Monday, August 31, 2009

Guest Post: Cupcakes Get Classy

As you may know, I was off gallivanting last week on a little rock climbing excursion down Santa Cruz way. In my absence, my good friend and Fare to Remember cookbook co-author, Carolyn Hindes, took up the slack and agreed to write this guest post about a cupcake class she was attending. (I miss all the good stuff!) At any rate, enjoy - and let's hope I can get her back for seconds!

By Carolyn Hindes

While Morry was off climbing rocks on the California coast, I thought I would regale you with the tale of a cupcake making class I attended at TeaCake Bake Shop in Lafayette, CA. The evening was filled with the smell of warm cake in the air, the sound of blenders whirling, and of course BIG blocks of butter. Heaven. This hands-on class had us making a chocolate sour cream cupcake and a vanilla cupcake recipe. Sarah and Ann, the two delightful TeaCake staff assigned to teach us all things cupcake, were informative, patient and fun.

We discussed technical elements (butter and large eggs should be room temperature) and that patience is a virtue: if you let the butter and sugar cream together for about five minutes, it goes from being a blended blob at the bottom of the mixing bowl to a cloud-like confection hugging the bowl almost up to the rim. Scraping down the bowl was another lesson learned. I tend to do one half-hearted mix at the very end once all the ingredients are combined. Nope. Turns out it should be done several times throughout the process. The result the TeaCake way: vanilla batter that was a beautiful, glossy, ribbon masterpiece.

Filling the cupcake tins is also a science of sorts. TeaCake uses an ice cream scoop (size 30 – green handle if I recall correctly). Volume of batter, air pockets... there is a method to the madness. We did fairly well, but there were definitely some size differences. When Sarah pulled them out of the oven, size be damned, the vanilla cupcakes looked golden and puffy while the chocolate ones were slightly cracked (and therefore calling out to us to forget the frosting and dive right in!).

While our cupcakes were cooking and cooling we made a batch of vanilla butter cream frosting and a batch of cream cheese frosting. Sarah explained the thoughts behind the piping bag, the types of piping tips, and how to fill the bags without getting the contents all over us or the kitchen. Then each of us stepped up to two naked chocolate cupcakes to give it a go with the new information we had been given. Darn if we all didn’t do a good job at it! After playing with some fondant and cut outs we were each presented with 15 naked cupcakes (6 Vanilla, 6 Chocolate, and 3 Pink Velvet) as a canvas for us to be frosting Michelangelos. We also had an assortment of frostings in which to create our masterpieces.

Three hours after the adventure began, we left TeaCake laden down with our works of cupcake art, excited by the experience, relieved we hadn’t ruined the equipment, and proud of our accomplishments. Friends and family beware, there are many cupcakes in your future!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gadzooks-Too Many Cukes! Part 1: Tzatziki

Gardens are overflowing this time of year. It's a great dilemma to have, although sometimes it's daunting to try and come up with effective ways to take advantage of Mother Nature's bounty. I posted a great recipe a couple weeks back for Chocolate Zucchini Cake, a sure-fire method for using up the squash that seems to emanate from every fertile patch of soil known to man right about this time of year, but that post led to a series of inquiries from friends and readers about other rapidly multiplying veggies. Namely: cucumbers.

And I am not one to shrink from the task. Far from it. You called, dear readers; I will answer. What will follow is a three-part series on ways to relish in the season's cucumber cornucopia (ok, so not exactly relish... I'm not even going to touch on pickles this time around!).

Lucky for me, all of the cuke inquiries corresponded with a generous delivery of fresh lemon cucumbers from my friend Aerial. Her garden is, ahem, blessed with cucumber abundance, and she was more than happy to share. So we both went on our merry little ways - me, with a heaping of beautiful lemon cucumbers (the pretty ones in the picture above); she, with a lightened load and a good deed under her belt. And I got down to business.

