can just smell the campfire now. I can feel that tinge of burn in my eyes from the smoke, and I can hear the John Denver.
Campfires remind me of the last nights of sleep away summer camp. When I sat with a group of girls… girls who just a week earlier had been complete strangers, now absolute best friends… bidding farewell to our Summer time together, wondering how we’d ever live without each other, without craft hour, without the flagpole song, without the knot workshop, without sliding down the big hill on a giant block of ice. Just HOW will we go on?
We’d sing Leaving on a Jet Plane and cry… all the way CRY and promise friendship and love and more summers to come. Then we’d eat these bananas gooey chocolate and marshmallow bananas, sleep one last night in our bunks, fold up our sleeping bags (impossible for child hands), and wait for our parents to come pick us up to take us back to home-summer with all of its daytime television and chores (uuugh chores).
I’m still figuring out how to recreate that campfire feeling here in New Orleans. I think it’s too humid for fire. Is that a thing? I think, yes. Luckily, I have an oven that heats itself with fire and I can hustle up the most gooey part of my memories: baked bananas, in foil, with a glorious mess of toppings.
always wanted a ponytail. A ponytail I could position extra high on my head with hair long enough to cascade down to my shoulders, cheerleader-style, youthful, bouncy. The kind of hair, that you can flip around to express various emotions, from bitchy to bored to flirty.
I don’t have ponytail hair. Never did.
What I’ve always had is a fine, curly, frizzy, perfectly acceptable, head of hair that I’m completely grateful for. It’s just not ponytail hair. It’s not hair I can whip around to express my enthusiasm for life.
That’s how hair works, right?
Summer fruit, all of the gorgeous peaches, apricots, strawberries, and plums… they’re like a gorgeous, shiny, lustrous, perfectly bouncy, high ponytail. Showing off, effortless… a little enviable even.
Luckily, no matter what hair grows from our head, high ponytail or not… it’s our time. It’s Summer and the markets are bursting with sweet fruit flavors. Let’s get at em!
ecause it’s Monday. Because it’s just about summertime. Because we like fruit with our breakfast. Because we’re grown and we can do what we want… we get to drink lots of coffee and eat lots of cake for breakfast.
Blueberries, oats, and pure maple syrup make anything breakfast so… CAKE it is!
I’ve been experimenting a lot with gluten-free baking lately. I’m sure you’ve noticed. It’s possible you have a question mark in your mind about it. Well… I want to learn how to bake without wheat. Baking is such a science and I know how wheat flour interacts with leavening and liquid. Gluten-free flours are a whole different science. I want to know that I can still make fluffy cakes and flakey biscuits in the absence of wheat. So far I’ve had some major fails and happy triumphs. This is one of the triumphs.
Eventually I’m going to try making my own gluten-free flour blend to use in my kitchen but I’m still getting my footing. Right now I use King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Flour and I’m going to give Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’s All-Purpose Flour Blend. They know what’s what!
If you’re hoping for more gluten-FULL coffee cake recipes, here’s your jam:
• Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Glaze. A recipe from my cookbook Homemade Decadence.
• Pear Crumble Coffee Cake. You might not be in the mood for pears, but I think strawberries would also be mega!
• Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins. I mean… let’s make our cake taste like coffee!
• Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins. These really are THE BEST!
have very fond memories of a stained red tongue, way sticky fingers, and a messy stained t-shirt from those convenience store/ cherry-sweet slurpees. You know… the ones that come with that long plastic straw with the scooper on the end? Heaven for an eight year old. Follow that slupree with a good run through the sprinklers and I’m pretty sure there was nothing better.
We’re grown now (right?). We have bills to pay and really… I don’t think we give ourselves enough time for slurpees.
Say hello to adult slurpee-ing featuring fresh raspberries, lime, and hallelujah for gin!
We can skip the sticky fingers and stained shirts these days, but I really wouldn’t be above a god run through the sprinklers.
t’s part laziness… putting ice cream between two crackers and calling it a treat.
