Friday, August 1, 2014

Lemony Dutch Baby with Mixed Berry Sauce

We did it, we did it! We made it all the way to Friday.  The weekend is here and it's time to have some fun, do nothing, bake some treats, and sleep in.  Sleeping in...HA!  As if I do that on the weekends.  I mean, I guess waking up at 8 in the morning on weekends instead of 6:30 is slightly better, but I really just long for a lazy, lazy, lazy Saturday or Sunday where I wake up at 11 am, that critical hour where it's too late to really eat breakfast but too early to eat lunch.  The only obvious solution to such a critical dilemma is to simply make something delicious and special for breakfast, and pretend it's a substantial lunch meal anyway.



That's exactly what I chose to do last weekend (minus the waking up at 11 am part).  I woke up at my normal weekend hour, and just wasn't in the mood for breakfast.  I'm not sure why, because I've grown to really like having breakfast every morning, but this past Sunday I was just not feeling it. Maybe I was lazy, maybe I wanted to change up my routine, maybe a bit of both.  Whatever my reasons for not having breakfast that day were, I found myself at the critical 11 am hour hungry and in need of food.  I hadn't had breakfast, and it was too early for lunch, so I did the only reasonable thing and made myself a Dutch Baby for lunch.  I wouldn't call it brunch, because there was no lunch element to this meal, aside from the time it was consumed.  This was pure breakfast for lunch.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Upside-Down Nectarine & Corn Skillet Cake


Upside-down cakes are one of the most classic cakes you could possibly make/enjoy.  Everyone knows and loves the classic pineapple upside down cake- it's a celebrated simple cake made better with the addition of sweetened pineapple rings and super red maraschino cherries.  Baked in a round cast iron skillet, it's a cake that needs no introduction, because when it's mentioned, you know exactly what to expect.  But then again, you might be like me and never have actually eaten a piece of upside-down pineapple-marschino cherry-geometric pattern cake.  I know, I'm probably missing out, but for some reason, it's never been a cake that I've felt like I truly needed to experience.  It's a simple cake, sure, and I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I actually kinda like maraschino cherries (in all their unnatural red, fake glory), but I don't know.  Something about this classic cake has just always seemed a little bit...off.


While I've never actually had the classic pineapple upside down cake, I have always loved the look of them.  Not so much the pineapple-maraschino version, specifically, but any other cake or dessert with beautifully arranged fruit appearing after a quick inversion of the baking dish has always captivated me.  It's such a lovely surprise, and a beautifully simple way to present a finished dessert.  Upside-down treats like tarte tatin, and simple fruit tarts with perfectly arranged fruits are some of my favorite things to look at, and I needed to make one before the summer and its bounty of amazing produce ended.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cherry Breakfast Bars

Here is cherry treat number two!  I never thought I'd be posting two recipes containing cherries back to back, but here I am.  While I loved both cherry treats I made over the weekend, I'm back to enjoying cherries fresh off the stem.  I don't need to go back and explain my love affair with fresh cherries all over again, so let's move on to these Cherry Breakfast Bars, shall we?


The name of these bars might be a little misleading- they're not really breakfasty.  I mean, they can definitely be enjoyed for breakfast, and I'm not going to deny that I ate a bar one morning alongside a glass of orange juice and called it a meal, but I think they're best enjoyed later in the afternoon, or ideally, as a midnight snack.  I suppose they're called "breakfast" bars because they have oats in them...which is reason enough.  Sounds good to me! These breakfast bars are from one of my favorite cookbooks ever, written by the wonderful Matt and Renato over at Baked in Red Hook (I still haven't been there, but it has become my mission to make it over to Red Hook one weekend before summer is over to have pupusas for lunch at the ball fields and then a giant brownie at Baked for dessert, because that just sounds like the most splendid day ever).  I've become a much bigger fan of bar cookies in recent weeks; it wasn't so much that I didn't like them as much as the fact that they just didn't occur to me as naturally as regular cookies did.  Bar cookies are perfect for summertime baking because they're always easy to assemble, yield a ton, and can last a decent amount of time, making them a great option for summer picnics and barbecues.  When your cookie bars are filled with delicious and fresh summer fruit, they're even more perfect! The breakfast bars from the Baked cookbook use fresh raspberries, but I thought that making a cherry version would be a fun twist on an already delicious recipe.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cherry Sorbet

Cherries are probably one of my favorite things about summer.  I know there's a lot of things I could say that about, things like ice cream, peaches, barbecues, lobster rolls, and the list could go on and on.  Cherries, however, will always, always, always be at the top of the list.  They're one of those fruits that I will only eat fresh, and summer is the only time to get them.  Whenever I see a good deal on cherries at the supermarket, I tend to stock up because I know they just won't last.  They're the kind of fruit that I will empty the entire four pound bag into a bowl, and just eat by myself.  I'll pick at them while I watch television; whenever I walk by my kitchen I'll take a moment to eat a few; I pack them in my bag to bring to work.  For me, it's never truly a great summer until I've eaten my weight in cherries.




