Garlic Butter Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles

Good morning and Happy Friday friends!!

Zucchini Garlic Butter Spaghetti

I’ve been playing catch up all week long after my recent adventures in Tuscany.  Particularly: Halloween and Holiday preparations at the mall, laundry at the house, dinner celebrating Jordan & Jocelyn’s latest cookbook last night, and detailed meal prep each morning to keep me from eating fast food throughout the week (something I’m guilty of each time I come back from a trip).  Dinners have mainly been simple preparations of pizza and pasta plus one evening of homemade, from-scratch green chilaquiles wHipped up by the boyfriend (his mother’s recipe).

One of my go-to pasta dishes that I made this week is my Garlic Butter Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles.  Two-toned curls of fresh zucchini are sautéed in garlic butter, then tossed with cooked spaghetti, herbs, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.  A final squeeze of lemon sets off flavors.  What I love most about this recipe is that it comes together in about 15 minutes.  The prep work, sauce and zucchini can all be done while the pasta is cooking.  Everything gets tossed together at the end, and dinner is ready on the table in a matter of moments.  Exactly the recipe I need this week when energy is low and I crash at 8PM because of jet lag 😛  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Plum Butter + Toast

I’m diving into a new realm of delicious DIY today with this recipe for Plum Butter.

Plum Butter Toasts

I was at Specialty Produce several weeks ago when I spotted an entire section of ripe, fragrant plums, each colorful variety separated into various boxes.  After sampling most of them, I decided to get a couple pounds of these Honeysuckle Rose Plums.  I’m not sure if the naming of the plum influenced my flavor perception, but at first, juicy bite (a juice explosion really), I swear they tasted of honeysuckle.  Sweet, tart and just a hint of floral honey.  With a bag of speckled rubies in hand, I headed home, determined to make them into preserves.

During the summer months when gorgeous fruit is abundant yet fleeting, I just love making all sorts of preserves (jams, jellies, and now butters).  This allows me to enjoy seasonal flavors several months after the actual fruit has gone out of season.  I usually make jam, so this year, I wanted to tackle something new: fruit butter.  Continue reading for the process plus a bonus toast recipe.

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Plum Galette + Updated Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

Plums are in season right now, so get your hands one some good ones while you still can!

Plum Galette

I recently managed to get my hands on a number of Flavor King Plums from Fog Hollow Farm located up near San Francisco.  These plums are absolutely gorgeous.  Vibrantly-hued and fragrant, the Flavor Kings just explode with sweet-tart juice at first bite, and somehow they manage to stay firm when ripe.  A perfect fruit for baking!

To honor this seasonal beauty, I decided to slice and bake them into flaky, golden galette (like a pie, but easier to make).  This recipe starts with a simple mix of white sugar, brown sugar, flour and salt, tossed together with the sliced plums.  The slices are then arranged in concentric circles on top of a smooth slab of butter-flecked pie dough. I like to make my own pie dough (more about that below), but you could certainly use store-bought. The galette is formed by bringing the sides of the dough up around the fruit, and then everything is baked until golden and bubbly.

This galette captures the pure essence of these Flavor King Plums. Enjoy as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I should mention too that this recipe is more of a template that can be applied to many other seasonal fruits. Don’t have gorgeous plums? Try peaches, nectarines, apricots, pluots or berries instead. You could even use apples or pears in the autumn months! Continue reading for the recipe.

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Peach Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe

It has been so HOT in San Diego recently.

Peach Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe

For those of you in typically warmer summer climates, you may laugh at me when I say that it’s been an uncomfortable 75 – 80 for the past week.  But those seemingly normal temps have been accompanied by a thick blanket of humidity, something that we rarely get here in San Diego.  I used to deal with humidity all the time when I lived in New Jersey, but I’m coming up on my 11th year in SD, and I’ve completely lost all tolerance.

This uncharacteristic heat has me craving cold, sweet treats nighty.  My freezer is stocked with various tubs of homemade and store-bought ice creams, including this Fresh Peach Ice Cream.  Made with both a blended peach puree and macerated bits of yellow peach, this egg-free ice cream is just packed with peach flavor.  Like scoopable summer.

