This oldie-but-goodie is one of my favorite summer dishes to make when I’m entertaining. The recipe couldn’t be easier or more versatile. Zucchini carpaccio is basically very thinly sliced raw zucchini that is “cooked” in lemon juice. From there, you can get as creative with it as you want. Of course, I always drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil and add herbs like flat-leaf parsley, dill, and chives. The addition of edible flowers is simply gorgeous, and if you can find squash blossoms, that would be even better. Arranging the zucchini in shingled circles transforms this simple salad into a show-stopper. Perfect for summer al fresco dining!
One of the tenets I cook by is using quality ingredients where it counts. Good olive oil is one of them and different kinds are appropriate for different occasions. Like wines, olive oils have complex notes ranging from buttery to grassy to peppery and everything in between. So when Ludo from Fig+Olive offered to teach me some tips in olive oil tasting I jumped on the opportunity. The simple and elegant Mediterranean restaurant uses olive oil in place of butter in its menu and produces its own olive oil, sourced from all over the world. Throwing your own olive oil tasting party is simple — all you need are glasses, some sauce dishes, bread, green apples, chilled Rose, and a few kinds of olive oils!
Well, I finally made it back to the Bay Area after a whirlwind trip up north. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful food and drink suggestions along the way. We sure treated ourselves to some amazing meals. A couple foodie highlights included Vij’s in Vancouver, and Tasty n Alder in Portland. For cocktails, Seattle’s Canon and Portland’s Kask stole the show. Here are a few of the links that I’m anxious to try now that I’m back in my own kitchen. Hope you enjoy!
These Baked Squash Blossoms with Pine Nut Cheese look oh so fancy and delicious, yet surprising simple to make.
Inspired by the most recent West Coast heatwave, I was craving a drink that would both standup to the scorching summer heat, and make for a tasty late night treat. Plus, is there anything that goes better with hamburgers than a good old shake? And you know me . . . I had to mess around and make it a boozy shake. When I was thinking ice cream flavors, I immediately thought Bi-Rite Creamery. They make an unreal snickerdoodle ice cream called Ricanelas, from which this recipe is adapted. I like a little texture in my shakes, so I also made some toffee bits for crunch. Oh, and did I mention the bourbon?
Boozy Snickerdoodle Shake
A boozy milkshake with bourbon and homemade cinnamon ice cream, garnished with crunchy toffee bits
cups ice cream (enough for ~2 large shakes)
To make the ice cream you'll need an ice cream machine of some sort (I used the attachment for my KitchenAid) and at least two hours for the base to chill. I made mine in the evening and let it chill overnight.
Start by making the base. In a heatproof bowl, whisk in half of the sugar with the yolks and set aside.
In a saucepan, whisk together the cream, milk, cinnamon, salt, and the remaining sugar over medium-high heat. When the mixture just approaches a simmer, reduce the heat to medium. Next, scoop out 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, while whisking, add the cream to the bowl with the egg and sugar mixture. Repeat this step once more with another 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture. Now that the egg mixture has been tempered, slowly pour the egg and cream mixture into back into the saucepan, stirring constantly.
Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and coats the back of a spatula. Once thickened, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a new container, then place it into an ice-water bath, stirring until it's cool. Once cool, cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours (or overnight).
Once the ice cream base has cooled for at least two hours, whisk in the vanilla. Then, it's time to freeze the base in your ice cream machine. Follow your machine's instructions to do so. While the ice cream is churning, chill the container you'll use to store the ice cream in the freezer. I used a metal bread pan. Once churned, transfer the ice cream from the ice cream maker into the serving container. I popped the container back into the freezer to hold firm while I prepped for the shake.
For the toffee bits
Mix together water, butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring as little as possible. Using a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature, cook until the mixture reaches 300°F. Remove the pan from heat and immediate stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Mix until just combined (do not over-stir). Then, immediately pour the hot toffee mixture onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Let cool completely. If your kitchen is warm, you may need to let cool in the refrigerator. Once hardened, chop the toffee to desired size and sprinkle bits on top of the milkshake.
For the shake
When you're ready to make your shake, place four large scoops of ice cream into your shake tin or blender.
Add bourbon . . . anywhere from 1 oz for a mild hint of whiskey, up to 2 oz for a those craving a boozier dessert. Or, for a non-alcoholic version, substitute bourbon for 2 oz of milk. The homemade ice cream is already fairly soft and creamy, so milk isn't otherwise necessary.
Blend the ice cream and bourbon. Pour into your glass and garnish with toffee bits for a little bit of crunch (no pun intended). I also garnished with a small snickerdoodle wheel from a batch of cookies my wife made.
Mix together water, butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring as little as possible.
Using a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature, cook until the mixture reaches 300°F.
Remove the pan from heat and immediate stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Mix until just combined (do not over-stir). Then, immediately pour the hot toffee mixture onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Let cool completely. If your kitchen is warm, you may need to let cool in the refrigerator.
Once hardened, chop the toffee to desired size and sprinkle bits on ice cream, milkshakes, and more!
There are some food trends that I can totally get on board with. Pretzel burger buns is one of them. As a salt addict, I’ve always loved pretzels with their big flecks of salt and chewy dough. This recipe is a riff on an incredible German pretzel recipe by Hans Röckenwagner, owner of one of my favorite bakeries in Santa Monica. Traditionally, pretzels are soaked in a lye solution before they’re baked, but I wasn’t too keen on bringing corrosive chemicals and wearing safety goggles in making these pretzel buns. Luckily, you can substitute the lye solution with baking soda and water. I also love the addition of caraway seeds on pretzels!