Home of the free, because of the brave.
Memorial Day = grilling season.
Not that you need an outdoor grill for this. In our house we make good use of a stovetop grill pan, and that works perfectly with these lamb chops.
The key to this dish is the super flavorful marinade, which will beautifully tenderize most meats. Little note, if you don't care for lamb, you can substitute chicken tenders (one time I made pita wraps with the marinated chicken instead of lamb and the BF went nuts). [Ed. note: She's not kidding.]
He knows Ina Garten is my spirit animal (love her!), so for a Hanukkah gift he gave me her cookbook Cooking for Jeffrey, and I've practically cooked through the entire tome. No changes were made to the chops or marinade recipes. Ina makes couscous with the lamb chops, but I switched that out for saffron rice (specifically Mahatma Saffron Yellow Rice was used, which is available at most local grocery stores, brand link is below), and added pomegranate seeds to the pine nuts and mint. The saffron rice really makes the lamb chops pop!
Thank you to all the veterans for your service, thank you Ina for all the inspiration, and I hope all of you enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with family and friends.
Adapted from: Ina Garten, Cooking for Jeffrey
Number of Servings: 6 (3 chops per person)
Saffron Rice with Pine Nuts, Mint and Pomegranate Seeds
Crème brûlée is French for "burnt cream." It's all about the contrast between the crisp caramelized topping and smooth, creamy custard beneath.
Some people have the impression that this is a difficult dessert to make. Truthfully, it isn't, if you follow a few tried-and-true steps. The first time I made it (in my twenties) it turned into scrambled eggs, because I did not temper the eggs. Over/under-baked the custard? Burned the sugar topping? Been there, done that. One thing is certain, I do learn from my failures.
That said, this particular recipe is pretty fool-proof and simple, a solid "go to" time and time again. Several years ago, I had a client who wanted a small dessert (with no leftovers) once a month. She adored custards, so I made the family a different flavored crème brûlée every month for a year.
Once you've tried making this lemony custard, you can go nuts and make pumpkin, chocolate, espresso, butterscotch, bourbon-maple, eggnog, ginger, Earl Grey–the flavor possibilities are endless.
After the recipe, there are some very extremely helpful tips. Please check them out before you start baking!
One nice aspect of this dessert is that it's very easy to adjust. You can easily make 4 or even 2 (which I do when it's just the BF and me) servings, if desired.
Also, you don't need a butane torch. If I'm doing 8 or more custards I will place all on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler. If you do this, you need to place them back in the fridge for awhile to cool, but I'm okay with that, as this keeps the BF calm (he gets nervous when I break out the butane).
Have fun with this one!
Adapted from: Bon Appetit, June 2005 and most of the "Tips" from Simply Recipes blog
Number of servings: 8
You might not think of rum in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby, but since it's such a booze-heavy event, my clients at last Saturday's party didn't seem to mind this Caribbean Rum-Soaked Bundt cake. Neither did the friends we hosted the previous Thursday, who we were thanking for a very comfortable (and stylish) ride to and from the airport. In fact, it was such a hit both times that I'm considering breaking out a third one for a client's upcoming Mother's Day luncheon. [Ed. note: The same cake thrice in one week? Is this allowed?]
While the BF likes many different types of liquors [Ed. note: As the late Robin Williams said, "I am not an alcoholic–I simply prefer living in a liquid medium"], rum is not my favorite, so I actually wasn't sure if I would take to this dessert. Oh, so wrong. There were no crumbs left on my plate, it was that good.
It's a boozy, evergreen (any season) cake that only uses one bowl, is super easy to transport, and if you follow the directions should not stick to the pan. BF chose the rum, and he chose one with lovely vanilla and caramel notes [Ed. note: Bacardi Select w/black label, but have fun with it], and it turned out super moist and fragrant. The flavor even seeps in more over time, so it was even better the following morning with coffee and tea.
The recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour and they explain, "Yes, there's a lot of rum in this cake, and it's definitely not for those avoiding alcohol. But the incredibly moist texture and rich flavor are deeply satisfying." They are not kidding.
