Monday, July 21, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Skillet Blondie + Vanilla Bourbon Frozen Yogurt {Gluten-Free}

When people tell me things like "I want to get an ice cream maker, but I don't know if I'll really use it" or "what's a pizza stone?" or "I don't have an oven" they seem a bit foreign to me. It's not that I'm wealthy (very far from it) or a snob. It's just that I grew up with a foodie dad.

With my dad, it wasn't unusual to spend a Sunday afternoon baking cookies, churning ice cream, or making lasagna from hand-rolled pasta. We didn't live anywhere too remote that necessitated making good food from scratch; my dad just loves to cook. The culinary gene must have been passed down from his mother, who we called Bubba and who made the best blintzes ever. 

If cooking wasn't on the agenda, my dad would get out his trusty Zagat guide and take us out to an off-the-beaten-path Thai/Japanese/Italian/French restaurant where I would often get to drink a glass of wine and feel very grown-up.

In the summer, we would often stop to pick up a flat of cherries from a truck by the side of the road and eat them, spitting the pits or stems out the window, on the way home. 

It's my dad's birthday today, so I thought it appropriate to bake something celebratory and cake-like. I'm not much of a layer cake lady, so I made a warm, gooey skillet blondie doused with whiskey and studded with fresh cherries. 

Despite his love of food, my dad is very health-conscious, so I sweetened this puppy with an unrefined cane sugar – fair-trade, organic muscobado sugar from Alter Eco, which has notes of maple, molasses, and butterscotch. The blondie is relatively low in butter, though the moisture and sweetness from the cherries keep is rich and gooey-tasting. A generous shower of dark chocolate shards melt into the batter, and a shot of bourbon adds a touch of boozy tartness. I sprinkle the top with crunchy sea salt flakes; they make this thing extra addictive. 

The recipe is adapted from one I've been making regularly for the past couple of years: these Salty Bourbon Squares from The Vanilla Bean Blog. Sarah adapted the recipe for this goodness from The Settlement Cookbook, a book that details how to snag a man through tasty recipes. The way to my dad's heart is definitely through tasty food and drink, a trait which clearly runs in the family. (Also: kittens.)

I make this blondie gluten-free by trading the AP flour for a blend of sweet rice, oat, and tapioca flours. And I add a touch of ground chia seed to make them chewy like a classic blondie. I changed the proportions of the original recipe to accommodate a mess of juicy fresh cherries, and stuck the batter in a skillet. It can be scooped out warm into mugs or bowls alongside ice cream, or cooled and cut into wedges to travel on picnics and such. 

And I whipped up a super-easy frozen yogurt kissed with vanilla bean and bourbon because I learned from my dad and always have an ice cream maker in the freezer and ready to go. Greek yogurt and heavy cream make this the most voluptuous frozen yogurt ever. 

Happy birthday, Dad!

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Cherry Bombs:

One year ago:
Two years ago:
Three years ago:
Four years ago:

Vanilla Bourbon Frozen Yogurt

Start the frozen yogurt several hours before you wish to serve the blondies. Some bourbons can contain trace amounts of gluten, so seek out one that is certified gluten-free if you or your guests are highly sensitive. Ditto for the blondie.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

1 cup (8 ounces / 240 mL) heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic blonde cane sugar (4.5 ounces / 130 grams)
pinch salt
2 cups (17.5 ounces / 500 grams) plain, whole milk Greek yogurt (I like Strauss the best)
3-4 tablespoons bourbon whiskey

In a small saucepan, heat together the heavy cream, vanilla pod and scrapings, sugar, and salt over a medium flame until hot and steamy, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover and steep at least 20 minutes to infuse with the vanilla. Place the yogurt in a medium-sized bowl and whisk smooth.

Strain the cream into the yogurt and whisk to combine. Whisk in the smaller amount of bourbon, tasting and adding the remaining tablespoon if you want a more pronounced flavor. Optionally, chill this mixture for up to a day or two until you're ready to churn, or put it right into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Scrape into a container and store airtight in the freezer until firm, at least 2 hours and up to a month or two. For longer storage, press a piece of parchment paper directly to the top of the frozen yogurt to discourage ice crystallization and wrap or cover airtight.

