My hands are tan. The tops at least…the palms are pinkish/orange (my carrot intake might be a touch out of control…again). They don’t look like my hands. Honestly, I think they look dirty…I am just so darn used to them being pale. My mind is weird. I can see the million tiny crevices and lines much easier now and they don’t seem sooo veiny right now. The skin on my knuckles are more reddish than tan…perhaps brick red? My scar on my left hand near my thumb, right at the wrist…the exact spot where your hand would hit the top oven coil if you were pulling a tray of cookies from the oven…that scar is almost invisible – blending nicely with the tan. And by most accounts…I am still pretty pale.
My hair is lightening up…nothing like it was when I was a little tike (see below)…but definetly blonder…especially the baby fine hair around my temples. I love the effect that warm sunshine has on my hair. P.S … I was not a photogenic child. There are a few hundred photos of me, in my parents hutch, of me …with that same exact face…
Freckles across my nose and cheeks have popped and are in full bloom. They make me look younger than I am. No matter the amount of sunblock will stop the freckles from sprouting….Freckles have had a permanent residence on my face from spring to fall since I was a child. I welcome them with open arms…I enjoy seeing them when I glance in the mirror, always a bit of a surprise that first week or so of spring. I wonder if there will be a summer where they won’t show up…most adults don’t have freckles. Or maybe they are just wearing makeup, hiding the little guys.
Iced coffee is becoming my morning ritual. It has thrown the barista at the hospital’s coffee cart for a loop. Nate now asks if I want it hot or cold…he is a quick learner. For some reason, iced coffee needs a touch of cream. Why? Hot coffee is taken black. Iced…I need cream. It is something I don’t understand. But Nate knows to give me the room for cream when I drink it iced. He is this good with the entire hospital staff and our insane coffee addiction.
Popsicles have found their way into my fridge. I bought a mixed box (strawberry, lime, and wild berry) and a coconut/banana box yesterday. I devoured a lime one on the short car ride home. I couldn’t wait. It is a childhood habit. Remember those Good Humor Strawberry Crunch bars…those were our favorite. I have switched to all-natural, real fruit, popsicles…but the feeling of summer in the air is the same. I am thinking of sticking one in my gin and tonic tonight.
I guess what I am saying is that summer has entered into my little world and is letting istelf be known. Hi. Welcome. I’ve been expecting you. Stay awhile. Warm my skin, lighten my hair, and brighten my days.
I have been craving lime for weeks now. The almost nightly gin and tonics with a squeeze of lime have been hitting the spot as of late, but I want more. I want to put it in everything I cook and bake. A squeeze here, some zest there…So, when I saw that Joy had whipped up a lime and berry bundt cake…I knew it would be recreated in my kitchen, sooner or later…or sooner rather than later. I swapped mixed berries for strawberries and added a lime glaze to make it really limey…and ladled roasted strawberries over each individual slice – a total must! Roasted strawberries in general are a total must, but that is for another blog post…
Not a lime fan? Swap it for lemon. Only have raspberries? Ok. No bigs. Make it your own and enjoy it in the late evening with perhaps another gin and tonic. Eat it as the sun is setting and the shadows are getting longer and the air begins to cool. Enjoy it as you relax on your patio and smile as you hear the squeals and laughter of the kids next door as they play late into the evening. Eat it as you sit and listen to baseball on the radio like your grandparents did… Eat it as you welcome summer…
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 cups Fresh Strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- 8 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
- 3 to 3½ Cups Powdered Sugar
- Zest of 1 Lime
- Pinch of Salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and lime zest and with back of a spoon or fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar. Voila..you have lime sugar!
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together lime sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together eggs, butter, buttermilk, and lime juice.
- Pour wet ingredients over drying ingredients. Stir until all dry ingredients are combined and moistened. The batter will be thick. Fold in strawberries to evenly distribute.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and place in preheated oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes until a toothpick when inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes before inverting cake onto wire rack – let cool completely before icing.
- Once cool, prepare icing. In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, powdered sugar, lime zest, and salt. Whisk until smooth. The icing will be thin. Pour icing over cake and serve immediately. Note: I refrigerated the icing, making the icing thicker without adding more powdered sugar.
Adapted from Joy the Baker
30 years. 3 decades. 1,565.32 weeks. Even more days, hours, minutes, and seconds. 30 years of heart beats and breaths. 30 years where smiles have outnumbered frowns. Laughter has been abundant. Tears have been rare. Cities have been explored and oceans have been swam. Miles have been walked, ran, and flown. Friendships forged and loves lost. There have been high hopes and big dreams alongside stinging disappointments and slight blunders.
