salted caramel ice cream sandwiches

Peanut butter cookies with salted caramel gelato.

Peanut butter cookies with salted caramel gelato.

It wouldn’t be Labor Day without ice cream sandwiches. Here’s an idea for some awesome salted caramel ice cream sandwiches with peanut butter cookies and salted caramel gelato that I LOVE!

Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons sugar and coarse salt, for sprinkling on the cookies
1 quart Talenti sea salt caramel gelato

mixer

1. Beat the brown sugar, softened butter, and peanut butter with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer  until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix just until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Use the tines of a fork to make crisscross pattern.

Use the tines of a fork to make crisscross pattern.

Sprinkle with coarse sugar and salt!

Sprinkle with coarse sugar and salt!

2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Using the palms of your hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls, coat each ball in the salt and sugar mixture, and transfer to a baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Press the tines of a fork flat against each ball of dough, then make a second indentation perpendicular to the first one. Bake until the cookies are firm and their edges are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer the cookies to wire racks or paper towels to finish cooling. Once the cookies have cooled, use an ice cream scooper to add a generous portion of gelato to one half of the cookies. Sandwich them together withe the remaining halves and place in an airtight container. Can be stored for 2-3 days. Yields 12 sandwiches.

Let the peanut butter cookies cool before adding gelato.

Let the peanut butter cookies cool before adding gelato.

 

 

mexican lasagna

Voting closes for the Del Real Blogger Food Challenge on Sept 6th and you can vote once a day! Please help me win by voting for me, Wade Hammond, HERE!!!

My simple and delicious Mexican Lasagna filled with Del Real Foods authentic small batch Carnitas!

My simple and delicious Mexican Lasagna filled with Del Real Food’s authentic carnitas!

*This is a compensated contest in collaboration with Del Real Foods.

After being invited to participate in the Del Real Foods Blogger Recipe Contest, the first thing that came to mind was my Grandmother’s cooking. Fleeing from Mexico during the revolution, my grandmother didn’t have the opportunity to hone her skills at cooking any family recipes. Instead, she developed her own more Americanized versions of her native dishes. I grew up on classics such as “Chicken Chile Goo” and “Chita’s Famous Tacos” made with Lowry’s Taco Seasoning mixed with Lypton’s Onion Soup Mix. I have many fond memories of casserole-style dishes with corn tortillas, meat and enchilada sauce. I suppose that’s why Mexican Lasagna popped into my mind almost immediately when I began thinking about this challenge.

Thanks to the Cardenas family, Del Real Foods produces delicious, high quality, preservative free, healthier products that can be prepared in minutes and included in countless recipes. My Mexican Lasagna is an homage to my Grandmother, the Cardenas family and the notion that good food will always bring people together.

Did I mention that their carnitas are legit?!

Did I mention that their carnitas are legit?!

Ingredientes
1 package Del Real Foods Carnitas, defrosted and shredded
1 container of Del Real Foods Salsa De Molcajete Roja
24 oz can mild enchilada enchilada sauce (I used La Victoria)
32 oz. block of Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
1 small can of chopped black olives
1 small bag corn tortillas (at least 24)

Preperación
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine enchilada sauce and chopped olives in a large bowl. One at a time, place tortillas into the sauce, coating both sides generously and then arrange in a single layer in a deep 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Tear tortillas to fit when necessary. Next, place a thin layer of shredded carnitas onto the layer of tortillas. Now, gently spoon the Salsa De Molcajete Roja onto the pork and smooth with fingers. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the cheese and repeat the layering process. You should be able to achieve 4 to 5 layers depending on the depth of your pan. Place dish uncovered on the top shelf of oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the top begins to turn golden brown. Allow the Mexican Lasagna 10 minutes to rest before cutting into it. Serves 8-10 people. Enjoy!

Pottery provided buy the amazing Karen Scott of Ojai.

 

italian bread salad

I love to use burrata on my bread salad!

I love to use burrata on my Italian bread salad!

Italian bread salad or Panzanella is one of my favorite dishes to create during the summer because it showcases one of the best fruits of the season, the tomato. You can make it even better by adding fresh burrata cheese and balsamic glaze. I found a Barolo syrup infused with truffle and it’s amazing on this salad! One thing I find is that if you mix the salad prior to adding the bread, the salt will draw some of the water out of the tomatoes. This adds great flavor and moisture to the bread.

Ingredients
3 cups sourdough bread cut into 1 inch cubes
Fresh burrata cheese
2 medium heirloom tomatos
8 basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt
pepper

Place the cubed bread onto a baking sheet and cook at 400° F tossing every few minutes until evenly browned. Meanwhile cut the tomatoes into a large dice and thinly slice onion. Toss all ingredients in a salad bowl. Finally, add bread and toss. Top with Burrata and enjoy the best Italian bread salad.

If you are interested in this handmade artisan pottery from the fabulous Karen Scott of Ojai click here!

emporium thai cuisine

Crab curry is just one of the more uncommon specialties at Emporium Thai  Cuisine

Crab curry is just one of the more uncommon specialties at Emporium Thai Cuisine

Located in Westwood, Emporium Thai Cuisine asserts its originality by specializing in southern Thai fare. You will find items not typically found at other Thai restaurants in the LA area. It does however share many similar specialties with the well know Jitlada restaurant and this is no coincidence. Founder of Emporium Thai Cuisine, John Sungkamee’s two siblings own Jitlada and many of the shared recipes were taught to them decades ago by their mother.

I love the depth and complexity of the spices used in the dishes and you won’t find the homemade chile sauces anywhere else in southern California. This is definitely a place to step out of your comfort zone and order something other than Pad Thai. Items not to be missed: Crying Tiger Beef, Coco Mango Salad with Fried Tofu, Pad Prik King with Crispy Pork, and Spicy Mussel Soup. If you have the opportunity to chat with the owner, do so. John will warmly welcome you into Sungkamee the family.

Crying Tiger Beef soooo good!

Crying Tiger Beef soooo good!

Pad Prik King is served with fried tofu or or crispy pork belly.

Pad Prik King is served with fried tofu or or crispy pork belly.

Khao Yam is a southern Thai rice salad with grated coconut and dried shrimp.

Khao Yam is a southern Thai rice salad with grated coconut and dried shrimp.

Coco Mango Salad with fried tofu

Coco Mango Salad with fried tofu

Astoundingly gracious host and owner John Sungkamee and me.

Astoundingly gracious host and owner John Sungkamee and me.