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Posts from the ‘Fruit Desserts’ Category

Pips Lemon Christmas- A Guest Post From Teagan Riordain Geneviene

 

Taken from Pinterest

Happy New Year Everyone.  On the first day of 2017 I wanted to do something special, not only are we starting a brand new year but this is my 5th year of blogging, in a few days will be the anniversary of A Pug In The Kitchen. Last year for my anniversary post I invited Teagan of Teagan’s Books to guest post and I had so much fun doing it I decided I would ask her again to collaborate with me. Teagans books are special, she takes me to a happy place with characters that come to life, mystical, magickal and a little bit of the supernatural are woven into stories that are so beautiful I honestly can’t and don’t want to stop reading. Whether it’s her amazing serials or a novel she never disappoints.  Teagan graciously penned this snippet with one of my favorite characters, Pip a flapper from the 1920’s. In doing some research of food in that era, citrus, specifically lemons were very popular so thats what we did, incorporated lemons not only into this delightful snipppet but also into a recipe for a lemony dessert.  I found a recipe for a lemon pound cake from the 1920’s that was served at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in their tea room. The cake was a disaster, it stuck to the bottom of the pan and didn’t come out in one piece,  but I didn’t let that deter me, I managed to salvage the cake, turning it upside down (the top of the bundt cake was missing) and serving it with a lemon sauce, like a lemon pudding cake, sort of.  I hope you all enjoy what Teagan has written for us all and again wishing all of you a joyous, healthy, happy and prosperous 2017. Take it away Teagan.

Pip’s Lemon Christmas

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It had been a grand and glorious year.  However, it pos-i-lute-ly had ups and downs.  At that moment I was in one of the downs.  Even the long distance telephone call from my best friend Mona failed (miserably I might add) to cheer me.  She might not be sure where she wanted her future to go, but at least it was going somewhere.  All my friends were moving forward, going somewhere.  Me?  It didn’t look like I would ever get anywhere.

Not only was I going nowhere, I seemed to be going there all by myself.  Worse, it was Christmastime.  Even my Pops suddenly had to go up north on business.  I offered to go and keep him company…  Okay, so I begged. 

“Young ladies have no place at business meetings,” he told me in the stern, no nonsense voice that meant I wouldn’t get anywhere with my plea.

Idly, I looked at the lace covered table, lemons artfully arranged as a centerpiece.  I took one of the tangy fruits, tossed it in the air and caught it.  I pondered as I tossed the lemon. 

What would any self-respecting flapper do in such a situation?  Refuse to be a sourpuss, that’s what a flapper would do!

I decided as I tossed the lemon.  If all I had for Christmas was lemons, then I’d make lemonade — so to speak, especially after I found the bottle of hooch Pops had squirreled away.  I would have rather had the champagne I knew he hid some place, but that had been ages ago and I couldn’t remember where I saw it.

Gin will do just fine, I told myself.

Suddenly inspired, I gave the yellow fruit a final toss.  I went to the shoebox that held Granny’s recipes.  She had given me instructions for all sorts of citrus treats, and I was a sourpuss with a sweet tooth.

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A little while later I was cleaning up the kitchen as it filled with citrusy baking aromas.  Just as I picked up the remains of my lemons, a loud knock pounded at the front door.  It startled me so badly that I ran to the door with barely a wipe to my juice drenched hands.

“Delivery!” the words came with another thunderous knock.

I threw open the door and the cool December air hit my face.  It was downright brisk, for Florida anyway.  There was a truck in the driveway and a young man with a name embroidered on his jacket — Ronny.  I took the package, barely looking at the guy who handed it to me.  My hands tore at the twine excitedly, even before I went inside.  Meanwhile Ronny the delivery man wrote something on the receipt clamped to his clipboard.

“If you’ll sign here, Miss?” he asked.

There was a card inside the package from my friend Mona.  The front of it said “I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas.”  Hurriedly I stuck the edge of the note between my teeth and tucked the package under my arm so I could take the clipboard and sign the form.

