Strawberries and rhubarb are such a happy marriage of sweet and tangy. And warm banana thrown into the mix? Heaven!
I like to serve this with crème fraîche but of course some whipped cream or ice cream would also do finely.
Given the double crumble sitch here, this is a quite a filling dessert.
2 cups of rhubarb cut into about 1 inch chunks
2 cups of strawberries, hulled (tops cut off) sliced in half
2 cups of sliced bananas
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar (1 for the fruit and 1/2 reserved for the crumble topping)
For the topping:
1 cup of quick rolled oats
1/2 cup of soft butter
1 cup of white flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Turn the oven on to 350F
First, mix all the fruit into a bowl and add in the brown sugar. Combine well.
In another mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the topping. Using your hands, mix up the butter so that it all turns “crumbly.” If it doesn’t seem damp enough, you can add a very small amount of water and see if that does the trick.
Add about 1/3 of the topping mix into the fruit mix and combine well.
Now add the fruit into a baking dish. I’ve used both deep dishes as well as more shallow and wider ones .. both work finely but I always use something that I can serve at the table. Commonly known in the stores as “oven-to-table baker.”
Cover the fruit with the crumble evenly.
Pop the dish into the oven for about 45 minutes.
Serve with ice cream, crème fraîche or whipped cream. Or even natural Greek yogurt would be tasty too.
This is such a simple recipe and takes very little work. But what’s really key here is to ensure you get the most fresh soft shell crab you can get your hands on. (Oh. And the biggest, fresh soft shell crab you can get your hands on). In NYC, Agata & Valentina is your source.
When we had these for dinner last week, I served the crabs with a couple of different dips/sauces (aioli and a dill dip) .. but Marc and Alex concluded the crab was just dandy on its own. The crab does tend to be rich. I served them on a little bed of sautéed pea shoots but, really, that was more for looks than much else. Tasty, fresh pea shoots can be a pain to find. You could serve the crab on a bed of sautéed spinach and be a very happy camper. The veggie you choose is *not* included in the recipe below.
You’re going to want to allow at least an hour for the crabs to soak in the coconut milk. This will make sure they’re very plump.
2 soft shell crabs
1 tin of unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
6 cloves of garlic grated
4 cups of vegetable oil
Feeds 2 people as a main course. You’ll likely want a salad or some veggies with them.
Soak the crabs in the coconut milk in a bowl for at least an hour in the fridge.
When you’re ready to cook the crabs, you’re going to want to prepare to dip them in the goods - the eggs and breadcrumbs - before you fry them.
On one plate, pour out the Panko breadcrumbs. In a shallow bowl, mix up the eggs, and add the grated garlic to the eggs too.
Pour the vegetable oil into a deep frying pan. You’re going to likely only have room to fry one crab at a time (don’t try to squish them both in the pan at the same time). Turn the vegetable oil onto high.
While the vegetable oil is heating up (Don’t stray very far from it! Keep a keen eye on the oil.), dip one of the crabs in the eggy-garlic mix and then from there, dip it carefully into the Panko. This latter step tends to be a little messy.
You’ll want to be very certain that the oil is good and hot (otherwise you’ll have soggy creasy crabs which will be disappointing). Throw in a little bit of eggy Panko mix into the oil .. it should sizzle enthusiastically. Once it does, the crab is ready to be fried.
Using tongs (easiest!), place the crab carefully into the oil. Fry each side for about 2 mins. While this crab is frying, get the second one ready with the eggy mix and bread crumbs.
Once crab #1 is finished frying, pull it out of the oil and rest it on a plate and get to work on crab #2.
Once crab #2 is done cooking you’re ready to serve your meal.
I make so much butter from scratch, that I’m constantly trying to figure out what to do with the leftover buttermilk. Of course, you can just buy buttermilk from the market for this recipe.
