Honey Granola with Cranberries and Figs

I was never one to eat just yogurt. Yogurt itself just seemed weird to me. Don’t get me wrong–I was happy to cook with it or churn up a batch of frozen yogurt, but just eat it straight? Well, Stephanie showed me what I was missing all this time: a good granola recipe.

A good, tangy, sticky-with-honey, nutty, granola that chews back when you crunch into it was that special something I needed to turn me on to yogurt. Or to just eating fistfuls of granola for that matter. Its stupid easy to make, way better than the myriad of choices you can grab at the grocery store (for an arm and a leg), and a fantastic way to start your day (or just to snack on). I like to work a little bit of dried fruit in there, but the nice thing about granola: it is very forgiving and very open to experimentation. For… click to read more…

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Pear and Avocado Salad with Blue Cheese and Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Growing up, I didn’t eat salads. I avoided them like the plague and only after years of my stalwart resistance did I finally cave and make the concession that I would eat other family member’s croutons. Now that I enjoy a very hearty salad before dinner nearly every night, I look back and can’t help but chuckle (especially when I compare myself a a child to my three year-old daughter who also enjoys her salad nearly every night…with not a crouton in sight).

As summer ramps up, I can’t help but feel inclined to mix up the salads a bit more to keep things interesting. In this case, the salad itself was light but the flavors were sharp, crisp, and creamy with bits of acidity all from the like of avocado, pear, and blue cheese. It was all brought together by a surprisingly lively dressing that would be very versatile on many a salad and sure to delight: lemon… click to read more…

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Strawberry Jam

Long-time followers of this blog know, my love of strawberries is no secret. So when strawberry season rolls around here in North Carolina, I over-indulge big time (I even finally dug up 40 sq ft for a strawberry garden in the backyard). So what to do when even I find I can’t consume these plentiful strawberries quickly enough? Prepare for the dark days ahead and preserve them by making strawberry jam! Its pretty hard to beat the flavor of good, home-made jam, and if you’ve never made your own, its incredibly easy.

yields approximately 6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars

  • 3 and 1/3 pints strawberries (about 2.5 lbs)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 box pectin
  • 3.5 cups granulated sugar

As with all home preserve-making endeavors, be sure to follow safe canning practices. That means a few things:

  • Wash the jar(s) in warm soapy water and then submerge in boiling water until you’re

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Pomegranate BBQ Sauced Lamb Meatballs over Apricot Cous Cous with Chickpeas

I love meatballs in pretty much any form. There’s something homey and inviting about them just conceptually, no matter how dressed up they are (and yes, I recognize how pretentious the title of this dish sounds right next to my “homey” statement). For this dish, I returned to one of my favorite meats: lamb. Ground lamb always seems to wow me where I least expect it, and these meatballs kept the trend going.

For the meatballs, I wanted them to be relatively simple with all of the appropriate spices and aromatics that would make the lamb sing without masking it–such as touches of cumin, allspice, garlic, and parsley. A bit of creme fraiche helped to enrich them and keep the texture light and delicate.

With that out of the way, onto the sauce. I have always thought that lamb pairs wonderfully with fruit, so the idea of a pomegranate-centric barbecue sauce seemed… click to read more…

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The Best Ever Lemon Cream Tart

I hate the short period that immediately follows the start of the New Year–fad dieting and half-hearted nods towards health-consciousness take over. It bothers me not so much out of pretentiousness, but more in that its what dominates the magazines, gym, and food scene for a month. The annual chant: “New year, new you!”…ugh

This lemon cream tart is what I ate for dessert on New Year’s Eve and is my polite middle finger to these forced habits that don’t survive past January, all of which are responsible for some of the least exciting food of the year. This tart contains a respectable ~2.5 sticks of butter and, in my case, followed a New Year’s Eve dinner of macaroni and cheese with lobster and truffle oil. Take that, health-centric resolutions.

So with that wholly unexciting rant (if it could even be called as much) out of the way, back to the food! From the ingredient list, this… click to read more…

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Strawberry Bundt Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

This post is a little later than I’d like it to be seeing how strawberry season has come and gone by me. My love of strawberries is no secret. When they’re at their peak, I’ve packed away several pounds (maybe four or five? Seriously. I love strawberries) a week just for snacking (forget the baking). So this is one of those tasty desserts you can go to when you need a break from inhaling strawberries by the pound: a berry scented bundt cake topped with a rich, strawberry cream cheese frosting.

This was delicious and very strawberry-ish. I would be happy just eating the frosting (and shamelessly licked the bowl clean. Very clean). My only disappointment was that the cake was a little denser than I would have liked–I’d consider lessening the amount of strawberry puree (e.g. by half a cup) in the cake so that it might rise more and take on a lighter texture. As… click to read more…

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