Last week we had dinner at a neighborhood restaurant Nonna. We started with cocktails and I ordered the Scofflaw. I liked it enough to try and make it. It’s sort of like a whiskey sour, sweet and tart. I googled the ingredients and found that it’s not some new fancy cocktail but in fact has been around for a very long time, created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris during prohibition

Here I found two recipes, I started with the modern version and found it to be too sweet. So I adjusted the ratios a bit and came closer to what I had at Nonna. I think it could be even better with maybe equal parts of rye and dry vermouth but you can adjust to your taste. Some recipes use lemon rather than lime, I chose lime since that’s what they had at Nonna. 

And because it’s spring I’m sharing some blossom photos, I clipped these from our tree out front. It’s a strange looking tree, the previous owners had grafted a cherry tree to a weeping cherry tree, so it’s cherry on the top and weeping cherry on the bottom. It’s a tree with an identity crisis. Still not sure whether to keep it or not because we’d like to plant some other trees, and the bigger it gets the weirder it looks. Oh well, cheers to spring!


  • 3 oz rye
  • 2 oz dry vermouth 
  • 3/4 oz lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 3/4 oz grenadine 
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Fill cocktail shaker with ice, add all the ingredients and give a good shake. Strain into two cocktail glasses. Garnish with orange peel.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

This is a pile-on-the-chocolate type of cookie. I’ve named this Triple Chocolate Cookies but technically it could be considered a Quadruple Chocolate Cookie, but that sounded kinda crazy so I didn’t name it as such. The cookie itself is adapted from a previous post I did from a Blue Bottle Coffee recipe for Double-Chocolate Cookies. That recipe was for nine enormous cookies, but here I decided to roll the dough in parchment to be sliced into smaller cookies, and they’re not that small actually, the recipe below will yield 18 cookies. The topping was adapted from Sprouted Kitchen’s Triple Chocolate Cookies. So here you have it in all its messy chocolaty glory.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3.5 ounces dark chocolate, 62%-70% cacao, coarsely chopped or chips

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda into a medium bowl and whisk together.

In large bowl beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat for a few minutes until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk for a minute or so until incorporated. 

Add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl until color is a uniform brown. Add the chopped chocolate and with a wooden spoon mix until pieces are mixed though out. 

Roll the dough in parchment paper in a 2" in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 5 days. (The cookie dough roll makes it easy to slice and bake for uniform size cookies, the original recipe says to just refrigerate the dough in a disk shape and later make balls of dough before baking.)

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, cut the roll into about 1/2” thick slices and arrange with 2” spacing all around. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly firm to the touch and the surface is no longer glossy, rotating the pan midway through the baking time. 

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes or so. 


  • 3 ounce dark chocolate bar, melted down
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs or shaved chocolate

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or microwave. Drizzle the cookies with the melted chocolate and sprinkle the shaved chocolate on top to stick before the chocolate cools.

They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, recipe will make about 18 cookies

Cookies adapted from Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee and topping from Sprouted Kitchen

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

I set out to make a Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake. And this mostly is but not completely. We’re near the end of the blood orange season and the bin consisted mostly of very small oranges that were looking fairly rough. By the time I trimmed them I was left with… not so much blood orange. The recipe is forgiving in that you can use mostly any citrus you like, so the juice is a combination of grapefruit juice and mandarin orange juice, whatever is in the refrigerator. One thing I didn’t anticipate was the choice of cake pan. I used a cake pan with a removable bottom and it leaked in the oven, ah the smell of burning sugar. So I wouldn’t recommend using that type of cake pan. Even lined with parchment it’s quite a sticky situation on the bottom so I’ll make note to grease the pan and parchment generously. 

One more thing. Olive Oil. It might be time to stock up. I read recently that we’re about to have a worldwide olive oil shortage which means prices may go up in the next few months. Keep in mind there have been a lot of headlines recently about fake olive oil, there are brands to avoid if you’re going for taste, I use Kirkland brand from Costco which I’m glad to find out has high marks because it tastes so good. I really like this recipe from Adventures in Cooking, the cake tastes really good even with my cake pan mess. Enjoy!

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • about 5 thin slices citrus, enough to nearly cover the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange or blood orange juice
  • 1/4 cup citrus juice of your choosing
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated blood orange zest

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line the bottom of a well-greased (super well-greased!) 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper, then grease the paper as well and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat with the light brown sugar, honey, and lemon juice, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and pour syrup into the cake pan. Arrange the sliced citrus on the bottom of the pan in a flat even layer. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom until blended. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, granulated sugar, and olive oil at medium low speed until smooth. Add the orange juice, citrus juice, milk, vanilla and zest and mix until incorporated. Then gradually add the flour mixture to the batter, mixing until just blended.

