Moist Strawberry Shortcake (for a Large Group)

Does this picture not just epitomize summer?

I was back home in Kansas a couple weekends ago with my family for a memorial service, which involved a LOT of people and a LOT of cooking. Friday night we had a smaller get-together (maybe 15 people?), and we needed to figure out a dessert to feed the masses.

playing croquet

Strawberry shortcake is my go-to summer dessert when I have people over. It’s basically perfect—juicy strawberries, just a hint of sugar, fluffy cake, pillowy whipped cream. Healthy. And the easiest thing to throw together for an impromptu get-together.

moist strawberry shortcake strawberries

While angel food cake will do in a pinch, usually I try to go the extra mile and make traditional homemade shortcakes, kind of scone- or biscuit-like (or like this oat & brown sugar version). They’re not hard to make, but they’re not good for big groups and are not as great when you make them ahead of time—like biscuits, they’re great fresh but get tougher and stale once cool.

Moist Strawberry Shortcake baked

When I started thinking about dessert for a bunch of people (plus getting dinner on the table), I knew that individual shortcakes would be too much trouble. I knew I wanted something that made a lot, and something that would stay moist so we could make it several hours ahead. After quite a bit of digging, I discovered this recipe, and was quite pleased with the results.

Moist Strawberry Shortcake

It literally took less than five minutes to mix  the ingredients together and throw it in the oven, and it was super moist, not too sweet, and basically perfect for soaking up strawberry juices. My brother-in-law gave it his stamp of approval, and finished off the leftovers the next day. While it’s not quite as pretty as the traditional shortcakes, it’s got great texture and is delicious! [Read more...]

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Peanut Butter & Honey Ice Cream with Sea Salt

Summer in Georgia. Crazy humidity. The smell of rain on concrete. Fireflies. And bare legs sticking to your leather couch.

In other words, folks, it’s been hot & humid up until the cool spell we had this week.

Peanut Butter & Honey Ice Cream with Sea Salt

The last thing I’ve wanted to do lately is turn on my oven, so to get my sweet fix I’ve had to turn to cool treats. I’ve never made anything but frozen yogurt in my frozen yogurt maker, but didn’t see any reason this wouldn’t work. And the peanut butter + honey + sea salt flavor combo is one I seriously can’t resist.

Peanut Butter & Honey Ice Cream w Sea Salt

This ice cream is amazing! The texture is super creamy, with the mild sweet honey and peanut butter blending perfectly, with just the hint of sea salt to cut it. I sat on my hot couch on a Saturday night in my pajamas and ate a giant bowl, then contemplated eating the rest…then reminded myself that then I would have eaten an entire can of coconut milk in one sitting. So I resisted, but it was touch-and-go there for a while! [Read more...]

Banana Chocolate Coffee Muffins with Whole Wheat Flour

I’ve really slipped on my healthy breakfast train the last month or two. I had family in town, then was out of the country for a couple weeks, and have been buried under work and lack of sleep. So I just haven’t had the time or energy to do much baking or cooking to prepare for each coming week. Thankfully, over 4th of July weekend I finally got back on track with these beauties.

Banana Chocolate Coffee Muffins

I really haven’t done a lot of baking lately, partly because when I use my stove and oven it makes my kitchen feel like Death Valley during the summer. My A/C can’t come close to keeping up. But I decided it was worth it to give these guys a try. I mean, coffee and chocolate in a muffin together?? Sign me up!

Banana Chocolate Coffee Muffins done

As much as I love whole wheat flour, I was a little nervous about using it exclusively, since sometimes that can make things a little too dry and dense. I shouldn’t have worried, though—these were moist and light even as reheated leftovers at work the next day. And the dark chocolate chips are these gooey little nuggets of awesome. For something that literally takes like 5 minutes to stir together, the return on this is totally worth it! [Read more...]

Pasta with Fresh Sweet Corn Pesto

This is seriously one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while. I had such high hopes for this recipe, and am inordinately happy that I wasn’t disappointed.

Pasta with Fresh Sweet Corn Pesto

Sure, traditional pesto is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan, but the word basically comes from the Italian verb pestare, which just means “to pound or crush” (i.e. what you do with all these ingredients). Typically you’d make pestos with a mortar and pestle (from the same verb) but most of us are way too lazy to do that on a regular basis. Because food processors are magical.

pasta with fresh sweet corn pesto corn ears

While I’ve tried kale pestos, spinach pestos, and all kinds of different nuts in the sauce as well, this is a very different take on the traditional dish. You start with sweet, juicy fresh corn cut right off the cob. Cook some bacon and leave the drippings in the pan to start the flavor profile. Saute some minced garlic in it to release its amazing aroma. Add a dash of red pepper flakes for just a hint of bite. And finish it off in the food processor with pine nuts, fresh parmesan cheese, and olive oil to make a creamy sauce that clings to the noodles like its life depends on it.

pasta with fresh sweet corn pesto corn sliced

This dish doesn’t take long overall—the longest part is cutting the corn off the cob, which I’m pretty slow at (partly because I value my fingers). Once that part’s done, the rest moves quickly and you can have it on the table in less than half an hour. While you could use many different kinds of pasta, I think a long flat pasta like linguine or tagliatelle is best for this (though I break most of the noodles in half before cooking). [Read more...]

