Pink Pearl Apples

Pink Pearl Apples 2
These tart, pink-on-the-inside apples are from See Canyon Fruit Ranch.

Pink Pearl Apples 3
We got them at Santa Monica’s Wednesday Farmers Market. They’re Pink Pearl Apples. They’re a little pinker in these photos than they were in real life, but they were still pretty dramatic. (I was having trouble with the color adjustments and this was the best color adjustment compromise I could come up with.) They were much darker pink than in this photo.

We sautéed them with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon, and ate them with vanilla ice cream.

Cantaloupe popsicles

Cantaloupe popsicle 1

If you like cantaloupe — especially if you like cantaloupe sorbet — you’ll love these popsicles. These are my favorite popsicles so far this summer.

This recipe is adapted from Fany Gerson’s Paletas de Melón recipe in her book Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas.

Cantaloupe popsicles

  • 4 cups chopped cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • pinch of salt

Stir the superfine sugar into the water until it is dissolved. (As I mentioned in my Strawberry lemonade popsicles post, it is worth getting your hands on superfine sugar, because it dissolves easily in room temperature water. If you can’t find it, you can always heat the water and the same amount of regular sugar together on the stovetop in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Then let the sugar water cool down before continuing.)

Blend sugar water, cantaloupe, lemon juice and salt thoroughly. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Strawberry lemonade popsicles

Strawberry lemonade popsicle

This is the popsicle I was looking for. This is a popsicle everyone in my house likes. It’s not like anything I can buy in a store, it’s easy, and it’s worth the time spent making it from scratch.

I started with Fany Gerson’s Strawberry Ice Pop recipe and experimented until suddenly what I was eating — and what everyone around me was wolfing down — was a definitely a strawberry lemonade popsicle.

Strawberry lemonade popsicles

  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, washed and quartered
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • juice of one big, juicy lemon

Stir the superfine sugar into the water until it dissolves. (It is worth looking for superfine sugar, because it dissolves so easily. If you can’t find it, you can always heat the water and the same amount of regular sugar together on the stovetop in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Then let the sugar water cool down before continuing.)

Blend the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar water thoroughly. Taste the mixture. When it freezes it will taste less sweet. Now is the time to mix up more sugar water and add it if you think the mixture needs it.

When it tastes good to you, pour it into popsicle molds and freeze.


Update (August 7, 2013): My favorite strawberries to use are sweet, in-season Chandlers. I just made this recipe with tart end-of-the-season berries and had to use 1 cup of water and 1-1/4 cups of superfine sugar.

Our favorite salad dressing

Salad dressing 3

If we serve you salad at our house, chances are good that this is the dressing that will be on it. It’s basically the dressing from this Endive and Apple Salad recipe on Epicurious.

Our favorite salad dressing

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Shake together in a mason jar. This amount of dressing lasts for at least four salads in our house. We store the extra in the refrigerator and, since olive oil solidifies in the fridge, we thaw it out each time in a bowl of warm water while assembling the salad.

Fish in foil and broiled tomatoes for dinner

Whole fish in foil 6
Whole fish in foil

  • Whole fish, butterflied with heads and tails on. We usually use trout, but I think this could work with any white meat whole fish you could wrap up in foil. This time we went with some sort of hybrid bass at Santa Monica Seafood that little one pointed at. (Maybe it was this one.) For trout, we usually make one per person. For bigger fish, you can just cook one and put it on a serving platter.
  • Rosemary
  • Organic lemon, sliced
  • Olive or other oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush the foil with oil. Lay the fish on the foil. Salt and pepper the inside of the fish, and lay a stalk of rosemary inside the fish. Close the fish. Put lemon slices and rosemary on top of the fish. Close the foil to make a sealed packet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the fish’s flesh flakes. (Twenty minutes seems to be a pretty consistant cooking time for us, regardless of the size of the fish.)

It’s especially nice to serve this with good bread for dipping in the sauce.

Broiled heirloom tomatoes 1

Tomatoes with Asiago Cheese and Fresh Herbs (click for the recipe)

Hungarian Sunset

The drink without a name 1
Gavin invented a drink that uses Zwack (formerly known as Unicum) for bitters.

The drink without a name 4
It’s fruity and tart and mysterious.

To make it, mix together:

  • 1 part Zwack
  • 6 parts Jack Daniels
  • 10 parts citrus juice (two of our favorite combinations are orange and grapefruit or lemon and tangerine)
  • 2 parts simple syrup

Shake with ice.

Pour into a martini glass and add a couple of cherries and some cherry syrup.

