harissa pimento cheese + the aperol spritz

this is a post about orange foods. 

or, orange and white foods.

because for a very long time, back in the day, i didn't eat anything else. 

cheese,

bread,

spaghetti,

butter,

the orange starbursts.

they were all the best and i didn't need anything else because i wasn't old enough to read articles that told me i wouldn't live to be a hundred if i didn't eat an abundance of leafy greens.

(damn those articles.)

mum eventually picked up on my preference for orange foods and started requiring that i ate carrots if i was going to have dessert. that's when things went downhill, or uphill, depending on how you look at it. 

orange foods are still my favorite (even though i've kind of developed a hate for the color orange) and i recently discovered two new orange foods* that i really really love. ones that i can't believe i went so long without. ones that i can trust will please pretty much any party guest, no matter how little i know them, unless they come out of the gates with something silly like, "i just don't like cheese." 

*that's a lie, one of them is a drink 

1. pimento cheese. at its core, it is cheese and mayonnaise and sweet peppers. a cheese spread that is perfect on anything, even your fingers, even a stale unidentified corn chip. having never spent much time in the south, i guess i understand why i didn't eat it growing up, but what i don't understand is how anyone outside of the south can taste it once and then not go around spreading the good word of pimento cheese. i first really learned about it from hannah, who has some great rules which i have followed and also broken. i've made it so many times now and each time i make it, no matter how offensive my interpretation is, it gets gobbled up with a smattering of oohs and ahhs, and i feel like i've tricked my party guests because it is just that easy. here, i've added harissa powder because i love a smoky spiciness. 

2. the aperol spritz. i am in an aperol spritz phase of my life, which is best described by the circumstances under which i popped my aperol spritz cherry: three months ago, over a walnut cream pizza in midtown with a newly pink-haired marian as she filled me in on her recent solo trip to disney world, which sounded like truly the most bizarre and enchanting experience that a person can have. which is to say that i intend the aperol spritz phase of my life to be 30 times more colorful and weird than the college-y gin gimlet phase and, oh god, the skim white russian phase. because an aperol spritz tastes like a grown-up fizzy orange capri sun and it is extremely fun and i love it and i want you to have one too. 

where does that leave us?

have an orange party and be summery about it. 

it's easy, i'll show you.


harissa pimento cheese

mix these together:

4 oz shredded sharp cheddar

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 c mayo

1/4 small onion, minced

4 oz pimentos, chopped

1/2 tsp harissa powder

salt + pepper to taste

serve with bread or crackers


the aperol spritz

fill a glass with ice and add:

3 parts prosecco

2 parts aperol

1 part sparkling water

garnish with an orange wedge

tweet about your #spritzbreak???


-yeh!


thank you so much to aperol for sponsoring this post!! all opinions are mine. all claims to being in an aperol spritz phase are mine. all stories are mine. go have a #spritzbreak! 

peanut butter and grape galette

haiiiiiii!!! did you all have a nice fourth of july???

i did. i cleaned, and did yoga, and substituted coconut oil for canola oil in challah (which turned out to be surprisingly super gross, but i'm doing yoga now so i'm *letting it go*). and then when it finally started to get dark out, which is so obnoxiously past my bedtime up here in winterfell, we went over to emily's house and mingled in the presence fireworks and live smooth rock from the town square down the road. it was great! side note: emily is getting married in five days and she's still hosting parties and taking down potato chips with generic brand french onion dip like a champ. so much admiration. 

in other news: mum is coming for a visit this week! yayayayay! she's going to help me with emily's wedding cakes and we'll probably eat at the blue moose and maybe even take a day trip to bemidji. i'm so excited. every time she visits though i have to get all of the peanut butter out of sight because she's allergic. i make eggboy convert to almond butter for the two days preceding her arrival, (sweat out any remaining peanut residue that might be left in his pores... jk, but srsly), and then bury all the jars in the back of some cabinet or try and use it all up in some baked goods to give away.

so i made a galette over the weekend when my coconut oil challah failed me!

it's a fancy pb + j sandwich. it's the easiest thing in the world. and it's the best warm out of the oven with a big dollop of yogurt or whipped cream. 

so if you have a bunch of grapes that are about to go bad, a peanut-allergic mum who is about to come to town, and/or a hankering to bake something simple yet satisfying, then this is a recipe for you. get to it!


peanut butter and grape galette

makes one galette

ingredients

1/2 c creamy peanut butter*

2 tb honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 lb pie crust

12 oz california grapes, halved

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1 tsp sugar

a pinch of flaky salt

*i use all-natural pb that's unsweetened and lightly salted. if you're using unsalted, i'd recommend adding a pinch of salt to the peanut butter mixture.

powdered sugar and yogurt or whipped cream, for serving

clues

preheat your oven to 400f. 

mix together the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract. roll out your pie dough on a piece of parchment or silpat and then spread on the peanut butter mixture, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edge of the crust. lay down the grapes in an even layer, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edge of the peanut butter (so you have three concentric circles), and then fold up the edges of the crust around the grapes.

brush the crust with the egg yolk and then sprinkle the entire galette with the sugar and a pinch of salt.

bake until the crust is golden brown. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. finish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and serve with yogurt or whipped cream. 

