Gettin’ figgy with it

IMG_1297

My morning yesterday was perfect: zesting meyer lemons early in the morning, to the sound of rain in the leaves and thunder overhead, under cloudy skies.

IMG_1160

Well, it would have been extra perfect with a latte, but no such luck!

IMG_1298

I LOVE the rainy weather we’ve been having – we don’t get summer storms all that often out here, so I’ve really been enjoying them (minus the super muggy nights – I could really do without that). We’ve also had cooler days, hooray! No more turning my apartment into a sauna by virtue of turning on my oven…

IMG_1262

A few shots from life lately… My last series of weekend snapchats was so stereotypically Bay Area Californian, I had to laugh at myself. Latte –> poolside lounging (with sci-fi novel, obvs) –> whole foods flower display –> sushi….

IMG_1225

IMG_1226

IMG_1227

IMG_1229

However. This is a food blog (well, okay… dessert & baking blog these days), so let’s back to the topic at hand!

IMG_1264

This pudding cake is really fun to make – it totally looks like it’s not going to work when it goes in the oven (fingers crossed, beseeching the baking gods) – the cake batter sinks into the pudding underneath and you think to yourself “OMG THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK AND I WILL BE SCREWED!” but then… you put it in the oven 25 minutes, try to walk away and ignore it….

IMG_1268

Lo and behold, when you take it out, there is CAKE on top of your PUDDING SAUCE! Borderline baking miracle right there, just the sort of thing to make you feel like you’ve won your day, even when it’s only 7am.

IMG_1158

Happy almost-weekend!

IMG_1261

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Pudding Cake with Port Roasted Figs

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. I reduced the sugar heavily & used maple for unrefined-ness, because of personal proclivities… Lightly sweet, super fun concept where the cake bakes into a pudding bath, basically. Essentially it becomes a self-saucing cake, which looks like it won’t work, but it does! Adapted from King Arthur Flour, here. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves 2-5 (but really 2, for dessert & breakfast w/ a few snacking leftovers…)

The port roasted figs are also a great way to use an abundance of figs if you can’t eat them all fresh – they freeze well, and can be kept into the dark winter months when you want some figgy goodness!

For the roasted figs:

  • 1 lb fresh figs (however many you need or want!)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a baking sheet. Slice the ends off each fig, and then halve them. In a large bowl, toss the halved figs with honey, coconut sugar, port, and lemon zest, then place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheet with foil, and roast for 20 minutes. They will be soft, with more liquid – if you want them drier, bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. When done, carefully remove the foil (watch out for steam!) and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze – I’d say use them within 3 months if you freeze them, for best quality.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons maple
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp meyer lemon juice

For the cake:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, minus 2 tbsp
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp meyer lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8″ square pan (I used a ceramic baking dish with nice results).

To make the sauce: place tapioca in a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of milk, stirring until no lumps remain. Add the remaining milk, maple, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture simmers, about 5 minutes. It will thicken slightly but no more than that. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

To make the cake: in a largish mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice (Or, if you’re me and baking at 6 am and kind of sleepy, just dump it all in one bowl – it’ll turn out just fine). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the sauce. It will kind of puddle into the sauce, which will creep up around the sides, and you will look at it and think that this will never work, but stick with me! Promise.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be golden brown, with some bubbles from the pudding that has crept up around the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for 15 minutes, and serve warm, OR refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat briefly before serving (or just leave at room temp for a few hours). Store covered leftovers in the fridge & eat for breakfast (it’s essentially breakfast food anyway: maple, milk & whole wheat…) Serve with roasted figs, warmed.

IMG_1265

Sometimes dessert is just messy and comical

IMG_1221

BEWARE THE BLOB!

I had to laugh when I took this out of the oven. I’m not sure if it was due to the humidity or what, but when I made cream biscuits this time, instead of staying all nice and biscuit-y shaped, they all just decided to merge and become… the BLOB!

