I have a weird Friday “drink” for you today!
A while ago, Mikey got me a couple of molecular gastronomy kits as gifts. I haven’t really used them (aside from in a dressing for this salad), because I’m always a little lost as to what I should do with a ll the strange ingredients. But, a stroke of inspiration hit me recently and I thought of a play on piña coladas (because I can’t stop craving everything tropical and coconut-y).
I actually made two versions: one that is super molecular gastronomy-y, and one that is more accessible to everyone.
So what are they? The first one is a popping sphere of a mixture of pineapple juice, coconut juice (which is really this coconut-grape blend that I really love…you could substitute light coconut milk), and Malibu rum, with a foam made of pineapple juice and Malibu. It looks like an egg which is kinda perfect for Easter.
The popping spheres are pretty much exactly like those popping bobas you can get, only bigger. They’re surprisingly easy to make, and I felt like a crazy chemist in my kitchen while making them—it was AWESOME.
I also think the spheres would be delicious in a little pool of coconut milk or Coco Lopez, instead of the foam, if you want something a bit richer. Then, they would look even more like eggs!
The second is the same mixture used for the popping spheres, but just frozen into cubes. I poured some Malibu over them, and topped it all with the same foam. You don’t have to include the foam, but the only “weird” ingredient it contains is soy lecithin, which I know is sold by Bob’s Red Mill if you don’t have a molecular gastronomy kit.
Piña Coladas…Molecular Gastronomy Style
for the popping spheres:
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup Malibu rum
- 1/4 cup coconut juice (I use this, but feel to sup light coconut milk)
- 1 gram calcium lactate
- 2 cups water
- 2 grams sodium alginate
for the foam:
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/3 cup Malibu
- 2 grams soy lecithin
for the popping spheres:
- In a bowl, combine the pineapple juice, Malibu, coconut juice, and calcium lactate. Stir with a spoon to combine.
- Portion into circular silicone molds (or really any small molds), and freeze for 90 minutes, or until frozen.
- In a bowl, combine the water and sodium alginate. Blend with an immersion blender for 3-5 minutes until combined (it should look all gelled). Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Drop a few of the frozen spheres into the solution and stir gently. After 5 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon, and place in a bowl of water to rinse.
- Remove the spheres from the water with a slotted spoon and drain by pressing the spoon onto a paper towel. Serve.
for the foam:
- In a rectangular dish or tupperware, combine the pineapple juice, Malibu, and soy lecithin. Blend with an immersion blender for 4-5 minutes until foamy. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then spoon off the foam and serve.
*If you want to make the cubes, you can leave out the calcium lactate, freeze, and serve with extra Malibu poured over top.
recipes adapted from Molecule-R Cookbook
I know I’m not the only one who is addicted to this stuff.
You put sriracha on everything, too, right? Nothing is safe from my fiery red rain of deliciousness—eggs, pasta, rice, meat…I may even be developing an ice cream recipe…
So, when I found out I could make it myself I basically went crazy. So crazy, in fact, that I apparently lost the ability to read…or something of the sort, because even though I read the recipe that I based this off of literally 30+ times, I still managed to skip over the same part every. single. time. …Until I made it and it was too late, of course.
BUT! It turned out so super delicious anyways, so I’m sharing with you my weird version! What is it I did wrong? I added the vinegar to the fermentation stage instead of after. Whatever. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
This actually tastes almost exactly like the famous rooster sriracha, only it’s a bit sweeter, probably because I used palm sugar in this instead of granulated sugar (and maybe due to adding the vinegar too early?). You’ll also notice that mine is much brighter, almost electric in color, which makes it much prettier, and therefor better But really, I think it’s more vibrant because it’s fresher.
Also can we talk about how cute the sriracha bear is?! Like, why isn’t this a thing? Now it is. I’m seriously considering giving away sriracha bears as gifts, because who wouldn’t want that?
- 1 and 1/2 ish pounds (I used 1 lb 6 oz.) red chilies (red jalapenos, fresnos, or long peppers), stems removed
- 4 tbsp palm sugar (can substitute light brown sugar)
- 6-7 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the chiles and garlic are chopped.
