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Travel Blog

A Taste of Santa Cruz at Home

As we all know, now is not the time for a visit to Santa Cruz County, but as we safely shelter-in-place, we want to bring a taste of Santa Cruz to your home! We asked some of Santa Cruz County’s favorite eateries, bakeries, and coffee shops to share a recipe that can be recreated from home, and we’ve got some great options for you! So, until we safely welcome you back to your favorite places and eateries around the county, enjoy these delicious tastes of Santa Cruz at home!

Funnel Cake
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Whiting Foods

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a deep cast-iron or electric skillet, heat oil to 375°

Mix wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer until a smooth batter forms.

Pour batter into a funnel or squeeze bottle (or liquid measuring cup if you don’t have a funnel). Then, pour the batter in a circular motion over the oil to create that classic funnel cake look.

Cook for 1 – 2 minutes (until golden brown and puffy) on each side. Remove from oil with tongs and place on a plate or baking sheet with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy. Kick it up with other toppings like chocolate sauce, strawberries or whipped cream!⁣ (This recipe can make approximately 8 funnel cakes)

Oscar’s Double Chocolate Cookies
West Cliff Inn

1 cup sweet butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy, then add eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together cocoa powder, flour, and baking soda, then add to butter mixture.

Fold in chocolate chips and drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes and enjoy! (Yields 24 cookies)

Glazed Peppercorn Bacon
Verve Coffee Roasters

1 Pound Uncured, Nitrate Free Bacon
1 Tablespoon Organic Maple Syrup
1 Packet Verve Instant Craft Coffee
1.5 Tablespoon Hot Water
Freshly Ground Coarse Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour one packet of Verve Instant Craft Coffee into a small bowl, add in 1.5 tablespoons of hot water and gently stir to dissolve.

Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the coffee mixture and gently stir.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set an oven-proof wire rack on top. Lay bacon on top of the rack. This will help catch the drippings and make for easier cleanup.

Use a pastry brush to gently brush the coffee and maple syrup mixture on top of the bacon.

Finish the bacon by lightly sprinkling on the coarsely cracked black pepper.

Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 18 to 23 minutes. Keep an eye towards the end of the baking time as oven temperatures can vary. You’re looking for golden, crispy bacon.

Hearty Kale, Corn, & Chorizo Soup
Bistro One Twelve

1 El Salchichero “Spanish Style Chorizo Salami”, diced
2 cups fine dice mirepoix (equal parts carrot, onion, celery)
3 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
a few sprigs of fresh thyme and marjoram (or 2 tsp ea dried)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 cups peeled, diced potatoes (roughly a couple of size “A”/medium)
1 packed quart of shredded kale (curly or lacinato/dino/Tuscan), with stems removed*
1 cup corn kernels (can use frozen)
1 pint of whole milk or unsweetened, non-dairy alternative
Makes 3 to 4 quarts (8 to 12 servings)

Heat a heavy-bottomed 5 to 6 quart stock pot over medium-high heat. 

Dice the hard chorizo sausage into small cubes or triangles.

Sauté until lightly browned. Remove and reserve the chorizo, leaving the grease in the pot. 

Sauté the mirepoix in the leftover grease. Add in garlic, thyme, dried herbs, and red pepper flakes and sauté until you begin to smell the aroma of the herbs. Add in diced potatoes, and if using, the diced kale stems. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 8 to 10 minutes. 

When potatoes are nearly done, add in the shredded kale, corn kernels, and cooked chorizo. Simmer for another 15 minutes, until kale is wilted and flavors combine.

Remove from heat and stir in milk just before serving. The soup is meant to be more of a thin, milky broth rather than creamy and thick. The milk takes a bit of the heat off and brings out the flavor of the corn.

This hearty soup is as nutrient dense as it is filling. Add some crusty bread from Kelly’s French Bakery for a delicious weeknight meal. This recipe makes enough for leftovers, which freeze and reheat well.

Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
Jack O’Neill Lounge at the Dream Inn

1 large head cauliflower cut into bite size pieces (stem trimmed and cut too!) 
3 cups Half ’n Half or whole milk
1 cup Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup flour
(Serves 4-5 people)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chopped cauliflower with a light coating of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet or any baking pan you have. You want the pan large enough to allow the vegetable to roast not steam, meaning they are not piled up. 

Cook the cauliflower for about 30 minutes until al dente, or they have a slight bite to them still.

In a pan, add half n half or milk and heat gently, being careful not to scald. When the milk is hot add the flour and stir vigorously until all the flour has incorporated. Turn off the heat and add the cheese, string constantly until the cheese is melted and you have a cheese sauce. Taste for seasoning. 