Only then did I notice what a cutie the guy was.  He tilted his head all the way to his shoulder and read aloud the note while I signed.  As soon as I heard him speak the words, I blushed scarlet.  To make matters worse, he made a sympathetic aww sound that made me feel like a six year-old.

In my flustered flurry of motions, taking the note from my teeth, trying to stick it back in the package, and pushing my hair back… wouldn’t you know I touched a lemon coated finger to my face.  I yelped as the citrus stung my eyes.  It made tears stream down my cheeks.man_ray_tears

The guy sounded guilty when he pleaded to know what the matter was, as if he had caused it.  The only word I could manage to utter was, “Lemons!”

He pulled my hand away from my face and lightly sniffed it.  He gave a little chuckle that made me want to bean him.

“Yep, that’s lemons all right.  For a minute there I was afraid you got bad news,” he commented.  “But I guess being alone on Christmas Eve is bad enough.”

For some reason his comment made me lose my composure.  I burst out in real tears and sobs, no longer caused by the stinging citrus.  I plopped down on the porch and sat there with the package in my lap.  This upset poor Ronny.  He started blabbering apologies, clearly unsure of why he was asking for forgiveness.

“Look sweet cakes, you’re my last delivery.  Let me help you wash your face and get rid of that lemon juice before you put your fingers in your eyes again,” he offered in a contrite voice.

I insisted that it was okay, and with a sniffle, silenced my sobs.  Too embarrassed to look at him I turned my attention back to Mona’s gift.  Her card had fallen, but Ronny picked it up and handed it to me.  I took it from him and with a deep breath I spoke the words that humiliated me a moment before.

“I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas,” I read the elegant script on the outside, and then opened the card.  “So you’ll just have to make your own party.”

Antique champagne Glasses

What?  Digging through the packing paper I found two sparkling etched crystal goblets.  I held up one of the glasses to watch the light play on it.  I looked at Ronny, feeling utterly bemused.  He returned my gaze with a twinkle in eyes that I suddenly noticed were a heavenly shade of blue.

Ronny picked up the other empty glass and playfully tapped it against the one I held.  I suddenly remembered where Pops hid the bubbly.

The end

***

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

when life gives you lemons...

when life gives you lemons…

Pound Cake With Lemon Sauce

You can use homemade cake or just go buy Sara Lee Pound Cake for this. The star is really this pucker worthy lemony sauce served over the cake. It couldn’t be easier to make and has only a few ingredients.

Lemon Sauce

Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/2-3 tbs cornstarch

1 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

zest of 2 lemons

1 tbs unsalted butter

Whisk sugar and cornstarch in heavy bottom non reactive saucepan, add the water and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil, add the lemon juice and zest and continue cooking until it comes to a boil again and immediately remove from the heat, add the butter and whisk until combined. Refrigerate until slightly thickened and serve. It can be made a day ahead just bring to room temperature before serving.

Did the delivery man join Pip?

Did Ronny join Pip, I think so?

Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

A Guest Post From Cheryl – Caramel Apples

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I am overwhelmed right now, being pulled in so many different directions my head is swimming, it’s no ones’ fault but my own, I can’t say no when it comes to the community work. This came at just the right time, I was so pleased and surprised that Cheryl “Cheffie Cooks Wiser offered another guest post. This simple treat is perfectly seasonal and a delicious treat for Halloween! Thank you so much my dear friend.

Take it away Cheryl……

A fun Halloween Treat for Everyone!
Wonderful Caramel Apples, so easy and so delicious.

I use Large Rome Apples (or your choice), 2-16 ounce bags of Kraft Caramels (melted), 12 Wooden Sticks, plastic wrap, ribbon for bows.

Slowly Melt the caramels on low heat, allow to partially cool down, pierce top of each apple with the stick, dip into the caramel sauce, let them drip, then place on a large sheet pan covered with either parchment paper or waxed paper for the caramel apples to set-up. Place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Wrap in plastic and tie a pretty bow! Great for gifts.

Enjoy your Halloween.

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Ocean Living and Cooking, Florida Fun antics and adventures for YOU!