- Transfer mix to a couple jars, cover, and store at room temperature for 7 to 8 days, stirring daily.
- After the mixture has been sitting out for a while, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until reduced and slightly thickened. Store in the fridge.
Hi! I’m here to brighten your Tuesday with these super bright and cute Easter cookies!
I just love Easter desserts and candies because they are always so colorful! Most holidays have particular colors that represent them (i.e. Christmas has red and green, Halloween has orange and black, Valentine’s Day has reds and pinks etc.), but for Easter it’s like every color—yay!
I”m kind of obsessed with these cookies because I think they’re really unique. Instead of using frosting to color and decorate the cookies, the cookies themselves are dyed different colors! And, instead of a plain sugar cookie, these are coconut cookies.
Uh, yeah, I’m on a bit of a coconut thing, lately. I think it’s because I’m wishing to be somewhere tropical on a fun Spring Break vacation. Ahhh a girl can dream!
So how do these festive cookies taste? They have a shortbread-like texture (and that buttery flavor!), with a subtle coconut flavor. They’re lightly sweetened, so they’re perfect withs some tea. Or, serve them with a scoop of coconut ice cream for a super yummy dessert. They’re really good, and I definitely made audible “mmm’s” after every bite of the first one.
I made these into cute bunnies, flowers, and eggs to celebrate Easter, but obviously you can use any cookie cutters (or colors) you want. I had some leftovers of each of the colors—not enough to make into a full cookie—so I mashed them together to form multicolored Easter egg cookies! This kind of might be a fun thing to do for all of them, but I didn’t think of it until the very end.
- 1 and 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- gel food coloring
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. Add in the coconut extract and milk and mix to combine. Add in the coconut, flour and salt and mix to combine.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal balls. Knead a different color into each dough ball then form each into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- One at a time, roll each disc out between two pieces of plastic wrap to about 1/4"-thick. Use cookie cutter to cut out into shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Place the baking sheet(s) into the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes then cool for a couple minutes before moving to a wore rack to cool further.
Also, SUPER HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little sister, Rebecca!!!
Today, I’m sharing with you one of the recipes I grew up on.
This is one of those dishes that everyone loves. It’s one that my sisters and I would beg for as kids. I’m not even joking; it elicited a chorus of “pasta with the pine nuts, pasta with the pine nuts, pasta with the pine nuts!” on more than one occasion. That’s what we’ve always called it. I’m not sure why (maybe because the crunchy, toasted pine nuts are the best part?), but I feel like “Pesto Pasta” better describes what it is… Nonetheless, “Pasta with the Pine Nuts” is what it will affectionately always be called in my house.
It’s funny actually, but when I group texted my family to make sure I was remembering the (very simple) recipe correctly, it was met with “YUM” and “I want some!” all around—it really is that good.
It’s so easy, too. At home, we used to use pre-made pesto from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. I used homemade here since I had some on hand, but know that it’s delicious either way.
This dish is adaptable, too. I’m just presenting it to you how my family most often enjoyed it. The only things that you absolutely can’t forget would be the pesto and pine nuts. The sun-dried tomatoes can be substituted with fresh, or go ahead and leave them out all together. If you don’t care for olives, don’t include them (my family just loves them). I probably wouldn’t substitute for any other kind of olive either (no kalamata or green), as I feel like the flavors would be too strong. Add some chicken or shrimp if you want more protein. It’s all about what you like. We prefer using thinner cappellini noodles for this, but you could get away with spaghetti or linguini as well.
Oh, and by the way, this is good, warm, cold, and everything in between
- 8 oz cappellini pasta
- 3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1.5 oz sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 2/3 cup pesto
- freshly-grated parmesan, to serve
- Boil the pasta according to the package directions, then drain and place in a large bowl.
- In a small sauté pan, toast the pine nuts until golden-brown; set aside.
- In the same pan, crisp up the prosciutto over medium-high heat. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of pasta, and toss to coat.
- Serve with freshly-grated parmesan cheese.
It’s finally Friday! I hope you’re thirsty
I’m not really sure these could get more Southern. Sweet iced tea and bourbon? I really should have served these in mason jars, but I just got these glasses and was excited to use them.