I've never really liked cooking with cherries because I always feel so bad about doing it.  I'll explain.  First of all, cherries are one of the more expensive fruits that you can buy, even in the summer when they're readily available, so things like cherry pie can get pricey rather quick.  Second, and probably more important, cherries are just so good eaten fresh, right off the stem.  I feel terrible eating them in any other way, because I feel like I'm not enjoying them in their best state!  Regardless, every summer I gather all my strength and convince myself to make at least one thing with cherries, because after all, things with cherries in them are still pretty darn tasty.  I mean, I don't think I'll ever turn down a slice of cherry pie or a scoop of warm cherry clafoutis...so this weekend, I did the unthinkable.  I bought two giant bags of cherries, and made not one, but TWO delicious things with them.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Trail Mix Cookies



How many of you guys are going camping this summer? Or hiking?  Or both? Or going out and exploring nature for hours and hours?  If you have these kinds of plans, you'll need to refuel at some point, and I have the perfect camping/hiking/nature-exploring snack for you.  These trail mix cookies are IT.  They're the perfect portable and cute little snack that you can munch on while doing all kinds of nature-type things, I think.  I'm not a camping kind of gal, but if I did go camping, or hiking, or nature exploring, these are the cookies I would bring. However, since that type of activity is not happening any time soon, I will settle for making a batch of these cookies and eating them while sitting on a blanket in my backyard, or maybe, if I want to get really crazy, while sitting on a blanket in the park.  Eating homemade cookies in the grass in the middle of the suburbs is my way of bonding with nature, and that's ok.


While I may not be the first to sign up for a hiking trip, I have eaten my fair share of trail mix and granola, and I think it's an understatement to say that I like both.  I mean, I haven't met anyone who doesn't like trail mix, because what's not to like about it?  There's M&M's, and nuts, and dried fruit, and all kinds of delicious things mixed up inside a single package.  Trail mix is something I can easily pick at without realizing how much I've actually eaten, so it's a dangerous snack.  Before I even realize it, the whole bag is gone, and I'm left alone, with a stomach ache, and without any trail mix.  In some instances, I'll only like a handful of the things mixed into the trail mix, so I'll pick at what I like and leave what I don't like behind.  Trail mix is just too addicting. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce


Today on the blog we have a recipe for sweet corn ice cream that's been topped off with a delicious blueberry sauce...wait. Are you experiencing slight feelings of déjà vu?  Does this sound a little familiar?  Didn't I only just publish a recipe containing both blueberry and corn flavorings.  If you read last week's post, you'll know that I was a sick soul with a need for the comfort that only homemade pancakes could provide, and that the pancakes that provided that much needed comfort came in the form of blueberry and cornmeal goodness.  Just writing about those pancakes makes me crave them again, because they were really that good.  It seems like I must have really liked that flavor combination because less than a week after those pancakes were made, I was back in the kitchen making something with the same flavor profile. 


My pancakes from last weekend may have been the catalyst that drove me to make this ice cream, but this is one of those recipes that I've been meaning to make for a long time and just never got around to actually making. I first learned about sweet corn ice cream last summer and I thought it was such a brilliant idea.  It seemed like the perfect ice cream for celebrating the best of summer, and I just had to make it...except that I never did.  I really wanted to, but I would always somehow either forget to buy corn or some other recipe that I just had to make crossed my path.  Before I knew it, summer was over and delicious sweet corn was nonexistent.  I told myself last year that I could not let next summer pass by without churning up a batch of sweet corn ice cream, and here it is!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cornmeal and Blueberry Pancakes

 
The blog and all my social media channels have been unusually quiet as of late.  I mean, I'm not the biggest user of social media (something I hope to improve on!), but I typically have an Instagram-worthy photo of something delicious to share on a fairly regular basis, at the least.  Or, I'll share something scrumptious and delightful that I've found somewhere in the land of the Internet on Facebook.  Or, I'll have something posted by Tuesday, so that my typical two posts per week are nicely spaced out.  None of that is happening this week.  I wish I could say it was because I've been a busy little bee working on secret projects or off on a super top secret foodie adventure (I wish), but the truth is that my single, lonely recipe post of the week and social absence is the result of something far less exciting.  I was just too darn sick to cook anything this past weekend.


Although I guess that's not totally true, because I'm here talking about pancakes (or I will be in a moment).  I woke up in a slight funk on Friday morning and by Friday night I just felt baaadd (great Fourth of July, right?), and on Saturday morning I woke up feeling even worse.  I usually like to play tough and skip out on going to the doctor, but thankfully my mom got angry at me and made me go (thank you, mama!).  I got a bunch of prescriptions that didn't really make me feel any better, but they did a great job at making feel really really sleepy, so I ended up sleeping through what I had been hoping would be a productive, food-centered Saturday (not like I would have been able to actually make anything had I not gotten drowsy  medication, but whatever).  I still felt pretty sick and pretty sleepy on Sunday, but I forced myself out of bed to make something to share on the blog.  I just had to make at least one thing, and while I originally had plans for more elaborate things to prepare, life got in the way.  I was sick and the oven was off-limits because our air conditioning stopped working over the weekend (I'm happy to report that it works now!), so I needed something comforting and really quick to make that was either no-bake or stovetop-only.  Pancakes seemed like the most obvious solution. 

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