Showing posts with label delicious desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label delicious desserts. Show all posts

Friday, October 18, 2013

as american as apple pie

Look, I love the slow food movement. I am all about taking your time and getting things done right - especially food. But, sometimes you need something quick and easy. In my life, I have the two most adorable and precious little time-sucks, I mean toddlers, that take up most of my energy, focus, and patience. So when we get invited to a BBQ or a family gathering, I am not gonna lie - I try to find a dish to bring that is simple to make. Take this short-cut on apple pie that I recently took to my Dad's house. It is tasty but not time consuming.

You will need the following:
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1-2 medium apples, breaburn or honeycrisp are my favorite
1 heaping table spoon of sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
local honey, for drizzling
flour for dusting

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and prep with non-stick spray. Slice the apples thinly. Place in a large mixing bowl and toss with cinnamon and sugar til well coated. Set aside. Roll of the puff pastry very thin into a rectangle shape. Use flour as needed to keep from sticking to working surface and rolling pin. Place dough on baking sheet. Top with apples in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until crust is golden. Remove and drizzle with honey.

I felt like a housewife from the 1950s that had just been introduced to the wonders of a microwave. Food that's quick and easy - but that my family will gobble up - I'm in! Okay, maybe I'm not ready to go that far away from the slow food movement. But this shortcut on an American classic is sure to become a family tradition.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

castiron cobbler

Traditions are big in the South.  We believe that if someone is a minute older than you, you call them sir or m'am. We believe the everyone should read a lot of Mark Twain, and a little William Faulkner. We believe that Saturdays are football, and Sundays and for church. And birthdays are to be celebrated with a little something sweet. Sure most people want cake or ice cream on their birthday, but in the South we have pies galore - mile high coconut, overly rich chocolate pies, super sweet lemon ice box, and pecan to choose from. And then there is cobbler. So many fruits in the summer to pick from. And when it is your birthday, you get to have your cobbler and eat it too. I just made a version of this for my mother's birthday.

You will need:
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla
a pinch of salt
3 small peaches
1.5 cups of blackberries or blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the cast iron skillet. Melt the butter in a small pan or microwave. In a large bowl combine butter with sugar, flour, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Add this mixture to the skillet. Peel the peaches, remove the pits and slice them. Place them atop the batter in the skillet. Then add in the berries. Bake for 55 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown and pull away from the sides of the skillet.

Serve warm with or without vanilla ice cream...or eat it straight from the cast iron skillet. Traditions be damned.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

cooling off

 It is that time of year again. The days are getting longer. The air is getting thicker. And there aren't enough ways out there to keep me and the kids cool. The muggy Memphis summer is setting in. And in my house, that means it is popsicle season. While I have been known to by the pre-made pops, my son always asks for my homemade ones. This, of course, makes my foodie mom heart smile. But really it is a great way to get more fruit (and sometimes veggies) into their diet while rehydrating them all at the same time.

To make four refreshing pops you will need these ingredients -

3-4 medium slices of watermelon, seeds and rinds removed
5-6 large strawberries, hulled
2 sprigs of fresh mint
juice from half of a lime

Grab your juicer. Place the lime juice directly in the collecting container. Add the mint in the juicer first, followed by the strawberries and then the melon. Juice the items completely. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least two hours. (If you have left over juice just offer that to the kids too.)

Because the fruit is so fresh and sweet this time of year there is no need to add any extra sugar. We used strawberries that we picked ourselves and mint from our CSA (but we always have that growing out back in the summer too). The kids just love them. Personally, I think a grown-up version spiked with a bit of rum might be fantastic too...but maybe the heat has just gone to my head.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

heart chocolate

Valentine's Day, like most days, is different now that my carnivore and I have kids. Instead of dinner at a fancy restaurant by candle light complete with champagne and decadent desserts, we usually just eat at home. I do try to make it special nonetheless. Last year we had a heart shaped breakfast for dinner. I baked heart shaped bacon, I cooked eggs in heart shaped holes in toast. And I used the heart toast bits to top cheese grits. It was a big hit. Brinner always is - heart shaped or not. This year I think we may celebrate with mini heart pizza. Again, I am certain this will go over well with all my loved ones - big and little. I know the way to my valentines' hearts.

