Orchard Apple Cake

Orchard Apple Cake

I finally did it. I bought a Fitbit over the weekend.  After much thought and urging from my walking partner and good friend Teri, (along with some nudging from my husband) I made my way to the sporting goods store and took the plunge. This was a big deal for me. I’m staunchly opposed to jumping on every “tech” or device wagon anyway and after reading David Sedaris’s equal parts hysterical and terrifying piece in The New Yorker on the lures/horrors of  such devices, I vowed that I would never purchase one. I’ve always struggled with a bit of a guilt complex so somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I might be getting myself into a bit of trouble, what with the constant monitoring of steps and calories burned along with my tendencies for over thinking and my general inability to keep my behavior within reason. Persuasive friends and undying curiosity finally won me over.

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I’m four days in and so far I’ve managed to keep myself in check and not get too carried away. I’ll check back in in a week or two and let you know how things are progressing.  If I don’t check back in, it’s safe to assume I’ve gone down the Fitbit rabbit hole and you’ll need to send in reinforcments. Ideally, reinforcements with cake and a healthy dose of bourbon, please.

If you could bring me this cake specifically, I’d be eternally grateful. A riff on the traditional Swedish Apple Cake, it’s buttery, almond infused and super simple to make. Typically served with a vanilla sauce drizzled over the top, it’s safe to say this cake is iconic to all Swedes. In fact I’m pretty sure it’s on permanent rotation at Ikea. I’ve mixed up the recipe a bit, so it’s not “traditional” for those of you wondering. I was even tempted to sprinkle some crushed cardamom in there,  but I resisted the urge. Next time.

Orchard Apple Cake 4

There’s something I just love about cakes like this. Nothing fancy; perfect for breakfast or alongside a hot mug of tea in the afternoon.  It just speaks fall to me. This is cake to be eaten when it’s raining and the wind is blowing things sideways. This is cake made to lure, crazy Fitbit obsessed walkers out of rabbit holes. For sure.

 

The apples for this cake were a generous gift from the lovely folks at Farmstr

Farmstr is a local Seattle area online marketplace for local farm food that works to connect farmers to consumers directly benefitting both the consumer and the small farmer. If you live in the Seattle area, I strongly urge you to check them out and look for drop off locations near you. Beautiful produce, meat, eggs and seafood are all offered. I just adore them and their mission and I know you will too.

Recipe adapted from Kari Schoening Diehl’s  Swedish Apple Cake from The Everything Nordic Cookbook.

This post contains affiliate links.

Orchard Apple Cake 5

  • Orchard Apple Cake
Prep Time Cook Time
30 minutes 1 hour

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8" round cake pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter that as well.
  2. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the pan, tilting and turning until thoroughly covered with bread crumbs. Knock out the excess and set the pan aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and the sugars on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl until fully incorporated.
  4. Stir in the almond extract and the salt. Then sprinkle the baking powder over the top of the batter. Combine then add the flour in 3 additions, incorporating fully in between to prevent any lumps.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples. I use an apple peeling gadget that works wonderfully for this, but doing it the regular way works just fine too.
  6. Lay the slices in a circular pattern around the perimeter of the pan, on top of the batter. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the cake.
  7. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert and set on a cooling rack to for the remainder.

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Matcha Almond Spritz Cookies

Matcha Almond Spritz 4

Incredibly, somehow we are already in the midst of fall. Wasn’t it just summer? Even though I’m already missing the longer days I have to say I’m so very ready for cool nights, warm soups, cozy sweaters and football.. And I’m just loving all of the great pumpkin and fall recipes that I see everywhere.  I simply never seem to get tired of pumpkin/squash everything.

I think in large part it has to do with the fact that we are beginning to embrace the joy of food enjoyed in it’s season. The thought of pumpkin whatever in June, while really delicious I’m sure,  just isn’t gonna do it for me. So now that it’s that time, I’m working on some yummy pumpkin posts to share with you all later this month.  But for now I’m all about cookies.

