May 19, 2013 § 2 Comments
My favorite joke goes a little like this:
Four Southern belles are sitting on a front porch, sipping sweet tea. The first belle says, “My daddy loves me so much he got me a new pony.” Two of the belles say, “Oh, that is so wonderful,” and the fourth says, “Well, how niiiiice.”
The second belle says, “Well, my daddy loves me so much that he bought me a new car.” Two of the belles say, “Oh my, what a nice man,” and the fourth says, ”Well, how niiiiice.”
The third belle says, not to be outdone, “My daddy loves me so much that he bought me a new house!” Two of the belles say, “Oh, how lovely!” and the fourth says, ”Well, how niiiiice.”
There’s a silence, and the three belles look at the fourth. ”Well,” says the first, “What does your daddy do for you?”
The fourth belle says, “He sent me to charm school.”
“Charm school?” they ask. ”What’s so great about charm school?”
“Well,” the fourth belle says, “That’s where I learned to say ‘Well, how niiiiice,’ instead of, ‘Well, eeeffffffff you.’”
It is in this spirit that I bring to you The Southern Tart, a sweet/tart hibiscus and bourbon cocktail. I recently received a box of goodies in the mail, including some Wild Hisbiscus Flowers in syrup and Heart-Tee hibiscus tea, and I knew immediately I needed to make a cocktail. I’ve been on a bourbon kick for the last few, well, years, so with that in mind, I started brainstorming.
The hisbiscus flowers in syrup are a bit meaty, with a sweet, tart flavor. They’re almost like a fruit-roll-up, texture-wise, and the flavor is hard to compare to anything else. It’s not really floral — rather, almost citrusy. They’re really interesting, and such a special, elegant treat.
This cocktail is a riff on the Kentucky Cousin, and frankly, I think it might be my favorite that I’ve ever come up with. It’s not too sweet, with a very pronounced bite — the tea is incredibly tart — and given that I’ve used bourbon, I figured The Southern Tart was an appropriate name. (This is after I pumped my friends for possible names — thanks, guys!)
THE SOUTHERN TART
Adapted from Food & Wine and the Kentucky Cousin cocktail
Makes 1 large cocktail or two small cocktail coupe-sized cocktails
- 1 large thyme sprig
- 2 lemon slices
- 3 maraschino cherries
- 1/2 oz hibiscus syrup (from flowers in syrup)
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1/2 oz cherry heering
- 1 oz chilled, brewed hibiscus tea
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 hibiscus flower (from syrup) to garnish
Muddle the thyme, lemon slices, cherries, and hibiscus syrup in a shaker. Add bourbon, cherry heering, hibiscus tea, lemon juice, and ice, and shake for at least 30 seconds (until shaker is quite cold and ingredients are frothy). Garnish with the hibiscus flower on a toothpick and serve immediately.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these hibiscus tea and flower samples free from The Burrell Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
May 17, 2013 § 3 Comments
The last time I carved a stamp, it was probably out of a potato or styrofoam, it was probably the early 90s, and the result probably looked like a formless blob.
This time, it was 2013, I got to sip some craft beer from a local favorite, and the result kind of still looks like a formless blob.
But a very pretty formless blob!
It’s an iris, if you couldn’t tell — my middle name, and a nod to my Etsy shop.
I learned about this from my dear friend Susan at Made in the Haight, a fellow SF Etsy seller — every month, the San Francisco Etsy Team holds a “meet & make” event at the Museum of Craft & Design, where $10 gets you drinks from a local adult beverage company, supplies to make a craft, and instruction. (Only $5 for members of the Museum of Craft & Design!) This is pretty much the perfect event for me: I am terribly shy around strangers, but when you give me some craft supplies and a common goal, it becomes very easy to talk to people. Awkward silences don’t seem so awkward when you’re also working on a crafty project.
May’s meet & make was taught by Niki of Foreign Spell, and she was just as lovely as her cards. (Feel free to buy me one — I really like the one about cooking and bowing to the ground. As you might have guessed.)
It was surprisingly easy — you sketch your design on tracing paper with pencil, use a popsicle-stick-shaped plastic tool to “burnish” (aka rub) the design onto the rubber, and then use a carving tool to carve around your design. I drew three or four variations on this iris, but eventually went with my original design since it seemed the most suited to a simple stamp.
You can either carve deeply so that there is no “noise” around your main image, or you can be like me, leave some lines in there, and call it art.
