fog and toast

This isn’t a post about fog. Or about toast. It’s a post about a cocktail with a silly name.


Fog and Toast is a tiki drink. It’s fruity, tropical and goes down way too easy—I’m fairly certain those are the sole requirements of a tiki drink. Jordan threw it together on Sunday while we were prepping dinner and after we’d each had a rattlesnake. Inspired by some leftover passionfruit puree in the fridge from these popsicles, he improvised. It was ridiculously good. Almost too good.

Since this drink was a Jordan original, we had to come up with a name. Ever wonder why cocktails have such funny names? It’s because the bartenders have usually had several before they’ve decided it’s good enough to merit naming. Our contenders: Caught in the Rain, Gay Passion (no doubt influenced by our rum brand), Daqui-fury, Summer Lovin’, and lastly Fog and Toast (The Sunset).

Fog and Toast was the winner, despite having very little relevance to the actual beverage, and actually referring to the unofficial motto of San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood I’d come up with earlier that day. This is just how (alcohol-fueled) inspiration goes.

Fog and Toast
1 oz fresh lime juice
scant 1/2 oz passionfruit puree, find it at latino markets in the freezer section
1/2 oz agave
1 1/2 oz dark rum, we use Mount Gay Dark Rum
dash of orange bitters

Shake with ice. Strain and serve in a chilled glass with a twist of lime. Try not to drink it too fast.




raspberry passionfruit popsicles

Hi! We’re back! But before I can write about our wedding (perfection!) and our trip (incredible!), it’s Popsicle Week! Popsicle Week summons food bloggers from all corners of the Internet to converge upon the genre that is icy desserts on a stick, and it is a glory to behold. You might remember past novelties like Pimm’s Cup popsicles, Stout Creamsicles and Chipwiches, and those are from just this semi-neglected blog alone. The rest of the crew puts forth an even more impressive offering, and some of my favorites from this year are linked down below.

This popsicle was inspired by a tartlet we had in Paris. Passionfruit and raspberry are such a happy match. Plus, PARIS. (How stoked am I that I now get to reference things I ate in Paris?! So stoked.) If it’s good enough for the French, it’s good enough for me.


These pops are tart, refreshing and adorable. They’ve got little berries in the top because that’s cute, and you’ve got to wait at least an hour to pour on that second layer of fruit puree so it looks even more precious. Give your popsicle a lime slice halo for its photo op and then can you can call it a day.

Raspberry and Passionfruit Popsicles
For the passionfruit part of the pop
14 oz passionfruit puree (Passionfruit is tragically underrepresented in US grocery stores. I find my passionfruit puree in the freezer section of our latin grocery store. It’s called maracuyá in Spanish)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste, I like these tart, but you might want a bit more sugar)
2 tablespoons vodka (optional, to make slightly less icy)
a pinch of salt
fresh raspberries for stashing in the top (optional)

For the raspberry part of the pop
6 oz fresh or frozen raspberries (1 small carton of fresh)
1/4 cup cold water
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 lime, juiced

In a blender, combine passionfruit puree, sugar and vodka (if using) and puree until quite smooth, about a minute or two. Put three raspberries into each popsicle mold. Pour the passionfruit mixture into your popsicle molds on top of the raspberries, until they are about two-thirds full. Freeze for an hour before you add the second layer.

While the passionfruit part of your pop is freezing, puree the raspberries, water and sugar in the blender. Stir in the lime juice. After the passionfruit layer has solidified enough as to not mix when you pour on the raspberry layer, top each pop off with a layer of raspberry deliciousness and stick in your popsicle sticks. Freeze overnight and then enjoy!


Other pops I’m eyeing …

Coconut Matcha Blueberry Pops from GirliChef

Spicy Tequila Sunrise Popsicles from Floating Kitchen

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Avocado Popsicles from Dula Notes

4-Ingredient Strawberry Cream Pops from Hungry Girl Por Vida

As always, we send a virtual hug to Billy from Wit and Vinegar for organizing the thrilling, frostbitten fiesta that is Popsicle Week. Be back soon!



how to make perfect french macarons

I’m the type who likes projects. While I enjoy cooking dinner each night for my little family and our friends, what really gets me excited is a new project. I like the research phase at the start of a project and the challenge of stepping up my game and out of my comfort zone. And I love the satisfaction of making something I’ve never made before, especially if it turns out right. I also love losing myself in a project, letting my worries slip away for a few hours and focusing in on the task at hand. It’s why I started cooking in the first place and probably why I’ll never stop. These projects are freeing for an overactive worrier like myself. My mind gets a break, and in the end, I usually have something delicious to show for it.


I decided to try my hand at french macarons last weekend. I had a free day, no plans at all. After a pep talk from Jordan the day before, it was settled and the research commenced. I read lots of recipes, read horror stories of macarons gone awry, read encouraging posts assuring me that it wasn’t nearly as hard as everyone claimed.

I’m happy to say, this will be one of those encouraging posts. It really is not as hard as you’d expect. Yes, precision is necessary and some understanding of a few key techniques is helpful, but if you’re mindful, you can make perfect a french marcaron the first go round.