Chocolate Cherry + Bourbon Skillet Blondie {Gluten-Free}

You can use 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum in place of the chia seed, or leave it out altogether for a slightly less cohesive blondie (not an issue if you plan to scoop the blondie out of the pan). If gluten isn't an issue for you or your guests, you can probably trade all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour (or rye flour!) for the total amount of flours here and omit the chia seed. Serve this warm from the oven scooped into bowls, or let it cool a bit more and cut into wedges. For square bars, bake in an 8" pan, cool completely, and cut into 12-16 squares.

Makes one 8" skillet; 6-8 servings

3/4 cup (4.25 ounces / 120 grams) unrefined cane sugar (preferably Alter Eco's Muscobado)
1/4 cup (2 ounces / 55 grams) unsalted butter, plus 2 teaspoons for greasing the pan

1/2 cup (2.5 ounces / 75 grams) sweet white rice flour (Mochiko)
1/2 cup (2 ounces / 55 grams) gluten-free oat flour
2 tablespoons (.5 ounce / 15 grams) tapioca flour/starch
1 tablespoon (.25 ounce / 5 grams) ground chia seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 large egg (2 ounces / 55 grams)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon (or gluten-free whiskey if you are very sensitive)

1 cup (5 ounces / 140 grams) coarsely chopped dark chocolate (preferably 70% cacao mass)
1 1/4 cups (6 ounces / 170 grams) fresh sweet dark cherries, stemmed, pitted, and halved

1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Grease an 8" oven-proof skillet with the softened butter and set aside. 

In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and unrefined sugar over a medium flame until the mixture bubbles and the sugar is somewhat liquid, about 5 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl and set aside to cool for 10-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together the rice, oat and tapioca flours with the ground chia seed, baking powder, and salt to get out the lumps.

When the butter is cool, whisk in the egg vigorously to break up the sugar which will have hardened back together a bit. Whisk in the vanilla extract and the bourbon. Add the flour mixture and stir until well-combined, then stir for 20 more seconds; this will make the blondie nice and chewy. Stir in 3/4 of the chocolate and half of the cherries. Scrape the batter into the greased skillet, and scatter the remaining cherries and chocolate chunks over the top. 

Bake the blondie until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs but not wet batter, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then scoop into bowls and serve with the frozen yogurt. Alternately, let cool to warm and cut into wedges. 

Leftovers will keep for up to three days at room temperature (though due to the moisture in the cherries I would recommend refrigerating the extras if your kitchen is very warm and/or humid).

Friday, July 18, 2014

Za'atar Broiled Figs with Pecans + Goat Cheese Honey Ice Cream

Last month, I had the good fortune to sit on a panel of food bloggers and photographers with a couple of top-shelf ladies: Phi of Princess Tofu and Kimberly of The Year in Food. Kimberly had just received a copy of her new book, Vibrant Food, and we got a sneak preview. Once I started leafing through it, I couldn't stop. 

I've written a full review of the book for Blikki, a fabulous online health and well-being magazine, which will come out in August. I had fun writing my first official cookbook review, and particularly getting to spend so much time with Kimberly's inspiring recipes and images. I'll post the link when the issue comes out, but for now I wanted to share a favorite recipe from the book: Broiled Figs with Za'atar and Pecans which I paired with a goat cheese honey ice cream.

Figs have a first small harvest in the late spring, and now they're just starting to tumble into season in earnest. Brown Turkeys tend to be juicy and sweet, Black Missions are a bit firmer, with deep purple flesh, and the green-skinned varieties are so pretty with their shocking pink insides. Any variety would be excellent here. 

The figs are simply sliced in half, drizzled with honey, broiled for a bit, then sprinkled with za'atar and pecans, and broiled again. The honey and cooking make this a fine treatment for figs that are slightly under-ripe, as all will become softened and sweet. Figs that are ripe yet still firm enough to hold their shape are ideal. 