When I’m feeling lazy, I’ll enjoy a scoop or two of ice cream with some fridge staples, including jam, caramel sauce, or ginger syrup.  OR I’ll make ice cream sandwiches with store-bought cookies.  When I’m feeling a bit more ambitious, I’ll whip up a fresh batch of cookies for ice cream sandwiches.  Here, I’ve paired this Fresh Peach Ice Cream with dark, glistening Gingersnaps.  These cookies are bursting with notes of ginger, star anise, brown sugar and molasses. Ginger pairs harmoniously with peach here, forming an addicting sweet treat.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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The Cucumber Lime Zinger + 5 Years [Giveaway]

Kitchen Konfidence is officially 5 years old!!  Gosh, can you believe it?!

Cucumber Lime Zinger Cocktail

I started Kitchen Konfidence back in 2010 as a way for me to express and share my passion for food through recipes and photography.  And I’m glad to say that Kitchen Konfidence continues to act as my creative happy space 5 years later.  I love cooking, I love photography and I love sharing my recipes.  I love that moment when someone tastes something I’ve made, and their eyes grow wide, the corners of their mouth turn up to a smile, and they exclaim, “YUM!”  These are the things that keep me going.

Another big part of why I still enjoy blogging is YOU!  All of the readers, bloggers, friends and family that continue to check in here, leave comments, send e-mails, tweets and all other manner of communiqué.  Connecting with other passionate foodies is what makes this FUN.  So thank you.

Finally, I’ve really grown to enjoy all of the local San Diego activities that I get to do as a result of being a food blogger.  Events with the San Diego Food Blogger group, restaurant experiences around town, product tastings, local partnerships and my monthly recipe column in Pacific Magazine.  The San Diego food scene has really come up since I first moved here back in 2004, and I love being just a small part of the big picture.

From time to time, I like to look back at my old recipes to see how I’ve grown over the years.  For example, take a look at my original post on Blueberry Ice Cream.  The photos are dark, the focus is way too tight on several photos and the recipe is in an unfriendly format.  Also, remember FoodBuzz??  I do miss that.  Last year, I reposted the same Blueberry Ice Cream recipe, reimagined with an Oat Crumble Topping.  My photos are now bright, vibrant and there’s even an animated gif thrown into the mix!  I’m not saying that these photos are perfect, but they’re definitely improved!  Week-by-week, Kitchen Konfidence allows me to hone my photography, writing, editing, styling, recipe testing/development, and teaching skills.  It’s a challenge, and I love it.

So that’s it for the love fest!!  Now, on to the cocktail.  Continue reading to hear more about this Cucumber Lime Zinger plus a cookbook giveaway.

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Fluffy Cardamom Pancakes Recipe

I met Cheryl at a conference last year.

Fluffy Cardamom Pancakes

Winner of Saveur’s 2014 Reader’s Choice Best Writing Blog award, Cheryl was one of the guest speakers at the conference.  I remember being particularly enthralled by Cheryl’s creative writing presentation, and I’m always impressed with her stories on 5 Second Rule.  I find that I pour most of my creativity into my cooking, styling and photography, and my writing often gets the short end of the stick!  It’s a skill I’m continuously trying to improve, and Cheryl’s blog is a good source of inspiration :)

In addition to being an amazing writer, Cheryl just released another cookbook called Yogurt Culture: A Global Look at How to Make, Bake, Sip, and Chill the World’s Creamiest, Healthiest Food.  This book is a beauty!   I often find myself with a tub of yogurt (Greek or otherwise) in my fridge, and I’m always looking for new ways to use it up (besides snacking with berries and granola!).  You’ll find a collection of my yogurt recipes below, but for a real comprehensive yogurt experience (300+ pages), you need to get Yogurt Culture.  I’ve cooked several recipes from the book including Twice-Cooked Yogurt-Marinated Chicken, Yogurt Whipped Cream, Lemon Poppy Seed Mousse and these Fluffy Cardamom Pancakes.  All were delicious, but I really loved the pancakes.  Continue reading for the recipe and roundup!

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Basil Turkey Burger Recipe

Aaaaaaand I’m back.

Basil Turkey Burgers

For the past couple of weeks, Jorge and I have been adventuring around Europe, including stops in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.  A big thanks to all who provided recommendations!  I’m not going to dive into our trip just yet, because I haven’t processed all the photos; however, you can find some foodie highlights on Instagram.