Thank You Suzanne for letting me share this easy, fun treat! xo

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Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake And Apple Pear Crumble With Creamy Cider Syrup

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I just have to say what a lifesaver it has been to have the guest posts. I have been so extremely busy I really haven’t cooked much of anything and most of what I have cooked is not noteworthy enough to blog about. Thank you so much to everyone who has submitted guest posts, you truly are amazing. I also have been delinquent in reading and commenting on your blogs. I will not be able to catch up there are just too many, once Halloween is done I should be able to breathe and get back to my routine.

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Searching through the hundreds of cookbooks I have (and rarely use) I happened upon this recipe from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Since my latests obsession is cauliflower this immediately grabbed my attention, the list of ingredients sounds delicious, I decided this is a recipe I have to try. It does contain some flour, one cup of all purpose flour but I subbed spelt flour making it lower in carbs and more healthful. It’s a simple recipe, easy to put together and with my current crazy busy schedule this was a must. I really do love Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, the photo’s are drool worthy and recipes are not complex they use simple ingredients but how they put it all together is genius.

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Cauliflower Cake

from Plenty More- Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 6-8

1 small head cauliflower broken into 1 1/2 inch florets

1 medium onion (recipe calls for  a red onion)

5 tbs olive oil (I didn’t measure)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

7 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan or your favorite grating cheese

melted butter for brushing – about 1 tbs

1 tbs white sesame seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds (I misplaced them so just used sesame)

salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 degree’s

Place cauliflower florets in saucepan filled with salted water, simmer for 15 minutes until the florets are quite soft, they should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Cut 4 round slices approximately 1/4 inch thick from one end of the onion and set aside. Coursely chop the rest of the onion and place in a pan with some olive oil and the rosemary. Cook for 1o minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well, then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese and 1 tsp salt (I used less salt) and plenty of ground pepper stir to combine and add the cauliflower stirring gently so as not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them in the pan and swirl the pan around so that the seeds stick to the buttered sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture in the pan smooth the top and arrange the onion rings on top ( I sprinkled some of the grated cheese on top as well). Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and set. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served warm or at room temperature rather than hot.

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For Dessert was an apple Pear crumble using no refined sugar and almost no flour. To sweeten the fruit and crumble I used a little bit of maple syrup and served it with a creamy cider reduction, again made completely without sugar. The natural sweetness of the cider when cooked down into a syrup is intensely sweet, I softened it with a little heavy cream (to make even more decadent you could add a little butter also) and the end product was amazing on this simple crumble. The cider syrup would be great on oatmeal, pancakes or waffles also, instead of adding cream just add a little butter.

This dessert is great and you don’t feel badly eating it, you could even use a little less maple syrup because the cider syrup is sweet enough that you would never know that this is not loaded with sugar.

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Apple Pear Crumble

Made 2

Crumble topping

1/4 cup whole oats

1/4 cup spelt flour

2 tbs toasted hazelnut flour (or any nut flour)

pinch of salt

2 tbs softened (not melted) coconut oil

1 tbs cold butter

2 tbs maple syrup

Mix everything together with your fingers until it is blended completely (it will look more like a cookie dough). Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s

2 -3 apples  (if you don’t have pear use 3 apples)

1 ripe pear

1 tbs maple syrup

pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

Peel and slice the apples and pears. Oil or butter the baking dish, mix the fruit with the maple syrup, spices and salt, lay the fruit in the pan. Add the crumble topping and pour a little apple cider over it. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crumble is browned and fruit is soft.  Note: The crumble topping was patted into place rather than dropping in crumbles, after baking I broke it up  kind of like a cookie crust.

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Creamy Cider Syrup

Apple cider

Heavy cream

Pour about 1 cup cider in saucepan  over medium high heat until reduced to a very thick syrup, it took about 20 minutes. One cup of cider reduced to about 1/4 cup of syrup. The more cider you use the longer it will take to reduce of course. One cup of cider in a saucepan took a little over 20 minutes on medium high heat.

Reduces to almost nothing

Reduces to almost nothing you can see my hand reflected in the pan, LOL.

