France may be long gone from the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean we have to stick to schnitzel (or whatever it is the Dutch/Argentinians eat) at our viewing parties this weekend. Bastille Day — everyone’s favorite excuse to overdo it on red wine and rich food — is coming up this Monday, which means it’s time to break out the good stuff.
In honor of France’s big day, Master pâtissier Francois Payard was nice enough to share this over-the-top indulgent recipe for his signature triple chocolate financiers.
You’ll need a financier pan for the recipe below (clearly you have one, right?) If not, good ol’ muffin tins will do just fine.
Triple Chocolate Financiers
Somehow, the Sicilian fiance and I have found ways to replace pasta with grains and vegetables–mainly spaghetti squash. Sometimes the recipes turn out great, other times the become a bit of a sloppy mess. When I tried chicken carbonara with spaghetti squash, it turned out delicious, almost as if you could not taste a difference. They key is to use it in dishes where spaghetti is not the main emphasis of the dish. Here, the spaghetti squash absorbed the flavor of the Carbonara and provided a bit of a crunch to contrast the texture of the chicken and peas.
The key to a good chicken carbonara is the sauce. If the sauce is creamy, full of garlic, and extra cheesy, you really can’t go wrong with the rest of it. OH, and some tasty pancetta mixed together with peas, chicken, and the spaghetti squash. This is also a carbonara recipe that requires no cream, so it is healthy of course. I cooked the spaghetti squash in the oven–roasted is the best way to do it. While it’s roasting, the rest of the mixture is given time to cook and simmer. Then, all you have to do is mix the spaghetti squash in with the combination, let it simmer, and enjoy!
“Faux-ghetti” Chicken Carbonara
That photo might not seem like the fanciest, most stylistic presentation of chips & salsa in the world, and you know what, it’s not. But what it is is fresh, thick corn tortillas fried to order for our table, dusted with the perfect amount of salt and served with fresh, garlicky salsa. That’s how they DO it at Buns N’ Roses in Marfa.
But let’s rewind a bit. The second day of our West Texas roadtrip extravaganza, we moseyed from our teepees at El Cosmico to Buns N’ Roses, about a 40 minute walk in the hot desert sun. (We could have driven I guess, but we’d all imbibed quite a few mimosas back at our lodging. Duh, vacation.) I had heard good things about their breakfast from the peeps at El Cosmico and besides that, I couldn’t turn down a restaurant with a pun for a name.
It’s an accurate pun, too, because Buns and Roses is a 2-in-1 stop: both a bakery (buns) and florist (roses). I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.
Upon approach, you feel like you might be entering an abandoned/haunted greenhouse…
But inside it’s quite cute and cozy! The kitchen is run by a mother-daughter team, which I love. There were only a couple other tables in for brunch around 11:30am on a Saturday, and service was super quick with plenty of coffee refills – always appreciated. The menu is full of your standard egg dishes, plus offerings from their bakery: honey wheat bread, beer bread, and of course their famous buns. Tragically they were sold out of all their donuts and pastries by the time we rolled in so we couldn’t try any of their eponymous buns! But the breads/toast were GOOD.
I love me some whiskey cocktails, but I always feel weird ordering them in summer, so I was excited to come across this find: a whiskey drink that is made especially for summer dreaming.
Chef Marc Forgione (Iron Chef / owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione in Tribeca) teamed up with glassybaby to create this cocktail, which mixes fresh strawberries into this new “Perfect Manhattan.”
Market Strawberry Infused ‘Perfect’ Manhattan
- ·2.5 oz Jefferson’s Small Batch Bourbon
- ·1.5 oz Strawberry Infused Dolin Vermouth (See recipe)
- 2 Dashes of Bitters (preferably Brooklyn Hemispherical Strawberry)
To make the Strawberry Vermouth, combine a bottle each of Dolin Sweet, Dry and Blanc Vermouth with 3 pints of market fresh strawberries and let them sit for at least a day. For smaller batches make sure to use equal parts of each vermouth. ?When complete the aroma of strawberry will over power that of the vermouth. For a lighter libation the strawberry Vermouth is great on its own with a few ice cubes.
Stir mixture of all three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, then strain over fresh 1″x 1″ ice cubes in a rocks glass.
Garnish with a skewered bourbon soaked cherry, strawberry segment and a lemon twist.
Summertime. Hot days, no more school, and yes, our fourth round of the beer exchange. This was one of my favorites—IPAs. I’m trying to savor these…but at the same time, you can’t let them sit too long, or they’ll go bad! While reviewing the exchange beers, and thinking about my favorite IPAs, I’ve done you the great pleasure of creating our “top ten IPAs” list. Here they are in no particualar order. You’re welcome.
10. Founder’s All Day IPA (ABV 4.7%)
IPAs don’t have to be high in alcohol content. Enjoy this bitter delight ALL Day…and more than once. Packs a punch of hops and malts without the dangers of having three on a hot day and feeling groggy for the rest of the day.
9. Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA (9%)
Hop. Garden. There really isn’t much more to say here. If you like the aroma and flavor of hops…this is the one for you.
8. Sierra Nevada Snow Wit White IPA (ABV 5.7%)
For those drinkers who are looking for something light and sweet…but still packing a hop-forward punch. The Snow Wit is surprisingly tasty with a refreshing sweet taste of summer.
PHOTO: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
If you haven’t heard of Marfa, Texas, I can’t blame you. I didn’t know much about it until I moved to Austin a couple years back, but then I learned quickly enough: Marfa is a little town in the West Texas desert which has turned into an art enclave in the past few decades. It has some glimmers of weirdness because it was the setting of an old James Dean movie way back in the day, and it’s also home to the Marfa Lights, a mysterious phenomenon in the sky… basically, if you are looking for a scenic, artsy, and perhaps slightly creepy wild west desert roadtrip, West Texas (and specifically Marfa) is the place for YOU!
And the place for ME. I loved our trip so much. It’s funny because Marfa really is a teensy town, but I felt like there was way too much to do in the short amount of time we spent in the town (2 days out of the 4 we were in West TX). And by “do” I mean “eat” obviously, because Marfa actually has a great (albeit small, I mean come on, it’s like a 4-street town) food scene! So many cute food trucks and hole-in-the-wall spots only open for breakfast or lunch. There are like three “fancy”-ish restaurants and three bars as well. At least five days’ worth of solid eating and drinking, is what I’m saying.
With 4th of July just days away, it’s time to start seriously thinking about how we’re going to eat and drink our patriotic fervor this year.
Fortunately, you can do both in one with Endless Simmer’s 4th of July cocktail cooler popsicles. Enjoy.