We got to use several different ink colors, which made for some really interesting effects.
Aside from teaching a new skill in a low-pressure, low-cost, kind environment, I think the best part of this series of classes is that it’s a really nice, constructive way to spend an evening. A couple of drinks, museum admission, and a way to meet new friends — how can you go wrong?
If you’re in San Francisco and would like to attend, you don’t have to be an Etsy seller! Just follow @sfetsy on Twitter and watch for the Meet & Make updates.
May 16, 2013 § 1 Comment
I visited my mom over Mother’s Day weekend, and her garden is in full swing — which, if you know us, means I’ll get plenty of fruit to make into tarts, jams, and to pass around. As always, the crops each year vary. Last year, there were at least 150 pounds of greengage plums on one tree; this year, the pluots, apricots, and berries are thriving.
Some photo highlights:
If that isn’t a delicious-looking preview of what kind of recipes will make it onto this blog, I don’t know what is. Although I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that Heather of A Sage Amalgam and I spent all day yesterday making tamales for the first time (and drinking her delicious palomas), which may become an entry of its own on either or both of our blogs. Depends on if we are going to reveal our/her secret to extra delicious tamales…
I’ll stop taunting you for now.
April 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
These salted caramel squares are a big hit every time I make them: little children, older folks, sick friends, friends who left to travel through Europe for three months and I am definitely not jealous, no not all, and everyone in between. I don’t usually crave sweet stuff, but I am powerless to resist this gooey deliciousness. The rich caramel melts in your mouth, and the salt and the shortbread provide some savory crunch. I have heard gruff grown men wax poetic over these babies.
They’re pretty easy to make, although a little time consuming. They require a candy thermometer, parchment paper (don’t skip it), and a fair amount of patience. There may be times where you think the shortbread will never press into the pan properly and the caramel will never reach 238 degrees. But it will, and it will be fantastic.
They keep well in the fridge, but I recommend bringing them to room temperature before you serve them.
This recipe is from Zoe Nathan via Food and Wine, with several changes in cooking times and techniques based on my experience making these multiple times. Many of the alterations came from commenter “thepastrybag,” who is wise in the ways of caramel. I’m just here to be your caramel cheerleader. You can do it!
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: candy thermometer, parchment, pie weights (optional)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped, or 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste, or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the short sides.
- In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer at low speed, cream the butter. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar (At this point, the confectioner’s sugar is bound to rise in a cloud, so use a bowl with high sides if you can.)
- Add the whole eggs and beat until incorporated, then beat in the flour and salt.
- Press the pastry into the prepared pan in an even layer, 1/4 inch thick. This is easiest if you drop quarter size nuggets of pastry all over the bottom of your pan, then press down and mush them together. I also like to use a flour-dusted glass to roll it out flat (or as flat as possible). Freeze until firm, 10 minutes. If you need to flatten it further, try again now.
- Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Alternatively, prick the shortbread all over with a fork. Line the pastry with foil, and press tightly down on top of the pastry. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just set. Carefully remove the pie weights and parchment or the foil. Brush the shell with the egg white and bake for 10-15 minutes longer, until golden and cooked through. Let cool. (If you make a mistake and brush with egg yolk instead of white, that’s okay too.)
- In a saucepan, bring the cream, vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer. Cover; keep warm.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, stir the sugar into 1/2 cup of water. Simmer over moderate heat, without stirring, until a deep amber caramel forms. This will take some time, so be patient and don’t rush it.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and carefully add the cream. When the bubbling subsides, stir in the butter. Insert a candy thermometer and cook over moderately high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the caramel reaches 234-240° (soft ball stage). This can take up to 20 minutes, so again, be patient.
- Discard the vanilla bean, if using, and stir in 2 tsp of the kosher salt. Pour the caramel over the shell. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours (up to overnight).
- Bring to room temperature. Sprinkle remaining half teaspoon of salt over the top. Remove the bar from the pan using the parchment overhang; cut into squares. Make lots of new friends.
April 2, 2013 § 2 Comments
My problem is that I want to keep each and every one of my creations — but I want to pay rent even more. I’d be quite glad to see any of my pieces go to a good home, though. I have a (pretty obvious, I’m guessing) love of bright colors and statement pieces, and I can’t be the only one. At least, I hope so.