IMG_1202

You can kind of see the divisions between the biscuits (there are technically 8 of them), but I still cracked myself up when I took it out. Not to mention the very red berry juice making its escape over the sides…

IMG_1219

Add to that the explosion of berry juice that occurred in my oven – thank heavens for precautionary foil; I only had one really (quite large) entrepreneurial drip escape its confines and end up on the oven floor – this is one of those desserts that definitely tastes better than it looks! Although if you’re going for comic value… well…

IMG_1215

Also not helped by some odd overcast light this morning when I was trying to photograph before running off to the office.. sorry for the slightly off photos. If I promise it’s delicious, will you believe me?! I wouldn’t virtually feed you subpar food, promise.

Regardless of what it looks like, this cobbler is a great excuse for using up the last of summer berries – no more white shoes for you! It’s after Labor Day! Not that I really ever follow that rule, or even own white dress shoes…

A few things from late-summer life lately:

IMG_1173

IMG_1186

IMG_1196

Anyway. You really don’t need an excuse to make cobbler, so what are you waiting for? Go create a blob of your very own! But… don’t say I didn’t warn you…. BEWARE THE BLOB!

Hehe.

IMG_1216

Summer Berry Cobbler with Meyer Lemon Cream Biscuits

Lightly sweet and (barely) naturally sweetened, and perfect for showcasing the last of summer’s berries. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries play perfectly with meyer lemon, present both in the filling and in the cream biscuits. Whole grain and refined sugar free. Adapted from the rhubarb ginger mint cobbler I made awhile back, here. Yield: 1 9″ cobbler; serves… several. Or two. Your call!

For the filling:

  • 4 c strawberries, quartered (unless they’re really small, in which case halved is fine)*
  • ~1 c mixed blackberries & raspberries**
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch

*Basically, you want as much fruit as you need to fill your pan of choice. This about does it for me in my 9″ pie plate; I need a larger dish though since mine totally overflowed this time… whoops

**I bake straight from frozen (usually I buy mine when on sale & freeze them for later); fresh would also be fine

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c heavy cream (I prefer Straus because… it’s the best!), divided + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a 9″ pie dish (or an 8 by 8 pan would be fine too I’m sure; so would a cast iron skillet if you’d rather) Just make sure whatever you use is deep enough! Not that I speak from experience…. Stick some foil on the rack below the rack on which you’ll bake the cobbler, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together strawberries, raspberries & blackberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice & zest, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 5 minutes — easiest to do this while you put together the cream biscuit for the cobbler topping.

For the cream biscuits: in a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and spelt flours, lemon zest, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice until combined – the dough will be sticky & rather wet (but DELICIOUS). Spoon large dollops of dough onto the top of the cobbler – I used a large spoon and got about 8 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Mine obviously all became one big blob, but whatever. Delicious.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling (or the juices runneth over…). A thermometer (if you have one) is useful here – the internal temp of the centermost biscuit should be 200F. Let cool before serving – awesome either warm out of the oven, or room temp later – with ice cream either way, obviously. AND it’s even better for breakfast the next day; leftovers keep well, covered in the fridge.

IMG_1205

Late summer stone fruit shenanigans

IMG_1156

Can someone explain to me how it’s already the latter half of August? That went FAST, yeeshh.

IMG_1095

At least I’m still getting my fill of stone fruit – pluots are amazing right now, I just found peaches on sale, and options are endless. AND it’s not so beastly hot right now, which means I can actually haul my loot home and bake with it and not give myself heat stroke in the process. I’m a happy girl!

IMG_1093

A few other pictures of life lately…

IMG_1060IMG_1148IMG_1030IMG_3723

I highly recommend this crisp, not only because it’s crisp which is basically the easiest thing ever but also because its insanely customizable. Can find pluots? No prob. Use peaches! Or nectarines. Or any other stone fruit that calls you. I’m loving the basil in here for some earthy freshness against the sweetness of the fruit, so I can’t in good conscience let you leave that out (also it’s summer, which means basil is going gangbusters. Get on that!)

