Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce ice cream

National Ice Cream Month is almost coming to a close, and I couldn't help but share at least one recipe related to my favorite frozen treat. While this isn't a recipe for ice cream (though you can find some here), this caramel sauce is great on any ice cream, whether it's homemade or store bought! I personally love sundaes, and caramel sauce is a classic ice cream topper.

Caramel Sauce ice cream

Bi-Rite Creamery, one of my favorite places in San Francisco for ice cream, released a cookbook a few years ago that shares all of its tips and tricks. Buried in that cookbook, I found this wonderful caramel sauce recipe.

This caramel sauce has amazing texture-it becomes chewy when it hits the cold ice cream. Plus, it's not sickly sweet. Bi-Rite instructs you to make sure the sugar gets a dark golden color, ensuring a really great bitter and robust flavor. This sauce is the bomb dot com.

I particularly like this caramel with coffee and vanilla ice creams, but you could easily use this to top cakes, pies, or brownies. Make it when you have friends coming over for dinner, and you want an easy but impressive dessert--serve store bought ice cream topped with homemade caramel sauce!

Caramel Sauce ice cream

I know caramel sounds intimidating, but believe me, this recipe is very straightforward. No candy thermometer required! Just be careful when adding the cream to the burnt sugar--it might bubble violently,but as long as you don't touch it with your hand (the liquid is incredibly hot), then you should be good to go.

Caramel Sauce

from Bi-Rite Creamery

3/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Set the cream by the stove, so it's easy to access. 

Put two tablespoons of sugar in a heavy nonreactive saucepan, and place the pan on medium-high heat. When the sugar is melted around the edges and starts to turn amber in places, stir the mixture gently and add another 2 tablespoons of sugar to the pan.

Continue to add the remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring as needed and allowing most of the sugar to melt before adding more. Watch carefully as the sugar darkens, and stir to help it melt evenly.

When the caramel reaches a dark mahogany color, remove pan from heat and immediately but slowly pour the cream into the pan. Be very careful to avoid splatters, as the mixture will steam and bubble up!

When the bubbling subsides, gently stir to completely blend the cream into the caramel. If there are any lumps of hardened caramel, put the pan over low heat and stir until the caramel is melted. 

Stir in the salt and let cool until just warm. Refrigerate leftovers. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Favorite Finds: Good Pops


Z and I have a routine at the grocery store, and it always includes a walk down the ice cream aisle. It's especially tempting because our local grocery spot has an amazing selection of treats, and always has a great sale going on.

I like to try out new flavors and products, depending on what's on sale. A few weeks ago, I was particularly intrigued by some amazing looking popsicles on sale, mainly because they came in a cute pink hue.

The popsicles, from GoodPops, did not disappoint! They had really authentic flavor, you could tell the ingredients were all natural. The watermelon ones even had watermelon seeds inside!


These are the perfect summertime treat--they were really refreshing and low in calories, which means you won't feel guilty eating them poolside. I tried out the dairy free flavors, but they also had some dairy flavors that looked amazing, like cold brew coffee popsicles and banana cinnamon. 

You can find Goodpops near you here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Best Blueberry Muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins

There are so many reasons to make these blueberry muffins. So many reasons that you should stop off at the grocery store on your way home from work this Friday to buy buttermilk, blueberries, and whatever else you need. Add some good coffee beans into your shopping cart while you are at it. So many reasons that you should wake up a little bit earlier than you typically do to put these in the oven and surprise your loved ones. Make some coffee with those good coffee beans, and then start making the batter.

Best Blueberry MuffinsBest Blueberry Muffins

These blueberry muffins are packed with berry flavor, unlike most that are just cloyingly sweet. The geniuses at Cook's Illustrated tested this recipe over and over again to make sure it was perfect. If you follow the recipe, they'll come out absolutely stunning. Plus, they don't take very long to make, which means you have absolutely no excuse to not whip them up this weekend.

Best Blueberry Muffins

Bring them to a friend's brunch. Cheer up a sick friend with a basket of blueberry muffins. Or just enjoy them in the bright morning sun. Bonus points if you griddle your muffin halves in some extra butter to create a delicious crust.

Best Blueberry Muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins

from Cook's Illustrated

2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups sugar plus 1 teaspoon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick spray. 

Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture has reduced to 1/4 cup. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature. 

Best Blueberry Muffins

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk sugar and eggs together into a medium bowl until homogenous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil to sugar/egg mixture. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla as well. 

