I carry my grocery store around in my pocket

Nancy Silverton's farro salad at Macy's SF cooking demo
Nancy Silverton's farro salad at Macy's SF cooking demo

Earlier today, I was lucky enough to have a great seat at Chef Nancy Silverton's cooking demo at Macy's San Francisco. After having my first bite of this farro salad that she showed us how to prepare, I whipped out my phone, opened up my Instacart app, and placed a Rainbow Grocery order for all the ingredients, and scheduled it to arrive later this afternoon.

The ability to have a diverse range of high-quality food delivered to my home, at the swipe of my finger, has both seriously freed up my time, and encouraged me to be more spontaneous about trying new recipes, like this one. You see, I don't drive. So going to the grocery store in person is the farthest point from a spontaneous act for me.

Now, Instacart isn't my first foray into grocery delivery. Back in the day I'd been a heavy user of Kozmo.com and Webvan. More recently, I'd also shopped via email at my local whole foods through the Shop Hoppers service. But those experiences pale in comparison with what I have available to me now.

My Humphry Slocombe ice cream sundae

Instacart allows me to pick from a selection of local stores, including Falleti Foods, Bi-Rite, Whole Foods, and even Safeway. I additionally use good eggs to get a midweek farmers market delivery (key to ensuring I have good stuff to make a salad to take to work for lunch), google shopping express to get Target and BevMo delivered, and Caviar whenever I want to have dinner (or a couple of pints of Humphrey Slocombe ice cream) delivered.

If I had the time, of course it would be a lot more fun to go an pick out my groceries myself. But the reality of startup life is I'm out the door before 7 a.m. to accommodate 8 a.m. meetings with our EMEA offices, and home around 7 each night. Which is why being able to use my phone to manage my pantry on-the-fly, and easily obtain the ingredients I need to make exactly what I want to eat for dinner, is pretty amazing.

I can't wait to see what folks come up with next to make this city life even more convenient...


Miss Erika's Caramel Surprise Brownies

  Brownies in the Bakers Edge Pan

Sometimes, you need a nice big batch of brownies to get through a cold Winter's day. This recipe makes a nice thick brownie, and is ideal for use with the Baker's Edge brownie pans (seen above).

Miss Erika's Caramel Surprise Brownies Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 10 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 TSP vanilla
  • 1 cup caramel chips

Sift flour, cocoa and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. Cream sugar and butter on low speed with your mixer until combined, then add  eggs and vanilla. After mixture is well-combined, add in flour mixture and beat until texture is smooth. Stir in caramel chips by hand.

Add batter to your favorite brownie pan and smooth to spread it evenly throughout the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Halloween Honey Cookies

image from distilleryimage9.ak.instagram.com

I tend to make the bulk of my rolled out cookies during the holidays. But since I was craving my honey cookies, and Halloween is just around the corner, I decided to make some this week. They'll make fun care packages...

image from distilleryimage0.ak.instagram.com
My favorite Halloween cookie cutter is the scary cat. When decorated with the spooky purple rubble sprinkles, it's adorable (and tasty!):
image from distilleryimage11.ak.instagram.com

Honey Cookies 

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cream vegetable shortening, sugar, egg, honey, and lemon extract in your mixer or a large bowl until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt; stir until well blended. Separate dough into 3 balls and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured board, roll dough 1/4-inch thick and cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters.  Place 1-inch apart onto prepared cookie sheets. 

Bake 8 minutes. They will look pretty brown due to the honey but don't fret! Adding the icing will moisten them up, making a crispier cookie better. Decorate with your favorite royal icing and cover with festive Halloween sprinkles like these or colored sugar. 


Rum Banana Bread with Milk Chocolate Chips

image from distilleryimage2.ak.instagram.com

Rum Banana Bread with Milk Chocolate Chips

Adapted from Pastry Affair's dark rum banana bread. Yields one 9 x 5-inch loaf 

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (about 4 average sized bananas)
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup rum (I used Malibu)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.

In a mixer or a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs individually and mix until combined. Add vanilla extract and mashed bananas and mix until combined. Mix in dry ingredients, scraping down bowl, and mix until all flour is evenly incorporated into the batter. Stir in the rum and the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 70-80 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing from pan and transferring loaf to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Red Potato Salad

Potato_salad

It's one of those uncharacteristically hot San Francisco Fall afternoons. Which means it is the perfect time to make my favorite potato salad. It's the kind of potato salad that even the potato salad haters -- who characterize potato salad as a slimy mayo-drowned side dish of evil -- go back to for seconds.

Red Potato Salad Recipe

  • 3 lb bag baby red potatoes
  • 1 small Russet potato
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled
  • 4 pieces of bacon, crispy
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • fresh ground pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil for your potatoes, while hard boiling 2 eggs in a small sauce pan for 10 minutes and frying up your bacon. Clean red potatoes and quarter or chop into bite-size chunks. Peel Russet potato and chop into bite sized chunks. Boil potatoes until cooked through and soft, 15-25 minutes. Once potatoes are cooked through, drain off water and add potatoes to bowl.

Cool hard boiled eggs in an ice water bath, then remove shell and chop up and place in large bowl. Chop bacon into small chunks and also add to bowl. Clean green onions and chop up whites and light green portions and add to bowl. Add mayonnaise and mustard to bowl and gently combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add freshly grown pepper to taste.

Serve warm or chill for an hour in the refrigerator before serving. Yields approximately 8 servings.