IMG_1080

IMG_1085

Keeping it short and sweet today – Go hang out in  your kitchen for the approximately 10 minute it takes to throw this together (okay, maybe a bit more if we include slicing up fruit), round up a loved one and enjoy the late summer bounty. Your sense of general wellbeing will thank you!

IMG_1094

Pluot, Apricot, Blackberry and Basil Crisp

Gluten free and whole grain, vegan, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Perfect for the late summer bounty of all the stone fruit – pluots, apricots and berries do the tango with a bit of basil thrown in for good measure. Peaches also work nicely here – I’ve also done a version with a few plums, peaches, and blackberries. Yield: 1 9″ crisp, serving sizes are up to your discretion ;)

  • 3.5 c assorted pluots, sliced*
  • 3 small apricots, sliced*
  • 1 c blackberries
  • juice of one meyer lemon
  • zest of one meyer lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 heaping tbsp fresh basil, chopped

*a combination of peaches and pluots works nicely here too

For the filling, you basically need enough fruit to fill your pie plate of choice. My approximate measurements are listed – I usually just cut it directly into my pie plate and estimate from there.

For the crisp:

  • 1 c rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/2 oat flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 c raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350, and select your 9″ pie plate or 9×9 pan.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, oat flour, almond flour, sea salt, almonds, and coconut sugar. Cut in the coconut oil, using a fork/your fingers/a pastry cutter if you’re feeling fancy — I used a fork and my fingers and it worked just fine (crisp is exceedingly forgiving). Stir in vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, toss together pluots, apricots, and blackberries. Add lemon juice and zest, maple, vanilla extract, and chopped basil, and toss to combine.

Add the pluot-berry mix into the prepared pie plate or baking pan, top evenly with the crisp. Pop the whole thing into the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crisp is lightly browned and… crisp!

Serve with your fave vanilla ice cream/non dairy of choice (whipped coconut cream would also be good here), and store any leftovers covered in the fridge. Makes EXCELLENT breakfast the next day – the crisp solidifies a little in the fridge and omg it’s good. Besides, who is going to pass up crisp for breakfast?! Not this girl.

IMG_1074

IMG_1083

Swampy Pandowdy. Need I say more?!

IMG_1014

Can I just say that I’ve recently discovered swamp pie, and I will never be the same again.

IMG_0972

IMG_0992

Sometimes, the messiest food is by far the best food, and the less-aesthetic desserts are actually the tastiest. And sometimes, they have ridiculous names and it just gets better and better!

Ugly and strange sounding, but delicious. I promise. Would I lead you wrong in the dessert department? I think not.

IMG_0983

Let’s talk verbiage for a minute…

Swamp.

IMG_0997

Best word ever. And also, hilarious (and slightly unappealing I suppose, if you’re normal… unlike me) connotations when we’re talking about food. Side note, I was Bride of Swamp Thing for Halloween one year, and I think it might be one of my more inspired costumes to date.

IMG_0999

Typically, it’s pies that are swamped (i.e. have cream poured into them so not only are you getting pie, but you’re also getting this delicious mash up of cream and custard and pie and all the goodness, all at once), but since I’d never made a pandowdy, I decided to swamp that instead.

IMG_0996

Swampy pandowdy.

What a great combination of words!!! Swampy pandowdy. Which sounds potentially unappealing but I promise it isn’t.

Pandowdies are basically pie’s less fussy cousin. Or maybe they could be considered pie’s artsy, bohemian cousin who comes to visit once a year, bakes, does art things and wears colorful, ridiculous jewelry and lots of scarves and… omg that’s me! I’ve apparently found my spirit food. Or food totem? As in, if I was a food, I’d be a pandowdy. Low maintenance, boho weirdo… that sounds about right. Actually, I’d probably be a swampy pandowdy because that’s even weirder and more awesome. But, y’all like me for my weirdness, right?! So it’s fine. I’m at peace with having my spirit food be a swampy pandowdy.

