Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey

Sometimes bite-size foods are the best foods.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are no exception! They’re salty, sweet and tangy, and fit in the palm of your hand. They’re portable and the perfect addition to a cocktail party or get-together (did someone say Oscars?)

I’ve always been a snacker. When given the choice between a gigantic meal that will likely leave me bloated and sluggish or light snacks throughout the day, I’ll 100% of the time go for the latter. Plus, that way I get to try allll of the different things. Don’t pin me down, I want to taste all the food!

Speaking of snacking, the hubby and I are especially good at it on the weekends, and this past weekend (wait, are we still in “the weekend” since today is President’s Day?) was no exception. We were up in NorCal for a baby shower on Saturday, then took advantage of the long weekend and being so close to Napa and headed up to Wine Country on Sunday. We’re headed back to SB but will be back up in NorCal next weekend. It’s turning into quite the frequent commute for us, but we don’t mind the drive. We always joke that we’d rather make the 4-6 hour drive up to the Bay Area than the 2-3 hour drive down to LA because we never hit any traffic.

Anyhow, we really enjoyed seeing so many of our NorCal friends this past weekend. It seems like with the craziness of the holidays and the subsequent need to just hibernate and do nothing in the beginning of the new year, it’s been ages since we’ve seen everyone. Now we’re celebrating babies and multiple engagements and I can’t believe all of that has happened since we’ve last seen everyone!

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are just the type of thing I like to make for casual get-togethers with our friends, no matter where we are. They’re pretty darn easy and require almost no actual cooking, so you can really whip them up anywhere. Might I also add that they’re the perfect things to munch on when you’re sipping on some delicious Napa wine? Let me tell you, these crostini and a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc are a match made in heaven.

The hardest part about this recipe is literally toasting up the sliced baguette to make crostini. If you can toast bread under a broiler without burning it, you’re in good shape. If not, just add the toppings to untoasted bread and these puppies will still taste absolutely divine.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

After you have your baguette slices toasted, simply spread each one with a hefty dollop of chevre (that’s creamy goat cheese for all you non-cheese snobs out there), top with the apricot and pistachio mixture, and drizzle on some honey. That’s it!

I’d also like to point out the absolutely necessity of a couple of things:

  1. Toast your nuts. I know, this technically requires more cooking, but it’s a must for ANY recipe that involves nuts. Just trust me.
  2. Chop your dried apricots. Nobody wants a crostini where they have to gnaw through a huge chunk of something so they can be sure to get a taste of it in every bit. Also, I’m a huge fan of the fatter, juicier dried apricots as opposed to the flatter, more dehydrated ones. They are definitely a must IMHO.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, now that you have the down-low on all that goes into these drool-inducing Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey, I’ll let you get to it! It’s a holiday after all, so you deserve a little something to go along with that bottle of wine you’re sure to pop the cork on today 😉

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

These bite-size hors d'oevures are perfectly balanced with sweet, salt and tangy flavors. Pistachios, goat cheese and apricots are a match made in heaven!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 6 ounces chevre (creamy goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nutmeats, toasted
  • 1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces honey (approximately)
Instructions
  1. Turn the broiler on high. Arrange the baguette slices on a sheet pan and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they become golden-brown. Keep a close eye on them, as they can get too dark in a matter of seconds. 

  2. Remove crostini from the oven and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch, spread about a tablespoon or so of the goat cheese on each piece. 

  3. Combine the pistachios and dried apricots in a small bowl, then sprinkle on top of each crostini. 

  4. Drizzle each piece with honey and serve immediately.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Belizean 75

This drink is brought to you with so much looooove.

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

I know Valentine’s Day is behind us, but this Belizean 75 holds a very special place in my heart for multiple reasons.

First, you all know that the French 75 is one of the hubs’ and my absolute favorite cocktails, so much so that it was one of the two signature drinks we served at our wedding. I mean, anything involving both bubbles AND gin is a winner in my book. I love them both to pieces.

Second, we first got to taste a “Belizean 75” on our honeymoon shortly thereafter which, although not quite what we expected, did have a few fond memories going for it. This drink is definitely one of them and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to make my own version at home.

