When we left for Hawaii on May 22, the peaches on my tree looked as if they would be ripe any day.
Connor would be coming home on the weekends while we were away and Marissa was home one short weekend for the wedding shower of her college roommate, Paige.
The wedding is in August and Marissa is a bridesmaid.
I told both the kids and my dad to keep and eye on the peaches and to please please please pick and eat them. I hated the thought of the luscious fruit going to waste.
If not picked, they’d either fall off the tree and rot, or more likely, the bugs would get to them as soon as they ripened. The idea of it made my stomach actually ache.
When we arrived home on June 3rd, surprisingly there were still peaches on the tree! My dad said that they were always hard as rocks when he checked and I never did remember to ask the kids if they had any.
The little fruit flies, gnats, or whatever those nasty little bugs are, had already been to work on more than 2 dozen of the peaches, but I was able to pick a decent boxful! Joy!
I made a delicious Peachy-Chicken entree one night (coming soon to a post near you) and today I am using the last of the peaches for this dessert.
It’s a partially-make-ahead dish. I’m starting it today and we will be enjoying it on Sunday for Father’s Day.
Of course, I had to make one serving from start to finish so I could photograph and post it for you today.
The things I do and the sacrifices I make for you people!
June 14, 2013 3 Comments
I wanted to let you know that there is a new heading in the Complete Recipe Index under the “Holidays” tab – Cinco de Mayo. It was called to my attention yesterday that it was missing. It is there now, with more than 35 dishes listed, the following recipe included.
I found this creative dessert on Pinterest. Over the years, I’ve made fruit pizza for many parties and cooking classes. You know – the recipe where you make a sugar cookie crust, top that with a frosting and then arrange cut fruit and berries on top.
This is a fun take on that. Instead of sugar cookie crust, we have sugar cookie “tortilla” chips. The frosting is colored to look like guacamole. And the fruit is chopped to imitate salsa.
Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
You’ll notice that the recipe calls for pure lemon oil or lemon bakery emulsion instead of lemon extract. (I didn’t have lemon bakery emulsion, but wanted you to see a bottle of it, hence the almond in its place.)
What is the difference between the three?
An extract is flavoring dissolved in alcohol, while an emulsion is flavoring suspended in water with an emulsifier. Pure essential oils are more pure and clear-tasting and stronger in flavor when placed in a batter than an extract.
Bakery emulsions keep the incorporated flavors more stable while your mixture goes through temperature changes, and they combine more easily with other emulsions (such as butter, sugar, and egg) than extracts do. When extracts hit the heat and the alcohol evaporates, so does a bit of the flavor.
Not that extracts are bad. Extracts are perfect for everyday baking where the flavor is playing a supporting role rather than a starring one. Such as vanilla in a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The oils and emulsions are what you want to use when you want that specific flavor to really shine through and to give intense flavors to things like candies, frosting, and fillings.
That’s it for the flavorings lesson today… on the the recipe…
May 3, 2013 1 Comment
On Monday, Chef Beau MacMillan from Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain was the guest instructor at Les Gourmettes. The class and the menu were outstanding. This dessert was the crowning glory. Beau made a dense, not too sweet, polenta-pistachio cake, topped with olive oil cured strawberries and drizzled with a winning zinfandel-dried cherry syrup. Out of this world!
Since he brought pre-made individual cakes, I was the happy recipient of the cake batter he demonstrated for the class. My boys will be so happy with their dessert this coming weekend!
May 1, 2013 1 Comment
Here is a quote from yesterday’s post:
“So back to the drawing board. I hope to have it down by tomorrow and post the recipe and my success.”
What I hoped to have down was the recipe for “The Rebel Within” from Craftsman & Wolves, a restaurant in San Francisco. “The Rebel Within” is a buttery, cheesy, sausage flecked muffin with a soft-cooked egg in the center. The egg yolk in the muffin should be soft and runny with the oozing yolk dripping like liquid gold onto the plate.
