Wednesday, October 23, 2013

S'mores Four Ways + A Trip To Big Bear



Around mid-October, I begin to pine for the vibrant colors of the Oregon autumn, and look wistfully out the window at the relatively brownish landscape I'm surrounded by here in North Hollywood. This year, we decided to pop out of town for a weekend with our friends and their puppy and head up to the hills for a brief seasonal retreat. I'd never been to Big Bear before, but had heard great things about the area, and figured that with it's high elevation it must feel more woodsy than L.A. at the very least. It was about a 2 hour drive outside the city, with many twists and turns toward the end, but eventually the mountain tops parted and we found ourselves at the edge of a very long and very clear blue lake. We had booked someone's little lakeside cabin through the always enjoyable Airbnb, and while there was a bit of hiking involved to get to the place, the view of the lake could not have been more beautiful, and the setting for s'mores could not have been more idyllic. It had a wonderfully rustic feel to it and we immediately felt right at home.


Yes, I am one of those people for whom s'mores and a grill always go hand in hand. Even if we're just grilling up some burgers at home in our backyard in the summer, I always buy s'mores fixings so I can make them for dessert once the coals start to smolder. There's just something amazing that happens when marshmallows are cooking over intense, smoky heat like that. Gooey on the inside, crunchy on the outside....y'all know what I talking about.


While there were many a traditional s'mores made at the cabin, I decided to try out some more adventurous takes on s'mores that I'd been thinking about for a while (why yes, I do fantasize about s'mores in my free time.) One of them doesn't even have a marshmallow in it, so I don't know if it technically qualifies as a "s'mores", but it does include a chunk of brie slow-roasted on a stick and covered in raspberry jam, so at least there's that. Also, making dozens of s'mores was an excellent excuse to try out my rustic roasters I'd been itching to use (both the horn and the wood handled ones!) I didn't realize how long and sturdy they were at first, and looking back wish I would have brought some meat with me to cook souvlaki-style with them over the charcoal, but there's always next year...

And on that note, here's a few photos from our weekend in the woods, followed by recipes for bananas foster s'mores, key lime pie s'mores, roasted strawberry balsamic s'mores, and roasted brie & raspberry jam s'mores. They were all ridiculously tasty, but I think the overall favorite was the bananas foster s'mores. The banana toasted up so nice on the outside all covered in rum and brown sugar, and it went crazy good with the toasted marshmallows and chocolate. But to be fair, you really can't go wrong with coating fruit in booze and then roasting it over hot coals...
















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Bananas Foster S'mores


Makes Three S'mores

Ingredients:

1 banana, cut into thirds
1/2 cup of spiced rum
1/2 cup of brown sugar
6 marshmallows
3 squares of dark chocolate
6 squares of cinnamon graham crackers



Take a third of the banana and soak it in the rum for 5 minutes. Remove it and roll it in the brown sugar until coated. Place the banana and two of the marshmallows on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until the marshmallows are a toasty golden color, turning every minute.


Remove from heat and place marshmallows on top of a piece of graham cracker and chocolate. Place the banana on the marshmallows, pressing down. Place the other graham cracker square on top, pressing down gently to secure it. Serve immediately, and repeat with the remaining ingredients.




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Key Lime Pie S'mores


Makes One S'more

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon lime curd (recipe below)
2 marshmallows
1 square of white or milk chocolate
2 squares of graham crackers



Place the marshmallows on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until the marshmallows are a toasty golden color, turning every minute. Remove from heat and place marshmallows on top of a piece of graham cracker and chocolate. Spread the lime curd over the marshmallows and top with the remaining graham cracker square. Serve immediately.


Lime Curd

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 eggs, whisked
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

To make the lime curd, heat the sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and butter in the top of a double boiler until the butter is just melted. Whisk in the eggs, and bring the heat down to medium-low. Continue cooking and whisking the mixture in the top of a double boiler until it thickens considerably, about 20-30 minutes, Remove from heat and allow to cool before placing in a clean mason jar and sealing with a cap. Keep refrigerated.

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Roasted Strawberry Balsamic S'mores


Makes One S'more

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons balsamic reduction (recipe below)
1 strawberry, cap removed
1 large chocolate marshmallow
1 square of dark chocolate
2 chocolate wafer cookies


Place the marshmallow and the strawberry on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until a toasty brown hue appears on the marshmallow, turning every minute. Remove from heat and place the marshmallow on top of a chocolate wafer cookie and dark chocolate. Cut the strawberry in half and place the halves on top of the marshmallow. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the strawberries. Top with the chocolate wafer cookie and serve immediately.


Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

Bring the ingredients to a boil in a small pot over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool before emptying into a clean mason jar and securing with a lid.

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Roasted Brie & Raspberry S'mores


Makes One S'more

Ingredients:

1 roughly 2"x2" cube brie
1 tablespoon raspberry jam
2 squares graham crackers


Place the cube of brie on a roasting stick and roast over smoldering coals until the brie puffs up a bit and the cheese begins to get shiny, turning every minute. Remove from heat and place the brie on top of a piece of graham cracker. Spread the jam on top of the brie and top with the remaining graham cracker square. Serve immediately.


34 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos! Love the Fall shots and the mood setting :)

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  2. Your photos are gorgeous from Big Bear! Looks like such a fabulous place. Also, these s'mores? I'll take one of each...make that two.