I ordered the Belizean 75 the day we got back to our resort after being evacuated due to the hurricane, and, let me tell you, after being stuck in a $100 a night eco-lodge that flooded and had no power OR water after the storm hit it was like tasting the nectar of the Gods. Forget the plentiful glasses of red wine and steaming seafood platters that were constants at our Francis Coppola-owned resort, I just wanted this incredibly cool and refreshing cocktail on repeat.

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

The main difference between a Belizean 75 and a French 75 is that local rum is used in place of gin, and any variety of local citrus is used in place of the standard lemon juice. I’m not too sure what variety of citrus they used at the Turtle Inn, but I had some blood oranges laying around and boy, did they add just the right zing of color to this cocktail!

I love this cocktail because it is incredibly easy to make and uses very few ingredients, ones you’ll likely have on hand already without requiring an extra trip to the store. All you’re going to need is sparkling wine, rum and fresh-squeezed citrus juice! I would just recommend that whatever citrus juice you use isn’t too tart, since there is no added sweetener in this drink (bonus – less of a hangover the next day!)

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

The blood oranges I used were perfect and lent that lovely pinkish hue. Despite what it looks like in the photos, I did use the exact same amount of blood orange juice in each drink, the pulp of one of the blood oranges was just a lot darker than the other. But that’s nature for ya!

Now I know today isn’t a “special” Friday per se (although if you ask me, every Friday is pretty dang special) but that’s no excuse to forego making a Belizean 75 or two. Whether you’re getting together with girlfriends or just want an easy at-home Happy Hour drink for you and your honey, this cocktail will do the trick. And with another round of nasty weather headed our way, I’d say we need as many tropical drinks as we can get to make us forget all the rain. Am I right?

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

Stay safe and dry this weekend my friends! Xx

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Belizean 75
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This cocktail is a fun, tropical riff on the classic French 75, using local rum instead of gin and fresh blood orange juice instead of lemon. The ultimate refresher!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce fresh blood orange juice (or other fresh citrus juice)
  • 1 ounce rum
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
Instructions
  1. Combine orange juice and rum in the bottom of a champagne flute. Slowly pour the sparkling wine over top. Garnish with a blood orange wheel, if desired.

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina

The best way to get our daily dose of veggies!

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

I mean, who doesn’t want to get their Vitamins A and C and tons of fiber from a PIZZA? That’s right, carb-y crust and cheese included. How many times do I have to tell you I’m all about keeping things balanced? This Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina is nothing but.

If it were up to me, we’d have pizza for dinner at least a couple of times a week. I mean, I’ve certainly made quite a few insanely delicious variations here on the blog already (see this Pastrami Pizza, this Fresh Fig, Prosciutto and Burrata Pizza with Truffle Honey and this Chocolate Brie Dessert Pizza with Almond-Orange Shortbread Crust.)  It really is one of my favorite foods, but we gotta keep things in check and make sure we’re evening out that sort of dinner, which is a little more indulgent, with healthier stuff like broth-based soups and protein-packed salads. No restriction, just variation! That’s how I like to eat and I hope it’s the same for you.

That being said, if there were ever a “healthy-ish” version of the dish to be had, this Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza is it. So you don’t even have to feel one bit bad about whipping it up on a weekly basis! And thanks to Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe, you can make one pizza that easily feeds two one night, and another one with the leftover dough a few days later. Let me tell you, we were quite excited to whip out the extra dough and have a pizza ready in 20 minutes this weekend when we had so many better things to do than slaving away in the kitchen.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

With it still being winter (and with all the crazy weather we’ve been having in California – I don’t think it’s rained this much in yearrrrrs!) the root vegetables that top this pizza are the perfect thing to make you feel like you’re eating the ultimate comfort food while still getting all of the vitamins and nutrients that they’re known for.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

Looking at these likely drool-inducing photos, you may be wondering what those purple-looking things are. They’re the carrots, my friends! I spotted the tri-color bag at Trader Joe’s and knew they’d be the perfect way to jazz up the monotony of color that orange carrots would have provided. That being said, plain ol’ orange carrots would work just fine if you’re not looking to make your pizza super photogenic.

So let’s talk about the process of making the deliciousness that is this Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina. As I mentioned above, I used Jim Lahey’s popular No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe for the base, but you could easily use your own homemade pizza dough recipe OR even a store-bought, premade dough. Jim Lahey’s recipe does require an overnight rise, so plan ahead if you’re going to go that route. It also makes enough dough for two pizzas, but you can easily save one for later if you’re not feeding a crowd that particular night!

