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

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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

vanilla bean custard with roasted berries

Vanilla  Bean Custard with Roasted Berries

Every cook should have a homemade custard recipe in his or her repertoire.  It is the base for so many desserts and yet, is fairly simple to master.  The key is to temper the eggs with the milk so you don’t end up with bits of scrambled eggs.

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blackberry galette with mascarpone and orange marmalade

I made my first galette a couple of weeks ago, and it has quickly become one of my favorite desserts.  I love its simplicity and rustic quality, along with its versatility. Short on time this past Labor Day, I opted to make this quick “semi-homemade” Blackberry Galette. Instead of pastry dough, I used a sheet of ready-to-bake puff pastry.  The light and flaky puff pastry encased a trio of ingredients – blackberries, mascarpone cheese, and orange marmalade. The tart blackberries made a nice contrast to the slightly sweet orange marmalade and rich mascarpone cheese. It was a simple dessert, yet very pretty and full of flavor. Served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this galette was a perfect end to a nice holiday dinner.

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meyer lemons: lemon soufflé with blackberry sauce

Lemon Soufflé with Blackberry Sauce

A soufflé is such a beautiful and sophisticated dish. It is delicate, light, and airy, like a puffy cloud. I must admit, though, that the idea of making a soufflé was very intimidating to me. I tend to focus on the things that could go wrong – it wouldn’t rise, it would fall flat midway through cooking, or it would be lopsided. However, I came across the following tips for making the perfect soufflé and it gave me the push I needed to give it a try.

Tips For Cooking Soufflés (adapted from The City Cook)

  • A soufflé is customarily baked in a tall, round, fluted dish with straight sides to promote rising.
  • Soufflé dishes must be prepared with a coating that helps the batter rise. By coating the inside of a soufflé dish first with butter and then with a dusting of sugar, the batter doesn’t adhere to the side of the dish, thus leaving it free to climb to the top.  Once prepared, place the dishes in the refrigerator until ready to fill.
  • Very fresh egg whites have a high water content so they are prone to graining and do not hold air as well.  It is best to use eggs that are 4 or 5 days old.
  • When whisking the egg whites, it’s essential that there not be a single bit of egg yolk in the whites because it will interfere with getting the necessary volume.  Also, make sure the mixing bowl is meticulously clean, with absolutely no residue to ensure that the egg whites whip properly. Continue reading

razzleberry ice cream with dark chocolate chips

 

Raspberry Ice Cream

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day and designated July to be National Ice Cream Month.  It coincides with our own proclamation naming this year, 2011, as The Year of the Ice Cream.  As you know, Chris has been the diligent ice cream maker, churning ice cream at least once a week.  Today, to mark the Day, Month, and Year of the Ice Cream, it was my turn to create a cold concoction – Razzleberry Ice Cream.  My inspiration for this flavor came from Marie Callenders’ Razzleberry Pie, which is made with blackberries and raspberries.

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