choose your own adventure bloody marys

throughout my year of making molly on the range, i had a lot of shoot days where my primary task was taking a few options for beauty shots of the five or six dishes that were on the schedule for that day. most of the shoot days fell in the winter, when the days are extra short around here, so that was silly and took a lot of advanced planning, but in general it wasn't too unlike photographing a blog post. there was more pressure knowing that the photos would get put on paper, however at times it was actually physically easier than shooting a blog post since i knew there wouldn't be much room in the book for many more angles and process shots, beyond one final beauty of the finished dish. 

but! there were also a few different kinds of shoot days that involved people (!) and festive wardrobes (!) and entire party setups, captured by chantell! we had a bonfire, a harvest party, a dumpling party, a brunch party... they were much bigger productions than blog posts and there were a lot of moving parts to coordinate, like humans and props and making sure all of the humans showed up in seasonally appropriate attire (which didn't necessarily reflect which season it actually was. for example, don't ask when we shot the holiday party... the answer is not "around the holidays.") it was a lot like planning a real party! so fun. a little more stressful because if something went wrong i couldn't just spill the punch bowl, call the cops, blame it on the neighbors, and get it out of my life. these were parties that'd live on in physical form. 

one of my favorite parties was our brunch party, modeled on our town brunch club. brunch club member emeritus kristin came up all the way from minneapolis, eggsister came from fargo, farmhouse pottery sent such gorgeous props, and we ate so many of my favorite recipes from the book. (i've strategically included a few preview shots of these up above but the little labels depicting what they are are hidden because those are secrets until the book comes out! #october4 #pleasepreorder) bloody marys were obviously involved but sadly the recipe didn't make the book. 

so here they are now, in honor of sherrie's end of summer #drinkthesummer party, which you all need to check out because i am thirsty and needing to pee just looking at these titles: salty melon slush, garden tonic punch, and jalapeno watermelon cooler to name a few!

i think i make a good bloody mary because savory drinks excite me sooo much. it's like cold boozy soup and--bonus!--you get a serving of vegetables. this recipe is fun because it gives you a good base recipe which you can spice up based on whichever fancy hot sauce you have hiding your fridge. and then depending on what hot sauce that is, that's what you call it. harissa bloody mary, zhoug bloody mary, sambal oelek bloody mary, sriracha chipotle obscure-hot-sauce-in-an-unmarked-bottle-that-you-found-in-your-bag-after-a-long-night-of-tequila-in-tijuana* bloody mary... the world is your hot sauce oyster and impressing your brunch guests is just a few shakes away! 

(*this is fictional, it never happened, stop worrying, mum)


choose your own adventure bloody marys

makes about 6 servings

ingredients

4 c tomato juice

1 c vodka

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 1/2 tsp celery salt, plus more for garnish

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp ground caraway seeds

1 tsp ground horseradish

1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 tb lime juice

black pepper 

hot stuff ***

garnish:

celery stalks

lime wedges

pickles 

bacon

***This is the essence of this recipe, what makes it. Open up your refrigerator, find the fanciest spicy situation that you have, and then add it to taste. This will be the title of your Bloody Mary. Harissa Bloody Mary. Sriracha Bloody Mary. Zhoug Bloody Mary. Sambal Oelek Bloody Mary. Or a combination.

clues

In a pitcher, mix together the tomato juice, vodka, garlic, salt, sugar, caraway seeds, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, a few turns of black pepper, and hot stuff. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. To serve, give 6 glasses a celery salt rim job and distribute the mixture evenly. Garnish as desired with celery stalks, lime wedges, pickles, and bacon. 


