Posts from July 2017

Sweet as a Southern Peach, Comfort from 'Monster Shakes' by Vicki Valsamis

Sweet as a Southern Peach comfort from Monster Shakes by Vicki Valsamis  (Smith Street Books, May 2017).

Sweet as a Southern Peach 

Peach iced tea and Southern Comfort are a perfect match. 


22 fl oz milk

5 fl oz peach iced tea syrup

½ cup Southern Comfort

1½ oz/¹⁄4 cup soft brown sugar

3 scoops vanilla ice cream

Monster your shake

1 cup white chocolate buttons

pink pearl dust, for decorating 

Strawberry syrup (recipe below)

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Vanilla bean whipped cream (recipe below)

2 Cinnamon donuts

2 mini ice cream waffle cones

1 dried peach half, cut into quarters 

orange and yellow cake sugar, for decorating 

Serves 2 

Sweeit as peach

Place the chocolate buttons in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Dip the rims of the glasses into the melted chocolate and sit upright, allowing the chocolate to drizzle down the glasses. Decorate with the pearl dust.

To make the shake, combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and combined.

Line the inside of each glass with strawberry syrup. Gently pour the shake into the glasses and top with a scoop of ice cream. Using a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, top the shake with a swirl of vanilla whipped cream.

Set the donuts, ice cream cones and dried peach into the cream. Fill the cone with a swirl of cream and decorate with the cake sugar.


 Strawberry Syrup

 Makes 2 cups

 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

9 oz strawberries, hulled

½ cup strawberry jam

2 tablespoons glucose syrup

Combine the sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved, brushing any sugar from the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Add the remaining ingredients and stir for 1 minute or until well combined. 

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely. Puree with a hand-held blender for 1 minute or until smooth. Transfer into a squeeze bottle or container.

The syrup will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Makes 2½ cups

10 fl oz whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 and 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

(* Reproduced with permission from Monster Shakes by Vicki Valsamis , published by Smith Street Books in May 2017. Photography by Chris Middleton )

Lips like Sugar on 'World Kissing Day', Cherries and Cake, Clafoutis from The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School

Lips like sugar on 'World Kissing Day', Cherries in the Cake with 'Clafoutis' recipe from The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School by Alison Cayne (Artisan Books-April 2017)


Makes one 8-inch round

A cross between a Dutch baby (what a great name!) and a custard, clafoutis is a traditional French countryside dessert made by pouring a nutty batter over whole cherries and then baking it. A purist would argue that using anything other than whole cherries—pit in—is heresy and does not qualify as a proper clafoutis, but rather a flaugnarde. Given that you may not enjoy dodging cherry pits as you eat, ease trumps heritage in this recipe and the cherries are pitted.

 Propriety aside, this is a dessert you can bake while you’re enjoying the main meal. Once you get the batter down, use it to make a flaugnarde with berries, stone fruits, apple slices, or chocolate chips.

1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened

1 cup fresh or frozen cherries, pitted

3 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup almond meal

Haven's Kitchen_Clafoutis_359

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch ovenproof skillet or pie dish and place it on a baking sheet.

  1. Layer the cherries evenly in the bottom of the skillet. Set aside.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs by hand. Add the milk and vanilla seeds, and continue whisking to combine.
  1. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the sugar and add the rest to the milk mixture. Then gently whisk in the flour and almond meal and stir until smooth. Set the batter aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  1. Pour the batter over the fruit and sprinkle the reserved 1 tablespoon sugar on top.
  1. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown, set, and puffy, rotating the pan after 10 minutes to ensure even browning. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center: it should come out clean.
  1. Let the clafoutis rest for 10 minutes on a wire rack before slicing. The center will fall slightly as it cools.

(“Excerpted from The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School by Alison Cayne -Artisan Books-. Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Con Poulos.")

Salad a la Jules Verne, Endive, Piquillo Pepper and Chorizo Salad, Around the World in 120 Salads

Salad a la Jules Verne from Around the World in 120 Salads by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi (Kyle Books, photography by Helen Cathcart, May 2017)

Endive, piquillo pepper & chorizo salad
Crunchy endive leaves are the perfect foil for smoky chorizo and sweet peppers. These Catalan flavors come from our good friend and teacher Carolina Català Fortuny. She makes this on her tapas course and serves it in a bowl with more whole endive leaves for scooping up the salad.
Serves 4
2x approx. 3 ounce cooking chorizo, sliced or crumbled
6 piquillo peppers from a jar, drained and cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
12 Kalamata style black olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons dry sherry
3 white endives
1 table spoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
EndivePiquilloChorizo Salad
Cook the chorizo in a cold frying pan over medium heat until the fat has rendered and it starts browning slightly. Add the peppers, garlic, olives, and parsley and cook together for a few minutes. Add the dry sherry and cook until it has reduced, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove 8 to 10 of the outer layers of the endives and set aside. Chop the rest of the endives into 1/2 inch strips, discarding the woody ends, and mix with the cooked chorizo and peppers.
Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar and oil together, season with salt and pepper to taste; remember the chorizo is quite salty.
To finish off the dish, arrange the whole endive leaves all around a serving platter and place the pepper, chorizo, and endive mixture in the center. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

(* Recipe excepted with permission from Around the World in 120 Salads by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi-Published by Kyle Books- May 2017, photography by Helen Cathcart)

Dropping Rental Truck Leads to Gowanus Cathedral of Flowers, Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design

Dropping rental truck on Saturday led to Gowanus cathedral of flowers, Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design at 478 3rd Ave in Brooklyn.


Loved space instantly. Space is available for events as well.

I could see successful creative sessions or meetings taking place there, setting is inspiring with these very high walls and ceiling.