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Thank God, cookies don’t have a “season” or I’d be in trouble. These spritz have been a very long overdue addition to my cookie repertoire and I’m kind of a bit shocked at myself for not thinking of making them sooner. I love green tea; drink it everyday sometimes twice a day and I’ll find any excuse to put it in just about anything I think could benefit from it.

I love the earthy, bright flavor of it and in baked goods it just works on so many levels. If you’ve ever had a Green Tea Tiramisu you know what I’m talking about.  And then there’s it’s gorgeous color. How can color so vibrant, so amazing not make you happy?  I think it’s fair to call this recipe a fusion one, because it combines my beloved Scandinavian Spritz cookie recipe with delicious  almond flavors and marries it very happily with the delicate but complex  taste of green tea. A perfect match in my opinion.

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I adjusted my regular spritz recipe by just adding one teaspoon of Matcha powder because I didn’t want the flavor to overwhelm the almond already in the recipe, but if you’d like more of it’s flavor you can easily add up to an additional teaspoon of Matcha without any harm. I also eliminated adding the cardamom as I felt like there’d be just too much going on. This recipe could also be a fun and  different addition to your cookie plate for that all important cookie giving season arriving soon, that for now shall remain unnamed. You’re welcome.

There are loads of great Matcha brands out there, but for this recipe, I used KissMe Organics, Organic Matcha.  Yum. What’s your favorite way to enjoy green tea?

This is an unsponsored post with affiliate links. Thanks to KissMe Organics for the gift of the Matcha!

  • Matcha Almond Spritz Cookies

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In the bowl of a mixer combine the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add the egg, the extract and salt. Combine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Sift the flour with the green tea powder in a small bowl. Then gradually add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Grab a handful of dough and roll it between your hands, the appropriate diameter to fit into your cookie press. Depress the handle just enough to meet resistance, then place the press flat against your cool cookie sheet, click once or (if using an old turning model, turn once).
  3. Let press rest against the pan for 5 seconds, then gently lift off. Fill the pan with cookies, spaced 1″ apart. Sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the cookies just begin to brown ever so slightly around the edges.
  4. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before removing from the pan to a cooling rack. Wash pan and cool in the freezer for 2 minutes. Begin the process again.

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IFBC Sur La Table/KitchenAid Excursion

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A couple weekends ago, I was thrilled and fortunate to attend my first International Food Bloggers Conference here in Seattle. After blogging for more than four years, I decided it was time to get out, meet some of my fellow bloggers, learn some great new information and get inspired. The simple fact that IFBC is literally in my back yard made attending the event a no brainer for me and I have to say it was so, so worth it.

The weekend was jammed full of so many wonderful events, food, friends and opportunities to meet vendors it’s going to take a few posts for me to adequately share with you all that took place but I thought I’d start first with what for me was one of the highlights.

The Friday afternoon before the conference began, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to visit the Sur La Table Corporate Headquarters in the SODO district of Seattle with 49 other very lucky bloggers. We are blessed here to be home to many wonderful companies, and Sur La Table is one such Seattle institution that has always set my baker’s hear aflutter. And truly how could it not? Unless you’ve been out of the country or living under a rock for the last 30 years, you’ve likely heard of them and their outstanding products.

 

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We were greeted at the hotel by Dorallece Dullaghan, Sur La Table, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Public Relations and after a short ride to corporate headquarters we were ushered into their new beautiful test kitchens. The excitement in the air was palpable and it was so wonderful to be in such a beautiful space. After a welcome from SLT CEO Jack Schwefel we were treated to some recipe development discussions and demonstrations by Sephi Coyle, Culinary Director and Kristina Micallef the Culinary Program Content Manager. I was experiencing serious job envy.

We were also thrilled to meet Nikki Lockett, the Senior Marketing Manager for Kitchnaid Small Appliances, who shared with us the KitchenAid mission and introduced us to the brand new KitchenAid Food Processor attachment. Again, job envy. Majorly.  Our cooking demonstrations involved the making of homemade fettuccine, with kale, lemon and walnuts along with some meltingly delicious warm cranberry crumble tarts.

