White Bean, Fennel and Chorizo Salad in a Jar

I have a confession to make.  Over the past several years, I’ve developed quite a jar obsession.

Salad in a Jar Two and half years ago, I was only a few months into dating my boyfriend Jorge.  He was heading up to San Francisco at the time to visit friends, and I asked him to bring me some items from the city.  Can you guess what I asked him for?  Not a loaf or two of glorious SF sourdough.  No chocolate from Ghirardelli.  No artisan, hand-crafted this or that.  Instead, I asked for jars.  Particularly Weck Jars from Heath Ceramics.  At the time, they were a bit of a rarity.  Crate & Barrel and West Elm hadn’t started selling them yet.  I was completely elated the evening Jorge walked through the door carrying two large bags filled with carefully-wrapped Weck Jars.  This obsession has continued ever since.

With such a wide variety of glass beauties at my fingertips, I’m always looking for new ways to use my jars.  And now, I’m jumping on the Salad in a Jar bandwagon.  Here’s the basic idea: salad ingredients are layered inside a large canning jar in such a way that the greens stay crisp and fresh.  Liquids at the bottom.  Greens at the top.  With this framework in place, you can make a number of jarred salads on the weekend to enjoy throughout the week.  Continue reading for my layering technique plus a Salad in a Jar recipe that uses white beans, fennel and chorizo.

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Rainbow Fruit Purees

San Diego LGBT Pride is this weekend, and I’m celebrating with a kaleidoscope of organic fruit purees.  Each puree destined for a glass of champs of course ;)

Rainbow Fruit Making your own fruit purees at home is an easy task.  Simply blend ripe, organic fruit with sugar and citrus juice, strain, and serve!  That’s it.  For reals.  Sugar and citrus (lemon, lime or orange) help to amp up the flavors of any fresh fruit.  Once you’ve mastered one puree, try making a vibrant rainbow of purees with strawberries, papaya, mango, honeydew, watermelon, blueberries and blackberries.  All the organic produce featured in this article was purchased at the new Jimbo’s… Naturally! at Westfield Horton Plaza.  They have a seriously gorgeous selection of fresh herbs and fruit.

You can serve this edible spectrum with champagne, sparkling wine, Prosecco or sparkling water.  Place a few tablespoons of puree at the bottom of a glass, then top of with bubbly.  A perfect addition to any Pride Weekend brunch table!  Continue reading for the recipes.

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Brown Butter Old Fashioned + 4 Years

Kitchen Konfidence is officially 4 years old!!!  And I’m celebrating with a cocktail.

Brown Butter Old Fashioned A Brown Butter Old Fashioned to be exact.  This recipes starts with a rapid infusion of bourbon and nutty brown butter.  And by rapid, I mean 24 hours.  In the infusion world, that’s fast.  Toasty, aromatic brown butter is added to smokey bourbon, forming, quite possibly, one of the best things EVER.  The smell is incredible, and the taste is just as good.  I had a hard time keeping myself from drinking it straight up.

An Old Fashioned cocktail is typically made with bourbon, sugar, and bitters; served over ice; and garnished with an orange slice.  The first sip of an Old Fashioned is usually quite strong; however, as the ice melts, the drink becomes pleasantly diluted.  Here, I’ve tweaked the ingredient list just a bit to compliment the Brown Butter Bourbon base.  Black Walnut Bitters are added with Angostura Bitters to add some depth of flavor, and a few drops of liquid smoke compliment the smoky notes found in bourbon.  I’ve also garnished with a slice of blood orange peel, but you can use a regular orange if you can’t find a blood orange.  Continue reading for the recipe, plus my thoughts on 4 years of blogging.

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Tomato Confit Pasta

With just 3 fresh ingredients and minimal effort, you can have a plate of this seasonal pasta on the table in under 1 hour.

Tomato Confit Pasta I know the word confit may conjure up some feelings of worry and anxiety, but I assure you, the process couldn’t be easier.  The term confit is typically associated with meat (especially duck), but can also be applied to fruits and vegetables.  Confit simply means to cook something in fat at a low temperature for a longer period of time.

Here, I’m tossing cooked pasta with slow-roasted tomato confit and chopped fresh basil.  To make the tomato confit, simply toss cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil in olive oil, and slow-roast for 45 minutes.  The resulting tomatoes will soften and blister, releasing some of their juices on to the pan.  The tomatoes and juices will have a wonderfully concentrated tomato flavor.  The pasta cooks up while the tomatoes are in the oven, keeping cook time to a minimum.  For best results, give this recipe a try while tomatoes are in season.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Garlic Bloody Mary

I’m giving the Bloody Mary a bit of a makeover.  A delicious, Italian makeover.

Roasted Garlic Bloody Mary A classic Bloody Mary is made with vodka, tomato juice, hot sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire, lemon, salt and pepper, but today, I’m switching things up.  To start, Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka takes the place of regular vodka.  Garlic and tomato are a perfect pairing.  Roasting the garlic tames its biting heat while adding a deep savory note.  Next, pepperoncini pickling liquid is added with lemon juice to brighten flavors.  Using two types of acid kicks up the intrigue factor.  Finally, the ever-important garnishes get a major overhaul.  Typically, one would garnish a Bloody Mary with a celery stalk, salted rim and lemon wedge.  Here, I’ve adorned this savory cocktail with a pepperoncino, bocconcino (mozzarella ball) and cherry tomato skewered with a bamboo toothpick.  A sprig of fresh rosemary is added for drama and fragrance.  With each sip, you’ll take in the wonderful woodsy aroma that works so well with tomato and garlic.  Next time you’re in need of a bold brunch cocktail, give this Roasted Garlic Bloody Mary a try.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka

I’m keeping things really simple today.

Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka This quick and easy vodka infusion is perfect for anyone who loves garlic as much as I do.  Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka can be made in just 24 hours with only a handful of ingredients.  The sweet-savory aroma and flavor work perfectly in one of my favorite cocktails, the Bloody Mary.  I’ve got a new Blood Mary recipe coming up next, so be sure to check back in soon :)  Continue reading for the recipe!

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Rainbow Chard Soup

I’m bringing the freshness today.

Rainbow Chard Soup Freshness in the form of a vibrant green Rainbow Chard Soup made with ingredients found in my Specialty Produce Farmer’s Market Box (FMB).  Several weeks ago, I started picking up a FMB at SP, and I’ve really been loving the variety of fresh goodies found within.  Specialty Produce, a local wholesale distributor, stocks many of the restaurants around town with beautiful, high-quality produce.  Some of their products are imported, while others come from farms in the area.  They also open up their warehouse from 8am – 5pm to individuals.  This is where I get almost all of my produce.  Here’s a list of the produce found in my most-recent FMB:

White Corn – Black Sheep Produce
Heirloom Mix Eggplant – Weiser Family Farms
Fennel – Rutiz Farms
White Scallions – McGrath Family Farms
Peewee Mix Fingerling Potatoes – Weiser Family Farms
Baby Mix Beets – Black Sheep Produce
Rainbow Chard – Lakeside
Strawberries – Be Wise Ranch
Broccoli – Lakeside
Jalapeno – Coke Farms

When I first saw the contents of the box, I immediately started thinking of soup ideas, and with San Diego LGBT Pride happening in just a few weeks, I decided to focus on the rainbow chard.  This soup recipe starts with chopped fennel sauteed with scallions, garlic and jalapeño.  Water and coconut milk are added along with chopped rainbow chard leaves.  Once the leaves turn tender, everything is blended until silky smooth.  I like to add a handful of spinach to the mix just before blending to amp up the green flavor and color.  The soup is finished with a a dollop of Greek yogurt, toasted almonds, coconut flakes, sliced scallion greens, and freshly pickled rainbow chard stems.  Such a bold variety of toppings may seem over-the-top, but I just love all of the contrasting flavors and textures.  Both flavorful AND healthy, this Rainbow Chard Soup is bright, fresh, and incredibly satisfying.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Blueberry Ice Cream with Oat Crumble Topping

Aside from flavor, my favorite part of this dessert is it’s color.  Will you just look at that:

Blueberry Ice Cream with Oat Crumble Topping Blueberry Ice Cream with Oat Crumble Topping is summer in dessert-form.  It’s like that piping-hot, all-American blueberry crumble, but… cold.  This recipe starts with a base of simmered fresh blueberries flavored with lemon juice and sugar.  The cooking process draws out some of the moisture while concentrating the blueberry flavor.  After a quick strain, the resulting liquid, stained a deep shade of blue-purple, captures the pure essence of blueberry.  This flavor bomb is mixed into a French custard base (see gif below), then churned into a cold, creamy confection.  A final sprinkling of crunchy oat crumbles provides a satisfying contrast in both flavor and texture.

I’m not going to lie, I love making ice cream (and sorbet) at home.  It’s one of my favorite things to do during the summer months.  Here are some of my past favorites:

What about you?  Do you love to make ice cream at home?  If so, please share some of your favorite creations below in the comments!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Brown Butter Snacking Cake

This cake is my secret weapon.

Brown Butter Snacking Cake That’s right, it’s a secret weapon against any sweet cravings that may come along when I’ve got practically nothing in my refrigerator.  Made with the most basic ingredients, this Brown Butter Snacking Cake is a shining example of how, with a little technique, you can make something incredibly satisfying from just pantry and fridge staples.  Let’s talk ingredients: butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, milk, sour cream, and turbinado sugar.  Simple, right?  The magic is the pairing of brown butter and brown sugar.

When you cook butter over a medium flame, the water in the butter evaporates, and the milk solids eventually caramelize, turning the liquid golden brown.  The resulting brown butter has a seductive, warm, nutty flavor and aroma that perfectly compliments the molasses notes of brown sugar.  Flour, baking powder, and eggs are added to the mix for structure; salt and vanilla to amp up flavor; and milk and sour cream for moisture.  A final sprinkling of turbinado sugar provides a crunchy contrast.

My Brown Butter Snacking Cake is not only tasty, it’s also easy to prepare and super versatile.  After you brown the butter, this cake batter can be made in just one bowl.  No stand or hand mixers required.  I usually cook this cake in a 10″ cast iron skillet, but any baking dish would work.  I like to call this a “snacking cake,” because I find myself snacking on it all day long.  A little slice with jam for breakfast, or a big slice with honey-sweetened ricotta and sliced peaches for dessert.  I’ve even layered it with vanilla ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce!  It pairs well with just about anything in your fridge/freezer.  Continue reading for the recipe.  I’ve also announced the winner of the WestRidge Beef Big Steaks package below.

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Grilled Kale Caesar with Torn Croutons

Several months ago, I had a grilled kale salad at a special event, and I’ve been dying to recreate it ever since.

Grilled-Kale-Caesar-(smaller) Organic lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur or black kale, is the star ingredient of this healthy, summer salad.  When cooked over hot coals, this leafy superfood transforms into something truly delicious.  Crispy edges provide savory notes of smoke and char while the inner portion of the kale leaf stays tender and chewy.  These grilled greens are tossed in a creamy Caesar dressing spiked with lemon, garlic and Parmesan cheese.  Torn croutons add pops of satisfying crunch.  This salad is a delicious mix of flavors and textures.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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