First up: a batch of "spa water." My #1 favorite thing of all time to do with cucumbers is copy the Indian Springs Resort and Spa in Calistoga and whip up a batch of lemon/cucumber-infused water (if you've ever been there, I don't really have to say any more, do I?). At the spa, they have large, ice-cold batches of the infused water at the ready for parched spa-goers, and I swear, you've never tasted anything quite so refreshing. To make it at home, simply:
  • Slice up a couple cucumbers and lemons
  • Place them in the bottom of a glass pitcher
  • Load up the pitcher with ice cubes (all the way to the top!)
  • Fill with water
  • Refrigerate for several hours to let the lemon/cucumber flavors infuse the water
  • Drink up, and top off the water as you go (you can keep replacing the water until the cucumbers/lemon start to disentigrate; keep it in the fridge at all times)

With the spa water out of the way, next up was my #2 cucumber reduction remedy: Tzatziki sauce. This is the lemony, garlicky, cucumber-y sauce that you might associate with Greek gyros, and it is hands-down one of the tastiest, tangiest temptations to which a cucumber can contribute.

My love with tzatziki goes way back. Inexplicably, Salt Lake City, where I grew up, has a thriving and vibrant Greek population. Not only is there one of the most amazing annual Greek Festivals to be found located there, but the Greek restaurants in Salt Lake are numerous and good. Just writing about it makes my mouth water! My mom introduced our family to Greek cuisine when we were all very small - even became a talented Greek food cook herself - and managed to wind Greek food into so many of our family traditions and memories. One of those vivid memories was the tradition of going out for Greek food following a day of skiing. We'd be heading down the mountain, exhausted, but anticipating every bite of the gyro that was to come. I was so enamoured of Greek food, that I vividly recall that tzatziki sauce was the first recipe I ever attempted to deconstruct and recreate all on my own. I couldn't have been more than about 10 or 11 years old, but I loved that sauce so much, that my mom encouraged me to try and make it. We didn't have a recipe (or so she claimed), but she and I talked over the taste profile and she encouraged me to experiment. I think my young attempts used sour cream instead of Greek yogurt, but I eventually figured out a recipe with lemon, cucumber, garlic and dill that approximated the restaurant sauce. And I've been making it ever since.

These days, I do use Greek yogurt, but not much else has changed. And I love this sauce on everything - and I do mean everything. I slather it on grilled meats of every variety; douse grilled or roasted veggies with it liberally (eggplant, zucchini, peppers); spoon it over tabouleh or falafel.... you name it. To celebrate the batch of tzatziki I made with Aerial's cucumbers, I rolled out a killer Mediterranean meal of grilled lamb/veggie kabobs, flatbread, Kalamata olives, hummus and baba ganoush, served mezze style... each item lovingly smothered with the fresh tzatziki. If it sounds good, it's because it WAS! So, I suggest you do the same - this stuff is amazing. In fact, I'm going to go get leftovers right now....

Tzatziki Sauce
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped (I also like to salt and drain my cucumbers for about 30 minutes to extract excess moisture)
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (or 2 6-ounce containers)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • The juice of 1 fresh-squeezed lemon (or about 3 tablespoons lemon juice)
  • Fresh dill, finely chopped, to taste (I like to use a lot - probably 1/2 cup fresh); dry dill weed will also work - start with 1-2 tablespoons and taste as you go
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Add the cucumbers, garlic and lemon juice to a food processor with a steel blade; process until well blended. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Greek yogurt and chopped dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gadzooks-Too Many Cukes! Part 2: Thai-Style Cucumber Salad

One of the funnest parts about cooking for me is looking to other cultures for inspiration. I'm a huge fan of Thai food, and this simple cucumber salad is a good example of why: it explodes with flavor, and couldn't be any easier to make (I think I've got it down to under five minutes, start to finish). The cukes in your garden will vanish after you try this recipe; if you're like me, you'll make it again and again. And again. In fact, if you've got fresh cucumbers in need of a home, I'm currently taking donations. My stash from Aerial has vanished; this salad mostly to blame.

