even though there isn't much booze in them, these are popsicles for adults only! limoncello is an italian liqueur made with loads of fresh lemons and traditionally served after dinner as a digestivo. we used to think all limoncellos were equal, until we tasted this one from just down the coast in ventura - it's vibrant and fresh like no other we've ever sipped. these popsicles would be a perfect after dinner refreshment on a hot summer night - the texture is similar to sorbet and they melt rather quickly so don't linger too long. enjoy!

Limoncello Popsicles
makes 10

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup limoncello
1 cup fresh lemon juice
in a small saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar dissolves. remove from the heat and let cool. add limoncello and lemon juice and stir to combine. pour into popsicle molds and freeze for an hour. insert popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.



ribs are something we have wanted to make for a long time, but they always seem to be something that we figure are always gonna be better at a bbq joint somewhere in the south.  but this week, we decided to give it a try.  these pork ribs are made with our spice rub and a homemade bbq sauce.  we think they can be great on their own, but we think the combo of the two is heavenly.  we decided to go the route of not smoking, just a little time in the oven and a few minutes on the grill.  we thought they were amazing, but let us know what you think.

BBQ Pork Ribs

dry rub
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs smoked paprika
1/2 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs instant espresso 
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
in a small bowl combine all ingredients.

bbq sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup applejack
1/8 cup dijon mustard
2-3 tbs hot sauce
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs butter
1 tbs cider vinegar
in a stock pot melt butter, add garlic and onion and cook until onions are translucent.  add all other ingredients into pot, and bring to a boil.  lower heat and cook 10 minutes to combine flavors, stirring every minute or so.  with a emulsion blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.

pork ribs
2 lbs pork babyback ribs (a little over or under 2 lbs is fine)
1 12 oz. beer
remove the white membrane on the back of the ribs.  sprinkle the ribs with the spice rub and work into entire rack, top and bottom.  place rib rack into roasting pan and pour beer into bottom of pan.  cover with foil and cook in oven for 2 hours at 300 degrees.  remove from pan and place on bbq grill at medium heat, top side up.  slather on bbq sauce and flip to other side and slather on more sauce.  repeat for 10 mins flipping and slathering frequently.  remove from grill, cut and serve with side of bbq sauce.  


roasted grapes

apologies for the lack of posting last week. having a cold in june is no fun at all! at least in the winter you can bundle up in a cozy blanket on the couch with a cup of hot tea and watch holiday movies - but in the summer, it's warm and uncomfortable inside, tortuously sunny outside and there's nothing on tv worth watching but old reruns of top chef and real housewives of where ever. but we are feeling better and ready to cook! this tart is a random creation born out of buying too many beautiful red grapes. the flavors are mostly savory with a hint of sweetness from the roasted grapes and a little wintry with the addition of thyme. perfect for lunch with an arugula salad and a glass of viognier!

Roasted Grape & Shallot Tart

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
3-4 tbs ice water
preheat oven to 375 degrees F. in a food processor, pulse flour, cornmeal and salt to combine. add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. add ice water while pulsing, just until dough comes together. press evenly into a 10 1/2 x 7-inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom. chill 20-30 minutes or until firm. blind bake using foil and pie weights or rice for 12 minutes. remove foil and bake for 5-8 more minutes.

1 cup red seedless grapes
4 shallots, peeled & sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 small bunch fresh thyme
2 tbs olive oil
8 oz goat cheese, softened
1/2 cup ricotta
1 egg
1/4 tsp lemon zest
salt & pepper
combine grapes, shallots and 5-6 sprigs of thyme on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. roast at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until grapes are shiny but not wilted. remove thyme and set aside. in a small bowl, combine goat cheese, ricotta, egg, lemon zest, salt and pepper. spread evenly in baked tart shell and top with roasted grapes and shallots. bake 20-25 minutes or until filling is set and crust is lightly browned. garnish with a little fresh chopped thyme and fresh cracked black pepper. enjoy!


