Baked Pears with brown sugar and cinnamon

Just a really quick post today.  I made some baked pears for dessert tonight; a super simple recipe. I used canned pears so they didn’t need much oven time, just enough to heat through and melt the butter and brown sugar.

  • 1 can pear halves
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Butter a small baking dish; use plenty of butter the extra will melt into the sauce.  Drain pears and spread in single layer.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Strawberries and Bananas ~ Two Fruit Salad

I don’t know what it is about the combination but I love strawberries and bananas together.  I am not always good at eating my fruit so I try to find ways to mix it up a bit.  This is another easy recipe but it is definitely a good one to keep in mind when looking for a quick dessert or even adding some fruit with breakfast.

Strawberries and Bananas

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs sugar

In medium bowl combine sliced banana, strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar.  Allow to chill in fridge for about 30 minutes or longer for sugar to dissolve and strawberries to get juicy.  The lemon juice with help keep the banana from browning; you also may want to stir again after it has chilled for a bit just to make sure bananas are coated well.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Vanilla Beans and Homemade Extract

I love vanilla beans.  Probably one of my favorite discoveries.  I remember trying straight vanilla extract as a kid and how wonderful it smelled yet tasted terrible.

A couple of years ago I got my first vanilla beans.  They aren’t cheap, but neither is good vanilla.

There are a few things to know and to do with vanilla beans. For starters there  is no waste.  If using in a recipe you will procure the seeds but the remaining pod is full of flavor and likely still brimming with seeds so there is plenty to do with it.

As a general rule an inch of vanilla bean is equal to a teaspoon of vanilla.  Of course as with any spice it will vary by quality.  In bean form though you get a very good product to work with so use accordingly.

The easiest way to harvest the seeds is to cut to desired length and make a slit down the middle.  Using a dull knife or spoon scrape the seeds from the bean and add to recipe.

Now what to do with the rest of the bean.  I personally keep a jar of vodka with all of the bean remnants; I use that anytime I just need some simple vanilla extract for a recipe. You can though add the bean to some sugar for some vanilla infused sugar or simply toss into a potpourri mix.  What ever you do; don’t thow it out!  There is so much good flavor and smell left that you really should enjoy every last bit.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Strawberries and Cream with Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

Just a quick post today.  A couple of weeks ago we sampled some wonderful balsamic vinegar.  I picked out a couple to bring home and one was a Dark  Chocolate Balsamic; sounded so strange but tasted oh so wonderful.  The vinegar was so thick; almost as if it was a simple reduction already.  The flavor made my mouth long for strawberries and today I finally had the chance to put the two together.  It was delicious.

Strawberries and Cream with Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 – 1/3  cup sugar

Wash, trim, and slice strawberries.  Add sugar and balsamic vinegar and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving

In mixer combine cream and sugar.  Beat together over medium high to high-speed until medium stiff peak form about 2 – 3 minutes.  Serve whipped cream with strawberries and drizzle extra sauce over top.  If you prefer this would be wonderful on ice cream too!

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Homemade Peach Cobbler

I decided it was time for another dessert recipe.  I couldn’t think of anything easier than this cobbler recipe.  It’s an adaptation of my Aunt Barb’s recipe from the family cookbook.  I remember making this when we were kids so who know who is the original creator; of course I can never leave well enough alone so this is yet another cobbler recipe for the family archives.

You will want to drain your peaches if using frozen or canned; I did not and it came out a bit saucy. I think it will still be good; besides if I find it’s too saucy I will just serve it with some ice cream and drizzle the extra sauce over the top.

Homemade Peach Cobbler

  • 1 pint peaches ~ or favorite fruit; can be canned, frozen, or fresh ~ for today’s recipe I used frozen sweetened peaches
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Pour peaches into 1 – 1 1/2 quart casserole or small baking dish.

Combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar and baking powder in small bowl.  Add cream and stir together.

Batter will be thick a bit softer than a biscuit dough but not sticky; pat out into piece large enough to cover peaches.  I was able to pick up the dough and pat between my hands or use a piece of waxed paper to spread or roll out batter before placing on top.

Mix together remaining sugar and water.