The recipe I used is from a wonderful pastry blog Brave Tart. I’m positive her recipe and tips are the reason my macarons were a success the first time around. Thank you Stella!

French Macaron with Vanilla, Passionfruit or Blackberry Buttercream, adapted from Brave Tart
For the cookies
4 oz | 115 grams almond meal or almond flour (you can also grind blanched almonds in a food processor until powdery)
8 oz | 230 grams powdered sugar
5 oz | 144 grams egg whites
2.5 oz | 72 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon | 2 grams kosher salt
the scrapings of 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

First, before we get into how to make the recipe, let’s talk about measuring the ingredients. Measurements by volume (cups, teaspoons, etc) are a bad idea for delicate pastry. Really, we all should always bake by weight and never volume because there can be such huge discrepancies between how each person measures one cup. There are also other intervening factors like humidity that can throw volume measurements off. So save yourself some macaron grief, and get a kitchen scale. Measuring ingredients by weight is not only more accurate, but I’m sure you’ll find that it is actually faster and easier.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. If you have an oven thermometer, put it in the oven to double check the temperature. If your oven is too hot, your cookies will cook unevenly or their shells will crack and crumble as they rise. Move both racks towards the center of your oven to ensure the cookies get the most even heat. See what I mean about precision? Not overwhelmingly difficult, but necessary.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. I traced 1.5″ circles on my parchment paper so that I would have something to trace when I piped the cookies onto the sheet. It’s important that the cookie shells are all about the same size because you sandwich two together.


Insert a plain round tip into a pastry bag. This is for piping the macarons onto the baking sheet.  Here are some great tips on how to easily fill a pastry bag if the task seems daunting.

Sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar into a medium bowl. You’ll have a spoonful or two of little almond granules that are larger than the rest and don’t sift through, just discard those. Separate your egg whites from the yolks. Put your yolks in the fridge and save them to make pastry cream for a raspberry napoleon.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine egg whites, sugar, vanilla bean (not the extract if you’re using that) and salt. Mix on medium power (4 on a Kitchen Aid) for three minutes.


Increase the speed to medium-high (7 on Kitchen Aid) and whip for another three minutes.


Increase the speed to high (8 on Kitchen Aid) and whip for another three minutes.  Turn the mixer off and add any extracts or colors here. Whip on high for another minute to incorporate. The mixture should look like a very stiff, dry meringue and should clump inside the whisk. If it isn’t very stiff, beat for another minute or two until it is. Aren’t the vanilla bean flecks just the cutest!


Add the almond flour and powdered sugar to the meringue.  Using a large spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. It will take quite a while to fully incorporate. The purpose of this step is to deflate the meringue so don’t worry about knocking it around a little bit.


Stella’s recipe was astoundingly accurate for me. She said it would take about 40 folds to incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet and get a good batter consistency and she was right. You want a batter that is thin enough to pipe, but not so thin it runs all over the baking sheet. She describes the texture as “molten” if that helps you. Mixing the ingredients thoroughly is important so be sure to scrape the sides the bowl several times while mixing. Streaks of unmixed meringue could also cause your cookies to crack in the oven.


Once your batter is mixed, spoon it into a pastry bag. I’d recommend you only fill the bag about two-thirds full and then tie the top with a rubber band. Make the piping easier on yourself, don’t overstuff the bag! With a 10″ pastry bag, I only had to refill twice. Not bad.

Pipe small circles onto your parchment lined baking sheet. Let the cookies sit for a few minutes on the counter to settle. Rap the trays hard on the counter several times. Don’t be shy about it.  This removes the air bubbles that could also cause your shells to crack in the oven. I didn’t rap my first batch with quite enough vigor and most of my cookies came out with cracked shells. While cracked shells do nothing to harm the flavor, take this easy step to avoid them. For my second batch, I hit the tray hard against the counter about 10 times taking care to rotate it 90 degrees for a few of the raps and the shells came out perfectly.


Bake the cookies at 300 degrees for 18 minutes. You should be able to peel the parchment away from the macaron without tearing out the center of the cookie. I’d test on a corner cookie before removing the sheet from the oven. Remove the cookies the oven and let them cool on the trays. Use a metal spatula to detach the cookies from the parchment after they are completely cooled.


Below you can see the difference between a perfect shell and a cracked shell. The top of the cracked shell will sort of crumble and collapse when you fill it with cream, while the good shell will remain intact. Both are delicious though so don’t dispair if your shells crack!


Once cooled, fill the macarons with the buttercream of your choice. I did vanilla, passionfruit and blackberry. All were divine!

For the filling
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons passionfruit syrup (mine was made from 4 oz of frozen passionfruit pulp and 1/2 cup sugar simmered together for 30 minutes and strained)
3 tablespoons blackberry syrup (mine was made from 4 oz of frozen blackberries and 1/2 cup sugar simmered together for 30 minutes   and strained of the seeds)

In a bowl over a pot of simmering water, combine the sugar and egg whites. Heat the egg and sugar mixture until you cannot feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.  Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. Add the vanilla. Finally, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time and whip, whip, whip. It will look like your buttercream is ruined for a few minutes. Don’t dispair! It will come together if you just keep whipping.


