Oh 2015. You’ve only been around for a little less than a month and already I feel like I’m drowning in you. Life has been hectic lately, so in an attempt to escape from it all, I’m daydreaming about where I want to travel to next. This photo is from my recent trip to Tulum, Mexico and these margaritas were from the bar at the Mezzanine Hotel, where I stayed. The one on the right was my favorite — a spicy habanero margarita made with smoky mezcal. Everything was so perfect that day!
So this looks pretty impressive right? Well, the reality is that this Granola-Crusted Yogurt Fruit Tart is just a granola, yogurt and fruit parfait. For brunch entertaining, I love the idea of a simple classic breakfast dish reformatted into something more elevated and elegant. The crust is a simple granola recipe that is baked into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Once the granola crust cools completely, you simply fill the crust with yogurt and top with fruit. This dish does not slice neatly like a tart and it’s not meant to. Just dig in and turn the whole thing into a crumbly, creamy mess– for some reason it tastes even better that way!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Start by making the granola crust. Mix all the granola ingredients in a bowl until evenly combined. Use the bottom of the tart pan to trace a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the tart. Smear a dab of coconut oil to the bottom of the tart pan so the parchment paper stays in place. Grease the sides and top of the parchment well then lightly flour the greased areas and tap the excess flour out. The granola gets very sticky so it’s important that your pan is well greased!
If you’re familiar with downtown Oakland and the eclectic food and drink it has to offer, chances are you’ve heard of Flora. On several occasions I’ve found myself gravitating toward the old Oakland Floral Depot building at the corner of 19th and Telegraph. Like a moth to the flame, I grab a seat at the vibrant art deco bar. Flora takes their cocktail program seriously, offering a variety of both originals and classics. Bar manager Matty McGee was kind enough to share a few recipes with us, the Singpore Sling and the Filibuster.
My friend, acupuncturist, and wholesome foodie Emma recently introduced me to the wonders of quinoa flakes and coconut flour thanks to her recipe for these super healthy breakfast cookies – which I’m officially hooked on. I should first preface this by saying I’m not gluten or lactose intolerant and often find myself skeptical of baked products that claim to be free of what I believe to be essential ingredients. So with that being said, I love these morsels of protein packed goodness. And for someone who never seems to find enough time to make myself breakfast on weekday mornings, these hearty cookies are perfect to grab and go.
Emma uses coconut flour, coconut sugar and quinoa flakes in this recipe – all of which I bought and used for the first time. And if you are just baffled as I was, here is a brief rundown. Coconut flour is made from coconut pulp and is wonderfully fragrant. It also gives your baked goods a nice fluffy texture. Coconut palm sugar, made from sap of the coconut palm that has been extracted and then boiled and dehydrated, is very similar to brown sugar but with a slight hint of caramel. And quinoa flakes are made by rolling quinoa (my favorite grain!) into a thin flake, making it quick and easy to cook into hot cereal or as a substitute for oats. Ok, now that you’re in the know – let’s get baking . . .
You know I’m a sucker for shrubs. And while I certainly enjoy making my own, sometimes it’s best to leave the dirty work to the professionals. That’s where Shrub & Co comes in. I first heard about Shrub & Co from my friend Amy Hamilton from Just Relish catering who works out of a neighboring commercial kitchen space here in Berkeley. One sip and I was hooked. I immediately went out and bought every flavor I could find. Even though the holidays are in the rearview, I just can’t stop sipping the cranberry shrub with douglas fir. I find it goes perfectly with a little St. George terroir gin. Although, here I kept it non-alcoholic with just a splash of sparkling water and a candied cranberry garnish.
Last year Karen, Erica and I were invited to attend an intimate event hosted by Woodford Reserve. we got to the chance to meet/drink with a number of spirit journalists and enthusiasts, in addition to Master Distiller, Chris Morris. Woodford was debuting the latest from their Master’s Collection: Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish – a mature Woodford Reserve bourbon finished in Pinot Noir barrels from Sonoma-Cutrer Winery. Needless to say, it was a fabulous evening of wine and whiskey, but most of all, friends. You see, despite our proximity here on the site, Karen and I are a whole golden state apart. Sure, there are trips back and forth, but we’re both pretty settled in our hometowns. So today for happy hour, I busted out a bottle of this splendid whiskey, along with a few pairings (aged gouda, chocolate covered cherries, and smoked salmon to name a few) and toasted the memory of that warm summer night in beautiful San Francisco.