Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tailgating Favorites: Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip

Fall is finally here, which means football and tailgating are in full swing! I didn't grow up as a football fan, and I'm not partial to any NFL team, but college football is a horse of a different color. Z and I are still loyal to our alma mater, and we spend fall Saturdays tailgating with friends down at Stanford.

Caramelized Onion Dip

With football and tailgating comes all the guilty pleasure food that I rarely allow myself to eat during the year, like this caramelized onion dip. This dip is inspired by the Lipton's Onion dip, but this one has way more flavor and no artificial ingredients. 

It's essentially a ton of caramelized onions, stirred into a combination of sour cream and mayo. It's creamy, not overwhelming salty, has a ton of onion flavor, and has a bright punch thanks to a slight addition of balsamic vinegar.

I love it to eat this at game days with potato chips and veggies, but it's also great as a spread on sandwiches. Put a bowl of this out at your next tailgate, and it's sure to disappear quickly. 

Caramelized Onion Dip

From Cook's Country

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds yellow onions, diced fine
Salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo

Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heath. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to medium low, and continue cooking until onions are golden brown (about 10 more minutes).

Caramelized Onion Dip

Add 2 tablespoons water to skillet and stir, scraping up browned bits on bottom of skillet, until water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of water, and cook until onions caramelize and water evaporates, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar.

Caramelized Onion Dip

Let onions cool. Combine mayo and sour cream in bowl, then stir in cooled onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shop Kitchen Essentials!

Need a new whisk, or maybe it's finally time to order that crockpot? My Kitchen Essentials Guide is now shop-able! 

I spent a lot of time researching the best kitchen tools when Z and I moved into together. We needed a lot of kitchen tools, being recent grads, so I wanted to find good value items that weren't crazy expensive, but would also last a long time. I am really excited to share the guide with you so that you can outfit your kitchen with great tools as well! 

Next time you need to order something off of Amazon for your kitchen, stop by my guide first! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Brie and Honey Butter Sandwiches with Homemade No-Knead Bread

Brie and Honey Butter Sandwich

There’s no other way to say it: you got to make this sandwich, and you better do it with homemade bread. The sandwich is so simple that every ingredient counts, and this is no place to skimp on quality or calories! 

Speedy No Knead BreadThe sandwich is just bread, brie, honey, and butter, but it’s a heavenly combination that you can use on repeat. At tea parties, picnics, or just as a Sunday afternoon snack, there’s no place this sandwich doesn’t fit it (unless you are maybe going to a picnic with a friend who is both dairy AND gluten-free, which in this case, why are you eating a meal with this person?!?!). 

Brie and Honey Butter Sandwich

Z and I had this sandwich at Shed, and it was so delicious that we wanted to recreate it at home. I’m glad we did! It forced me to try the speedy no-knead bread recipe from The Times. I like the speedy recipe compared to the original because it allows for more flexibility; no waiting a full 24 hours here. It’s one of the simplest recipes around, and one of the greatest dinner party tricks. “Hi friends, you made a salad, that’s cool, well I made BREAD”. No need for your friends to know that the salad was probably harder to make than this loaf of bread. 

Is it the most perfect bread loaf around? No. But it’s pretty delicious and goes great with cheese, so make sure to stock your fridge with Brie!

Brie and Honey Butter Sandwiches with Speedy No-Knead Bread

From The New York Times

For Bread:
3 cups bread flour
1 packet instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
Oil as needed

For Sandwiches:
Serves 2, adjust as necessary

2 tablespoons softened butter
1 1/2 teaspoons honey, plus more for drizzling
6 thin slices of brie (3 for each sandwich)
2 slices of bread (use 4 if you want it to be a closed sandwich, but I prefer open-face here)

Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water, stir until blended. The dough will be shaggy. Cover dough with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. 

Lightly oil a work surface, and place dough on it. Fold the dough onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. 

Speedy No Knead Bread

Immediately start heating up the oven, setting it to 450 degrees. Put a heavy 6-8 quart heavy pot in the oven. When the dough is done resting, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Put the dough into the oven, seam side up. Shake the pan once or twice. 