-enjoy!


-yeh!

thank you so much to grapes from california for sponsoring this post!


buttermilk chocolate cake with peach filling and a marzipan cow

this week:

-the chicks are getting to be huge! if they were little apples last week, they are full on grapefruits now! 

-i've been chipping away at orange is the new black. but now that i've started swapping out some of my treadmillings for yoga videos, i haven't been watching as much netflix, so oitnb is going by very slowly. 

-i developed a new system to stay hydrated: instead of having to get up to go to the sink every time i need a water refill (which ends up having to be annoyingly often because somehow all of our water glasses are ever so dainty), i just have a cute pitcher near me at all times. i've been alternating between this one and this one. i have to pee a lot more now but i feel so great!

-the tour de france is starting!!!! i am excited. but eggboy is about thirty times as excited. every year, he buys the live streaming membership and we watch it when he comes in for lunch. go nibali! go contador! go froome!!!

-my freezer has started its journey to fill up to the brim with cake for my friend emily's wedding next week (!!!!). she is having 300 people!!!! so it is basically my dream come true because all this week and next week i get to make caaaaaaake.

-and also: i bought a cow cookie cutter for emily's cake because she is marrying evan the cow farmer. so the other day when my friend lena was in for a visit, we took him for a test run (the cookie cutter, not evan) on this here patriotic cake for the fourth

the recipe is right this way, on the vanity fair site! 

happy almost fourth of july!!!!

-yeh!

new orleans

i am back from the most pleasant weekend in new orleans, and with me i have brought: a newfound love of pralines ("prah-lines"), a southern accent for my inner dialogue (kind of like a fierce millennial britney spears, but i blame the fierce millennialness on all of my time spent with graham), and two very old used jewish cookbooks, one of which is littered with shrimp recipes.

new orleans just oozes with magic. i felt like i was owen wilson in midnight in paris, like i had just stepped into another time and place and there were so many new things to observe as an outsider, yet i was still made to feel so welcome. there were some very great quirks, like being called "baby" by everyone in the most non-creepy way, and turning down the colorful little streets to find six-person marching bands who could have marched right out of a dream. what a place! i've got to go back. just maybe at another time of year when it's not so darn sticky :)


here are some places i went and loved:

kitchen witch // a used cookbook store in the french quarter that makes you feel like you're in your grandma's living room, raiding her church cookbook collection. it's amazing. it's also owned by the sweetest lady ever. 

shaya // an incredible israeli restaurant where graham, beau, matt, and i stuffed ourselves silly. their labne = best i ever had. their hummus with curried fried cauliflower = good enough to make me feel like i could handle being a vegetarian. what!

meaux bar // lol, we might have all gone out for desserts here before shaya because that's how we do. they were v good.

pizza delicious // great ny-style pizza, amaaaazing garlic knots that graham and i could not stop eating, and a fun local vibe that was kind of like one part bushwick, one part park slope. i was down with it.

piety street sno-balls // sno-balls are like snow cones but the ice is much smoother... it really is more like snow. the one i had was nectar and wedding cake flavored and it could not have come at a better time, holy balls it is so hot in new orleans. 

sylvain // i went here twice! once for a fancy lady vichyssoise (there was caviar in it!) with a mind-blowing smokey buttermilk avocado kale salad, and once for all of the meaty fried brunch things with beau and matt and graham. everyone who works there is very wonderful and stylish, i want to be bffs with all of them. 

the old coffeepot // super cute, super old, diner-y, and with fun options like sweet rice donuts that were a new and interesting thing for me. not like rice flour, but actual kernels of rice... like a sweet cinnamon arancini. i dug it. this place also furthered my new appreciation for grits.

district donuts // ok so like i kind of feel bad for not totally taking advantage of all of the seafood in new orleans, but i had no choice, this place serves a mother fucking donut croque monsieur and a mother fucking donut caprese sandwich. wtf! slay me. and their regular sweet donuts are fantastic because they're actually not *too* sweet. so many hearts. 

cafe du monde // i honestly went here out of fear that someone would bite my head off if i told them that i went to new orleans but did not go to cafe du monde. waiting in line was a little bit reminiscent of standing in line at disneyland, because it was hot and crowded and smelled like fried dough, but in the internet age, it's fine, you just tweet. the beignets were great! glad i did it.


last but not least: thank you sooo much to the sustainable seafood blog project for having me down! graham and i made our food photography class debut and it was so much fun. we celebrated by shucking oysters and sipping satsuma rum with all of our cool new seafood blogger friends!! miss you all already!! <3

-yeh!