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    1. Haha, thanks Katrina! It is so beautiful up there, it really felt like we weren't even in southern California anymore. A nice escape from the city :)

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  3. Wow, these pictures are gorgeous! And now I totally want to make these Bananas Fosters s'mores....such a good idea :)

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    1. Thank you Amy :) They were SOOOO good. I have been wanting to make them again all week! Might have to break out the grill again this weekend...

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  4. I've yet to get my butt to Big Bear…but this is inspiring me…I'd go just so I could eat s'mores the whole time.

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    1. Exactly! Hehe, sounds like a perfect weekend to me :D

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  5. Oh wow, these photos are spectacular and these s'mores, oh my god I love it!!

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    1. Thank you so much my dear!! It was such a great little getaway :)

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  6. Garsh... just.... WOW!!! and, yup! I totally know what you mean about soft inside and crunch outside! =) And, oh, how I LOVE the light in these images!!! Makes me feel so wonderfully homey!! =)

    xxo

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    1. Awww thanks so much Katy :) It was so incredibly cozy inside, the perfect brief rustic retreat from the buzz of the city.

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  7. These s'mores are just gorgeous! Is it weird to say that? Because really, I've never seen prettier s'mores in my life (or ones I want to eat so badly, immediately :)).

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    1. Thank you Stephanie! And it is not weird haha, it is very kind of you to say :)

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  8. These s'mores look great and so does your trip!

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    1. Why thank you Meagan! You are so sweet to say that :)

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  9. Sweet Mother Mary. I want to live in the cabin and eat nothing but s'mores for the rest of my days. I don't think it gets any more ridiculously quaint than that. (Airbnb rules.) All of the fancy s'mores sound freakin' amazing. And although they don't contain any marshmallows, I am DYING over the brie + raspberry s'mores. That big hunk 'o melty brie sandwiched between the raspberry jam and crackers looks so deliciously sexy.

    Thank goodness I'm spending another couple weeks housesitting starting this weekend, so I'll at least get my cabin in the woods fix. Maybe I can bring some s'mores fixins and try to roast marshmallows over the wood stove. ;)

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    1. Hahaha, oh that sexy brie...so melty and wonderful. I would probably incorporate melted brie into every meal and never tire of it. My favorite thing around the holidays is to wrap a wheel of brie in puff pastry with a layer of raspberry jam in the middle and bake it. Its insanely decadent and freakin incredible. Why you so good, brie?

      And man, I love your parents' house so much! It's like the ultimate woodsy cabin, except ginormous and with cool handmade stuff everywhere. I've never been to upstate but those pictures you posted of it made it a must-see destination in my mental vacation map.

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  10. Your pictures are something. I just love to stare at them, it tells a story and absolutely gorgeous, like you want to sit there.
    Ocktoberfest in Big Bear is a lot of fun, we used to go there a lot a few years back. Love it there.
    The smores on the other had are so perfect Eva.

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    1. Thank you so much Asha! I have heard a lot of awesome things about the Oktoberfest in Big Bear, one of my friends was raving about how fun it was. I definitely want to go up next year for it, the scenery this time of year of there is just breathtaking and I am a beer lover, so it would be a wonderful time all around :)

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  11. beautiful picture and I can't wait to try the s'mores!

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  12. i love this place - such a perfect getaway,..you got me craving for smores now.

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  13. i wanna go! that looks like precisely the kind of place to which i'd like to escape for a week or two. very nice.
    not all of these s'mores variations are for me, but they're all creative and beautifully presented!

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  14. Your creativity is always so inspiring! I'm so into the Key lime pie s'mores. Key limes are so tasty! Kevin and I sometimes eat sharp cheddar slices with a dollop of raspberry jam for dessert. We tried a couple of super funky Bries over the summer that I'm not sure I'd want to put fruit on. They tasted like mushrooms and broccoli! It was crazy. I'm lucky to live in a place where I have coastal views and forested mountainous lake views minutes away. This fall has been so beautiful, and what a great time to take advantage of the grill for some late night treats! I'm anxious for the first snow. It's snowed at home already :) I don't mind waiting, but it feels like it should be far colder than it has been here!

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  15. everything about you is perfect, I cant believe you live in LA too, I wish my life and home were as beautiful and rustic are yours. you keep the dream alive . Xxoo.

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    1. Awww thank you Cristina!! You are too kind!! I feel very, very flattered :) and hurray LA! It is great here, so much to do and such great weather for gardening :)

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  16. Hi Eva,
    what beautiful pictures. I'm not a big fan of s'mores but these pictures make them so evocative! Really beautiful work Eva. So impressive!

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  17. Beautiful photos, seems that you have a very good trip. I was wondering what is S’mores when saw the title, google it and find out what it is. Great dessert for tea time, just wondering can I make it in oven… :)

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  18. Just discovered your blog and I love it! Those pictures are so beautiful and yummy yummy!
    Perfect colors and recipes for fall ♥

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  19. Great images....I'm still working on the food part

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  20. I just found your blog today via Heidi and FoodieCrush! The photos here are seriously stunning. This is making me long for that luscious fall light. And bananas foster s'mores? You are speaking my language.

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  21. I'm totally in love with these pictures!! And because I'm a HUGE s'mores fan (which always seem to include bananas and peanut butter) and die for melty brie with fruit, I'm in love!

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  22. Such a cool sharing! I must want to try this recipe after completing my west coast tour. I can't wait to try these yummy recipes.



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  23. Beautiful pictures, I'm thinking I'll try this, this weekend. :)

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