Thai Cucumber Salad
  • 1-2 cucumbers (depending on size), peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil, chopped (regular Genovese basil does the trick as well)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Chopped peanuts (optional)
Add cucumbers, onion, basil and cilantro to a big bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar and chili flakes (you can double the ingredients if you're making a big salad, but a little of the dressing does go a long way). Pour the dressing on to the cucumber mixture and toss. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts.

Gadzooks-Too Many Cukes! Part 3: Gazpacho

As the last of this three-part installment on fab ways to make cucumbers disappear, allow me to introduce you to perhaps the most versatile concoction yet: Gazpacho! This recipe not only takes care of your copious cucumbers, but tames your torrent of tomatoes as well. The Spanish got it right: this cool soup is absolutely refreshing on a hot summer day, and is the ideal method to use up your garden's bounty, just as things are starting to get out of control (where did that cucumber come from? It wasn't there yesterday!). And it doesn't hurt that it's as healthy as all get-out (in my re-occuring theme of hiding veggies in your food, gazpacho tops the charts).

Although the recipe I include here is a fairly straight-forward and traditional rendition of the Spanish classic, it is wide open for interpretation and improv. Lord knows I've made it dozens of different ways, depending on what's the most abundant at the moment. Got extra zucchini? Throw em in! Tomatillas? Why not! Celery, fennel, carrots? In, in, in. I even like to roast my veggies first to achieve a different depth of flavors.

The versions are endless, so my rule of thumb: if it would be good in a tossed green salad, it would be good in gazpacho. And mix it up with the herbs and spices as well: basil and garlic for a more Mediterranean version; cilantro and chili for South-of-the-border flair. No matter how you blend it, the results will be delish.

  • 6 medium tomatoes, cored and seeded
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, chopped
  • 2-3 thick slices of day-old or toasted country-style bread, rough chopped/torn (optional, but it gives the soup a bit of toothiness)
  • 1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
Add all of the ingredients to a blender, and puree until liquified and smooth. Chill well before serving.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Produce is Pretty

And there it goes, with an audible Whoosh. That would be my weekend that you're hearing rushing past. Although it's been a productive couple of days, all of my energy has been directed toward my actual JOB. I know I know - it's a hard life I lead when I have to spend an occasional weekend toiling away at a job I really love; everyone should be so lucky! But still - it's no consolation when hiking trails go unexplored, the dog goes unwalked, and the BBQ stands idle on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon while I'm squirreled away in the office working on my carpal tunnel syndrome.

Needless to say, I've got lots of great blog posts in the works... but it will be a day or two before I can even look a computer in the monitor for anything non-work related. So in the meantime, I thought you might like to feast your eyes on some pretty food pictures! These are images taken at a couple farmers markets over the past few weeks (San Francisco, Napa and San Rafael); images that might not find their way into a blog post, but worth sharing regardless. At least I think so.

And on that note, I'm shutting off the computer for the night and getting myself a refreshing adult beverage (mojito, if you must know, with fresh herbs from my garden). I'll get some fresh air after all - even if it is just viewing the sunset from my backyard. Cheers!


Bell peppers, reddish colored - but it's hard to say...
Multi-colored peppers

Chinese long beans

Squash blossoms


Canned pickled veggies

Any ideas? If you guessed Yugoslavian Finger Fruit,
you would be correct. It's a squash. Tastes like zucchini.

Greens with edible flowers

Baby cauliflower

Purple Easter Egg radishes


Sugar Dumpling winter squash

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chipotle Prawn Tostadas

I have no great back story about these tostadas, only that they're freakin' delicious. They are a creation of mine that is super healthy, and a gives you a perfect place to hide loads of veggies from the veggie-averse (like children. And husbands). Also a bonus: the salad mixture that tops the baked tortillas is great all on its own, and since it's made with kale (as oposed to lettuce) - it keeps really, really well for a couple of days in the refrigerator without going soggy. As is typical for me, this dish doesn't really have a recipe, just a few guidelines to create a tasty, healthy dish that will please the masses.