Neila is a family friend of ours, and a fantastic artist. During the summers, she would join us for a night or two up at Angora Lake, and make me photobooks so I could remember those trips. She also made a damn tasty blue cheese dressing as it turns out. I found this recipe in my godmother’s desk. I like to make it really garlicky. It’s tasty on sandwiches too. Or dip veggies into it.
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup of mayo (if you have sour cream, you could do a 1/4 mayo, 1/4 sour cream)
1/2 cup of blue cheese - (Roquefort tastes good too)
2 cloves of grated garlic
squeeze of half a lemon
salt and pepper
If you don’t want the dressing too chunky, throw it in a food processor for just a moment.
Violette Liqueur and Sour Cream Cake with Fresh Fruit and Sparkling Pink Wine
Making cakes does not come naturally to me .. they require such precision and I tend to *not be so precise in the kitchen .. typically because i’m entertaining and talking and cooking all at the same time.
But a cake made with sour cream is quite simple and fairly hard to screw up (famous last words!). While the cake is very moist, it’s plain and simple and it does well with a fresh fruit salad served with it. This one is soaked in pink champagne .. it’s an apertif and dessert in one dish!
I used Violette Liqueur because I had the tail-end of a bottle on the shelf. You likely won’t have that liqueur lying around and, certainly, there’s no need to make a special trip to find it. This will work just as well with Sherry.
Make sure you have a 9 inch spring-release cake tin before you get started on this.
This feeds 8 - 10 people.
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of sour cream
a knob of room temperature butter
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 1/2 cups of plain flour (you’ll use some of this for dusting the cake tin)
4 tablespoons Violette Liqueur or Sherry (or some other liqueur you’re a fan of!)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
a spring-release cake tin .. one that is 9 inches (standard).
Any kind of berries will really work well for this.
2 cups of sliced strawberries
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of raspberries
2 cups of pineapple
2 cups of pink sparkling wine
1/2 cup of sugar
Turn on the oven to 350F.
Combine evenly the sugar and sour cream together, and then trickle in the canola oil. Add the eggs one-by-one stirring enthusiastically so the mix doesn’t get clumpy and remains evenly distributed.
Butter the cake tin lightly and then take a few teaspoons of the flour and dust the cake tin with it.
In another bowl mix the flour and the baking powder. Important to make sure the baking powder isn’t lumpy so mix well. (If your baking powder is lumpy, you can add it to the flour via a small sieve.)
Slowly mix in the flour mix into the batter, stirring well. Then add the liqueur.
Now pour the batter into the cake tin.
Bake for 50 - 55 mins. You should be able to poke a sharp knife into the center of the cake and have no wet batter on it as you pull out the knife.
While the cake bakes, make the fruit salad. Mix up all the fruit, sugar and sparkling wine and let the fruit sit.
Remove the cake from the oven, let cool for 15 mins (you can make this the day prior), slice into portions and put on plate. Put the fruit salad next to the cake on the plate, and spoon over some of the liquid from the fruit salad onto the cake.
Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb with Caramelized Onions
This is a very low fuss roast that you can prepare quickly and then pop in the oven and leave for a few hours with no worries allowing you to get on with your day.
I like a boneless leg of lamb because they are much easier to roast evenly throughout .. and because they offer such a great opportunity to add another flavor into the dish by stuffing the piece of meat. I always have some olive tapenade in my fridge which made coating the inside of the lamb with it an easy choice.
The onions add a a great sweet flavor to the meal.
Let the lamb sit for at least an hour in the fridge or overnight with the olive tapenade to soak the flavors before popping it into the oven.
Open up the butterflied lamb leg and sprinkle salt and pepper on the flesh. Then coat with the olive tapenade.
Tie up the lamb so that the olive tapenade stays inside the center of the butterflied leg. You’ll find that some escapes so just pat it back in and with any leftovers you can spread it over the outside skin of the leg.
Salt and pepper the leg on the outside.
