We tried 16 of the most outrageous ice cream toppings that we could think of and documented the taste test. Honestly, we expected most of these to taste horrible (on paper they sure sounded disgusting), but we were all shocked by how many were actually really good! This idea was inspired by comments to our vanilla ice cream with olive oil and sea salt recipe— in fact, we got some crazy combos ideas from you all on our Instagram! Todd, Erica and I had different opinions about each of these so we each gave our own rating for these toppings. Have you given any of these combos a try? Do you have any outrageous ice cream toppings you love? Let us know and we’ll incorporate it into part 2 of our taste test!
Furikake: Obvious ocean and salty flavors, but the surprise was the sesame, which really stood out and complemented the vanilla.
Bacon and Maple Syrup: The bacon was really the highlight here, it was like a pancake party in your mouth. Loved the saltiness of the bacon but you almost didn’t even need the maple syrup.
The farmer’s market can be such an inspirational place– seasonal produce in all different sizes, colors and varieties! To celebrate the end of summer, Erica, Todd and I decided to make lunch together with ingredients from our local farmer’s market. Of course, we had to make this trip a little more interesting and decided to add some rules (because what’s more fun than rules, right?). We gave ourselves $20 and could only use ingredients from the market.
One of the first things I wanted to do when we moved into our house was to make outdoor movie nights a summer tradition. Four years and two children later, we finally did it. And let me just say, a tradition has officially begun. Thanks to the Bay Area’s infamous Indian Summers, I’m relieved to know that we still have a couple months of beautiful weather to enjoy flicks in our backyard. The best part about our inaugural movie night was surprising Quincy and all of his friends upon coming home from school. The looks on their faces were priceless. After all, what’s better than getting to indulge in classic theater foods and snacks on a school night? In addition to the hot dogs and popcorn, I loved the idea of changing up dessert and serving Chobani Flips yogurt snacks – especially since they’re available in so many kid favorites, like Mint Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Dream and Chocolate Haze Craze. Easy and mess free, it was a no brainer. The set up involved layering a few outdoor rugs and pulling out nearly every cushion we own from inside the house. Comfort is key! All in all, it was a perfect night, and destined to be replicated time and time again.
Despite summer technically coming to an end, the temperatures here in the Bay Area are showing no signs of dropping (last night’s thunder storm aside). It’s no surprise, as Bay Area residents have long known that it isn’t “June Gloom” or “Fogust”, but rather September and October that are our nicest months of the year. This is why I chose to get married in early October (where it proceeded to be 100 degrees), and why I’ve resurrected my shaved ice machine, aka the Blue Beast, from the crawl space under the house.
For this week’s shaved ice recipe, I hearkened back to my boozy roots. I’ve always been fascinated with bananas foster – maybe it’s the pyro in me, or perhaps it’s all that rum that fascinates me. Honestly, it really is a wonderful flavor combination. Sure, it’s a bit dated, but when served drizzled atop a heaping mound of freshly shaved ice, and a couple scoops of coconut ice cream, this old school dessert is my new favorite way to beat those soaring temps!
My daughter Coco hates chocolate. What? Why? How? I’m still bemused by her aversion to my biggest weakness. Nevertheless, sweets have just never been her thing – that was until she demolished a healthy portion of a batch of homemade raspberry jam cookies. Is it weird that I actually let out a sigh of relief at that very moment? Finally, a sign that she is, in fact, my daughter! I kid. Anyway, here’s the backstory to today’s recipe. A few months ago, while filming some tutorials for HP‘s Smart app, I was flipping through a beautiful vintage cookbook that the prop stylist had brought on set. One of the many interesting recipes was one for Raspberry Jam Dream Cookies. I scanned and emailed the page to Karen and Todd, as a reminder to make them some day. We eventually tinkered with the recipe by using less sugar to make it less sweet and almond butter to cut down on time. They were a huge hit and at this rate, I might be sticking candles in these cookies for Coco’s second birthday early next year. Because did I forget to mention that she hates cake, too?!
Apologies for this generically Asian named recipe. What I really wanted to call this was bun cha, but I know there are some Vietnamese cuisine purists who will immediately inform me that this is not truly bun cha (which it really isn’t). Thus, I’m sticking with “noodle salad” which also sounds good right? If you don’t know what bun cha is, oh my, you are missing out!! It is hands down one of my favorite dishes, something I fell in love with when I was in Hanoi and could easily eat every single day. I truly mean that, but that also goes for a lot of Vietnamese dishes I suppose. It’s sort of like a deconstructed noodle dish: plates of rice noodles, grilled pork or pork meatballs and fried spring rolls are accompanied with a dipping sauce of fish sauce, lime and/or vinegar sugar, garlic and chili, pickled green papaya and a plate of fresh herbs like basil, mint and bean sprouts. You sort of gather all the ingredients together into a bowl of the dipping sauce and . . . eat! It’s got the hallmark Vietnamese flavors; sweet, sour, slight heat and SO fresh and I personally like to eat it with tons of greens, making my version almost a salad with noodles. I opted to go for grilled prawns since they marinate and cook so quickly, but you could easily sub in these lemongrass pork meatballs. Either way, you need to make this while we’re still in these hot summer months and you’re putting that grill to use!