While the past 30 years (especially the previous 5+) have seemingly flown by with little resistance (and I am sure the next 30 will do the same)…I am honestly and wholeheartedly looking forward to this upcoming decade. I would be lying if there haven’t been moments in the past year where I have slightly freaked out about turning 30…they weren’t moments of comparison between my position in life and that of others. We all lead different lives at varying paces. However, do you ever feel like you are just tumbling along like a rogue sock in this big dryer called life? Yeah…moments of feeling lost in the shuffle have made me apprehensive about turning 30. I guess I always assumed 30 year olds didn’t tumble. 30 year olds knew what they wanted. They walked confidently. How naive my younger self was. While I don’t feel like I am tumbling about, but have gracefully graduated to gentle stumbling…I think learning how to confidently walk is what awaits me/us in our 30’s. And you are silly if you can’t find the joy in that.
Birthdays have a tendency to be celebrated with layered cakes and multiple scoops of chocolate ice cream and rivers of hot fudge and mountains of whipped cream and showers of sprinkles. However, after I recently had a rather heated (ha!) text message conversation with a friend over the best cake flavor (chocolate versus spice), we both realized that cake was our 4th favorite dessert. Who argues over their 4th favorite dessert? Pies, cookies, and brownies are favored over cake…all day, every day. So, on this 30th birthday of mine…there will be no cake, but a dessert I have made no less than 5 times in the past 3 weeks. A favorite of mine? Perhaps.
The simplicity that is a crisp is why I favor this dessert in the spring/summer. A few cups of fruit that is hanging about the house, tossed with some sugar, a thickener, and perhaps a squeeze of a lemon or lime…topped with a quick crumble and in no time you have a dessert that will please everyone and anyone. Young and old. Friends, coworkers, and family.
Plus, when you have a friend who supplies you with bundles of rhubarb because it grows in abundance behind her house ( I give thanks to whoever owned the house prior to her … we would have been fast friends as well) and when the strawberries are sweet and delicious … my mind can think of nothing else besides strawberry and rhubarb. Rhubarb and strawberry. It is the only thing I have been pumping out of my kitchen.
So, while I enjoy a bowl of warm strawberry rhubarb crisp and say adieu to my roaring twenties…I am giddy and anxiously awaiting what my 30’s will have in store for little old(er) me. Cheers!
- Crumb Topping
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
- ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- pinch of salt
- 2 lbs Strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 2 Cups Rhubarb, ½ inch dice.
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar (less if you like it tart)
- 3-4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime (if you don’t have citrus, just omit – it’ll still be awesome, trust me)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Prepare topping first: In a medium bowl, combine all crumb topping ingredients and mix until well combined. Place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Prepare filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, corn starch, and lemon/lime juice. Carefully toss to combine.
- Pour filling into 9 inch deep dish pie plate (or an oven safe dish that will hold this amount of filling – casserole dishes work well).
- Carefully spread chilled crumb topping over fillling.
- Placed in preheated oven (place a baking sheet/tinfoil below baking dish to catch any drippings) and bake for about 45-50 minutes until the top becomes golden brown and the juice around the edges are bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
- Store at room temperature loosely covered.
Well, Hello there!
Katie from Katie at the Kitchen Door and I are joining forces today. If you have never been to her blog – you must, you just have to head over there. Katie is oh so talented…her talents in the kitchen and behind the camera are out of this world. When she asked me to write a guest post for her blog, while she is on vacation, I couldn’t but jump at the chance.
And if you are visiting my little space on the Internet because you are wandering over here from Katie’s blog….then you totally know what I am talking about. She is awesome, right?!? And welcome! I am so very glad to have you here today.
Let’s get going!
The sun is shining. The trees are budding. Daffodils are waving ever so slightly in the breeze. Tulips are testing the waters…soon to be in full bloom. The grass is growing fast and furious, aided by the April showers. Spring is starting to slowly and finally roll into Ohio. It has been a long winter and we want nothing more than warm afternoons and long lazy evenings. Spring in Ohio requires us to practice patience.