IMG_0989

Though the origin of the word is technically unknown, I’ve read the theory is that pandowdies apparently get their name from “dowdy-ing” its looks by mucking up the crust. I just enjoy playing with my food, so you’re not going to hear any complaints from this corner.

IMG_0976

AND THEN not only that, but you get to pour a bunch of cream in there, which is an experiment in and of itself if/when you realize you don’t actually own a funnel, and careful pouring is going to have to do.

IMG_0974

It’s fun! It’s delicious and makes great dessert and breakfast (especially breakfast). And there are great words involved…

Happy pandowdy-ing!

IMG_0987

Cherry, Peach and Raspberry Swampy Pandowdy

Refined sugar free, lightly sweet, whole grain, and perfect for the late summer stone fruit season! I’m all over the stone fruit lately… Pandowdies are like pies, only way less fussy and much more messy and fun. They’re kind of like pie’s artistic, bohemian cousin (that’ll be me, later in life… oh wait. It probably already is) – only a top crust, and you get to mess it up and play with your food! Besides that, I love love love cream, so what better excuse to eat some than to flood your pie? Swamp pies are a thing. Also, I love the name. Pandowdy crust lightly adapted from Food52, here and the swamp business is adapted also from Food52, here! I didn’t do much to the crust, the recipe was pretty much perfect as is. Yield: 1 9″ pandowdy, serves… several. 2 if you eat it for breakfast too ;)

IMG_0977

For the crust:

  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • 9 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed into small pieces
  • 3-5 tbsp ice water

Add whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sea salt, and lemon zest to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in butter, toss to coat, and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas (I prefer to use my fingers for this since I a) like the feeling of having my hands in flour and b) have greater control over butter-chunk sizing). Add ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough just begins to hold together when pinched between two fingers. It’ll look a little crumbly, but that’s fine.

Toss the dough out onto a clean counter or wax paper (I prefer the counter method; less fuss), and use a bench scraper to gather the dough into a rough rectangle. Using the heel of your hand, smear the last fourth of dough away from you, against the counter. Repeat until you smear all the dough (see? playing with your food!), then gather the dough back into a rectangle and repeat, smearing it all away from you. The dough should be cohesive by this point, so gather it up into a disc, wrap in plastic, and stick it in the fridge for at eat an hour, or up to overnight.

For the filling:

  • 3 c cherries (mine were Bing cherries; I think Ranier would be awesome here too)
  • 2 c peaches, sliced
  • 1.5 c raspberries*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • egg white & 1 tbsp coconut sugar for glaze
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 c heavy cream

*I used some that had been frozen; if you do as well, bake them straight from frozen instead of letting them thaw beforehand

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, peaches and raspberries. Add vanilla, arrowroot, lemon juice, and maple, and toss to combine. Pour all this goodness into your pie plate or skillet of choice – 9″ pie plates are fine as long as they’re the deeper variety; a 10″ cast iron skillet would also work well.

Preheat the oven to 400. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to be roughly circular (no need to be perfect here, like I said – pandowdies are pie’s unfussy cousin), and lift the dough onto the fruit. Tuck in the edges, leaving a rim of dough between the edge of the pie dish and the fruit – I crimped mine because I’m an overachiever and I also had extra dough, but no need to do that. Make a few slits for steam to vent, brush the top with egg white and dust with coconut sugar. Pop the whole beautiful thing into the oven for 40 minutes; best if you line the rack beneath with foil or a large baking sheet – the juices runneth over! In a liquid measuring cup with a spout, and let it sit at room temp.