I do try to steal a few moments with my main man once the kiddos are all tucked in bed. We may not be painting the town red, but we can still snuggle on the coach with a warm cup of cocoa - complete with a heart shaped "marshmallow." Actually, this isn't a marshmallow at all. Its just cool whip that I slathered on a small baking sheet and froze for an hour. Then I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to create the topping for the mug of liquid chocolate. Sweet and simple and the perfect way to end V-day in my opinion.

How are you celebrating this year? Any exciting food plans? Have your Valentine's Days evolved with your family? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

sweet and savory

I keep trying to explain the difference between sweet and savory to my carnivore. I give examples - like brownies are sweet, but steak is savory. And he just looks at me befuddle. "But they both taste really good. I don't get it." Sigh. These are the burdens of being a foodie living with a man who has the palate of a five year old. I can't even bring up the idea of something that is both sweet and savory in the same dish.

But this grilled fig pie is just that. The sweet figs and honey are balanced perfectly with the strong blue cheese and buttery crust. Plus, it is simple to make. And while my carnivore might not like or understand it fully, it does involve the grill - which he can get behind.

To make your own sweet and savory pie gather the following:
1 ready made pie crust, thawed
1 1/2 cups of figs, halved
1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles
local honey, drizzling
fresh mint, for topping

Start by preheating you grill on low. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick spray. Place the crust on the foil. Add in the figs and blue cheese. Fold the corners of the crust to secure the filling. Wrap the foil up, creating a tent around the pie. Place on low or indirect heat for 15-20 minutes, until crust gets browned. Remove and drizzle with honey and top with mint. Serve warm.

We are lucky enough to have a fig tree in our backyard. Last year I had so many figs I many cinnamon fig preserves for everyone to have at Christmas. This year the squirrels were faster than me. But I am so glad I salvaged enough to make this pie. It was incredible. Sweet and savory.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

short and sweet

When I was a little girl my mom and I had a few food rituals. On summer days we would have picnics outside under a shady tree. Our basket was usually full of cheese straws and super big salads. In the winter we would make huge pots of chili and eat it with tiny oyster crackers. But no matter what the time of year, if my mother wanted to reward me with something special, she would take me to the cookie shop. I would always get the same thing. No chocolate chunks or candy filled cookies for me. I wanted a plain shortbread cookie. They were sweet, but not too sweet. And the buttery bits would just melt in my mouth. 

I may have outgrown my trips to the cookie shop, but I haven't outgrown my love of shortbread cookies. And thanks to a good harvest of rosemary from my yard and a wonderful recipe from The Church Cook I have learned a whole new way to enjoy the.

To make your own you will need the following:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar, extra for dusting
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until blended. Add the rosemary, lemon zest salt and flour and mix well. Divide dough in half and shape into log. Roll logs up in wax paper about 1 ½ inch in diameter. Chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut logs into ¼ inch slices, roll in sugar and place on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are pale brown.

I only had regular lemons on hand, but the cookies were still wonderful. They were sweet, but not too sweet, just like I remembered. But this time I got to treat my own kids to this food tradition. Wouldn't you know it, they thought the cookies were pretty special too.

Monday, July 2, 2012

lost arts

There are a many wonderful things to be celebrated in our modern society. (In this recent heat wave I am most thankful for air conditioning.) But, there are some traditions of bygone eras that I wish were still sacred.

Take for example the simple gesture of bringing a dish over to a new neighbor when the move in. This used to be standard (or so I hear). You introduce yourself, offer a helping hand, and impart a favorite recipe. You know why? Because moving is hard. As some one who has done this more times than I care to count, I can't tell you how much I would have appreciated a basket muffins or a cheesy casserole at the end of a long day of unboxing my belongings. Of course my fridge was always bare. And, let's not even mention trying to find my dishes in the mounds of newspaper even if I did have anything to cook. Thankfully we all have pizza delivery these days, right?

So, when my parents recently moved even closer to us (grandkids - they'll do it every time), I decided to take them a little something sweet. They were after all, present at more of my moves than they care to count. I found a recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies on Pinterest. You can get it here. I wrapped them up in a cute box I had laying around. I also clipped some roses from my yard and placed them in a mason jar. If that doesn't say welcome home, I don't know what does. And you know what, I was rewarded with another lost art form - the thank you note. The next day I received this sweet note from my step-dad:

