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Monday, August 18, 2014

Peach Crisp

Life is interesting. It's funny how we look at things differently. My Aunt and Uncle came up for a visit. We all sat around the table after a late lunch as we always do talking the time away. Our conversation ventured over to health concerns. My Uncle started talking about how using a cane or walker would only lead to more assistance and weakness on his part. My Aunt's thoughts were that these particular items gave people needed assistance which gave them more freedom and mobility. I was struck by the difference.

This is a great dessert for entertaining. You can make this ahead of time and use whatever fruit is in season. It's one that everyone will love. We enjoyed this warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Re-heat slowly in a 300F oven.

This recipe has been adapted from the blog, Orangette by Molly Wizenberg.


For the filling:

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 to 5 peaches, depending on size of peaches

For the topping:

3/4 cup organic sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
7 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly butter a 9" x 13" dish.

Core and slice peaches, add to prepared baking dish. In a mixing bowl whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and ginger. Pour over peaches and gently stir to coat.

In another bowl prepare the topping. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend. Add egg, mix completely. Using fingertips, squeeze and press mixture together, then add half the butter creating moist clumps, Spoon evenly over peaches. Then add the rest of the butter. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is browned.

Makes about 6 servings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Thought I would share a picture of Olive walking with a stick. I'm not sure if it is her breed or not, but she always loves to walk with a tennis ball or stick in her mouth. The ongoing problem is when we get back to the car as this is when she wants to bring her treasures back home.

I had so much fun stuffing these squash blossoms the other night. At first they were to be appetizers before dinner. Then after making a little over a dozen, we realized dinner was out and a salad was in. There was just too much food. If you ever have a chance to pick some up at a farmers market or grow them yourself, try making these, they are so simple and delicious.

Back in the day my mother in-law would make these by frying them, not stuffing them and adding them to a frittata. Then, the next day she would turn what was left over from the frittata and stuff into two pieces of bread like a sandwich for my husband to take to school. How delicious does that sound?


canola oil for frying

For batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sparkling water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

2 ounces goat cheese (room temperature)
2 tablespoons cream cheese (room temperature)
2 teaspoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh basil (roughly chopped)
12 to 15 small cherry tomatoes (if large, cut in half) (roasted for 20 minutes at 350F with a little olive oil and salt)
12 to  15 zucchini blossoms

To prepare:

First prepare the zucchini blossoms by gently rinsing the blossoms under water and then removing the sepals that grow from the base of the blossom.

Next remove the stamen/pistil from the center.

Let sit and dry on a clean towel until ready to stuff.

In a small bowl combine goat cheese, cream cheese, milk and basil. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Holding blossom add tomato and then cheese filling, leave enough room to close and twist end of petals to close.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, water and salt until smooth. Set aside.

In a large heavy pot add oil, enough to fill pan a couple of inches. Heat over medium heat until oil reaches 350 degrees. (Throw in a piece of bread and it's ready when bread is brown in about 1 minute). Dip stuffed blossoms in batter, allowing excess to drip off. Fry 1 to 2 minutes each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Recipe has been adapted from Giada De Lauretiis, The Food Network.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Squash Soup with Red Thai Curry

I see little bits of fall approaching. The wind has picked up, the berries are ripe and the days are becoming shorter. I'm certainly not ready as change is never easy, Once fall is here I will not want that season to end and so on till the next, there never seems to be enough time.

If you are still looking for ways to use up summer squash from your garden, here is a great recipe. The soup is flavored with coconut milk and red Thai curry and takes under 30 minutes to make. The recipe today has been adapted from Heidi Swanson's book, "Super Natural Every Day". In her original recipe she makes tofu croutons for the garnish and adds slivers of fresh basil. If you like summer squash, coconut milk and red curry, you will definitely enjoy this.

What is your favorite season of the year?


1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 shallots, (minced)
Sea salt, a couple of pinches
1 1/2 pound squash, about 5 medium, cut into 3/4 inch slices (I used summer and zucchini)
1 medium potato (cut into small chunks)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2-2 1/2 cups water (start out with the 2, add more if needed)
10 ounces canned coconut milk (I used whole coconut milk)

To prepare:

In a heavy soup pot add coconut oil and curry paste, then mix well together, mashing down with a wooden spoon. Heat until fragrant, about one minute.

Add shallots, a pinch of salt and saute a few minutes until soft. Stir in squash and potatoes, then add garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add water and coconut milk and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, about 10 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender and zucchini is just cooked, but not raw.

Taste, and adjust seasoning. I ended up adding a little more curry paste and salt and the broth was wonderful. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Coconut Loaf

I woke up this morning craving something different than the usual yogurt and fruit or slice of toast for breakfast. Quickly I thumbed through my cookbooks and came upon this lovely recipe. "The Sprouted Kitchen" , by Sarah Forte is one of my all-time favorites. I love it when I pull out an older cookbook and find a new recipe.

This coconut loaf will surprise you. It surprised me. The recipe calls for three types of coconut; coconut oil, milk and then shredded. Even with all that coconut the flavor is still subtle, the texture is bread like.......quite unexpected. In the book there is a picture of the loaf served alongside some fresh blackberries. As it happens wild blackberries are growing like crazy around here and are ready for the pickings.

The only trouble I had was my own undoing. The shredded coconut needed to be slightly toasted and I burned it twice, one time right after another. The third time; I stood watch over the oven and they turned out perfectly. Wanted to note that the instructions for the recipe does point out how quickly the coconut will brown and to keep close a watch but I obviously did not pay attention. After allowing the bread to set for 20 to 30 minutes I cut and toasted our first slices in the oven under the broiler. This added a nice crunch to the texture. Good cold or warm any time of the day.


