Feels like Summer is officially here in the South. Don’t let the calendar fool you! I spent my birthday last week in the company of the guy I call my surrogate brother, chef John Ondo, and a group of complete strangers on the beach while doing a food photography and cooking workshop. Well, we were strangers to each other for about five minutes. Nothing like a few nibbles he had prepared for us and a glass of wine to break down the ice and make everyone share a good laugh and a good story.
The workshop was a huge success in my book. Between photo assignments and down times, everyone walked away with a different perspective on their own photography and cooking. We ate well, enjoyed the sunshine and the heat and welcomed the rain and lower temperatures one day. It gave me the opportunity to show students why shooting in the rain always gave me the greatest pleasure. The electricity in the light, the potential for pushing your camera settings and re-programming your brain to find the unexpected.
I walked away with new friends, new connections, plans for future workshops that leave me with a skip and a hop in my step. Always something that keeps pushing me forward. On a side note, we have a couple of spots open for the workshop I am doing in Atlanta in a couple of weeks! Details HERE.
Coming back from workshops is always tricky. Let’s face it, they require a lot of planning and "on" time. It takes a few naps and a few long nights to get my internal clock re-adjusted. In those circumstances I always rely on the food on my plate to give me the sustenance needed to re-enter reality.
With the heat, my palate craves the fresh flavors of sweet fruits. A meal always end with something sweet, usually a square of chocolate or fruit compote on yogurt in the winter and big fruit salads in the summer. Right now, the farmers market abounds with local bright red strawberries. We’ve been adding them to everything, including green salads actually.
The combination of honeydew melon and strawberries is always a winning one for us. We just sliced a bunch for dessert and sprinkled our plates with lemon juice, lemon rubbed sugar and fresh mint. Clean, light and super refreshing. The kind of desserts that helps my body and mind feel reset. It’s really so easy to prepare and always a hit with our friends.
This mixed berries galette has all the attributes that often make me weak in the knees when I think about an uncomplicated Summer dessert. One that is not perfect, a little tart and puckerish, refreshing and vibrant with colors. One that does not require lots of heating and whisking over a hot stove when the temperatures are already blistering outside. One that takes the best of the season and wraps in a buttery blanket of homemade pastry crust.
We are right at the prime time for peaches, plums and lots of stone fruits. Even with strawberry season coming to an end, blueberries are now in full swing, along with raspberries. While I can find all these at the farmers market, I did not expect to find golden raspberries at our neighborhood (read tiny – last minute shop stop) store.
Red currants and golden raspberries can’t ever be local, I have been told. Too hot down here apparently but I admit, I could not resist getting a couple of pints of the raspberries. It’s so rare to see them around and after sneaking in a taste, I tried to come with desserts where their sweet and mild flavor would used to their advantage. Well, beside finding their way directly into my mouth…
I am still a hard core fan of raspberries and Chantilly for dessert. Nothing else. Nothing less. Nothing more. But…I think I am the only at the house who does that. My dear husband would rather have a little crust to go along with all that berry goodness. Something to tame the pucker-up factor which I so love.
Making any kind of pastry dough is a way to relax for me. The mixing, kneading, rolling. All focused and intentional steps to have something good to share with loved one for dessert. Finding the right balance of fruits, sugar. The right amount being mounded onto a buttery crust before being enclosed, free form. The smell filling up the entire house as the berries release their juices and aromas.
There is always a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I pull a galette out of the oven. I can’t describe it really. A peaceful second where I feel and understand years and years of family cooking and cultural belonging. It is a fleeting second, indeed. But one that anchors me in the moment and the moments to follow where we will cut right through that galette and smile.
Finding peace and balance has never been as important to me as it is now. I’ve never felt the need to actively seek them. There are always in me. However, the family events of the last five months have made me dive head down into my work and not allow myself to feel negative emotions. I am aware that I need to voice things out, write them down, and scream out loud if need be.
Nurturing comes from within oneself first. For me, it has been as simple as baking. Late at night when I let myself get sad and angry. Making jam. Cutting fruits. Anything that makes me feel close to the ones I love. When we had a problem in my family, we would make a cake. Did not matter if one person or twelve would come eat it. The intent to create was a simple human attempt at conjuring the absence.
So I made a galette. And another one. One morning, B. woke up to a dozen cupcakes, a banana loaf and another galette. One night, we almost had apricot tart for dinner. It’s winding down…thank goodness. It’s actually been great practice for the workshops I am teaching at Squam this week. I am also looking forward to the scenery of New Hampshire. A bit of wet weather and colder temperatures.