Add some heavy cream about 2 tbs and continue to cook another 30 seconds approximately. The sauce will be thick.

Spoon over the crumble and enjoy.

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Mini Lime Cheesecake Mock Soufflé

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I think I have mentioned before how much I love dessert, or anything sweet for that matter. Since changing my eating habits staying away from bread, rice and pasta, monitoring portion size, cutting down (almost out) refined sugar etc… dessert has been challenging. I have to have something sweet even if it’s a yogurt and fruit or a bite of chocolate I’ve got to have it. Years ago when I went on the South Beach plan I bought the book and there are some recipes in it for all the different phases. I saw these little cheesecakes and thought I would give it a try. I altered the recipe a bit and noted the changes in the ingredients. These little bites couldn’t be any easier or quicker, no crushing cookies and pressing them into a pan, all you do is put a whole cookie in the bottom of a cupcake or muffin liner. Spoon the filling on top and bake. I am going to try these with chocolate I think. It’s a nice little dessert, good and satisfying. I called them mock souffle’s because they rose like a souffle in the baking cup and they are mock because it’s not the method in which you make a souffle. They are very light, not really cheesecake like at all.) I have not cut fat out but have reduced greatly the amount of sugar I eat, I like what Julia Child said “if you are afraid of butter, use cream” I remember watching her show once and she mentioned that she eats whatever she wants but in small portions and that was how she stayed trim. She was such an amazing woman and has so many great quotes.

I am bringing these little desserts with me to Fiesta Friday #135, the co hosts this week are Me, yep me and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook. It’s a holiday weekend, can’t believe it’s Labor Day the summer flew by and now we are coming to Fall which is my FAVORITE season. Crisp weather, apples and pumpkins (pumpkin spice latte) sweaters and jackets and leaves turning gorgeous shades or orange and gold. Yesterday,  Sept. 1 at 5:07 AM there was a solar eclipse which occurred simultaneously with the New Moon. Very cool!!

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven they deflated so quickly I couldn’t get a photo quick enough

Mini Lime Mock Souffle Cheesecakes

adapted from a recipe in The South Beach Diet

Makes 12

12 Carr’s whole meal biscuits (recipe calls for nila vanilla wafers)

1 8 oz package neufchatel cheese softened to room temperature (or cream cheese)

3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (recipe call for 3/4 cup non fat cottage cheese proccessed until smooth)

2 large eggs

2 tbs + 1 tsp organic stevia (recipe calls for 1/4 cup +2 tbs organic cane sugar)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbs lime zest

1 tbs lime juice

In food processor add the cream cheese, sour cream or creme fraiche and pulse to combine, add the lime zest and juice, eggs and vanilla and process until creamy and smooth about a minute. In the book they have you process the cottage cheese and then scrape it into a mixing bowl and using a hand held mixer combine everything, I decided to save myself time and dishes and did it all in the processor and it worked great.

Pre heat oven to 350. Place paper liners in muffin tin and add 1 cookie to each liner. Spoon the cheesecake mixture on top about half full. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit. Note: I didn’t use a muffin tin instead I had some sturdy liners and I just place them on a sheet pan. Let cool completely then peel away the liner from the cheesecake. In the book they top it with non fat vanilla yogurt, I served with some fresh fruit, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry. On the side is some whipped cream or coconut whipped cream lightly sweetened would be equally delicious.

IMG_5397Percy and I are on Instagram, I think I publish more photo’s of him than what I cook. He recently was invited to be a member of  “grumble inc.” bad boy (and glam girl) pugs and other dogs. The grumble is great fun but is also is a notice board for lost and abused pets as well as a group of caring and loving pet parents that help out other pets in need. A voice for the Voiceless. Here is Percy’s photo that was used announcing that he is a Grumble brother, he’s so cute!