Once you hit the 40 minute mark, take the pandowdy out, and use a sharp knife to break up the crust, thus ‘dowdy-ing’ its looks (now begins the really fun part). Carefully pour the cream into the new breaks in the crust, filling each – some of the cream will pool under the crust, and some will sneak out on top, which is fine. Just be careful not to drown the whole crust! Go slow, and fill each vent/break. Stick the pandowdy back in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cream is just set and barely jiggles in the center. Let cool completely before serving; it will be gloriously juicy and delicious so might I suggest serving it in bowls? Ice cream is… optional, sort of, if you’re out of cream; otherwise, this can be served even swampier with extra cream poured over the top. You do you!

Store any leftovers (who are you) covered in the fridge, but make sure to save some for breakfast. You’ll thank me later!

IMG_0999

Living the stone fruit life

IMG_0934

Can’t stop, won’t stop with the stone fruit! I love mid to late summer for that reason – peaches, pluots (personal fave), nectarines, apricots… the list goes on and on and on. It’s definitely worth it to brave the oven heat and do some summer baking when there is stone fruit involved.

IMG_0936

A food nerd fun fact for you! Did you know that peaches and almonds are related? What we think of as almond nuts are actually the hard-shelled fruit of the almond tree, which is in the prunus family (we’re getting real food-nerdy up in here). That’s the same family that also includes most stone fruit-producing trees and shrubs, like peaches, cherries, plums, and nectarines! Food is so cool.

IMG_0939

Not only is it awesome that almonds and peaches are fam, but they also are a taste pair made in heaven. Throw in some apricots and meyer lemon zest and have yourself a party – I always taste things when I’m cooking, but very rarely do I actually say out loud to myself, “DAMN that’s good!!”… however, in the making of this meyer lemon and almond frangipane, that is exactly what I did.

IMG_0937

Barefoot in my kitchen at 6 am (because as we’ve previously discussed, I often end up baking early not only because of time constraints the rest of the day, but also because I love it for its quietude and peaceful mindfulness), I taste-tested the frangipane to determine if I had the right balance between lemon and almond and practically yelled, “OMG THIS IS DELICIOUS!” Not to toot my own horn, or anything, ha! Sometimes I surprise even myself.

IMG_0940

Apricots lend themselves especially well to baking – unlike most other stone fruit that can be eaten out of hand over the sink, I’m less partial to snacking on apricots. BUT – when you bake them, they take on greater flavor and are just delicious; even if they’re not perfectly ripe when you use them.

IMG_0947

Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, paleo depending on your definition (I have some paleo friends who eat butter, some who don’t, so you do you!) – a heap of summer stone fruit, fragrant meyer lemon and almond, and a kitchen that smells amazing. What’s not to love?

IMG_0952

Apricot and Peach Galette with Meyer Lemon Almond Frangipane

A Wait are Those Cookies original! Adapted from my Rhubarb Frangipane tart, here. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free and possibly paleo, depending on your definition. Definitely delicious, perfect for the late summer glut of stone fruit. Yield: 1 galette, serves… 2. For dessert & breakfast, duh. Just kidding – probably serves 4 to 5.

For the galette dough:

  • 1.5 c almond flour (not meal; you want the finer flour variety)
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons (or regular lemons)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a food processor), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the frangipane:

  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 c roasted unsalted almond butter

In a food processor, combine almond flour, maple, and lemon zest. Pulse once to combine. Add in lemon juice, eggs, vanilla and almond extract, and pulse once or twice, until combined. Add in almond butter, and blend again until smooth. If the frangipane seems too sticky, add 1-2 tbsp of maple to loosen it; if it’s too loose, add a few tbsp of almond flour. Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Assembly:

  • 2 large peaches, sliced
  • 6 apricots, sliced
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch
  • zest of one meyer lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • beaten egg, for egg wash
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar for sprinkling

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, toss peaches and apricots with tapioca starch and lemon zest, and vanilla and set aside momentarily.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. Top with the frangipane, spreading it carefully in order to not rip or crack the dough.

