Everything’s Better with Butter

cauliflower with golden nutmeg butter

Mmmm… butter. Every cook knows that adding a bit of fat to a dish makes it fuller and more satisfying, and sure butter’s not exactly a health food, but as long as you use it wisely, I think you’re okay. It also depends on the type of butter you use. All butter is not created equal. For example, European butter. Thanks to the fact that it’s churned longer, it has a slightly higher fat content than your average stick of American butter. Sometimes it can be a bit of a hunt to find this rich, ultra-flavorful butter in your average grocery store, but recently Land O’ Lakes caught onto the trend and now they’re starting to offer European sweet cream butter as part of their product line. I’m down with it.

Since European butter is so rich and flavorful, it’s the perfect fat to use when you’re cooking something simple and you just want that touch of luxury. Case in point, this cauliflower recipe from LOL (haha – Land O’ Lakes – do you think they call themselves LOL? Probably not. lol!), you really don’t need much besides the vegetable, the butter, and a few seasonings. Butter!

Cauliflower with Nutmeg Butter

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Summer Food & Wine Pairings with Michel Schlumberger

Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

I recently spent a GLORIOUS long weekend in Sonoma County, California. What was I doing there? WINE TASTING, obviously! I guess some people go to Sonoma to ride bikes or shop or something, but for me it’s 100% wine, 100% of the time. One of the many highlights I enjoyed on this Sonoma wine weekend was an afternoon at Michel-Schlumberger winery, where we toured the grounds and cellars before settling into the best part of the winery: a five-course food and wine pairing in their beautiful back garden.

Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

Before each course, the chef came out and introduced his course, which wine was paired with it, and why. Educational and delicious! I loved every bite and sip. Let’s recap together! You just might find some inspiration for your upcoming summer cookout… there’s so much more to backyard BBQ boozin’ than just beer.

Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

Course 1: Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cup with Toasted Peanuts paired with NV Brut
Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

Why a sparkling wine with this shrimp course? The crisp brightness of the brut pairs well with the delicate flavors found in both shrimp and Vietnamese seasonings. Sparkling whites can also stand up nicely to spicy food, and this shrimp definitely had a kick to it!

Course 2: Bruschetta with Grilled Peaches, Ricotta, Toasted Pecans, and Estate Olive Oil paired with 2013 Gold Collection Chardonnay
Michel Schlumberger Wine and Food Pairing | Sonoma Wine Country

 

So this might not look like much from the photo, but this bruschetta was phenomenal. Peaches and soft cheese are always a great combo, but the toasted pecans and the kiss of olive oil really added a roundness to the dish. This particular chardonnay boasts a smooth, full, creamy body that can stand up to the richness of the olive oil. The fruity notes of the chardonnay ties in with the light, sweet peaches as well.

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Food Porn Champion: A Drool-worthy Cheeseboard

School House Pub Cheese Board

If there’s anything I love in this life, it’s a cheese board. And this is an especially gorgeous one, the “National Map of Cheeses,” hailing from School House Pub in Austin, Texas. Fancy fromage, local fruit marmalade, Texas honey, whole grain mustard, and fresh herbs. What’s not to LOVE?! This shot even got picked up off my original Instagram and featured on a cheese board Instagram (lol what, yes, there really is such a thing) so apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this is one gorgeous piece of work.

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Savory Summertime Steak Salad

Summertime Steak Salad

This time of year, my favorite way to enjoy the long, warm summer nights is a leisurely grill & chill session. Glass of rosé in hand, lounging with friends, listening to Steely Dan (yup), and waiting for the grill to warm up. Turns out Calvin’s Dad was right.

Obviously steak is a classic grillin & chillin choice, and I’m a sucker for a big steak salad. This recipe is a great way to use a slab o’ grilled steak. Every good steak salad needs some blue cheese, so don’t skimp on this ingredient – get a nice, creamy, strong blue. Don’t skip grilling/caramelizing the onions, either. Raw onions are just not the same, although some very thinly sliced red onion pieces could work in a pinch.

