Double Streusel Peach Cobbler

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“I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is.”

Alice Walker

When my neighbor Marty offered some of his homegrown organic peaches this week, I knew exactly what I’d be making with the gorgeous, tree-picked gems. My friend Maria Lorraine Binchet’s Double Streusel Peach Cobbler recipe was recently featured  in Betty Teller’s column in the Napa Register and it looked as beautiful as delicious.  The peaches are tossed with peach preserves and orange zest and  baked between two layers of a pecan-oats streusel in a springform pan.  The springform is a genius idea to elevate an ordinary cobbler to company-worthy status.  The streusel can show off its juicy peaches nestled between the 2 golden layers of its pecan-studded crust and it can be sliced elegantly, rather than scooped,  into serving dishes.  If your reason for eating cobbler is the streusel, then this is the mouth-watering recipe for you!  With gorgous stone fruit in season, you can substitute plums or nectarines for the peaches.

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Homemade Ricotta

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“Thinking about making ricotta is only marginally easier than actually making it.”  The New York Times

I have been thinking of making my own ricotta for years.  Whenever fresh homemade ricotta is on a restaurant menu, we order it and usually swoon while enjoying it.  Well I finally took the plunge.  I recalled reading it was so easy to make:  milk, vinegar and salt. Continue reading

Recipe Round-Up: Gluten Free Desserts

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Whenever I have guests who are  gluten-free coming to my home, I tend to panic and worry about what I can prepare for a sweet treat.  I shouldn’t because I have made many delicious gluten-free desserts over the years.  I thought it would be easier to find these recipes if they were all corralled in one place, hence this 16-recipe round-up.  From virtuous pistachio-encrusted chocolate-dipped dried apricots, to a decadent, show-stopping flourless chocolate torte, these desserts have been tested and are crave-worthy.  Click on the highlighted link to access the recipes.

1-  Frozen Banana Cherry Ice Cream

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Pistachio-Lime Squares

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“The lime trees were in bloom. But in the early morning, only a faint fragrance drifted through the garden, an airy message, an aromatic echo of the dreams during the short summer night.”  Isak Dinesen

Citrus desserts are my favorite.  Key Lime pies, Lemon tarts, lemon squares, yes please! When I came across these lime squares made with a pistachio crust, I knew I’d have to make them.  With triple layers of lime flavor, they have a satisfying tartness.  Not too sweet with a lovely nuttiness to the crust and a silky smooth filling, they were delicious albeit a bit crumbly.   Continue reading

Kaleslaw

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“It is spring again.  The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” Rainer Maria Rilke

This recipe comes from one of Canada’s most popular cookbook authors, Greta Podleski, from her cookbook, “Yum & Yummer: Ridiculously tasty recipes that’ll blow your mind but not your diet!”.  The salad has a cult following and it is easy to see why:  it has color, crunch, mega nutrutious creds, great fiber and tons of texture in a super flavorful apple cider vinaigrette with maple and mustard.  It is gluten free, vegan, raw and vegetarian to satisfy today’s dietary needs.  I was treated to the salad at a recent dinner at my niece Vanessa’s, a gifted cook.  In a delicious meal, it was this salad that we were all swooning over!  It has become her go-to potluck dish.  The massaging of the kale with your fingers might seem weird but Podleski insists it is a necessary step to tenderize the kale.  Use organic kale if you can find it. Continue reading

Flourless Clementine Cake

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“Let them eat cake.” Marie Antoinette

This Nigella Lawson cake was popular about 15 years ago and I had forgotten all about it.  Unfortunate since, as far as cakes go, this one is a simple 5-ingredient recipe,  full of healthy ingredients with no added fat and  little sugar. And soooo good!  The batter is made up of ground almonds and whole clementines.  Nigella says to cook the clementines for 2 hours. I made the cake twice this month, once by cooking the oranges as directed and a second time by just bringing them to a boil and cooking them 10 minutes in roiling water.  The result was the same as far as taste, texture, moisture of the cake with a huge time saving. I also made it in a bundt pan the first time and it was impossible to separate.  The springform is a must with this recipe.  This is a totally delicious unfussy snacking cake that is super fast to make.  I served mine with a dollop of yogurt.  Variations on the theme: substitute lemons or Meyer lemons for the clementines.  Everyone loved it!

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Roasted Winter Vegetables with Blood Orange and Pistachios

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Salads are a staple in my world but come winter, I crave the complex favors of roasted seasonal vegetables instead of cold salads.  This salad was inspired by New Orleans chef John Sinclair featured in the WSJ recently.  I modified his ingredients to what I had on hand and substituted juicy blood oranges for his grapefruit.  Gorgeous squash, sweet potatoes, fennel, red onion and brussel sprouts are oven roasted with warming spices like chili powder, cumin and fennel seeds.  Then bright citrus notes are layered in with blood oranges.  A topping of crunchy toasted squash seeds and pistachios finish off the salad.  There is so much to fall in love with in this meal salad!  The recipe lends itself beautifully to all kinds of substitution in the ingredients, spices and citrus toppings so that you can make it over and over in various combinations and never tire of it.   There is no need for vinaigrette as the olive oil of the roasting will have coated the vegetables and the acidity and brightness of the blood oranges and their juice will be enough contrast to make the salad truly sing.   Here’s how I made mine
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