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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

(are you drooling yet?)

I have been craving peaches like nobody’s business lately. It seems like every time I walk past the produce section of a market, all I can smell are peaches. It’s heavenly.

Since we’re housing out of town guests for the week, I decided that a tasty “peachy” dessert was an absolute necessity for this week’s menu. At first, I was toying with the idea of baking a peach pie..but then I realized that I don’t like peach pie (and what fun is baking something that you, yourself, don’t like? Answer: No fun at all). Then it hit me, PEACH UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (and yes, I did in fact YELL that in the middle of the grocery store while looking at peaches…like a crazy person).

There was only one (minor) detail: Not only had I never baked an upside down cake from scratch before; but I had never baked a single cake (of any kind) from scratch before (aside from flourless chocolate cake). Isn’t that just the wildest thing ever! Sure, I’ve baked pies, cookies, breads, and brownies..but never a cake. I’m just not a big cake person. I like it when it’s REALLY good…but I’ve had way too many REALLY bad cakes to call myself a cake fan. Such is life.

After a wave of shame washed over me, I decided that this very serious character flaw needed to be amended…ASAP. So I bought 5 pounds of peaches and went on my merry way.

I adapted this recipe from a Plum Raspberry Upside Down Cake recipe by Martha Stewart (Oh Martha, You’re just so fabulous). The cake, itself, is moist yet crumbly; almost like a scone. It’s very lightly sweetened, yet has a hint of spiciness to it. The peaches and raspberries are absolutely perfect together. In a word: Ah-Mazing!

Needless to say, I was thrilled with the way it turned out. Go me!

Did I mention how ridiculously easy this was to bake? Seriously, I think the most difficult part was slicing the peaches. I’m not even joking.

What You’ll Need:

6 ripe peaches; uniformly slice 4 of the peaches and chop the remaining 2 peaches.

1 and 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter; 8 tablespoons at room temperature and 2 tablespoons melted

1/3 C light brown sugar

half a pint of fresh raspberries

1 1/2 C unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 C raw cane sugar

3 egg yolks

1/2 c organic sour cream

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4  tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

Pre heat your oven to 375°. In a greased springform pan, coat the bottom of the pan with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the melted butter. Place the sliced peaches on top of the brown sugar, in whatever pattern you see fit. I chose a nice spiral pattern. Fit individual raspberries between the cracks of the peaches (spreading them out somewhat evenly). The bottom of your pan should be completely covered with fruit. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine your flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together remaining butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, until thoroughly blended. Now, add half of your dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla to the bowl and mix (slowly) until combined. Add the other half of your  dry ingredients. Once the batter is combined, fold the chopped peaches into the batter.

Using a wooden spoon, drop spoonfuls of the batter on top of the peaches and raspberries in your springform pan. Smooth out the surface of the cake before putting it into the oven (unless you want a lumpy bottomed cake…then by all means skip this step). Bake for 60 minutes.

Serve warm or cool. It’s especially tasty with a big ol’ dollop of natural vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Makes 12 servings.

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With my husband away for the week, I am reminded of how easy it is to prepare meals for one person. I feel like I’m a single gal in college again! (with much more financial stability…and a baby)

I picked up our CSA bounty last night and was super excited to see a bunch of tomatoes in the bin (along with peppers and squash!..but that’s a different meal). Plus, there was a bag of fresh basil! You know what that means: Caprese Salad!

I think I could eat caprese salad every night of the week during the summer. It’s so clean and bright in flavors.Maybe it’s just me, but I think it helps cool you down when you’re a hot sweaty mess; like I’ve been for 4 weeks straight!

Wanna know what else I love about this salad: it takes 2 minutes to throw together. Literally, 2 minutes.

Slice your tomatoes, slice your fresh mozzarella, strategically place your basil leaves…drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar…a few grinds of salt and pepper…DONE!

I used 3 medium sized tomatoes because I wanted to make a whole meal out of this salad. If you wanted to eat this as a starter to a meal, then 1 tomato would be plenty.

