Posts from the fruit Category

baked strawberry buttermilk cake slice 3 mixing batter for strawberry buttermilk cake 3.1 topping buttermilk cake with strawberries 3.2 topping buttermilk cake with circle strawberries 3.6 demerara sprinkle on top of strawberry buttermilk cake1 sliced strawberry buttermilk breakfast cake
I grew up in a small house in the country. This time of year I could see flickering constellations of yellow fireflies hovering over the bean fields from my bedroom window at night.  Behind our property, the horizon line was divided by a corn field, then woods.  Our house sat sandwiched between these two typical Indiana crops along with a yard that was big enough for kickball games, sprinkler races, and our very own strawberry patch.  It was in that backyard patch where you could find me and my big sister squatting, weeding, and snacking on sun-warmed strawberries on summer afternoons.

Almost every night for dinner my mom made fresh pie or fruit salad that included the strawberries that survived the journey from the backyard into the house. When we reached a surplus of berries, especially those blood red, almost-over-ripened, starting-to-get-mushy ones, my mom would make jam.  I remember the heat from the strawberries stewing on the stove top was no match for the already hot and heavy Indiana summertime air.  The scent that it added to the atmosphere made the humidity not only bearable but luscious.

Maybe that’s why I like this cake. When it is baking it smells just like it used to in our humid, un-air-conditioned house in the country while my mom was stirring strawberries on the stove top and bread was baking in the oven.  I call it a breakfast cake not only because it includes an egg, some buttermilk, and fresh fruit, but because it is a satisfying pairing with your routine breakfast beverage. No frosting or glaze is necessary since the baked cake comes out of the oven with a top crust of roasted red fruit and a crown of brown sugar crunch.  Of course you can eat this cake at any time of day. Eat it after dinner for dessert with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or dollop of whipped cream and single espresso.  Eat it for an afternoon snack.  This cake is not fussy.  It is comforting and just sweet enough to cut the density of the day much like the sumptuous humidity of jam-making days in the country.


Strawberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup – 1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, washed, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
Put butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla.
Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
Transfer batter to buttered pie plate.
Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible.
Sprinkle at least 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or demerara sugar) over berries.
Bake cake 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50 minutes more.
Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack.
Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.

1 morning superpowers muffin half sweet potato 2 roasted sweet potato skinned in foil 3 ingredients morning superpowers muffins 4 empty batter bowl with scoop 4 ready to bake morning superpowers muffins 6 morning superpowers muffin in tinIf ever a muffin were meal-worthy and meaty, this is the one.  It begins with a mashed sweet potato and ends with a team of ‘superfoods’ encased in the batter.  This is the type of muffin that you throw in your backpack before a hike or grab on the way out the door to make up for breakfast.  Or better yet, have it for breakfast, toasted and topped with peanut (or other nut/seed) butter, and you will face the day as a force to be reckoned with!  The recipe below is a riff on a paleo inspired recipe for Morning Glory Muffins.  My version includes dried blueberries, walnuts, flaxseed, and coconut.  Did I mention that there is no butter, oil, or refined sugar in them; they really are super muffins.

Morning Superpowers Muffins

Ingredients:
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (one small-medium sweet potato)
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs (slightly whisked)
___
1/2 cup all purpose flour (3/4 cup almond flour for GF version)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cardamom
1 t vanilla extract
1 t baking powder
___
1/8 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1-2 T flaxseed
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup raw walnuts
___
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl (in three steps) until fully blended.
  3. Coat muffin tin with cooking spray or papers and divide batter evenly.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool completely.  Even better the next day.  Makes 6 big ones!

1 close up slice glazed hot toddy bundt 2 lemon bourbon honey glaze on bundt 3 four roses bourbon lemons honey jar 3 lemon zest sugar 4 creaming butter sugar lemon bundt mixing batter hot toddy lemon bundt slicedHot toddy weather seems to be here to stay this winter. It seemed only natural to me to create a bundt cake inspired by the honey lemon bourbon beverage.  The perfect slice to complement hot tea, hot toddy, or hot company.

