I owe every ounce of my obsession with Persian food to my best friend’s mom, who is one of the most amazing cooks I’ve ever met. She introduced me to a world of saffron, dried limes, sumac, kashk, rose water . . . so many ingredients and spices that I just love. I’m sure everyone says their mom is the best cook, but in this case, Noushi is really something else. On Friday nights, she opens her house to anyone and everyone for an Persian food feast– sometimes she’ll whip up dinner for 30 some people. We typically gorge ourselves on the piles of fresh sangak and all the French feta, yogurt, fresh herbs and fruits that are beautifully displayed in her kitchen. But, we always somehow manage to squeeze down the mounds of stews and perfectly jeweled rice for dinner. If you haven’t noticed on YUM, we’re pretty big fans cheese platters and I thought why not do change up the classic western cheese platter for this Persian one? It is so so good and easy to create– the key is having fresh herbs and bread (Tip, if you’re in Orange County, you are in luck because Wholesome Choice makes fresh sangak, so warm, fresh and chewy, you’re only allowed to buy two at a time!) You may not be able to find all these ingredients as some are pretty unique, like French feta and lemon basil, but you can create your own riff on this with whatever you can find. The only two things I insist on are French feta (yes, not all feta is Greek and there is a huge difference) and using whole fat yogurt in the cucumber-mint yogurt. I hope you become just as obsessed with these flavors as much as I am!
A bit of good news to start the day: after 6 years in our cozy West Berkeley home, we finally moved! Don’t worry local friends, we’re still in Berkeley, in fact, just a few blocks up the road. I haven’t really mentioned it here on the blog, but for months we’d been experiencing some issues with our landlord. I’ll leave it at that, but needless to say, we were in desperate need of some new digs. Those of you familiar with the housing market here in the Bay Area know that it isn’t the most affordable place in the world – especially if you have a rapidly growing 2-year-old, a 70 lb. dog, and need a photography space. So after months of searching, we finally found a new place to call home.
It turns out that it was perfect timing, because when the opportunity surfaced to collaborate with Jameson Whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day, I was in full celebration mode! I’m beyond excited to share TWO NEW RECIPES with you today! First, the Green & Black cocktail, made with Jameson Black Barrel. The warm, nutty, spiced notes of the whiskey go perfect with the dry Amontillado sherry, tart green apple, and burnt sugar syrup. They’re exactly the flavors I’m looking for this time of year, as we transition from winter to spring.
Next, our Irish whiskey-glazed spiced nuts recipe, made with Jameson Caskmates. After spending some time in stout-seasoned casks, the chocolate and butterscotch notes of the Caskmates are apparent, and divine. Without hesitation, I rounded up a group of friends (aka moving buddies) and shared this bountiful ploughman’s platter full of Irish cheese, meats, and all the fixings. After all, what better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with good food, good whiskey, and those you love the most! Sláinte!!
For the cocktail
For the spiced nuts
- 1 cup roasted unsalted pecans
- 1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
- 1/4 cup roasted unsalted hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoon Jameson Caskmates Irish Whiskey
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
For the burnt sugar syrup
- Add the sugar to a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until the edges begin to turn an amber color.
- Add the water. Careful, as the sugar will splatter and bubble fiercely. At first, the sugar will seize up and become firm. As it continues to heat, however, it will slowly start to melt back down to a syrup. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 mins. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator
For the cocktail
- Using a juicer, extract the fresh juice from a green granny smith apple. If you'd like to preserve the color, once juiced, immediately stir in a teaspoon of lemon juice. If you prefer to use store bought apple juice, I suggest using unfiltered apple cider, and adjusting for their sweetness. It will be much sweeter than the tart green apple juice, so you'll want to add extra lemon juice for balance.
- Add the whiskey, sherry, apple juice, lemon juice, and syrup to a shaker. Fill with ice and vigorously shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a fan of green apple slices.
For the spiced nuts
- Stir together the granulated sugar, salt, cayenne, and cloves in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the whiskey, butter, vanilla, and brown sugar over medium high heat. Whisk constantly until boiling. Add pecans, almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts and continue to stir constantly until nuts are shiny and most of the liquid glaze has evaporated; about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the nuts into the bowl with the spice mix and toss well to coat. Pour the warm nut mix onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and arrange in a single layer to cool. Serve and pair with a glass of Jameson Caskmates.
(Images by HonestlyYUM. This post is sponsored by Jameson. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep HonestlyYUM up and running!))
Considering the amount of fresh bread Audrey’s been baking lately (four loaves a week!!) we’ve been eating our weight in sourdough! While I’m a sucker for avocado toast as much as the next guy, I’ve been experimenting with several other flavor combinations. It’s hard to go wrong with a thick slice of crunchy rustic bread, piled high with delectable toppings . . . especially of the breakfast variety. Listed here are my recent favorites. Give them a try on their own, or make an assortment of smaller crostini for your next brunch gathering. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
- Cream cheese with macerated blackberries and thyme.
- Soft scrambled eggs with ikura and chives.
- Almond butter, banana, chia seeds, toasted coconut and honey.
- Feta with sour cherry jam and lemon zest.
- Avocado mash with lemon, dukkah and red chili flakes.
(images by HonestlyYUM)
I have made this soup more times than I can count. Since we’ve been having a cold winter in LA, this soup has been on heavy rotation (in fact, I made a large pot of it this Sunday and Clay and I already finished it today!). There are a lot of things I love about this soup but perhaps my favorite is the whole head of garlic with cloves kept whole and simmered low and slow so that they still keep their shape but melt in your mouth. Don’t be scared of a whole head of garlic, cooked down in this soup it doesn’t have any of that fire-y garlic kick but adds a muted sweet garlic flavor. This soup is VERY forgiving– feel like a heartier soup? Add two cans of beans instead of one. Only have ground chicken, you could certainly use ground chicken (although, I highly recommend using pork since it just tastes better). Feel like making it spicier? Add 5 chiles de arbol instead of 3. It’s your soup and your journey– I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Erica, Todd and I have our allegiances– I adamantly believe that Los Angeles has far superior Mexican food and ramen than in San Francisco and Erica and Todd could go on and on about the Bay Area’s great bakeries and Berkeley Bowl. Even though we can sometimes get into that LA vs. SF rivalry, there’s one thing we can agree upon: the Golden State Warriors and how exciting it’s been to see the team’s rise over the past few years. Now that we’re past the All Star break, guaranteed we’re going to be glued to our TV to watch the Warriors! We had a little fun with today’s curry chicken pot pie and made this in honor of Steph Curry. Also, we’re the first to admit that we’re total fan girls/boy of Ayesha Curry! This is not your average chicken pot pie– this one is infused with lots of spicy Madras curry. I finished off the pie by using little cookie cutters to cut the letters from scraps of pie dough and used a double egg yolk wash for that extra glossy finish. Whether or not you like the Warriors, you’re going to love this recipe guaranteed. (Go Dubs!)
You didn’t think I was going to let Karen make a batch of her delicious spicy chai without stealing some for dessert, did you? These dirty chai affogatos are the perfect way to get that after-dinner caffeine fix, while simultaneously slurping down a scoop of cardamom ice cream. I promise, you’ll devour it so fast you won’t even have to worry about the ice cream melting. Embarrassing fact: after we photographed this post, I quickly ate all four affogatos! “What’s the harm in 4 little scoops of ice cream?” I thought. Only afterwards did I remember the four espresso shots I had just consumed. It was worth every waking late-night minute!! 🙂
- In a small bowl or heat-resistant glass, add the ice cream, shot of espresso, and top with spicy chai tea.
(images by HonestlyYUM)