vanilla bean & meyer lemon chess pie

Vanilla Bean & Meyer Lemon Chess Pie | daisysworld.net

Citrus season reaches its peak in winter.  Isn’t that great timing?  Just as Mother Nature is dumping massive amounts of snow on many parts of the country, here in California, she is providing an abundance of tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, and lemons so that we can bask in the bright, citrusy sunshine even on the coldest days of winter.  To me, nothing says summer-in-the-middle-of-winter more than meyer lemons.

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orange buttermilk pancakes with blackberry maple syrup

Orange Buttermilk Pancakes with Blackberry Maple Syrup

Made-from-scratch pancakes take a few minutes longer to make than the pre-packaged mix, but they are definitely worth the extra effort. These tender and flavorful Orange Buttermilk Pancakes are perfect for soaking up the homemade Blackberry Maple Syrup. I topped these pancakes with fresh blackberries and peaches, but any other berry, sliced bananas, and toasted nuts would be delicious as well. Continue reading

vanilla cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes | daisysworld.net

We’ve been suffering through a heat wave in Southern California, which has disrupted what has otherwise been a mild summer. We don’t have air conditioning, but we live close enough to the beach to benefit from the coastal breezes so our house cools off quite nicely in the evenings, without the exorbitant electric bills.  However, we do have a couple of weeks each summer when we wish we had air conditioning to cool us off and this has been one of those weeks. Continue reading

nectarine, peach, and blackberry cake

Nectarine, Peach, and Blackberry Cake

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was waxing poetic about the many things I loved about the summer. Yet, it feels like summer is quickly slipping away. June is a distant blur; July came and went in a blink of an eye. Now, the days are getting shorter and there’s a hint of autumn in the night air. August is almost halfway over. Where did the time go?  Continue reading

roasted strawberry, buttermilk, and mascarpone ice cream

Roasted Strawberry, Buttermilk, and Mascarpone Ice Cream

The reviews* are in:

This ice cream is so good! It tastes like strawberry cheesecake.
– unbiased family member #1

You made this?!? It taste just like the ice cream you buy at the store.
– unbiased family member #2

I didn’t think I liked fruity ice cream until I tasted this. I love it!
– unbiased family member #3

*Yes, the reviews are from my family, but none of them were compensated for their opinions.

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chocolate pecan cinnamon rolls with mascarpone orange glaze

Chocolate Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Mascarpone Orange Glaze

We normally have my family over for a big Easter Sunday celebration, complete with an egg hunt, but not this year.  Since I’m getting too old to be crawling around the bushes hiding eggs, and my nephews are way too old to be hunting around for them, our family plans never materialized. My husband and I ended up having a quiet holiday weekend alone, with plenty of chores, and our taxes, to keep us occupied.

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chocolate-almond upside-down cake

Chocolate-Almond Upside-Down Cake

The holidays are over and I’m back from my self-imposed hiatus from blogging.  I knew that with all of the holiday preparations and spending time with family and friends, I wouldn’t have enough to blog, so rather than feeling guilty about it, I decided to just take the time off.  I was feeling burnt out anyway, and the time away from the blog has really helped.  I’m excited to be back and I have lots of simple, easy-to-make recipes to share this coming year, including this Chocolate Almond Upside-Down Cake I adapted from pastry chef Gale Gand.

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cranberry-orange walnut bread

 

The past few weeks have been a bit hectic, but a lot of fun and I’m sure that the next couple of weeks will be too. Last month I went to London and a couple of days ago I returned from a trip to New York. Tomorrow I’m taking the train down to San Diego for a shopping trip with my girlfriends and next week I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my parents in Las Vegas.  While I am loving the time off and the opportunity to travel, I have not had much time to cook and, as I am sure you have noticed, post entries to my blog. Continue reading

red currant and poppy seed cake

A month ago, I would have passed on making this cake. It wasn’t because this recipe, from Aran Goyoaga of the breathtakingly beautiful blog Canelle et Vanille, didn’t sound delicious.  On the contrary, her recipe have always been so tempting, but I’ve never attempted any of them.  Why, you ask?  Well, I’m a little embarrassed to say!  Continue reading

southern buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy

In light of Paula Deen’s recent announcement, I wondered, briefly, if I should continue on my recent quest to find my definitive version of buttermilk biscuits and gravy. However, since even I know that I shouldn’t eat this stuff every day, I silenced the voice shouting inside my head telling that the biscuits will go straight to my thighs. It’s all about moderation, y’all!  So when the day comes when I choose to indulge in biscuits and gravy, one of my all-time favorite breakfasts, I want to make them the right way. Continue reading

everything’s better with butter

Homemade butter

Homemade bread is good.  Homemade bread with homemade butter is even better!  Yes, you read it right. I made my own butter this morning!  As it turns out, butter is surprisingly easy and fun to make. Essentially, heavy cream is just whipped until it breaks and the fat separates from the liquid.  The fat is the butter and the liquid is buttermilk.  How easy is that?  I used a stand mixer, but a food processor works as well.  Shaking the fermented cream in a mason jar for about 20-30 minutes will supposedly work but I prefer to have my kitchen gadgets do the heavy work.

I followed this cultured butter recipe from the Seattle Times, which calls for culturing, or fermenting the cream, before churning.  I had no luck in finding a good quality, organic cream, so I settled for a pint of the Trader Joe’s brand.  The resulting butter is a pale yellow color and  creamy with a little bit of tang to it.  Better quality cream would have resulted in a deeper yellow color and a richer flavor.  Next time, I can experiment with adding different herbs and flavorings to make compound butter.

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