I am also looking forward to sharing with other students the personal reward that is to create, to make something by hand and to tell its story. To leave a trace and to find a spark within oneself. For some it is painting, knitting. For others like me, it is baking, kneading, whisking and taking a photograph. Journaling the process. Leaving a trace. A thought. An emotion or a connection.
If you are heading to Squam this weekend, come say hello!. I will make sure we have a slice of pie to share together!
Mixed Berries Galettes:
Makes three 6-inch galettes (enough for 6 to 8 people depending on size)
Notes: the crust is taken (and slightly adapted) from Holly Herrick’s book Tart Love which I recommend to everyone who has issues with making pie crust. Techniques, tips and troubleshooting ideas are well explained by Holly and the recipes are creative and delicious. And I can safely vouch for them since I also happen to have made and photograph 45 of them for the book…No plug intended… I just love that book…
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or regular all purpose flour if not gluten free such as While Lilly)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup cold milk beaten with 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
1 cup each raspberries, golden raspberries, strawberries (hulled and cut small), blueberries
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1/4 cup honey
Directions: Prepare the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Gradually, stream in the cold mil & egg yolk mixture until the flour just comes together. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and form into a 2-inch thick, round disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before rolling out.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, combine all the berries with the lemon zest and juice, cornstarch (or arrowroot) and honey. Fold gently until everything is incorporated. Let stand while you roll the crust.
On a large surface area, well floured, roll out the pastry dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut out three 8-inch circles from it. Transfer right away to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mound half the fruit filling on one circle and repeat with the other one going close but not all the way to the edge. Leave a 2-inch border of pastry all around. Gather the edges of the pastry dough, pleating as you go with your fingertips (don’t worry about being even – these are free form. Imperfections are wonderful anyways…). Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the galettes are golden brown
We have been stocking on the bounty of Spring produce left and right lately. Strawberries, peas, rhubarb,ronde de Nice, baby Vidalias, etc… The farmers market is in full swing and my mind is buzzing with photographs to take of all this beauty.
It was torture however these past two weeks to cook for two and only one could eat. Yes, I had mild complications from the tooth extraction and for two weeks I was barely able to finish a bowl of soup. I would make Bill a meal and send mine through the blender. Eating was problematic so I would set out a my soup and eat a few spoonfuls at a time throughout the day.
Last Sunday I was finally able to eat my first solid meal. Little bites at a time. I have nothing against soups, I love them, and I became quite creative with mine but I am a chewer so it was getting old! Since we had friends coming over for dinner that Monday and my brain started going crazy happy on the meal planning!
I spent the day in the kitchen chopping, cooking, tasting, anticipating like a child the moment when we would all sit down and share a meal. A good meal. Imperfect, bountiful, mismatched, seasonal. With friends who made me laugh until I was about to burst.
I had prepared dessert thinking we’d be too full for it but I had forgotten about the crew at the table. Gourmands, epicureans,bon vivants. They would not pass on dessert. Especially Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp. True Summer in a cup. I served them with a creme fraiche ice cream I must make again and blog about soon. Unfortunately there was none left for the photoshoot. That good.
We had the leftover crisps with a little heavy cream whisked just until it gets thick, no whipped and it was just as perfect. Every bit of sunshine on a spoon.
Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisps:
Makes enough for 6 to 8 depending on your ramekins
For the topping:
1 cup sugar, divided (1/2 and 1/2)
1/2 cup all purpose flour or gluten free flour of your choice (I used millet flour here)
1/2 cup gluten free oats or quinoa flakes
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
For the filling:
juice of one lemon
3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch or brandy
Crème fraîche, thick cream or ice cream, to serve with (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Lightly butter the inside of 6-8 ramekins and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and the cardamom. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until crumbly. Cover the cover and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and lemon juice with the chopped rhubarb and strawberries. Add the cornstarch and liqueur and fold well with a wooden spatula.
Divide the fruit mixture in between the prepared ramekins. Divide the crisps topping equally over each portion. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is browned. Top each crisp with a dollop of crème fraîche, thick cream of ice cream if desired.
Hello Summer! Yep, our Spring is already over here in South Carolina. Was nice to have it for about three weeks. But we have already moved on to going for late afternoon jumps in the ocean to wind down. It will never cease to surprise and amaze me. It never deters me from braising and roasting every once in a while though. That’s because air conditioning always leave me as cold as a cup of ice cream.