Add sliced peaches & apricots, in whatever pattern you like! Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle a little coconut sugar around the sides. Dot with butter. Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown — mine came out just fine at 37 minutes, so check accordingly. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully slide the whole galette onto a cooling rack to let it cool completely (it’s fine to leave it on the parchment paper on the cooling rack, I don’t find that it makes it soggy). Serve with your fave ice cream or whatever of choice! Keeps well covered in foil on the counter for a day or in the fridge overnight; mine didn’t last longer than about 2 days so I can vouch for it at least that long!

IMG_0938

Camp Musings and Cream Biscuits

IMG_0825

I have returned from my mountain home away from home!

Not that I’m especially happy about this – camp is my favorite place, and reality is, um… less fun. I’m pining and going through wilderness withdrawals, that’s for sure.

IMG_7227

There is nothing that compares to 10 days off the grid with my camp family in the mountains – laughing till my stomach hurts, swimming in a lake so brisk it takes your breath away, listening to the wind sighing in the pines, and going to bed under a skyful of stars and a full moon, smelling like woodsmoke and campfire.

IMG_0809

It is such a joy to witness the camp experience of so many girls who come to love camp just as much as I do – I am beyond grateful to have Two Sentinels in my life, both the place and the people! Camp has truly shaped who I am, in more ways than I can count. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite snaps from this year – doesn’t nearly do it justice, but it’s a start.

IMG_0820

IMG_7273

IMG_0810

IMG_7241

IMG_7245

IMG_7252

The only thing missing up at camp is an abundance of summer fruit – so of course I pounced on the berries and stone fruits as soon as I got home.

IMG_0853

I’ve been eyeing peaches for weeks now, waiting for peak season, and I think we’re there!

IMG_0837

These are perfect; they really don’t need to be messed with, but I like to have my fruit be a little saucy when I’m serving shortcakes. These particular peaches are paired with a cream biscuit (because I’m obsessed, both with this form of biscuit and with Straus creamery heavy cream – I could literally drink the bottle. Someone take it away!) and with either ice cream or more of that amazing heavy cream… no need to even whip it, just pour it straight over your shortcakes and imbibe.

IMG_0834

It’s hot out and I just ran my oven and I don’t even care. Summer is for shortcakes and if that means I have to swelter a bit, so be it! I’ve been outside in nature’s A/C for the last week and a half anyway so who cares. The only thing missing is the lake! That would be so good right now.

IMG_0844

So! Not only do peaches make your kitchen smell like summer, but this dessert comes together in about five seconds flat. And the oven only has to be on for 15 minutes! No excuses – you’ll thank me later. Happy summer!

IMG_0836

IMG_0831

IMG_0826

Whole Grain Shortcakes with Peaches and Cream

Lightly sweet, perfectly fluffy biscuits with a craggy crust. Summer peaches don’t need much adornment – these were in varying degrees of ripeness so I threw them in a pot for a minute to somewhat homogenize – tossed with vanilla and served with cream and/or ice cream: the ultimate summer pairing. Refined sugar free and whole wheat. Cream biscuits lightly adapted from Alice Medrich of Food52, here. Yield: 6 shortcakes.

For the cream biscuits:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c + 6 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with three pieces of parchment, to prevent excess browning. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together whole wheat, spelt, baking powder, and sea salt. Create a well in the center and pour in the cream. Using a rubber spatula, push the flour into the cream (not stirring), until everything is moistened. This really only takes a few seconds! The dough will look shaggy and porous. Drop large spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle generously with coconut sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back once halfway through, until golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely (or eat warm).

For the peaches:

  • 3-4 large peaches, cubed
  • vanilla to taste
  • zest & juice of one meyer lemon

Toss everything into a small pot, and heat over medium until the peaches start to release their juices and make your kitchen smell amazing. Remove from heat and let cool before serving.

To serve: you do you! Cream, ice cream – whatever floats your boat. I like a ton of peaches and a drizzle of cream (or a large blob of ice cream)… or maybe both. Store any leftovers (really?! who are you??) on the counter covered in foil. Or just eat immediately, which would be my recommendation. Although they are excellent for breakfast, so maybe save one or two ;)

IMG_0846

IMG_0832

Messy, delicious pre-camp cobbler

IMG_0799

It’s that time of year again! I leave tomorrow for my home away from home: camp, under the tall pines and in the crisp Sierra air.

