It’s officially squash season and I am lovin’ it—I hardly miss summer. There are so many varieties, but one of my favorites is delicata squash. Unlike some other squashes, delicata cooks up quickly and it’s (relatively) easy to cut through, so a much more manageable squash to handle. Basically, perfect for frying! Okay, a few notes about this batter. It has vodka and beer—unfortunately, they won’t get you buzzed, but that carbonation and vodka, which evaporates quickly when it hits the oil, are the key for that ultra-light, crisp batter that practically shatters when you bite into it. Ugh, you know what I’m talking about! Top these delicata squash rings with fried fall herbs like sage or rosemary and a little flake sea salt and dip them in whatever you please. A garlic aioli would be over the top decadent, but I love them with just a little hot sauce. Please, please, please make these!
I know what you’re thinking: why would I go through the trouble of making these seemingly tediously-thin grissini breadsticks when I can buy them. I won’t lie, these take more time and effort than buying a box of these at the market. That being said, the recipe is a straightforward dough and rolling out these breadsticks is actually easy (there’s even a gif in this post to show you how easy it is!) and these taste INFINITELY BETTER than store-bought. Store-bought grissini breadsticks are thin and crunchy but are completely dry. True grissini should be mostly crispy and crunchy on the outside with just the slightest bit of chew on the inside with that great yeasty bread flavor that you don’t get with the store-bought variety. Also, making these at home means you can customize these with any flavor. I’ve teamed up with McCormick to use their herb grinders and flavored these with Italian Herb Seasoning, which works perfectly here since you want a small grind so the spices stick to the grissini better. McCormick’s herb grinders give closer-to-fresh flavor and aroma to liven up this homemade appetizer. You could season these with dried rosemary, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, parmesan cheese . . . anything! These taste so amazing simply dipped in some good extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and flake sea salt. Alright, I hope I’ve made my case to you for making these at home– you’ll love them!
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you probably know that my wife, Audrey, is the mastermind behind most of the food recipes I shoot/post – especially the baked goods (she’s always posting sneak peaks of recipe testing). I shake the cocktails, she bakes the sweets. It’s a nice little arrangement we have between the two of us. In addition to several margarita cakes, Audrey has also started baking her own pain au levain (lucky me)! Needless to say, our oven has been working overtime these past few weeks. So when Sarah had the idea of collaborating on a duo of lettuce wraps, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I wouldn’t exactly call this a simple recipe, as there’s quite a bit of prep involved to make the marinade and the sauce. However, most of the components can be prepared in advance. So, if you’re looking for a quick, healthy meal, and you have some time to get started the night before, you will definitely want to give these lettuce wraps a try. Don’t forget to check out Sarah’s Ginger Lemongrass Pork Lettuce Wraps (also pictured), as well as the fun stop-motion of Sarah assembling the wraps down below.
It’s hard for me to describe just how excited I am for today’s post!! You see, my friend Alanna, aka The Bojon Gourmet, aka my blogging hero, wrote/photographed/gave birth to a cookbook! It’s called Alternative Baker, and inside Alanna drops some serious knowledge about the wonders of gluten-free grains and flours. That’s right, 140 gluten-free desserts at your fingertips!! Have I mentioned it’s quite possibly the most beautiful cookbook you’ll ever lay eyes on . . . have a look! When browsing this book, I feel like a little kid with his faced pressed up against the bakery case, ogling at row after row of sweets (can I have one of each, please?). The only thing that outshines Alanna’s photographs are her recipes. I was lucky enough to do a bit of recipe testing for the book, which quickly turned into recipe devouring. Speaking of devouring, today I wanted to make you these lovely little lemon ricotta shortcakes, topped with a mascarpone cream, fresh peaches, honey, and tarragon. I’ve altered a few things from the book, but everything is still gluten-free. Alanna uses a ricotta cream instead of mascarpone, and tops with fresh strawberries. However, it was hard for me to resist using peaches just one last time this season (summer, where did you go??!). So whether or not you’re gluten-free, I suggest you do yourself a favor and grab a copy (or five!), and get baking!!
My entire childhood was spent living within just minutes from the Pacific Ocean so naturally, the sounds, smells and tastes of the sea have always been a part of my DNA. I can’t imagine living too far from a large body of water or even surviving a diet without my beloved fruits de mer. In a recent brainstorming session with Karen and Todd, we threw around the idea of hosting a party at my house, with a decked out raw bar. Surprisingly, it’s something none of us have ever attempted. The thought of handling raw shellfish has always been a bit intimidating, as well as it is, I’m sure, for many of you. We’re also lucky enough to live in California, where the luxury of going out for fresh seafood and raw oysters is conveniently accessible. But honestly, how fun would it be to throw a little at-home party, with an impressive raw bar, to celebrate the start of fall?
With the help of the team at HP, we tapped the experts at Leo’s Oyster Bar, one our favorite raw bars in San Francisco, to learn everything we need to know about oysters. For example, did you know that it takes up to 18-24 months for a single oyster to fully mature? Digest that fact before you devour your next dozen oysters! With HP’s Spectre Laptop on hand, we were able to jot down notes, download our photos and edit a fun video, all while feasting on a bountiful spread. The super thin and lightweight design had made the Spectre my traveling companion as of late. I love that I can bring it with me everywhere I go, making working away from my desk a breeze. And I’m just smitten with the super chic design, which happens to compliment the gilded design details of Leo’s perfectly. Can we lunch like this every week? We can’t wait to recreate the experience at home and share it with you. Stay tuned!
And to learn more, don’t forget to check out the HP Spectre.
Za’atar is one of those spice blends that you absolutely should have sitting in your pantry along with your jar of herbs de provence and steak seasoning blend. It’s a ubiquitous Middle Eastern spice and everyone has their own proprietary blend but it often has dried thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and sumac. Sumac is a crimson colored spice made out of a sour berry that I am obsessed with since I love anything sour! Sumac is available at most major markets in the spice aisle but you’ll definitely be able to find it at any Middle Eastern market. Today, I’m showing you two easy ways to use this spice. One is a simple appetizer of labneh, creamy thick yogurt, drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with za’atar. The second recipe is a za’atar roasted chicken. I’ve made chicken legs here but you could just as easily use this rub on a whole chicken. Go and make a jar of za’atar now!