Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

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Salted Caramel.  It’s everywhere, right?  I love it. There’s just something about that combination of sweet and salty.  My favorite dessert in the whole world is at Nostrana in Portland…Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel.  Oh. My. God.  I’ve made a few attempts at my own salted caramel sauce, but with not such great luck.

So, I was having a book club meeting at my house and was going to be perfectly satisfied with serving Brownie Sundaes (made from my “Only Brownie Recipe You’ll Ever Need” recipe) and drizzled with some store-bought chocolate fudge sauce and vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream, but the day before, a post on my Facebook feed from Bon Appétit pops up that says, “make homemade salted caramel sauce from scratch…to drizzle over anything and everything” and think it would be so good on the brownie sundaes!  Okay.  Fine.  I look at the recipe.  It looks pretty easy.  I’ll give it a whirl.

It was, in fact, VERY easy.  No candy thermometers involved.  I didn’t feel like I was waiting for ever and ever for the mixture to turn dark amber colored.  Honestly, the easiest and most delicious caramel sauce I’ve ever made (and I’ve experimented with a few!)  I could have eaten it by the spoonful, right out of the pot (okay, I’ll admit to using a spatula to scrape what was left in the pot to gobble up every drop!)

The sundaes were a hit ….you’re definitely going to want to make them. (And I highly recommend the book too…The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker.)

Now the question is what will I do with the sauce leftover in the fridge?  I’ve dipped green apples in it already.  It would be amazing drizzled over a slice of Pumpkin Roll or on top of a dollop of whipped cream on pecan pie or apple pie for Thanksgiving!  Stir a spoonful into your coffee or hot chocolate.  Even just lick it right off the spoon.

I might even be inspired now to try to find that Butterscotch Budino recipe and try it!

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 tablespoon flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

For Brownie Sundaes you’ll need to bake a batch of double chocolate brownies (aka “The Only Brownie Recipe You’ll Ever Need“) and buy some Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream 

DIRECTIONS

Bring granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes.

Remove from heat and gradually add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in butter and salt.  Let cool slightly before serving.

DO AHEAD: Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Grilled Avocado

Grilled avocados have been getting a lot of press lately.  The August issue of on Appétit featured an article called “Hecho en Mexico”, about a group of “chefs, mixologists and pro surfers”…getting together for a “week of waves and open-fire cooking”.  Sounds good, right?  There’s a picture of a plate of grilled avocados with the description, “Know what happens when you grill an avocado?  You basically get smoky butter – not to mention the best guacamole ever.”  Tempting.  Then, a couple of days later, I’m paying a visit to my favorite foodtruck, MIHO, and on the menu, they have a salad with grilled avo.  I ask the guy on the truck what’s the deal and he says, “you have to try it…it just brings out the flavor of the avo, adds smokiness, smooth like butter and it turns them the coolest bright green”.  Okay.  Okay.  So that night I tell Tony we’re grilling avocados to use for guacamole.  He thinks I’m nuts (but of course he listens to me anyway!)   

First of all, they are so pretty, all bright green, with grill marks and they smell all smoky and buttery.  I mixed them up with a little lime juice, some seasoning salt and red onions and yes…The. Best. Guacamole. Ever.  EVER.

We’ve added them to the Chipotle Chicken Tostadas…amazing! You can fill the hole left by the pits with salsa and serve as an appetizer…scoop out the flesh with tortilla chips or pita chips.  I saw them on the menu at Kensington Grill, served as an appetizer with ancho chili vinaigrette & lime wedges, to spread on grilled bread.  I’m thinking next we’ll add them to a BLT, with applewood smoked bacon, heirloom tomatoes and arugula, on a thick slice of toasted egg bread.  (Okay, my neighbor Barbara just brought me a whole sack full of avos…guess what we’re having tomorrow night?)

 Grilled Avocado

INGREDIENTS

Avocado (ripe, but firm, not too squishy)

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.

Remove the pit of each avocado by cutting into the pit with a large sharp knife and turning the knife counter-clockwise. Once the knife is properly wedged into the avocado pit, it should be easy to remove the pit from the flesh of the avocado, as you twist and remove the knife.

Whisk together the lime juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Brush each avocado half with a little of  the lime juice marinade.

Place each prepared avocado half, flesh side down, over the hot grill. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until grill marks appear and the avocado is warm, but not overly mushy.

Remove the avocado halves from the grill and let cool a bit.   From here, your choices are limitless.  Use your imagination.

Oh, and btw, just now see that brother-in-law STCG has a recipe for Chili-Rubbed Chicken with Grilled Avocados in his cookbook Just Grill This.  He says, “I’ll admit that grilled avocados sound kinda creepy, but they’re actually really good.”  There you go.  And I’ll be making that recipe too.

Pickled Red Onions

You know how on the very last page of Bon Appétit magazine, they have a celebrity interview (well, okay, maybe you don’t know, but they do) and they often ask “what three things are always in your refrigerator?”  Singer John Legend said, “eggs, hot sauce and butter”.  Wow…that’s not very exciting. And I had to pull several issues to find that interview! (I guess they don’t ask as often as I thought.)  Steve Carell said, “Soy milk, because my daughter has a severe milk allergy; Diet Coke; and strawberries.)  Okay, whatever.

When Bon Appétit comes to my house to ask me, my answer will be, “plain Greek yogurt (to have with Everyday Granola!), half & half and picked red onions”.

Pickled red onions have become my favorite condiment.  They are super easy to make.  They keep in the fridge forever and they are delicious on so many things.  We put them on burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, canitas & carne asada tacos, and they are a “must” on the Chipotle Chicken Tostadas.  I’ve thrown them in salads and I even added them to a gilled tuna & Gruyere sandwich the other night. Yum! Make a batch.  Keep them in the fridge and then when BA comes to your house, you’ll know what to say.

Pickled Red Onions

 INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I’ve also used red wine vinegar)

1/2 cup cold water

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 red onion, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

Whisk first 4 ingredients in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.  Place onion in a jar; pour vinegar mixture over.  Let sit at room temperature for one hour.  You can make them several weeks ahead too.  Just cover and chill in the jar.  Drain onions before using.