Tag Archives: dessert

Bursting Blueberry-Peach Coffee Cake


Hey Lauren,

First of all HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I’m sure you got a delectable birthday cake, but I made this one in your honor :).. and because I’ve been craving coffee cake, but didn’t want one of those ones that has a one-inch layer of sugar at the top. So I tweaked a recipe I found on the food network website and made a healthier, lighter version bursting with tons of blueberries and summer peaches! You can’t even tell there’s only 2 tbsp of butter, some added ground flax seed for fiber, chopped walnuts, and one cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Result… great treat for morning breakfast or with ice cream for dessert. Plus its not that hard to make and a great way to use up the last of the season’s best fruit!

Bursting Blueberry-Peach Coffee Cake

Cooking spray or butter for greasing cake pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

A pinch nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt or plain keifer
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh peaches, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8 or 9 inch cake pan.

Whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until fluffy. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla and yogurt. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just combined.


Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter and top with the blueberries, gently pressing them into the batter. Add peaches to the batter and spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake, pressing gently. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.


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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts

Summer Berry Pie from Scratch

IMG_2336So I finally tried your pie crust recipe and it ROCKS! I made this berry pie for our goodbye dinner with Dennis’s mom and sister, us and the pups, before we left for SoCal. The flavors were so good! I used the same ingredients as the rhubarb pie you posted here, except I added a little more cornstarch– apparently not enough because it was still a bit runny. Everyone loved it and it came out looking gorgeous. Next time I would try either tapioca starch or twice the cornstarch to really make the berries stick together. But again, taste-wise this was a winner! Thanks for the recipe Lauren. This will be my staple piecrust.

Hope everything is going well in Chicago. Cooking anything lately? It’s almost FALL! Can’t wait for the new flavors…


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Filed under Desserts, Seasonal

Foodie Weekend

Just some pictures from my shit phone from our lovely weekend in Seattle.

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Filed under Eating Out

Basque Cake

For once, I’m going to post about a recipe I haven’t made. We’ve been going out to dinner a lot/ making VERY simple meals (read pasta+red sauce+giardiniera or bagel egg sandwiches) since this is a very busy time here!

Sad news: Andy and Raisa are moving to Portand, OR! Yes, sadly, they’ll be moving in just a couple of weeks. This weekend was Andy’s birthday and really Raisa’s last free weekend in Chicago, so we went out to dinner, the four of us, to celebrate.

We went to an awesome restaurant in Chicago called the Bristol: (see here!) and of course, since we were celebrating, we had desert.

The first desert was a mini rhubarb pie, which was great, but the second desert really blew us away!

This is a basque cake. I didn’t know about this particular kind of cake before we had this one, but it is filled with some pastry cream, which just kind of melts into the cake batter to make the middle of the cake wonderfully moist and rich. This one was served with fresh strawberries, champagne sabayon, brown stuff that was not chocolate, and a pink ice cream that I think might have been grapefruit? I don’t remember. Anyways, it was AMAZING.

I found this recipe for Basque cake that looks pretty good. It’s a little time consuming, but if this tastes at all like what we had at the Bristol, it’s SO worth it. (It looks exactly the same on the inside)

Basque Cake from Jeff’s Baking Blog

(Just go to the link. He has lots of pictures, and I think you’ll need them!)

Happy Birthday, Karla! I hope you have a great day!


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Filed under Desserts

French Island Supper

Last night I made MOOSE hamburgers, thanks to Dennis’s friend whose dad was hunting in Alaska recently! I just had to share that because it was a new food experience… and I always love trying something new. But on to other things, I went to Vashon Island this weekend to visit Alan and Amy. Originally, I was just planning to have dinner with them, but I ended up staying overnight and spending the following day with them going to yoga, the saturday farmer’s market, the bookstore, helping out with some garden work, and taking in some sun on their deck overlooking the Olympic mountains and the bay. It was sublime. Friday evening we celebrated my birthday by making a French supper: summer chicken, chocolate mousse, and a viognier (french white) made by their friend and winemaker who lives just down the road. The recipes are below along with some pictures from the Island. What a life!


The view from the porch on Vashon Island, WA

Summer Chicken (a la Francaise)

1 whole chicken

Bunch of fresh basil, washed with stems on

6-8 cups Chicken broth

5 Red or fingerling potatoes, whole or halved

Bunch of Green beans

Bunch of Carrrots, cut into chunks

Fresh parsley

4 tbsp Butter

4 tbsp All purpose flour

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup creme fraiche

Salt & Pepper

Cook: Heat chicken broth in a large pot to to immerse chicken in, but not to cover. Stuff fresh basil in the bird, place chicken in pot (broth will not cover), and boil for about 50 min-1 hour or until chicken is fully cooked. Meanwhile, blanch vegetables in boiling salted water: 20 min for potatoes, 12 min for carrots, and 7 min for green beans. Do not overcook. Set aside. When chicken is done, set to rest on cutting board and put broth in a microwavable cup, skimming of any fat with a large spoon. Take basil out of bird and chop coarsely.

