Currant Almond Rosemary Crackers

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I’ve been wanting to make these gourmet type crackers for a long time now, and I’m glad I did! They came out really good. I used currants and almonds since that’s what I had on hand, but you can add any kind of fruit or nut to this recipe. I think next time I’ll try preserved lemon and fig or date. They’re very much like Raincoast Crisp Crackers which are crazy expensive on Amazon, I think they sell for about $7-8 in the stores here. 

The mini loaf pans I used are very small 2”x4”, I have no idea where I bought them but you can use any pan that would make a suitable size cracker. I only had 4 mini loaf pans so I put the rest of the batter in a regular loaf pan for slightly larger oblong crackers (this size will take a bit longer to bake). They’re much easier to make than I anticipated. You will need a couple of days since it’s bake, freeze, then bake again the next day. I still have about half of the baked breads in the freezer and will make the rest of the crackers once we’ve finished these.  They don’t have preservatives so they won’t last as long as store bought crackers. Store them in a sealed container for…however long, lol, I really don’t know the shelf life on this recipe. That’s part of the reason I’m making them in small batches. I made some 4-5 days ago and they’re still good! Enjoy!

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Currant Almond Rosemary Crackers

  • 1 cup dried currants

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange mini loaf pans on a baking sheet. Grease them with a neutral oil, like avocado or grape seed.

Place currants in a small bowl and cover with hot water and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the flours, rosemary, baking soda, and salt together. Whisk in the brown sugar, breaking up any clumps until well combined.

In a separate bowl whisk yogurt and milk together until smooth, then pour over flour mixture and stir just until moistened.

Drain the currants and add them along with the almonds and sesame seeds to batter. Fold to combine.

Divide batter between the mini-loaf pans filling them about 3/4 full. Transfer baking sheet with loaf pans to oven. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove loaves from pans and cool completely. Wrap loaves in foil and place in freezer bag or freezer container. Freeze for several hours or overnight until solid.

To make crackers, preheat oven to 300°F. Remove one of the loaves from the freezer and slice very thin - 1/8-inch or thinner - with a very sharp serrated knife. Arrange slices in a single layer, close but not touching, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining loaves.

Bake 15 minutes. Flip and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Crackers are done when they are golden in the middle, feel dry to the touch, and have slightly curled slightly edges. The (crackers will continue to crisp as they cool.) Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining loaves. You don’t have to make all the crackers at once, you can leave some loaves in the freezer and make them as needed.

Adapted from Pinch and Swirl


Endive Salad with Blue Cheese + Dijon Vinaigrette

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This recipe is so easy it seems hardly worth a blog post, but deserves it still. It goes way back for me. When I was in college in New York City (a million years ago!) I waited tables at a french restaurant called Les Tournebroches. It was a French provincial style restaurant with simple but elegant meals. It featured a grill and chicken rotisserie as a focal point in the main dining room, with lovely raspberry and apple tarts on display. It was such a new experience for me, I had never worked, or dined, in such a unique place. This Endive Salad is one of the dishes they had on the menu. I’ve changed little. I think they used Roquefort cheese, but the dijon vinaigrette is the same and this is how they would present it. It’s so simple, delicious and pretty. You can of course add toasted nuts, apples or pears, but this stands on its own just like this.

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Endive Salad with Blue Cheese + Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 3-4 Belgium Endives (about 1 per person)

  • 1/4 cup Gorgonzola Cheese (Roquefort or any blue cheese)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil

  • Salt and Pepper

Trim the end off of each of the endive. Peel off 3-5 of the outer leaves for each plating depending on size, then slice the remaining inner portion of the endive very thin (discard the tough ends). In a small bowl whisk together the mustard and vinegar, and whisk in the olive oil a little at a time until well combined, add a bit of salt. In a separate bowl add the chopped endive, vinaigrette* and cheese, toss to combine. For each plate arrange the endive leaves in a star-like pattern, with 3-5 leaves, then fill the center with the chopped endive mixture. Top with a bit more blue cheese and fresh ground pepper. You can serve immediately but this will hold up in the refrigerator, wrapped, for a few hours. 

*Add as much vinaigrette as you see fit, the amount will vary greatly depending on the size of the endive. The endive I have here are from Trader Joe’s and they are small, you might find larger ones in your grocery store, I ended up with a lot of extra dressing for 3 small endive.