Chiptole Prawn Tostadas
  • Use taco-sized corn or flour tortillas; I found a great chipotle-flavored tortilla made from a corn/flour blend. Brush each tortilla with olive oil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp. 
  • For the salad, combine a healthy amount of chopped kale (center stalk removed) with one 15-ounce can of black beans (drained), one 15-ounce can of mandarin orange segments, 1/2 of a red onion (chopped fine), 4-6 Roma tomatos (diced), 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded and diced) and 1-2 avocados (diced; add very last to keep from browning or getting mushy). Dress the salad with a glug of olive oil, the juice of 3-4 fresh-squeezed limes, chopped garlic (to taste), a 1/2-teaspoon or so of ground cumin, and salt (to taste). Toss and let stand for a minimum of an hour to let the flavors develop. 
  • Peel and devein the prawns; season with a dusting of chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Grill, saute or broil until cooked. 
  • To assemble: place a heap of the salad atop the tostada shell; top with prawns.

Rise and Shine! Breakfast Adventures in Utah

It's not too often that I actually contemplate moving back to Utah, the gorgeous Rocky Mountain state where I had the pleasure of spending my youth. Visit? Absolutely - wish I did it more... but actually move back? Not so much (sorry mom). But during my most recent visit to the Beehive State, I found myself actually missing a great Utah weekend ritual that almost - ALMOST - made me nostalgic enough to see myself back amongst the fold: Breakfast.

Sure, we've got breakfast here in Napa Valley (if you've ever been a guest and enjoyed the brunch at The Villagio Resort & Spa... I rest my case), but not a prolific amount of choices. Randall and I rarely go out to a real sit-down, full-menu breakfast because I can count on one hand the places worth frequenting (iHop and Dennys don't count). You simply want coffee and pastries? We've got adorable, delicious options out the wazoo... but a couple scrambled eggs and toast with a charming view or ambiance? Few and far between. And I find this to be the case pretty much Bay Area-wide - this corner of the world is a breakfast black hole! (Readers - prove me wrong! Send me local breakfast options... please! And yes - I know of Toast... it's my current fave.)

But Utah - now there's a place that does breakfast right. Drive up any canyon: breakfast with a view. Visit some of the more eclectic neighborhoods in most towns: breakfast with ambiance. So, my Utah itineraries always include breakfast. Always.

This time around, I got out for two amazing breakfast meals. First up: Silver Fork Lodge in Big Cottonwood Canyon, a rustic inn that holds a special place in my heart. The place is a funky old log cabin, complete with lodge pole ceiling beams and cowboy motif. The deck is the place to be on a nice day, with its unbeatable mountain views. And the food is good - and hearty. Everything you would expect to be served up in a mountainside cabin: sourdough flapjacks, corned beef hash, omelets. I had myself the house special: pan seared trout and eggs. You know how it is... when in Rome!

The other place I enjoyed breakfast during my short stay was new to me, and turned out to be a real treat: Em's Restaurant on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake. I learned of Em's from fellow blogger, Becky of Vintage Mixer. Her Twitter alias is @SLCFoodie... so I figured any recommendation from her would fit the bill, and I wasn't disappointed. The restaurant is tucked in amongst one of SLC's fantastic residential neighborhoods, and honestly, the locale really spoke to me. If I ever find myself back in Utah, I'll plunk myself square in that part of town and make Em's my local haunt.

I didn't even look at the menu. I'm sure I passed up a lot of potentially amazing dishes, but the waiter had me when he uttered the special: Eggs over cheddar grits with fresh market corn, chorizo and heirloom tomato sauce. Side of fried apples. I wasn't feeling well that day, but my appetite came to life when the dish came to the table. I think I might have actually licked my plate clean.

When I returned home here to Napa, I kept thinking about those damn grits (really - SO good!); I had to recreate the dish. My version turned out equally good, so I thought I'd share it here. But it's not a hard and fast recipe - there's lots of room for improv, so I've left it mainly as an ingredient list for you to play with as it suits you. But try it - it'll make your next lazy Sunday morning complete.