Slowly fold in liquids and remaining blueberries into dry ingredients with a spatula. Don't overmix! Batter should be lumpy. 


Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to evenly distribute batter to muffin tin. The batter should completely fill the cups. Spoon 1 teaspoon of cooked berry mixture over each muffin. Using a chopstick, toothpick, or skewer, swirl the berry mixture in a figure-eight motion into the batter. 

Best Blueberry Muffins
Best Blueberry Muffins
Best Blueberry Muffins
Best Blueberry Muffins
Bake until muffins are golden and firm, about 17-19 minutes. Rotate the muffin tin halfway through. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes. 

To griddle in butter, cut muffin in half. Place a tablespoon of butter in a pan, and heat over medium heat. When butter starts to foam, add muffin, cut side down. Let cook until golden and crispy. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Favorite Finds: Yummly


My work week is largely spent working in the field of data analytics. Rarely does food come into play--I'm often talking to e-commerce companies and other start-ups. But then I have those rare and wonderful moments when I get to talk to a growing and awesome food company, like Yummly.

I met part of the Yummly team at a work function, and I immediately went home to check out their site. Yummly is a way to collect and save recipes easily; it's better than bookmarks and more food-focused than Pinterest. I like Yummly because I can find a plethora of inspiration whenever I explore their site.

In particular, they do a great job of highlighting seasonal dishes and recipes recommended just for you!

I have started publishing all of my recipes on Yummly, and you can find the Hilary Stone Soup page here. You'll also find the Yum button on the blog, so you can can add my recipes to your own recipe collection.
Yummly Pages

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekend Reading

Hello weekend! This week at work has felt sluggish with my energy dipping around 4pm every day. I'm making it a priority to get outside this weekend. Z and I are going for a Saturday morning hike, and then we are headed over to newly renovated Dolores Park for sunshine and a friend's birthday. Below are a few things that will get you to that 5pm cocktail!

Loving loving loving these sandals.

Tips on storing wine.

A fun ice cream event for those in the Bay Area.

Mark Bittman sampling wild vegetables and plants growing in the Easy Bay.

On the weekend to-do list: make these scones.

The best mail-order ice creams in America.

These are some of the coolest cakes I've ever seen!

So funny, so true.

I loved this couple's story.

Shake Shack, please bring your burgers and chicken sandwiches to SF soon.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Grilled Corn Salad

Mexican Corn Salad

Corn is the epitome of summer foods for me. As soon as the weather starts to warm up (well, warm up everywhere but here in foggy San Francisco), you begin to see piles of corn at supermarkets and farmers markets, and it disappears almost as quickly. 

As a child, we stuck to the classic boiled corn on the cob; only three minutes in hot water and a final pat of butter was all corn needed. I didn't even know that people grilled corn until I was in college, when Z and I tried Mexican-style grilled corn.

Mexican Corn Salad

These were no ordinary corn on the cobs. They were grilled to have a dark charred exterior, and then covered with cojita cheese, lime juice, and red chili pepper. It has great flavor balance-smoky corn exterior, sweet corn kernels, salty cheese, acidic lime juice, and spicy red pepper. 

Mexican Corn Salad

Inspired by these corns on the cob, I've created a corn salad recipe here that uses the same flavor profile. We served it on the 4th of July, and it's a perfect meal to bring for summer dinner parties, pool parties, and picnics. 

Grilled Corn Salad

3 ears of corn
3 tablespoons mayo
1 lime
1/4 teaspoon of red chili pepper
4 tablespoons shredded cojita cheese

Prep corn for grilling by shucking the corn and lightly rubbing the outside with olive oil. Place corn in a hot pan or on an electric skillet. Turn every 5 minutes until the corn is dark and charred throughout.

Next, cut the corn off of the cob, and place the kernels into a bowl. 

Mexican Corn Salad

In a small prep bowl, combine the mayo, lime juice, and chili pepper. Top the kernels with the dressing and toss. 

Mexican Corn Salad
Mexican Corn Salad

Add in cojita cheese and toss again. Feel free to adjust salad to match your taste--add more pepper for heat or more lime for acidity.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Favorite Finds: Food Podcasts

Top Food Podcasts Thanks to Serial and This American Life, I am now semi-addicted to podcasts. Even though my daily commute isn't that long, I enjoy getting the opportunity to learn and discover new things on my BART ride. In particular, I am loving food-themed podcasts (big surprise there, I know). If you are looking for a few podcasts to start listening to, these are my favorite!

