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The French Tart – Grapefruit and Rosemary Cocktail

This vodka, grapefruit and rosemary cocktail is tarted up with St Germain elderflower liqueur and has a refreshing, herby taste perfect for cocktail hour. One of my favorite words of all time is the French word for grapefruit: Pamplemousse. Say it! Pamplemousse. It's...

Herbed Potato Salad

Everyone has a favorite potato salad recipe and here’s ours: flavored with Dijon mustard and plenty of chives, parsley and dill. It’s our go-to BBQ side.

Basil Green Goddess Grilled Chicken with Red Onions

Give chicken thighs a long marinade in Green Goddess dressing, and char them to perfection on the grill along with red onions. Then dollop more herby dressing on them for good measure and eat dinner under the stars.

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad with Honey Balsamic Glaze

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I’m kind of weird with mint. I think I associate it too closely with toothpaste so I’m super picky about when I use it. I really, really don’t like it anywhere near my ice cream, chocolate or potatoes. It’s perfect with watermelon and feta though. I decided to make a glaze with honey and balsamic vinegar to brighten the sweet and tart flavors. I left the shallots out this time (because I was tired and forgot them). It was still good but a touch of sharp shallot helps bring it over to the savory side. This is so summery and incredibly quick to make. 
 
I must be on a sweet/salty kick because when I bought this watermelon, I couldn’t wait to chop it up and throw some feta and mint on that bad boy (Sorry, not sure why I’m talking like Guy Fieri all of a sudden. Shudder.). This is a classic combination which just really works in a “greater than the sum of it’s parts” sort of way.
 
Don’t forget to buy a seedless watermelon. I got a seeded one by accident and it made it slightly annoying to eat. While I do enjoy spitting watermelon seeds like a trucker spitting dip, it’s less hilarious when it’s in my living room and I’ve got to clean it up. 
 

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet corn ice cream

Sweet corn ice cream

Like most fancy-pants wanna-be’s, I often read recipes in the New York Times dining section and think “Yes! I am SO going to make that!”. Then I get distracted by work or something sparkly out of the corner of my eye and forget all about it. Not this time! I saw Melissa Clark’s recipe for corn ice cream and knew I wanted to try it. I also knew that Matt would be totally game because A) he’s always up for a challenge and B) he loves both corn and ice cream.

We had a a few ears of (not that great) corn that we bought in Long Island, so we decided to give this a try. It’s really good! It’s a tiny little bit under-sweetened to my taste (unusual for me) but that could be because the corn we used was not that sweet to begin with. If I make it again (with under-whelming corn), I would add a touch more sugar. Maybe just a tablespoon or so. Or, even better, I’ll leave it as-is and pour a bit of this (elixir of the gods) Salted Caramel Sauce on top.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted caramel sauce

Salted caramel sauce

You’ll never buy jarred Salted Caramel Sauce again once you realize how easy it is to make at home. Plus it tastes so much better without all the additives. It has a million uses, one of which is to be eaten straight out of the jar with a spoon while no one is looking. 

Is salted caramel the best thing ever? “Bah”, you’re thinking. “Best? No way.” Is it better than fluffy kittens in a basket? Is it better than Tyrion Lannister looking at you like this? Is it better than doggie derp face? Who’s to say. Well, I am and the answer is yes. It is better than all those things.

Okay, so now we know that salted caramel sauce is the one true god, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by telling you it’s the easiest thing to make. I mean, it’s simple enough. There’s only 4 ingredients. The thing about caramel though is that there is a very fine line between deliciously dark and acridly burned. You have to be brave when browning the sugar but not foolhardy. The best caramel teeters right on that line between sweet and bitter.

It definitely helps to have the right tools (I found this link to a tumblr that’s just people posing with giant spoons and had to include it here. Thank you for understanding). Seriously though, you’ll need a good, heavy saucepan. It should be larger than you’d think, 2 or 3 quarts is perfect. A rounded bottom is ideal but not required. An instant-read thermometer would also be extremely useful. It will help in that panicky moment between perfect and ruined.

Salted caramel sauce

Arya’s Kitchen Chair

IMG_2248 - Version 2Like most dogs, especially rescues*, Arya likes to be around us. A lot. Usually that’s A-OK because look at that face. Look at it!

But… doggie in the kitchen with heavy pots, hot pans and poisonous ingredients (for pups. I don’t cook with arsenic…much) is a recipe for trouble. Oh dear, cooking blog humor.

Luckily, little miss crazy eyes has become obsessed with a counter stool we bought at Ikea a while back. Occasionally we’ll have people over and they’ll think, “Hey, that’s a nice chair. Maybe I’ll sit in it so I can chat with Emily and Matt while they cook”. Arya will then launch herself onto it first, so they awkwardly end up perched on a corner while she innocently tries to look like she’s been sitting there for hours. Or, even better, she’ll let them sit for a fraction of a second before she leaps on to their lap, requiring them to hold her or she’ll slide off their legs while they look on, mortified. Either way, she ends up with the chair. 

Arugula, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

imageMatt and I used to live just around the corner from one of the best Italian specialty stores in Brooklyn. Caputo’s. Oh dio, this place is fantastic. They import the best stuff from Italy and make their own sausages and fresh pastas. They also make mozzarella and ricotta several times a day so it’s always extremely fresh. Needless to say, we were there a lot.

Note: This story gets a little sad… It was actually the owner’s elderly father who made the mozzarella and he liked to pick out the perfect ball for each person, dip it in the salty brine and hand it to you himself. It was very sweet. So one day Matt and I go in and order a bunch of stuff and as we’re chatting with the old man, he asks us how long we’ve been married. We tell him and he tears up, grabs my hand and tells me that his wife died. So of course, I tear up as he says how much he misses her. Now the old man and I are creating quite an awkward spectacle. Not what people expect to see as they’re buying their gnocchi. The owner comes out from the back and calms his dad and explains that his mom actually passed away a few years ago but his dad forgets this. Then he kindly hands me a tissue as I am no longer at all sanitary.

After that day, for some reason, every time the old man saw me, he would burst into tears. I felt so bad that I was triggering this reaction that I would lurk outside to see if the old man was there, and if he was, I would get the counter guys to sneak a mozzarella ball into my order while I would duck behind the counter. He stopped working eventually but mozzarella now has this bitter-sweet association for me. Maybe now it will for you too! You’re welcome.

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