Beef Stew with Roasted Garlic

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Years ago I made a Beef and Carrot Stew that has been my sorta go-to recipe to build off of and it’s evolved a bit over the years (wow almost 6 years now!). This new recipe, with the addition of Roasted Garlic and Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, is over the top good. I also use red wine rather than white wine, and add beef broth. I hate to boast about stuff like this because you might think meh, why is she going on about this. I think the addition of the roasted garlic really did it. You get the rich flavor of the garlic without it being too strong. All the photos on this post were taken with my iPhone, which is a first on the blog here, I’ve been posting more on Instagram these days which are mainly top view photos, my phone is fine for that but for me, anything else (more cinematic) deserves a good lens. My iPhone is oldish (6s Plus) so maybe when I update it I might have a different feel about it, but hard to see how it could out-do a macro lens. Anyway, I recommend this Beef Stew! It’s just so so good! Enjoy friends.

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Beef Stew with Roasted Garlic 

  • 1 head roasted garlic (recipe below, make ahead)

  • 1.25 lb. stew beef

  • 2 large carrots, cut 1” pieces

  • 1 lb. potatoes, small creamer type cut in half

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 6 cups beef broth

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Olive oil

Place beef in bowl and a bit of flour to coat, add a bit of salt and pepper and toss. In a dutch oven or large soup pot, add a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef, working in batches as to not overcrowd the pan, and brown on all sides. Set the browned beef aside in a bowl. 

Add the onions to the pot and add a bit more olive oil if needed, cook until translucent. Add the wine and cook for about 5 minutes or so over a medium low heat. Add the beef broth and bring to a simmer. Add the beef, carrots, potatoes, roasted garlic and herbs. Cover and simmer on low for 1 1/2-2 hours. Taste the broth about half way through to see if it needs a bit of salt and pepper seasoning. When ready the beef will be tender. Serve with sour dough bread slices topped with roasted garlic and soft butter mix.

Roasted Garlic and Garlic Oil

You can make as little as 2 heads or as many as you’d like, it will keep well in the refrigerator and you can use the oil for other dishes.

  • Garlic, tops cut off to expose the cloves

  • Olive oil

  • Fresh thyme and oregano, about 2 sprigs of each


Preheat oven to 350°. Place the garlic in (deepish) baking dish or cast-iron skillet, drizzle olive oil over the garlic and fill the dish with olive oil almost to the top or half way up the garlic. Arrange the herbs around the garlic. Seal tightly with aluminum foil, then roast for 45-50 minutes. Remove foil, turn oven up to 400° and return dish to oven, roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until browned on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Place the garlic heads in a bowl. Separate the cloves and squeeze the pulp into a jar. Discard the skin and herbs. Strain the oil into another jar, store in a cool dark place, but it will last longer in the refrigerator.

Roasted Garlic Recipe Adapted from Saveur Magazine

Chocolate Cake with Caramel, Ganache + Toasted Almonds

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Happy 2019 everyone! I made this cake for New Year’s Eve last week. We went with a light dinner of Moroccan Tuna and Couscous with vegetables in hopes of having room for this cake. And we did! Wow, it’s the best cake I’ve ever made. I love making these layer cakes but it is a crazy amount of cake for us, and it’s rich too, so I froze about three-quarters of it. The original recipe had a different type of caramel filling, which I ended up not making because I didn’t have enough time that day, but I think I would try it the next time around. I took a short cut and bought a jar of salted caramel sauce, which was ok but not as good as the caramel sauce I’ve made in the past, so below I’m linking the homemade caramel recipe. Or you can buy a jar as I did if you’re short on time. I don’t know if I messed up the Ganache or not, but even at room temp, after it had been refrigerated, it was not spreadable at all, I had to microwave it to the point where it was almost liquid again, the recipe really insists on refrigerating it overnight, so I’m not sure why that didn’t work. I don’t have enough experience working with chocolate ganache to know how that could have worked out better. But it all came together in the end. This is a cake worth fussing over, actually it’s not really that fussy it just takes a bit of time. Since I was in the cutting-corners-mode that day, I almost didn’t bother to cut it into 4 layers, it would have been much quicker to just frost the middle and top layers for a 2-layer cake, and not have to worry about the possibility of the cakes falling apart while cutting them into layers. But I knew that the layers were going to matter, so that each bite has a bit of cake, ganache, caramel, salt and toasted almonds. And it did matter. It was worth it. The cake didn’t fall apart. Happy ending. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Cake with Caramel, Ganache + Toasted Almonds

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 cup hot water

  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee

  • 1 1/4 cups almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped

Ganache Filling and Frosting

  • 1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream

Caramel Sauce 

Recipe here

Fleur de sel or any flaked sea salt

Ganache Filling and Frosting

Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let soften 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool, then cover and chill overnight. Ganache can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before using. (Note: even at room temp my frosting wasn’t spreadable and I needed to warm it up a bit)

Cake

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each with parchment paper; butter paper and dust pan with flour.

Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes. Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended (batter will be thin). Divide batter between pans (about 3 cups each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Refrigerate cakes for an hour or two, it will make it much easier to cut them into layers. Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake around the perimeter in half so that you have 4 layers. (if you don’t have fancy baking tools to do this, like me, you can put the cake on a round metal sheet, like the bottom of a tart pan, place on top of an upside-down bowl that’s large enough to support it, hold your knife in the middle where you want to cut and spin the cake around slowly, keep doing this until it has cut all the way through, keeping your knife in a steady position)

Place 1 layer on platter; spread with 1/2 cup room-temperature ganache. Drizzle 1/4 cup room-temperature caramel sauce. Sprinkle caramel with large pinch of fleur de sel, then 1 tablespoon almonds. Top with second cake layer, ganache, caramel sauce, fleur de sel, and almonds. Repeat with third cake layer. Top with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Press remaining almonds onto the top, or sides (or both!). Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Cheers! A Cocktail Roundup

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Happy New Year! Well almost. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite cocktails from the blog so if you’re looking for anything special to make drink-wise you might want to try one of these. Surprisingly I don’t have any cocktails that are made with sparkling wine, but really that’s good on its own anyways. 

Man this year has flown by, full of highs and lows and some career questioning “Where the fuck am I going with all of this?” moments. Just like most people I suppose we always need to adapt to the changes around us and the changes within ourselves. Animals migrate for a reason. Not that I plan on migrating anywhere but it’s more about adaptability and knowing where you need to focus. Have I found that? Yes, no and sort of. I’m just terrible at marketing myself. It makes me feel so yucky. It’s like a job interview on steroids. But the reality is people have absolutely nothing to lose by trying. I read an article recently in the NYTimes by a comedian Emily Winter, “I Got Rejected 101 Times”, and it was comforting to know how hard it can be to get that lucky break, a gig, a job, a performance. Anyways it inspired me to get out of my comfort zone a bit and see what might happen. I mailed out some postcards last spring to market my food photography and nothing happened and I got so discouraged, lol, but that is life and I just have to try more and do more. That is all. It’s not really complicated. I did get a couple food photography gigs near the end of the year, unrelated to the postcard mailers, so this year has left me on somewhat of a high note. 

I wish you all a great new year, the joy of discovering new food and experiences, and the persistence to make things happen! 

Cheers!

Cherry Bourbon Cocktail

Mulled Wine

Autumn Smash Cocktail

Manhattan Cocktail

Cucumber Infused Vodka

Scofflaw

Tamarind Whiskey Sour

Watermelon Cocktail

Bloody Mary

Potato Gratin

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I might be going out on a limb here but this is really the best Potato Gratin I’ve ever had. I made this for Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago. It’s worth making for the aroma alone, the kitchen will smell like heaven. But you won’t be just sniffing this stuff, you will be devouring it. I found the recipe on NYTimes Cooking right before the holidays. I can’t link to it now because they’ve put up a paywall for their Cooking site. I’m kinda bummed because I have a New York Times subscription, but it doesn’t include the Cooking section, it’s only $5 a month but I feel like I’m being squeezed financially from all corners of the earth. I had copied the recipe and put it in my notes app, so it’s there and here, not to be forgotten or paywalled. 

The first time I made this I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes, it was very time consuming but I had thinner slices than I got from the food processor, both of which should have produced 3mm (1/8”) slices. So I’m not sure why there was such a difference in thickness. I liked the thinner slices better, so next time, and believe me there will be a next time, I’ll use a thinner setting on the food processor. I’ve been using the food processor more these days and I’m kinda falling in love with it. We didn’t have one for so long, like forever, so it’s been a real treat to use it. One of the reasons I hadn’t used it much was evaluating whether it was worth dragging out onto my limited counter space and then cleaning up all the parts (I hate cleaning the kitchen so I obsessively think about these things), for this recipe it’s so worth it, because I also used it to grate the cheese, which takes all of 1 or 2 seconds in the processor. 