The muffin is named after a Hank Williams III song. Williams is the grandson of the legendary Hank Williams and the son of Hank Williams, Jr.
So, the big question is… did I get it right? Was I successful? Was the liquid gold running onto my plate? No. No. and No!
I really wanted to name this post “Muffin Extraordinaire” but it’s honestly only “Muffin Almost There.”
I developed the recipe by using the blueprint of the muffin that I found on the restaurant’s website. It’s a tongue-in-cheek blueprint with a hint of what ingredients to use, but it has no real portions. At least it gave me a starting point.
First, I tried soft poaching the eggs for 3 minutes in simmering water and then shocking the cooked eggs in ice water, as with THIS method. But once the muffins were baked, the yolks were firm, not even close to runny.
The second go-round, I tried only poaching three of the eggs for one minute and shocking them in the ice water. I cracked the remaining three eggs directly into the bottom layer of batter in the muffin tin.
I imagined that the 1-minute poached eggs would work and that the raw eggs would run all over the place and make a mess.
Once the muffins were baked, I anxiously cut into one of each type of muffin. The result? Exactly the same as the first time around. The yolks were cooked firm. The raw eggs did not run and make a mess, as I anticipated, they were firm right in the center of the muffin, just as the poached eggs were.
Even though the yolks didn’t turn out as I had hoped, I am going to share the recipe I developed while trying to get it right, because even without runny yolks, the muffin is AMAZING! Wonderfully scrumptious. Somehow the muffin is dense, yet still fluffy and fabulously flavorful.
Instead of naming my version “The Rebel Within” I shall name mine “The Easter Egg Within.”
January 31, 2013 2 Comments
This is the dessert I made with that microwave lemon curd I posted yesterday. The recipe said to serve it warm or at room temperature. I served it warm. That was a mistake.
I had a piece the next morning (yes, for breakfast – don’t judge!) that was at room temperature -
So. Much. Better.
Do not serve it warm!
As with the curd, this recipe comes from the February issue of Southern Living. I only altered it slightly; using Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons, honey yogurt instead of plain, and adding a bit of garnish.
The one other change I’ll make, when I make it next time, is to cut the crumb topping in half. Not that it was overwhelming or that it was not wonderful, just to cut down on the fat and calories. It’s just that half a stick of butter seems like a better bet than a full stick when you can do with less, you know?
If you love lemon, lemon curd, lemon bars… yeah, any sort of lemony-goodness, you’ll love this. It’s a keeper!
January 20, 2013 1 Comment
It doesn’t make sense that this recipe did not appear on my blog long ago.
I developed it back in the late 1990′s and it was published in “Reflections Under the Sun: The Brightest Collection of the Best Recipes from the Junior League of Phoenix” in 1999.
I remember being so pleased when the JLP requested a recipe from me. I hadn’t been a member for a couple of years by then.
I had become a member in 1992, back when the previous cookbook was being published, joining too late to participate in that project.
Anyhow, everyone loves these muffins. We often make them for our graduation luncheon during summer cooking classes with the teens and there is never a crumb left. How they have been so elusive and not yet appeared here, is beyond me. Make a batch now and thank me later!
January 13, 2013 1 Comment
I saw this beautiful loaf of bread, more like a bunch of rolls actually, on Pinterest, and instantly knew I wanted to make it ASAP. The wonderful blog it originated from is called The Italian Dish. Check it out, I know you’ll love it.
I had to hold Dave, Marissa, and Connor back from diving into this when it came out of the oven. I did not bake it for them – I brought it as a hostess gift to the lovely Joanne and handsome Mark, who had us over on New Year’s Eve.
Use you imagination, and you could take this basic recipe, shape the dough into balls, and make any number of designs.
From a festive tree for next Christmas, to a heart, for Valentine’s Day.
Thank you, Mark and Joanne, we had a fun evening, even if I was a bit sore and tired which resulted in us leaving before midnight.