#webadbutnotbadbad

#webadbutnotbadbad fa shizzle

A Breakfast Skillet And Dessert

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First let me say how encouraged and overwhelmed I am by all the support from all of you good people. Thank you, thank you!! Because of the outpouring of support it made me even more resolute. I have to say it really helps baring your soul to your friends, I have always found that a diet and exercise buddy helps me stay on track,  I  live alone it’s and it’s really easy to fall off the wagon, my best friend Carla lives in Long Island, not exactly close to Brooklyn but we talk on the phone almost every day and encourage each other. I feel now like I have LOTS of diet buddies in all of you and it has helped tremendously. I encourage anyone in the same shoes to do this, we will all cheer you on.  Special thanks to Elaine @foodbod who chatted with me by PM on Instagram in the wee hours and Cheryl @cheryl cheffie cooks Wiser, who did a special post for me with fantastic salads, I am so touched.  It means the world to me.

So far I am doing fine. This morning I wanted something substantial that would nourish and keep me from getting hungry. There is nothing worse than being hungry and perusing all the food blogs and food photo’s on instagram. I used what I had for this breakfast skillet, eggplant, zucchini (used the pieces left from spiralizer) tomatoes, kale and micro potato. Half roasted in the oven, I wanted the kale crisp like a kale chip, transferred to a 6″ skillet (portion control) added an egg and completed the cooking until the egg was done. At the very end I added a little bit of raclette and put it under the broiler for a minute. A dash of hot sauce and it was a great meal.

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Skillet Breakfast

Made 2 #6 inch individual size servings

4 micro potatoes cut in half

approx a half of a medium zucchini cut into bite size pieces

handful cherry tomatoes larger ones cut in half

generous handful of kale leaves

4 asparagus stalks with tough end broken off and cut in half

4 tiny fairy eggplant cut in half or quartered lengthwise

Cheese, just a little, didnt’ measure. I used raclette but any good melty cheese will do

Pre heat oven to 375. Place all of the vegetables on a parchment lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, make sure the vegetables are coated with the oil. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, kale will be crisp and vegetables will have softened. Arrange in skillet, crack an egg on top and bake (again at 375) until the egg is done to your liking it took about 20 minutes for an egg where the white was done but yolk was runny.  Add some cheese, I used raclette, and place under the broiler just until the cheese melts.

Dessert

Dessert

I have to have dessert, something sweet it’s part of the fabric of my being. You have to be a bit creative when trying to lose weight and maybe a little crafty. I came up with this recipe, well it’s not really a recipe, but it is really good.  It made 2 small parfait or maybe they are more like an ice box cake or a combination thereof.

Strawberry and peach parfait

makes 2 small parfait

4 Carr’s whole meal biscuits smashed into crumbs

1 7 oz container plain greek yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt)

3 tbs heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

honey to taste ( I used a little more than a tbs for both the fruit and yogurt mixture)

fruit of your choice, I used strawberry and peach.

Cut the fruit into bite size pieces and drizzle with a little honey. Smash the whole meal biscuits into crumbs. Whip the yogurt and cream, sweeten to your liking and add the vanilla. Layer into small containers and refrigerate at least an hour or two before eating. The biscuit absorbs some of the fruit juice. It’s delicious.

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I just have to show you the throw pillow I won in a charity auction to help pets with liver shunt disease. I love it!!

pug pillow

pug pillow

Lastly in memoriam for little Caleb a 3-4 month old dog in Atlanta that was brutally abused, if you think of the worst this is 100 times worse than you could possibly imagine. You can sign a petition by going to my facebook page . This has me so upset, to my very core, and it’s all over the news. Hoping they catch the monsters that perpetrated such a heinous and evil crime. Little Caleb is not the first dog to suffer horrific abuse and unfortunately he will not be the last. Raising awareness, supporting rescue organizations and being pro active reporting abuse perceived or otherwise is so important. RIP little Caleb. #justiceforcaleb

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Peach And Blueberry Tart

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This was a really busy week, I have neglected the blog, between work, the community work I do and this oppressive heat I haven’t had time or the inclination to use my stove/oven. On Thursday I got to meet one of the bloggers that I have been following for a long time, Shashi whose wonderful blog Runnin Srilankin is always chock full of delicious healthful recipes. We met at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and had pizza at Grimaldi’s. It was great finally meeting her in person.