Za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend usually made from sesame seeds, thyme, and sumac, adds an unexpected savory hit. I had some organic sumac sent to me by Spicely which I mixed with white sesame seeds and some lemon thyme that I've managed to keep alive in my window box. (I'm looking for more ways to use sumac, so if you have any recipes you like, chime in in the comments below.)

The savory-sweet figs could swing either way: on a salad, as part of a cheese course, or over ice cream for dessert. I especially love the honeyed fig juices that collect in the bottom of the pan.

I can't think of figs without thinking also of goat cheese, so I whipped up an ice cream sweetened with honey. I love the way the dessert turned out; like a cheese plate in an uncommon form.

I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Vibrant Foods. Other recipes I have my eye on are:
-Yogurt Paprika Chicken with Lemon – Kimberly's take on Chicken Tikka topped with juice from roasted lemons
-Rhubarb Compote with Cacao Nibs, sweetened with honey and topped with crème fraîche
-Tomato Fennel Soup with Polenta Croutons
-Millet-Stuffed Peppers with Tomatillo Salsa
-Apple Sage Walnut Bread – a not-too-sweet snacking cake that happens to be gluten-free and whole grain

And I can't stop dreaming of the Pimm's Cup that I made last week, gussied up with sliced strawberries, cucumber, and mint. Mmm...

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Gettin' Figgy With It

One year ago:
Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread

Broiled Figs with Za'atar and Pecans

From Vibrant Food by Kimberly Hasselbrink, reprinted with permission

Kimberly says that you can use a store-bought za'atar if you can't find sumac, a dried berry native to the Middle East. The recipe calls for dried thyme; I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme since I had it on hand, and I thought it worked well.

Serves 4-6

1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon dried (or fresh) thyme
1 teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup raw, chopped pecans
12 large fresh figs, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup honey
vanilla ice cream, fromage blanc, or goat cheese honey ice cream, for serving

Preheat the broiler.

To make the za'atar, combine the sesame seeds, thyme, sumac, and salt in a bowl. Toss with the pecans and set aside.

Place the figs cut side up in a small roasting pan. Using a small spoon, carefully drizzle the honey over the figs. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the broiler and sprinkle the za'atar mix over the figs. Return to the broiler for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the pecans are toasted.

Allow the figs to cool for a couple of minutes. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or fromage blanc (or goat cheese honey ice cream) and a little of the remaining honey drizzled on top.

Goat Cheese Honey Ice Cream

I could easily eat goat cheese for every meal of the day, but until this week, I had never tried it in ice cream. However, I couldn't imagine a better accompaniment to Kimberly's Broiled Figs with Za'atar and Pecans from her new book Vibrant Food, so I whipped up a batch sweetened with honey.

I developed the recipe from a couple of different sources: Carey's Honey Thyme and Blackberry Goat Cheese Swirl Ice Cream (how good does that look?!) and Laura Chenel's Honey Chèvre Ice Cream. (Also check out Cynthia's crazy beautiful Honey Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Poached Pear Swirl. Swoon.) 

A custard base keeps the ice cream smooth and emulsified. The honey lends a soft set due to its high content of invert sugars, making the ice cream scoopable right from the freezer.

Be warned: this ice cream definitely tastes like goat cheese. The goat cheese lovers in our house didn't mind this fact (even the cat tried to get in on the action – he goes crazy whenever we pull the stuff out). I used Cypress Grove's Ms. Natural, a mild and creamy cheese from a Northern California co-operative dairy. If your goat cheese has a more assertive flavor, you may wish to reduce the amount by half.

I'm envisioning this ice cream paired with other fruit desserts; perhaps a berry crisp, grilled plum halves, or roasted pears topped with walnuts. But it really is just right with those figs.

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Simply Ice Cream:
Crème Fraîche
Dreamy Vanilla
Honey Yogurt

Goat Cheese Honey Ice Cream

Use a light-colored honey and fresh, mild goat cheese here; I like Cypress Grove's Ms. Natural and Sierra Nevada's fresh chèvre the best. For a milder goat cheese experience, decrease the amount of cheese to 1.5 ounces and up the cream by 1/4 cup. For churning the ice cream, I have and highly recommend the ice cream maker attachment for Kitchen Aid stand mixers. Serve the ice cream with any warm fruit dessert, or with Broiled Figs with Za'atar and Pecans. All ounce measurements here are by weight.