Cover the pan with a lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid, and back for another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool pot on a rack, then take out bread and slice.

Speedy No Knead Bread

Combine honey and softened butter together in a small bowl. Spread the butter equally over the two slices of bread. Top with 3 slices of brie on each piece of bread, and drizzle more honey over if desired. Enjoy! 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Kauai Food Guide


Z and I just returned from Kauai! We had a great time hiking, swimming, and of course, eating. Traveling for me is equally about the food as it is about the sights. For our visit to Kauai, I researched food pretty extensively; I want to make sure that if I am spending money out, it’s worth it! 

Below are a few of the restaurant Z and I highly recommend if you are visiting the Garden Island of Kauai:

Java Kai: Z and I ended up stopping here almost every day for smoothies or coffee. They had a great selection of coffees they roast on site, and the smoothie menu has something for everyone. Z in particular loved the Acai smoothie that had acai berries and pineapple juice. 

Bar Acuda: By far the most acclaimed and famous restaurant on the island, Bar Acuda is the place to go for an extremely delicious (read: expensive) dinner. Their most popular dish is a $15 cheese plate of Humboldt Fog cheese, Fuji apples, and local honeycomb, but I also loved the lamb with feta and roasted tomatoes. 

Ha Coffee Roasters: A great space and good coffee makes this coffeeshop a score. It has a ton of space, wifi (in case your hotel doesn’t have it), and wide selection of coffee. I got the nitro cold brew, which was delicious and highly caffeinated, but Z’s salted caramel blended ice coffee was equally tasty. 

Moloa’a Juice Bar: This side of the road juice stand has all the tropical fruit your heart desires. Z and I loved the acai bowl here, which was a steal at $8 (compared to SF prices). It was giant (big enough to share!) and you get a great view. 

Kauai Restaurant Recommendations

Tropical Taco: The fish tacos at this restaurant are so good that Z and I ate them three times on our trip. The use insanely fresh mahi mahi, and then fry it to a crisp for their tacos. This was bonkers. 

Kauai Restaurant Recommendations

Koloa Fish Market: We tried two poke places, and this ended up being our favorite. Go for two scoops of rice, and then get the avocado poke. The ahi tuna is perfectly seasoned in an avocado sauce. At under $10 per person, it’s a great lunch spot. 

Kauai Restaurant Recommendations

Wishing Well Shaved Ice: Splurge on the organic shaved ice here. It’s $8 for two flavors of shave ice in a large bowl, plus toppings. Lilikoi (passionfruit) was so heavenly. I shy away from fruity desserts (I almost always prefer ice cream), but shaved ice might make me change my mind. 

Kauai Restaurant Recommendations

Lappert’s Hawaii: This Hawaiian ice cream staple is the place to go for macadamia nut and banana ice creams. In particular, I enjoyed their chocolate macadamia nut, which was chocolate ice cream with chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Also, go for the cone! They are quite fresh here. 

Kauai Brewing Company: This brewery in Lihue features food trucks every Wednesday. The beer was good, not amazing, and you can try all 8 for $16. The atmosphere was really fun, and it’s a great low-key outing for the evening. 

St Regis Kauai

St. Regis Princeville Bar: The St. Regis bar has the most spectacular view of Hanalei Bay, and it’s worth the $16 cocktail to go watch the sunset. They saber a champagne bottle every evening which is also fun to watch. The snack mix which they give out for free is tasty as well. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake
Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

I warned you last week that fall was just around the corner, and here it is, with a Rosh Hashanah honey cake recipe.

While honey cake was never on my family's Rosh Hashanah table, it is a traditional recipe for the Jewish New Year. My family ate a lot of apples and honey, but honey cake was never on our agenda. To be honest, whenever I had honey cake, I ended up disappointed. It didn't even taste like honey!

