog Point Vodka is made by catching fog from various locations around Northern California, and turning that fog into clean, fresh water. That water (60% of vodka is water) is then blended into vodka made from wine sourced from Bonny Doon Vineyard, just north of Santa Cruz. Coincidentally, the only time I’ve lived outside the immediate Bay Area was to attend school at Santa Cruz. I’m telling you, this vodka is me in a bottle. Scratch that, scary thought!! Unfortunately, the drought also plays a prominent roll in our daily lives as Californians. Thus, I’m pleased to say that all of the profits from Fog Point Vodka will go toward water conservation efforts.