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Bloggers doing what they do best, photographing and eating!

The event was seriously gorgeous and it was so wonderful to meet new bloggers and learn more about Sur La Table and their upcoming product lines. It was so wonderful in fact,  I found myself having a difficult time remembering to take photos and I completely failed to adequately document all that I learned.  Most of these photos I ended up taking with my phone. The food was as expected, so very delicious and I’m now a big fan of kale pestos. I think I’m probably the only person on the planet who had yet tried kale pesto.  I know that kale is reaching the saturation point for most people but truly I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

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Sephi and Kristina demonstrating the new KitchenAid food processor attachment

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My friend and Seattle area blogger Peabody Johanson from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Score!

We were all seriously thrilled with our gorgeous swag bags from Sur La Table and completely stunned with the gift of a the food processor attachment from KitchenAid. I’ve used it for several recipes since returning and it’s a game changer. Easy to use and all fully dishwasher safe, I’m in love with it.

This event in an of itself was a fantastic way to begin the weekend, and I felt so lucky and thankful to be a part of it. The warmth of IFBC attendees is legendary, and the conference does a fantastic job encouraging bloggers to meet, make friends and to fully enjoy the very most of their time. Stay tuned for more information on the weekend and even a little what to do, where to visit in Seattle post, if you are thinking of making it to our beautiful area in the near future.

If you are a blogger and at all on the fence about attending a conference, I strongly suggest that you should definitely put IFBC on your list. It will be hosted again in Seattle next year and registration for the event is already open.  You can register by visiting them HERE. If you’ve got questions about the conference I’d be happy to answer them too so leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out. I’d love to see you there next year!

The Applemoon

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I think it’s fair to say that creating cocktails is one of my most favorite things do in the kitchen. The mixing and shaking, raiding my embarrassingly large and underused liquor stash and the sipping, tasting and reworking a drink, all float my boat in so many ways. Creating a fun, seasonal cocktail can also really make a cocktail or dinner party a very special and memorable event. One of my most favorite dinner parties began with the hostess greeting us at the door with a tray full of delicious cocktails made especially for the evening. I felt totally pampered, indulged and it’s safe to say the evening could have been a total bomb in every other way and it still would have been a success in my book. This girl loves her drink.

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Recently the lovely folks at Quady winery sent me a beautiful box full of their delicious aperitif and dessert wines to incorporate in some cocktails and I could hardly wait to get started. Quady is not your typical winery, as they produce these sweet and fortified wines exclusively. Their vermouths are like nothing I’ve tried. The sweet red Vya vermouth is infused with botanicals and has a fantastic spicy cinnamon and nutmeg aroma. Apples and apple cocktails immediately sprang to mind. I have to say it also makes the best Manhattan I’ve ever had, adding layers of flavor to the bourbon and orange bitters that make it complex without being fussy.

Awhile back I went on a moonshine kick, as it was available to us in our state only fairly recently and I bought a couple/few bottles of different brands and varieties. I’ve been slowly working my way through them but the Apple Pie moonshine has really become a favorite. Sweet and delicious on it’s own over ice, it’s a rockstar in cocktails too and this one is no exception.

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The bright apple flavors in this cocktail go so well with the Vya’s herby, spicy notes. I added some lemon juice and bitters for contrast,  a little apple brandy too (woah, be careful with that one), shook it all up and served it along with a little apple garnish. It was so delicious, and pretty potent so I would encourage you to only serve this in small glasses with lots of nibbles on the side.

This drink just says fall to me in so many ways, it’s beautiful color and light lemon and cinnamon flavors work so, so well together. I plan to serve these at our Thanksgiving dinner and for a few girls nights in. I’ll also be working on some other cocktails using Quady wines in the next few weeks so be sure to be on the lookout for more seasonal drink recipes.

You can get your own VYA Sweet Vermouth HERE.