Radio Cherry Bombe

This women and food podcast is an off-shoot of Cherry Bombe Magazine, another Hilary Stone Soup Favorite.  Julia Turshen, a fabulous food writer, interviews all of your favorite foodie ladies, like Ruth Reichl and Ina Garten. 

Burnt Toast

Food52 now has their own podcast, and though tthey are just a few episodes in, it's already pure gold. Expect discussions with thought leaders on food trends they love and hate. One of my recent favorite episodes had the founders of Big Gay Ice Cream, and I learned that Australia calls sprinkles "hundreds and thousands". How great is that?!

Chewing the Fat

Not surprising since this is an NPR podcast, Chewing the Fat has a strong bent towards topics like sustainability and food policy, though they cover all things food. Expect to hear conversations about reconciling pleasurable food with healthy food and picking out sustainable choices at the grocery store. 

America's Test Kitchen

I've always loved America's Test Kitchen (the greats behind Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and more), but I only recently got into their podcast. The podcast feels similar to their TV show--they answer a couple listener questions, have a product review, talk through a recipe, and then interview a food thought leader. It's a great way to get a little bit of everything food-related in one 50 minute session!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekend Reading

4th of July Happy Friday and 4th of July everyone! Hopefully none of you are at work right now so that you can enjoy the three-day weekend. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the temp here in San Francisco rises above 70. We'll likely make our way out of the city for time with friends, family, and sunshine. 

Here are a few of my favorite links from the week:

People have strong feelings on guacamole.

Is expensive wine worth it?

My current summer read--I'm only a third of the way through, but I really like it!

I really really really want these summer shoes.

Liberty of London is Nordstrom's latest pop-in, and I couldn't be more excited!

10 of the best farmers markets in America.

How to find healthy airport snacks.

The Babington House in England's Somerset looks amazing. Can I move in?

Whole Foods is sure sorry that it is known as 'whole paycheck'.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Favorite Finds: Aprons


 For Friendsgiving, I invited some of my closest girlfriends over for a delicious meal. As everyone was sitting down to eat, I had a few things left in the kitchen to do (carve the turkey, heat up the gravy).

 Since I was wearing one of my favorite outfits (a black silk tank top with a lace covered pencil skirt), I pulled out an old terry cloth robe and threw it on over my outfit. I didn't want to get my outfit dirty, and I (embarrassingly) didn't own an apron. 

Needless to say, my friends made so much fun of me. I had a house full of people, I'm wearing a fancy outfit, and I threw on a bright fuchsia bathrobe to protect myself. I looked really silly. 

This year for my birthday, my best friend Viv put together an incredibly thoughtful gift for me. She works at Zazzle, which makes customizable products, and she made a Hilary Stone Soup apron for me, complete with the Hilary Stone Soup logo!

It was too cute not to share, and for those of you who need an apron yourself, below are two of my favorite picks.


I incidentally bought this Parisian printed apron ($17) the day before Vivian gave me the Hilary Stone Soup apron!
I love love love Hedley & Bennet aprons, and so do many famous chefs! This striped apron ($85) with a tie in the front is great for both sexes. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Watermelon Granita

Watermelon Mint Granita
Happy almost 4th of July! With barbecues and sunshine just around the corner, it's only fitting to offer you a recipe today that is perfect for the 4th of July holiday weekend.

This recipe is actually inspired by a trip to Italy a few years back. In Rome, I fell in love with espresso granita, a slightly sweetened frozen espresso slushy. It was the perfect way to get my caffeine fix for the day while staying cool.

Watermelon Mint GranitaWatermelon Mint Granita

Granitas have a great icy texture, and for Independence Day weekend, a fruit filled treat that you can eat by the pool sounds lovely. I made this version with watermelon and mint, riffing off of last week's salad. 

I love love love the color here--it's a bright pink color that screams summer get-togethers and events. 

There are lots of other things to love about this dish: it's dairy free and gluten free, low in calories, plus, you can make the granita up to 3 days ahead of time! 

Watermelon and Mint Granita

Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger

9 cups seeded, cubed watermelon
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup mint, finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar

Working in two batches, puree the watermelon in a food process or blender. Strain the pureed watermelon into a bowl, making sure to get all the liquid out. Stir in the lime juice, mint, and sugar. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch pan. 

Place mixture in the freezer. Every 30 minutes for about 2.5 hours, use a fork to break up the ice crystals and scrape the mixture until it has a coarse texture. Scrape one last time before serving, and spoon into bowls.


Watermelon Mint GranitaWatermelon Mint Granita


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