Brûléed Peaches

Brûléed Peaches

Sometimes you have failures in the kitchen.  You come up with a recipe idea, execute it, and it just doesn’t come out right.  Back to square one.  It can be a real bummer.

Other times, you have recipe failures and out of them comes something brilliant!  That’s what happened here.  I really wanted to make peach crème brûlée.  I had a bunch of peach skins I saved from making a recipe with peeled peaches.  I thought I could steep the peach skins in the cream and that would impart a light peachy flavor into the crème brûlée.  I was so excited.  My husband and son were so excited.  We couldn’t wait to crack into that sugared top and dig into the creamy peach custard!  But it didn’t work.  You couldn’t taste any peach at all.  Major bummer.

Then an idea struck me.  Why not just brûlée the peaches themselves and serve them with ice cream?  Yes, so much yes!

Cast-Iron Cherry Cobbler

Cast-Iron Cherry Cobbler

Stop what you’re doing right now and make this cobbler.  You will thank you me, I promise.

So the story goes, I had a bunch of cherries on hand and was in a baking mood the other morning.  I hadn’t made cobbler yet this summer, so I decided to whip one up.  I figured I’d get this made and have a nice dessert ready for later that evening and the rest of the weekend.  I didn’t mean for it be breakfast that morning.  After all, it IS a dessert.  I didn’t mean for us to eat nearly all of it one sitting.  After all, there are ONLY 3 of us.

Strawberry Bruschetta w/ Nutella & Whipped Coconut Cream

Strawberry Bruschetta w/ Nutella & Whipped Coconut CreamI’ve been making this ultra simple dessert for years and I look forward to strawberry season specifically for this treat!  Grilled bread, topped with Nutella, sliced strawberries and whipped coconut cream is the perfect ending to any springtime meal, especially when you’ve already got the grill fired up.

In years past, I topped the strawberries with homemade whipped cream (the dairy kind), but this year I decided to give whipped coconut cream a try…and all I could think was, “Why the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks didn’t I try this sooner?”  It’s good.  Darn good.  So stinkin’ good.  I. like. really. lots.

Irish Stout Floats

Irish stout floats
Although there isn’t a drop of Irish blood in my family tree, without fail every March 17th my mom would cook up a HUGE batch of corned beef and cabbage…I say huge because I’ve got 6 brothers and sisters, so 9 of us all together–we’re pretty much our own baseball team.  We all devoured it, dressed in as much green as we could possibly find to cover us head to toe.  And woe betide the sibling who forgot…our pinchers were at the ready, and we weren’t a gentle bunch!

Indian-spiced Kettle Corn with Coconut Flakes (and a reminder)

Indian-spiced kettle corn with coconut flakes

every now and then you get a reminder.  a reminder that’s strong.  a reminder that makes you pause…and forget the everydayness of too much laundry, too little time, and too few minutes spent at the breakfast table sitting mesmerized by your son’s inability to care that his “brother” (a.k.a. pet cat) just stuck its tail in his nearly overflowing cereal bowl (when the generic brand of cinnamon toast crunch cereal is on sale, it’s christmas in our household–there just isn’t enough milk in the world…fill that bowl to the brim!).

i digress.

Glazed Pear Donuts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Glazed Pear Donuts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Throughout the week, I stick to a pretty consistent, healthy breakfast routine.  Yogurt and granola, oatmeal, fresh fruit, or a breakfast smoothie…something along those lines.  And then, Saturday rolls around…and…DONUTS.  It’s really quite simple.  Weekends were made for donuts.  And donuts always make weekends better.  They’re the type of breakfast food that says, JUST CHILL.  Enjoy the morning, stay in your pajamas a little longer, linger at the table with your steamy cup of coffee, favorite magazine, and eat that second (third?) donut.  Just because.  It’s the weekend.  Besides, they’re baked donuts, soooooo it’s ok.

Some baked donuts can be rather dry or too dense, but these donuts are fluffy and super moist from the finely diced pears.  Spiced up a bit with cinnamon and ginger, then dunked into a pear-cream cheese glaze and topped off with decadent gooey salted caramel sauce.

Blood Orange Honey Bread with Sunflower Seeds

Blood Orange Honey Bread with Sunflower Seeds
Blood oranges are deceptive.  They look all orange-y on the outside and then when you cut into one, it’s like BAM!  Deep burgundy red!  It’s straight up trickery.  Their flavor?  Another little surprise.  They’re not as in-your-face sweet as “regular” oranges; they’re more complex.  It’s kind of a grapefruit + cherry situation going on, with subtle floral notes hanging out in the background.  They’re sorta magical and a bit wicked; I’ll definitely be making a cocktail with the juice…hello, bloody martini anyone?  YES!

But on a more proper note, let’s put them in bread, a quick bread.  This healthyish bread is made with greek yogurt, applesauce, honey, white whole wheat flour and sunflower seeds.  No refined sugar.  No butter or oil.  It makes a great breakfast topped with sunflower seed butter and a little drizzle of honey.  You could also toast it and put a scoop of ice cream on top for a simple dessert.  Or, do as the British do and serve it with tea in the afternoon…ginger tea would pair nicely!  Brilliant…bloody brilliant!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate by the Seasonal Veg Head

The holidays.  They make me a little nuts.  Each year just when I think I have my sh…stuff together, I realize I’m waaaaay behind.  Gifts need to be made, groceries bought, presents wrapped, cards sent, meals planned, goodies baked, gatherings attended, along with all the usual work/kid/husband/house type of stuff.  My mind / not handle.  AHHH!

What I really want is just to chill out.  Enjoy it.  And maybe shove some chocolate in my face.  No bigs.

This winter staple puts you squarely in the intersection of soothing peppermint tea and rich, comforting chocolate…it’s relaxing yet invigorating.  Peppermint is a natural stress reliever and has several health benefits and chocolate solves all worlds problems.  Um, that’s not true, but it does make people very happy.  This is your time out.  Indulge and reenergize.

S’mores: Homemade Graham Crackers and Honey Marshmallows

Homemade marshmallows & graham crackers_2

It’s November.  The air has turned chilly.  The farmer’s market is closed for the season.  I’m no longer craving fresh salsa and garlicky bruschetta.  It’s all about soups, baked apples, and bonfires.  And with bonfires comes S’mores.  It’s a prerequisite.  You can’t attend a bonfire and NOT have marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.  Kids would revolt.  The planet would implode.  And most importantly, I wouldn’t get my chocolate fix.  …oh HELL no, that ain’t gonna happen.

But let’s kick up this pyro-loving dessert up a notch.  Homemade is where it’s at.  So much yummier (my husband hates that word) than store-bought and people will FUH-REEK OUT over you bringing homemade marshmallows & graham crackers to the party….”Whaaat?  That’s even possible?”  Yup.  Dig in.  This might be the best thing you do in a long time.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake Squares w/ Cinnamon Whipped Cream & Petita Praline

My son surprised me the other morning.  He came to the table during breakfast carrying three Everyday Food magazines and said, “Mom, I was looking through these and picked out three recipes I’d like you to make.”  What?  My 10-year old son was looking at cooking magazines?  And actually found it interesting enough to pick out some recipes?  I turned giddy.  I instantly had visions of us spending hours cooking together, watching cooking shows together, talking about recipe ideas and interesting ingredients.  I said, “Sure, of course!  We can make them together!”  He showed me the recipes, we tagged the pages, and the plan was set in motion.