I had one of those days yesterday where I would have been better off staying in bed.  Highlights included having to mop the breakfast room 5 times because of problems I was having getting the water to the refrigerator, gouging my finger with a hole saw, ripping the skin off a knuckle (not sure how that happened), having the wrong ends for the antenna cable, and cleaning up dog poop two times within five minutes.
Your bringing Vivi, Beau, and yourself by the house was the absolute highlight of my day.  I really needed that few minutes to remind me of what is important in life.  The cookies were wonderful and we love having the fresh flowers in the living room.
So, if you see a new neighbor struggling to get their couch through the door or if you have a friend who has just purchased her own pad, take a minute and make them something. Maybe these cookies, maybe something else. Take it to them in a cute package. You can leave it on their doorstep if you are shy or don't want to get suckered into helping haul in that king size mattress. Moving is hard. Re-instituting this lost art is not.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

have your cake

It has been a rough week with our little family. Everything from a funeral to a broken toe to a couple of trips to the emergency room - not for the toe - you name it, we have been through it. It is the kinda week that that you need dessert - and lots of it. Enter this wonderful vanilla pound cake. Simple, tasty, and comforting.

I found this recipe in William Sonoma's The Cookbook For Kids: Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook. I often find carnivore pleasing recipes in here (he really does have the palate of a five year old) and my little omnivore can help me make the dishes too, assuming he can stop banging his head on everything (seriously, the bruises are so bad I am pretty sure someone is gonna call CPS on me the next time we go to the grocery).

You will need the following:
3/4 cup of butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 large organic eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
2/3 cup of milk
berries and a bit more sugar for serving
whipped cream also optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick oil. Using a mixer combine the butter and sugar until creamy and pale. Add in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in 1/3 of the dry mix, then half of the milk, another third of the dry mix, then rest of the milk, then the rest of the dry mix. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake about one hour, until toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown. Drape with aluminum foil if needed to prevent burning. Cool in pan for ten minutes. Turn onto wire rack and let cool completely. Slice and serve with mixed berries and sugar and/or whipped cream.

This sweet dessert is good even on a bad day - or week as the case may be. Trust me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

pinch me

My married name is Green. My husband is, as you might imagine, part Irish. He is also named Patrick. As such, he kinda thinks St. Patrick's Day is his own personal holiday. I try not not indulge in this fantasy of his, but really Valentine's Day is more for me, so it is only fair he get a special day too. Over the years he has received mini green kegs, Irish Stout beer, and even a few green good things to eat. Not vegetables, of course. That's not the sorta of green thing my carnivore hubs likes on his holiday. No, they are usually of the sweet variety.

This year my son was able to get in on the action of making daddy an irresistible Irish day treat. I whipped up these colossal cookies this afternoon with my little omnivore's help. (Of course, much like his father, he was more interested in eating the cookie dough than mixing the ingredients together.) I was inspired by a similar recipe from this blog I found on pinterest (my latest obsession). I couldn't find all the ingredients listed so I had to do a bit of improvising. Here is what I came up with - dark chocolate and mint oreo cookies dyed green.

To make you own you need:
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of unsalted organic butter
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of salt
3 cups of flour
1.5 sleeves of crumbled mint oreos
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
1-2 tsp of green food dye

Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Cream together the sugars, butter and oil. Add in the eggs til fluffy. Have your little helper crush the oreos. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Little ones can help here too. Add dye to desired greeness. Form into balls (another step for mini chefs) and bake on greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on sheet for 3 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and continue to cool for ten minutes.

They are like a sugar cookie and a thin mint had a baby. In other words, so good you might have to pinch yourself to make sure you aren't dreaming thing St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

good things come in threes

Okay, I know the saying is bad things come in threes, but I am about to turn all that around with this three ingredient recipe. No longer when two famous people die will you think about who the next is to drop. Instead, you'll assume that's the end of that. Because from here on out, good things come in threes.

This is adapted from a recipe I found in Whole Living's November issue, and you will need the following and nothing more for this delicious and beautiful dark chocolate bark:

20 oz of dark chocolate chunks
3/4 cup of pistachios, shelled and chopped
1/2 tsp of kosher salt

Spray a glass 13x9 inch pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overlap. Melt the chocolate slowly. When velvety smooth, pour it into the prepared dish. Top with the nuts. Then dust with the salt. Place in the fridge to set for at least thirty minutes. Break and dive in.