These would be my first wine glasses. What did I drink wine out of before?, you may wonder… Good question. I would have people over and serve them wine in a tumbler. I’m not even kidding. I’m just that classy. These were like $12 at Fred Meyer for 4, so I thought I really didn’t have any excuse not to buy them.
So this cocktail…it’s kind of totally awesome. It’s delicious and really easy to make. Just brew up your favorite black tea for iced tea (I use the Starbuck’s Tazo black tea that’s specifically for iced tea), have some bourbon on hand, and make a really easy simple syrup. Simple syrups are just that…simple. All you have to do is add equal parts water and sugar to a saucepan and simmer for like 10-15 minutes. If you want to flavor it, add in your flavorings with the water and sugar. For this one, I used ginger and lemongrass because those flavors are refreshing to me, and I wanted to go with a cocktail that would be perfect for a sunny Spring day.
This really makes me wish I had a front porch with a rocking chair to enjoy this, but the picnic table in park across the street worked almost as well
Ginger-Lemongrass Bourbon Iced Tea
for the ginger-lemongrass syrup:
- In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a a simmer over medium-low heat.
- Simmer for 15 minutes until fragrant and the sugar is dissolved.
- Strain the simple syrup through a fine mesh sieve. Allow to cool.
for each cocktail:
- Fill a glass with ice. Pour in the bourbon followed by the simple syrup. Fill the remainder with the iced black tea and add in a lemongrass stalk to use as a swizzle stick.
Are Southern cocktails your thang? Try this one next!
You may or may not know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month.
Why every month isn’t Grilled Cheese Month is, frankly, beyond me. Buuut in honor of it, I made you a ridiculously cheesy grilled cheese. I used garlic naan for the bread to make it extra delicious. I also made homemade pesto (seriously shocked I don’t have a pesto recipe on this site, yet).
Guess what happens when you try to photograph a really, really hot and fresh grilled cheese that you loaded with 2 types of cheese and pesto? It creates something like a puddle of cheese. I’m not really sure this is something to complain about, though…
I started with 2 pieces of pre-made garlic naan for the bread. You could use regular naan, whole wheat naan, plain old bread…whatever you want. I just like the garlic naan because 1) added garlicky flavor, and 2) I like the fluffiness and slight crunch it adds. I then spread some homemade pesto on both pieces. This pesto is unbelievably tasty. I use pecorino cheese in it for a bit of nuttiness. It has a slightly different, and stronger, flavor than parmesan. You can use it on just about anything. I stirred some into my scrambled eggs, yesterday, and it was bomb.
Then, I topped the pesto with mozzarella cheese, for ultimate, stretchy-gooey factor, and gruyere for lots of flavor and melty-ness. Pop the whole thing in a panini press for a few minutes and you are left with one of the best grilled cheeses you will ever try.
I do think this would be awesome with some fresh tomato slices, but as Mikey has a weird hatred of raw tomatoes, I skipped them for his sake.
Naan Grilled Cheese with Homemade Pesto
for the pesto:
- 3 and 1/2 to 4 ounces fresh basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2/3 cup freshly-shredded pecorino cheese
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt & freshly-ground pepper, to taste
for the grilled cheese:
- 2 pieces garlic naan
- 2 and 1/2 oz. gruyere, freshly shredded
- 2 and 1/2 oz. mozzarella
- 1/4 cup pesto
for the pesto:
- In a food processor, add in the basil, pine nuts, and garlic and process until combined. Drizzle in half of the oil with the motor running. Now, add in the cheese, and with the motor running again, drizzle in the remainder of the oil.
- Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
for the grilled cheese:
- Spread two tablespoons of the pesto onto the flat side of each piece of naan. Sprinkle the cheeses over one side and top with the other piece of naan. Grill in a panini press for 3-4 minutes until grill marks form and cheese is melted. (You can also use a pan on the stove, you'll just have to flip the sandwich halfway through cooking, and adjust the cooking time.)
- Cut the sandwich into quarters and serve.
I haven’t made you cookies in at least a week and a half, and that’s obviously far too long.
So, I made you thumbprint cookies—coconut ones to be exact! And they’re filled with pineapple-apricot preserves which is unbelievably tasty, because I mean…when is pineapple and coconut not?