Last weekend I went to a barbeque, and decided to be daring and try a new recipe. This is a tried and true recipe that is very popular on Food52, it’s by Amanda Hesser and she got it from her Mom.  I used frozen peaches which is not the best idea as they produced a lot of juice and some plucots. The party was great but I had to leave before dessert was served and I didn’t get a chance to try it. The feedback though was that it was amazing. The simplicity of this recipe is what drew me, a press in crust that uses oil not butter, fresh fruit and you make a sugar, flour and butter crumble topping and sprinkle it on before baking.

Today I went to the farmers market and got some great produce, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, nectarines and blueberries. Since I didn’t get to taste the tart I decided to make it today using the nectarines. Best laid plans don’t always work, the nectarines were very ripe and I put them at the bottom of my cart without thinking and 3 of them got squished, I will blame it on the heat,  for once I only bought enough for the tart, since I had some blueberries I decided to use them as well.

This tart is a winner, and I hope you give it a try. The ease of preparation, use of delicious seasonal fruit and beautiful presentation make this tart one that I will make over and over again. Next time with only peaches or nectarines, it’s not as pretty with the blueberries after it’s baked but still delicious.

This tart is coming with me to Fiesta Friday #130, Angie is away but has left the party in very good hands the co hosts this week are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Petra @ Food Eat Love

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Peach Tart

Made 1 9 inch tart (the recipe said 11 inch but I didn’t have enough fruit)

Pie Dough

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup neutral oil (I used grapeseed)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs milk (I used half and half)

6-8 peaches, nectarines sliced thickly (I added a pint of blueberries also)

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk or stir with a fork. Add the oil and milk and mix with a fork until cohesive.

Press into tart pan with your fingers pressing on the bottom and up the sides. Make sure there are no cracks in the dough. Trim and set aside. Pre heat the oven to 425 and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Arrange the fruit however you like in the tart pan.

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Crumble topping

3/4 cup sugar

2-3 tbs flour

2 tbs cold butter

pinch of salt

Mix with your hands until it resembles fine crumbs. Distribute the crumbs on top of the tart and bake until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 45 minutes. It will seem like a lot of the topping, it’s ok use all of it.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

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Gooseberry and Red Currant Popsicles And More Popsicles

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Have I gone gooseberry crazy? It’s all together possible!  Wasting food is abhorent to me and I wanted to make sure I used every single gooseberry and currant that I bought. Besides the crumble which is pretty standard fare I wanted to do something a little bit different with them. Since it’s so hot out I decided that popsicles would be the way to go, icy and cold and delicious a great way to beat the heat and use up my berries. In making the popsicles I discovered the real flavor of the gooseberry, there is a lovely floral note and when cooked with some sugar and water, it really brings out the flavor. It reminds me a little of elderflower. The popsicles are a mix of green and purple gooseberries and at the end after straining the pulp I added the red currants distributing into a half frozen popsicle. Don’t throw that pulp away, it’s really delicious with just a couple of tablespoons of the syrup to loosen it up, it makes a delicious preserve or jam on biscuits, scones or toast.  FYI, the gooseberries and currants are labor intensive to clean and de stem, kind of like pitting cherries. Each gooseberry needs to be clipped on each and end and the currants are very tiny and each individual currant needs to be picked off of the stems. Labor intensive but worth the effort.

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Gooseberry and Red Currant Popsicles

Makes 8 popsicles

1 pint gooseberries (approx)clipped

1-1 1/4 cups sugar (You can add less if using the sweeter gooseberry, I mixed them and they were very sour)

1 1/4 cup water

1/3 (approx) cup red currants

Put the gooseberries, sugar and water in a pot. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until the berries pop open. Strain into heat proof bowl or cup.  Immediatly add the currants and let them sit until it cools then refrigerate.

I decided to add some red currents that would be suspended inside the popsicle. The currants float in the liquid so in order to ensure that they are dispersed within the pop I partially froze it. a couple of hours in the freezer without the stick inserted, the mixture is not frozen solid just slushy, you then place some currants in and spread them around with a skewer, insert the sticks and put back in the freezer.