Toss the cauliflower in the sauce and serve. You can also put back into your baking dish, top with bread crumbs (panko) and put under the broiler for a couple minutes to add a little crunch! Top t with anything the sky is the limit, bacon, prosciutto, panic and Parmesan etc. 

Recipe variation: You can do half pasta for the veg forward kids in training. You can add a few shakes of nutmeg or any herb you want to the warming milk stage to add for an elevated adult version!

Companion Granola Bars
Companion Bakeshop

1 full bag of Companion Granola (available for purchase at Companion or from their Community Supported Breadbox subscription)
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (or raisins/cranberries)
1/2 cup of honey (or 1/4 cup of maple syrup or 1/4 cup of honey)
3 table spoons of coconut oil (very soft, not melted)

Pour one full bag of Companion Granola (about 400 grams) and chocolate chips into a large bowl and mix well with a spoon

Add 3 tablespoons of very soft coconut oil and honey to bowl

Incorporate until all granola is covered as evenly as possible

Line a 9 x 11 or 10 x 10 pan with parchment or use granola molds and spread until even – press down slightly

Bake in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden and slightly bubbly

Pull out of oven and let cool completely, or even quicker, place in the fridge

Once cool, but before hardening, remove from the pan and slice with sharp knife as desired

Turn the shapes upside down onto a lined pan and cook again for another 5 minutes

Keep at room temperature in a plastic bag or covered container. ENJOY!

West Cliff Cocktail
Venus Spirits

1 oz. Venus Gin #2
1 oz. Osocalis Rare Brandy
¾ oz. Cynar
Lemon peel

Combine all ingredients in stirring glass. Add ice, stir, and strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with twist of lemon, expressing its oils over the glass.

Peaches and Smoke
Shadowbrook Restaurant

1-1/2 oz Gin infused with watercress
1/2 oz Vodka
3/4 oz of Dry Vermouth
1 barspoon Peach Liqueur
1 drop Saline Solution

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and then add ice.

Stir and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a thinly sliced apple. Enjoy!

The Golden Jewel
Verve Coffee Roasters

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
200ml Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
50g Chopped Turkish Figs
100g Orange Marmalade
50ml Dark Maple Syrup 
Streetlevel Instant Craft Coffee
Sparkling Water
Chambord (optional)
Bourbon (optional)

Combine all the syrup ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Strain the syrup into a glass container through a small mesh strainer and place it to the side to cool.

Each drink will need half a packet of Instant Craft Coffee: Streetlevel. Pour the full contents of the packet into a mixing glass, adding 2 ounces of water then gently stirring to dissolve the coffee.

Fill a Collins glass with ice and add 1 ounce of the dissolved coffee.

If going the alcoholic route, skip to step six. Fill the glass about two-thirds of the way with sparkling water then top off with 2 ounces of Jewel Syrup. Continue on to step seven.

If you’re here for the sauce, keep adding to your dissolved coffee and ice base with 2 ounces of Jewel Syrup, 1 ounce Chambord and 2 ounces Bourbon. Gently stir, then strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube or sphere.

Garnish with a fresh sage leaf.

Verve’s Golden Jewel recipe is a delicious treat year-round and is best served as an after-dinner coffee cocktail.

Bruno’s Big Bloody
Bruno’s Bar and Grill

6 cups of tomato juice
3 Tbsp creamy horseradish
1 tsp red hot sauce (Valentine or Tapatio)
1 Tbsp A1 steak sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
6 shakes of black pepper
6 shakes of celery salt
2 whole limes (freshly squeezed)
Tito’s vodka (or your favorite, try swapping out with jalapeño infused vodka if you like it hotter)
(Serves 8)

Bloody Mary Mix
Pour tomato juice, red hot sauce, A1 sauce, Worcestershire sauce into large pitcher.
Stir in prepared horseradish
Squeeze 2 limes into mixture
Shake celery salt and black pepper on top
Pour mixture from pitcher into another pitcher back and forth several times to fully mix.

Pour Cocktail
Rub a fresh lime around the rim of your goblet, dip rim into Tajin (on a plate)
Pour ice to fill the glass
Pour vodka
Pour Bloody Mary Mix

On a kabob add olives, cocktail onions, pepperoncini, slider, chicken wing and top with another olive
Add celery stalk
Add cucumbers
Add strip of candied bacon
Add lemon and lime wedges to rim
Drizzle Chamoy over everything and voila!

Bake Like Gayle’s Challenge
Gayle’s Bakery

Missing Gayle’s Bakery as much as us? Join their ‘Bake like Gayle’s Challenge!’ Gayle’s is inviting fans to join in their baking challenge where you can bake from their very own book, The Village Baker’s Wife, or from own favorite cookbook or family recipe. Use the hashtag, #BakeLikeGayles, and tag their Instagram page, @gaylesbakery, to share your creations!

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