There’s some guile… folding crisp bacon, banana, and peanut butter into sweet vanilla ice cream.
It’s all-the-way riiight… dipping anything and everything into melted milk chocolate.
So here we are.
Crackers in hand. Bacon in our ice cream. Melted chocolate all over the kitchen. And we have Elvis to thank. The man who made a peanut butter and banana sandwich ultra popular would surely have been wooed supreme but these frozen treats.
It’s summer snacking! Long live the King (and bacon in ice cream).
‘d easily enjoy a daily diet of milkshakes and french fries. Steady. I’d never flinch. It would be a dream.
In related news, I just spent the last six minutes browsing milk shake machines on Amazon.
Milkshake diet aside, I’m currently content with my fresh peaches, yogurt, and blender. It’s the reasonable alternative to milkshakes day and night.
This lassi is packed with healthful yogurt, fresh summer peaches, tangy buttermilk, and peach pie spice. The fact that it’s flecked with peach skin feels like a bonus. It’s summery, healthy, chilled, and supremely refreshing.
I hope it makes you happy. Also, I’d totally want cheese on my fries.
efore I was tall enough to see over and into the ice cream case at the drug store my very favorite flavor was strawberry ice cream.
I remember the ritual very well because going out for ice cream was so rare and such a treasure my eyes widen now just thinking about it.
A scooper girl, teen-aged and likely grumpy, would wrap a small piece of tissue paper around a flat-bottomed, kinda cardboard-y cone. She’d bend forward into the case with an ice cream scoop and emerge with a gorgeously haphazard ball of pale pink, strawberry studded, frozen cream that she’d precariously shape onto the cone. The treasure would be passed first to my mother, who your take a giant bite out of the cone before handing it down to me. Let’s not even talk about how frustrating it is to watch your precious ice cream being BITTEN INTO… that’s just childhood, you don’t make the rules but you do occasionally get ice cream. I’d hold onto the cone carefully but mostly desperately, willing myself not to lick the ice cream off its perch.
These fluffy strawberry and cream cakes remind me of the days when I was much younger, shorter, and didn’t have to buy my own ice cream. Those are precious days, indeed.
Oh. Quick note… once I got taller and could see inside the ice cream case for myself… my favorite flavor was that neon blue bubble gum ice cream. BUBBLE GUM in ice cream. Two treats in one! Such a loophole. Also disgusting.
ea. I definitely stood in the kitchen, staring at this gorgeous summer salad, wondering/hoping/wishing/longing to put all of these ingredients between two slices of bread to make an extra buttery, extra mozzarella-y grilled cheese.
I think watermelon in a sandwich might be out-of-bounds. I think this ultra fresh summer salad belongs on a plate with a knife and fork. I think I just want to turn everything into a grilled cheese sandwich.
Related: Lasagna Grilled Cheese
Summery goodness! And the great news is that tomatoes and watermelon are only going to get better as we get deeper into summer.
Now excuse me while I go daydream more grilled cheese situations.
ust in case you’re looking for an excuse to consumer obscene amounts of whipped cream or French Vanilla Ice Cream… just in case. Here we are!
The days are long and warming and I’m pretty sure I can smell peaches and berries in the air. It’s intoxicating and has me daydreaming about fruit pie combinations while lingering in the produce section at the grocery.
Today we peach and blueberry. Soon I’m thinking a strawberry raspberry pie is in order. Don’t even get me started on apricots.
It’s about to be a great summer!
You know how I feel about pie crust. I’ve never been shy about coaxing large amounts of butter into perfectly flakey pie crusts.
Sidenote: Five Tips For The Best All-Butter Pie Crust From Scratch.
This version of pie perfection is made with gluten-free flour. I love the King Arthur Flour variety and the only amendment I made was to add an egg yolk to the buttermilk. The yolk helps with binding the crust but let me be honest, the crust was still a bit crumbly.
Here’s the nitty gritty.
very good baker has a lot of secrets.