With the gorgeous produce falling out of farm stands everywhere, rhubarb and strawberries have been among my top choices for first lately. Crumbles, tarts,ice cream, panna cotta, etc… We just can’t get enough. As my dear husband pointed out, we are running low on my homemade strawberry jam so I guess a trip to the U-pick plantation is in order for next weekend!
It’s been a while that I have had in my head to make concoct a drink with both fruits. I am fond of mixology and cocktail developing on the weekend but this time I wanted something refreshing that we could drink during the day while working over the weekend. I was craving a nice cold homemade lemonade so the idea of making a Rhubarb & Strawberry lemonade naturally came about.
Later in the afternoon I gathered some drinks, some cookies and headed outside with the husband. We sat down just long enough to take a breather and feel refreshed from such a simple but tasty treat. A little stolen moment in between two assignments.
This drink is a great base to add a little seltzer water or ginger ale to have a little fizz going on. It is also a great starter to refreshing fruity cocktails and mocktails for a nice gathering with friends.
Rhubarb And Strawberry Lemonade:
Makes enough to fill a large carafe (sorry I did not measure. We were thirsty!)
3 1/2 cups water
1 pound rhubarb, cut into roughly 1-inch dices
1/3 cup honey or agave (which is what I used)
zest of 2 lemons
3 cups of strawberries, halved
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil along with the rhubarb, honey or agave and lemon zest. Reduce the heat down and let everything simmer, covered for about 15 minutes. Add the strawberries and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the stove and let cool completely. Place the mixture in a blender with the lemon juice and puree until completely smooth.
Refrigerate until completely cold.
One of the great redeeming qualities of the Spring and Summer heat in South Carolina is the abundance of berries and stone fruits. Every Saturday at the farmers market, I load up on local peaches, plums, and berries. I know berry season only has a few more weeks so I am baking, cooking, freezing blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries by the pound. Many pounds actually.
My favorite way to eat them is simply not to mess up with them too much…Cut up with with a little lemon juice and creme fraiche. Sometimes vanilla bean ice cream. Lately it’s been with lots of lemon-lavender ice cream though. A whisper and a soft cloud with every bite. Sometimes, it’s simple compote with some honey and lemon-thyme or lemon verbena and we have that with a few shortbread cookies for dessert or a snack.
And then there are pies. Many days. Many pie days. Indeed. You know, with a nickname such as Tartelette that there are going to be quite many pies made around our house. I don’t know. It’s a never ending world of never ending possibilities. I always love seeing other people pie creations. They inspire. They make me hungry and then they make me head back into the kitchen to bake more pie…!
When I caught a glimpse of the Twitter conversation that Shauna, Garrett, Irvin, Justin and Ashley were engaged in one evening, I knew good things would ensue. Within a few short minutes, lots of people started telling them about their favorite pies, tarts, crust and fillings. I got hungry. Again. And decided to head to bed before being tempted to make a pie at two in the morning! I woke up to a delightful and spontaneous virtual Pie event taking place July 5th. I told you these guys were up to plenty of good.
So if you see an avalanche of pies on food blogs, Facebook and Twitter today, do not turn away. Do not worry about the state of the world. If anything it just became sweeter. Just give in. Read for a while and then run to make a pie!
I made one of my favorite pies. A simple mixed berries pies served with whipped cream and a bit of powdered sugar. I added some lemon verbena to the fruits and that pretty much sealed the deal for us. Different. Intoxicating and perfectly soft on the first bite. Evocative on the last.
Pies. People. Make pies…
I am heading out to Salt Lake City today where I will be teaching a workshop organized by Heidi of Foodie Crush, then heading out to Park City, to take part in Evo 11 conference. The line up of panels, workshops and speakers is pretty amazing and inspiring. You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #evoconf.
I have to take work with me (proposals and assignments are never truly on hold) but I do plan on taking plenty of notes and pictures to share as much information as possible when I head back. Have a great week! Mixed Berry Pie:
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the crust (pate brisee)
2/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup superfine white rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
(or you can use 1&1/4 cup all purpose flour instead of the 3 flours mentioned above)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
8 tablespoons butter, very cold and cut in 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ice water
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (to brush on the top crust)
In a large bowl, mix together the millet, rice and sorghum flour. Add the powdered sugar and mix. Add the cold butter and mix with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Flatten into a disk in between your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes (you can make it the day before too)
For the filling: Ingredients:
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries (cut in half or quarters – depending on size)
1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh chopped lemon verbena (optional)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
Directions: Place all these ingredients into one large bowl and mix together well. Let set for 20 to 30 minutes.
When ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Divide the pie into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger ball to 1/8-inch thickness on a floured work surface. Place in your pie plate and trim the excess all around the pan. Add the fruit mixture and spread out evenly on the bottom and pressing them down slighly. Roll the second ball of dough to also 1/8-inch thick and cut 1/4-inch strips from it. Layer them on top of the pie. Brush with the egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes.
When I called my mother yesterday I had a burning question to ask her. As soon as we started talking, I completely forgot. I was outside on the deck and heard a plane over my head. Felt a cool breeze through the pecan tree and just sat there. It took me back to our chalet in the Alps on a hot summer day. Gliders brushing the mountain sides, kids biking furiously to the pool. I got pensive. Mostly I had a smile on my face.
I got quiet for a little while and she asked if I was getting sad as we talked about summers, the cousins growing up, their travel plans, etc… I mumbled "I’m fine! I am testing the mixed berries sorbet I just made!" She asked if I could focus on the conversation to which I replied "no can’t do. Do you still have your T-Fal sorbet maker?" I had remembered my, well at least to me, burning question.
Her turn to get quiet for a while "I have no idea. Why do you ask?". I knew I had piqued her curiosity. "No reason. Everytime I make sorbet I think about that darn sorbetiere and how much we’d crank it up in the summers. It was cool. It was special." It was special indeed. I’ll always remember the day my mother brought that sorbet make home. Homemade sorbet anytime we wanted? As kids it was like Christmas in July!
See, in France, desserts eaten at home during the week are not buttery flaky pastries bought at the corner bakery on the way home from work. Those are for Sundays. No, desserts often consist of a dairy product and a fruit. I grew up on homemade yogurt and fruit for dessert. Ice creams and sorbets were not only specials, they were a once a year kind of thing. They spelled Summer.
It was a special thing indeed to have sorbet or ice cream or pastries back home. I do the exact same thing here. The weekends and dinner with friends are meant for special treats. And for good reasons. Time on slower motion is something to be celebrated (I’m always on even when I’m off. Can’t help it). Time spent with friends is celebrated. The generosity of their sharing our table, their time and stories with us. I want to acknowledge that by making them something special.
Enter sorbets, ice cream, tarts, mousses, and all sorts of goodies I enjoy making. I enjoy seeing their shoulders drop and their pupils scintillate as they dig in the first bites. I enjoy that pause as the flavors wraps around their taste buds, the scents and aromas arousing their senses. I am at my happiest when I gather people I love and respect around food. I know that’d make my grandmother smile.
There were so many luscious berry baskets at the farmers market this past week that I got a lot of everything. Blueberries, blackberries (twice), strawberries (again), raspberries (always). Stone fruits and rhubarb also ended up in our basket but that’s for another get together later this week. It’s summer! The house is open to anyone with a good story and a smile.
This sorbet is my go-to recipe as I can change the fruit according to the season and always get the same delicious result. Tart and sweet flavors. You can really taste them all separately and together with every bite. Paired with a simple vanilla shortbread cookies and you have one of our favorite summer treats.
Now…I need to fly home and find that sorbetiere my mom bough when we were kids…!
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries of your choice
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
zest and juice of one lemon
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, place the berries and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Puree until smooth in a blender or food processor and then strain through a fine mesh chinois (strainer). Process in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Vanilla Shortbread Cookies:
Makes about twenty 2-inch round cookies.
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup milk (optional)
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and egg yolks together on medium speed until creamy looking. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix for 10 seconds. Add the millet and sweet rice flour with the mixer still on low speed. If the mixture feels too crumbly add a little bit of milk to obtain a smooth but not too wet dough. Start with one tablespoon at a time.
Gather the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
When ready to bake, turn the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Roll the dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Cut cookies out in the dough and place them on a parchment lined baing sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Serve with the sorbet.
I’m usually all about the crunch. The giving crunch of toasted almonds on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. The flaky crunch of a pie crust as it gives under your teeth only to reveal a soft and creamy interior. The soft crunch of a handful of walnut inside a piece of brownie. Give me crunch.
I’m the one you’ll find grabbing a couple of carrots in the fridge as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Best crunch ever. I hear people do that when stressed: crunch the stress away. It’s indeed a physical translation of working through things. As long as I stick to carrots and not piles of cookies… But I need soft, creamy and smooth just as much as anyone else.