Let the leg now sit for an hour or up to overnight in the fridge. (If you do the latter pull it out about 30 mins before putting it into the oven to get to room temp).
Slice the onions into big chunks. Layer those on the bottom of the roasting pan and toss with some salt and pepper. If you have some balsamic vinegar at hand, adding a dash of that always adds to the flavor of slow roasted onions but it’s not necessary. Now lay the lamb on top of the onions.
Pop in the oven and let roast for 2 1/4 hours. Pull out the lamb and add the potatoes to the roasting pan, tossing them so they are coated in any of the oils that have come off the lamb. (Of course you can roast these in a separate pan if that’s easier for you .. toss in olive oil or duckfat).
Now roast the lamb, onions and potatoes for a further 45 mins for a total of 3 hours for the lamb.
Pull out once the time is up and then let it rest for 15 mins or so.
So apropos style-wise for Coachella #1 weekend .. check out these notebooks from Pendelton. Perfect for jotting down your thoughts onto paper. These were a house pressie from a guest who came over one evening. I love them! The fountain pen is an old favorite of mine.
All of these lemony recipes have been passed down in my family. Enjoy!
Kiki’s Lemon Squares
These are my favorite sweet I’ve made in ages. And they’re perfect for Easter. Yummy! Virginia suggested adding lavender salt on top - great idea. Tart, salty and sweet. The perfect combination in a perso… errr, I mean, in a lemon square.
1 3/4 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of sugar (confectioners if you have it)
1 cup of melted butter
Mix the above ingredients and bake in a 9” x 13” pan for 25 mins at 350F til lightly browned.
4 tablespoons of flour
juice of 4 lemons
2 cups of sugar
the rind of 2 lemons
Mix these remaining ingredients and pour on the pastry. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Cool before cutting or you’ll be in a right gooey mess.
This recipe is in the recipe binder my mother gave me after college. Her notes say that my godmother Barbara gave her the recipe from the May 1967 issue of Sunset. I’ve changed it a wee bit eliminating the canned mandarin oranges. No need for canned fruit!
This could be done with limes or oranges too. Tasty.
You need a 9” cake spring pan.
5 eggs, separated
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
Shortbread cookie crust (or you could just use the graham cracker prepared ones available at the market)
1/2 stick of butter
Crush the shortbread cookies and mix in half of a stick of melted butter. Line the bottom of the spring pan with this mix so that it’ll be a solid base to the torte. Bake it for 8 minutes at 325F.
Beat the egg yolks until they are light, and then beat in the sugar until the mix is thick and lemony colored. Stir in the lemon juice and the grated peel. Place the mix over a pan of hot boiling water, stirring until thickened into custardy consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Beat the egg whites until they are foamy and making peaks. Fold them into the cool custard you’ve set aside.
Whip the heavy cream and then fold that into the custard mix. Turn it all into the spring pan, over the shortbread mix. Cover and freeze.
Pull out of the freezer and put into the fridge about half an hour before serving so that it thaws a bit and is easier to slice. (Do this as you’re serving the main course).
You can serve as is or toss some fruit on top so it looks all pretty-like. I put on some slices of dried lemons.
Meyer Lemon Cream Fluff
Unearthed from my godmother’s desk, I found this handwritten recipe. I suspect she came up with this as a result of having a meyer lemon tree in her back yard in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Meyers are smaller, juicier and sweeter than your typical sour-puss, waxy lemon.
This recipe is great served as is, or you can make it and freeze it .. and it’s a heavenly fluffy icy treat.
1/2 cup of meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 tablespoon meyer lemon peel grated/zested (do this BEFORE you squeeze the lemons, much easier!)
1/2 c fine sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup of heavy cream
Mix the 1/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice and peel in a NON-reactive pan. Add egg yolks and heat. Don’t boil! Once heated all the way through and thickened slightly, put into the fridge to cool. You can do this a day in advance.
Whip the heavy cream.
