I love to bake. I seriously, really, honestly love to bake. It brings me immeasurable joy and it’s a passion I happily dwell in, often at the expense of a good night’s sleep! But, when the temperatures begins to rise and the most chic accessory I’m wearing is sunscreen, I look to our garden and the farmer’s market for culinary inspiration, and it often does not require turning on the oven. So, on days like today with a high of 91°F and 71% humidity, a lush, cool, creamy White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta topped with seasonal cherries is the most perfect end to a hot, muggy day.
Anyone who knows me, is well aware of my tendency to wax poetic about virtually anything within the realm of the baking and pastry worlds. However, there is beauty in brevity, and this Cherry Preserve story is the epitome of that notion. So basically, I saw this heap of bright ruby sunshine at the market and could not resist turning them into preserves. The End. Okay, maybe just a few more details…
Seasonal berries are my jam ya’ll! Each April there’s a moment of pure joy when I’m anxiously perusing the farmer’s market hoping that perhaps today is the day I spot that bright ruby red hue that signals spring is here and so are the strawberries. When that happened this season, I knew I needed to create a recipe that honored this first bounty of strawberry season in a spectacular way, and this Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream does so beautifully.
Ya’ll it is cold in Nashville. Like, really, really, really cold. As in, with a wind chill of -14°F this is the coldest it has been since we have moved here! So, what’s one to do when you’re iced in with stir-crazy little ones to entertain and a kitchen full of seasonal fruits and veggies? You bake, of course! This moist voluptuous carrot coconut cake uses half the oil and sugar of a traditional recipe and is paired with a luxurious Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. It is a lovely twist on the traditional, but yet it is still as comforting as grandma’s knit woolen throw when freezing cold blankets the world outside and ice covers EVERYTHING in sight!
Ahhh, blood orange. This sweet, sour, tangy and unbelievably bright citrus fruit is bursting with juicy flavor that is reminiscent of an orange, tangerine and lemon, all they while drenched in its own crimson uniqueness.
Cake is often treated as a vehicle for frosting. Not here. Not this bake. Not this cake. This Candied Blood Orange Olive Oil Yogurt Cake is one of the most deeply flavorful and gratifying cakes I have ever created. The fruity intense flavor of the extra virgin oil, with the tang of the yogurt and sweet sour bite of the blood orange is an incredible symphony when married together.
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
― George Eliot (Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]”
I love summer, and The Peach Truck epitomizes the reason why: lovely, sweet, juicy, delectable, seasonal, fresh picked summer fruit. I picked up some Georgia peachy goodness at the incomparable Barista Parlor, deliciously alluring in its own right with its swoon worthy coffee and divine delectables. Oh my goodness, how I do love my Nashville.
Very few scents evoke such vivid memories that instantly transport you to where you long to be. From the first hint of toasted coconut wafting through the air and I am on the beach…lungs devouring the salty air and the water slowly inching closer to feet that find a bit of solace buried into the cool, gleaming, glittery sand. Today finds my heart on a Florida beach and my hands baking a bit of summer, this perfectly bright and seasonally summer Mango Key Lime Pie with a Speculoos Coconut Cookie Crust.
Anyone who bakes biscuits has an idea of what makes theirs the best. Some swear by shortening, others insist on butter and the purist will accept nothing less than lard. I, on the other hand, think that the most beautiful biscuit is made with cream.
Yes, my friends. I know I will probably be run out of Nashville for suggesting such heresy, but I assure you, this biscuit will be the best you’ve ever made. And if you’ve never made a biscuit? Perfect! There is nothing more simple than this recipe. No sifting. No kneading. No cutting in of the fat. No rolling. No biscuit cutters. Nothing but 1 bowl and 2 ingredients. Just bring the dough together and fold it a couple of times. Cut into squares and you’re done! That’s it. It’s that simple.
The heat. The humidity. The frizzy hair. The kids exclaiming boredom the first week of summer. There are many reason not to love summer, but oh……there are so many reason to simply adore it! Top on that list is seasonal, fresh, ripe, luscious fruits and the many perfectly lovely ways to enjoy them. You want to honor the beauty of all that makes your bounty beautiful and that means fresh is best. This salad takes that wisdom and turns up the volume with organic local honey and fresh chocolate mint from our herb garden.