Browsing Tag


Food + Recipes, Sparkling Wine

Got Peaches? Try this “Bellini” Sorbet Recipe from Zazu

July 31, 2012

Ripe peaches and Moscato sparkling wine make a deliciously fresh and light Bellini summer sorbet.

A couple summers ago dining with friends at Zazu in Santa Rosa, I spotted this recipe on the wall. I snapped a picture of it, so I could try it during peach season.

Duskie Estes and John Stewart, the chefs of Italian inspired Zazu, are known for their way with pork and Black pig bacon. But they also make crazy-good wood-fired pizzas, seasonal pastas and desserts.

Technically, a Bellini is made with white peaches and prosecco, the light and fresh tasting dry sparkling wine from the Veneto. (Click to read more about prosecco on The Bubbly This recipe features Moscato d’Asti, another popular Italian sparkling wine that’s sweeter and less bubbly.

Since Moscato naturally and has flavors and aromas of peaches and apricots, I’m guessing that’s why the Duskie and John chose it for this sorbet. They suggest their favorite Bonny Doon Moscato del Solo, but it can be made with any good quality Moscato.

I spotted this Bellini Sorbet recipe on the wall at Zazu Restaurant in Santa Rosa.

Zazu Bellini Sorbet

1-1/4 pounds ripe white peaches
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Moscato d’Asti

Peel the peaches with a small knife. Combine the peaches, sugar and lemon juice in a food processor bowl. Process until you have a smooth purée. Stir in the Moscato. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions or freeze in a shallow pan and fluff up every hour or so using the granita method.

Recipe courtesy John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu Restaurant.

© 2012 Maria C. Hunt, aka The Bubbly Girl.


Food + Recipes, Party Recipes and Pairings

Savory Blackberry Cheese Tarts: Holiday Cooking with Driscoll’s Berries

December 3, 2011
raspberries and blackberries

A perfect little blackberry tart.

I love blackberries, and I usually think about them as a summer flavor. But since they’re available year-round, and  low-calorie, high-nutrition snack, I make an exception to the eating with the seasons rule. Earlier this week, Rick Rodgers, (with a D) — the entertaining guru, chef and author of a bazillion books — showed us how blackberries can sweeten up winter cooking in an event hosted by Driscoll’s Berries.

We visited the Hands-On Gourmet kitchen, a unique space for parties and culinary corporate team-building in Dogpatch. (It’s around the corner from a cleverly named bar called Retox.) The kitchen had a large demo kitchen set up, beautiful displays of food and drinks and space for everyone to sit at belly tables with tall Chivari chairs. And the staff were very polished and friendly, especially my pal Fausto.

The guests included a bunch of heavyweights in the blogging world like Cooking With Amy, Eat the Love, Punk Domestics and a fun new pastry chef turned San Francisco baking examiner Angela Rosoff.

In between Rodgers’ segments, noted food photographer Caren Alpert talked about ways to take better food shots. I liked her tips about having different background to use in soft focus, using a white sheet or even paper to bounce more light onto the plate and styling your hero plate last.

Driscoll’s also used the event to announce their “Celebrate the Sweeter Moments Contest.” Tell them how berries made an occasion sweeter and you could win a Viking Cookware set valued at $1,350. The contest ends December 15; for more information or to enter, visit Driscoll’s.

Everything was delicious, from the Blackberry Cobbler cocktail with gin, lemon and a splash of bubbly to the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin in blackberry sauce with sweet potato purèe.

But since I love party food and things that come in small packages, my favorite was Rick’s Savory Cheese Tartlets topped with blackberries and thyme. I adored the cream-cheese crust which was utterly rich but had an airy quality, too. And something about adding the dab of honey on top made it remind me of Greek pastries I enjoyed growing up in Chicago.

Savory Cheese Tartlets with Honey-Thyme Berries

Servings: Makes 24 tartlets, 8 to 12 servings

Number of Ingredients: 10

Cream Cheese Dough

1 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature,
plus more for the pans, if needed

3 ounces cream cheese, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature


5 ounces rindless goat cheese, at room temperature

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. minced fresh thyme

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. honey, preferably full-flavored, such as chestnut or thyme, warmed

About 1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries)

Fresh thyme leaves, removed from their stems, for garnish

1. To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse to combine. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse about 10 times, until the mixture begins to clump together. Gather up the dough and shape into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and easy to handle, about 2 hours.

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Have ready two 12-cup miniature muffin pans (each cup measuring 1 7/8 inches across the top and 7/8 inches deep), preferably nonstick. If the pans are not nonstick, lightly butter them.

3. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. One at a time, place a piece of dough in a muffin cup, and use your fingers to press it firmly and evenly up the sides to make a pastry shell. (A wooden tart tamper can help the job go quickly.) Freeze for 5 minutes.

4. To make the filling, mash the goat cheese and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the egg, yolk, minced thyme, salt, and pepper and whisk until combined. Spoon equal amounts of the filling into the chilled pastry shells.

5. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is puffed, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Remove the tartlets from the pans and transfer to a wire cake rack to cool completely. (If you wish, warm the tartlets in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 minutes before serving.)

6. Just before serving, lightly brush the tops of the tartlets with about half of the honey. Arrange the berries on top as desired. Drizzle with the remaining honey. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and serve.

Recipe adapted from Rick Rodgers

© 2011 Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl

Food + Recipes

Try These Girly Bling Rings Cupcakes

August 22, 2011

Just like fashions in sunglasses, automobiles and handbags, there are definite trends in desserts.

The first dessert era I remember was age of tiramisu, followed by the crème brûlée epoque. Next came chocolate lava cakes, which oozed their way onto dessert menus everywhere and took their sweet time leaving.

The latter half of the 2000s has been the Era of the Cupcake, when the homemade treat made by moms everywhere was re-imagined as a designer sweet with a 3-inch beehive of frosting and a $3 price tag. As a dessert trend, I think cupcakes are pretty 2008 (read over), but creative homemade cupcakes will never go out of style. I like borrowing some inspiration from designer cupcakes and adding them to the homemade ones.

I remember being fascinated with Ring Pops as a kid and wanted to find a way to incorporate them in a girly cupcake. I baked white cupcakes in fluted petal baking cups and then frosted them with a lemon glaze. Then while they were still soft, I embedded the shank of a ring pop in each one and finished with a sprinkle of silver and white sugar pearls, plus pink and green sugar sprinkles to match the cups.

I have to admit, the cupcake making part was super-easy, as I used boxed cake mix and frosting mix from Trader Joe’s. I turned their white frosting into lemon glaze by substituting the juice of two lemons for the hot water called for on the box.

These Bling Ring Cupcakes are a bit over the top, but they’d be perfect for a tea or a princess party. And when I took them to work, they were appreciated by girls of all ages.

© 2011 Maria C. Hunt, aka The Bubbly Girl

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Raspberry Mojito Float

January 31, 2011

Raspberry Mojito Float

Raspberry Mojito Floats

6 fresh raspberries, plus 1 extra

3 fresh mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish

1 ounce Zaya rum

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1 teaspoon lime juice

3 ounces prosecco

scoop lime sherbet or sorbet

Muddle six raspberries, 3 mint leaves, rum, simple syrup and lime juice in a cocktail mixing glass. Strain the contents into a small flute. Top with the prosecco and add the lime sherbet or sorbet. Thread the mint sprig through the raspberry to make a garnish and serve right away.

Food + Recipes

Scream Sorbet: A Really Good Vegan “Ice Cream” Shop Now Open in Temescal

November 28, 2010

To be honest, the word “vegan” appearing next to any food I like usually makes me groan. A vegan take on say liver wouldn’t bother me a bit. But vegan + ice cream? How could one fake the exquisite harmony of cream, eggs and sugar with coconut oil or worse?

But I’m rethinking my bias, now that I’ve tasted a few flavors by Scream Sorbet, which opened in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood about 10 days ago.

Normally, sorbets are a combination of fruit, water and sugar. The creative confections that Scream Sorbet has sold at Bay Area farmers markets for the past few years don’t contain any dairy, but they still manage to take sorbet in a whole new direction. Scream sorbets eat like ice cream, since they have a surprisingly creamy and luscious texture that comes from a careful blend of nut milks and butters. After a bite of Scream sorbet, the palate feels clean instead of coated with fat, as often happens with dairy-based ice creams.

Owner Nathan Kurz explains that most traditional ice creams are 90 percent eggs, cream and sugar with just 10 percent flavoring like strawberries, chocolate or pistachio nuts added. But Scream pastry chef Stephanie Lau — who worked at Cafe Fanny — starts with a base ingredient like locally grown sweet potatoes, pomegranates or pecans and adds just enough sugar and fats from nuts or coconut to make the recipe creamy.

Scream Sorbet’s shop window at 5030 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland features lids from their many different flavors.

“You get so much more flavor out of the sorbets this way,” says Kurz, who owns Scream along with Noah Goldner. He explains the research that led them to creamy sorbets in this October 2010 New York Times Style Magazine piece.

At their storefront at 5030 Telegraph Ave., shoppers can pick up pints of sorbet for $8 to $10 apiece in a variety of Scream flavors like seasonal Pecan and Bourbon laced with Maker’s Mark, Rose Almond, Satsuma Mandarin, Coconut Thai Basil and Kettle Corn.

They’re still waiting for their final health department permit, so they can’t scoop ice cream – er sorbet – on premises yet. But it’s worth stopping by to sample of one of their ice cream sandwiches like shortbread stuffed with Meyer lemon sorbet or gingersnaps with Blue Bottle Coffee sorbet. They’re so good, I promise you’ll forget all about the v-word.

Update: Scream Sorbet closed its doors in 2013. If you want to try making a Scream-style nut sorbet at home, check out this pistachio sorbet recipe on the blog Joy of Blending.

© Maria C. Hunt, aka The Bubbly Girl