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

After the dough has gone through its overnight rise, the pizza comes together in no time at all. Simply roll the dough out onto your favorite pizza stone (or a pizza pan if you don’t have a stone,) add the toppings and pop it into the oven for 20 minutes. That’s all you need! Your delicious dinner will be ready for you faster than you can finish a glass of wine.

Speaking of wine, my mom is coming down to visit later today and I’m very much looking forward to catching up with her and enjoying a delicious glass of vino or two. We’re heading to check out a new, hip restaurant in Santa Barbara tonight, so be sure to check my Insta-stories for all the deets!

I hope you’re having a great week. Maybe bake up a little pizza tonight to get past the hump? Xx

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This easy pizza recipe is loaded with bright orange and purple veggies, all topped off with a hefty serving of slightly salty fontina cheese.

Course: Main Course
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 recipe Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough (or other pre-made dough)
  • 1 small sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup finely chopped cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups grated fontina
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over your pizza stone or pan, whichever you are using, then roll the dough out on the pan in a circular shape. 

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the fresh thyme, salt and pepper. 

  3. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the prepared pizza dough, then sprinkle on the minced garlic and then the grated fontina cheese. Top with the vegetable mixture. 

  4. Put the prepared pizza in the oven and bake at 450 for 20 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden and the cheese is melted. Remove, slice and serve as soon as it has cooled slightly.

Recipe Notes

Click here for Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles

The ultimate finale to a romantic evening.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

Who doesn’t want airy, fluffy and decadent White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles for them and their honey on Valentine’s Day? I can really think of nothing better to tuck into after a romantic meal and a couple of bottles of wine (or cocktails, if they’re more your thing.)

I’ve been dreaming up a white chocolate and rosewater combo for quite some time now, but to be honest, I was originally aspiring to make more of a mousse-like concoction. After researching various mousse recipes online, I was surprised to find that most mousses are actually made with raw eggs. I had no idea! You learn something new every day.

Although I’ve made things with raw eggs before (like this eggnog) I really felt like playing it safe this time and started flexing my Googling muscles to find a mousse recipe with cooked eggs. I ended up finding this one on the New York Times website, but after trying to adapt it to make it my own, the “mousses” didn’t turn out quite as planned.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

For my first attempt, I (accidentally) omitted any sort of cream or milk, and also failed to boil my water before creating the bath around my ramekins for cooking. The “mousses” looked fine from the outside, but once I dug my spoon into them, I realized they were still quite runny and not set properly.

The second time around, I remembered to add some almond milk (I wasn’t sure it would work but I was out of cream, it ended up working just fine, and it’s healthier!) and I also boiled my water before creating the bath for the ramekins. This resulted in the desserts having an incredibly light and fluffy top layer, with a denser, pudding-like layer underneath. After conducting a very necessary taste test on both the hot-out-of-the-oven and chilled versions and including the hubs so he could weigh in with his opinion, we decided that these were more soufflé-like than mousse-like, and so these White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles were born!

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

You may be intimidated by the whole process of making any sort of soufflé, but I promise you it is not that difficult. Do you know how to whip egg whites to stiff peaks with a hand mixer? Then you’ll be fine, because that’s literally the hardest part.

Also, don’t let the two words “water bath” scare you off, it’s another technique that is ridiculously easy but makes you look like a complete pro. Promise.

The great thing about these White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles is that they come together fairly quickly, and can bake off in the oven while you’re enjoying your romantic dinner for two. The other great thing is, because they’re sort of halfway between a mousse and a soufflé, and have that thicker bottom layer, they won’t completely collapse if you don’t eat them right away, like many soufflés do.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

I also love that these soufflés satisfy that sweet tooth without being too incredibly sweet or indulgent. There is no sugar aside from what you use to coat the ramekins, the only sweetness comes from the white chocolate itself. You also get a nice floral note from the rosewater, and of course we can’t forget that signature vanilla extract that is necessary in just about any sort of baked dessert.

Want to take your White Chocolate Rosewater Souffles to the next level?  I highly suggest baking them in these super-cute heart-shaped ramekins and topping them with an assortment of fresh berries (or a berry compote, if you’re feeling really creative) and some fresh mint.

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com

So now that I have your whole menu planned out for you, I’d love to hear how you and your special man or woman are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The hubby and I decided to do our usual romantic night in, and I am so excited because he’s actually cooking ME dinner for once!