When it seems like the tempest is over and things have actually been dealt with, I am, on the other hand, the first one to reach for something soothing, soft and creamy. A sudden sigh of comfort and peace of mind. Some thick yogurt topped with a spoonful of honey. And more recently a mix of tart strawberry and white chocolate passion fruit soups drizzled on perfectly ripe and soft local strawberries.
I am not expecting much of my strawberry plant beside pretty flowers. It’s not me but the crazy hungry rabbit hanging out by the house. He’d better not go for my radishes…I just planted those! However strawberry season is in full swing here at the farms! After picking a few baskets the other day I know I’ll be returning to grab an insane amount for strawberry jam making.
This dessert is directly inspired from one found months ago in Elle A Table researching recipes including white chocolate. I like it because it is a bit of an odd ball in the dessert category. Is it to slurp on, drizzle with, mix together, eat separately? Do you pour it on ice cream, tarts? Do you dunk a cookie in it? Or two?
I loved the flavor combination of both. The lemony strawberry soup was the perfect counterpart to the sweet white chocolate soup using coconut milk and passion fruit. I ate the strawberry soup mixing little spoonfuls of the white chocolate one in it. Perfect like this. I also drizzled the white chocolate soup over some freshly cut and super ripe strawberries. Simple and comforting.
To round things up though, I made a batch of gluten free coconut and strawberry muffins and another one with blueberries only. Saucing the bottom of the soup glasses with a half muffin? Just about toe curling worthy. The combination of the three worked wonders for my peace of mind, ahaha!
Strawberry and White Chocolate Passion Fruit Soups with Mixed Berry Muffins:
For the white chocolate soup:
12 oz white chocolate
1 cup passion fruit juice
one 14-oz can coconut milk (full fat)
Place the white chocolate in a non reactive bowl and set aside. In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the passion fruit juice and coconut milk to a strong simmer. Pour on top of the white chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the mixture together until smooth and creamy. Divide among ramekins, glasses, jars, etc…Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
For the strawberry soup:
1 pound of strawberries (if you are in France use mara des bois)
zest and juice of one lemon
dash of vanilla extract
Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Divide among ramekins, glasses, etc… Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the mixed berries muffins:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup yogurt
3/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of a lemon
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup berries of your choice (whole raspberries or blueberries, cut strawberries, blackberries, etc…)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the inside of muffin tins with paper muffin cups and grease those with melted butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs until pale. Add the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and whisk until blended. Add the flours, baking powder and salt and mix until the batter is smooth. Don’t worry too much about some lumps. Fold in the berries with a spatula carefully. Divide among the muffin tins and bake about 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Serve both soups together with more berries and a few muffins.
As a child, I can’t say that I ever knew hunger. I got hungry for sure. But I never knew the deep feeling of being hungry and knowing I would not be able to satisfy my growling stomach. My parents did not always have it easy and I can see there were times when budgets and expenses were calculated to the penny but one thing my brothers and myself never questioned to have or not was food.
If times were a bit strained, we, as children, never knew it. I just noticed we ate more eggs throughout the week and lots more soups. I never put two and two together because I never had to. There was always food in my plate.Some children don’t have this chance. Some children go hungry on a daily basis.
My parents knew that. They made sure we did too and very early on in our lives made sure we knew the purpose of charity. We did it silently. Charity is an act that comes from inside of you. It does not need to be advertised or require praises.Just do. We know what it’s like to hit hard times and to have a great support system of friends and family. Some people are not as lucky. Most of all, children should never know the physical and emotional pains of hunger.
If I can direct your heart to cozy place this holiday season it would be toward Share Our Strength and their "No Kid Hungry" campaign. Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking emailed a few weeks back and asked a bunch of bloggers to partner up with Share Our Strength to help them spread the word and raise awareness through a virtual progressive dinner, inviting readers to a Holiday Table filled with all sorts of ideas from appetizers to dessert, vegetarian, budget friendly, gluten free, gourmet, etc...