30-Minute Mongolian Beef

Happy Independence Day! Because what’s more patriotic than Americanized Chinese food?!

30-Minute Mongolian Beef

It’s  funny, I looked through all the recent recipes I’ve made but not posted yet, and there’s not a single one I’d classify as American. Apparently I’ve been on an Asian kick, though. And this one’s a doozy—the most delicious, successful Asian recipe I’ve made since this super easy sesame chicken.

30-minute mongolian beef green onion

I’ve gone through like a hundred green onions lately. They’re the best!

30-Minute Mongolian Beef done

The sauce is obviously the hero of this recipe—you could switch the beef out for chicken and maybe wouldn’t even notice. It’s a little sweet and salty and garlicky and super tangy. It’s got bite. I honestly don’t know that I’d classify it as a traditional Mongolian beef sauce, which I think of as a little more mellow. But no matter what you call it, it’s awesome. And as a bonus, this recipe creates a lot of sauce to soak into the rice, which is one of my non-negotiables where Chinese food is concerned. [Read more...]

Super Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Guys, this is so good. I didn’t believe that somehow simple frozen bananas could be broken down and then coalesce into a creamy, magical ice cream.

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream 2

If I served this to you and told you it was ice cream, you’d never guess otherwise. Unless you hate bananas, and then you’d just wonder why I was trying to poison you with banana ice cream. [Read more...]

Traditional Spanish Tortilla

See, I would have called this a frittata. And apparently I would have been wrong.

Traditional Spanish Tortilla done

One of my co-workers is half Spanish, and one time he brought in a traditional Spanish tortilla for breakfast. While it looked exactly like the frittatas I’m so fond of, it just had a slightly different flair. The gold potatoes are delightfully tender and add a delicate base to the dish. Many also include onion, asparagus, chorizo, and other fillings. The recipe below called for tarragon, though I used fresh rosemary and oregano instead.

Traditional Spanish Tortilla

Spanish tortillas and frittatas are very similar, though there are a few differences. Tortillas are always egg- and potato-based, while frittatas only have to have eggs. Also, apparently the main difference is that you’re supposed to flip a Spanish tortilla on the stovetop at the end, versus finishing in the oven like a frittata. I’ll definitely be trying this method next time—I’m trying to wheedle my co-worker’s recipe out of him! [Read more...]

Pound Cake with Coffee, Chocolate and Hazelnuts

This is a winter kind of recipe. In fact, I made it this past winter, but I haven’t posted it yet because I was ashamed about how terrible the pictures are. I mean, seriously terrible.

chocolate hazelnut coffee poundcake hazelnuts roasted

But this pound cake is good. It transcends the awfulness of the pictures, and you deserve to know it.

Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Poundcake

Not only is it cake (duh), but it’s got coffee, chocolate, AND hazelnuts. That’s like the Three Amigos of deliciousness. The Three Musketeers (and d’Artagnan) of deliciousness. The Buffy, Willow, and Xander of deliciousness.

This could go on…

Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Poundcake finished

With the sifting, making the chocolate hazelnut paste, and then making the batter, it’s slightly more work than a regular pound cake, but not too much. And the rich combination of flavors is totally worth it. [Read more...]

Herbed Goat Cheese Tart with Spring Peas

English peas in the spring are one of those magical things.

Herbed Goat Cheese & Spring Pea Tart

There’s this super narrow window when they’re in season (usually a few weeks in April), and if you can catch them fresh-off-the-vine they’re this crunchy, sweet treat bursting with flavor.

Herbed Goat Cheese & Spring Pea Tart2

My CSA box back in April came with three whole bags of English peas, still in their pods. Shelling them can take quite a bit of work—though if I’d been smart, I would have soaked them in a water or blanched them for a minute to make them softer. I just sat in front of the TV and shelled the peas while vegging out. As soon as I got the peas, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to make.

Herbed Goat Cheese & Spring Pea Tart assembled

I pinned this tart recipe probably a few years ago, but haven’t had the chance to make it. It just sounded awesome across the board. My family teases me about how much I love goat cheese, but it’s seriously awesome! The combination of tangy goat cheese, creamy greek yogurt, fresh herbs, a little salt, and then those sweet peas is truly unique. I wasn’t able to find micro greens, but I do think they’d make this recipe even better.

It’s also important to note that this is NOT great as leftovers…the tart solidifies in the fridge and becomes quite hard and a little flavorless, losing the awesome texture and tang it had when it was fresh. This recipe is perfect for something like a Mother’s Day brunch or Sunday morning bridal shower—something a little fancy, but where it will get consumed right away. [Read more...]

Food Travel Postcard: Croatia & Slovenia

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks! My parents and I spent a week and a half exploring the nooks and crannies of Croatia, Slovenia, and northern Italy.

plitvice

We started our trip in the unreal beauty of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. We walked through the rushing waterfalls and gorgeous teal and green waters. [Read more...]

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