A few weeks back we had the chance to join a few friends for a weekend away up in Inverness, CA. They have a daughter about the same age as ours, so we all knew what we were getting ourselves into. After a lazy Saturday of lounging on the beach with the babies, and playing ball with the dogs (poor Grizzly hurt his leg) it came time to put the little ones to sleep and bust out the adult activities. And by that I mean, completing an already half-finished puzzle and crawling into bed by 10pm!! What can I say, life changes a bit with a 6-month-old. Not to worry, I still made sure to have a pitcher of cocktails on hand – a simple blend of some of my favorite things: rum and coconut water to name a few. I love premixing a batch of cocktails for small get-togethers like these. Even if, no especially if, puzzles are involved!
One of the first proper meals I ever made was braised lamb shank. I remember how impressive it was that a tough sinewy meat could become so succulent and tender. It became my go-to dinner when I had guests over because of how easy it was to make. I haven’t made braised lamb in a very very long time and I recently re-discovered my love for this recipe! It’s a very straightforward dish to make and in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided this time to transform my lamb shank recipe into a pie form, although you could simply serve the lamb after it’s finished braising and skip the pie part all together. You may be wondering: why leave the bone in the pie if all you eat is the meat. Well, aside from being just really damn cute, the bone marrow happens to be my favorite part of braised lamb shank– its intense and oily flavor is such a treat. Just suck the marrow like a straw and it comes right out– yum!!
You may or may not know that I’m obsessed with Earl Grey tea. It’s my favorite. So here’s another recipe I’ve dedicated to my love for Earl Grey tea. This is one of those simple, but not simple, recipes. Simple in the sense that making the Earl Grey custard is simple (nothing fancy about this ice cream recipe here). But not simple, in the sense that you need an ice cream maker. This is the one I use and it works just great. The combination of creamy custard and Earl Grey is irresistible!
One of my favorite morning rituals used to involve strolling with my dog down the block to the corner cafe. I’d sit outside on the front patio with my dog and a strong cup of coffee. I was particularly in love with a special spiced coffee that the cafe dripped to order. Several spices were included in the blend, but one in particular sang louder than the rest: cardamom. In the Middle East it’s actually quite common to combine cardamom and coffee. I’m not sure why it’s not a bigger deal out here. That was all a few years ago. Sadly, the cafe has since shuttered. Now I treat myself to my own cardamom coffee, usually on the weekends, along with a bar of Ghirardelli® Sea Salt Soirée dark chocolate. Coffee, cardamom, roasted almonds, sea salt, chocolate . . . talk about a few of my favorite things! The perfect pairing to go with, well, the perfect pairing.
This is what I love about cocktails!! Incorporating savory ingredients like fresh herbs and pickled roots keeps things interesting to say the least. So when Karen told me she was getting her grilled kimcheese on, I knew just what to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good classic cocktail. I’m a booze nerd, big time. But what really gets me excited is fresh produce. This magical recipe is a Scott Beattie creation (of course). If you’ve never pickled anything before, here’s a good reason to start. So let’s all get creative, shall we? After all, imbibing is meant to be fun!!
Okay guys. There’s something going on with kimchi and . . . cheese. I don’t know where it’s coming from or if it’s even a thing. But, it’s something. Take for example: this. And this. It’s madness and, I KNOW, it doesn’t make any sense, but after tasting the combination, I think kimcheese should be shared with the world. What better way to pair the two than in the quintessential American grilled cheese? This grilled cheese will blow your mind. First, start with some damn good kimchi. Next, make sure you cook your grilled cheese on a medium-low heat. The key to a good grilled cheese is low and slow so that the cheese melts but the bread doesn’t burn. Third, let’s be honest, the best part of the grilled cheese are those burnt edges of cheese that fall out of the sandwich and get crispified in all that melted butter. So I cut to the chase and made an inside-out grilled cheese with an entire layer of that cheese crisp on both sides. Grilled kimcheese sandwich: it’s the future.