For loaf:

1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (plus a little more to grease the pan)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (divided) save 1/2 for topping
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk (whole)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup toasted and shredded coconut
Wild berries

To prepare:

Set oven to 350F. Coat 8 inch loaf pan with a thin layer of coconut oil.

**Toast coconut on a baking sheet and watch carefully, only takes a few minutes, be diligent**

In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut and turbinado sugar. Sift in the flours, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs together, then the coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Mix wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into loaf pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes, check with toothpick in middle of loaf to be sure. Let cool 20 to 30 minutes.

Whisk together powdered sugar and coconut milk to  make glaze. Pour over cake and sprinkle shredded coconut on top. To serve cut into slices and garnish with fresh berries of your choice.

**Recipe called for 2 cups shredded coconut total, I used 1 1/2 cups total and was very happy with the results. For original recipe click here.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spiced Salmon Kebabs

Last night we had friends over for dinner. The sun was tucked between the clouds, with a light breeze off the ocean. The weather was perfect for dining alfresco. We ate the appetizers and main meal at the picnic table on the deck. We had salmon kebabs, couscous with parsley and a salad with several different varieties of lettuce from the garden. Here sesame seeds, ground cumin, salt and fresh oregano make up the spice that is sprinkled on the kebabs about an hour before grilling. The flavor is almost Mediterranean with a touch of flavor from the Middle East or some combination of the two. Everyone enjoyed the meal and thought the kebabs were unique and delicious.

At the end of the end of the evening I thought back to earlier in the week. Back to when I was fretting over the menu, trying to decide what to prepare. I think that some people are naturally decisive and good at organizing. That would not be me. As you can imagine for myself, the planning part of entertaining is hard. So glad I decided and stuck with the idea to keep the meal simple. I served seasonal fresh food that was quick to prepare and even had plenty of time to visit with our friends.

Recipe has been adapted from Bon Appetit  magazine.


Spice mixture:

4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes


2.5 to 3 pounds of salmon (cut into 1 inch pieces)
4 lemons (sliced, very thin into rounds)
Extra virgin olive oil

To prepare:

For the skewers; I used small metal ones, if you use wooden, soak in water at least 1 hour before.

In a small bowl mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin salt and red pepper flakes together. Set aside.

Thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto the skewers. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with spice mixture.

Prepare grill for medium heat. Place on grill and turn occasionally, until fish is cooked about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from grill, enjoy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Granola Bars and The Hike to Heceta Head Lighthouse

We woke up to clear skies and decided to make the most of our morning hike. Before heading out I packed fruit, granola bars and fresh water. The trail head is right off the 101 highway about 5 miles north of Florence, Oregon. Here we had a decision to make; the Hobbit trail which would take us out to the beach at Carl Washburn state park or the trail to the back of the Heceta Head lighthouse. We decided upon Heceta Head as you probably already figured out by the title of this post.

The trail was beautiful as it climbed up and around in earnest to the backside of the lighthouse. We traversed back and forth through the trees. Towards the top we could see out into the Pacific Ocean and down to the waves hitting the shoreline. On the other side we came up behind the lighthouse and took the trail down to the visitor area. After looking around and taking pictures we headed back down again.

It's on strenuous hikes like this that we will stop for refreshments. The snacks I packed fit all the requirements. The fruit tasted like dessert. The granola bars were crunchy and packed with protein, carbohydrates and fat giving us the energy needed for the journey back to the car. Also, they were delicious. The great thing about granola bars is that they are so versatile. There is the base that you stay pretty true to but then you have the option to pick and choose your chose of nuts and fruits. As a bonus you can even throw in some chocolate pieces. Make these your own.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Megan Gordon's; A Sweet Spoonful website who got the recipe from the folks at the coffee shop at the Fairmont Hotel in Lake Louise, Canada.


3 cups rolls oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup walnuts (coarsely chopped)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup chopped cashews
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup dried milk powder
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare large baking sheet. I used a 11" x 17" pan, lightly oil bottom and sides.

Put oil, molasses and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from heat.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour hot liquid into dry ingredients and mix well. Add in chocolate pieces, if desired.

 Scoop mixture onto prepared sheet, press mixture into pan.

Bake for 13 to 17 minutes until brown around the edges and lightly browned on top.

Cool completely before slicing. Makes about 12 4 inch bars.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Panzanella Salad, A Cottage Cooking Club Recipe

Today's post is the third installment of the Cottage Cooking Club, a virtual cooking group started by Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness. As a group we are cooking our way through the "River Cottage Veg", cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The key idea is to incorporate more vegetables in our daily meals. Every month Andrea will select 10 recipes and we can pick and choose which one or ones we want to blog about in a single post.

This month I choose a classic Panzanella, which is essentially a bread and tomato salad. The whole idea is to use simple fresh ingredients. The outcome will depend greatly on the quality of the ingredients you put into it. The tomatoes should be at their peak, sweet and ripe. A few glugs of a good olive oil and slightly stale cubed bread are the backbone of this recipe.

The bread will soak up the tomato and olive oil dressing and pick up the flavors from the Kalamata olives, capers and feta cheese. It is suggested that you allow the ingredients to rest together a bit for more flavor. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

This recipe was easy to follow and certainly showcased the ripe summer tomatoes I used in the dish.

Recipe adapted from "River Cottage Veg", by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, cookbook chapter Hearty Salads, Panzanella, page 86.

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the LYL post for July on the CCC website, by clicking here.