Great for a pretty glass dish on the buffet - but dangerous! Better to divide it up and give out as gifts this time of year. Everyone is sure to enjoy the salty and sweet treat. Plus, the dark chocolate is supposed to have good antioxidants and the pistachios are supposed to rich in B6. We could all use the extra energy boost during the holidays, right? Whoever gets to taste a bit of this bark is sure to agree that good things come in threes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

pot of gold

Sadly, our favorite farmers' market is closed for the season. On our final trip I did manage to score one final fresh fruit - beautiful golden pears from local orchard. Jackpot! I mean, what's a better way to sneak in more fiber and vitamin C in my carnivore and kid?

Since I had a few apples left from my CSA too, I decided to use the Whole Foods recipe finder phone app (a must have for any foodie out there) to see what I could make with what I had on hand. And what do you know, up popped this recipe for a spiced apple and pear crisp. What's great about this recipe is that it is heavy on the spices (and thus the flavor), but not on the sugar. Plus, the rolled oats are touted by some for helping lower cholesterol and decreasing heart disease.

Best of all, this bubbly pot of fruit was an instant hit at this house. I love when I can get my family to scarf down things that are good for them like pears, apples, and oats. The simple sound of them scrapping their bowls is golden. Hope you get a chance to enjoy it too!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

celebrate good times

The carnivore and I recently celebrated four years of wedded bliss. Sometimes it feels like it has been much longer than that (in a good way, people), and sometimes it feels like just yesterday we were in Mexico with all our friends and family reciting our vows.

I think its important to mark these occasions in our lives. So, even though I had a toddler who was in my pantry feeding the dogs milkbones and a new born who was sure to wake any moment, I took the time to make a special dinner for us. This included everything from lit candles to breaking out the china. Most importantly, it also meant making a real dessert. Since my time is limited though I had to find something with a big wow factor for minimal effort.

Enter the Pain au Chocolat I found on one of my favorite websites, Everyday Occasions. (I want to live in this woman's house and eat her food.) You can see the original recipe here. Since I was making this for just us, I only used one sheet of puff pastry and 4oz of semisweet chocolate, but I followed the other instructions.

Can you say amazing? This dessert was phenomenal...and ridiculously easy. (It was basically breaking up some chocolate and rolling it in dough.) The perfect way to celebrate our four years together. Even if things are a little different (and better) today than when we said our I do's!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

labor and delivery

Maybe its because I'm less than three weeks form the birth of my second child, but all I have thought about this weekend is how ironic it would be to give birth on Labor Day.  I realize, of course, the holiday has nothing to do with childbirth, but it's still all I can think about.

Let's just say I am hoping to make it through the weekend and through the next few weeks, for that matter. In the meantime, the only thing I hope to be giving my family that makes them smile is this simple berry layer cake. You can find the recipe (which I posted a long, long time ago) by clicking here. The only changes I made to this cake are that I used a mixture of berries and made my own whipped cream from scratch. You can see how I do that by clicking here.

It is tasty and easy to bake. Those are both important when you are as pregnant as I am. Plus, the carnivore and the kid love it too. That makes the labor I put in it even sweeter when I deliver it to the table. 

Hope you and yours have a great weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm not a gal who likes things that are too fussy, too perfect. I admire people who can created a three tiered cake and decorate it with flawless basket weaved icing. But, as my carnivore recently commented about wedding cake, "if I have to pick between a dessert that looks good or one that tastes good, it's not hard." That's why we like this rustic tart. It is easy, it is super sweet, and even if it isn't the prettiest dessert you ever serve, it maybe one of the tastiest.

To make it gather the following ingredients:
several small peaches and nectarines (I used what came in my CSA that week), about 3-4 cups, sliced
3 tblsp of brown sugar
4 tblsp of butter
1 refrigerated pie crust

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then remove your pie crust from the fridge. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking oil. Next peel and thinly slice your peaches and nectarines (this is the only time consuming part). In a bowl, mix the fruit and 2 tblsp of brown sugar. Toss and let set for about 3 minutes. In the meantime, roll out your pie crust on the parchment paper. Pour the fruit mixture in the center and fold the edges of the crust in. No need to worry about making them perfect, just create a barrier. Then dot the fruit with the butter. Dust the crust with the remaining brown sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes. If the crust begins to brown too early tent with aluminum foil.

When the carnivore and I had our large portions of this summer fruit dessert we served it with a scoop or two of all natural vanilla ice cream. Tangy sweet fruit combined with the creamy ice cream was melt in your mouth dreamy.