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*This post is not sponsored by Quady Wines. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

  • The Apple Moon
Servings Prep Time
2 5

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. In a tall shaker with ice, add all ingredients except the apples. Shake until shaker frosts over, pour into glasses and garnish.

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Spicy Coconut Carrot Soup

Coconut Carrot Soup 1

The rain and cooler temperatures have finally returned to Seattle, and along with it ever darkening skies in the evenings.  A huge simmering pot of soup seems to be the only meal that suits me right now. After an amazing weekend at IFBC (stay tuned for details on this later this week), I returned home with wonderful memories, tired feet and feeling slightly under the weather.

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The only sensible remedy? Get myself into the kitchen and make this soup. Rich in carrot and coconut flavors with a hit of sambal olek for spice, this soup provided just the right amount of comfort and heat to kick me out of my cold induced fog. Soups like this one are simple, straightforward and unfussy. They literally take minutes to prepare but the reward is infinitely disproportionate to the time involved in preparation. Garnishing it with some coconut chips and fresh cilantro help bring all those luscious creamy flavors together.

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This recipe is my latest installation over at the ISSAQUAH PRESS,  and one that you should definitely consider adding to your weekly rotation. It also freezes exceptionally well so you can prepare it ahead of time for just those days when you can’t bring yourself to cook. I’ll be snuggled up under a blanket slurping on a bowl of this beauty for more than a few meals this week.  I can think of no better way to welcome fall.

Recipe can be found HERE.

Alsatian Apple Tart With Brown Butter Ice Cream

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We live on an old apple orchard in a small town, 30 minutes east of Seattle. All that remains of this orchard on our property are 6 ancient apple trees of indeterminate variety that are quite literally on their last legs. Each year during apple season I’m always amazed how much fruit these very neglected trees produce and while I promise myself that this will be the year to rent a cider press, or can applesauce, I’m never quite able to get ahead of the hungry animals that show up each night to feast on their bounty.

The trees have their issues, covered in moss and blight, left unpruned and largely ignored, they soldier on, despite everything. When September arrives the deer come to dine on whatever has fallen to the ground, and the bears climb on the brittle limbs breaking them in their efforts to reach the fruit highest in the tree.

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One very large and determined bear, pushed a neighbors 30+ year old tree to the ground last weekend, uprooting it cleanly and picking it clean. I could only think to myself, that that bear must be incredibly large and very, hungry.. It was a good reminder to us that while fun to look at out our window, black bears are incredibly dangerous and brutally strong animals.

The neighbor at the end of our road had an Alpaca that was horribly mauled by a bear earlier this summer. Shocking to everyone, as the woods that border our properties are thick with berries, and the streams full of fish. It is all part and parcel of living in the country, and we take it in stride. All of us in our neighborhood do our part to prevent bears from getting into garbage, or feeling too welcome near people.

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So in an effort to beat the bears, I made it my mission to pick as many apples that I could reasonably use this week, and decided that they would be a perfect addition to among other things, this Alsatian Apple Tart. This tart recipe comes from the new and beautiful cookbook, Taste of Washington: Favorite Recipes from the Evergreen State, written by  chef, and food writer Michele Morris. Last month Michele was gracious enough to send a copy of the book to me and I was thrilled to receive it.

Bursting with fantastic recipes from Washington State restaurants and chefs the book is simply outstanding. Using regional and seasonal ingredients many of the recipes highlight the unique and very best of Pacific Northwest cuisine. Gorgeous recipes, like Geoduck Saute, Baked Halibut with Morels, Ramps and Smoked Bacon Butter Sauce, Crispy Walla Walla Sweet Onions, and one particular recipe that I can’t wait to try, Pine and Spruce Smoked Salmon with Clam, Parsley and Lime Chowder.

