Everyone that knows me well knows that I have a very wicked sweet tooth. Always have and I’m pretty sure I always will. I blame my Mom but don’t tell her. Funny thing is as much as I love desserts it’s not my favorite thing in the world to make. If you’re coming to my house for dinner and ask what you can bring I will tell you dessert (or wine) every single time. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely can make desserts and I do all the time (you do read my blog don’t you LOL). I just prefer cooking to baking if I have my rathers. I like the flexibility of cooking. Baking requires me to pay close attention and be specific with my measurements.
One of my “go to” desserts has always been panna cotta, which simply means cooked cream in Italian. Shocking because it is cooked cream right? It’s my go to for several reasons: One, I love it (what’s not to love about creamy and dreamy). Two, it’s incredibly versatile, you can add any flavor to it. Three, it’s ridiculously easy to make and can even be made in advance (big bonus points for party planning). What more can you ask for out of a dessert, unless someone else brings dessert and I’m always okay with that. Always.
I have been craving chocolate cake for a while now. A simple no fuss decadent from scratch chocolate cake that comes together in about an hour. Don’t worry most of that time is spent in the oven baking away. Plenty of time for you to enjoy dinner and then have it for dessert warm straight out of the oven. Did you hear me exhale? There is nothing better than a warm slice of chocolate cake dripping in chocolate ganache if you ask me. Unless someone else makes it, but that’s neither here nor there.
I’m an equal opportunity soup person. Meaning not only do I like all types of soup, I like soup year round. If there’s a choice of soup or salad well that’s an no brainer for me. It’s always soup. I do tend to gravitate to cream based soups. They’re calorie free aren’t they? No? Sigh, well I’m already hooked so I’m going to ignore that little tidbit. This creamy roasted pumpkin soup is high on my fall favorites list. Didn’t I mention that we’d be putting roasted pumpkin to good use. So far we’ve already used it to make Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Pancetta and now we’re using it as the base for this soup.
Because sometimes you just feel like a nut right? If you like sweet salty and crunchy treats this fruit and nut brittle is for you. Now that it’s October (gasp I can’t believe I just typed that, where is this year going) I’m already starting to think about what homemade treats I’m going to be making for gift giving. My criteria usually includes quick and delicious. I’m super strict eh? This checks both of those boxes. You can whip up a few baking sheets of this beautiful brittle in no time at all. It reminds me of amber jewelry and I’ve been obsessed with those gorgeous chunks for as long as I remember. Something hypnotizing about it. I’m going to consider this my edible amber.
I was roasting a chicken this weekend because A. I was craving it and B. I also had high hopes to re-shoot said roasted chicken to update a VERY old and ugly post that is finger licking good but is buried in the ehem ugly photo post archives and no one comes to visit it. Of course once it came out of the oven, the smells intoxicated us and we had zero willpower. We carved in too quickly and alas no new photos. Boo. Happens every.single.time. Silver lining, while I was shoving chicken into my mouth eating, it occurred to me that I’ve never shared a simple recipe for making homemade chicken stock. Silver linings.
I am a soup fanatic. I love soup of all kinds (well except for vegetable soup, I know odd). If it’s ever offered on a menu I’m ordering it. Soup or Salad? You guessed it. I went out to lunch with a blogging friend earlier this week to a local Thai Cafe. They had a delicious Coconut Soup that made me pretty much ignored my shrimp Pad Thai (don’t worry I took it home and ate it later) for and if I didn’t think it would have looked bad I would have tipped the bowl and slurped all of it down. Needless to say, I restrained knowing that I would most definitely be re-creating their bowl of deliciousness at home where I could slurp in private. And slurp I did.
This past weekend over the Labor Day holiday we decided to pull out our little red smoker and get smokin’. We had family in town and we were putting on a serious nosh fest. I’m still wearing yoga pants and recuperating 5 days later. We had the typical pork butts (which is a word I am so not fond of, I mean it’s an awful visual and isn’t even accurate description, it’s a shoulder so why not call it that. Okay moving on. Sigh.) smoking away for hours on end that would turn into bar-b-que pulled pork deliciousness. We also decided to throw some Copper River Salmon into the smoking mix. I for one am glad that we did. It’s smoky scrumptiousness that you simply must try.
You probably know by now that one of my besties, Superstar Susan has a new cookbook out. It’s all about, you guessed it, S’Mores! I am incredibly proud of her hard work and so happy to help her spread the word! It’s a beautiful book that happens to have been photographed by another one of my awesome friends, Bree Hester (aka Baked Bree). You need a copy. Or two because honestly you’ll likely get chocolate or melted marshmallow on one and who wants to have a book with pages stuck together.