Hot Toddy Bundt Cake
adapted from Taste of Home

Cake
1 cup butter, softened
zest of two lemons
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons bourbon

Glaze
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon bourbon
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (maybe more)

In a bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream and bourbon. Beat just until blended. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. tube pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Whisk together glaze ingredients. Using a pastry brush, coat the surface with glaze. Repeat every ten minutes or so to build up a sweet layer (think of it like basting). If you do not have the time or patience, thicken the glaze with additional confectioners’ sugar to make a frosting for spreading over the top.

a jar of ginger mango granola dried mango plate pour olive oil in granola miz bowl scene of granola stove mix tin of baked ginger mango granola two jars of granolaA fresh batch of granola for my upcoming road trip! This go around, I changed up Melissa Clarks’ recipe with some dried mango, candied ginger, and walnuts. Packed and ready: a tasty remedy for the munchies and a potentially queasy stomach, along with a hint of summertime flavor.

Ingredients

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (regular or gluten free)

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup coconut

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup chopped (or torn) dried mangoes

1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add mangoes and candied ginger, tossing to combine.

Much alone or atop yogurt.

a ball jar of freeze dried tangerines b ground tangerine dust chocolate covered freeze dried tangerine tangerine air brownie the stacked brownies tangerine dustRecently I noticed a new addition to the freeze dried foods selection at my local market: tangerines. While I enjoy fresh tangerines, they are rarely available where I live, and the texture of canned tangerines is a little slimy for my liking.  Imagine my delight for this new storable tangerine option!  Crisp and filled with air like a cheese puff, though incredibly light and flavorful, I immediately thought of making bittersweet and bright, dark chocolate snacks with these freeze dried fruits.  Simple to do; the small tiger-striped bites melt in your mouth without the dense chewiness of dried fruit or over the saturated syrupy taste of a jelly.  Fun for a party!  Next I ground the remaining freeze dried tangerines in my coffee grinder to add an unexpected citrus twist atop dark chocolate chunk brownies.  Make your favorite brownie recipe, bake, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then let the tangerine dust work it’s magic at the very last minute.  The tangerine and dark chocolate air is an added bonus.

bourbon soak golden raisin cup

x bourbon and golden raisin cup
At the end of my rainbow at the moment are little pots of golden raisins. Usually I just eat them by the handful and add them to Cream of Rice hot cereal, but since a holiday is coming up, I currently have a batch of the little tart wrinkly white grapes soaking in a bath of bourbon. Today they have been busy plumping up and spiking up before being baked in a batch of Irish Oatmeal cookies for Saint Patrick’s Day. I also just liked how they were glowing in the sunshine yesterday. May the wind be at your back, dear friends.

Update: cookie success!

irish oatmeal cookie rainbow plate

blueberry butter cookies mixing blueberry powder

scoop blueberry butter cookie batter

silver spray duff cake graffiti

x part of blueberry butter cookie inside

1 silver moon blueberry cookies

These cookies are not the prettiest.  Or are they?   At first glance they remind me of homemade purple Playdoh (which is always tempting to eat, though the grape smell unfortunately misguides the actually unsavory ball of pliable salt dough), but the more I look at them I see edible moon rocks.  Maybe even robot food?  They also seem prettier the more I eat them; soft, sweet butter cookies with a hint of blueberry flavor are perfect with a cup of afternoon tea.

Drawing from one of my favorites, The Minimalist and “Everything” guy Mr. Mark Bittman, I made a gluten free blueberry butter cookie recipe based on “One dough, endless cookies.” I love his approach: start with the basics, keep it pure, and create small change-ups for new big flavors. The basic recipe appears in a few of his cookbooks and also on his website here. The final intergalactic touch was a spray of Duff’s cake graffiti in metallic silver.  In the future I plan to make this recipe in smaller scone-like bites, drizzled with a lemon glaze.

Gluten Free Blueberry Butter Cookies Adapted from Mark Bittman

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour (2 cups Bob’s Gluten Free Shortbread Mix)

1/4 cup blueberry powder (grind 1/2 cup freeze-dried blueberries)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed.

