Posts for August 5th 2010
While I enjoy baking elaborate and complicated desserts, sometimes it's nice to have one that involves nothing more than a couple of bowls and measuring spoons. When I need a super simple dessert that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser, I turn to the fruit crumble. This blackberry recipe is quite possibly the easiest dessert ever. Seriously, it takes about 15 minutes to put together and 20 to bake. If you are hosting a dinner party, make the two elements beforehand and assemble and bake just before serving. The resulting treat is absolutely scrumptious: plump burst-in-your-mouth berries, a thick sweet syrup, and crunchy golden brown topping. Want the recipe I used? Keep reading.
The answer is cold drinks made from green, or unroasted, coffee. The pilot test for "Refreshers," as they're called, began yesterday in 113 San Diego-area Starbucks locations. The drinks, which are available in cool lime and berry hibiscus flavors, are made of fruit and "flavor neutral" powdered extract derived from green coffee beans.
"It's coffee that doesn't taste like coffee," said Starbucks's Julie Felss Masino, who explained that the test has come in response to requests for more thirst-quenching drink options. The drink has less nutritional value (50 calories for a tall hibiscus drink), and caffeine (fewer than 15 milligrams) than many of the chain's other beverages.
Aside from a few online weight loss aids, there aren't a lot of green coffee drinks out there on the market — and it sounds like Starbucks is looking for ways to create a unique niche as the breakfast and coffee wars heat up. At prices ranging from $2.50 to $2.95, these drinks sound intriguing and affordable. Given the chance, would you try one?
From Martha Stewart
4 cups fresh blackberries (about 14 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for ramekins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 store-bought sugar cookies (about 2 ounces), coarsely crushed
1/4 cup rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 375. Stir blackberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, and the lemon juice in a bowl; set aside.
- Put butter, cinnamon, salt, and remaining tablespoon sugar into a small bowl. Stir vigorously with a rubber spatula until creamy.
- Stir in cookies, oats, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons flour. Work mixture through fingers until it forms coarse crumbs ranging in size from peas to gum balls.
- Butter four 5-ounce ramekins (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter). Divide blackberry mixture among ramekins; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
- Bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack 20 minutes before serving.
After an invigorating bike ride, everyone will be craving a refreshing and cool drink. Instead of just serving white wine, I'll have a pitcher of mojitos ready and waiting. Normally mojitos have to be made individually and there's lots of muddling involved, but this recipe serves a crowd and can be made ahead. Perfect! Fresh-squeezed lime juice is a must for mojitos, so be sure to purchase plenty of limes. I'll also have lots of cold beer on ice. For the mojito recipe, keep reading.
From Food & Wine
City Grocery Mojitos
1 large bunch of spearmint, plus 8 additional sprigs for garnish
3/4 cup sugar
1 lime, rinsed and quartered, plus 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup club soda, plus more for serving
2 cups dark rum
- In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, crush the spearmint with the sugar and lime quarters until the sugar starts to dissolve and tastes like mint. Add 1 cup of the club soda and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Strain the mixture through a coarse sieve into a pitcher. Stir in the lime juice and rum.
- Fill 8 tall glasses with ice and add a mint sprig to each, lightly crushing it with your hands. Pour the mixture over the ice, top each glass with club soda and serve.
Make Ahead: The strained mojito mixture can be refrigerated overnight.
From Teleflora arrangements to Rutherford Hill wine, Bravo is the reigning champion of co-branding partnerships. The next move is to conquer all things digital. Now the network's teamed up with Groupon, a deal-of-the-day website, to offer localized Top Chef discounts in several major cities.
Right now through Aug. 8, if you live in Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, or San Francisco, you've got the chance to snag deals from Carla Hall, Douglas Rodriguez, Mark Peel, Hector Santiago, and Mattin Noblia. "Emerging companies like Groupon are a perfect fit for our audience, allowing fans to engage with the chefs and food they see on our shows on a personal, one-on-one level," Bravo stated in a press release.
Sounds like these partnerships will only strengthen, given the changing marketing landscape — although I'd love to see a lineup that includes Jamie Lauren, Fabio Viviani, and the Voltaggio brothers. If you live in one of these cities, do you plan on going after a Top Chef-meets-Groupon deal?
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to head up to Healdsburg to check out Simi Winery. Founded in 1876, Simi is one of the state's oldest wineries and was one of only four to continue production during Prohibition. Although it was established by two Italian brothers, beginning in 1904, a female, Isabelle Simi, the daughter of one of the brothers, took control of the winery.
She is credited with starting the first tasting room in Sonoma County and continued working at the winery until she retired at age 99. Getting a tour of the winery is a fascinating lesson in local history. Here's an inside look at Simi.
During the Summer, I prefer to eat lighter dinners and often find myself turning to sandwiches. Not just any old sandwich, but one that incorporates the season's ingredients and cooking tools. I'm talking about vegetables like eggplant and bell peppers that are cooked on the grill. This recipe is the perfect example of this type of sandwich.
Three types of cheese make it decadent, but fresh herbs and veggies keep it from being heavy. The entire thing is cooked on a grill, so you don't have to worry about sweating in the kitchen. A hearty spinach salad completes the uncomplicated vegetarian meal. Interested in the recipe? Here it is.