Posts filed under ‘Sweet Treats’

Apple Crisp

Classic Apple Crisp

I visited the farmers market this weekend, walking the block between my home and the market at top speed, trying unsuccessfully to stay warm in the whipping winter winds.  I love that so many of the farmers markets here in Philadelphia have decided to hold winter markets, most every other week instead of weekly and for just an hour or two so the farmers don’t turn completely into icicles.  Being able to still buy local sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli, kale, and apples directly from their growers is such a treat and a sure cure for the winter blues. 

Classic Apple Crisp Diptych

I purchased eight large russet-hued ‘Winesap” and a few bicolor ‘Honeycrisp’  apples, having a hard time counting out my bills with my numb fingers.  I didn’t really have a plan for them at that moment, but given apples keep for quite some time, I thought I’d just store them until I had a grand idea.  Once I got home though, I realized I didn’t want to dream up a wild creative dish for them.  Instead, all I really wanted was a simple delicious traditional Apple Crisp. 

Apple Crisp

Surprisingly, I don’t make fruit crisps very often so I didn’t have a go-to recipe already.   So, after a quick online search, I came across the one below.  It seemed ridiculously easy, I already had all the ingredients in the pantry, and the recipe got great reviews.  Away I went, peeling apples and crumbling the topping.  Indeed it was easy and delicious.  This is a keeper, though this particular crisp is likely to be gone real soon…

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December 5, 2010 at 8:38 pm 25 comments

Contest Entry: French Fig Clafouti

French Fig Clafouti

Entry #2 :: Foodbuzz.com “Project Food Blog” Contest

Challenge Prompt from Foodbuzz: Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post. Do your research then try to pull off successfully creating this challenge. Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal, and document your experience through a compelling post.

VOTE FOR ME HERE 

Even though I don’t speak the language and I’ve only traveled there once, I have an undying love {obsession} with the French lifestyle.  How can you not appreciate rich food, beautiful art, bright scooters, intrinsic romance, classic but flirty style, and an abundance of al fresco cafes?  When I visited the manageably sized city of Lyon for a dear ex-pat friend’s “hen night” weekend {the equivalent of a bachelorette party in the States} , I didn’t have any idea I was in for a fast and furious love affair with the city and French life.  I immediately gravitated to the eclectic street artists, the open-air produce market that lined the river bank, the lusciously verdant flower stands at nearly every turn, the delicious coffee and flavored sodas, the decadent brunch dishes, the pockets of parks and tiny enclaves, and the flirty but classic styles displayed in shop windows.  I sat on park benches and bistro chairs, letting the rush of energetic French conversation wash over me.  I couldn’t get enough. 

Fresh Figs

I have since determined that I am so in love with Lyon that I will someday retire there, at least in part, to live in a little walk-up flat with sun-filled tall windows and a cheerful mix of flea market finds for furniture.  I’ll go to the river’s edge market to buy baguettes and cheese and spend countless hours people watching at cafes.   I’ll take advantage of living on the Continent to travel to any of the remaining European countries I haven’t made it to by then.  It’ll be one long enjoyable holiday! 

Eggs and Fig Halves

In the meantime, I need to work on a few things to prepare for my Franco freedom.  Learning to speak French would seem like a wise step.  But, alas, I’m utterly pathetic at learning languages.  Really, I spent 10 years of school learning Spanish and can barely get past “como se yama?” any more.  I figure I’ll just learn by immersion when the time comes. 

Fig Calfouti

I can, however, start to learn more about French cooking.  It is a cuisine that intimidates me, to be perfectly honest.  It seems so full of sauces and soufflés, all of which require a precise technique.  I decided to start with something more rustic and simple, a dish that embraced seasonal ingredients that would likely show up in that riverside market in autumn.  Figs are heavenly fall fruit and this “clafouti” couldn’t be easier.  I made mine with beautiful farm eggs from Red Haven Farm {isn’t their hand-decorated carton just too cute?}, which created a faultless custard base to amplify the figs’ natural sweetness.   The clafouti did puff up in the oven like a soufflé — so dramatic! — but it’s not meant to stay that way so I didn’t have to deal with the dread of watching it fall and feelings of failure.  This was the perfect introduction to classic French cooking! 

Now, perhaps the remaining nine eggs can be put towards a soufflé…  I think I’ll skip the frogs and snails however. 

VOTE FOR ME HERE 

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September 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm 22 comments

Contest Entry: Fresh Fig & Raspberry Stuffed French Toast

Fresh Figs and Red Raspberries

Entry #1 :: Foodbuzz.com “Project Food Blog” Contest

Challenge Prompt from Foodbuzz: For the very first Project Food Blog Challenge, we’re asking you to create a blog post that defines you as a food blogger and makes it clear why you think you have what it takes to be the next food blog star. Consider what makes your blog unique and sets you apart from other food blog brands: is it your foolproof recipes, your mouthwatering photos, or your perspective on family meals? Write a post that comes from the heart and is true to you and your blog.


VOTE FOR ME HERE 

Stuffed French Toast with Whipped Cream

Those who have been following SFTF for awhile surely know a bit about my background and the driving force behind this blog.  However, like any good reality TV show, the Project Food Blog contest opens up a whole new world to the players in the game.  If you’ve not dropped by SFTF before, welcome!  The message here is always simple: locally grown fresh produce is artfully delicious, and thus we are always “feasting on fresh” in the SFTF kitchen.