If all the potatoes and cream mixture don’t fit in your casserole dish, you can make a one or two mini ones as I did, see below.

Well now I can open the recipe page if I click from Facebook. You might be able to access the page, or not, anyways it’s here! Enjoy :)

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Potato Gratin

  • 3 ounces finely grated Gruyère or comté cheese

  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 4 to 4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 6-8 potatoes), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandolin slicer or food processor <——much easier

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine cheeses in a large bowl. Transfer 1/3 of cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Add cream, garlic and thyme to cheese mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat stack, and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically. Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working around the perimeter and into the center until all the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to casserole. Pour the excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over the potatoes until the mixture comes halfway up the sides of the casserole. You may not need all the excess liquid.

Cover dish tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.

Adapted from NYTimes Cooking

Pear Cardamom Tart

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Last month we went to Portland Nursery’s annual apple tasting festival. Everything is $1 per pound, with 60 different varieties of apples and pears. So we bought a lot. A real lot. Exactly 28 pounds. Maybe too many but they do store well in the refrigerator. I made this Pear Cardamom Tart which is a variation on the Pear Almond Tart I made a while back. I was inspired by this pear tart on Instagram which is absolutely gorgeous, Lauren Ko’s pie designs are amazing. So mine didn’t turn out like that, but I’m still happy with it, and it tastes really good which is sort of the bottom line when it comes to food. I used a few different types of pears: Bosc, Seckel, Red Anjou, Forelle. After it’s baked it loses the variety of bright colors, but you end up with some nice rich browns. I think it would make a handsome dessert for Thanksgiving. Enjoy :)

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Pear Cardamom Tart

  • 6 ounces almond paste

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons flour

  • 3 ounces unsalted butter (about 6 tablespoons) room temp 

  • 1 large egg, plus one egg white, at room temp

  • 1/4 teaspoon Almond extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark rum

  • 4 pears (in a variety of color and size)

  • Pre-baked 9-inch Tart Shell, at room temperature (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

In a stand mixer beat the almond paste with the sugar and flour, until smooth. 

Gradually beat in the butter, until smooth, then beat in the egg and the egg white, the almond extract, cardamom and rum. Spread the almond filling evenly over the tart shell with a rubber spatula. 

Slice the pear quarters into 1/4” slices, then fan the slices in clusters over the almond filling, alternating colors and sizes. Press them slightly into the filling. Bake the tart for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the almond filling between the pears has browned. Remove from oven onto rack and cool slightly before serving. Can be served at room temperature. 

Tart Shell

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 large egg, whisked

Whisk sugar, salt, and 1 cup flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Drizzle egg over butter mixture and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.) Place dough on floured surface. Roll to 11-12” circle, place dough in pan and press to fit, overlap edges inside. With a fork make holes in the crust to prevent bubbling. Cover the crust with parchment or foil and fill with rice or weights. Bake 10 minutes at 350° then remove foil and bake another 5 minutes until just firm but not browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding almond mixture. 

Pumpkin Bread

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It’s that time of year again. All things Pumpkin! And dark. Well actually this October has been unusually sunny for Portland, but this past week the rain finally kicked in, raining every. single. day. oh no! But this time of year is also an opportunity for walks on misty mornings. I like this Pumpkin Bread recipe, it’s good but maybe not as good as the Pumpkin Loaf Cake with Walnut Glaze from four years ago. But I wouldn’t not eat it! It tastes great with a Double Spice Chai tea by Stash. This isn’t an endorsed or sponsored post, I just happen to love their tea. They do everything right.

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Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 3 egg whites

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz can)

  • Sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and Pumpkin Spice.

In a large bowl whisk together sugar, brown sugar, milk and egg whites. Add the canned pumpkin and mix together well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until well combined.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan, then sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan before removing.

Honey Chocolate Fudge

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Healthy fudge!? For real? A few weeks ago Sprouted Kitchen started a Cooking Club. I like Sarah’s recipes and thought it would be fun to join, so I did. Each week she provides a shopping list and recipes for three meals and a snack. This is one of the snacks. As with most of her recipes it’s pretty healthy and made with natural ingredients. This is the second time I’ve made it. The first time I made it I used whole raw almonds, here I made it with toasted almond slivers. I definitely prefer toasted almonds.