I tend to do this part last —> Beat the egg whites slowly adding 1/4 cup of sugar until the eggs form glossy peaks. You can’t let beaten egg whites sit around as they’ll begin to separate.
Fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture, and then fold in the whipped cream. Place gently into decorative glasses or compotes. You can do this an hour or so in advance, chill and then serve. Any longer than an hour and the whites begin to separate a bit.
FORTUNE — Few in Silicon Valley know how to pull off a party like Susan MacTavish Best, praise that applies even on a slightly “off” night.
Best is throwing together a small, impromptu dinner in her San Francisco home, a 1,665 square-foot Victorian rental she stays at when she’s not at her New York City loft. The decor is warm, downright bohemian: beakers for cocktail glasses, some 200-year-old silverware and china, and a hodgepodge of mid-20th century, retro-chic (think Eames lounge chair) furniture juxtaposed by even older items, animal furs, and shag rugs. “You burned the steak!” the 40-year-old entrepreneur laughs from the kitchen. Her roommate, a 21-year-old founder CEO from Anchorage, Alaska, serves several slices of charred meat. Best comes to the rescue: “Here, this should help,” she says as she wrenches a jar of homemade verde salsa from her kitchen cupboard and sets it alongside the entree.
Surprisingly, it does. So do the endless refills of dry, sparkling pink wine sold at $14 a bottle that Best buys by the case and the racy chatter by her candlelit fireplace, yo-yoing from love lives to vaporizing marijuana pens. In other words, what seemed like a potential disaster is anything but. That’s par for the course for Best, an Oxford-educated, Scotland-bred press rep who built her professional reputation running Best Public Relations with past and present clients like Craigslist, Founders Fund, social scoring startup Klout, and Lulu, a print on-demand bookstore.
But in recent years, Best has made a reputation for throwing some of the hippest get-togethers in the Valley, down to that punch bowl filled with homemade whisky jello. Her themed, lavish soirees emphasize good taste and a curated crowd over Martha Stewart’s fetishistic quest for perfection, drawing folks such as retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain, Pete Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, as well as employees from companies like Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG), and Pinterest. In 2011, she switched gears to focus on building her own company called Living MacTavish, bootstrapped with “hundreds of thousands” earned by her PR firm. Her mission: create an all-encompassing lifestyle brand not unlike Martha Stewart, but well, more accessible.
"Martha Stewart terrifies me!” Best says, sipping wine and giggling. “She talks about her perfections. God, I wish I had enough fridge space. I am the biggest slob. Things always spill in the wrong place. Sometimes I burn stuff.” Yet if the two entrepreneurs share common ground, it’s that Best wants what Stewart took decades to meticulously craft.
To be sure, there are other entrepreneurs attempting what Best is out for, albeit differently and to different degrees. Ex-Googler Brit Morin, and wife of Path CEO Dave Morin, has her Do-It-Yourself brand, Brit + Co. Others like Nicole Shariat Farb, a former Goldman Sachs VP, launched her DIY crafting kit startup Darby Smart last summer. But where many “makers” aim for down-to-earth accessibility, Best hopes folks will also want a bit ofher lifestyle to rub off on them, too.
To wit, Best’s San Francisco home is a 24/7 shopping showcase. Many of the items in her home have price tags for a reason: Should a partygoer envy a particular chair, couch, or flute glass, they can buy it that same night. Last October, she shipped off many of the items in her San Francisco home via 18-wheeler rig and recreated the space in a 1,500-square foot space next to her New York loft so passersby could get a taste of the Living MacTavish experience. Oh, and those beakers Best is drinking from tonight? There are more down in her basement for sale.
If Best succeeds — a big “if” by any measure — it will be because of her tastemaking skills and ability to disarm even the most awkward. “What makes her unique is that she is so comfortable in her skin it doesn’t matter who she’s talking to, from Mark Zuckerberg to a valet,” says Clinton Fein, a South African writer and activist. “She’s just a very consistent, empathetic kind of person.” Worden earnestly agrees. “Within a few minutes, you feel like you’ve known her forever. The only other person I knew who was good at doing that was Bill Clinton."