P.S. I have created a new category to help give you ideas for how to use your CSA goodies. Simply click on the CSA creations link on the right to see more.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

a couple of cobblers

Well, the carnivore and I have a bit of news... we're going to be adding another baby omnivore to the family! And while, the little guy or girl won't make a debut til late September, the effects are already being seen in our household. See, since I am still nursing baby #1 (just for a few more weeks), I am now eating for three! As such, my doctor's exact orders were "to eat like a trucker." Not a problem! For once in my life, I am actually getting to indulge in heavy caloric foods without any guilt.

This is how cobbler week happened. Since, I am craving spring foods, but they just aren't here yet, this was a good compromise. I just used frozen organic fruit. That way I got the taste of the fresh fruit without having to wait a few more months for my local farmers' markets to have the real thing.

Cobbler always makes me think about my great grandmother. She would give me a little red bucket to fill up with busting blackberries from the side of her small farm. They were right between the plum tree and the crab apples. She always left me with the warning - "Don't pick the red ones, and watch out for snakes!" I think I spent more time looking at my feet worried a cotton mouth might attack at any second than I did at the prickly bushes. When I returned, safe and sound, bucket brimming with sweet berries and purple stained fingers, my reward was a freshly made cobbler. She always told me it was super simple - a cup of this, a cup of that. And you know what? She was right!

I found this Betty Crocker recipe online (because alas the family recipe has been lost) and adjusted it to make both a triple berry cobbler and a peach one. (You can't have too many cobblers, right?) They might not have been as good as my great-grandmothers, but they were plenty tasty. And, for a few hours I was stuffed, which is no small feat these days I assure you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

special treat

Remember in school when you would have a special treat day? A room mother would bring in a sugary concoction of sorts just before recess to celebrate some holiday or another. Well, despite the fact that baby omnivore is years away from such events, it turns out the carnivore and I cannot escape the same sweet trap as adults. His coworkers have randomly decided to have "treat days." (The reasoning was because the snacks people brought in around Christmas were such a hit. Well, duh. Who doesn't like free cookies?) So, like the dutiful room mothers of my past I now search out sweets for the carnivore to take to his classmates, I mean colleagues. (Can you tell I think this is a bit ridiculous?)

Lucky for me I usually don't have to look too far. My Bon Appetit magazine inevitably has something I am wanting to try. In February they exclaimed on the cover that they had the "best-ever brownies!" (As a side note, in the years that I have been getting this magazine only once has the cover failed to make the carnivore salivate when it arrives in the mailbox.) So, I figured it was worth a shot. I had all the ingredients in my kitchen anyway.

To make the cocoa brownies with browned butter and walnuts you need:
nonstick veggie spray
10 tblsp of unsalted butter, diced
1 1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp of vanilla
2 large eggs
1/3 cup + 1 tblsp of flour
1 cup of walnuts
pinch of salt
2 tsp of water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line and 8x8x2 baking pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium pan til foaming stops and browning starts. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add in cocoa and water. Combine. Add in salt, vanilla, and water. Stir til well blended. Let cool 5 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time to mixture, which will still be hot, and beat vigorously.  When mixture looks thick and shiny fold in the flour and nuts. Blend completely then transfer batter to baking dish. Cook for 25-35 minutes til toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan the use foil to lift out. Cut into generous squares.

I will admit that while I didn't get to try these brown beauties myself, they looked chewy and smelled rich and nutty. And since, the carnivore didn't bring any leftovers home, I assume they were a hit with the work crowd as well. I think they would make a special treat anytime - treat day or not.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

easy A

I like cooking as much if not more than most people. But just like everyone else I am crunched for time during the holiday season. Between shopping, wrapping, and getting gussied up for various get-togethers, I just don't have the hours in the day in the kitchen that I would like. This doesn't mean, however, that I can't find time to make dessert. There is always time for dessert, people. This super simple apple pie is easy to make and delicious too. Also, its a great way to sneak some fruit in your carnivore. Adapted from Recipes from the Heart Cookbook, you will need the following:

1 premade pie crust
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 tblsp of flour
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
4 1/2 cups of peeled and sliced apples

1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tblsp of rolled oats
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
3 tblsp of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pie crust in 9 inch pie pan. Crinkle edges. Mix together filling ingredients in large bowl. Add to pie pan. Mix together toppings in medium bowl. Sprinkle over pie. Cover edges with aluminum fol to prevent browning. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 20 minutes longer. Top should be golden. Cool on wire rack for about five minutes. Serve while warm. Wonderful a la mode too.