Makes about 3 cups, 6-8 servings

4 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 ounces fresh goat cheese (about 2/3 c crumbled / 85 grams), softened
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces / 300 mL) heavy cream
1/2 cup honey (6 ounces / 170 grams)
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces / 300 mL) whole milk

Place the softened goat cheese in a medium bowl, and gradually whisk in the cream until smooth (being careful not to over-whisk and make whipped goat cheese butter). Place a strainer over the bowl and set aside.

Place the egg yolks in another medium bowl set on a damp kitchen towel. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk with the honey and salt until steamy and hot, stirring frequently. Don't let the mixture simmer or boil or the acids in the honey could cause the milk to curdle. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pot and cook over a low flame, stirring constantly with a heatproof silicone spatula, until the mixture thickens slightly and/or registers 170ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately strain into the goat cheese mixture. 

Place over an ice bath and stir until cold. Ideally, cover and chill the mixture overnight; this allows the milk proteins to relax and makes for a smoother ice cream. When the mixture is chilled, churn it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Scrape the ice cream into a jar or pan, cover with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper pressed directly to the surface of the ice cream, and freeze until firm, 3 hours or up to a month or two.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

{Vegan} Cashew + Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

This simple recipe came about when I did a little mini-cleanse a couple of weeks ago. It's so easy that I wasn't even planning to share it here, but when I fed some to Erin, she insisted. My favorite natural foods blogger was not to be denied, so here it is in all its stupid-easy glory.

The last time I did a cleanse, I ended up so weak I could barely walk. I made it through three (out of ten) spaced-out days of the Master Cleanse, wherein you starve yourself on nothing but a mixture of maple syrup, water, lemon juice, and cayenne. I thought it might give my digestive system a break, but instead, my stomach was in knots after the first couple of days. On day three, after 24 hours of ingesting nothing but water, I hobbled up the hill to acupuncture, where my practitioner told me to cut it out immediately. Which I did. 

But a couple of weeks ago, I decided to brave a mini-cleanse to see if it might help reduce the neck pain and inflammation I was suffering from. My chiropractor suggested I nix caffeine and eat more protein. Inspired by my friend Ana's Whole 30 diet, I decided to take it a step further by ousting dairy, gluten, refined sugar, milled grains, beans, and alcohol (basically all my favorite things) just for a week. I decided I wouldn't be too crazy stringent about the rules. I wanted to make it fun. 

I went to our vegetarian co-op and stocked up on nuts, fruits, vegetables, lentils, whole quinoa and buckwheat. I roasted some chicken with vegetables and we ate lots of salads topped with creamy hempseed dressing and braised salmon. I made some vegan treats to keep on-hand for snack and sweet cravings. The week-long fast turned out to be a feast. 

I've found that the most transforming part of any dietary change is the forced consciousness. I often pour myself a glass of wine or reach for the cheese and crackers without giving it much thought. It made a nice change to have to stop and consider first. In our world of excess and too much choice, I also found it helpful to have the options narrowed down. I enjoyed ordering things I wouldn't normally at restaurants, like grilled trout with mango salsa at B Star, and trying out new recipes. (Though I totally ate a bowl of berry peach crisp with ice cream while at the launch party for Kimberly's new book. I wasn't about to pass up that opportunity.) 

Some of the week's highlights included:

-Raw Vegan Brownies adapted from Minimalist Baker and topped with a thick slick of a variation on this ganache
-Cacao Nib Buckwheat Granola from The Vibrant Table, with fresh almond milk and fruit for breakfast, or atop: 
-vegan balsamic-roasted strawberry ice cream (adapted from Minimalist Baker)
-a quinoa and lentil salad packed with sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and herbs
-this cashew + sun-dried tomato dip

I'm sure I've seen something like this somewhere before, (in fact, there are about 300,000 recipes already online) but the idea struck me seemingly out of nowhere as I browsed the aisles of Rainbow Grocery. I soaked some cashews, drained some oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and began adding in other ingredients to taste: garlic, lemon, basil, a splash of almond milk, a dash of smoked paprika, all blended together until silky smooth. I like this with the herb-flavored Mary's Gone Crackers, which are pretty much the healthiest that crackers get, and they're so crisp and flavorful, too.