Breakfast Cheddar Grits, My Way
  • Grits, prepared according to package directions (go for the Cadillac of grits - order yourself some from Anson Mills - you can thank me later)
  • Smoked cheddar cheese, grated and stirred into the grits to melt
  • Sundried tomato chicken sausage, diced and added to the grits
  • Fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob and added to the grits
  • Ladle the grits onto a plate and top with an egg or two cooked over-easy or over-medium (you want the oozy yolks - trust me)
  • Top with a simple tomato sauce made from seeded, pureed and slightly reduced heirloom tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper and a touch of garlic powder (to taste)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Being Sneaky with Zucchini

In honor of last weekend's "Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Day" (yes - it's an actual annually recognized day, August 8, wherein gardening hoodlums are encouraged to "share" their zucchini bounty with unsuspecting neighbors), I thought I would post this amazing recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake included in the Fare to Remember Cookbook. The recipe is provided by the equally amazing Nancy Williams, one of my dearest mentors from Logan, Utah. Suffice to say, without Nancy's influence on my life, you likely wouldn't be reading this blog.

At any rate, her recipe is an awesome use for those prolific squash that pile up this time of year, and simple as ever to whip up (remember my baking aversion? It flies out the window with this recipe). It's also helpful that I had this recipe on file because I've been sicker than a dog (cooking hasn't exactly been high on my list these past few days), but still wanted to bring you a good seasonal recipe this week before you missed me! :)

So whip up a batch or two of this rich, moist cake, and maybe - just maybe - you won't be rushing to offload your garden's bounty so quickly!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Contributed by Nancy Williams
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 3 zucchini, approximately 6 inches long, grated (or the equivalent—about 2+ cups grated)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (try mint flavored!)
Cream sugars, butter and oil together in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and stir well to mix. Measure dry ingredients into a sifter, then sift into the bowl. Add grated zucchini and stir until blended. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

No Matter How You Say It, It's Tomato Season!

This post isn't so much a recipe than a reminder: get thyself to a farmers market, asap! Heirloom tomatoes are at their peak... and when they're gone, well... it's a long, bland tomato road ahead.

The uses for heirloom tomatoes are endless, but it's kind of a no-brainer to break out a simple Caprese salad recipe to use up all those Brandywines, Green Zebras and Cherokee Purples. There's not much more to it than this:
  • Chopped or sliced fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh basil (whole leaves or chopped)
  • Fresh whole milk mozzerella cheese
  • A bit of really good fruity olive oil (I have been using a local Napa Valley olive oil, Atlas Peak; I particularly like their Arbequina varietal)
  • Fresh cracked sea salt

Throw everything in a bowl or serving platter, give it a bit of time for the flavors to meld, and you've got a versatile, scrumptious dish. In fact, I can eat variations on Caprese a dozen ways til Sunday! Here's how:
  1. Plain old Caprese salad (pictured).
  2. Turn a Caprese salad into a panzanella salad by adding hunks of toasted bread, capers, red onions and chopped red bell pepper.
  3. Bruschetta topping - spoon the Caprese onto grilled baguette slabs for an amazing appetizer.
  4. Margherita pizza - same ingredients put atop the pizza dough and red sauce of your choice.
  5. Antipasto sandwich - hollow out a small loaf of French or Sourdough bread, load it with the Caprese salad (drained), plus chopped olives (green, black, Kalamats - whatever you like), chopped pepperoncini and chopped salami; wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and let sit tight in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight to let the flavors and juices soak into the bread (this is an excellent variation to try with day-old or nearly stale bread... the juices soften it right up).
  6. Caprese tart - take my recipe for Tomato, Herb and Cheese Tart and substitute mozzerrella for the chevre.
  7. Caprese pasta - toss the ingredients into a big bowl of the pasta of your choice (I like bow tie or angel hair); top with grilled shrimp.
  8. Chicken Caprese Burger, a la the Leftover Queen.
  9. Stuffed portobello mushrooms - grill portobellow mushrooms; stuff the caps with the Caprese salad and allow the cheese to melt. You could do the same and stuff any manner of other veggies as well: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, etc.
  10. Caprese polenta - serve the tomato salad over a base of creamy polenta; drizzle with a balsamic reduction.
  11. Caprese skewers: load up cocktail skewers with the Caprese ingredients (find those great orange Sun Gold cherry tomatoes) for another great appetizer.
  12. Caprese-style Gazpacho - make a refreshing, cool summer soup by blending the Caprese salad ingredients with chopped cucumbers, a couple slices of crusty French bread, pressed garlic and red wine vinegar.
I'm at a dozen ideas already?! I guess I'd better get cooking. You too - let me know how it goes!