Adapted from: King Arthur Flour (www.kingarthurflour.com/)
Number of servings: 16 slices
The BF and I are NBA fans [Ed note: Was five in 1975, therefore too young to enjoy that championship, I got the Golden State Warriors "Crud Years"], and tonight our Warriors will play game two of their NBA playoff series against the young, talented New Orleans Pelicans. Significantly, after a five-week layoff while recovering from a Grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament [Ed note: MCL for short, a technical term, don't worry we'll get to the food], star point guard Stephen Curry will return to the court.
Perfect time for some shrimp curry.
DISCLAIMER: We in no way are trying to imply Stephen Curry is a shrimp. (He is listed at 6'3".) He is also, my BF clarifies, a BMF. [Ed note: Another technical term.]
Adapted from Jessica Seinfeld's blog, this healthy (gluten free, dairy free, low carb), flavorful dish comes together very quickly—we're talking around 15 minutes—and is a perfect easy weeknight meal at home. It's a staple in our house, my clients have been fond of it as well, and don't let the simplicity fool you, it makes a great dinner-party for company.
For the spice-conscious, you truthfully don't have to worry about heat as the original recipe is pretty mild, despite the jalapeño (don't leave it out). I like to add a serrano pepper for a bit more kick, but it's not like that makes it as hot as Klay Thompson on 1/23/15 [Ed note: he scored 37 points in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings, but of course you knew that].
Enjoy the curry, and Go Warriors!
I'd also like to thank my wonderful BF-editor for having fun with [Ed note: ruining] this blog post.
Adapted from: Jessica Seinfeld (jessicaseinfeld.com/)
Game on, #DubNation!
My BF-editor and I owe you an apology. We missed a blog. While pathologically inexcusable, we actually have a wonderful excuse, namely, a family reunion for the ages. They came from far and wide (we're talking from Boston to Bangkok, Thailand) for a beautiful unveiling ceremony for our mother in Portland, Oregon (complete with glitter and a wonderful Rabbi), as well as a burial for my dear auntie in the small town where I went to high school. If you've ever had one of those perfect days that you replay over and over in your mind, this was a week of perfect days. Friends, family, and of course copious amounts of good food. Goodbyes were difficult.
It was a week that couldn't be beet.
[Ed. note: Oh no you didn't. No one will ever buy this transition for the love of G—]
Beets! With spring in full swing, they're at their peak at all stores and farmers markets. This salad is so easy to put together, is a vibrant alternative to a leafy green salad, and pairs well with chicken or fish. Feta or goat cheese makes a nice optional addition, and if you're adventurous with oranges, you can't go wrong with the Cara Cara red-fleshed navel variety.
Of course, it must be noted that red beets stain easily, so if you want to avoid that, you can use golden beets. If you go that route, you might want to try blood oranges for contrast.
Hello from the fam.
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate and Gjelina, Cooking From Venice, California, Travis Lett
Number of servings: 4 small or 2 large
All apologies, as the BF and I have been under the weather this week. Somehow, in over a quarter century of knowing each other, this is the first time we have been sick at the same time. [Ed. note: It's not like we were trying to set a record or anything.] We are slowly coming out of our funk.
A more pleasant subject: strawberries! While fresh strawberries are not quite in season yet—soon!—this dessert actually uses the freeze-dried variety, which pack a supremely flavorful punch. So easy to make, we're talking roughly a half hour, this made a perfect little housewarming gift for a friend and her hubs.
Adapted from: Leelalicious
Number of servings: 2 small servings
Today was San Francisco Giants opening day. [Ed. note: I can't get over how Brian Wilson looks without that beard.]
Baseball fans are highly superstitious. The BF and I are no different. On game days, he wears an oh so carefully selected Giants T-shirt, while I wear my favorite black MADBUM long-sleeve fitted shirt. If we sojurn to AT&T Park, he sports his decades-old game cap with six [Ed. note: SIX.] Croix de Candlestick pins (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croix_de_Candlestick). We outfit Marlowe in a Cody Ross jersey (pic at bottom) and always grill up some really good hot dogs. Not burgers or pizza–hot dogs.
