Posts Tagged ‘dessert’


Summer’s here.  And these past weeks, we’ve been eating our meals under the stars like it’s our job.  We’ve also been consuming quinoa with relatively the same amount of healthy gusto.  Light, scrummy salads, hearty quinoa bowls and the like.  The little buggers never seem to let me down.  They look ever so genteel, but in reality, are a powerhouse of nutrition not to be messed with.  So, imagine my excitement when I unknowingly stumbled upon quinoa flour.  Pulverized quinoa—now we’re talkin’!  As much as I try to remain unflappable, the thrill in my newfound discovery has me howlingl like a banshee.

I’ve been meaning to talk about this blueberry-quinoa tart for over a week now.  But unfortunately, (or fortunately for us), the first tart was devoured, with not a crumb left behind—not an iota, before I was able to snap even one proper photo.

Take TWO.

Not only can you whip up this custardy-blueberry packed tart in less time than it takes to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, it’s the lemon whipped cream that really is the icing on the cake (or tart).  I prefer to serve this baby chilled, with a big dollop of the lemony goodness on top.  (Double the lemon whipped cream portion of the recipe below so you can have plenty on hand for the following day).  It has quickly risen the ranks to become our ultimate summertime dessert—easy-peasy, fuss-free (no need for pie weights or dry beans), light, delicious and the perfect ending to a casual outdoor supper, underneath some rather dapper twinkly stars amid the balmy, mid-summer’s night’s sky.



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As the sun turns my shoulders one happy shade darker, I know Summer’s signature long, lazy afternoons are here to stay. ‘Tis the season for sipping icy cold lemonade from porch swings, napping under the shade of big, friendly oak trees and eating as many watermelons as allowed by law. I’m a card-carrying watermelon-salter. A habit, which, I’m guessing, leaves me in the minority when it comes to acceptable summertime rituals. Any closet watermelon-salters out there? Anyone?

Even if I tread alone, I still love Summer.  I love the ease of it.  I walk slower, eat slower, cook slower.  Heck, I’m cooking sooo slowwww these days that if you caught a glimpse of my-so-called ‘cooking’, it might look remarkably similar to, Err…stacking.  Or spreading.  Or tossing.  But, I don’t mind one bit.  The warm summer wind is gently flowing into the kitchen, Sinatra is playing in the background, nothing is hurried and meals have a tendency to transpire haphazardly.  Walnut pesto or herbed goat cheese slathered on a toasted, crusty baguette along side a simple green salad and thick slivers of heirloom tomatoes, paired with a chilled glass of French Rosé, all of a sudden turns into a fabulously chic and perfect meal.  Fully loaded and fuss-free.

Now, we can’t really talk about the ease and fuss-freeness of things, without a big summer nod and wink to the ultra low maintenance rustic almond-plum galette.  This free-form tart is my favorite type of dessert.  Little effort, big impact.  It’s the definition of versatility and embodies the much acclaimed ‘oouu-ahhhh‘ factor.  Even the biggest curmudgeon you know will eek out a grin with this galette.  Serve it after a casual outdoor barbecue, a fancy-pants dinner party or a regular weeknight meal.  It fits like a glove anywhere it goes.  Or, if you’re crazy like me, have it for breakfast.  Go for it…’Tis the season.


Make sure to pick plums that are not overly ripe – you want these babies firm, firm, firm.  Otherwise, you’ll have a soggy mess on your hands.  Adjust the amount of sugar as necessary to satisfy your desired level of sweetness/tartness.  If you’re not a big fan of plums, feel free to pick your fruit of choice.  Mix and match.  Go nuts.  Let me know what you come up with.  I made this galette with strawberries a little while back, when strawberries were overflowing at my farmer’s market.  (Plums are now overflowing).  Actually, I made it twice.  In the same week.

Music Pairing: Frank Sinatra, Summer Wind


  • 1 1/4 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2-4 tbsp ice water
  • 1/4 cup whole, skin-on almonds, toasted
  • 5 to 6 firm plums, halved, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


In a food processor, combine 1 1/4 cups flour, butter, 1/2 tsp sugar, and salt.  Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time.  Pulse until dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed.  Do not overmix. Remove dough from food processor and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Meanwhile, wipe bowl of food processor clean and add almonds, 3 tbsp sugar, and 2 tbsp of flour.  Pulse until ground to a coarse meal.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, toss the plums with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp flour and zest of half a lemon.  Taste and add more sugar for desired sweetness and set aside.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 13-14 inch round, about an 1/8-1/4 of inch thick.  Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet (preferably without sides) and spread almond mixture over dough, leaving a two-inch border.  Spread and arrange plums on top of almond mixture.  Fold and pleat edge of dough over fruit.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle galette with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar.  Bake until crust is golden and underside is cooked through, about 70 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing.

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French poet, novelist and playwright, Victor Hugo, once wrote, “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart”.  I dote on this lovely sentiment, even though, reality feels more like a quote from Welsch poet, George Herbert who said, “Every mile, is two, in winter”.  Cold and dark, winter is my fourth favorite season.  If forced to cast a ballot, I’d vote winter off the island.

Well…okay, I take that back.

satsuma sorbet

I adore, in particular, exactly two, things about winter.  One: the peak of the citrus season.  Two: dungeness crab, and more dungeness crab (but I’ll save that for another time).  Back to the citrus.  My parents sent us a gigantic crate of juice-filled oranges and grapefruits, from a grower in Texas they’ve been loyal customers to for years.  It landed at our doorstep the day before Christmas, and our juicer has been working over-time ever since.  Even a simple breakfast of toast and jam, feels like something special, when accompanied by a tall, handsome glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  But nothing, absolutely nothing, tops my love for satsumas.  These miniature oranges, or mandarins, become the go-to snack around the house this time of year.  The bite of each wedge is like a small burst of sunshine.  A filled bowl, is quickly, an empty one.

For me, satsumas are perfect, just as they are.  So, imagine my excitement when I discovered their perfection could be pushed upward, yet, another notch.  Forget a burst of sunshine!  When I had my first spoonful of this satsuma sorbet, a supernova literally exploded in my mouth.  The operatic sweet-tart balancing act deserves a standing ovation, and with each spoonful, spring feels closer.  Who ever said icy treats should only be enjoyed in the middle of July?  (And who knew my affection for pineapple sorbet could be surpassed so soon)?  As far as winter is concerned, I won’t cast my vote – just yet.  She’s making a fierce comeback, and I suspect, Victor Hugo knew about this sorbet, long before I did.

satsuma sorbetsatsuma sorbetsatsuma sorbet

SATSUMA SORBET, yields approximate 1 quart
Tweaked from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Andrea Nguyen

Dial back on the sugar for the simple syrup, if you enjoy things more tart than sweet.  Likewise, you can leave the measurements as is, and stir in 3/4 of the simple syrup first.  Taste, and then proceed to add the remainder, a bit at a time, until your desired sweetness is reached.  Don’t forget to save a few satsuma peels, dry them in a cold oven for a few days, and once completely dried, pop them into a ziploc for future use.

Music Pairing: Aretha Franklin, Hello Sunshine


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh satsuma juice (about 14-16 fruits, depending on size)
  • 6 tbsp fresh lime juice


To make simple syrup, whisk together sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 30 seconds, or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Stir together simple syrup, satsuma juice, and lime juice.  Taste and add more lime juice if needed to create a strong sweet-tart balance.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve positioned over a medium sized bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours to chill well and allow for flavors to develop.

Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Eat right away if you like your sorbet on the softer side.  For an icier treat, leave it in the freezer for 3-4 hours before serving.

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