Roasted Carrot, Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

I love it when a salad is as beautiful as it is delicious.  And this salad is a stunner.

Roasted Carrot, Fennel and Blood Orange Salad Ruby red and glistening, slices of blood orange cozy up with spiced carrot and fennel, salty olive bits, and wispy fennel fronds in a tangle of peppery arugula.  Before reaching the salad, the carrots and fennel are dusted with crushed cumin, coriander, fennel seed and cayenne pepper, then roasted until tender and caramelized.  The dressing here is a lemon vinaigrette spiked with garlic and blood orange zest.  My Roasted Carrot, Fennel and Blood Orange Salad is bold, spicy and incredibly satisfying.  This sophisticated salad would be perfect for a special occasion (Mother’s Day or Easter brunch), or any evening you just want to treat yourself.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Meyer Lemon Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Sauce

Meyer Lemon Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Sauce Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and I need to get my dinner menu in order.  I have some ideas in mind, but the only item set in stone is this Meyer Lemon Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Sauce.  French for “heart with cream,” Coeur à la Crème tastes similar to cheesecake, but with no crust and a lighter texture.  In this recipe, a mixture of cream cheese and sour cream is flavored with Meyer lemon, sugar and vanilla.  The mixture is then pressed into a special heart-shaped mold that allows moisture to drain off through a series of small holes.  After an overnight rest, the finished dessert is light, bright and wonderfully silky.  The accompaniment to this Meyer Lemon Coeur à la Crème is a sexy Raspberry Sauce flavored with Meyer lemon and St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur.

I first saw this French dessert while watching my favorite Food Network personality, Ina.  Denim-clad with collar popped, Ina was whipping up this Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce.  I remember being so impressed by the dessert, but equally put off by the fact that you needed a special mold to make it.  After doing a little research, I discovered that these molds are both cheap and readily available on Amazon.  Problem solved!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Cranberry Sorbet

Cranberry Sorbet Each year at Thanksgiving, I serve a palate cleanser before the dessert course to revive everyone’s taste buds after a rich and decadent dinner buffet.  Usually, everyone gets a scoop of Meyer Lemon Sorbet.  This year, I though I’d try something new :)  Tart and sweet, this vibrantly hued Cranberry Sorbet is flavored with fresh lemon and orange zest.  I’ve also added a splash of Grand Marnier to amp up the orange flavor, and to keep the texture of the sorbet nice and smooth.  Keep in mind that this sorbet should be tart, so try not to add any additional sugar.  Also, I’d recommend just serving a small scoop to each guest.  You want to prepare them for dessert without ruining their appetite.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Fennel and Apple Guacamole

Roasted Fennel and Apple Guacamole Jorge and I hosted game night recently, and one of the many tasty dishes served that evening was this Roasted Fennel and Apple Guacamole.  But first let me tell you a little about the game we played: Cards Against Humanity.  This game is awesome.  Basically one person reads a question or a fill in the blank statement (the black card), then everyone else tries to answer that question or complete the statement using the cards they have in their hand (the white cards).  The person holding the black card then decides which pairing is the funniest.  What makes this game awesome, is that the white cards can be pretty darn outrageous.  I mean, we played for almost 4 hours, and I couldn’t stop laughing for most of the evening.  My face hurt afterwards.

I think Cards Against Humanity has been out for a little bit, and I’m probably late to the party here.  But if you’ve never played, and you don’t mind a little over-the-top humor, you need to give this game a try.  So much fun.

And if you want to host a game night of your own, I’d definitely recommend making this guacamole.  Rick Bayless released this recipe last year, and I’ve had it bookmarked ever since.  Sweet, herbaceous fennel is roasted until tender and fragrant, then added to cubes of rich avocado along with crisp, tart apple, lime juice, jalapeno, and cilantro.  This seasonal variation of a Mexican classic is sharp, creamy and wonderfully complex.  The licoricey fennel compliments the avocado while tiny pops of green apple offer contrast in flavor and texture.  The fennel isn’t really overpowering here.  With each bite, you’ll notice just a hint of fennel at the end.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Peach Brown Butter Buckle

Peach Brown Butter Buckle Stone fruit season is almost over, but I just had to squeeze in one last recipe.  Especially one as tasty as this Peach Brown Butter Buckle.  Now you may be wondering, “What the heck is a Buckle?”  Part of the cobbler family, a buckle cake is made by placing sliced fruit or berries on top of (or mixed into) a layer of cake batter.  The cake is then finished with a streusel topping.  As the cake cooks, the batter will rise up around the fruit, giving the top a buckled appearance.  I’ll have to say that this is actually the first buckle I’ve ever made, and the results?  A. Mazing.  This cake is simple to prepare, full of flavor and wonderfully rustic (aka not fussy).

My Peach Brown Butter Buckle starts with a layer of moist yellow cake made with aromatic brown butter, and just a hint of allspice.  Next, a layer of lemon-kissed peaches that melts to a jam consistency after cooking in the oven.  Finally, a streusel topping made with browned butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans, adding satisfying notes of sweet, salt, and crunch.  When eaten together, these layers form the perfect bite.  So perfect that I literally ate 2/3 of this cake by myself over the span of several days.  You need to make this.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Hop, Skip and Go Naked

Hop, Skip and Go Naked cocktail So today I have another super fun cocktail recipe to share with all of you.  It’s called the Hop, Skip, and Go Naked.  This is a more sophisticated version of a college classic.  Traditionally, Hop, Skip and Go Naked is made with a case of cheap beer, a fifth of bottom shelf vodka, lemon-lime soda, and lemonade or limeade frozen concentrate.  Many  years ago, this drink would have easily satisfied my pre-requisites for getting drunk:  cheap, easy to drink, and simple to prepare.  Nowadays, I no longer drink to get drunk.  Instead, I like to sip on an ice cold cocktail to enjoy it’s flavor, aroma, color and (sometimes) curious subtleties.  Something a little more like this version of Hop, Skip and Go Naked made with IPA, grapefruit juice, lemon vodka, and homemade lemon-lime syrup.  It’s crisp, colorful, and wonderfully bitter.  Plus,  you won’t get a killer hangover after kicking back a few of these!  Continue reading for the recipe!

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Summer Crush

Summer Crush Made with heirloom tomato, basil, watermelon, vodka and lime, Summer Crush is the type of cocktail you could easily enjoy after a day spent at the beach.  When you’re feeling a bit parched from being in the sun all day.  After you’ve casually dropped your beach bag on the floor, but before you jump in the shower to wash away the surf and sand.  Sweet, tart, and incredibly refreshing, Summer Crush is a muddled mix of the best summer produce.  And vodka of course.

To make this drink, you’ll first need to prepare a sweet basil syrup.  I’d recommend getting this done in advance and storing in the refrigerator.  With the syrup prepared, this drink comes together in a matter of moments!  Next muddle sweet basil syrup, heirloom tomato, Thai basil and watermelon in the base of a cocktail shaker until the fruit releases its gloriously flavored juice and the basil its oils.  I use both sweet and Thai basil for this drink to add some depth of flavor; however, you could certainly use all sweet basil if Thai isn’t available.  Finally, shake in some vodka and lime juice to balance out the flavors.  The finished cocktail is summer incarnate.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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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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