Somehow after 25 years of hot dogs on opening day, I (the girl who lives for tradition) bucked tradition this year and we lost 6-4 to the Seattle Mariners. Can't help thinking it's my fault. [Ed. note: @#$*&+<?%!]
Sorry, not sorry. Sorry Giants, but not sorry that we had this light, creamy, delicious, takes-less-than-30-minutes-to-make pasta. It's one of my favorite pasta meals, and even includes a veggie, but I promise to not break tradition again and will serve this only on non-baseball-opening-day events.
NOTES: If you have carnovoires and vegetarians sharing the table, no problem. The pancetta is sprinkled on top of the plated pasta. Also, if you can't find pancetta in your grocery store, bacon is fine to substitute.
Adapted from: The Pollan Family Table
Serves: 4 to 6
You know that one person in your family that has that annoying habit that drives you and the rest of the clan batshit crazy? [Ed. note: It's a technical term.]
That person was me.
Removing the filling of a Hostess Twinkie, Suzy Q, or cupcake. Digging out the fruit at the bottom of a yogurt cup, leaving the sour plain yogurt for the next unsuspecting sibling. Sorry, Mike.
Eggs. Mom would go to Defcon 2 as I would surgically remove the yolk of a fried egg and leave behind a perfectly entact white saucer.
So it's no surprise that when the BF and I have deviled eggs, the filling gets excavated and he gets the outside white. Except...for this pinkalicious delight, where the outer egg white packs a puckering wallop of flavor (courtesy of the cardamom, anise, peppercorns, and optional jalapeno).
This is a nice addition to any Easter or Passover table. In my experience, they're always the first to disappear.
Happy Easter, Pesach Sameach.
Adapted from: Simply Recipes and The Kitchn (Brine)
Number of Servings: Makes 6 whole pickled eggs or 12 deviled egg halves
Hard Boiled Eggs
Pickled Beet Brine
Hard Boiled Eggs
Pickled Beet Brine
Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here
Life is Skittles and life is beer
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring
I do, don't you? 'Course you do
But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me
And makes every Sunday a treat for me...
Today is the first day of spring. You wouldn't know it by looking out my window right now, as we're in the middle of a Pineapple Express storm, courtesy of Hawaii. Matters not, I'm breaking out some serious spring veggies.
I could certainly eat this as a main dish. My BF would not. [Ed. note: Carrots are not an entrée!] Still, you can serve this as a side dish to complement just about anything.
If you can't find rainbow carrots, you can go ahead and use regular orange carrots. They're pretty commonplace now, available in most grocery stores. We have them here at the local Trader Joe's, Safeway, Whole Foods, etc.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Spring!
All the world seems in tune
On a spring afternoon
When we're poisoning pigeons in the park...
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of Servings: 4
For the Carrots
[Ed. note: Tom Lehrer was a favorite musical comedian of both our Momalas. No pigeons were harmed in the creation of this blog.]
When they see us coming
The birdies all try and hide
But they still go for peanuts
When coated with cyanide
Baileys Irish Cream, check.
For me, a trifecta of favorites in one dessert. In one bite, even. Boozy and creamy, while managing to be light tasting. The BF has already had too much of it. [Ed. note: <whistling and singing> We have no heads! No we have no heads!] Don't mind him.
This takes all of 20 minutes to put together, but needs to chill overnight. Have lost count how many times I've made this for family, friends, and clients. One of my clients who never eats desserts, eats this one.
A good friend is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.
- Irish Proverb
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Adapted from: Nigella Lawson, Nigella Express and Jenn Segal, Once Upon a Chef
Number of servings: 12
NOTES: Savoiardi cookies are also called lady fingers. But be sure to buy crisp cookies, not the soft sponge-cake lady fingers sold in the bakery section of your grocery store. Also, this recipe uses raw eggs, so use only fresh, properly refrigerated and clean grade-A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.
[Ed. note: We leave you with a little Traditional Irish Folk Song, courtesy of Denis Leary. Cheers and Happy St. Patrick's Day!]
We drink and we die and continue to drink!
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.