This stupid-easy recipe will especially please your health-conscious, vegan and lactose-intolerant friends. I like to top it with good olive oil and spread it on crackers for mid-afternoon snackage, but I could also see it making a killer spread on a roasted vegetable sandwich. When finished with the cleanse, we tossed the dip with quinoa pasta, fresh tomatoes, chicken Italian sausage, and more basil, and it made a lusciously creamy sauce when thinned with a bit of pasta water. I'd like to try making this with oven-roasted tomatoes when the dry-farmed early girls come into season, but jarred tomatoes make this a possibility for any season.

I'm pleased to report that my neck pain has subsided, and I'm back to eating (and drinking) just about everything. Unfortunately, my woes aren't over: I got poison oak for the first time while hiking in Northern California last weekend. The mini-cleanse was fun, though, and I plan to do it again sometime. I'm looking forward to sharing some of the other recipes I discovered soon, as well.

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Summery Dips and Spreads: 
One year ago:
Two years ago:

{Vegan} Cashew + Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

Top a bowl of this dip with good olive oil, cracked black pepper, and flaky salt and serve with crackers and olives for a snack. Or use as a spread for roasted vegetable sandwiches. The dip can also be thinned with a little pasta water and tossed with pasta, chopped tomatoes, and more basil for a zippy sauce. For a nut-free version, you could probably use sunflower seeds in place of the cashews. And for a non-vegan version, I'd imagine you could trade the cashews for cream cheese, goat cheese, or a combination. This dip keeps well, refrigerated, for at least a week.

Makes a scant 2 cups

1 cup (5 ounces / 140 grams) "raw" cashews, covered with a few inches of cool water and soaked 8-24 hours
1 (8-ounce / 225 gram) jar olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, oil reserved
4-8 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste, from 1-2 lemons)
3-4 large garlic cloves (to taste)
large handful of basil leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons good olive oil or oil from the tomatoes
4-8 tablespoons unsweetened plant milk (such as almond) or water, as needed to smooth the mixture
good olive oil, pepper, and flaky salt for topping the dip

Drain the soaked cashews and discard the soaking water. Place them in the body of a food processor with the drained tomatoes, 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 3 of the garlic cloves, basil leaves, smoked paprika, salt, and oil. Process until smooth, adding the plant milk little by little to help the mixture turn over, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, about 5 minutes. Taste, adding more lemon or garlic to punch up the flavors as you like. (I've noticed that the garlic flavor starts out soft, but will become stronger as the mixture sits.) Use right away, or chill airtight for up to 1 week.

Friday, July 4, 2014

One for the Money Cocktail {Cocchi Americano, St. Germain, Prosecco, Lemon, and Cardamom-Saffron Tincture}

I had hoped to publish the post for this celebratory cocktail before today. But we've been on the road, and the historic lodge we stayed at for the last two nights had an equally historic internet connection. (I had to spend the days hiking, jumping in rivers, and learning to play Cribbage – it was awful.) It's now the evening of the Fourth of July and Jay and I are in Ashland, Oregon, safely ensconced at a hostel with blissfully consistent wi-fi. Jay is part of a group that performs traditional English music and dance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (think men waving hankies and hitting each other with sticks -- manly!) and I get to tag along and see some theatre (which I like to pronounce with a snooty British accent in my head).

Before we left, we made (and drank) way too many of these cocktails (which may or may not be why I failed to complete this post before we left for our trip). In any case, this drink is about as patriotic as it gets around here: an old-school Italian aperitif with the word "Americano" in the name and, for reasons unbeknownst to me, a red-and-white-striped rooster on the label.

