Categories
beverage fruit holiday

tart tree float

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.”

Categories
cake fruit gluten free

november golden pear cake

“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.

Categories
candy craft fruit

cozy porter candy apples

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.

Categories
fruit quick bread

apple bacon monkey bread minis

Monkey bread for all seasons is what I’m talking about.  And while we’re at it, let’s add a few extra food groups to the mix and make them in individual servings.  Of course you can make your own bread dough, but I went the quick route and used canned biscuits.  I find it most satisfying to cut through the buttery biscuit dough with kitchen shears.

Once the dough is divided, coat the pieces generously in cinnamon and sugar (shake ’em in a bag!).  Chunk up a few apples (I used Gala this time) and break apart baked bacon pieces.  Load up the popover tins in layers of cinnamon sugar dough, apples, and bacon, then spoon about 2 teaspoons of melted butter and brown sugar over the tops.  Bake for about 20 minutes at 350-degrees.  These monkey bread packages are most delicious straight from the oven.

The flavors were inspired by one of my favorite autumn meal pairings of pork barbecue sandwiches and cinnamon apple cobbler.  The little bakers twine bow and parchment paper package was inspired by these brown paper (CAKE) packages tied up with string.  Happy Fall, All!

Categories
beverage craft family fruit

fabric apple favors

For the party we had for my folks last week, we wanted to send our guests home with something cozy and fallish. What says that more than a pouch of fragrant mulling spices nestled inside of a fabric apple? My sister sewed the apples while my niece and I measured out spices into cheesecloth pouches (the apple template came from a Gooseberry Patch Christmas book). We finished them off by tucking in a recipe for spiced cider and a cinnamon stick for the stem. After the spices are used, the apple pouch can be stuffed with anything and tied up for decoration. I don’t know about you, but I could smell some mulled cider or wine everyday for the next four months.

Categories
fruit pastry

peach wontons with browned butter whiskey sauce

Here’s another recipe where the measurements are up to you. Ingredients: fresh peaches, brown sugar, wonton wrappers, butter, and whiskey. Once the peaches are sliced (or diced), sprinkle them with brown sugar (I used smoked demerara sugar, but brown sugar is also good). Place the peach mix on top of wonton wrappers. Fold over and pinch edges together using water or egg white as adhesive. Fry one minute on each side in hot oil. Drain and cover with powdered sugar or browned butter whiskey sauce. To make the sauce, brown some butter on the stovetop, then whisk in some whiskey and brown sugar. Cook till it reduces to a near caramel state and pour over tops of fried peach wontons. Voilà: crunchy dough, spiked glaze, sweet steam, and warm August peaches, intersecting in one juicy wonton bite.

Categories
cheese fruit gluten free vegetable

celery date salad

Last week my mom spent a day researching the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington at the library where I work, so we had a lunch date downtown!  We walked to a sit-down restaurant where I ordered a falafel with a side dish of celery salad. I enjoyed so much of that chunky crunch that I made up my own salad at home based on the combination of flavors on my lunch plate that day.  It’s a great dish to prepare on a night when you crave the catharsis that accompanies chopping vegetables, and now every time I eat it I will remember the intrigue of Mary Custis Lee and that fun lunch.

For the salad:

Chop up celery, dates, and red onions.
Whisk together apple cider vinegar and honey.
Toss it all real good.
Sprinkle crumbled feta over top.

Turn a side dish into a meal:

Add crispy bacon and/or roasted chickpeas to the pile.

Categories
fruit poem

my introduction to ground cherries

In a parking lot on a card table before a rusty pickup truck.

Nestled beside zucchini logs and onion bundles.

Spilling from a flimsy wooden box.

Pocket-size paper lanterns?

Husks grass to blush.

Petite globe fruit packages.

Green apple, roasted pineapple flesh.

New ritual for the summer pre-meal ceremonies.

Shucking corn, snapping beans, unwrapping ground cherries.

Categories
fruit gluten free

pushing summer

The June bearing strawberries are ripe as ever, and it’s still May! Juicy strawberries and 95-degree temperatures means fruity push-up pop time in my backyard. Along with the fresh strawberries, I had a few apricots and frozen blackberries to puree in the blender. I experimented with different ratios of honey and rice milk to blend up with the fruit and even added a few layers of honeyed rice milk in between fruit layers.

Though I had to wait two hours (for hardening) between filling the flavor fields, I thought it was worth it, because the combined taste was exciting. Visually, the finished pops were like a lickable frozen homage to Mark Rothko (just don’t gaze too long, or they will melt). Perfect for this summery weather and also useful as smoothie starters to keep in the freezer. Cheers to unofficial summer!

Categories
fruit meal quick bread

yeast-raised pancakes with ginger syrup & oranges


I never met a pancake I didn’t like, and I met a tasty new one this weekend. After flagging the recipe at SweetFineDay over a year ago, I finally got around to making Mark’s Yeast-Raised Pancakes. I remember reading the entry from the Pastry Chef of Whimsy & Spice and thinking to myself, those sound too good to be true: lighter, fluffier, slightly-yeasty pancakes that are ready to cook when you wake up?

Believe it, folks. Whip up the batter before bedtime and by morning you will find that your recipe has raised overnight! All that remains is cook time.

I burned the first few, because my skillet was too hot. After turning the dial down to between the 2 & 3, the pancakes puffed up and cooked throughout while staying golden on the tops and bottoms. The addition of ginger syrup and oranges to the yeasty pancake plate was reminiscent of a Belgian White beer brewed in orange peel. Welcome to the breakfast table at Summerflavorville.