They have a secret stash of chocolate hidden in the back of the pantry (usually behind the garbanzo beans). They have an amazing recipe for the very best Peach Pie that they share with exactly zero people. They have a secret cookie scooper they don’t let anyone else use. There’s the vintage church cookbook they like to keep all to themselves, the stack of good puff pastry hidden under the ice packs in the freezer, and the secret spell they cast over all of their batters before they go in the oven… because bakers are actual wizards with magical powers and everyone knows it.
The secret to these dark and fudge brownies… because I try to share all of my best secrets… is Bertolli Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil. It’s perfect for baking! We get all of the good, cholesterol-free fats from olive oil without the overwhelming olive oil taste that we might not want in our sweet baked goods. Oh! Pro-tip: this olive oil is also great for frying. It has a super high smoke-point and can withstand high temperature for frying up treats. Win!
Now… to celebrate Bertolli’s 150th (!!!) anniversary, let’s treat ourselves to the best brownies!
To celebrate this stellar anniversary, join me in entering the Taste of Tradition Recipe Contest! Submit your favorite family or original recipe using Bertolli Olive Oils and/or Vinegars to BertolliOliveOil.Tumblr.com for a chance to win a stellar prize: a trip for 2 to Tuscany! You have until July 31,2015 but don’t delay! This is just too good not to celebrate!
This post is sponsored by Bertolli Olive Oil. All opinions are my own.
banged my head against the wall one good time. I wanted cheesecake, like a really big slice of cold creamy cheesecake, and I wanted to do anything anything anything at all NOT to make a cheesecake. Headbang. How can I get to cheesecake into my face without leaving my house… without having to make an actual cheesecake? The last time I foil-wrapped and water-bathed a cheesecake was probably 1997. It ended in a tragically soggy crust and I’ll never do it again.
One good bang against the wall and presto! Ice cream is the answer. Cream cheesy and rich to mimic cheesecake flavors, berries because they’re purple and delicious, and chunks of graham cracker crumbs to simulate the all-important crust. Dreams: realized.
Basically, I’ll do anything not to get all the cheesecake flavor I can without actually making a cheesecake. Ice cream is my latest cheesecake hack. Past cheesecake hacks involve using a pie plate instead of a springform pan. I’m nothing if not clever in the kitchen. Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie.
ood ol’ Tom Collins is about to get all gussied up.
The classic Tom Collins cocktail is a simple mixture of gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar, and sparkling water. Essentially, sparkling gin lemonade. Undeniably delicious and summery.
This Mother’s Day update includes floral lavender which plays very well with herbaceous gin and bright lemon. Essentially, we’re giving this classic cocktail and sweet and feminine twist because we’re endlessly clever and thirsty.
t’s time we start perfecting our Porch Sit game.
A Porch Sit is a late-afternoon gathering of friends, neighbors, a dog or two, a guitar or harmonica (optional), overlapping conversations, and sweet cold cocktails.
A Porch Sit is vital to summer, happy relationships, and good health. They stretch on into the evening and usually coincide with snacks, some sort of pasta salad, and a small dose of half-whispered gossip.
Cocktails are only part of the equation. Part but essential.
It’s Summer Pie Practice Season. Isn’t that what you call Spring?
Beautiful strawberries are starting to hit the markets, and they’re a bit early for super sweetness, but not too early to start experimenting with pies and practicing our lattice technique!
I hope this coming weekend finds you in the kitchen baking away. Maybe throw some blueberries in this pie, or a handful of raspberries. It’s the perfect time to get our Summer frame of mind right. Also, doesn’t everyone want a pie in their house come Sunday night?
These strawberries are big, beautiful, and not quite sweet enough for pie. Not to worry… nothing a little brown sugar can’t fix right up.
For more in pie adventures, see: Gluten-Free Strawberry Ginger Pie or Peach and Blueberry Pie… though it’s a little soon for peaches. I suppose we just need to be more patient before we get all Summer-pie-happy.
was looking for rainbow carrots. I was thinking we’d roast some carrots… you know, sit around a plate of carrots and just chat.
And then, nope.