I hope your day is full of lots of love and laughter <3 xx

White Chocolate Rosewater Mousse | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
White Chocolate Rosewater Souffle
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A delicate, airy white chocolate souffle with a fresh floral hint from a splash of rosewater. The perfect light dessert when topped with fresh berries and mint!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat four 6-8 ounce ramekins (bonus if they’re heart-shaped!) with the 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar into each ramekin and shake to coat all sides. Place ramekins (with a little bit of space in between each one) on a rack in a roasting pan. 

  2. Using a double boiler (or a metal mixing bowl above a saucepan of simmering water,) melt the white chocolate. You’ll want to keep stirring the chocolate as it melts so it doesn’t burn, but if you’re good at multi-tasking, you can whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt while this is happening. In a small bowl, simply combine the whites and salt and beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. 

  3. Once your white chocolate is melted, remove from heat and beat in the 2 tablespoons of butter that are at room temperature. Next, beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then the vanilla and rosewater. The mixture should have a stiff pudding-like texture at this time. Finally, beat in the almond milk. 

  4. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the white chocolate mixture. Keep folding until the mixture is smooth (it will be fairly runny.) Pour the batter evenly into the four ramekins in the roasting pan.

  5. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully transfer to the preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the top feels fairly firm. Remove from oven and serve immediately for best results. 

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

21 Valentine’s Day Cocktails and Mocktails

Love is in the air! <3

21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails | CaliGirlCooking.com

Since today is the last Friday before Valentine’s Day, I thought it most appropriate to put together a fun roundup of Valentine’s-themed cocktails for you.  Whether you’re planning on going out to eat, or cooking a romantic meal for two at home, I’m confident you’ll be able to find something you like here (there are even mocktails for those of you who choose to abstain from alcohol.)

The hubs and I haven’t yet decided what we’re going to do on our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple but, not to sound cliche, I’d really be happy doing anything just a little extra-special with him!

I don’t know about you, but putting together this list only made we wish that this holiday was a week long event so we would have time to try more of these delicious drinks. So, without further ado, here it is!

1. Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch
Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe here.
2. Strawberry Old-Fashioned
Strawberry Old-Fashioned | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on The Wooden Skillet
3. Chambord Citrus Tonic
Chambord Citrus Tonic | 21 Valentines Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Berly’s Kitchen
4. Aperol Punch
Aperol Punch | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Taste and See
5. Rosemary, Fig and Date Tequila Smash
Rosemary, Fig & Date Tequila Smash | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirl Cooking
Recipe here.
6. The Bourbon Sweetheart
Bourbon Sweetheart | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on The Gastronom
7. Pomegranate Rose Gin Fizz
Pomegranate Rose Gin Fizz | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Ahu Eats
8. Whiskey Champagne Cocktail
Whiskey Champagne Cocktail | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Ann’s Entitled Life
9. Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Lime Cooler) with Coconut Water
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Lime Cooler) with Coconut Water | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on The Worktop
10. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Just a Little Bit of Bacon
11. Cranberry Lime Mocktails
Cranberry Lime Mocktails | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on My Wife Can Cook
12. Pink Champagne Cocktail – Two Ways
Pink Champagne Cocktails - Two Ways! | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe here
13. Grapefruit, Thyme and Elderflower Cocktail
Grapefruit Thyme Elderflower Cocktail | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on The Girl on Bloor
14. The Best Bloody Mary
The Best Bloody Mary | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on The Domestic Dietitian
15. Amortentia – Harry Potter Love Potion Punch
Amortentia - Harry Potter Love Potion Punch | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Cookilicious
16. Blueberry Lemon Drop Cocktail
Blueberry Lemon Drop | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Platings and Pairings
17. Sparkling Elderflower Pomegranate Spritzers
Sparkling Elderflower Pomegranate Spritzers | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Home and Plate
18. Berry Mint Iced Tea
Berry Mint Iced Tea | 21 Valentine's Day Recipes on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on The Purple Ladle
19. Rose Sangria
Rose Sangria | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Grey is the New Black
20. Blue Q Margarita
Blue Q Margarita | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe on Pass Me Some Tasty
21. Raspberry Mint Gin Smash
Raspberry Mint Gin Smash | 21 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
Recipe here