Regardless, Cocchi Americano is delicious on its own as an aperitif, but it also mixes with St. Germain, prosecco, lemon, and saffron-cardamom tincture to create my cocktail soul mate (or as Domestic Partners Gaby and Aida call it, my spirit cocktail). The drink hails from Third Rail, a fabulous bar in the Dogpatch district of San Francisco that serves up seasonal cocktails (such as these) and housemade jerky. I knew I would love the One for the Money based on the ingredient list alone; floral, effervescent, and delicately spiced, it was love at first sip.

Cocchi Americano was a new ingredient to me and one that I now adore. It tastes a bit like the rough-and-tumble cousin of dainty Lillet. In fact, according to Serious Eats, Cocchi tastes the way Lillet Kina used to back when it included quinine in its ingredient list. In the last few years it has been embraced by mixologists for its ability to stand up to cocktails that were originally formulated for Lillet Kina.

Like Lillet, Cocchi Americano is a wine-based spirit flavored with a secret combination of aromatics. Cocchi includes quinine (a.k.a. cinchona), citrus, and elderflower. While Lillet is soft and delicate, Cocchi has a more pronounced bite that smacks of grapefruit rind's bitter edge mixed with honey and flowers. Over ice with a twist of lemon and a blast of fizzy water, it reminds me of my other favorite aperitif: the Martini Blanc.

The mixology masters at Third Rail stir Cocchi into this heavenly beverage flavored with floral St. Germain, tart lemon, fizzy prosecco, and a whiff of saffron and cardamom. The result is a cocktail that is softly alcoholic, not too sweet, and highly quaffable. 

After sipping one alongside some housemade jerky, I could think of little else. I looked up Third Rail's online menu to remind myself of the ingredients and try to concoct something similar at home, but to my distress, One for the Money was Gone for the Money. Distraught, I sent an email asking if they might be persuaded to divulge the recipe since it was no longer on the menu. They responded not only by giving me the recipe, but also by assuring me that the drink was still very much on the menu, it just hadn't been updated on their website.

I tweaked the tincture recipe a bit since Third Rail's made an entire liter and as much as I like these drinks, I can't see myself going through that much tincture anytime soon – at least not if I want to remain a functional adult. The bitters – simply high-proof alcohol steeped with crushed cardamom pods and a hefty pinch of saffron – add incredible flavor and aroma to the drink, as well as a pretty, golden hue. I like to garnish the drinks with a bit of grapefruit peel to accentuate those notes in the Cocchi, but orange or lemon work well, too.

Many thanks to Third Rail for conjuring up my spirit cocktail and allowing me to share it here. If you happen down to the Dogpatch for a libation and some jerky (the Cowboy is our favorite), I heartily recommend heading over to Piccino for a spectacular seasonal supper, and The Lab for a delectable dessert (or five).


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Good Libations:

One year ago:
Two years ago:
Three years ago:
Four years ago:

One for the Money Cocktail

Adapted with permission from Third Rail

Be sure to give yourself at least a day to make the tincture before you plan to serve these. I've found that this makes an excellent cocktail party drink as you can mix everything but the prosecco ahead of time to taste, store it in the fridge for a few hours, then pour it into ice-filled glasses and top each with prosecco and a grapefruit twist to order. 

If you're not ready to commit to opening a whole bottle of prosecco to top off these drinks, Presto makes some small bottles that are just right for 2 or 3 of these drinks (I found them at Whole Foods near the fancy cheeses). Otherwise, you can top these off with sparkling water instead.

Cardamom Saffron Tincture:
1 T green cardamom pods, cracked
1 large pinch saffron threads (about 1/4 teaspoon)
1/4 cup Everclear (or other high-proof clear alcohol)

Combine the cardamom pods, saffron, and Everclear in a small jar and let sit for at least 24 hours and preferably 3-5 days. Strain. Pour into a bottle with a dropper. The tincture should keep indefinitely.

Per drink:
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Cocchi Americano
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh, strained lemon juice
cardamom-saffron tincture

Combine the Cocchi, St. Germain and lemon in a glass or cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir for a few seconds to combine and chill it down, then strain into a tumbler filled with ice (it should fill the glass about two-thirds of the way). Add about 10 drops of tincture (more or less depending on how much spice you want) and top with prosecco and a twist of grapefruit peel. Stir again and enjoy.