Which reminds me – I have not given an update on my pelvic injury in a while – I am doing so much better! I have been walking on my own, without the walker, since last Thursday. I’ve even ventured upstairs a time or two when I’ve needed something up there. Most importantly, I’m driving, so life is just about back to normal! I should be completely healed in about two weeks.
Thank you again for all your kind deeds and lovely thoughts and prayers. God is good and so are you! xoxo [Read more →]
January 2, 2013 1 Comment
If you’ve read from this blog before, you most likely already know that I am NOT a baker. If I bake something, and it turns out, and I post it here, and I call it “my own” – you can rest assured that it is a fluke, a miracle, or a lie!
The exception, the fluke, if you will, is my carrot cake. I did “create” that. After making carrot cake after carrot cake over many years (and many years ago) I finally got a perfect carrot cake that I truly believe is the best you will ever have.
I do make a pretty mean cheesecake, but not because I’ve created anything new. But because I’ve discovered, while making many cheesecakes and by reading many other people’s opinions about cheesecake, and then stealing the best of their various ideas and putting them together, how to make a fool-proof cheesecake. My cheesecakes always turn out perfectly! For my three “must do” steps/tricks, go HERE.
Aside from that one cake and cheesecakes in general… I would no more be able to create a new and wonderful baked dessert than I would be able to take apart a car engine!
All that being said, I’ve found a woman, a blog, and a cookbook with pretty fantastic desserts! It’s called Sprinkle Bakes and I made the following Very Impressive, Very Beautifully Photographed, and Very Delicious cake from her very lovely blog for my cooking series last month.
In all honesty, I should just stop now and send you directly there. I’ve pared down her recipe to make it a bit more manageable, but I haven’t really changed it at all. Also, I should not post my photos, as they were taken with my iPhone at Les Gourmettes, in the rush of a cooking class for 16 students. Photos of food are not top priority in those moments. Cutting the cake and serving it to the lovely paying students, is! But I made the gorgeous decadent cake, so you shall suffer through my photos, then go over and see Sprinkle Bakes’ very professional photos and her very helpful step by step photos and be inspired and amazed!
Now, be prepared, not only is this cake a mouthful, so is the name of the cake!
On a quick side note: Congratulations to my friend, Larry Fitzgerald, who received a Man of the Year award yesterday. It is beyond well deserved. Now I wait for him to receive the overall NFL Man of the Year award when it is announced Super Bowl week. Fingers crossed. Larry lives up to his press, he truly is a wonderful man!
Oh, I almost forgot – Merry Christmas Eve! xoxo
December 24, 2012 1 Comment
You didn’t really think I would do the “12 Kitchen Gifts of Christmas” without adding at least one sweet baked treat, did you?
I didn’t think you would think that! Today is the day … Rum Glazed Eggnog Bread… it’s a keeper!
If you want to get a jump on your Christmas baking, these loaves freeze beautifully. Just don’t make or add the glaze until you’ve taken them out of the freezer and allowed them to thaw overnight in your refrigerator.
Although the amount of rum is minimal, if you want or need to avoid alcohol, substitute orange juice in its place.
I found the adorable German paper baking pans at Home Goods and I also saw them at T. J. Max. Undoubtedly, they are at Marshall’s as well. They are half the size of standard mini loaf pans, so I am calling these *ultra-mini loaves. It’s all good – this way, there are twice as many loaves for giving.
On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Rum Glazed Eggnog Bread
Fennel Cured Salmon
Spicy Guinness Mustard
Two Jars of Mustard
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Homemade Kahlua Liqueur
Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust
December 6, 2012 3 Comments
If you go on Pinterest or you read any food or style magazines, then you already know that pumpkins are all the rage! But there is more to autumn than just the glorious pumpkin. Pears and apples shouldn’t be overlooked in fall decorating or cooking.
This quintessential autumn dessert proves that point perfectly.
October 30, 2012 1 Comment