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

When I saw this particular honey cake recipe in Cook's Country, I knew I had to give it a shot.  The recipe has almost 2 cups of honey in it, and the cake was perfectly sticky and sweet. My taste testers at work devoured the cake quickly, and it is sure to be a star on your Rosh Hashanah table. Plus, it's a pretty simple and straightforward recipe, no fancy kitchen equipment required.

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

For those out there who don't celebrate Rosh Hashanah...still make this cake! I love honey cake with tea in the late afternoon, but it would also be a hit for brunch.

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

From Cook's Country

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup honey

1 cup confectioner's sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Heavily spray 12-cup Bundt pan with non-stick baking spray with flour. 

Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Whisk water, eggs, apple sauce, vegetable oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract together in another bowl until combined. Whisk honey into egg mixture until fully incorporated.

Whisk honey mixture into flour mixture until well combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a skewer inside of the cake comes out clean. 

Let cake cool in pan for 30 minutes, then use rubber spatula to loosen cake from sides of pan and invert it onto a rack. Let cool completely, for about 2 hours.

Whisk all three glaze ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle evenly over cake. Let glaze firm (about 30 minutes), then serve. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Enjoy the Long Weekend

Weekend Reading

I hope you have relaxing plans this weekend. Z and I are traveling to Los Angeles for a family bar mitzvah (hi Fred, Z's grandpa and avid Hilary Stone Soup reader), and then we leave for Hawaii. If you have any Kauai recommendations, please send them my way! This will be my first time in Kauai, and I'm looking forward to hiking, acai bowls, and the beach. Enjoy the three-day weekend with family and friends--we sure will be! 

It can really suck to get to the end of a good book. This cute baby understands

Awesome food truck names

McDonald's offering all-day long breakfasts

I have always wanted to eat at this SF sushi restaurant. I guess now is the time! 

11 cakes that need only one bowl. 

What a great DIY for a wedding.

Loving the new Timbuk2 Femme collection.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Summer Salad with Basil, Blue Cheese, Corn, and Heirloom Tomatoes

Summer Salad with Basil, Blue Cheese, Corn, and Heirloom Tomatoes

I am in denial that summer is basically over, and that is why I'm serving up a recipe today with some of summer's best produce--heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, basil, and arugula. Not to mention a hearty portion of blue cheese!

Summer Salad with Basil, Blue Cheese, Corn, and Heirloom Tomatoes

My friend A introduced me to this salad a few weeks ago. She stole the idea from her neighborhood salad/sandwich spot, and made it for me one night for dinner. I brought a big bowl of this salad to a potluck recently, and my friends devoured the salad quickly. Once you make it, you'll find yourself wanting it for dinner basically every night. Which isn't really a bad thing, since you'll only find these ingredients for maybe a few more weeks. So make this summer salad for dinner tonight.

Summer Salad with Basil, Blue Cheese, Corn, and Heirloom Tomatoes

As an adult, summer isn't quite as fun as it used to be. Living in the city means no friends with pools, working means no long summer vacations, and residing in San Francisco means piling on sweaters come June. Z and I will be escaping for a week to Hawaii very very soon, so we'll have to get our fill of warm weather, swimming, and vacation then, before the long grind to the holidays.

I'm thinking of fall recipes already--items for college football tailgates, Rosh Hashanah, and cozy Sunday night dinners. Before that though, let's make this salad over and over again, holding onto summer just a little bit longer.

Summer Salad with Basil, Blue Cheese, Corn, and Heirloom Tomatoes

Summer Salad with Basil, Blue Cheese, Corn, and Heirloom Tomatoes

2 ears of corn (white, yellow, bi-color--it doesn't matter!)
1/2 tablespoon of butter
4 cups of arugula, washed, rinsed, and dried
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons chopped basil

Cut the kernels away from the corn cob. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, add the corn, and cook until just barely cooked (3-6 minutes, depending on the corn). You just want to lose the starchiness of the corn. 

Toss the arugula with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper according to taste. Add half the corn, tomatoes, blue cheese, and all of the basil. Toss and plate on a large serving platter. Top with the rest of the corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Enjoy!


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