So make time to make this easy dessert. You will be glad you did. Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

when life gives you lemons

Recently the carnivore and I lost our beloved Miss Kitty. After nineteen wonderful years, she simply slipped away. She was my best cat friend and saw me through many trying times. Perfect in every way, she reigned over everyone in our house. She was quite the foodie too. She liked yogurt lids and cereal milk remains. She loved my husband's red sauce most of all. After licking the bowl her little white mussel would turn orange. Life around here just isn't going to be the same without her.

And on the day it happened, I was needless to say grief stricken. So, what did I do? I buried myself in baking. Cooking always calms me. And at the end I get to indulge in my creation. But what to make? Life had just handed me a terrible load of lemons to say the least. So to celebrate her I made this lemon ricotta cake (adapted from Italian: the essence of mediterranean cuisine).

To make this cake you will need:
 6 tblsp of butter, softened
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of ricotta
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
the zest and juice of one lemon
some fresh blueberries, for garnish
powdered sugar, for dusting

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan. Line it with wax paper. Grease the paper and dust with flour too. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg yolks one at a time to the mixer. Add in 2 tblsp of the flour, the lemon zest and juice. Mix well. In a different bowl beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold them into the batter. Turn the mixture into the spring pan. Spread out evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, until the crust is golden. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes. Then place on a baking sheet to finish cooling. When ready to serve top with powered sugar and fresh blueberries.

It was heavenly sweet, just like Kitty. Rest in peace, friend.

Friday, November 5, 2010


You know that Sandra Lee character from the Food Network? She half makes a lot of stuff. Well, I kinda hate her. Actually hate is a strong word (and a bad word according to my neighbor's littlest girl). So I'll say I semi-hate her. She just really annoys me. Maybe its all the matchy matchy table settings and set props. Maybe its the over the top Halloween costumes and themey food she does for her nephew. Or that every meal has a cocktail to go with it - wait - I don't hate that part.

Truth be told I do my fair share of semi-homemade stuff too. Who doesn't? I just don't brag to the whole world about it like I invented the idea...except for maybe this recipe. This is my spice cake with brown sugar pears and cinnamon whipped cream. And here's the big secret - I use a boxed spice cake. Why reinvent the wheel people?

To make the other parts of this perfect fall dessert you will need:
3 ripe blushing pears
2 tblsp of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of brown sugar
ground cinnamon
whipping cream
and a box of spice cake
(and whatever it calls for too)

Start by making the cake according to the instructions on the box. I like to make mine in a bunt pan. It makes me feel better about cheating a bit on this step. At the same time slice the pears into bite sized pieces. Add them to a quart sauce pan with the butter and brown sugar. Cover them and let them simmer over a low heat while the cake cooks and cools. Once the cake is ready whip the cream and several dashes of cinnamon (you wanna be able to see it but not have it turn your whipped cream brown) in a mixer until hard peaks form. Slice the cake while warm. Serve with a heap of pears and dollop of cream. Let the cream melt and dip the cake in the buttery sauce it. Can you say amazing?

This is a yummy rich dessert that you can feel good about since you are at least getting some fruit in your family. I know every time I get the carnivore to eat anything green I do a little jig. And, so what if it is semi-homemade? Its wholly fantastic on any fall evening.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ridiculously warm

We had a crazy warm summer here. People literally dropped like flies. And I live in Memphis, we are supposed to be used to heat and humidity. But even for the locals it was a bit much. It should be no surprise then that our fall has also been ridiculously warm. And while we aren't in the 100's any more, 80's in October seems a bit much. It may be the reason why I can't let go of some of my favorite summer things though - like grilling. In a recent grilling experiment the carnivore and I came up with this - grilled watermelon. I know it sounds kinda crazy. Maybe the heat had gotten to us, but I promise you won't think we are out of our minds when you try it.

Simply slice the seedless watermelon into thick pieces. Place them on a low heat grill for a minute or so on each side - just enough to warm it through and get the juices sugary. To dip the chunks in, mix together a small container of marscapone cheese and 2 tbsp of organic honey.

The warm watermelon melts in your mouth in a sugary burst that is reminiscent of cotton candy. And the creamy dip is divine. This would make a fabulous appetizer at a tailgate, or an amazing snack at your next play date, or even a knockout dessert the next time you are grilling your dinner anyway.  Trust me - watermelon is ridiculously good when warm.
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