Figs and Raspberries Diptych

I grew up on a farm where we raised a great deal of our own food and only went to the grocery store to pick up flour, sugar and cleaning supplies.  It was a rich upbringing, one centered around eating seasonally and preserving the farm’s bounty, that remains ingrained in me.  My mother taught me to cook from a very young age.  Thanks to her good graces (happy birthday today, Mom!), I learned the blueprint of good cooking and rarely depend on cookbooks or online recipe libraries any more.   Instead, when I see a quart of oh-so-ripe figs at the farmers market and get to pick a cupful of autumn raspberries from a neighbor’s garden, I go home and immediately begin dreaming up the best use for them simply by considering their flavors and my mood.  I find I’m rarely disappointed and neither are SFTF readers. 

Fruit Filling for French Toast

The posts on SFTF are meant to read like the beautifully illustrated pages of an art book.  Each photo is crafted with the intent to both make readers gasp a little and drool a lot.  My photography has evolved exponentially since the outset of this blog, but the purpose is still the same: to inspire others to make the recipe in the post.  Often we are intimidated by unfamiliar ingredients  {a classic case is the misunderstood kohlrabi }.  When I can capture an odd-ball fruit or vegetable’s inner beauty, I find many readers begin to be more daring with their own dinners. 

Stuffed French Toast Triptych

Unlike most other food blogs, SFTF combines artful photography, original recipes, and interesting pertinent tips together in one single pot, all of which is focused on sustainably and locally grown food straight from the farm!   Case and point?  Fresh Fig and Raspberry Stuffed French Toast…recipe after the jump.

 

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September 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm 22 comments

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Just in time for Labor Day, a perfect classic fruit cobbler recipe!

Black Berries

Somehow this summer has completely blown past me.  How did I displace the entire month of August?!  For that matter, what about July and June?  I guess this is just what happens when you launch your own business and handle every aspect of it yourself.  It’s been a fun summer though, full of beautiful flowers and new friendships with the lovely folks that buy them.   And since I now spend two days a week selling my blooms at farmers markets, I’ve been getting quite the assortment of fresh seasonal fruit from other farmers to bring home.   These guys have the best peaches.  And these guys have the most amazing Asian pears.  And these guys have to-die-for black berries. 

Summer Fruit

I’m still growing nearly all my own vegetables, but fruit, particularly anything growing on trees, is tough to manage in pots on the deck so I depend on getting to know a few key fruit growers to be sure I stay fully stocked with nature’s candy.  There have been two notable growing- fruit-in-a-pot successes this season though.   There were a half dozen of the most darling and delicious miniature melons.  Little Gem is an heirloom variety that was quite happy to climb up the lattice around our deck and dangle delicate melons from the vines without fear of them falling from their own weight.  The taste was sweet and superb. 

Summer Fruit

The other success story was the blueberries.  Last year I put a blueberry bush (‘Bluegold’) in a very large pot on the deck and crossed my fingers that it would make it through the winter in one piece.  Not only did it survive, it thrived!   I picked gobs of perfect blue orbs off it over the course of late June and July.  I had to protect the bush from marauding birds and squirrels by fitting it with a custom-made “shower cap” (row cover fleece with an elastic band sown around the bottom so I could put the fleece over the bush and secure it with the elastic around the pot).  

Take a bite

The berries went into my breakfast yogurt and pancakes mostly.   But I did save a pint of them specially to make a wonderful summer fruit cobbler.  This is just the perfect thing for a relaxing backyard get-together…perhaps you’re having one of those real soon for Labor Day.  It should be mandatory to serve it with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, but I won’t go so far as to dictate your entire dessert menu.  Peaches are at their peak still, but local blue berries might be hard to find.  The recipe is really just a blueprint for a cobbler that will showcase any combination of fruits.  Just stroll through your local farmers market and pick out what looks the most tempting and juiciest.  You really can’t go wrong. 

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August 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm 12 comments

From the Archives: Summer Berry Pavolova

Summer Berry Pavlova
 

Years after this post was originally put up on the blog, I’m still as smitten with this pillowy dessert as ever!  My own blueberry bush, growing in a five-gallon pot on my deck, produced a bumper crop this year.  I knew I needed to pull up this recipe from the archives and show it to you again.  In addition to the blueberries, a neighboring gardener gifted me with beautiful and sweet raspberries and blackberries. And of course the eggs are farm fresh from free range chickens.   Delicious!  

Eggs and Berries  

From the Archives  

There’s something magical about summer twilights.   And something even more magical about fresh blueberries on 4th of July celebration desserts.  I have many a fond memory of eating homemade ice cream topped with fresh blueberries and then running through dewy grass in the twilight with sparklers or chasing lightning bugs.    

Berries in a teacup  

I first came across fresh fruit pavlova while living in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  I can remember everything about the scene of my first bite – it was that delightful.  A crisp shell of a meringue with a melt-y middle topped with ever-so-slightly sweet fresh whipped cream and (for that first encounter) kiwis and blueberries spilling off the plate.   If ever the heavens should point a sunbeam directly on my head and issue forth an angelic chorus, it should have been at the moment of my first bite in that roadside Irish inn.     

Blueberries and Pavolova   

Since then, I’ve learned this dessert really hails from New Zealand and was named after a Russian ballerina so I think it classifies as an international dish even though there’s nothing regionally distinctive in its flavors.  Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe directions.  It really is just a lot of mixing and that’s all.  These little puffs of marshmallow-y delight are well worth the 20 minutes of shouting required to be heard over the mixer.   

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August 1, 2010 at 10:32 am 18 comments

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