I stumbled upon these beauties at a farm stand this week and couldn’t resist. They’re called fairy tale eggplants. I kid you not. Fairy tale eggplants are tiny in comparison to other varieties of eggplant and have a more tender skin, which makes them the ideal roasting candidate. I’ll admit, I don’t love the classic large and deep purple eggplant. And by don’t love, I mean you’ll rarely catch me buying one in a grocery store or at a farmer’s market. Unless I’m making eggplant parmesan. That’s really the only exception…and what a delicious one it is.
Anyway. Now I’ve become moderately obsessed with fairy tale eggplants. It’s definitely a combination of their name, taste, size and color. I’m sure I’ve told you by now that I have a thing for mini foods. And these guys totally fit the bill. I also get a huge kick out of their name. So much so that I found myself at this farm stand at least once a week buying pounds upon pounds of fairly tale eggplants. Womp. I’ve stopped now and am sad to report that I am on a temporary fairy tale eggplant hiatus.
There’s nothing quite like homemade salsa. If I can, I always try to have a jar hanging out in the fridge “in case of emergency.” Salsas are relatively quick to whip up, but they always taste better after an overnight in the fridge so the flavors can meld. Meaning, don’t judge a salsa until after it’s had a chance to sit for at least two hours.
If you can get your hands on tomatillos, stock the heck up. I typically find them at the farmer’s market or Whole Foods (whole paycheck, anyone?). But really, they make hands down the best salsa. Love me some salsa verde! Tomatillos have these strange husks on them but no fear, they pull off easily. They’re also a bit sticky underneath the husks. That’s nothing a little hot water won’t take care of though.
Well…it’s Sunday again. How is it that the weeks go by so slow and the weekends are over before you know it? So unfortunate. I often find myself wondering who the heck came up with the concept of a five day work week. Every weekend should be three days. End of story. No discussion necessary. It always seems to be a stretch trying to make something like say, waffles, and not only photograph them, but also manage to eat them in a non-stuff my face kind of way. Sometimes my “projects” turn into an all day affair. Saying I get carried away is really an understatement. I like to think it’s one of my good qualities.
Anyway. Let’s get to the waffles. I love putting butter on things. I love butter in things too, but there’s something about spreading room temperature butter on things that gets me all hot and bothered. So naturally I had to make life a bit more difficult and make a flavored butter to go along with the waffles. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a great combination and make your average stick of butter that much more amazing. Just a forewarning, the recipe for the strawberry balsamic butter makes more than you’ll need for four waffles. Unless you’re a true butter fiend and want to put basically ½ cup dolloped on each waffle…I’d judge a little. Don’t pretend like you won’t spread it on something else. Like your morning piece of toast. Make it count.
Well, it’s been a month. Apologies for the lack of food blogging over the summer. Unacceptable in my book. Unfortunately, I had to take this dreaded thing called the bar. Boy did that cramp my food blogging style. I’m not sure I’ve ever despised anything so much. But really, anything that takes my time away from cooking and baking is going to go on my hit list. Add an ‘s’ before the ‘hit’ and there you have it, the list you do not want to be on. Well, the bar is officially on that list. I will spare you the horrendously boring details that were my summer. Just imagine having to spend the months of June and July inside studying for 70 hours a week. Granted, there was room for a little free time. The catch? You can’t even enjoy it because you’re too worried about trying to remember the law for torts, property, secure transactions, constitutional law, criminal procedure, wills, negotiable instruments, family law, civil procedure, contracts and the list goes on. Doesn’t that just scream fun? Yeah.
Now that I’ve ranted on about the bar for a good paragraph, we can get back to food. Finally! I’ve been waiting three months for this day. It’s just as glorious as I imagined. Ready. Set. Roll.
So in addition to being mildly obsessed with brioche, I also love every and any variety of blue cheese. I named my cat Bleu (yes, intentionally spelled Bleu after the French cheese). That should give you a sense of my priorities in life. I also recently discovered an overwhelmingly mouthwatering cheese selection at a local food store. It surely will take a large chunk of my paycheck for the foreseeable future. Think Whole Foods (i.e. Whole Paycheck) but worse, way worse.
I love brioche. You can’t even imagine the restraint I have to use every time I see it in the grocery store. I’d buy it more often if it would last more than a few hours. Zero self-control with bread. Negative self-control with brioche. Now, I can get the brioche home without sampling a “taste” en route. Once the loaf gets into the kitchen though, it’s a lost cause. Sometimes I just go at the whole thing. Kind of like sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of brownie batter and a spatula. Check. And check. The loaf of brioche that the slice pictured above came from also got devoured. Minus the one piece that my boyfriend got on his place. Lucky guy, right? So buying brioche is for special occasions only from now on. Since I tend to mosey my way into a grocery store 4 to 5 times a week, buying a loaf of brioche every trip would be moderately to severely disastrous for my health.
Looking for a quick and easy dinner? This recipe certainly qualifies, and boy is it aesthetically pleasing. You can even scrap the balsamic reduction part if you don’t want to wait for it to thicken. I just happen to love a good balsamic reduction. Or drizzle a salad dressing of your choice on top. Whatever floats your boat, really.
Well it’s July. I figured it was about time to take the ice cream maker out of hibernation. It was just a tad dusty, poor thing. Mid-year resolution: use ice cream maker during seasons other than summer so it doesn’t feel so left out.
Now I got a little carried away at the farmer’s market this week. Not that this is really anything new, I get carried away with something food oriented at least three times per week. On average, of course. This week it just so happened to be strawberries. They’ve only been making an appearance at the farmer’s markets for the last 2 or 3 weeks and I can’t get enough of the small ones with that deep red color inside. Yumo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for having strawberries in the grocery store year round but fresh local strawberries are simply unbeatable. Anyway. I bought 2 pints and couldn’t let them go to waste. Hence, the mint and roasted strawberry ice cream with a strawberry topping. And here they are ladies and gents, the stars of the show.
One of the wonderful things about the below recipe is it all can be made ahead of time. The ice cream can of course stay in the freezer, but don’t let it sit there for so long that it gets freezer burn. We all hate that. The strawberry topping can also be made several days ahead of time and kept in the fridge. The meringue bottoms will be good for a day or two after you make them, just be careful storing those fragile guys. They just love breaking on me, it’s actually quite infuriating. Fickle, fickle egg whites.
Well, it’s official…I’m on a bacon kick. Every trip I’ve made to the grocery store in the past month I’ve picked up a package of bacon. Hickory smoked. Maple. Turkey. Applewood. You name it. Not so shockingly, they’ve each been eaten (give or take a few slices). I tend to go through phases where I love cooking or baking with a certain food or spice. For the months of May, June and at the least the beginning of July, it’s bacon. So you’re welcome in advance for the recipes with bacon because let’s be honest, bacon is everyone’s best friend (with the exception of someone keeping kosher, naturally).
Just a quick note re the weather. Caramels and heat don’t go well together. I fully realize that may be stating the obvious. Perhaps I should have reminded myself of that before I ran out to the store to buy goat milk (yes, you heard me right) and yet another package of bacon. So what do I decide to do on a refreshingly 95 degree day? Make bacon sea salt caramels. Genius idea, poor timing with the lack of an AC unit in my third floor apartment kitchen though. The heat didn’t stop me, although the caramels did have to spend a little quality time in the refrigerator before they could be wrapped. With that said, if you have central air or a kitchen that keeps cool in the summer months, don’t hesitate. If you don’t have AC…consider yourself forewarned of the gooey mess that may ensue. So without further adieu, I bring to you bacon sea salt caramels!