In the spring, we have this internal urge to clean out the old and bring in new. Start fresh – Spring, to me, has always represented a new year more so than January 1st ever has. Something takes hold and before we know it windows are being cleaned, floor boards scrubbed, closets sorted and organized, and if you are me – fridges and freezers are overhauled. It has been a long winter – heaven only knows what I have stocked and stored away over the cold months. I am like a squirrel hoarding nuts. So it was no surprise to me when I found 2 extra bags of fresh frozen cranberries in my freezer last week. Left over from Thanksgiving/Christmas. Stored away just in case. Just in case I needed to whip up a cranberry sauce. Or jam. Or needed a another loaf of orange cranberry bread.
Honestly, I had forgotten about them. Big Surprise. So, when Katie asked me to guest blog and I was scratching my head and standing in front of my refrigerator wondering what recipe I would offer her readers…I spotted the cranberries. And instantly thought…I bet there are more people out there like me. Spring cleaning and finding extra bags of cranberries (among many other things… why do I buy so many packages of frozen spinach?!?).
I know, I know…cranberries are generally eaten around winter holidays, but I think they are perfect this time of year ( and I am not just saying this because I have an abundance). They have a bright tart flavor, matching the feeling of an early spring afternoon. A coffee cake with a thin layer of sweetened cranberries and a coconut streusel top is just what a Sunday afternoon calls for. A lazy Sunday afternoon spent on your porch, soaking up the sunshine, getting lost in a good book, with baseball on the radio in the back ground. All while you nibble away on an extra large piece of coffee cake that is studded with little flecks of vanilla bean. And coffee. Lots of coffee. Always coffee.
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1¾ cups sugar, divided
- 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup whole milk
- ⅓ Cup Flaked Coconut, unsweetened
- 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Grease a 9 inch round cake pan with butter and line bottom with parchment paper. Grease parchment.
- Make vanilla sugar: With the tip of a paring knife, scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean and place in a food processor with 1+3/4 Cup of sugar. Pulse to combine. Transfer to another bowl – you will need the food processor again.
- Place cranberries and ½ Cup of vanilla sugar in food processor and pulse until chopped but NOT pureed.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt – set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl.
- With mixer on low, add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.
- Pour ½ of batter into bottom of prepare pan – the batter will be very thick, so spread it out with a butter knife.
- Spoon cranberries over the batter, leaving a ½ inch border around edge. Spread the remaining batter over cranberries. (With the batter being so thick, the best way to do this is by dolloping spoonfuls of batter all over cranberry filling and very carefully with a buttered knife, gradually spreading the batter over the filling)
- Prepare crumble topping : In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup of vanilla sugar, flaked coconut, tablespoon of butter, and tablespoon of flour. Crumble with fingers or fork until pebble like.
- Spread evenly over top of cake.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean (don’t test into cranberry filling).
- Let cool in pan for about 30 minutes before removing from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
- Serve with coffee and good conversation.
Adapted from Gourmet December 2008Read More
I have taken a bit of a break. Unexpected and unintentional….
Nights where I would normally plop down and flip on the TV to something mundane and focus most of my attention on editing photos – just a bit of a tweak…up-ing the contrast or brightness – not a whole lot, because in all honesty, I don’t understand photoshop one bit. And then I try to write something down … generally the thoughts in my brain flood these pages….and more often than not, the words and thoughts have nothing to do with the recipes I post. Which is fine. And that is why I love blogging…there are no rules. You can over share, under share. It is up to you. Or me. More me than you…unless, you too, have a blog…which in that case you probably totally agree with me.
These nights of blogging haven’t been happening as of late. Vegging out on the couch with a bourbon cocktail of some sort (or hot chocolate because it is still freaking freezing here in the great state of Ohio) and watching Skyfall one more time or trying to watch Downton Abby Season 2 - which I just can’t get into. I am a minority on this one, aren’t I? My mind won’t stay focused. Half way through and I am on Twitter. Or find myself cleaning the kitchen. Or looking for brownies in the freezer. ADHD anyone? Ugh. I need Ritalin to watch Downton Abby. I think I am calling it quits. On to the next series. I am taking recommendations. Anyone?
But here I am …getting back into some sort of routine.
WIth routine comes lemon tart, naturally. There may be snow on the ground or freezing rain falling from the sky (ugh, really Ohio?)…but my daffodils are peeping through the ground and my mind is thinking spring. As is my stomach.
Lemons are full on spring. Right? Bright and sunshiny….being that they are yellow. Just makes sense.
Gather ingredients for your shortbread crust. Carry them around in your favorite pie plate you may have swiped from your grandma. The crack on the far edge makes me smile. I am a lover of imperfections.