I also used a Balsamic Reduction ala The Pioneer Woman; but you could easily just drizzle balsamic vinegar straight outta the bottle…I know I’m not above doing that. I already had the reduction in the fridge (leftover from Sunday)…so I used it. The End.

**To keep with the casualness (and laziness) of this week’s posts I am going to use only photos that I’ve taken with my new iPhone. Half because I want to test out different camera settings/apps and half because I’m too lazy to bust out the Nikon…yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah**

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I just got back from camping. I love camping but I hate how I eat when I’m camping. I always end up eating horribly, then feel like crap for several days afterwards. I think this has something to do with the “I’m on vacation so I’m going to eat whatever I want to eat…because it’s vacation!” mentality. I’ll be honest, all I wanted this entire weekend was a large bag of gummy worms BUT I fought these urges and ate oodles and oodles  of Chocolate Chip Cookies instead. At least the cookies had flax in them…that justifies my binge eating, right?

Now that I am back to reality, I feel like I need to detox a bit. This week: no flour, no pasta, no sugars, no alcohol. Just veggies, berries, miso soup, grains…and a bit of lean protein. Last night I ate a whole bunch of Kale chips and a BIG tasty salad…and guess what: I didn’t wake up feeling like death! Hooray!

This week I’m going to be focusing on bright and fresh summer salads! I always crave salads in the summer (and soups in the winter..is that normal). I think it’s because everything is so FRESH! Truth be told, this whole CSA thing has ruined bagged salads for me! I doubt I’ll ever be satisfied with slightly rusty lettuce or “limp” greens again.

To kick things off with my “back to health” diet this week I made a Cilantro and Lime Grilled Chicken Salad for dinner…YUM!

Here’s what you’ll need: 

For the marinade:

-the juice of 2 limes

-2 tbs olive oil

-4 cloves of garlic; chopped

-one handful of cilantro; chopped

-one uncooked chicken breast

-salt and pepper

For the Salad:

-one head of leafy lettuce (I used red lettuce); rinsed and chopped

-alfalfa sprouts

-cucumbers; rinsed, peeled and thinly sliced

-red onion; chopped

-cherry tomatoes; halved

-freshly made guacamole (truth be told I used Wholly Guacamole…because my avocados weren’t ripe yet…stupid avocados)

(serves 2)

First things first: combine the ingredients for the marinade. Whisk together.  Add marinade and chicken to an airtight container, shake it up, then let it sit in the fridge overnight (ideally 24 hours or longer…but 8-12 hours will do in a pinch).

24 hours later: Heat up a grill! I was too lazy to wait for charcoal to heat up on our ACTUAL grill…so I used my cast iron grill griddle instead. Man, I love that thing. Once it’s nice and hot add your chicken. Cook for about 15-20 minutes; flipping once (around the 7 minute mark). I actually flip mine twice…b/c I like to make criss-crossed grill marks in my chicken. It’s the little things that make me happy.

While your chicken is sizzling away, start prepping your veggies. Give your lettuce a cold water rinse, chop it up and throw it in a salad spinner. Rinse and peel your cucumber, slice it up and toss that in the salad spinner too. If I were using any other washable veggies (carrots, peppers, tomatoes, etc) I would wash, chop and toss these bad boys into the salad spinner as well.

*I used a salad spinner because: A) it was a wedding gift and I’d hate to see it go to waste and B) because I am extremely lazy.* 

Spin, Spin, Spin and VOILA…excess water is removed and everything is tossed together. Brilliant!

Once your chicken is done, slice it into strips. Set aside.

Now for the fun part, assembling your salad! I like to do a “Lettuce/Cucumber/Tomato-Chopped Onion-Sprouts-Chicken-Gucamole” kind of pattern…but that’s just me.

The lime juice gives the chicken a nice tangy taste, while the cilantro makes everything taste so bright! Such a great flavor combo!

Salads for dinner are my absolute favorite because they take NO TIME whatsoever to throw together! Plus, no pre-heating an oven on a hot day! Double bonus!

**Not a big fan of guacamole? Try making your own Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette! That would be a superb compliment to this salad!**

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