It has been a crafty week here in Frolic & Detour land. In addition to recreating this coral necklace to sell, I’ve made quite a few other pieces. While I don’t intend for this blog to become an advertisement for my shop, I would definitely appreciate any business or support you may want to provide. After all, Mother’s Day is coming up, and I hear moms might like jewelry…
If you want a tutorial on any of these pieces, please leave a comment!
March 25, 2013 § 5 Comments
Did you just read that title and do a double take? Did you think that I have totally lost it? I don’t blame you, except it’s actually really, really good.
Granted, this isn’t an ice cream for someone who wants vanilla, or chocolate, or any other total sugar bomb. This ice cream is sweet, but it’s also savory and full of ridiculously complex flavors for very little effort. Sure, it sounds nuts, except that maybe you’ve had olive oil ice cream or cake, or perhaps olive oil and fruit together, or maybe just roasted olives with citrus. As far as the feta ice cream goes, it tastes almost like cheesecake.
I dreamed this up today as part of the Kitchen Play Progressive Party and Lindsay Olives collaboration: there are five existing dishes using Lindsay Olives, and it’s the competitor’s job to use the olives in a “wild card” dish for the chance to win $200. So I decided to go big or go home and choose dessert.
Here’s my thought process: olives go well with citrus > olives go well with mediterranean food > olives go well with feta cheese > I bet I could roast olives and oranges with sugar and make a dessert > feta/olive/orange ice cream!
And I was right.
I would serve these with shortbread cookies or an olive oil pound cake.
FETA CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM WITH CARAMELIZED ORANGES AND OLIVES
Note: Prepare the oranges and olives first. While they are roasting, you can prepare the ice cream mixture. However, you will need to freeze your ice cream maker’s chamber first, for at least 24 hours.
Special equipment: ice cream maker, immersion blender, food processor or blender, channel knife
Yield: About 1 quart
Loosely adapted from Kid Free Living.
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 egg yolks
Put the feta, sour cream and 1/2 c milk in a blender and blend until creamy.
In a pot, simmer the rest of the milk, heavy cream and half a cup of the sugar.
Mix together the yolks and the rest of the sugar in a separate bowl.
As the cream, milk, and sugar are simmering, add a 1/4 c of hot cream/milk mixture at a time to the egg mixture, stirring constantly (1/2 cup total). When the egg mixture is warm and blended, add to the simmering milk/cream mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Simmer until thick: about 15 minutes on very low heat.
Add the feta mixture to the pot, whisking constantly. Simmer 2-3 minutes, and remove from heat. Pour in another bowl and refrigerate until cold.
Meanwhile, prepare orange and olive mixture.
ORANGES AND OLIVES:
Note: Cara Cara oranges aren’t necessary, but they have a really nice floral flavor and aroma.
- One 6 oz can of black California Lindsay olives
- 1 large Cara Cara orange (at least softball sized), zested (reserve zest), then sliced crosswise in rings
- 1 Cara Cara (or other orange) for zest/garnish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
Grease one cooking pan or baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Drain the olives and set aside into a bowl. Zest one large orange; place zest into the same bowl as the olives. Remove peel and pith from the remaining orange rings until you’re left with little orange triangle-shaped segments. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/3 packed brown sugar. Toss all ingredients together, then spread across your greased baking pan/sheet.
Roast at 425 for 25-30 minutes, until oranges are caramelized and the olives appear nearly ready to break down. At the 20 minute mark, start closely monitoring.
Remove the oranges and olives to a small bowl and let cool. Use an immersion blender to finely chop the oranges and olives.
It might look like this and you might think “ew.” But I assure you, it’s okay.
Once the ice cream custard is chilled, prepare your ice cream maker. Add the feta cream custard only, and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. (For me and my 1.5 qt Cuisinart ice cream maker, it takes about 20 minutes.)
Once churned, layer the ice cream and olive-orange mixture, alternating, in whatever container you use to freeze your ice cream.
To serve: Zest the other large Cara Cara orange in long, skinny strips and layer over each scoop.
March 19, 2013 § 2 Comments
Every time I pass this mural, I love the bright colors and bold lines even more.
These three pictures are all part of one mural. What bunnies have to do with sea creatures and sailing ships, I’m not sure. Either way, it’s a nice contrast to the fog that often eats the Outer Sunset. You can find it at Judah St. and 25th Ave, on the side of an apparently abandoned building.