Sauce: Heat 2 tbsp butter in a small saucepan until melted. Add flour and stir without browning for a minute. Meanwhile, heat chicken broth in microwave for 2 minutes (will be very hot!) and add to saucepan slowly, whisking vigorously. Whisk while roux simmers for a minute. Add dijon, creme fraiche, the chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste. Mixture should reduce into a thick sauce. Pour into a serving pitcher or gravy boat.

Prepare: Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large frying pan and saute vegetables with fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Slice chicken and arrange pieces on a large platter. Add vegetables to platter with more fresh parsley. Pour some sauce on chicken and serve the rest on the side for people to pour themselves. Serve with crisp white wine. See dessert suggestion below.

Bottles of Viognier, french white wine, made locally from a friend

A neighbor’s chicken coup (best eggs I’ve ever had!)

Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse with Berries

1 cup bittersweet chocolate (chocolate chips work great)

4 eggs, separated

1 tsp sugar

2/3 cup whipping cream

4 tbsp espresso, cold (brings out chocolate flavor)

2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Whipped cream, cocoa nibs, mint, & fresh raspberries for garnish

1. Melt chocolate with a bit of butter in a double boiler (or rest a large glass bowl over a small pot with a small amount of boiling water) and stir. When melted, set aside.

2. Whisk egg yolks with sugar in a medium bowl until creamy and has a ribbon effect. Add chocolate, espresso and Grand Marnier to bowl.

3. Whip cream in a chilled metal bowl until stiff peaks form (but do not over-whip). Gently fold cream into chocolate mixture with a spatula.

4. Whip egg whites until they become stiff and form peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture until mixture is uniform but still frothy.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, 4 hours for individual portioned cups. Place in bowls and garnish with whipped cream, cocoa nibs, fresh raspberries, mint, or whatever you like!

Ta da! This is so easy to make (no baking required), great for a summer evening, and fit for a birthday dessert. Cake is so last year.  🙂

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Filed under Meats

Not-Your-Average Blueberry Muffins

I’ve been in the baking mood this week, so I searched high and low for a good blueberry muffin recipe and landed on this one from Smitten Kitchen. I adapted the recipe a little to make it my own and to try to make it special, because let’s face it— how many blueberry muffins have you had in your life? At least for me, A LOT. I added all sorts of goodies, like lemon juice and cinnamon, and replaced boring sugar with orange-blossom honey. These are fluffy and moist and oh-so-delicious. Plus, you wont find these at your corner bakery— definitely a plus!

Lauren- your arroz con pollo looks awesome! I’m always trying to find new takes on the typical rice and chicken dish, so this is definitely a must try. Thanks!

Honey Blossom Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 standard muffins

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus a little extra orange blossom honey
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream (could also use plain yogurt)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (don’t defrost)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups or use non-stick cooking spray. Beat butter and honey with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well, then beat in yogurt and lemon juice. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift half of dry ingredients over batter. Mix until combined. Sift remaining dry ingredients into batter and mix just until the flour disappears. Very gently fold in your blueberries. The dough should be quite thick, closer to a cookie dough. Scoop batter to fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for roughly 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on rack or gobble them up with some tea on the spot! Invite friends or you’ll end up eating these all by yourself… I mean it! These are also great a day later halved, toasted and served with your favorite infused honey or butter. 

With love, K

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Filed under Breakfast

Nuts for Chocolate Brownies

First of all… Lauren, I want me some of that eggplant spread! Looks delicious! Second, thank you so much for coming up with this amazing new way of sharing food, recipes and stories- something we take a common pleasure in.

This past week I have been experimenting a lot with new foods, especially health foods, in a search to find foods that complement each other not only with their flavors but the way they can be digested in the body. Especially for me, someone who sometimes struggles with proper digestion, I have learned that healthy food does not have to taste like cardboard, as you very well know. And with my first blog post, here is some proof food can taste wonderful and be nourishing too! 

Shown above is my new favorite chocolate fix. I call it my “nut’s for chocolate” brownies, taken from My New Roots blogger Sarah B, because they are essentially made up of nuts, along with some dried fruit and cocoa powder, which give them such a creamy and buttery consistency. Yep, thats right, NO flour, butter, sugar or cocoa butter. Just rich, chocolaty, healthy goodness! Just think of all those Omega-3’s!

Nut’s for Chocolate Brownies 

or “The Raw Brownie” taken from My New Roots

1 cup whole walnuts

1 heaping cup Medjool dates, pittted

1/2 cup good cacao/cocoa power

1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped

a good pinch of sea salt, or two!

It’s really VERY simple to make these. Put the walnuts in your food processor and bland until finely ground. Add cocoa and salt and pulse to combine. Then add the dates slowly while food processor is going until they are fully incorporated. This should give you a mixture of cake-like crumbs. Add more dates to make creamier. Add the mix to the copped almonds and pack everything together in a small square container and put in the ‘fridge to chill. Dust cocoa powder, add different nuts, caramel, or add coconut or chocolate chips to experiment! Bon appetit!

Love, Karla

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Filed under Desserts