Pour over top and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Fresh Blackberry Sauce

Just a quick post today.  I picked up a pint of blackberries at the farmers market and couldn’t quite figure out what direction to take them.  I considered a cobbler but then I decided to give a sauce a try; I thickened it to a little softer than jelly I would say.  I’ve just made the sauce so far, but I picked up the stuff I needed to make some kind of cheesecake dessert so we will see where it goes from here.

Fresh Blackberry Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Combine berries, 1/2 cup water, and sugar in sauce pan.  Bring to boil over medium high heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and press through metal sieve to remove seeds; some seeds may pass through so use a cheese cloth to remove them all of the seeds if desired.  Return strained berry juice to pan and bring to boil.  Mix cornstarch and cold water;  whisk into berry juice and stir until thickened.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Cucumbers and Onions ~ Refrigerator Pickles with a twist

This is one of my favorite summer salads.  I went by the farmers market today and one of the venders had some fresh cucumbers.  I couldn’t resist but make this combination.  Charles loves spicy food so the jalapeno was a great touch.  I don’t care to eat the jalapeno slices myself but I do enjoy the way the heat permeates through a bit and adds a nice flavor. I am sure I will post another variation or two by the time the summer is over but here is my first creation.

Cucumbers and Onions ~ Refrigerator Pickles with a twist

  • 4 small cucumbers
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium tomato or 4 – 5 cherry or plum tomato
  • 1 jalapeno if desired
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar ~ cider works well; today I used rice vinegar but choose your favorite

If desired peel cucumbers.  Slice cucumbers and onions; cut tomatoes into wedges and thinly slice jalapeno.

Mix sugar and vinegar and pour over cucumbers.  Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Strawberry and Cilantro Salad Dressing ~ Fat Free

Ok, so making a fat-free dressing isn’t my first intent but for some reason I am not a huge fan of all the oil that is in a true vinaigrette. While making a raspberry dressing the other day I grabbed my cooking olive oil vs. the extra virgin type; I was so disappointed when I tasted what was starting to be a super combination.  Ergo my oil-less dressing was created.  I often use just balsamic vinegar on my lettuce anyway so no oil just makes sense.  We enjoyed our tossed salad with romaine lettuce, locally grown radishes, tomato, carrot, and mushrooms.  We also added some avocado to our salads; it just seemed like a natural addition with the cilantro and lime.

Strawberry Cilantro Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar  ~ I used rice vinegar for a milder taste
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In blender combine all ingredients. I strained my dressing through a metal sieve.  Some of the seeds still slip through and of course you lose a bit of the pepper and cilantro but it keeps most of the seeds at bay if you are sensitive or just don’t feel like contending with them in your teeth all day!

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Coleslaw Dressing ~ our favorite slaw dressing recipe and salad dressing base

There is something magical about this ratio of mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar that just works perfectly.  It’s 2 parts mayo to 1 part sugar, 1 part vinegar.  From there your imagination is the only limitation.  Different flavors of vinegar, different additions of herbs and spices.  Even adding fruit such as in my strawberry dressing makes for an amazing flavor profile.  This isn’t my prettiest slaw every.  I tried a new attachment on the Cuisineart Charles found on an auction and it came out a bit fine and I was rushed for time so I didn’t add carrots but I figure you probably know what your favorite slaw type is so fix it your way!

Coleslaw

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup vinegar ~ I used rice vinegar but any flavor works great, even just plain old white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 head cabbage ~ chopped
  • shredded carrots or other add in if desired

Mix mayo, vinegar, and sugar.  Add celery seed and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss with cabbage and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Lemon & Blackberry Jam Cookies

I was experimenting with cookies again.  I decided to try a combination with lemon and jam.  Actually it reminds me of biscotti only it I didn’t bake again after cutting. I may try as more of a traditional bar cookie next time.

Lemon & Blackberry Jam Cookies

  • 1/2 stick butter – softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbs blackberry jam ~ or your favorite flavor

Cream together butter and sugar; add lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Roll dough into about an 8 inch log.  Flatten and make an indentation in the middle.  Spread jam into indent and bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes until edges have browned.  Allow to cook 2 minutes and cut into desired size strips (mine were about an inch); cool on wire rack before serving.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly