Fall Rainbow Sherbet: Cranberry, Butternut Squash and Quince

While sitting on a train recently returning to the barrier island town where I grew up, my mind was wandering backwards. One random memory was the rainbow sherbet of my childhood and how incredible it tasted on those hot long lazy beach days. I remembered standing barefoot in a wet bathing suit, hair full of sea water, legs and feet caked with sand clutching that paper cone of cold rainbow sweetness in my hand. I would diligently slurp as the sherbet melted, the sticky streaks of color running down my wrist. It was heaven. 

Back in the autumn food blogging obsessed present, the idea popped into my head to make an “adult” rainbow sherbet version in fall flavors. 

Quinces and a butternut squash were sitting on the counter from a jaunt to the farmer’s market. Very reasonably priced fresh cranberries from Trader Joe’s rounded out this trifecta of fall rainbow flavors.

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Colorful Falling Leaves Sugar Cookies

These are a quick, easy and fun cookie to make. Something you can easily make with kids or a colorful addition to a school bake sale.

This idea can easily be adapted for Christmas using red and green food coloring and holiday cookie cutters or for  Valentine’s Day using red and pink color and different sized heart cutters.

In my pantry, there were so many pretty pretty leaf shaped cutters waiting their turn. These were the result.

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Whole Wheat Candied Ginger Chocolate Chip Scones

I can never get enough of making scones. First, they are so easy to make and second they are a great way to use up leftover bits and pieces in the pantry like chips, nuts and dried fruit.

Scone love. That’s why they’re heart shaped. These were actually made for a brunch, not just to use up leftover ingredients. The guests loved them. What’s not to like? The sweet sting of ginger and bittersweet chocolate wrapped in whole wheat goodness.

That’s the third thing. Serving warm homemade scones will always make you look like a kitchen rock star. 
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Brown Sugar Rosemary Hazelnut Brittle

Since Labor Day I feel like I am not only in a race to use up the herbs in my garden, to use them to create interesting new treats.

This candy was inspired by the surprisingly delicious Chocolate Mixed-Herb Caramels I made last month. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but it looks like using herbs in homemade candy just might be my new addiction. 

Making brittle is nothing new, especially on this blog. However, I really like this special combination of flavors. The heavier flavor of the brown sugar wrapped around raw hazelnut chunks are set off by the herby pine-like flavor of chopped fresh rosemary. It’s powerful. A little piece goes a long way.
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Whole Wheat Strawberry Basil Muffins

These are good. These are serve to two college friends you haven’t seen in a very long time good. Last weekend, on Saturday I was busy the entire day prepping for a 12 hour photo/video shoot on Monday. Sunday guests were coming. Oh dear.

The night before I had no clue of what I could serve and hadn’t done any shopping. I reluctantly settled on a cop out bagel and cream cheese run, planning to make some eggs as well. 

Long time friends deserve something better. When I woke up, after having done most of the prep for the job, my mind was clearer. Strawberry and basil flavors came dancing into my head. I knew I had frozen strawberries and plenty of basil in the herb garden.

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Tarragon French Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream Filling

So of course I waited until the most humid day so far in PA to go on a French Macaron making marathon. Humidity and making macarons do not mix but I had way too many Cinderella egg whites in the fridge that needed to go to the ball.

As a result of the humidity the feet are a bit funky on these. The shells are a bit off as well. Some of them have little evil peaks on their heads. Oh well.

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Orange Thyme Sorbet

Lemon verbena, spearmint, apple mint, orange mint, pineapple mint, lemon thyme, purple basil, box basil, lemon basil, curry, variegated sage, pineapple sage are some of the weirdo herbs that live harmoniously side by side in my garden.  

I thought I was done adding strange leafy things for the season until I saw this orange thyme during a recent breeze through of my local farmers market. I actually backed up a few steps to make sure I had read the label correctly.

 A surreptitious taste test revealed a gorgeous orange thyme flavor. In no time flat it joined all the other little herbal oddities on my terrace. It’s quite happy there with its edgy brethren. Read More »

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Vanilla French Macarons with Honeysuckle Buttercream Filling

Sometimes I think there is a garden genie on our PA property. When we closed on the house in the month of March, I had a long list of what I wanted to plant in the garden. My husband said to just wait and see what would come up first. Wise words. One by one the items I desired got struck off my list as soon as they bloomed or flowered. 

Recently I found myself wishing I had a honeysuckles. Lots of them. Less than a day later I found one in full boogie with big fat bees buzzing around it up on the hill on the side of the house. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to harvesting the blossoms, they had gone. 

Then I spied a picture posted by friends living in Matamoras of their lovely honeysuckle bush in full bloom and immediately begged a cup or two full of flowers.

Consequently, these macarons are brought to you today by the generosity of friends and the awesome power of social media.
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Sage flower Almond Scone Recipe

This sage has come back for the third year in a row in our PA garden but this year was the first time it flowered. 

It looked so pretty in the garden I almost left it alone but eventually broke down, cut about half of them and used them to make these scones and infuse vinegar.

Harvesting the flowers is a bit of a tedious process. You have to pull the individual flowers off of the stem and stamen. The sage flowers are less powerful then the sage leaves so the scones had a more delicate sage flavor than if I had used the leaves.
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Nasturtium Covered Lemon Layer Cake

This was a request to bring a cake for a sit down birthday dinner for 12. The birthday boy is a cake maker. No pressure there. Said birthday boy and I were recently gawking over this book:

This gorgeous book is my latest obsession from which the Tulip Vodka recipe and inspiration for my Lilac Cashew Baklava came. We just couldn’t get over the cover cake.

Since my frosting piping skills are minimal (his are exceptional) I thought I would surprise him with a edible flower covered cake at the party. Easy peasy. No piping.

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