-yeh!

molly on the range is out october 4 and you can pre-order it now!

cardamom coffee cake with bulletproof frosting

i am on my way to la jolla right now for my family's kind-of-annual gathering of playing music at the la jolla summerfest! my suitcase is packed with:

1) stretchy pants and flowy dresses for eating maximum animal style in-n-out and tacos

2) drum sticks, timpani mallets, a pencil (a pencil! haven't used one of those in ages!), and concert black outfits

3) my new wedge sneakers that i was inspired to get because of sarah lynn's shoes on bojack horseman and i'm so obsessed with them. i feel like i'm in back to the future and i never want to take them off. 

being in la jolla always takes me back to the days when my name is yeh was a newborn, when i'd interview my family and friends and take pictures of night time tacos with my little point and shoot. did you know my name is yeh was born in los angeles...7 years ago?? and then when it was just a few days old we drove down to la jolla and i blogged up a storm while my dad was in rehearsal. i think i made like 30 blog posts in that one week i was there. including one about shopping lololololol. 

for this trip, i'm excited to play castanets in some prokofiev, go to a padres game, see my san diego homies, run outside without getting avalanched by mosquitos, and maybe make a mini cake with mia because she is apparently becoming quite the cake stylist these days! 

 

when i was in tel aviv earlier this month, shiran so sweetly schlepped all of the ingredients for this tiramisu ombre cake over to my airbnb. i was so stinkin excited for this cake but then my stupid airbnb oven didn't work!!! i was so sad and couldn't shake my new craving for coffee in a cake, so this is one of the first things i made when i got home and then i brought it to my friend emily's birthday party. i put cardamom in it because cardamom and coffee are like potato chips and ketchup. potato chips (and coffee) are great on their own but adding ketchup (or cardamom) takes things over the top, am i right?? and it's dressed in an outfit of coffee buttercream, aka bulletproof frosting. (it's really just coffee and butter and sugar but bulletproof sounds really cool (to get actually bulletproof-y, make sure you use grassfed butter (well, you should do that anyway since it tastes good))). so go on, get buzzed on caffeine and have your cake too! 


cardamom coffee cake with bulletproof frosting

makes one two-layer, 8-inch cake

ingredients

cake:

1 3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 tb vanilla extract

3/4 c strong coffee, cold or at room temp

frosting:

1 c unsalted butter, softened

3 c powdered sugar

1 tb instant espresso dissolved in 2 tb water 

1 tb vanilla extract

a pinch of kosher salt

a pinch of cardamom

sprinkles, coffee beans, and cardamom pods (optional, for decorating)

clues

cake:

preheat oven to 350.

grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack.

frosting:

use an electric mixer to beat all ingredients together until smooth.

assembly:

once your cakes are fully cooled, level them. place one layer on a cake board, spread a thick layer of frosting on top, and then place the other layer on top of that. use an offset spatula to frost the cake smoothly all over. top with sprinkles, coffee beans and cardamom pods. 

enjoy!


zucchini and feta pizza with fresh mint and preserved lemon (a.k.a. the yas queen)

happy pizza friday, dudes and dudettes!!! 

eggboy and eggmom are currently in the living room rehearsing--eggboy on trombone, eggmom on the piano--for their big show this weekend at the town heritage days! they're playing all-american tunes like yankee doodle and america the beautiful and i'm feeling like i should stand up at attention throughout this whole band practice (licking the lips, on the verge tears, michael phelps-style, you know?). but obvi i've got pizza on the mind since it's friday.

there is this magical zucchini that's been in our refrigerator for weeks now. it's massive and i don't think it's ever going to go bad. i bought it for this pizza but only ended up using a small part of it and so every day for the past five days i've intended on making the chocolate zucchini muffins from love and lemons' book but then a cold attacked and i've been trying to brute force this shit out of my system by way of vegetables and yogurt. or maybe it's allergies and then i think the yogurt makes it worse? oh screw it. i'm making those muffins today.

ok, so, the yas queen pizza is pretty much exactly this pasta but with pizza dough and zucchini instead of pappardelle. i made it over the fire on fourth of july and it was a crowd and twitter favorite. it is so bright and summery and a worthy departure from saucy pies.  


the yas queen pizza

(zucchini, feta, fresh mint, preserved lemon, garlic, pine nuts, harissa, jazz hands!)