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I’m equally thrilled to get the chance to meet Michele this weekend at the International Food Bloggers Conference  here in Seattle. This conference will be my first. After blogging for more than 3 years I’ve decided it’s time to attend a conference and I couldn’t be more happy that it’s one hosted right in my own backyard. I’m planning on wearing my comfy pants this weekend as I’m sure I’ll be eating, eating, eating.  I can hardly wait!  I’ll be sure to fill you all in on how it went next week.

I must say the apples from my trees tasted especially fantastic in this tart. Made all the better due to the fact that I was able to beat the bears to get them. Tart, firm and the perfect foil for the deliciously flaky crust and can I just say, Brown Butter Ice Cream?? Smokes.. Buttery, slightly lemony and definitely made to go with this tart.

 I received a free copy of this cookbook but no compensation for this post.  All opinions stated are my own.

  • Alsatian Apple Tart with Brown Butter Ice Cream
  • Recipe used with permission from Farcountry Press and Michele Morris
Servings
8

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

For the Tart:
  1. For the Tart: Cream the butter, cheese, and salt together in a mixer or food processor. Add the flour and mix or pulse just until the dough comes together into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a thin round disk.
  2. Press the dough into an 11 " tart pan with a removable bottom, carefully pressing the dough evenly up the edges. Trim off any excess dough and place the tart on a baking sheet.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Place the apples into the tart shell, overlapping as you go, as the apples with shrink while they bake. Sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp. sugar and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, nutmeg and cinnamon and pour over the apples in the tart. Return the tart to the oven and cook until the custard is set, 45-50 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing and serving. Top tart with brown butter ice cream and garnish with salted caramel sauce. * I brushed the tart with 3 T. apricot jam, heated for 1 minute in the microwave, to provide extra shine.
For the Ice Cream
  1. Heat a small pan of medium-high heat, melt the butter, and continue cooking until browned, about 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the milk solids. Cool the butter slightly, and then strain and discard the solids.
  2. Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and heat to scalding. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together, and then add the butter, salt, and lemon juice and mix until incorporated. Whisk the hot milk into the yolks a little at a time until fully mixed. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon about 5 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  3. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions, and then transfer to a covered container and freeze completely in the freezer.

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Caramelized Squash, Wild Rice and Kale Salad

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To say I have a thing for grain and vegetable salads is an understatement. I’ve always been a fan salads that combine grains of any kind with your typical salad fare. Recently, as part of my Oxbow Farms CSA box I received the most beautiful bunch of Lacinto Kale, along with some other equally gorgeous veg and knew that a salad of some sort would definitely be in the making.

Massaged kale salads have been getting a lot of attention lately, for good reason and while lately I’ve been craving a big ole bowl of  kale and white bean soup, I wanted to try my hand at something a bit different. In an effort to be better at using what food I have on hand I began rummaging through my cupboards and the freezer for items I could incorporate in the salad.

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The wealth of riches I unearthed while hunting, was a bit embarrassing. A packet of beautiful Idaho grown wild rice, frozen Jarradale squash from last fall, creamy blue cheese and dried cranberries and a ridiculously expensive bottle of maple syrup, all found their way into this salad. In the process I realized how I’ve completely failed at the art of making do. I’m vowing now to do better and waste less.  No small feat for a food blogger, I know but something to strive for anyway. So into the oven went squash, oil and maple syrup. It emerged crisped, caramelized and begging me to shove my face in it. But I persevered.

The kale, I massaged with oil and a clove of garlic, something I wouldn’t recommend if you have to be anywhere or impress anyone afterward. Despite a thorough hand washing I had this lingering aroma of garlic hovering around me for the remainder of the day, and well I’m sure an apology is in order if I ran into you that day.  So, sorry..  Definitely add some garlic, just not BEFORE you massage the kale. After. Absolutely after.

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The rest of the salad assembly is super easy. Make the wild rice, crumble the cheese and throw it all on a plate. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, vow to do more cooking just like this and enjoy.

No compensation was provided for this post. *Oxbow Farm graciously provided me with a box of beautiful produce. All opinions are my own. This post is part of the ongoing #theoxbowboxproject which links local Seattle bloggers and Oxbow Farm, to create recipes using seasonal and sustainable ingredients. More information on Oxbow Farm can be found HERE.