cherries, blackberries & goat cheese

we love all the fresh sweet fruit that comes along with the summer months ahead and really love baking with it. i rarely bake with cherries though - even with the best intentions, i end up eating the whole bowl before they make it into anything as an ingredient! amazingly we had some leftover cherries from farmer's market earlier this week and i was just thinking of what to make when the July issue of martha stewart living arrived in the mailbox. perfect timing! since i can't ever follow a recipe, i changed things up a bit - added blackberries, crumbled goat cheese between the layers and substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the all purpose. the outcome is delicious and we've already put quite a dent in the cake since it came out of the oven. a word to the wise - buy a cherry pitter! it will make life, or at least baking with cherries, so much easier. and put an apron on because that cherry juice goes everywhere!

Cherry Blackberry Crumb Cake
(adapted from July 2009 Martha Stewart Living)

For the topping
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbs unsalted butter, cold & cut into small chunks

For the cake
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cup mixed cherries and blackberries, pitted & cut in half
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease a 9-inch square baking dish. make the topping by combining flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. work in butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal and set aside. to make the cake, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. beat in eggs and vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl. working in batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. beat until combined and pour into prepared pan. spread out evenly with a spatula. cover cake with cherries and blackberries and then evenly distribute crumbled goat cheese. sprinkle with crumb topping and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. let cool before cutting.


crisps & crumbles

rhubarb is a such a wonderful summer ingredient - i love the tart tangy flavor it adds to fruit and it makes a perfect pair with vanilla ice cream. i got one of these in the mail recently and it's a whole new taste of rhubarb! i tend to prefer crisps to cobblers or pies. well, i'd definitely eat and enjoy any of them but making a crisp couldn't be simpler - just combine fruit and sugar, sprinkle a crumbly mixture on top and pop it in the oven! the combinations of fruit are endless and you can use this recipe all year long with whatever fruit is in season - apple & currant, nectarine & blueberry, cherry & blackberry. but you have to top it off with this great haagen-dazs flavor i just discovered and help save the bees while you're at it!

Rhubarb Raspberry Crisp
serves 2

1 pint raspberries
2 cups rhubarb, chopped
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
preheat oven to 375 degrees F. in a small bowl, combine raspberries, rhubarb, zest, juice and granulated sugar. toss together and put in a greased 1-quart baking dish. in another bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, cardamom and salt. add butter and cut in with a fork or use your fingers to combine until mixture resembles a coarse meal. sprinkle evenly over fruit. bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly brown on top. enjoy!


tea time

if you haven't noticed, summer is here! summer solstice is around the corner, stone fruit is ripe and sweet, and evenings are warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a cocktail. so we came up with a tasty beverage that you can sip all summer long - perfect for picnics, bbqs, the beach or just lounging in your backyard or front porch. hope you enjoy this spiked peach tea as much as we did! on a non-alcoholic note, check out this great new website for moms and kids - i'll be a regular contributor in the nourish section and already have a pizza party article running.

Spiked Peach Tea
serves 8

8 darjeeling tea bags
1 lemon, sliced
4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups peach vodka, such as absolut apeach
1 cup simple syrup
3 peaches, pitted & sliced
10 sprigs fresh mint

in a pitcher, steep tea and sliced lemons in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. remove tea bags and lemons and cool completely. stir in vodka, simple syrup, peach slices and mint. serve over ice.


palm springs

you probably won't feel sorry for us, but it's a tough transition back from the hot sun of the palm springs desert to the june gloom of the southern california coast! here are a few images from our amazing, relaxing, way-too-short, sunny, fun weekend. the top two images are from part one of the weekend which was spent hanging out with great friends around the pool, drinking cuba libres and playing lots of dominoes. the two polaroids on the bottom are from our little retreat to the Parker Palm Springs which was spent sleeping in the cold air conditioning, eating the most amazing blueberry pancakes for breakfast and getting a good dose of Jonathan Adler design. we're ready to go back next weekend!