I also burned my mouth on one because I couldn’t even wait for them to cool down because my house smelled so darn good from them baking. I don’t recommend that…but at the same time, I don’t regret it…it was really good.
They’re so super good, you guys. They come from one of my most trusted recipe developers—Ina Garten. Every recipe of hers that I have tried (sweet or savory) I have completely loved, and this one is no exception. These are basically plain buttery shortbread cookies that have been rolled in sweet coconut and topped with a dollop of really great preserves. I think they’re totally perfect paired with some hot tea, but if you happen to be one of the places that’s actually experiencing Spring (we’ve had a few days here and there), might I suggest some iced tea? Oooh by the way, I have a really awesome iced tea cocktail recipe coming up this week that I’m incredibly excited to share with you, so keep an eye out (I actually posted a picture of it on my Instagram)!
If you can’t find some pineapple-apricot preserves around, you can really substitute it for any jam/jelly/preserves you like. Try out your favorite one! It’s kinda hard to go wrong here. Next time I make these, I may try substituting the vanilla extract for coconut extract, and filling them with lime curd. If you hadn’t noticed, I’m sort of obsessed with the whole coconut-lime flavor combo (take these Coconut-Lime Cookies, for example).
Ina’s Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
- 12 tbsp (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 3-4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
- pineapple-apricot preserves (or whatever you have/want to use)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter nd sugar for 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined. Add in the flour and salt and beat until the dough comes together.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water. In another small bowl, place the coconut.
- Using a medium (1-ounce) cookie scoop, scoop the dough into your hand and roll into a ball. Drop in the egg and then into the coconut. Roll it around and press to coat Place on the baking sheet.
- With your finger, press an indentation into the top of each cookie dough ball. Fill each indentation with 1/4 teaspoon of the preserves.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes until the coconut is browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheets before removing to a wire rack to cool further.
recipe slightly adapted from here
Can’t get enough thumbprint cookies? Try these next:
Chocolate Turtle Cookies
What if, instead of a chocolate bunny, you stuffed your Easter baskets with beef jerky, this year?
Okay, maybe don’t skip the bunnies for the kids, but I’m thinking there would be some very appreciative adults
Making your own beef jerky sounds difficult…or at least I thought it did…but really, it’s so so easy. To make the best beef jerky, you’re going to need a dehydrator. Sounds like some fancy, expensive gadget, but I got mine for around $65 and it will pay for itself pretty quick—especially if you have an addiction to kale chips like I do…those things are so freakin’ expensive at the store, buuuut you can use your new dehydrator to make my Spicy-Cheezy Kale Chips at home for way cheaper!
Anyways, this is some of the best beef jerky I’ve ever tried. It’s pretty tender, so you won’t kill your jaw chewing like with a lot of jerkies out there. It’s almost…juicy? Is that weird? It’s slightly spicy from the jalapeño and sriracha, but certainly not overly so, with a totally delicious sweet teriyaki flavor.
You definitely don’t have to make this for gifts (in fact, after you try it, you may not want to give any away!), but if you do, it looks really cute packaged in mason jars. For the labels, I just bought some kraft paper-colored labels from Paper Source and used their Word templates to mock something up.
This jerky should last quite a while after it’s made, especially if you seal it. I didn’t, and was still eating mine 2 months after I made it. If you keep it in the fridge it might stay a bit more tender (though the fat will solidify to a whitish color) but you certainly don’t have to.
Spicy-Teriyaki Beef Jerky
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups soy sauce
- 2 cups mirin
- 1 large jalapeño, deseeded
- 1 heaping tsp black pepper
- 1 heaping tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp sriracha
- about 5 lbs beef brisket, top round, or flank steak
- Put all of the ingredients (minus the beef, obviously) in a blender and blend until sugar is dissolved and everything is combined.
- Slice the meat, across the grain, fairly thin (see photos).
- Add the sliced meat to a large Ziploc, pour in the marinade, and marinate for a few hours to overnight.
- Drain the marinade from the meat, and lay out onto the trays of a dehydrator. Try not to have the pieces touch.
- Dehydrate on high for 2 hours, then flip the slices and dehydrate for another 2 to 3 hours.