  • Caramelized Squash, Wild Rice and Kale Salad
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4 30 minutes 45 minutes

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the diced squash on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with 1 T. of the oil. Stir with your hands to cover the squash completely. Drizzle over the maple syrup, stir again and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until squash is golden brown and caramelized. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a piece of parchment paper to cool. Set aside.
  2. While the squash bakes, prepare the rice. Place the rice and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
  3. After you get the rice going, add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle on the remaining 1 T. olive oil. Begin by massaging the kale for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic clove and stir. Set aside and let the oil and garlic do their magic.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, divide it evenly amongst 4 plates, top with the kale, squash, cheese and dried cranberries. Sprinkle over additional salt and pepper if desired.

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Carrot Cake Spoon Breads

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One of the most wonderful things about living in the Seattle area is our proximity to fantastic small farms and outstanding farmers markets. Despite the fact that we are not blessed with a particularly long growing season, these places flourish and are highly sought after here.  In large part I think this has to do with educated consumers, outstanding restaurants demanding fresh and local produce, and an abundance of areas and organizations dedicated to the preservation and conservation of farmland.

Oxbow Farm is once such place. Located in the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley, a few short miles from my home, Oxbow prides itself on providing outstanding produce, educating the public on the importance of sustainability and encouraging the people to reconnect with the land and learn more about environmental stewardship.

I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time. I was first introduced to Oxbow when I visited the farmers market in Carnation years ago after moving to our small community. So when they contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to cook my way through one of their Oxbow CSA Project Boxes and share my experiences with you, I jumped at the chance.

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Gorgeous carrots, zucchini, kale, cabbage, cucumbers, beans, broccoli and lettuces all arrived in my box. Unpacking it was a bit like Christmas morning.  Everything so beautiful, fresh and ripe with promise.  My mind was literally a whirring mess of ideas and anticipation.  I cooked my way through the box while we were on vacation at my mother in laws, house as I knew that farm fresh produce needs to be cooked quickly. No hardship there.

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Look for more recipes highlighting the produce I received in the next few days and if you live locally please do yourself a favor and check out OXBOW FARM on the web. And if you are a blogger attending IFBC this year, you’ll be able to find them there as well.

These little carrot cakes are amazing with out too much fuss, but make them with farm fresh carrots and a big ole dollop of cream cheese frosting or creme fraiche and they become astronomically good. Warm from the oven is pretty much a necessity too.

  • Carrot Cake Spoon Breads
  • Recipe adapted Jody William's "Buvette, the Pleasure of Good Food"
Servings
10

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

For the cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 10 small ramekins, and set aside. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the carrots. Cook until they are soft, around 10-15 minutes. Drain and mash.
  2. In a bowl, combine the carrots with the oil, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together, then add the wet. Combine thoroughly.
  3. Spoon equal portions of the batter into the ramekins. Place them on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly and serve with a large dollop of frosting on top.
For the frosting
  1. Combine the cream cheese and the confectioners sugar in a small bowl using a hand mixer. Mix until fluffy and light. Set aside.

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Haloumi Caprese Sandwiches

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Lately my love of sliders and small little party food type bites has taken on dimensions of epic proportions. I don’t know whether it’s just the fact that I can sample multiple things in one go or if it’s just the inherent cuteness of small food, but whatever it is, it’s awesome. To call these Haloumi Caprese beauties sliders, could conceivably be a stretch but to call them OMG amazing definitely is not.

This recipe comes from the stunningly beautiful cookbook easy gourmet, AWESOME RECIPES anyone CAN COOK by Stephanie Le, author of the equally gorgeous, Saveur award winning,  i am a food blog.   Every time I visit her blog I walk away inspired by her great recipes, beautiful aesthetic and always, always hungry. Stephanie’s book, like her blog is full of crisp, light-filled photos, and delicious and approachable recipes that really are easy to make. Each gorgeous recipe, is uncomplicated, unfussy and yet has just that something extra that makes it feel special. It will definitely be a book I reach for again and again.