So pretty

We are smack dab in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures soaring to almost 100 degree’s and thats not the heat index. I so love my popsicle mold I have been making popsicles all the time, they are stockpiled in my freezer. I really love experimenting, in the summer lemonade and iced tea are favorite drinks that I almost always keep in the refrigerator. So I thought I would make both into popsicles. Sweet tea with mint and lemonade with raspberries. Ice cold and portable these popsicles are wonderful. All you need to do is make lemonade and iced tea, no recipe required. When the popsicles were partially frozen after 2 hours in the freezer I added some raspberries to the lemonade and mint leaves to the sweet tea. I ran out of lemonade so made one Arnold Palmer popsicle, half lemonade and half tea.

sweet tea and lemonade raspberry popsicles

sweet tea and lemonade raspberry popsicles

All of these frozen treats are coming with me to Angie’s for Fiesta Friday #129. Got my ice chest ready and I will rush over so they don’t melt. This week’s co hosts are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck. See you all at the party!

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A Non Traditional Panzanella, A Gooseberry Red Currant And Plum Crumble And Salsa

Salad

Salad

The first thing that I made with my Farmers Market finds is a salad. There is nothing like a salad made with fresh vegetables. There is no recipe for this, it’s a salad after all and everyone has their own favorite way of making and dressing them, this is sort of a panzanella,  sort of because it’s not traditional. A traditional Tuscan panzanella is made with tomatoes and stale bread dressed with olive oil and vinegar. I spread pesto on the bread and put it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown. Saturday’s farmers market find included both cherry and regular size tomatoes, for a salad cherry tomatoes are so easy and I love how crisp and sweet they are.

Panzanella

tomato

cucumber

spring onion

bread

pesto

shaved pecorino romano

salt and pepper

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, slice the onion very thinly, cut the cucumber into small pieces and throw it all in a bowl, season with salt and pepper.  Spread some pesto on the bread and either broil or grill until lightly browned. Cut into bite size pieces. Dress the salad with vinegar and oil. I don’t measure starting out light and adding more as/if needed. Add the bread and toss it together. Shave pecorino romano cheese on top and enjoy.

crumble

crumble

Today I experimented with some of the gooseberries. Having never eaten them or cooked with them I didn’t really know what to expect,  For the first attempt I thought a crumble would be nice and only made two individual servings in my tiny cocotte pans. I chose purple gooseberries, red currants and a golden plum. The fruit when baked produced a lot of juice and was very tart, next time I would probably add another 2 tbs of sugar although the tart fruit when eaten with some vanilla ice cream was really nice. For the crumble top I used spelt, oat and AP flour in equal parts added some butter and brown sugar. Before baking I dotted with a little butter and sprinkled with demerara sugar.  I thought adding a plum would be nice with the gooseberries and currants, somewhere in my research I saw that the gooseberry is a member of the plum family or vice versa, not sure thats correct but they do go together nicely.

Gooseberry,red currant and plum crumble

serves 2

Crumble

1/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup oat flour or oats

1/4 cup AP flour

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (not packed)

4 tbs butter+ more to dot on top before baking

whisk the flour and brown sugar together add the butter and mix with your hands until it resembles pea size crumbs.

Fruit

red currants

purple gooseberries

1 golden plum

1/4-1/2 cup sugar

I didn’t measure the berries if I had to guess how much it was about 1/3 cup of each. Put all the fruit into a bowl and add the sugar, toss to combine. Spoon into baking dishes and top with the crumble topping. Dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degree’s for approximately 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Warm crumble with vanilla ice cream

Warm crumble with vanilla ice cream

There are a few more recipes I plan on making with the gooseberries and will post them very soon, it’s fun working with an ingredient you are not familiar with getting your sea legs so to speak. The crumble was delicious the combination of gooseberries, currants and plum created a lot of juice and some of the crumble sank creating what was more akin to a cobbler. It was really good this turned out to be a cobbler/crumble.

