Sunday, September 10, 2017

Peach & Blackberry Cake with Brown Butter Glaze


I'm back....and I brought cake!

It has been over a year since my last post. I really missed you guys. The past year has been crazy. I spent nine months as the Acting Executive Director of our local animal shelter and worked 70 hour work weeks during that time. It was supposed to be a two-three month assignment but went three times as long. Then, just as the new director was hired, I fell in love with a very shy, scared, formally abused dog that I just had to adopt. (Of course, I fell in love with every dog and cat in the shelter, but this one ripped my heart out.)

The boys watching me get ready. Jax is one the right.

So I have spent most of the summer working to develop a bond with our newest dog (Jax.) It has been a long and sometimes painful process. He is terrified of men, and I am working with the shelter's trainer to establish trust between Jax and my husband. Very slow going, so please keep this sweet boy in your thoughts. The best thing for all of us is to live our lives as normally as possible so he gets used to being part of a family...I am blogging today while both dogs sleep at my side...and my husband watches football. Pure happiness.



Yesterday was Saturday, and there was a hint of Fall's crispness in the air. Our local farmers' market carried beautiful peaches and the sweetest blackberries I have ever tasted. Nothing to do but bake a cake, right? I am always happy when cooking or baking so having the time to hang out in the kitchen for the day was a gift. Cake, homemade pasta, homemade pesto sauce, salad from ingredients grown in our garden...perfect day.



I have baked all of my life but, after moving to Taos, New Mexico with our 7000 ft elevation, I was lost. I didn't know how to make my tried and true recipes work with our higher altitude and needed help from numerous online sources and cookbooks. This cake is an adaptation from one of my favorite bloggers, Mountain Mama Cooks. Her recipes are tailored for cooking in the mountains. I tend to pick something from her blog as a starting point and either make it exactly as is...or try some slight tweaking. I used her Apple-Spice Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Frosting and substituted peaches and blackberries for some of the apple. Delicious. *** BTW, this one is not a high-altitude recipe so it should work for anyone at sea level. AND, I did not need to make any adjustments so higher elevation friends...you are in luck too. Enjoy!


Peach & Blackberry Cake with Brown Butter Glaze
(adapted from the Mountain Mama Cooks blog)

Ingredients:

2 cups white, unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups diced fresh peaches
1 pint blackberries
1 Granny Smith apple1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan. Set aside
In a medium size bowl, sift together unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; set aside. 
In a small bowl toss peaches, blackberries, apple, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar; set aside.
In a large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat together both sugars and oil. Add one egg at a time incorporating each one thoroughly. Mix in vanilla extract and apple cider. Slowly stir in flour mixture into wet batter stirring just to combine. Fold in fruit and any juices that have accumulated. 
Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 55-60 minutes or until cake is done. (Mine took exactly 55 minutes.) Test using a cakes tester or thin chopstick. Cake is done when tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes before turning out of pan. While cake cools, prepare glaze.
For the Glaze:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons milk

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until light brown in color, 8-10 minutes. (It took me 7 minutes. Maybe my heat was higher?) Remove pan from heat and pour butter into a bowl. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons milk; stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is spreadable. Let cool 5 minutes. Then use immediately and pour over warm cake. Frosting will harden as cake cools.

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Additional peach recipes you may enjoy:
best,
diane


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tomato, Peach & Melon Salad


This is one of those simple recipes that should only be made in summer when the in-season produce is perfectly ripe. Please use the absolute best quality extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt because you will taste each ingredient separately in this simple salad. You will not believe how delicious the combination of tomatoes, peaches, and melon is when married into this easy dish.



I made this yesterday for dinner and paired with a pecan crusted grilled trout. Over the top good and perfect for a hot summer night, or make for your next potluck dinner.This salad will be a hit at the party. Enjoy!



Tomato, Peach & Melon Salad
(serves 4)

2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 large ripe summer peach, cut into wedges
1/2 honeydew melon, scooped into balls
extra virgin olive oil
best quality pure, aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn or chopped
sea salt

Arrange tomatoes, peaches, and melon in a decorative pattern on a large platter. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the top. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar over the oil. Scatter the basil over the salad and sprinkle with sea salt.
Serve immediately.



It is "Tomato" week at Food Network's Summer Soiree roundup. Do you have a favorite tomato recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Steamed Clams with Chorizo, Tomatoes and Kale
The Mediterranean Dish: 
10 Fresh Tomato Recipes with a Mediterranean Twist
The Mom 100: 
Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Homemade Delish: 
Roasted Tomato and Poblano Salsa
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Easy Summer Tomato Tart with Artichoke Spread
The Heritage Cook: 
Tomato and Cucumber Summer Salad (Gluten-Free)
Devour: 
Praise Caprese with 6 Twists on Tomato Salad
Healthy Eats: 
How to Use Up Your Last Batch of Fresh Tomatoes
Creative Culinary: 
Fresh Tomato Summer Pie
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Classic Caprese Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Tomato, Peach & Melon Salad
Taste with the Eyes: 
For Tomato Lovers Only
FN Dish: 
The Best Fresh Tomato Recipes You to Make, Like, Right Now


best,
diane


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Tomatoes with Basil

I am a basil addict and have six different varieties growing in my garden. I used purple basil for this recipe, but any type is just perfect.

The fresher the ingredients, the simpler the preparation. That is my motto for summer, and this recipe is a perfect example. We went to the farmers' market on Saturday morning, and I didn't have a clue as to what I was going to make for dinner. I passed a stand with the most adorable, tiny fingerling potatoes and knew that was the starting point. The next stand had beautiful, sweet-gold tomatoes. My garden at home is overflowing with basil. Ding, ding, ding! Dinner was planned.