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In the short time since I’ve received Stephanie’s book, it’s already covered in food splatters, dogeared and hopelessly drowning in a sea of sticky notes. The Bottomless Pits (i.e. the boys) already have requested no fewer than 9 of her recipes for our upcoming dinner rotation, specifically French Onion Grilled Cheese, Curry Chicken Pot Pie and Porchetta and Salsa Verde Sliders to name a few.  The book is truly a joy to cook from and definitely lives up to it’s name of being easy and awesome.

As we are connoisseurs of chicken waffles, Stephanie’s recipe  for them was the first we made and it does not disappoint. Drizzled in syrup, honey (our addition) and sprinkled with salt we rolled them up and ate them taco style like she suggests and it was amazing.. Crispy, fluffy, salty and sweet, yeah..

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These sandwiches would make the perfect tailgate food, easy to prepare and assemble or if you’d rather have a bit more, you could just prepare them on a larger bun. Haloumi cheese, in case you don’t know, is a salty Mediterranean cheese with a high melting point that fries up beautifully leaving it crispy on the outside and gooey and gorgeous on the in. I highly recommend assembling them quickly and eating the sandwiches while the cheese is till warm from the pan.

Stephanie’s recipe calls for a simple to make, balsamic vinegar reduction to drizzle over the top of the tomatoes and basil before assembly, and as tomatoes are amazing right now you know they’ll just rock the recipe with gorgeous in season flavor.  Just make sure what ever you do, you drizzle over enough balsamic glaze that when you it eat it drips down your chin. You won’t be sorry.

GIVEAWAY DEETS

Because you are amazing and Page St. Publishing wants you to have a copy of Stephanie’s book, they are giving away a free copy!  All you have to do to be eligible, is to leave a comment below saying hello or telling me about your favorite tailgating food.

Rules: One winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends September 17th, at 6 a.m. Western Pacific Time. Enter as many times as you would like! Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.

***This post contains affiliate links.***

  • Haloumi Caprese
  • by Stephanie Le from Easy Gourmet: Awesome Recipes Anyone Can Cook printed with permission of Page St. Publishing
Servings
2

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions

  1. METHOD: In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until it is thick and syrupy, about 2-4 minutes.
  2. Pat the haloumi cheese dry with paper towels. Add to a cold pan, turn the heat up to medium and grill until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. Toast your buns or bread and drizzle with the reduced balsamic and some olive oil. Place the grilled haloumi on the bottom slice and top with tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and bread. Enjoy immediately.

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Shrimp and Elotes Tacos

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These tacos are really one of my most favorite new taco creations. Creamy, buttery, spicy, and herby, they hit all of the requisite killer taco requirements AND they’re a cinch to make.. I’ve long been a fan of Chez Us and it’s lovely author Denise Woodward, so when she asked me to participate in a guest post for her fantastic Taco Tuesday’s I couldn’t resist.

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Come summer time we are crazy corn addicts in this household, so as we’ve come to eat more and more Elotes lately,  it just seemed the next natural step to put all that corny goodness in a tortilla along with some spicy shrimp and call it amazing.  And it is. Whoa. Elotes, also known as Mexican street corn, is a gorgeous thing in and of itself. Charred corn, slathered in melted butter and mayonnaise, topped with a spicy chili pepper mix then some salty delicious queso fresco or cotija cheese.  Gah.

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This sort of dinner is really a fantastic one for busy schedules too, as it’s really only just prepping and making the corn and a quick sauté of the shrimp in a grill pan. You can have it made and ready to consume in literally less than 30 minutes, with minimal clean up.

Head on over to Chez Us for the recipe and say hi to Denise while you are there. Also be sure to check out all of her other gorgeous Taco Tuesday recipes and file some away for later. You won’t regret it at all. You can also find Denise on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and G+.

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