Salsa

Salsa

The green gooseberries are very tart, sour really and using them in a savory dish seemed like it would be delicious. I had a flounder filet earmarked for dinner the other night and thought instead of a heavy tartar sauce (love it) a light fruity salsa would be nice with the fish. I didn’t measure, don’t need to with this type of dish, the beauty of it is that it is tailored to suite the individual’s taste.

Salsa

makes approximate a cup of salsa

Green gooseberries (larger ones cut in half and quartered and small ones cut in half)]

1/2 mango- chopped

1 purple spring onion- chopped

approx a tbs of chopped fresh mint

1 jalapeno chopped and seeds removed

1 small orange bell pepper chopped

approx a tbs of chopped flat leaf parsley

juice of one whole lime

salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients, serve right away.

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Pavlova With Strawberries And Elderflower Whipped Cream

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Normally I don’t post 2 days in a row, but today is the summer soltice which happens to also fall on the same day as the full moon, the strawberry moon,  a once in a lifetime occurrence the last time this happened was in 1948,  so to celebrate I made Pavlova, an ethereal, light and beautiful dessert, I used strawberries in honor of the strawberry moon and they happen to be at their peak now.  I’ve never made one before, I’ve seen them all over blogs and food websites and it’s been on my bucket list for a while now. After making the rhubarb cordial I have been thinking of different ways to use it besides in drinks. This dessert came to mind, pavlova with strawberries that are macerated in the rhubarb cordial piled onto the meringue layer and topped with whipped cream that is gently flavored with elderflower. I found so many recipes online for the meringue and believe it or not they all varied in cooking temp, ranging from 180 degrees up to 300. I opted for Ina Gartens recipe which bakes at the lower temp of 180, I didn’t want it to brown but to stay white.

It is a dreamy dessert, beautiful to look at, I love the way the layers are each a little different making it just a little off, slightly cracked, perfect in it’s imperfection. It is elegant and delicious. If I sound smitten it’s because I am. Strawberry and rhubarb are a great combination and although this contains only a rhubarb liquor the flavor though subtle is still there. This is a decidedly adult dessert, and if you don’t happen to have any of the rhubarb cordial, macerating the strawberries in sugar is delicious and will be family friendly or you do not have to macerate the berries, slicing and layering on the cake is perfectly fine. The lovely syrup that the strawberries were sitting in is then drizzled over the finished cake when served. The recipe was delicious as it was but next time I would make a few minor changes.

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Pavlova

4 extra large egg whites at room temperature (I used large eggs)

pinch of kosher salt

1 cup sugar (Next time I will use 3/4 cup sugar)

2 tsp corn starch (I would increase the cornstarch to 3 tsp)

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Slice some strawberries and sprinkle with sugar, I poured a scant 1/2 cup of rhubarb cordial on them and macerated for an hour or two. Remove strawberries, drain in sieve over a bowl and set aside, save the rhubarb syrup it’s wonderful drizzled on the pavlova.

Pre heat the oven to 180 degree’s or the lowest setting on your oven. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment and draw circles 8 inch round on the parchment and turn over so the pencil or pen is not touching the batter, or do as I did and use three 8 inch parchment rounds (had to use a half and quarter sheet pan) I wanted 3 thinner layers rather than one thick layer.

Put the egg whites in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the pinch of salt and whip until they are thick and foamy, slowly add the sugar about a tbs at a time and beat them until they are glossy and stiff (about 2-3 minutes).  Fold the corn starch and vanilla into the egg whites. Spoon onto the parchment rounds and smooth. Bake for 1 1/2 hours turn off the oven and leave in the oven until completely cooled. I liked using the parchment rounds because it was very easy to peel them off the meringue rounds.

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To Assemble

Whip the cream, add the sugar and vanilla and if you have a tsp of elderflower syrup. I used 1 cup of heavy cream, a generous tbs of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.

Place a meringue round on serving plate or cake stand. Spoon some of the strawberries on and top and some whipped cream. Place the other meringue round on top, repeat and top with last meringue, spoon some of the whipped cream on top and decorate with berries.

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