New recipe fodder comes in many forms. Sometimes it's as simple as scrolling through a blog, flipping through a cookbook or magazine, or dining on an exceptional dish at a restaurant or friend's home. In this case, I turned to an entertaining standard — the cheese plate — as inspiration for a sweet-leaning grilled cheese, taking components often paired together in this format (brie, figs, and walnuts) and transforming them into an ooey-gooey sandwich that's equally at home at lunch as it is for dessert. Not too surprisingly, this sandwich is a winner — one I imagine will enter my sandwich repertoire indefinitely. I suggest you take note and do the same.
It's been wet and chilly in San Francisco — quite the departure from our recent stay in Miami, where we were in town for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
While I was more than happy to return to my element in the City by the Bay, two weeks later, I'm seriously missing the sun, the sand, and the tropical temperatures. I'm dreaming of a weekend spent poolside at the National Hotel, where we stayed, with a trashy novella in one hand and a thirst-quenching cocktail in another.
I can't replicate that without a six-hour plane ride, but throwing back a few of these forager's martinis should help cure a bit of my climate envy. Don't skip the St. George Spirits Terroir gin in this drink; its sage-like notes combined with the rosemary garnish make for resoundingly earthy undertones. If you absolutely can't locate it, try boosting those flavors by replacing classic simple syrup with a rosemary-flavored version.
This holiday entertaining season, make certain to master at least one back-pocket appetizer — a treat so easy and low-stress that you can whip it up in a flash to fill out a menu or have it on hand if guests will be unexpectedly popping over. I can tell you now, these salty-piney-sweet nuts will be mine.
Crisp and crunchy, with a hit of breath-freshening rosemary, these nuts are dangerous in the best way; I can't seem to stop at a small handful, much less one or two. I suspect you will feel the same way.
Keep reading for the easy, make-ahead recipe.
I'm crazy about lamb, and one of my best friends happens to live on a farm. They not only have chickens, but her boyfriend and his brother, The Fry Bros., are up-and-coming sheep ranchers. So when I invited them to spend a weekend at my parents' vacation house in the mountains, they promised to bring an organic, sustainably raised leg of lamb.
I don't know if it's because I knew the farmers, or the fact that I was dining in the company of all my favorite people with a beautiful backdrop, or it could have been the wonderful marinade recipe (which I found in Bon Appétit), but it was the most memorable meal I've eaten all year. I can't re-create the experience for you, but I can share the recipe. Seek out a locally raised piece of lamb and host your own special dinner! You'll need the recipe: here it is.
The buttermilk, which is seasoned with lots of garlic cloves and fresh rosemary sprigs, tenderizes the chicken. The key to making this chicken succulent and moist is to take care and not overcook it.
Although the recipe calls for a whole chicken, I had skinless breasts in the freezer, so I used those instead. However, when I make this savory and scrumptious chicken again, I'll be using skin-on pieces because I think it will enhance the overall flavor of the dish. It's a great seasonal entree, so learn how to make it now.
Recently I made grilled pork tenderloin with a rosemary coating and red pepper sauce. The tender pork was so juicy and flavorful that some of my guests thought the sauce was unnecessary! It's an elegant but unfussy preparation that's perfect for a Summer dinner party. Want to enjoy it? Here's the recipe.