Once the buttercream is has been whipped into submission, put two thirds of it another bowl. To the remaining third, add the 3 tablespoons of blackberry syrup. Whip, whip, whip again until the syrup is incorporated. Remove that from the mixer, wash the bowl and whisk and then add another 1/3 of the frosting. Add 3 tablespoons of passionfruit syrup and whip whip whip!

Put the filling in a disposable pastry bag with a round tip. Pipe about a teaspoon of filling onto the flat side of the macaron cookie. Sandwich the cream between another cookie. Continue with the rest of the cookies, alternating fillings if you’d like.


The surprisingly truth about macarons? They only get more tasty as they age. While they are delicious the first day, they are insanely good on the second and third days once the cream and cookie have really melded together and become one. Store your cookies in a tupperware in the refrigerator, but let set them out for about an hour before serving to let the buttercream warm up a bit before you eat them. The texture is even more pleasant when you let them warm a bit.


I am absolutely stoked with how these came out. They were delicious—sweet but not overwhelmingly so. Their texture was incredible—a crunchy exterior that shatters when you bite into it revealing a creamy, chewy interior. The passionfruit filling was positively addicting. Plus they are adorable.  I’ll be making them again very soon.



panna cotta with passionfruit sauce

This was my first panna cotta. Panna cotta is the dessert that chefs on Top Chef who were adamantly “not pastry chefs” would try with disastrous results, and so I was a little gun shy. Honestly, it is an amazingly simple dessert and I’m not sure why so many people messed it up. Panna cotta has a delightful, milky flavor that is great on its own, but even better as a base for other toppings. We topped it with fresh strawberries and passionfruit sauce, but it would be great with any other berry, stone fruit, citrus, nuts. It’s basically a dessert base for all seasons! I know Alice Waters wouldn’t settle for anything less.

Panna Cotta with Passionfruit Sauce, from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook

One 1/4 oz packet of unflavored gelatin
Flavorless oil, for greasing the ramekins
1-inch piece of vanilla bean, sliced and scraped
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
zest of 1/4 lemon

1/4 cup passionfruit pulp
3 T simple syrup
1/4 cup diced strawberries

Grease 8 ramekins with a flavorless oil. In a medium-sized bowl, dissolve the gelatin in 3 T water.

In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the cream, milk, vanilla, sugar and lemon until simmering. Simmer for a minute or two. Pour into the gelatin mixture and whisk until the lumps of gelatin are fully incorporated. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl. Fill the ramekins and place them in the fridge to set up. Ideally, they will have about 4 hours to chill before serving.

To serve, top with passionfruit sauce and diced strawberries.



cream cheese pound cake, two ways

I made this cake for a dinner party we went to on Friday night. It was great and I decided to make it again for our mamas when they came down to celebrate Mother’s Day last Sunday.

A quick side note here: Jordan was an absolute champ both nights. Friday night he sweetly convinced me  – braving my baking righteousness – to bring the cake unbaked to Matt and Alexa’s to finish there. I had just assembled the ingredients and it was already 6:35 pm when I sheepishly admitted that the cake would need to bake for at least an hour. Good call Jordan! Sunday night he was also a dream. Jordan cooked an amazing dinner for 6 ladies, listened to them gab endlessly for hours and did all the dishes! I am a lucky, lucky girl!

Now onto the amazing cake! My new go-to pound cake (aside from the blood orange olive oil cake from a few weeks ago).

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberry Coulis or Passionfruit Glaze, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz  cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
zest of two lemons
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t salt

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan (or butter a loaf pan and dust with granulated sugar- my preferred method borrowed from my friend Miykaelah).  

Beat the butter and cream cheese in a mixture until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined. Add the vanilla. Stir in the flour and salt until just combined. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan. If serving with strawberry coulis, you can serve the cake warm. If you plan to glaze the cake, let it cool to room temperature before glazing. 

Strawberry Coulis
1 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed
1/4 cup water
2 T sugar
1 T lemon juice 

In a blender or food processor, puree the berries, water, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Strain though a fine mesh sieve and chill. Serve with several tablespoons poured over each slice of cake. 

Passionfruit Glaze
3 T passionfruit pulp
2/3 cup powdered sugar

We all know how much I love passionfruit. It is the most amazing tropical fruit I’ve ever eaten. I wrote a delightful piece about my love here. You can find passionfruit pulp in the freezer section of some latin markets. If you ever see one fresh, buy it (and immediately call me with the market coordinates)!

Whisk together the passionfruit pulp and powdered sugar until smooth. Pour over the cooled cake. Let sit at room temperature to harden. 

Passionfruit Sauce
1/4 cup passionfruit pulp
3 T simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated until the sugar dissolves)

Serve with several spoonfuls poured over each slice of passionfruit glazed cake for an extra passionfruity tartness. 

This cake is awesome with both fruit sauces. The strawberry is delightfully seasonal and fresh. The passionfruit is too good to describe, especially if your are as obsessed as I. Honestly, I’d recommend both. Maybe do half and half when you bake it at home.