Pineapple Tequila Sorbet

Pineapple Tequila Sorbet Summer is in full effect here in San Diego, and strangely, it’s been quite humid.  This humidity doesn’t really compare to the many hot, damp summers spent in New Jersey, but  now, I’ve completely lost my tolerance to extreme weather conditions.  Any slight deviations from perfection seem to throw off my daily rhythms.  After spending two nights tossing and turning, I installed my little window air conditioner, and made a batch of this Pineapple Tequila Sorbet.  Freshly blended pineapple is flavored with an Aleppo chile, lime, and citrusy tequila.  After a short while in the ice cream maker, this flavorful puree is transformed into scoopable sunshine.  The color really is quite remarkable.  Cool, fresh and bright, one taste of this sorbet will surely banish any warm weather discomfort.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Apricot Elderflower Jam

Apricot Elderflower Jam

Each time I make jam, I’m always surprised at how tasty it turns out. As I stir the pot of bubbling fruit and sugar, I always think to myself, “Is this going to be too sweet? Or too one-dimensional?” But I’ve discovered a few tricks to achieve good balance and flavor. The first is to use lemon or lime to balance out the sweetness. Once your jam has reached a desired consistency, taste for sweetness. Stir in some citrus juice until you reach that perfect sweet-tart balance. It’s that easy! Next, add depth of flavor with a liqueur. If you’re making raspberry jam, add some Chambord. Blueberry jam? Try Limoncello. Or pair Art in the Age Rhubarb Liqueur with a batch of strawberry jam. Just 1 to 2 tablespoons of liqueur will add some major flavor to the jam.

With this Apricot Elderflower Jam, I’ve mixed beautifully ripe apricots with fragrant St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur. Both the apricots and liqueur have floral notes, and the marriage of the two is nothing short of heaven. Seriously. After my first taste, I gasped and exclaimed, “OMG.” Make this jam now while apricots are still in season. St. Germain is a little on the pricey side, but I guarantee you will enjoy every last drop (especially mixed with champagne!). Continue reading for the recipe.

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Stone Fruit Galette with Ginger and Vanilla

Stone Fruit Galette Slice This galette (a rustic, free-form tart) begins with a market bounty of ripe stone fruit: fragrant doughnut peaches, golden nectarines, tender apricots and blushing rainers.   A rhapsody of crimson and gold, the sliced fruits are tossed with ginger, vanilla and several spoonfuls of glistening white sugar.  Encased in a blanket of butter-speckled pastry, stone fruit and juices are then baked until melting and bubbly.  Served beside a scoop of cool vanilla ice cream, this warm Stone Fruit Galette with Ginger and Vanilla is little slice of heaven.

Over this past holiday weekend, Jorge and I hosted a Tart Party for a few fellow San Diego Food Bloggers.  I’ve always been a big fan of tarts, so I thought it would be fun to dedicate an entire party to them :)  Jorge made a super tasty Strawberry Rhubarb Tart, and I threw together a Zucchini Tart and French Onion Tart.  Marie and Dan, from Meandering Eats, brought an amaaaazing Triple Cheese Tart with Chocolate and Orange.  And Vintage Sugarcube’s Jenny baked a beatiful Corn and Basil Tart.  This tart was just bursting with corn flavor.  Stacy with Center Stage Wellness was also there sans tart.  Instead, she brought her new adorable baby, Iver :).  Check out my Instagram feed for photos from the party.

I didn’t actually serve this Stone Fruit Tart at the gathering;  however, I was still in a tart-making mood after the party, so I baked two new tarts for Kitchen Konfidence.  Yes, that means there’s another coming soon :)  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Paleo Recipes: Week of May 13

Coconut Yogurt With posts like this and this and this, you may have thought I was off the Paleo Diet.  But that’s totally not the case.  I’m still going strong :)  I did put on several pounds after my trip to NYC though.  With dining destinations like Le Bernadin, The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Eataly, Baked and the Momofuku Noodle Bar, it was close to impossible for me to follow Paleo guidelines.  But I don’t go on many vacations throughout the year, so I was totally fine with breaking the rules.  I’ve got three recipes below that have helped me get back on track.  They’re easy to prepare and packed with flavor.  Each recipe also has a richness that makes you forget the fact that you are eating diet food.  Citrus Avocado Dip, Coconut Yogurt, and Chorizo Meatloaf recipes below.

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Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood Orange Marmalade

So I think I might have a new obsession: Orange Cardamom Scones + Blood Orange Marmalade + Mascarpone Cheese.  Sweet, tart, creamy, flaky, and buttery.  Does it get any better than that?  Not just for scones, this sunset-hued spread can liven up any slice of buttered toast or cream-cheesed bagel.  Typically thought of as a breakfast food, marmalade can actually be used in many other applications.  Try spooning a dollop over vanilla ice cream to brighten up your late night dessert.  This marmalade can also be shaken into a seasonal cocktail or be used as the base of a fruit vinaigrette.

