Souvenir Recipes

Like edible souvenirs, these our easy versions of recipes inspired by a trip or a memory of eating on the road so that you can eat like a local even if you never leave home.
Blended Mint Lemonade |

Blended Mint Lemonade

Souvenirs are one of those things I never get right when I'm traveling -- either I tell myself they're not practical and end up with zero or I buy a bunch of tchochkes that are fated to collect dust. But I think I finally figured it out on my latest trip -- I'm collecting a new kind of travel souvenir in the form of recipes, like this Blended Mint Lemonade from my trip to recent trip to Jordan.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Slab Pie |

Strawberry Rhubarb Slab Pie

This recipe was directly inspired by my trip to Estonia. Here in Tallinn they haven’t quite gotten the memo that it’s Spring and the ground is just beginning to thaw. Despite lingering ice and winter storms, there are signs of warm weather all over. Like in the cherry trees with their first blossoms pushing through; the local girls wearing skirts as if 40°F were a heat wave; or the presence of the very first of Spring produce like peas, asparagus, and rhubarb on every menu. But what I have see a lot of are rhubarb pastries — like this Strawberry Rhubarb Slab Pie.

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Crepes with Meyer Lemon Curd and Berries |

Crepes with Meyer Lemon Curd and Berries

This last weekend we had a serious winter storm that left everyone confused — confused on how to drive, how to dress, and what season it is. And the produce seems to have gotten caught up in the confusion. A bit wintry but with spring so close you can taste it, we’ve got everything from Meyer lem...

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Piri Piri-Style Shrimp |

Piri Piri-Style Shrimp

Ok, friends, it’s time we make a collective promise. So, please raise your hand and repeat after me: “I solemnly swear to start making piri piri sauce and using it on any and everything stat.”

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Campari Watermelon Cooler Cocktail |

Campari Watermelon Cooler Cocktail

It should be noted that women who drink real, true stiff cocktails are always given a bit of a stare. I started at it when I lived in Italy. I'd order my grandfather'’s favorite summertime drink, a Campari and Soda and my Italian friends joked that I must be an old man at heart because of my ince...

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The Avant Garde Antipasti Platter  |

The Avant Garde Antipasti Platter

The Italians have it right when it comes to food — the emphasis is on quality products and simply letting them shine. That was inspired me to update an old-school Italian aperitivo (aka happy hour) snack, the classic antipasti platter. There is something so freeing about not having to fuss over an appetizer when you just want to nibble on something delicious, sip on a cocktail, and enjoy la dolce vita.

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Lillet Lemonade Cocktail |

Lillet Lemonade Cocktail

After a recent girls weekend driving up California Highway 1 that was filled with car trouble, storytelling, and a few late nights, I wanted something to toast our memories. Something refreshing and a tad sweet – aka the equal-opportunity hard lemonade – so I came up with this Lillet Lemonade Cocktail. 

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Zucchini and Ricotta Salata Bruschetta |

Zucchini and Ricotta Salata Bruschetta

This is a recipe that screams summer in Italy. We're talking happy hour (aka aperitivo) time when you're sipping on Prosecco or Spritzs and noshing on olives, potato chips, pistachios, and little crostini. This recipe is inspired by one of our favorite places of all-time to do aperitivo – we're talking the rooftop of the Principe Hotel in Forte dei Marmi.

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Peruvian Shrimp Salad with Cilantro and Roasted Pepper Dressing |

Peruvian Shrimp Salad with Cilantro and Roasted Pepper Dressing

This Peruvian Shrimp Salad with Cilantro and Roasted Pepper Dressing is a recipe I've made for years because I find the shrimp, potatoes, and cheese really satisfying. So, give it a try because it's got a lot going for it -- sweet, salty, and a slightly spicy dressing -- even if you won't get a congratulatory confetti and balloon rain shower every time you eat it.

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{Pasta Alla Checca} No-Cook Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Burrata |

{Pasta Alla Checca} No-Cook Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Burrata

There is nothing that transports me to Italy faster than a really well done pasta alla checca. At its most simple, it's just marinated tomatoes tossed with fresh pasta but I've learned how to make it amazing.

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Blood Orange Thyme Paloma Cocktail |

Blood Orange Thyme Paloma Cocktail

I'm heading south to Los Cabos for a girls weekend that I'm hoping involves nothing more than some surf, sand, and lots of guac and tequila. My older sister, Ivy, has a love for all things tequila, but she has a special place in her heart for the Paloma. She was the first one to introduce me to t...

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Cardamom-Vanilla Coffee Crème Brûlée |

Cardamom-Vanilla Coffee Crème Brûlée

Unfortunately for it, crème brûlée is so ubiquitous that it's easy to write it off as nothing special. But make it in a very shareable dish for two and infuse the cream with coffee beans, cardamom, and vanilla and you add a dash of intrigue to an otherwise very familiar dessert. 

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{Kabab Chenjeh} Grilled Saffron Beef Kebab with Blistered Tomatoes |

{Kabab Chenjeh} Grilled Saffron Beef Kebab with Blistered Tomatoes

Here in Los Angeles there are a few super hot button topics: water shortages, the Lakers, and I'd add in kebabs. Okay, maybe it's only amongst food people who love Persian food but where to get the best Persian food and, specifically, kebabs quickly gets heated. The area of Westwood Boulevard around UCLA has so many Persian business, it's known as Little Persia to locals. And, while there are a lot of good restaurants, my personal favorite is Darya down on Santa Monica Boulevard.

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Los Cabos Mexican Summer Salad |

Los Cabos Mexican Summer Salad

We could all use a little more Mexico in our lives. Its bold colors, warm hospitality, and lilting breezes, and the food — let’s not forget about the comforting complexity that is Mexican food. So, I took a vacation with my family down in Los Cabos, Mexico. Though I’d like to say I ate healthy, I more or less acted like a sloth. But if I were being healthy? I would have eaten something like this salad — all the flavors of Mexico toasted and roasted and tossed together but a far cry from a chain-restaurant tostada. 

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Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad |

Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

Years have passed since I first learned about panzanella and I've made so many versions, I couldn't begin to list them all. This year it's been about the peaches -- for the record all the stone fruit has been positively dreamy -- so I've been grilling peaches and nectarine and some herbed country bread for my latest act of panzanella blasphemy. It's so far from traditional I don't dare ask my Italian friends (aka the panzanella purists) to try it, but it's for the better as I'm not sure I'd want to share it with them anyhow.

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