The drink without a name 3

Dinner: A Love Story and Child of Mine

Dinner: A Love Story
Dinner: A Love Story is one of my very favorite cookbooks. The stories, tips and pictures make it really readable, and the recipes that fit different stages of family life are GOOD. The pork shoulder ragu recipe is my absolute favorite. The first time I made it, I served it up, took a bite, and saw that everyone else at the table–including my toddler who usually waits for me to feed him–had already tucked in and were eating with focus. People hardly talked until we were about halfway through our bowls. A couple of our other favorites are bean burritos with pickled onions and grilled peaches, which taste like peach pie without the crust.

One of the most helpful books I read about feeding babies and kids was Ellyn Satter’s Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. Satter is a nutritionist, and after Child of Mine she wrote a cookbook to show people what she meant by family meals — recipes people could easily cook and serve that they would enjoy and that kids could enjoy, too. I enjoyed reading it and sampling some of the recipes, but I think Dinner: A Love Story makes the best companion book for Child of Mine that I’ve come across so far. They could pair well to make a great baby shower gift  (along with some frozen pork ragu).

Mummy cupcakes

Carrot cake mummies with cream cheese frosting, inspired by this picture on Pinterest

To make the mummies’s bandages, I used a #103 cake decorating tip. I used a star tip for the whites of the eyes and a #3 cake decorating tip and melted semi-sweet chocolate for the pupils, but next time I want to try using this tutorial for making googly eyes.


Wanda’s Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sift together:

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix together:

  • 1-1/2 cups cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups grated carrots — packed
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix together well.

For cupcakes, place cupcake liners into two cupcake pans, and fill with batter. Bake at 300 degrees for 45-50 minutes. (When they are done, a toothpick poked into the center of a cupcake will come out clean.) Yields 24 cupcakes.

For a larger cake, bake at 300 degrees in a greased pan for one hour.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Mix together:

  • 1 lb confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 8-oz. container of cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Frost cool cake.


Bloody Mary two ways

Two Bloody Mary recipes

Bloody Marys are a long standing Christmas morning Doughtie tradition, and we West Coast Doughties we make them two ways: the hard core Clamato version, which is a recipe handed down from Gavin’s mom, and the Spicy V-8 version, which comes from a friend of mine. One day, I may reach Clamato-level Bloody Mary enlightenment, but I’m a beginner Bloody Mary drinker, and the Spicy V-8 version goes down easier for me.

* * * * *

Bloody Mary (Clamato version)

  • 1 (32 oz.) jar clamato juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 oz. celery salt
  • 1/2 oz. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 oz. lemon juice
  • Angostura bitters
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tsp. onion juice (very optional)

Combine first four ingredients. Add Tabasco and bitters to taste. To obtain onion juice, squeeze 1/4 med. onion in a garlic press and use juice and pulp to get 1 tsp.

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk or spoon. Pour over booze and ice and squeeze a fresh lime wedge over the top. Garnish with a celery stalk.

* * * * *

Bloody Mary (Spicy V-8 version)

  • Ice
  • Vodka
  • Spicy V-8
  • Fresh bright green celery stalk
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 lemon
  • Fresh pepper

Fill glass half-way with ice.

Fill glass 1/3 of the way with vodka.

Pour Spicy V-8 over the vodka to fill glass a total 5/6 of the way full.

Add a minimum of 9 shakes of Tabasco (or more to taste).

Add 1 tablespoon fresh horseradish.

Add 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.

Squeeze juice from 1/4 lemon into the glass, then drop squeezed lemon into glass.

Stir with a fresh, crisp, bright green celery stalk.

Sprinkle with pepper.

Adjust to taste.

Originally posted on The DHX.

Chocolate chip cookies


Chocolate Chip Cookies (the Nestle Toll House recipe with a few notes)

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (My mom taught me never to scoop the flour out of the jar with the measuring cup, but to spoon the flour lightly into the measuring cup, and then to use a knife edge to brush any flour that pokes above the top of the measure cup back off into the flour jar. She also taught me never to pack the flour into the measuring cup.)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (Softening the butter — getting it out of the refrigerator a few hours before cooking and letting it come to room temperature — makes a big difference in this recipe. They come out soft and thin, with chocolate chips poking out in little bumps, and they stay soft, which to me is chocolate chip cookie perfection.)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (dark brown sugar is especially good)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • (This recipe also calls for 1 cup chopped nuts, I don’t like them so I leave them out.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sift or wisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla extract in a separate large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in flour mixture a little bit at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Put rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Cool on wire racks.