Smoky. Chocolate. Baklava. I’m listening. Theo Michaels has you smoke chocolate on the stovetop for a few layers in his baklava. Then there’s a few layers of pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, and cinnamon. Encased in flaky, buttery phyllo. Obviously, that needed to happen. I have one of those big old macho smokers in my backyard, so I smoked the chocolate in there. Then I made it a second time baking the whole baklava right in my smoker. Yeah. Either way, that baklava is even better than the title sounds. A huge thanks to Ryland Peters and Small for letting me share that recipe with you! I’ll tell you all about the book after the recipe. I have a terrible fondness for Greek cookbooks, and that shelf is extensive. Orexi! is my personal favorite to date. Hope you love it, too!
A million years ago, or 23 to be slightly more accurate, my husband and I traveled around Spain, Portugal, and Morocco on our honeymoon. The trip was beyond amazing! The Prado Museum and Plaza Major in Madrid were fabulous. The salt-crusted fish and possibly skinny dipping on the coast in Marbella were delicious. And in Seville, we fell desperately in love with the flamenco shows and Maria Luisa Park. And the tapas and thick hot chocolate. Tapas everywhere. It’s a garlic-lover’s dream.
Nik grew up in India, then lived in the Midwestern and Northeastern U.S., and finally settled in California with his husband from the Southern U.S. All of those influences are very present in his food, and it makes for the most delightful fusion. I was thumbing through Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, oohing and aahing, flagging recipes to try. His spiced, roasted potato salad called for paneer and chourico as ingredients, but listed page numbers for their recipes. I’d never made cheese before and was delighted that he thought it was simple enough to be just a lead-in recipe. I hopped right in the car to go grab a gallon of milk to get started, and I’m so glad I did! It really was that easy. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve passed by in Indian cookbooks if I wasn’t going to have time to pop by a specialty market. That wont happen again! But that’s just background preparation. His dishes have wonderfully complex, deep flavors, and are creatively inspirational. This book was a joy to explore.
The Home Bartender is perfect for anyone looking for an easy peasy cocktail book. The cocktails have 4 ingredients or less (some are 5 if you count the garnish). The ingredients themselves are pretty normal, so if you have a basic bar, you wont have to hunt down a whole lot of specialty ingredients. <I had to add one bottle to my collection – strawberry vodka.> But, there’s all kinds of different drinks in here. The measurements are different from most books. Instead of ounces, he uses parts. One part lime juice, two parts rum…. I used an ounce as the unit for all the wet stuff. He does mention that if measurements are your jam, a dash is about 1 teaspoon and a splash is about 1 tablespoon. That works for liquid measures, but when he says a dash of cinnamon, use a tiny quick shake, not a teaspoon! Continue reading “Quickslide recipe and Cookbook review: The Home Bartender”→
I’ve been playing in a cocktail book that’s just the thing for when you want a really special cocktail, Texas Cocktails. I flagged so many interesting drinks to try! Some are quick, while others take some planning and patience. I did find that I needed to expand my bitters collection, but Amazon had everything. I generally used the preferred brands noted in the recipes, but subbed in where I needed to.
Mmmmmm. I love a killer salad. And Watermelon and Feta Salad is just that. Grilled watermelon. Yeah. It totally wants to be grilled. It is soooo good that instead of the polite, “No. You go ahead. I insist.” people will will avoid eye contact to grab an extra spoonful. The recipe is out of Fire Food: The Ultimate BBQ Cookbook. It’s coming out this Tuesday! A big thank you to Quadrille for letting me share the recipe with you! My review of the book is right after the recipe.