Tag Archives: summer

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.

 

 

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.

 

the whole animal

Slow roasted porchetta at Michael's Pizzeria is served on a pizza or as an entree.

Slow roasted porchetta at Michael’s Pizzeria is served on a pizza or as an entree.

This summer Michael’s Restaurant Group in Long Beach is featuring the “whole animal” menu at all three of its restaurants: Michael’s Pizzeria, Michael’s On Naples, and Chianina. The whole animal concept involves utilizing the entire animal in a variety of menu options. I was lucky enough to sample many of these delicious offerings. Here’s what you have to look forward to –

Chef loads a pizza into the wood burning pizza oven at Michael's Pizzeria.

Chef loads a pizza into the wood burning pizza oven at Michael’s Pizzeria.

Housemade fennel sausage with rapine and garlic pizza.

Housemade fennel sausage with rapine and garlic pizza.

Duck prosciutto, goat cheese mousse, mission fig and aged balsamic at Michael's On Naples.

Duck prosciutto, goat cheese mousse, mission fig and aged balsamic at Michael’s On Naples.

Chef David Coleman carves a whole duck at Michael's Of Naples.

Chef David Coleman carves a whole duck at Michael’s Of Naples.

Whole Liberty Farm duck with lavender and local honey.

Whole Liberty Farm duck with lavender and local honey.

Smoked duck neck with homemade cavatelli pasta.

Smoked duck neck with homemade cavatelli pasta.

Corned beef tongue, pickled ramps, rye bread crostini and mustard seed vinaigrette. Truly great!

Corned beef tongue, pickled ramps, rye bread crostini and mustard seed vinaigrette at Chianina. Truly great!

Bacon gelato at Chianina -  this actually works!

Bacon gelato at Chianina – this actually works!

I love the emphasis of the whole animal menu. It forces you to try things you may not have considered gourmet in past. Chef David Coleman’s menu is successful at all three restaurants. Cheers to new food experiences in Long Beach!

tart at farmer’s daughter

Tart

Tart, located within the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel in Los Angeles recently showcased its new summer menu as spring comes to an end. The menu emphasizes fresh seasonal ingredients with creative riffs inspired by the diverse heritage of Angelinos . Chef Nick Erven has an unfair advantage over the competiion because Tart is located a stones throw away from the historic LA Farmer’s Market. The vegetables were as fresh as they come and the pork belly melted my heart and in my mouth.

Black Ballin' Punch. It'll get you and a few friends happy!

Black Ballin’ Punch. It’ll get you and a few friends happy!

Yummy pickled summer squash with lavender.

Yummy pickled summer squash with lavender.

Tart_summer_menu

Outdoor seating and fireplace!

Outdoor seating and fireplace!

Fresh pea tendrils make this grilled peach and burrata salad so unique.

Fresh pea tendrils make this grilled peach and burrata salad so unique.

Heirloom tomato salad.

Heirloom tomato salad.

Scotch Egg Tartare.

Scotch Egg Tartare.

Tart at Farmer’s Daughter
115 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

aubergine amuse

aubergine11

Lately, I’ve been seeing a variety of eggplants and figs at our local farmer’s markets. They are in season at the same time during late summer/early fall, so naturally, I began to wonder how to combine them. Ultimately, I decided to roast the mini eggplants and use them as sort of an edible spoon filled with other complimentary ingredients and crowned with fresh beautiful fig slices. Turns out, not only are they pretty, they are simple to make and taste amazing. The one ingredient which may prove difficult to find is the Meyer lemon marmalade. Britt and I brought a jar home from an organic Meyer lemon farm in Malibu that we stayed at for our last anniversary. Thanks Bibi! Anyhow, the dish needed some acid and seeing the jar sitting there, I thought – let’s give it a shot. Turns out, it was better then balsamic glaze or fresh lemon juice! I bet quince paste would be amazing as well and easier to find. However, if you can’t find either, balsamic will suffice.

aubergine_fig

Ingredients
3 fresh figs
12 mini eggplants
bacon (cooked and crumbled)
goat cheese
tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Pine nuts
2 leeks (cleaned)
Meyer lemon marmelade (or quince paste)
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

aubergines

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place 4 strips of bacon on a baking sheet and place on the top rack of the oven for 17 minutes. Next, halve the mini eggplants and score flesh with a tic-tac-toe pattern. Place flesh side up on a baking sheet and brush with  olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves. Roast for 30 minutes or until eggplants are tender and golden in flesh area. While eggplants are roasting caramelize sliced leeks over medium heat until just barely golden. Adding a pinch of salt will help this process along and bring out the flavor of the leeks. Finally, remove the eggplants from the oven and spread a very thin layer of the meyer lemon marmalade on the flesh side. Now add a teaspoon of the caramelized leeks, sprinkle with bacon, goat cheese, pine nuts and fresh thyme. Finally, top with a slice of the fresh fig and serve. These end up being bite sized and great for a party appetizer.

aubergine1

aubergines2

aubergine_wine

What I drank…
I tried these aubergines with a 2012 Failla unoaked Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast (which I happened to have open), as well as, a 2012 Jules Taylor Pinot Gris from the Marlborough, which, my friend Sam of The Wine Country recommended. Because of the creamy nature of the eggplant flesh and goat cheese, the crisp Chardonnay paired fairly well, much to my surprise. However, the star of the show was definitely the New Zealand Pinot Gris with its bright fruit and crisp acidity. It not only held up to the creamy rich flavors but it commingled with the meyer lemon spread as well while exhibiting a super pleasant and long finnish. I agree with Sam that this is going to be a successful new varietal for that region. Personally, I’d be happy to see the overproduced vines of Sauvignon Blanc in that region become a thing of the past. By the way, if you haven’t checked out Sam’s blog and you are into wine, you should! She’s a great writer with a passionate palate for old world wines.