I’m gearing up for back to school. It’s in 11 days (not that I’m counting or anything. Totally counting who am I kidding). During the school year I bake A LOT of cookies. Not everyday because honestly I’m not June Cleaver, I don’t even look good in an apron and Bobby pins hurt my head. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I TRY to have homemade cookies for the kids at least once a week. Nothing like seeing their faces light up when they walk in from school, drop their bags, shoes and everything else on the floor, sigh, and see a tiered tray of cookies waiting on them. Serious Mom bonus points I tell you, and I can use all that I can get.
Am I the only one who feels like this summer has flown by? I blinked and it’s August. Since school let out back in June we have tried to squeeze in as much family fun as possible. We have visited the mountains of Virgina and the beaches of North Carolina and then last week we all boarded the Carnival Fantasy compliments of Carnival and took off for for 5 days to the beautiful blue Bahamas for our last big hoorah before school starts back in 11 days (not that I’m counting or anything ehem). This warm chocolate Nutella melting cake is what’s helping me get over my end of summer blues and I think it will help you too.
Did you know that I am indeed a Georgia peach? Yes I was born in Georgia. Naturally this means that I love peaches, otherwise they kick you out of the state (okay that is not true but it was fun to say). I also love (and probably overuse) the phrases “peachy keen”, “she’s a peach” and “peach out”. They have nothing to do with this ice cream recipe they are simply further proof of my love of peaches.
I get really excited when I see figs in the market. Practically giddy. Okay completely giddy. Since they’re only available for a short time I load up when I find them. With the first score of the season I always make FIG PRESERVES. This way we have them to tide us over until next season. This year I even planted a fig tree. I’m praying it makes it through winter and eventually will produce fruit. If not I may cry. Luckily I will be crying with fig preserves in hand if so. Silver lining people.
You would never guess by simply looking at this cake but there is Zucchini buried in there underneath that deep dark decadent chocolate. Scandalous, I know. Please don’t tell my kids about this. I try to get as many vegetables in them as possible and they absolutely adored this cake. On another note, does putting zucchini into cake means it’s considered health food? Because if so then I’m definitely on board with health food.
You’d think we were considering opening up an ice cream shoppe the way we’ve been churning out frozen treats around here. Between the gelato, ice cream and sorbets our ice cream maker has been working over time this summer and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. Our Watermelon Sorbet was wildly popular (even Lauren Conrad thought so, yep she pinned it). I think this boozy blueberry thyme version will be as well.
I wasn’t kidding when I told you we were on a mission to see exactly how hard we could push our ice cream maker this season. We’ve already churned out a Watermelon Sorbet and a super sexy Strawberry Balsamic Gelato this season. Today, even though I’m not a ginger, we’re adding a little jiggle juice to the mix (for those of you who haven’t seen the movie Pitch Perfect just do it then you can join us in quoting the movie obsessively too. It’s aca-awesome, you’ll see). We’ve inebriated our raisins with rum and once they passed out, we dumped them into our vanilla ice cream base. Most definitely aca-awesome.
This might be the summer our ice cream maker breaks. It’s not quite July and we’ve been giving it a workout. You know the kind of workout like it’s early January when everyone flocks to the gym to keep to those New Year’s Resolutions? Yep, that kinda working out. Not that I would know anything about that. Up until today we’ve been making sorbets , like they were going out of style. Today we’ve taken 2 pounds of fresh strawberries and we’re taking a 180 to the creamier side of frozen treats. Can you say gelato?
We got lucky out of the gate this year. Why lucky? Well there’s always a chance when the melons come in that you’re going to get a watered down not so sweet version. Despite, thumping them, holding them, slapping them and every other thing anyone and their Grandma has ever said that will guarantee a GOOD melon, it’s just not the case (at least for me). I won’t know until I cut that baby open. Period. Today was a good melon day. Our first of the season was sweet, sticky and juicy. The boys devoured HALF of the melon instantly and I reserved the other half to make a luscious little frozen summer treat called sorbet.
I know that many of you can relate to being constantly on the go. Although I work full time blogging from home, I’m constantly in and out for both work and family errands. Grocery stores (yes plural), gas stations, dry cleaners, gas stations (have you seen the price of gas gah), school, after school activities, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes I think I live in my car as much as I do my house. My car also happens to be yellow, equating it to a taxi. Coincidence? Mmmh. Active is definitely a word that comes to mind when I think about the ins and outs of my days. Trying to balance my crazy schedule and eating things that don’t come from a drive thru is challenging.
Last June in Seattle was where I had my first taste of Copper River Salmon. I have my friend Angie to thank for that. She told me that it was just THAT GOOD and I needed to try it. When I saw it on the menu at the Four Seasons a day later I ordered it immediately and well to be honest I inhaled it in just about 2 minutes. It was THAT GOOD. I have been dreaming about that salmon ever since. I waited an entire year for a second taste. Angie was the smart one, she had an entire Copper River Salmon shipped back to her house. THAT GOOD.