Venture capitalist Tim Draper says he is getting “close” to collecting the necessary 800,000 signatures needed to get his “Six Californias” measure before state voters in 2014 — but he acknowledges his own internal polling shows Silicon Valley is most opposed to the idea of splitting the state into six parts.
“You’d think that Silicon Valley would benefit” greatest from the plan, said Draper, whose plan calls for the foundation of a state of Silicon Valley, which economists suggest would likely be the richest state in the nation. But “Silicon Valley is the least likely to vote for this,” Draper acknowledged Tuesday. “It’s bizarre.”
Draper made the statements at a salon before a crowd of tech insiders, journalists and San Francisco business insiders Tuesday night. The evening of discussion to explore the idea of California seccession was hosted in the San Francisco home of public relations guru Susan MacTavish, founder of the Living Mactavish fashion, food and design website.”
SAN FRANCISCO — The drinks were strong, the pulled pork was savory and the ideas were revolutionary at a recent tech-centric soiree to hear venture capitalist Tim Draper talk about why California needs to break into six pieces.
At a talk in San Francisco on Tuesday night, Tim Draper, a venture capitalist, discussed his proposal to split the state of California into six and thus resolve what he sees as its chronic mismanagement. “I think it’s just too big,” Draper, an imposing yet genial man wearing a red novelty tie from Save the Children, said. “We don’t feel close to Sacramento, but if we had a government here in San Francisco or in Oakland or somewhere around in Silicon Valley, we’d feel like, ‘Hey, that’s our government.’’
Draper was in conversation with Michelle Richmond, a local author whose new novel, “Golden State,” takes place on a day when Californians are voting on whether to secede from the United States. (Full disclosure: the event was moderated by an editor at The Economist, a publication for which I have written.) On a chalkboard in the kitchen of Susan MacTavish Best, a public-relations practitioner and the party’s host, one of the attendees had drawn a map of the new states suggested by Draper, along with icons for their stereotypical attributes. “North California,” including Napa and Sonoma counties, had bottles of wine. “Central California,” the agricultural heartland, had a cow. “West California,” with Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, had an oil derrick. “Silicon Valley” had a pile of cash.
Still, Draper’s plan may have appeal as an unusual thought experiment—one that might be useful for California. “I think there’s a deep value in going out on a limb and imagining something very different,” Richmond, the author, told me. “Just by virtue of trying to reimagine in a really radical way, it can lead to productive ideas. That’s what happens in Silicon Valley all the time.” Susan MacTavish Best, from a perch by the fireplace, seconded that view. “If there’s a state that this was going to happen in, it would be California,” she said.
“There’s a lot of evidence that this bubble is not a bubble.”
“I actually run a fly fishing business now.”
“Sure he’s a CEO, but he’s really a cool guy.”
(Drawing by Scott Summit)
A few dozen disruptors, mostly men—blazers and jeans for those over forty, hoodies and less-expensive jeans for those under—sip jalapeño margaritas and snack on whole shrimp in the Lower Pac Heights home of Susan MacTavish Best, the publicist and lifestyle guru who was recently described by the Daily Mail as “Silicon Valley’s answer to Martha Stewart.” Her mission, as David Talbot described it in San Francisco in 2012, is to “to drag her tech friends away from their keyboards and make them mingle”—in tonight’s case, at a salon featuring Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley investor recently made famous by his proposal to split California into six separate states.
Crispy on the outside. Oozy cheese in the inside. Who doesn’t love a little crispy oozy bite?
There’s a few steps to putting this appetizer together but they’re well worth it, and you can rest assured that they’ll very quickly become history.