I love roasted summer potatoes, and the pairing with tomatoes is especially nice. Excellent extra virgin olive oil, good salt, and a handful of fresh basil scream the season is here. A complete dinner for me (with lots of wine); I added roast chicken for my guests. #keepsummergoing


I love basil in any way, shape or form. I used purple basil for this recipe because it is so pretty and, honestly) I was overdue for pinching off the flowers so two accomplishments for the price of one. (sssh, don't tell anyone that I am behind in gardening duties...our secret) For more information about growing and using purple basil, please check out this article.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Tomatoes with Basil

1 lb fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
3/4 lb cherry tomatoes (preferably sweet gold)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces (any kind. I used purple because it is pretty)
extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 minutes. Line a large, rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Add the potatoes to a large bowl and drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over the top. Using your hands, roll the potatoes around until they are evenly coated with oil. Pour onto the prepared baking pan and spread out over 1/2 of the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in preheated pan and roast for 15-30 minutes, or until they are light brown and beginning to soften. (The time will depend on the size of the potatoes. mine were tiny and took 15 minutes)

Remove from oven and add the tomatoes to the empty side of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return pan to oven and roast for and additional 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and soft, and tomatoes have started to burst.

Remove from oven and arrange potatoes and tomatoes on a platter. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle basil over the top. Serve hot or warm.

Additional basil recipes you may enjoy:




It is "Basil" week at Food Network's Summer Soiree roundup. Do you have a favorite basil recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.

Devour: Pesto, Change-o: 6 Recipes to Use Up Leftover Basil
Feed Me Phoebe: 
Brazilian-Style Moqueca Fish Packets with Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Herbs
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Peach & Basil Panzanella
The Lemon Bowl: 
Thai Basil Shrimp
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Basil Seeds Limeade
Creative Culinary: 
Ricotta, Lemon and Basil Pasta Salad
TasteBook: 
Frozen Basil Daiquiri
Healthy Eats: 
7 Summer Dishes That Aren't Complete Without Basil
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Tomatoes with Basil
The Mom 100: 
Shrimp and Corn Salad with Basil Dressing
Swing Eats: 
Gluten-Free Gnocchi With Tomato Sauce And Basil
Taste with the Eyes: 
Mandilli di Seta al Pesto (Handkerchief Pasta) #glutenfree
FN Dish: 7 Ways to Take Fresh Basil Beyond Pesto 

best,
diane


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Cornucopia Of Corn Recipes For Summer



It is Corn Week at Food Network's Summer Soiree, and I thought I would share a bunch recipes to help you use up the overflowing bounty that hits each summer just about now. Cooling corn salads, salsas, grilled corn with toppings, chowder, pizzas, popcorn...even chocolate cake (yes really) are all included. So, pick your favorites and dig in...or just grill and top with butter and salt. Nothing tastes better. Enjoy!

Okay, by now you are probably asking "why is she blathering on about cakes in a corn story?" Trust me; this cake is delicious...and it is only made in summer...because the secret ingredient is pureed fresh white corn.  Yes, corn. If you can have zucchini cakes, and carrot cakes, why not corn? When you puree fresh corn, it becomes this milky, frothy liquid that adds a moistness and a lightness that is hard to describe. I have never had anyone correctly guess the "secret" ingredient...but everyone that has ever tasted it, loves it. I urge you to give it a try and let me know what you think.





Corny Chocolate Cake
cake ingredients

2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp instant coffee crystals
1 cup white corn kernels (usually takes corn from 2 cobs)
1 cup dark chocolate chips

chocolate glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted butter
3-4 tbsp boiling water
1/8 tsp instant coffee crystals

for cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder to prevent sticking
3. Using a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt..set aside.
4. In the bowl of a mixer, beat eggs until a bit frothy. Add olive oil, cocoa powder,
sugars and coffee crystals..beat until thoroughly combined. Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the corn kernels and process until smooth and liquefied. You should not see any kernels.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix just until combined
6. Add the corn mixture and mix until combined
7. Fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.
8. Pour into the prepared pan and bake on center rack of oven approx. 50-60 minutes or until a bamboo stick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool, 10-15 minutes on a rack and then remove from pan and let cool on the rack. When completely cool, drizzle with the chocolate glaze if desired or sift powdered sugar over cake top in lieu of glaze.

chocolate glaze
Whisk together all ingredients except water in small bowl. Add 3 tbsp boiling water and whisk until combined. Add the remaining tbsp water if needed. The glaze should be just thin enough to pour easily.
This cake is best eaten the day it is made.






Other corn recipes you may enjoy:





It is "Summer Corn" week at Food Network's Summer Soiree roundup. Do you have a favorite corn recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network: 

The Lemon Bowl: Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Corn
Devour: 
Fire Up the Grill for a Mexican Grilled Corn Fiesta
Feed Me Phoebe: 
Sweet and Spicy Gluten-Free Corn Pasta with Ricotta and Chives
Creative Culinary: 
Grilled Corn Salsa with Poblano Chiles, Cilantro and Honey
TasteBook: 
Esquites (Mexican-Style Corn Salad)
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Corn, Pluot and Grape Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
A Cornucopia of Corn Recipes For Summer
Healthy Eats: 
7 Summer Salads That Put a New Spin on Corn
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Easy Homemade Creamed Corn
FN Dish: 
If You Cook Any Corn This Summer, Make It One of These 5-Star Recipes


best,
diane


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.