All these dishes are so tempting and for us so easy to come up with but for others it would take a village to fill up their plates. And the ones of their children. We are that village. We are that community. I have an ever shaking faith in our humanity but I believe the holiday season makes us softer and in that regard, I am indeed asking that you would consider participating and pledging to help Share Our Strength "No Kid Go Hungry" campaign. Why? Because one dollar makes a child already closer to 10 meals. That’s huge…
My virtual contribution to the campaign is one of my dad’s all time favorites, a Strawberry Jelly Roll Cake. His mother used to make it for him when he was a kid and I grew up listening to my dad’s recollection of Mamette (her nickname) and her famous jelly roll cake. It made him feel like a king. Every child should know that feeling. I always felt like it was a special moment when my mom would try her hand at it. A simple cake such as this became the anchor of some many memories in our family.
A lot of us out there will be creating wonderful family memories gathered around a pretty table filled with great foods, family recipes, easy, budget friendly, etc…you name it. We will give praises and thanks. We will raise our forks and cheer. We will eat, rub our bellies and laugh.
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (65gr) rice flour
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (65gr) millet flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
softened butter for the baking sheet
1/2 cup to 1 cup strawberry jam
powdered sugar to decorate
Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter the bottom of a baking sheet (I used 2 quarter sheet pans) and line with parchment paper, butter the paper liberally.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the rice and millet flours, gum, baking pwder and salt. Switch to a spatula and fold the ingredients together briefly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the whites at high speed until medium stiff peaks form.
Take about 1/3 of the egg whites and fold them into the egg yolk/flour batter. Do not worry about folding carefully, you just want to use the moisture from the whites to add fluidity to the batter.
Now, carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites into two installments.
Spread the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until barely golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Place a piece of parchment paper onto your work surface, invert your baking sheet over it and slowly peel the parchment paper from the bake of the cake. Using the bottom piece of paper, start rolling the cake onto itself, starting from the longest edge.
Let it cool completely. Unroll, fill with the jam and reroll. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
Thanks for the birthday wishes, emails, ecards and presents you sent. You made my day – week – month! It’s been a week full of work which suits me just fine since I don’t really know how to relax and take it easy. Seems like I am playing a game of "Catch me if you can" this summer and you know what? I am loving it. I am loving the work, the pressure and the adventures. I’ve never felt this alive and this happy . Our household depends on it too. It’s not just for the fun ya’ll. Although… hot dang, this much fun on the job should be illegal!
What’s even more fun is to do a little feature for the gals of Design*Sponge. Grace and Kristina are always so thorough and dedicated to their craft that it’s always a pleasure to work for them. Kristina asked if I wanted to do something gluten free this time and I had no problem coming up with a few items making the best use of some of my favorite seasonal fruits.
For some reason we have been hooked on vanilla and coconut ice cream lately and as soon as the first strawberries showed up at the market we started having ice cream and lemon-thyme marinated strawberries almost every other night for dessert. That alone satisfies my better half just fine. I, on the other hand, always desire something else to sink my teeth into so I usually make a quick batch of gluten free shortbread cookies but with my crazy habit to load up on rhubarb at the market, I decided to use some of the poached one I prepared for the panna cotta and tart and use it in financiers.
Financiers, or friands in some parts of the world, have to be one of the easiest tea cakes to adapt gluten free and pretty hard to mess up too. And who can resist the addictive smell of browned butter? Obviously not us because these did not last long once all the shots were in the box. Maybe five minutes because we had to drink the ice cream first it was melting so fast?!
Our lemon-thyme and lemon balm plants have been growing wildly and we try our best to include them in most of the foods we eat this Spring. Salads, berries, spring rolls, marinades, etc… and we have been throwing whole stems in homemade lemonade a lot lately for a little extra flavor boost. Lemon thyme is milder than regular thyme and obviously on the citrus-y side which makes it a good substitute, replacement, change from mint. Hope you can give it a try one day!
This is going to be a short and sweet French Word A Week post as Tami and I are busy working hard. In our case work is play and play is work but still. The weather is gorgeous right now in Charleston which makes me want to be outside and just walk around the city. The farmers market just started, the dogwoods are heavy with flowers. It’s all quite pretty really. And our strawberry season is literally just around the corner. Ah les fraises! (the strawberries!)
One of my favorite fruits. Fraises. Listen to the pronunciation here.
Strawberries here in town are a big deal. We even have a festival to celebrate its beginning at Boone Hall Plantation which is always a sight to be seen. Bill and I do the side step at this time of year because we can’t wait to see the "U pick" sign on the sign of the road. We love to spend a few hours on the grounds, digging up the sweet and juicy strawberries. I even took Marcela there two years ago when she came to visit. I wish I could take Tami there this year but we are one weekend too early.
At least I know what I am doing next weekend with our neighbors and their kids!