1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese grated
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 lb of mozzarella cut into 1/2 -1 inch cubes
canola oil or peanut oil for the frying
salt and pepper
Basil Crème Fraîche
1 cup of crème farce
Handful of fresh basil
2 chopped or finely grated garlic cloves
Turn on the oven to 350F.
Slice the eggplants lengthwise in half. Coat the sliced now- open part in oil and put down directly onto a baking sheet (skin-side up). Bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile make the crème fraîche mixture. Chop the basil and garlic and mix into the crème fraîche. Done. Set aside.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then scoop out the flesh of the eggplant into a bowl. Mash the flesh with a fork so that it’s not too chunky.
Add the cheese to the bowl, one egg and half of the panko breadcrumbs. Salt and pepper the mixture to your taste.
Crack the remainder egg and put it into a saucer.
Pour the rest of the breadcrumbs onto a plate.
Your next move is to shape the eggplant mixture into little balls about the size of a golf ball .. keeping them smaller ensures they’re not so unruly to deep fry.
Stuff the balls (gently!) with the mozzarella slice. Roll the stuffed balls (gently!) in the egg and then the panko breadcrumbs and reserve them on a plate.
Set aside another plate with a handful of paper towels. You’re going to put the cooked balls here as you remove them from the hot oil.
Now pour the oil into a frying pan and fill so it’s about 1 - 1/2 inches high. Heat it. I never use a thermometer but instead just test with what I’m going to fry. Test with a bit of the eggplant mixture .. it should sizzle enthusiastically when the oil is hot enough.
Using a slotted spoon, drop the eggplant balls a few at a time into the hot oil until they are golden brown all over. Don’t crowd them in the pan as they’ll fall apart and not cook very well.
I ate so much grilled fish in Senegal right on the beach (having been speared) this past month. Delicious! And really so easy to prepare. Here some big, fat trout on the grill. I stuffed them with a mix of chopped parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and dill. And then grilled the fish for an indefinite period. Indefinite as it ranged from about 10 minutes to 20 mins. In Senegal they leave the fish on forever .. it gets dry there but they have so many sauces and side-dishes that one doesn’t notice.
This is such a morerish salad, and I particularly love serving it at BBQs. Here above is a picture of Chickpea Salad on a plate from my godmother’s Grandmother Brewster. Such an elegant plate for such a wallet-friendly dish.
Given how tasty this is, I always make spare. My garden has been exploding with fresh herbs and kale so I was particularly liberal with adding those to the dish today. If you want to make this vegan, just eliminate the feta and add more herbs for color.
3 cans of chickpeas, rinsed
1 bunch of Italian parsley chopped very finely
1/2 cup of crumbled feta (you can skip this if you’re going vegan)
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, grated or chopped very finely
juice of one lemon
zest of half the lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Put the chickpeas in a big bowl and then add the parsley and feta.
Mix the vinaigrette up: the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil.
2 cups of chard sliced into thin ribbons (or you could throw in some kale instead of broccolini)
about 1lb of silken tofu .. give or take .. ie 1 package
1 bunch of sliced scallions
1 cup of fresh cilantro
Heat the butter til it is bubbling in a large pot, and then saute the chicken in it until it is cooked through. Set aside the chicken to cool.
Using the same pot, add the veggie oil and stir in the laksa paste and cook it for about 1 - 1/2 minutes releasing all the flavors. Now add the chicken stock, the coconut milk and the fish sauce and bring to a burbling boil.
Next up, throw in the butternut squash and continue to gently boil the soup until the squash is cooked through .. about 8 - 10 minutes given how small the diced pieces are.
Meanwhile, slice the chicken thighs that you’ve set aside into bite-size pieces. You’re going to add them in a moment to the soup.
Add the green veggies, the sliced chard or kale and continue to cook for another minute.
Then add the chicken to the pot and cook through for another minute.
Lastly, add the tofu, green onions and cilantro to the soup, gently stir for a minute and then remove from the heat.
Split the soup into bowls and you can top with a piece or two of cilantro for flourish.