Chocolate Cherry Clafouti

I love cherries, and what can I say? I just love pairing them with chocolate. So today, I thought I’d bring you a more traditional cherry dessert that even the most timid bake-o-phobe could handle: a Chocolate Cherry Clafouti.

The clafouti (a.k.a. clafoutis) is a French dessert, that essentially, is like a pancake with a little more emphasis on the “cake” part of “pancake.” Its simple, light, fluffy, and meant to be whipped up quickly and eaten up just as fast. Traditionally, this treat is loaded with fruit, most often cherries, so in keeping with tradition, I’ve done just that. But since I couldn’t help myself, I chose to push this dessert a little bit in the chocolate direction, giving the cake batter itself some darker, chocolatey flavors.

One point of contention out there is how to present the cherries in the clafouti. Many prefer that the cherries be unpitted… click to read more…

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Dragon Fruit & Coconut Sherbet

Have you ever had dragon fruit? It really is a funny looking thing–the size of a small mango, bright red and green tips on the outside, and either a bright beet-red or perfectly white flesh inside, speckled with hundreds of black seeds. If anything, its quite a pretty fruit, and not one I come across very often. So to indulge in my ongoing addiction for buying exotic produce, today, we have a Dragon Fruit & Coconut Sherbet.

I had no experience with dragon fruit until now, so I was kind of at a loss for what to do with it. I wasn’t having a whole lot of luck finding ideas either. Most of the written material out there is either how people loved dragon fruit or were very disappointed in its somewhat neutral flavor (and for what its worth, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow me away–think like a more neutral tasting kiwi). I did however, really take… click to read more…

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Spiced Brandied Cherries

I’m not sure if I’ve been living in a cave, but I’d never heard of brandied cherries before. When I first ran across them over at Sidewalk Shoes though, I knew I had to try them right away. I mean how good does it sound–preserved fruit, but in liquor! Right up my alley.

Unfortunately, like when making preserved lemons, I can’t tell you how this tastes yet. It requires a bit of time to age and mingle. Of course, seeing how I sampled as I cooked, I can say I’m eagerly looking forward to when I get to open this jar up. This could go on top of ice creams, in mixed drinks, or just make for a great adult snack. Plus, its a fun way to let you enjoy cherries out of season.

  • ~3 cups cherries, stemmed but not

click to read more…

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Blueberry Rhubarb Cream Tart

I had originally planned on having this online for July 4th–its seasonal, the flavors are sophisticated and refreshing (perfect way to end a barbecue!), and the colors are vibrant and appropriately patriotic (well, its kind red, white, and blue, right?). Oh well, better late than never, because this one’s a keeper for sure: a blueberry rhubarb cream tart that will have everybody begging for seconds.

Once I finally discovered my love for rhubarb and how wonderfully it pairs with strawberries, I started trying to make up for lost time and work it into whatever I could. But I’d realized how little I’ve really come to appreciate rhubarb–I mean every use of it so far has been with strawberries! So it finally seemed time to… click to read more…

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Blueberry Mango Mille Feuille

A Mille Feuille (a.k.a. a Napoleon in some circles) is a classic dessert that comes in all shapes and sizes, but the core of it remains the same: alternating layers of delicate puff pastry and various sweet fillings (fruits, creams, etc). I decided to use some great local produce to flavor my rendition: blueberry, mango, and (of course 😛 ) strawberry.

I was inspired to make this by a fantastic entry way back during Strawberry Seduction. This dessert is really quite easy to prepare (assuming you cheat and use store-bought puff pastry like I did….shhh!)–the bulk of the time and effort is actually spent putting it together so that it looks nice. I think I did a pretty decent job, but looking back at the photos, there’s definitely room for improvement (e.g. my layers of cooked pastry aren’t even close to uniformly flat, so things… click to read more…

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Crab Quesadillas with Mango Avocado Salsa

Something about the oppressively hot and humid Florida weather has given me the urge to eat more seafood this summer. Maybe because its lighter fare? Maybe so I can pretend I’m on vacation somewhere tropical? Whatever the case, I had a craving for something pseudo-Mexican in flavors, so somehow, that resulted in quesadillas filled with king crab, a mango and avocado salsa, and some cheddar and monterey jack cheese.

This would have been a really quick meal to prepare if not for the one laborious, slow, somewhat aggravating process of harvesting every last bit of meat from the crab. If you can get help for this step, go for it–make those sharing dinner with you earn their keep! Its not like this step will take you hours, but for how quick the rest of the dinner goes, a little speed boost on this step (or a beer) will make you feel better. Everything else is very quick work: boiling… click to read more…

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