I’m already one paragraph in, and I have yet to mention the best part of this recipe.  It only requires 3 ingredients.  And 1 of them is water!!  If you’ve never made marmalade before, don’t be intimidated and give this recipe a try.  I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how easy it is.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pear Salsa

Pear Salsa

Fragrant chunks of crisp, Bartlett pear are tossed with sweet red onion, fiery bits of serrano chile, fresh mint and verdant cilantro.  This beautiful bowl of purple and green is then dressed in a simple mix of olive oil and lime juice.  Fresh, bright and SO yum, this recipe makes a lot of salsa, so make sure you have friends or family around to help you finish it.  I love to serve this up with some tortilla strips, but you could also spoon atop a seared piece of fish or mix in with steamed rice.

We’re all familiar with tropical fruit salsas like pineapple and mango, but really, you can use any type of fruit.  I’m getting a little giddy just thinking of the possibilities!  Apple and thyme salsa?  White peach and tarragon?  Berries and sage?  So many options!  What’s your favorite type of fruit salsa?  Continue reading for the recipe and share your thoughts below!

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Pear and Arugula Smoothie

Pear and Arugula Smoothie

I’ve reached that point in the new year where my body is just craving something healthy.  Cake, ice cream, burgers and Chinese food have recently been added to the list of things I don’t want to eat at the moment.  This list is, of course, only temporary.  But as for right now, I am officially on a health kick.  Morning meals include homemade granola, scrambled eggs sans butter, and variety of delicious smoothies.  My Spiced Oatmeal Smoothie is a standard, but recently, I’ve been ob. sessed. with this Pear and Arugula Smoothie.  Peppery arugula is blended with orange juice, pine nuts, yogurt, ginger and fresh pear.  The finished smoothie is light, bright and packed with flavor.  It’s seriously the easiest way to down a cup of greens in the morning.  Continue reading for the recipe (with animated GIF!).

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Brandon’s 2012 Top Picks

Frozen Seared Steak

Here’s a brief roundup of my top recipes from 2012.  I’ve really grown to enjoy writing this type of article each year.  Skimming through my archives, I get flooded with all sorts of fond memories.  During the month of February, I posted a number of Mexican recipes that I had prepared for Valentine’s Day.  I had led my boyfriend to believe that he was getting steak and salad for dinner, then surprised him with an entirely Mexican feast (he’s Mexican by the way).  In June, I moved from a beautiful house to a new apartment.  I find it interesting to see how my photography has changed since transitioning into the new space.  In September, I started experimenting with fermentation after enjoying an afternoon with a group of lovely San Diego Food Bloggers.

I’ve found that many of my good memories throughout the year have food associated with them.  I still remember the pickled quince served to a gathering of close friends for Thanksgiving.  The corned beef my mother prepared my first evening back in New Jersey (after 4 years!).  The citrusy walktails consumed during the Coachella Music Festival (a walktail is a cocktail you drink while walking from your car to the venue).  My first bite of caramelized onion and jalapeno-topped, cream cheese-slathered, sriracha-drizzled hot dog enjoyed with an old friend on his porch in Poughkeepsie.  A glorious sip of intensely flavored shrimp broth at a taco spot in Tijuana with my boyfriend.  Like I said above… flooded.  Continue reading for my top picks of 2012.  Also, please share some of your favorite 2012 food memories.

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Poached Quince

Poached Quince Last year, during the height of my soda-making obsession, I first discovered the beauty of the quince.  I was experimenting with a new flavor profile (quince and star anise), and after a few hours of simmering, I was left with a delicious soda syrup and melt-in-your-mouth Poached Quince.  After just one bite, I knew I had stumbled upon a new seasonal favorite.  In its raw form, quince is quite inedible.  Sour and astringent, raw quince looks like an apple or a pear, but seriously… don’t take a bite.  When cooked, quince transforms into a wonderfully fragrant delicacy nothing short of pure heaven.  The fragrance is like apple and pear mixed with heady floral notes.  In this recipe, I’ve added vanilla, cardamom and ginger to the poaching liquid.  Each of those flavors compliments the quince; however, you can omit any or all of them if you’re not a fan.  Quince are ripe when firm, yellow and fragrant.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Heirloom Tomato Jam

Heirloom Tomato Jam

Homemade condiments and sauces are two things I’m completely obsessed with.  If you were to open up my fridge today, you’d find an assortment of weck jars filled with jams, aioli, mustards, spreads, dippies and dairy products.  And perhaps a jar or two of pickles.  This Heirloom Tomato Jam is my newest addition.  Ripe heirloom tomatoes are simmered with ginger, red chile, cinnamon, cumin and ground clove, resulting in a ketchup-like sauce just packed with flavor.  Sugar used to bring out the sweetness in the tomatoes is balanced by a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice.  Use this jam as a condiment for your next backyard burger or spread over freshly baked cheddar biscuits.  You could also use this jam with any beef, chicken or pork entree or mix into an afternoon bowl of polenta.  That’s the beauty of homemade condiments.  Having an arsenal of unique flavors at your fingertips allows you to easily switch up your everyday meals, creating unique dishes with minimal effort.  Prep this jam over the weekend, then enjoy throughout the week when time and energy are usually limited.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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