It’s not exactly like fudge but similar and I like it better in a lot of ways. She said the recipe was created and inspired by Honey Mamas fudge which is made right here in Portland! You can check our their site to get some ideas on variations, adding coconut, peppermint or spices. Enjoy :)

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Honey Chocolate Fudge

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, well chopped

  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds 

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch) or raw cacao, plus more for dusting

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 1/3 cup honey 

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup crisp rice cereal

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate along the bottom of the pan. 

In a food processor or a strong blender, combine the almonds, cocoa powder and sea salt. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse sand, about 10 times. You want some crunchy bits of almonds. 

In a saucepan, combine the honey and coconut oil and bring it to a gentle boil. Stir to mix. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Add the almond mixture and the rice cereal into the wet mixture and stir to combine. Any extra add-ins would go in here (coconut, seeds or more nuts). Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, smooth the top and put it in the fridge to cool for at least an hour. Store refrigerated or a very cool place.

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Grilled Asparagus

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Last month for my birthday Jeff gave me the Toro Bravo cookbook. It’s an awesome book with lots of background stories told by John Gorham, creator of Toro Bravo, Tasty N Sons, and so much more here. He’s had a pretty interesting life and I read it cover to cover, which I normally don’t do with a cookbook. But he’s funny and talks about all the challenges of starting and running a restaurant. Within the first year, the Toro Bravo restaurant had a flood, a fire, and a burglary! So much drama. Anyways, I came across this recipe and it sounded good, plus I was able to use some of my Preserved Lemons. I always get excited when I can use them, and this is a staple in the Toro Bravo kitchen. If you are ever in Portland, this restaurant is a must. The food is spectacular, so much flavor and depth. It’s Spanish tapas style servings shared for the table, it’s fun to get dish after dish after dish, and just when you think you’ve had enough, one more.

This recipe has a lot of bold flavors, with preserved lemon, olives, pepper and Jamón. What the heck is Jamón? It’s a cured Spanish ham, it has intense flavor and it’s used sparingly in this dish. It’s also very expensive and I had to really dig to find this in the store, it was about $10 for 2 ounces. If you can’t find it you could substitute with bacon or even pepperoni, Jamón has that same intense flavor. Oh, here it is on Amazon if you want to splurge but I don’t think it’s necessary for the dish.

The asparagus is blanched before grilling which I recommend doing. I’ve grilled asparagus without blanching and get mixed results. The tips burn while the stalk is barely cooked. By blanching you only need to grill for a few minutes to get them charred and your done. 

Below is a half version of the recipe (a lot of the recipes are for huge portions!). This is a good side dish, or tapas dish for about 3-4 people. If you have a 6-8 just double up the recipe.

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Grilled Asparagus

  • 1 lb Asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices Jamón, very finely julienned
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Preserved lemon, pulp removed, skin julienned
  • 1 1/2 Calabrian chilis (or a few Mama Lil’s peppers)
  • 1/4 cup Marinated Olives

Start you grill. 

Snap each asparagus spear at the spot where it stops being woody and gets soft. Discard the woody parts. Peel the skin away from the lower part of the remaining asparagus. You want to peel about 1 1/2” of the bottom of your asparagus. 

Bring a gallon of water to a boil with 1/3 cup salt (this was for the original recipe which I’ve halved so you might not need this much water for 1 pound of asparagus). Once the water is boiling add the asparagus and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the size. Remove the asparagus to a plate and let it cool.

In a medium saute pan over med-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and Jamón and cook, stirring constantly until nicely crisped, about 1 minute. Strain and discard the oil and set the Jamón aside. (as the Jamón sits it gets crisper)

Dry the asparagus, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss to coat.

Grill the asparagus until nicely charred, 3-4 minutes, and remove to a plate and set aside.

Put the butter in a medium saute pan and let it just get to browning, then add the preserved lemon skin and give the pan a good couple shakes. One the lemon turns a little white, and is starting to get crispy, after about 1-2 minutes, add the chilies, then the olives and give the pan another good shake. Stir and allow the mix to bloom for about 20 seconds.

Add the Jamón, shake and top the asparagus with the mix. Serve immediately.