IMG_4715

I have this strange tradition of always making some kind of fruit dessert before I leave – something about the combination of mindful baking that takes my mind off the trillion things I have to do before I leave, plus the freshness of the fruit that I miss while I’m at camp. I have no idea when this started, but for the last 5 years or so, it seems that I always make something the day before I leave. So! Cobbler. Here ya go. At least it was a change from the shortcakes – I looked back into the archives & apparently I made shortcakes the last three years. I suppose there’s something to be said for consistency?!

IMG_0794

And after I finish the trillion things it feels like I need to do today…. CAMP! YAY! It really is my home away from home – an awesome family who I only see about twice a year, beautiful surroundings and a soul-soothing break from technology.

IMG_0786

But in the meantime, before I go… I’ll eat cobbler. One of the more homely desserts out there – a blobby, delicious mess – but sometimes, dessert needs to be less than perfectly aesthetic and perfectly delicious.

IMG_0787

Cobbler is obviously dessert alongside a generous scoop of ice cream, but no doubt also will be breakfast, because everyone knows that cobbler is one of the most perfect breakfast foods (right up there with pie) – especially since this one is whole grain and full of fruit! That’s breakfast, right there.

IMG_0783

I really wanted to use leaves from my ginger mint plant – it’s actually a thing! It’s mint, that tastes gingery! Literally amazing. But sadly, a resident caterpillar thought it was amazing too, and ate all the leaves yesterday, RUDE. Which meant I had to punt and use regular spearmint, but it’s still delicious, I promise. And the caterpillar has been kicked out of his comfy digs on my plant, so hopefully the ginger mint (whose name is Watson, by the way) will make a speedy recovery.

IMG_0788

In other news… let’s see. More progress on the SF series, and a few different days of fun on the Bay!

IMG_0697

IMG_5659

IMG_0739

IMG_0775

IMG_0745

IMG_0760

Happy July! See ya on the flip side of my wilderness sojourn.

IMG_0792

Rhubarb Raspberry Ginger-Mint Cobbler

Heavy on the fruit, lightly sweet with a kick from the ginger and a hint of mint  – perfect for summer since (unlike pie dough) there’s no fussing with cold butter or unwieldy dough in a hot kitchen. Cobbler is one of the easiest summer desserts – start to finish, it really only takes about an hour. This one is supremely easy, whole grain, and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serves…. 2? Hahahaha I kid. Sort of. You could feed anywhere from 2-6 people, but I argue for two with breakfast leftovers ;) A Wait are those Cookies original; topping lightly adapted from the Kitchn, here.

For the fruit filling:

  • 4-5 c rhubarb, chopped*
  • 1 c raspberries*
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
  • 1/4 c candied ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh spearmint
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c heavy cream (I prefer Straus because… it’s the best!), divided + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops

*I bake straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine. I also don’t measure fruit for this – I just use enough so that my pie plate is heapingly full

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a 9″ pie dish (or an 8 by 8 pan would be fine too I’m sure; so would a cast iron skillet if you’d rather). Stick some foil on the rack below the rack you’ll bake the cobbler on, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, raspberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice, candied ginger, chopped mint, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 5 minutes — easiest to do this while you put together the cream biscuit for the cobbler topping.

For the cream biscuits: in a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and spelt flours, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream, until the combined – the dough will be sticky & rather wet (but DELICIOUS). Spoon large dollops of dough onto the top of the cobbler – I used a large spoon and got about 5 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling. A thermometer (if you have one) is useful here – the internal temp of the centermost biscuit should be 200F. Let cool before serving – awesome either warm out of the oven, or room temp later – with ice cream either way, obviously. AND it’s even better for breakfast the next day; leftovers keep well, covered in the fridge.

IMG_0791