Growing up on an island in Alaska before the popularity of the Food Network meant my window in the culinary world was very limited. The most exotic foods that I remember eating as a kid were lumpia and “meat-on-a-stick” (likely a version on bulgogi) that some of the Filipino families would sell each summer at the annual Crab Festival.
I had certainly never heard of pesto and the first time I was confronted with it while visiting Italian relatives in Vancouver, BC, I was very suspicious. It didn’t seem right to coat pasta in anything besides the familiar red of marinara.
But once I tasted the garlicky herbaceous green sauce, I was sold. After that moment, one of my all-time favorite dinners as a teenager became linguine tossed with broccoli and pesto. I would get so excited when my mom would make it that I would hoard the leftovers to eat for lunch the next day. I still do this actually, old habits die hard.
As an adult, I’ve learned all the different variations one can do with pesto. I’ve made it with broccoli, watercress and arugula, and garlic scapes — all with equally delicious success. Besides the traditional pine nut, I’ve used everything from walnuts to sunflower seeds. So when I saw the June cover of Bon Appetit, featuring a gorgeous plate of pasta in pesto sauce, that was the first recipe I turned to. And there I found a twist I hadn’t yet made: parsley pesto with roasted almonds.
Every once in a while I’ve ordered a drink having a good idea of what it will be like, only to be totally shocked when it arrives at my table. I had this happen to me last month while on my husband and I were on vacation. We had taken a catamaran to St. Barth’s for the day and stopped in the first bar we found at the Gustavia Marina.
Having been on a steady diet of rum-based cocktails for three days prior, I decided to branch out and order a gin fizz.
This is what was set in front of me:
Gin Fizz in St. Barth’s — note the empty space between the lime slice and the gin
The top part was almost like a lime sorbet, as opposed to the more traditional frothed egg white. But what really caught my eye was the placement of the lime slice. It was perfectly positioned in the center of the glass, keeping the contents of the cocktail separate.
It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend in Portland. I spent about three hours on Saturday sweltering in my sunny backyard, working up the motivation to run some errands. While I waited for my lost ambition to find me, I made this delicious concoction: a coconut-milk twist in the Indian treat, the lassi.
I’ve never actually had a lassi before (and upon writing this discovered it’s pronounced luh-see which makes the title of this post little weird) but I can say this version was pretty magical. I got the recipe from my beloved magazine Bon Appetit, where a whole mouth-watering section of the newest issue is dedicated to strawberries.
I literally couldn’t wait to blend one up and the ingredients list is so short, I happened to have everything on hand to make it. Well almost everything, but happily buttermilk can be faked with milk and a squeeze of lemon juice!
What can go wrong with strawberries and coconut milk?
I wrote about the savory part of our Memorial Day meal earlier this week — now it’s time for the sweet!
The Best Strawberry Shortcake: fresh berries, whipped cream and strawberry ice cream all on a homemade shortcake!
I mentioned that my husband was determined to prepare the quintessential all-American BBQ for Memorial Day. This included a gigantic smoked beef brisket with all the classic side dishes. Once we had everything figured out, we came to dessert, which seemed like an easy choice. After all what’s more American than strawberry shortcake?
* Okay, okay, fine — apple pie is probably more American, but shortcake has to be right up there!
We also knew we wanted to do it all from scratch, homemade shortcakes, fresh whipped cream and local strawberries macerated in sugar. Simple stuff. But my husband was also bound and determined to take it one step further by making a batch of strawberry ice cream.
He used the recipe for “Here’s your damn strawberry ice cream” from Humphry Slocombe’s Ice Cream Cookbook, which if you haven’t bought it yet, is totally worthwhile. The recipes are great but the commentary is downright hilarious. This is the first recipe we’ve made from it and my husband said the only adaption he had to do was add more red wine vinegar because our berries were too sweet. Chalk that up to another reason to love Oregon!
Anyways, he brought home a pint of the ice cream which I immediately had to taste for…quality control purposes (yeah, we’ll call it that). Upon the first bite, I can attest it was nothing short of amazing. Super creamy and full of berry love.