Turns out strawberries are in season! Now. Already. It’s time!
Maybe still a little too soon for the white jeans and the flip flops (shut up California and Florida), but strawberries are here and we have major reason to celebrate (with dumplings).
Come with it!
Strawberries have yet to reach their peek in sweetness and extreme loveliness. When in doubt: ROAST! And there better be butter and a little bit of sugar.
always have the best intentions when I buy a bundle of bananas. ! daydream about protein-packed green smoothies. I toy with the idea of afternoon snacks with almond butter. I know I’ll eat them for breakfast with a cup of black coffee and a smile on my face.
Unfortunately, exactly none of that actually happens, and I’m left with a shameful bundle of brown bananas on my countertop a week later.
It never fails. It never does.
A bundle of bananas is meant for cake. Destiny. Sightly under baked with strawberries and pecans. Let’s!
Make and bake in the skillet! It’s really the best. If you aren’t a neurotic food blogger like me, you won’t need a million bowls big and small to bring together this skillet cake. Just a skillet, and spoon, and good attitude.
f you found me sitting on my living room floor drinking this green juice, eating peanut butter with a spoon straight from the container, and blasting 90’s Ani DiFranco, well… you could chalk that up to awesome taste, cool life-stylings, or… more likely, single real-life independent-woman cat-lady instincts come to life. Related: please listen to Dilate
I also have my old pair of Dr Martens from 1997 and I always think that oooonnneee day they might make sense on my body again. I know that will never be true, but a girl can hope.
Can we just get on with the juice? My peanut butter and Ani consumption are always part of the deal. You can dig it.
I‘m going to start a new line of pillows made exclusively out of this cream cheese pound cake. Edible bed pillows. Lay your head down at night and snack-and-sleep. If we’re going to turn aaanny cake into a pillow, this is it.
This is the softest, most tender cake thanks to both cream cheese and butter. Sponge-y and moist without being cloying or obnoxious. It’s the perfect pillow material. Like memory foam but… edible cake.
Or. I suppose you could serve this cake sliced on platters and plates. Also a viable option, just without the beauty rest. Think about it.
was trying to do a thing. A thing with waffles, cinnamon, sugar, and a blow torch.
The blow torch (perhaps not surprisingly) is where things went wrong.
I was trying to make a waffle brûlée. I thought that sprinkling toasty waffles with granulated sugar, and taking a torn to them would create that irresistible sugar snap-crack when brûlée meets fork. You know?
Turns out… taking a blow torch to a waffles creates REALLY BURNT WAFFLES. Like… the most burnt. Like… someone needs to take my baker’s card away. I’m benched.
Not all things work, but you have to try.
To hide my shame and my sins: blueberries. Fresh, juicy, forgiving, and un-torched.
In other news: I haven’t messed with eeevery waffle I’ve made. I’m actually pretty waffle proficient. I just got cocky.
• Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLTs.
• Mashed Potato Cheddar and Chive Waffles.
• Whole Grain Waffles with millet, poppy, and sunflower.
• Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles.
If I find the word ‘lazy’ in the title of a recipe, it’s just… I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, a recipe that couples my deep love for pie with my deep appreciation for sitting on my porch, sipping drinks, and talking trash. You mean I can have both homemade pie and lazy trash-talking all in one sweet situation!?
Well… yes, and also NO. You can have your pie (tart), but like any good pie, you’re going to have to work for it.
Yea. We can talk about it. I’m going to make us.
First, let’s talk about citrus!
The original recipe for this lazy / not-so-lazy tart calls for a Meyer Lemon. A whole Meyer Lemon. Peel, pith, insides. The whole shebang.
Meyer Lemons are all well and good, and you should totally use a big juicy one for this recipe. I happen to live inside this mess of citrus in The French Quarter and wanted to find a way to incorporate this crazy citrus into my tart.
These are calamondins! New fruit from my new city. Tiny, very tart, thin-skinned, lightly seeded citrus fruits. I halved these, scooped out the sneaky seeds, and added them to a blender for the pie filling.