Care Package Inspiration: Raspberry S'mores

It's always a wondrous day when I get a package in the mail from mom. No matter how big or small, I always know that whatever lies within the shipments will be an ever-so-thoughtful gift - something chosen with me specifically in mind, and sent off with her love tucked in there amongst the Styrofoam peanuts. Her packages always arrive in a box wrapped in plain brown paper, and sealed with enough packing tape to deter anyone but the intended recipient (armed with a hacksaw blade) from tearing into the goods. But a little brown box sitting on my porch at the end of the day never fails to lift my spirits.

So the latest little box arrived unannounced. I wasn't expecting anything from her - no birthdays, holidays or remembrances to be observed. All the more mysterious, I tore into the package unsure of what treasure I would find. And a treasure it was: a single, beautiful little Mason jar filled with the epitome of Summer: mom's homemade raspberry jam. It was accompanied by one of her ever-present handmade cards (also always a treasure); this one reading simply, "A taste of home. Love, Mom."

I set the gem-like jar on the kitchen counter, where it sparkled like a garnet and tempted Randall to pine for a fresh jar of peanut butter. But I couldn't let this one precious jar simply be wasted on a lowly PB&J, as much as I love them. If you've ever tasted my mom's homemade raspberry jam, you understand.

Finally, this weekend presented an opportunity and an inspiration. We were heading out camping with some friends, and I was in charge of dessert one night (me??). I knew immediately I wanted to make s'mores - we were camping, for crying out loud, s'mores are required! - but I also knew that they should be something slightly more sinful than the normal marshmallow/Hershey bar/graham cracker variety (as if those aren't sinful enough!).

Years ago, I somehow stumbled upon making s'mores not with graham crackers and chocolate, but the lovely Lu brand Le Petit Ecolier biscuits. What could be easier? The cookies are already pre-loaded with the chocolate, and they come in a couple dark chocolate flavors (my pick always being the Extra Dark Chocolate version). Even if you do nothing more fancy than using these biscuits in lieu of graham crackers, the s'mores already seem like a much more grown-up version of a favorite childhood camping treat.

But, armed with a pint of fresh raspberries from the farmers market and with my mom's raspberry jam taunting from its pantry perch, these raspberry s'mores were born. The vision was complete with some hand-made vanilla bean marshmallows from Whole Foods (you'll never go back to the jet-puft sort after tasting handmade marshmallow pillows... ugh! Addicting!).

So it goes a little something like this:
  • Lay the Lu biscuits chocolate-side up on a sheet of tinfoil
  • Place a dab of raspberry jam in the center of the chocolate
  • Place 2-3 fresh raspberries (depending on size) atop the jam on 1/2 of the biscuits
  • Put the foil with the cookies either on a grate over some red-hot campfire coals, or on a flat rock near the fire, to provide some indirect heat to melt the chocolate
  • As the chocolate is melting, toast your marshmallow to your preferred gooeyness (charred or carmelized - your call)
  • Place your toasted marshmallow atop the melted chocolate/jam/raspberry biscuit
  • Put a second biscuit (sans fresh raspberries) on top of the marshmallow to complete the s'more sandwich
  • Prepare to get messy
  • Prepare to want seconds
  • Have some cold sparkling wine to wash it all down (these s'mores pair beautifully with a Brut-style champagne)
  • Dive in
Thanks, mom, for the inspiration... and I don't just mean for this dish.