Fill the cake pan 3/4 full with the batter and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen, place cake plate on pan and flip upside down.

Adapted from Adventures in Cooking

Chocolate Mousse with Roasted Hazelnuts

Well it’s Valentine's day and I just had to make this chocolate mousse. I haven’t made chocolate mousse in a long time but I don’t recall making it like this so I thought I’d give it a try. 

I used a 72% dark chocolate and it could use a bit more than 2 tablespoons sugar, I would say 3-4, but if you use the 60% cacao the recipe below should be fine. 

Wish you all a LOVEly day :)

Chocolate Mousse with Roasted Hazelnuts

  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided (see note above)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Roasted Hazelnuts (Recipe Below)

Beat 1/2 cup cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill.

Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large metal bowl. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water). Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 160 degrees, about 1 minute.

Remove bowl from pan. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until room temperature.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg white in another medium bowl on medium speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until firm peaks form.

Fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 additions; fold whipped cream into mixture just to blend.

Divide mousse among six teacups or 4-oz. ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead; cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Before serving, whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form; dollop over mousse. Top with chocolate shavings and crushed roasted hazelnuts.


Roasted Hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and wrap hazelnuts in a towel, allow to sit for 10 minutes or so, then rub and shake off loose skins. To crush I generally place them in a ziplock bag and crush them with a meat pounder.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Creme Fraiche

Focus. Focus. That’s what I keep telling myself lately. This past week has been rough. I guess I’m settling in to this new world of chaos and alternative facts. Just focus on good things. Roasted cauliflower is one of those good things. I’ve never been a big fan of cauliflower until recently. A couple restaurants we’ve gone to have served it fire-roasted or fried, with different types of sauce and it’s just unbelievably good. The small pieces that get nearly burnt taste something like popcorn. I got the idea for lemon creme fraiche from Firehouse restaurant, and liked it enough to share it with you.

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Creme Fraiche

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 4 oz creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and arrange a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over the florets, sprinkle some salt and toss until coated. Bake for 25 minutes or until just browned. The smaller the pieces the quicker they brown so it’s always good to check in on it around 20 minutes or so. Mix the creme fraiche, lemon juice and lemon zest together in small dish for dipping.

Salmon Chowder

It’s been cold. I mean freezing cold for over a week now with snow and sleet and all the things you might expect, or not expect for Portland. Winters here just aren’t normally like this. We’ve had three snowfalls so far this winter with more on the way in a couple days. Granted we don’t get a lot as it generally warms up and the rain washes it away, but nevertheless there have been quite a few “stocking up” trips to the store this year. The one thing that I do appreciate in cold weather is soup, or chowder, or stew. It can be the perfect meal. 

I made this Salmon Chowder over the weekend and it was just as good as the last time I made it. This recipe includes smoked bacon, but if you don’t want to use bacon I would switch out the fresh salmon and use smoked salmon. The smoky flavors in this chowder are what really bring the flavors together. Another plus about this recipe is that it’s a one-pot-cooking dish. Our dishwasher decided stop working last week and once that happens you start thinking about every pot, pan, and dish you’re about to use. We have a new one arriving later this week and I can’t wait. 

One more thing I want to mention here is that Salmon is a good choice for winter chowders. If you live in the north without much sun, like Portland, you are most likely not getting much, if any, Vitamin D. Salmon is one of the best ways to get it in the way of food. You will want to get wild salmon as it has higher content of Vitamin D than farmed salmon, which only has 25% of the Vitamin D you would find in wild salmon. Even with that I take Vitamin D3 supplements everyday. I’m not one to promote specific vitamins or anything like that in this space, but I would recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked the next time you have a visit to the doctor. Most people are deficient because even during the summer months you can be deficient if you are using sunscreen. Ah, summer, sunshine, seems so far away right now as the ice slowly drips off the trees. Until then enjoy some soups and stay warm :)

Salmon Chowder

  • 3 slices thick smoked bacon, chopped in 1/2" pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives for garnish

Brown bacon in a deep, heavy-bottomed sauce pot over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook onion and celery in the bacon fat in the same pot until onion is translucent. Add potatoes and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not brown. Add carrots and broth and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add milk, half-and-half, salmon, parsley, dill and pepper. Simmer over low heat 5 to 8 minutes or until fish is cooked through and liquid is steaming, but not boiling. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with crispy bacon pieces and chives or parsley.

Adapted from Whole Foods recipe