1. Heat the oven to 375. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar; add the vanilla and egg and beat until well blended.

2. Combine the flour, blueberry powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add half the dry ingredients to the dough, beat for a moment, then add the milk. Beat for about 10 seconds, then add the remaining dry ingredients and a little more milk, if necessary, to make a soft dough.

3. Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes. Let cool.

From decorations and music to food and drink, I get all sorts of sentimental feelings during the holiday season. You may remember last year when I shared one of my favorite tree-gazing beverages, the pink snow float. This year I put together a more tart beverage with pink grapefruit and lime, more for tree-rocking and sushi eating than lazy lights gazing. Adjust the amounts based on your taste. Begin with pink grapefruit juice, add gin if you wish, then drop in sweet scoops of lime sherbet (I used my melon baller for the little glasses). Top off the drink with club soda or another fizzy liquid and watch the bright green bubbles grow to the top of your glass.

Rocking around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday! Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way.”

“Because it was cozy, simple, and delicious,” she said.

I get giddy when people think of me when they discover a new recipe, so you can imagine my delight when my friend Jillian wrote to me about her experience in the kitchen making October Apple Cake. We agreed that the possibilities for variations on this recipe were ripe, and this is how the November Golden Pear Cake came to be.

I changed up the modest ingredient list to make my own perfectly sweet & gluten free autumnal cake with pears, substituting oat flour with rice flour and swapping out the chocolate chunks with cubes of buttery caramel. Can I describe a dessert cake as both delicate and hearty? I hope so, because this recipe seems to fit those descriptions, and when sliced in wedges, it radiates like the golden November sunshine.

Enjoy, serve, or gift the November Golden Pear Cake at any time of day. It’s amiable to eat with a fork and cup of tea at the breakfast table, as a handheld treat on a fall forest potluck picnic, or as appetizer pick-ed mini bites preceding a festive night’s cheese course. Happy Novembering.

Ingredients

1 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 pears (I used D’Anjou)

optional: 1/2 cup caramel bits or 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Grease a pan with olive oil and dust with flour, set aside (I also lined the bottom with a circle of parchment paper).

2. In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 minutes.

4. Peel the pears and chop them into chunks. Chop up caramel or chocolate into chunks.

5. Add the brown sugar and olive oil to the fluffy, fluffy eggs and continue to whip for another minute. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until combined.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then nestle the pear and caramel chunks until they are nice and snug in the batter.

7. Bake for about an hour, then if you can stand the wait, let it cool. Turn out the cake onto a plate and serve hot with drizzled caramel and sprinkled with sea salt, or cold with freshly whipped vanilla cream on top.

It’s getting to be sweater weather around here, and though I don’t knit, I do keep this colorful variegated yarn on hand called “schoolyard.” The colors in this yarn remind me of a basic box of Crayolas, and I like to use it for tying up brown paper packages and cellophane bags of goodies. The other day I brought it into the kitchen and used it to cozy up some naked lolli sticks for this year’s festive candied apples.

Last year I bookmarked this Brooklyn Brew Shop recipe on The Mash and thought it was prime time to try it for myself and cozy up some bare apples!  I followed the outlined recipe with the exceptions of subbing light brown sugar I had in the cupboard for the dark brown sugar and the always cozy double chocolate stout (stout = “porter on steroids” as once described by a beer shop guy) for the maple chocolate porter listed. I had difficulty actually biting into the candied apple, so I ended up slicing the apples and serving them that way. The look of the toffee is sinister and the flavor is slightly sweet with hints roasted coffee. I think I will make another batch of toffee and form a few porter candy spiderweb toppers for the weekend (cinnamon/molasses gelato sundaes, anyone?).

To make your own sweatery sticks, glue the beginning of the yarn at one end of the stick with a dot of liquid glue and overlap to cover the glued piece. Continue wrapping the stick with yarn to desired length and secure the end with another dot of liquid glue.

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