Your crust will need a lightly beaten egg.
Egg is like food spackle. I work great with food spackle. Real spackle. Not. So. Much.
Fingerprinted crust. You will need to Instagram this bad boy. Normal, right?
I have a tendency to Instagram my weekend baking moments.
Bear with me.
Bright. Sunshine. Happy.
And if I must be honest…this tart was epic, if I may say so myself.
And I will.
Tart. Bright. Sweet.
Just what this dreary March is in desperate need of.
- 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- ⅛ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Stick Butter (1/2 Cup), Room Temperature
- ¼ Cup White Granulate Sugar
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten.
- 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 6 lemons)
- Zest of 1 Lemon, finely grated
- 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- 4 Large Eggs
- 4 Large Egg Yolks
- Prepare the crust first. Whisk together salt and flour. Set aside.
- Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add beaten egg. Mix until incorporated.
- Add flour and mix until ball forms – it will be crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10inch removable bottom tart pan. Place the dough into the prepared pan and with your fingertips, evenly press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Poke the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Place crust in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake crust for 5 minutes at 400F. Decrease oven temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare lemon curd filling.
- Prepare filling. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Set aside. Also, have a mesh strainer at the ready.
- in a medium sized saucepan, combine lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Place over medium-low to medium heat and cook until butter melts. Stirring occasionally.
- Once butter is melted, slowly whisk about ½ cup of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm(or temper) them.
- Scrape the warm egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens – about 20 minutes.
- Place mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and strain mixture, pressing the mixture through with a rubber spatula.
- Pour mixture into pre-baked tart shell and place in oven (at 350F) for about 5 to 10 minutes to set the filling.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
* lemon curd filling adapted from David Lebovitz
I love Ina Garten.
This post might as well be called ‘ an ode to Ina”.
I adore everything about her….even her button down shirts – that are tailored made just for her (why do I know this?) – with the popped collar – which makes me think of spring break and the cruise we took and the dancing we did, which brings be around to Grillz by Nelly…ad a whole top diamonds and da bottom row’s gold. Can we go back to those days? Days where spring break existed and you lived with your friends and weekends started on Thursdays? Did we know how good we had it? I don’t think we did…we were always wanting to get to the next stage. Little did we know the next stage was full of work and serious responsibility – mortgages are no one’s friend.
Yes, I some how just connected Ina to Nelly. That takes mad skills, people.
Did you know… she was a White House nuclear policy analyst. I don’t know what that entails. It seems pretty major. Therefore, she is not a classically trained chef. She is like us, a home cook with a bit of passion, a love for great ingredients, and a desire to make those around us happy and full. That she took a leap of faith on a gourmet food store and it became crazy successful. That she has since, hosted the famed Food Network Show – Barefoot Contessa, that she has written some 6+ cookbooks, and has been the inspiration for millions when it comes to hosting dinner parties, whipping up simple family dinners, or setting a table fit for a king or your best friends. This all from a whim. And major guts. For reals.
I am also, slightly in love with the fact that she lives in New England (and has an apartment in Paris…but who doesn’t love that?). I am a sucker for New England…the ocean, the homes, the food, the scenery, the accents…you name it – I love it. I sometimes get mad at the entire state of Pennsylvania. Downright angry. For if it wasn’t for the 311 mile wide state of Pennsylvania, lobster rolls and I would be so much closer. Sigh.
I have made many of Ina’s recipes…and not once have I been disappointed. And today is no different. These are a simple dessert, whipped up in a moments notice, and sure to please a crowd. I took these into work as a random Tuesday treat and they were gone before lunch. Well before lunch. Second shift only got crumbs. Not a raspberry fan? Use strawberry jam. Or blueberry.
Dear Ina. Thanks.
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Room temperature
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2+ ⅓ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 12 Ounces Jam, Raspberry – use high quality
- ⅔ Cup Granola, I used Bear Naked Granola (maple pecan) – make sure it is free of dried fruit
- ¼ Cup (a good handful) Sliced Almonds
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper (easy removal).
- Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add flour and salt mixture to butter mixture. Mix until the dough starts to form into a ball. It will be crumbly at first, just keep mixing.
- Press ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan and about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan.
- Spread the jam over the crust, leaving about a ¼ inch border.
- Mix the granola with the remaining dough. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the jam. Scatter slivered almonds over crumb topping.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 45 – 50 minutes until the top begins to turn golden brown.
- Cool completely before cutting and serving.
slightly adapted from Ina Garten.