Summertime Steak Salad with Worcestershire Dijon Dressing

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Cocktail O’ Clock: Smoked Scofflaw + Black Old Fashioned

Dickel Cocktails

Today’s Cocktail O’Clock is a 2-for-1 deal! Aren’t you lucky. I, however, am not. I was invited to a George Dickel whiskey tasting with barbeque extraordinaire Adam Perry Lang last month, BUT the day of, there was a huge Texas rainstorm and I wasn’t able to make it. BOO. The nice people at Dickel were kind enough to send me some photos and recipes that I missed out on, and I am kind enough to pass them on to you.

The Dickel team says: With grilling season upon us and tailgate season is fast approaching… the cocktail recipes below are a perfect pair with barbecue or any kind of protein during the summer.

Let’s make these right now. I have FOMO.

Smoked Scofflaw

1 oz. George Dickel Rye
.5 oz. dry vermouth
.75 oz. smoked lemon juice
.75 oz. grenadine

Shake together and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon.


Black Old Fashioned

1.3 oz. George Dickel No. 12
.5 oz. Amaro Averna
Black walnut bitters
Orange snap

Shake together and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

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Spicy Garlic Shrimp Salad

Spicy Shrimp SaladShrimp! And white wine! When it comes to this combo, consider me a regular Beaver Boy. (And if you aren’t a Tim and Eric fan, that video might not make sense, but roll with it.)

Another thing that’s great together, besides shrimp and white wine, is shrimp and avocado. Also, shrimp and garlic. This salad mixes up all of these things! You sauté fresh shrimp in coconut oil, lemon, white wine, lemon, and of course lots of garlic and red chili flakes. Then It’s tossed with a delicate green salad full of fresh avocado, cherry tomatoes, and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. Since shrimp cooks so quickly, this entire salad takes about 10 minutes to throw together. You’re welcome.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Salad

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The Best Pad Thai Recipe. Ever.

Pad Thai at Home

After years of testing and trying, I’ve finally found it! The perfect, best, most fail-proof pad thai recipe. This is a major feat, as it’s easy to mess up authentic Thai cooking at home, especially for someone like me who did not grow up in a Thai home. I’m learning this stuff as I go along. My brother Eric and I had the Summer of Pad Thai back in 2011, when we attempted SO many versions and nothing seemed to turn out just right. It was the noodles that caused the most trouble. And Eric is a chef who went to years of culinary school! You’d think he would be the ideal accomplice. But pad thai stumped us both.

NOT ANYMORE, thanks to this recipe! We’re talking something that anyone can make, right in their own kitchen. You might have to run around the Asian markets to pick up all the ingredients, but it’s well worth it. Then, as long as you have a hot stovetop and a big skillet, you’re in business.

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Of course, credit where credit is due. I did not come up with this awesome tutorial and recipe. Leela from one of my favorite food blogs, She Simmers, did. Everything she writes is great, but this recipe in particular is SO thorough and SO well executed. The result? No gloppy noodles, nothing overcooked, nothing undercooked. A perfect sauce that isn’t too spicy, too sweet, too salty – just the best mix of all the Thai flavor profiles.

Pad Thai Homemade Vertical

And in case you were wondering, no, She Simmers did not solicit this shout-out whatsoever! (Trust me, she wouldn’t need to be begging us for publicity, psshhh. Her site is super popular and she published a wonderful cookbook.) I just wanted to give the world a piece of my mind… and some pics of my beautiful pad thai.

So, are you ready for a project with a VERY delicious and pride-inducing result? Check out her tutorial here! This is part five (I told you it was thorough) but it links to the first four parts throughout the intro. So be sure to go through and read them all and watch her video before attempting!

Pad Thai Homemade Vertical 2

If you try this (or any!) pad thai recipe and have great success (or great failure, for that matter) I’d love to hear about it! Or do you have any other go-to pad thai recipes ES should try? Let us know!

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