1. make a batch of jim lahey's pizza dough and give it its full rising. (feel free to use another dough but the temps and timings here are for jim's dough)

2.  preheat the oven to 500ºf, divde the dough in half, and flatten it out into a 10-11" circle on a floured surface or piece of parchment

3. top with a layer of thinly sliced zucchini (use a mandoline or vegetable peeler), brush it with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with a handful of crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts, chopped garlic, and chopped rinsed preserved lemon (you could also sub out a squeeze of fresh lemon after baking)

4. bake until the crust is browned and splotchy, begin checking for doneness at 7 minutes

5. sprinkle with fresh mint and splatter paint with harissa

6. enjoy!

and here is a very mediocre method of cooking a pizza over a fire (a.k.a. a cry for help): put a baking steel over a fire, either by propping it up with heat-safe bricks or a metal rack, and heat it up. slide your assembled pizza on and cover it with an inverted cake pan. this is kinda janky. check every so often to make sure the bottom doesn't completely char. when it's about to burn on the bottom and the top is cooked just past raw dough status, it's basically edible. top with mint and harissa. 


-yeh!

grilled blue cheese with honey and walnut pesto

have i told you that i'm, like, *kind of* a pescatarian these days?? not 100%. maybe 90%. (i'll always eat the brisket that you cook for me.) but this summer, with all of our happy vegetables and eggs, a new ful-fueled fascination with beans, and after my trip to cheese school and a first-ever branzino cooking experience, i have been having so much fun diving deep into meals that don't have a big hunk of meat at the center. i like putting the focus on vegetables, nuts, and other things that won't make me look outside and see our macaroni and feel mommy guilt. it's a great challenge and i feel like i'm eating more vegetables for it. maybe it's just in my head. i also like not feeling obsessive about cleaning all of the cooties off of every surface of my body and kitchen when i cook meat, and between the garden and our eggs i can get away with going to the grocery store way less now. 

(side note: we have two chicken breasts in our refrigerator because i'm a dirty hypocrite but i'm having trouble figuring out what to add to next week's ful burritos that will make them better than just burritos filled with mushy beans. do you have any suggestions??) 

so! i don't know where i'm going with this, i think i just wanted to tell you since friends update friends on those kinds of things. not--i repeat not!!!--that i want you to change your menu for when you have me over for dinner next. but when you come to my house we'll probably have lentils. or if we're grilling, how about a fancy grilled cheese!  

let's discuss grilled cheese! i like grilled cheeses where the inside of the bread is first toasted. it allows the cheese to get a little jump start melting, and then there is more textural excitement all up in the middle with nary a soggy bite in sight. a few months ago at cheese school, we tasted various cheese pairings and the one that blew my mind the most was honey with castello's double creme blue cheese. it was like salty/sweet but on steroids because of blue's awesome funkiness and this particular blue's uber creaminess. i knew right then and there that this combination would make one luxurious grilled cheese. so i came right home and did just that. i paired it with a second blue cheese, a quick little walnut pesto too for some oomph and bulkiness, and boom! it's the grown-up grilled cheese of my/your/our dreamz. oh and it needs wine because that's the rule about eating a grown-up version of a kid thing, so this is getting paired with the bright and rich napa cellars' zinfandel. yum. the grilled cheeses pictured here are miniature, fit for a party, but if you're making a meal out of it, go the magnum route


grilled blue cheese with honey and walnut pesto

makes 4 mini or 2 large grilled cheeses

ingredients

walnut pesto:

1/2 c toasted walnuts

1/4 c olive oil

1 clove garlic

a squeeze of lemon

crushed red pepper

kosher salt and black pepper

grilled cheese:

8 mini slices bread (pictured) or 4 slices sandwich bread

2 ounces castello double creme blue cheese

2 ounces castello traditional danish blue cheese

honey 

clues

to make the pesto, blend all ingredients in a food processor and season to taste. be careful not to add too much salt since the blue cheese is salty!

to make the grilled cheeses, toast one side of each of your slices of bread, flip them over, and then top half of them with a layer of walnut pesto, both types of blue cheese, and a drizzle of honey. top with remaining slices of bread and grill until the cheese is melty. 

serve with a pickle and zinfandel and enjoy!


-yeh!

thank you, castello and trinchero family estates, for sponsoring this post!