Now that we’re back, I’m in full 4th of July mode.  This year, I will be grilling up a batch of Basil Turkey Burgers inspired by one of my favorites from Burger Lounge.  Flavored with tons of fresh basil, these burgers are laced with two secret ingredients: fish sauce and sugar.  Fish sauce provides some much-needed umami without imparting a fishy flavor.  The sugar balances out the fish sauce.  Stacked up with lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup, the finished burger packs a pleasant basil punch followed by an incredibly satisfying savory finish.  Continue reading for the turkey burger recipe plus 9 other recipes for 4th of July!

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St. Germain Ice Cream Float

I’m keeping things short and sweet today.

St. Germain Ice Cream Float

This ice cream float has been… floating around in the back of mind for almost two years now.  Back in August 2013, Jorge and I were exploring the Seattle food scene when we came upon Hot Cakes, a small restaurant that specializes in boozy milkshakes and molten chocolate cakes.  There were so many tasty things on the menu (including a St. Germain Float), and we wanted to order all of them!  Unfortunately, stomach space was minimal (we just had dinner), and the St. Germain Float option was trumped by an Extra-Dark Caramel Milkshake, a shake that I later recreated at home.

As we were leaving Hot Cakes that evening, I asked a waitress what was in the St. Germain Float, and she replied, “A scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of St. Germain poured over.”  Seems simple enough right?  Well I tried this at home, and it was delicious, but I don’t think I would really call it a float.  Where was the soda?  The bubbles?  With a few simple additions, I finally landed on this recipe.

Made with just 4 ingredients, my St. Germain Ice Cream Float starts with a mix of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lemon juice and sparkling water.  A makeshift elderflower soda if you will.  The lemon balances out the sweetness of the liqueur while the bubbly provides a refreshing snap.  To finish, drop in a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy.  So simple.  SO delicious.  The pairing of elderflower and vanilla just works in all the right ways.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Avocado Toast 5 Ways

If you enjoy avocado as much as I do, then you’re going to love today’s article.  I’ve got 5 fresh avocado recipes for you below!

Avocado Toast 5 Ways In particular, Avocado Toast.  The concept is fairly simple.  Mash up half an avocado with salt, pepper and some sort of acid (lemon or lime juice) to taste.  The flavors should be bright without covering up the cool grassiness of the avocado.  Spread this mash over a lightly toasted piece of bread, and you have Avocado Toast.  It’s that easy!  I like to use whole wheat bread here, but sourdough or country bread would also work well.

Avocado Toast can be enjoyed for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  Avocado is packed with healthy fat and nutrients, so I find that just 1 slice can keep me full and satisfied until my mid-morning meal.  I’ve also served these luscious green beauties as an appetizer (on thin slices of seedy baguette).

To take things up a notch, here are 4 variations on the basic Avocado Toast:

  • Egg + Bacon + Chive.  A dressed up version perfect for Saturday breakfast.
  • Frisée + Bacon + Lemon.   Similar to one of my favorite sandwiches (minus the tomato).
  • Tomato + Basil + Balsamic.  Italian flavors that pair well with avocado.  Serve as an afternoon snack or a simple appetizer before dinner.
  • Corn + Chile + Lime.  My Mexican spin on Avocado Toast.  Big, bold flavors.

The recipes below are more like loose guidelines.  I barely included exact measurements, because most of the toppings are to taste.  Don’t like red onion?  Leave it out.  Love bacon (like me), add more.  A scatter of this.  A sprinkle of that.  Just know that the flavors in each recipe work well together.  Quantities of toppings are up to you.  Also, each recipe uses just 1/2 an avocado.  If you don’t plan on using the other half immediately, sprinkle the cut side with acid (lemon or lime juice), press plastic wrap directly against the flesh of the avocado, and store in the refrigerator.  Continue reading for the recipes.

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Yogurt Panna Cotta with Easy Plum Compote

I’m not ready to give up summer just yet.

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Plum Compote Apples, pears, quince and pumpkins will all have their turn.  But for now, I’m holding on to summer with this Yogurt Panna Cotta with Plum Compote.  Panna cotta is a favorite dessert of mine, because the process is easy, and the results are spectacular.  Typically made with heavy cream, panna cotta is custard-like dessert that is thickened with gelatin instead of eggs.  The texture is smooth, rich and silky.  In this recipe, tangy whole-milk yogurt is flavored with sugar, citrus zest and an entire vanilla bean, then firmed up with powdered gelatin.  After an overnight chill, the panna cotta is topped with a sweet-tart Plum Compote (made with 3-ingredients!), and fresh, fragrant mint leaves.  So simple.  So delicious.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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