Currently viewing the tag: "raspberry"

‘Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.’ – Henry James

I have to agree with Mr. James here; summer is magic. With my littles at home and days filled with swimming, reading, long walks, trips to the library, canoeing, hammocking, lego building, and not homeworking, I am entering August on tiptoes, knowing there are only four weeks of leisure left. ‘Twenty-nine days!’ my seven year old son lamented today as he counted on the calendar. ‘Only twenty-nine days left of summer! I’m doomed!’ I tried to reassure him it was plenty of time, but August does have a reputation for flying by too fast. Or, as my friend Kate put it, ‘August is the Sunday of summer. June is Friday night, July is Saturday, and each day of August quietly whispers, Monday is just around the corner.’

So we made ice cream cake. Because the weather is warm, and we still have days left to celebrate our freedom. Raspberry crème fraîche no-churn ice cream with chocolate cookie crumb and toasted meringue topping, to be exact. It was decadent, and delicious; it cooled us to our toes and made us momentarily ignore that yes, we are doomed.

‘All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.’ – LM Montomery

This post is sponsored by Driscoll’s and the Minnesota #BerryTogether Sweepstakes. Did you know Minnesota is the number one consumer of raspberries? To celebrate, Driscoll’s is giving away a Minnesota exclusive getaway Madden’s Resort & Spa in Brainerd, MN for 4 from now until August 31st. Click here to enter.

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labneh | the vanilla bean blog
I spent some time with Larry and Colleen Wolner while working on our column for Food 52, and one of the recipes we worked on was labneh, two ways. I had only approached labneh on the savory side of things, so topping it with raspberry coulis was a very nice surprise. The Wolners served it on thinly sliced toasted baguettes, and it was the perfect appetizer. Or dessert. I couldn’t decide.
labneh with raspberry coulis
labneh | the vanilla bean blog

labneh | the vanilla bean blog

labneh | the vanilla bean blog

I apologize for the space between posts lately. I’ve been busy over here testing recipes, and find myself wanting to put everything in the book. I’m trying not to neglect the site, but sometimes it’s hard to find time for everything.

A few things:

I really love this post by Phyllis.

I’m a super nerd and am reading this book.

I recently went to Los Angeles for the first time two weekends ago, along with some fellow bloggers and Hello Society. I had a lovely trip, and have a Steller story here if you want to take a peek.

My Kieffer Bros have a new puzzle game out: Blockwick 2! I spent almost an entire plane ride playing it. The game also made the itunes ‘best new game app’ last week; I’m so proud.

My last post for Wit & Delight: Grapefruit Rosemary Sparkler.

Cookbooks! I can’t wait for Tara’s book, and Sara’s book, and the new Food 52 book, and Kate’s book. (What other books should be on my list?)

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Lately I’ve been rocking a well-worn copy of Molly Katzen‘s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I’ve loved this cookbook for a long time; it was a staple at my beloved Blue Heron Coffeehouse, and Larry and Colleen were frequently seen thumbing through it, shocking the sleepy town of Winona with Chinese mushroom soup and eggplant salads and all kinds of other goodness that were found handwritten on it’s beautiful pages.
And there was this bread one day, one crisp fall day when Adam and I were off again and most my grades were off again, and I had skipped another lecture and there were piles of homework in my dirty red back pack. I stopped in for lunch before my work shift, and scrawled on the hanging chalkboard under ‘soup of the day’ was ‘creamy zucchini’ and ‘maple oatmeal bread’. I don’t know if they were meant to be together, but they both sounded so good that I ate them together anyway and went back for seconds. And I had never had creamy zucchini soup or maple oatmeal bread, but that first taste is forever etched in my mind; Me: greedily hunched over a well-used cream-colored bowl, eating my bread and soup and feeling comfort for the first time in weeks. I will never forget those flavors on my tongue and how warm they were to my belly; the maple and oatmeal and cream and zucchini relieving my heartache for a few precious moments. Each bite held kind voices, my sister’s laugh, the tall oak trees that watched over me as a child. When my bowl was empty I took it in the back, and there, as my shift was starting, I couldn’t bring myself to wash it.
The summer we first moved into our house, my sister and her husband gave us two raspberry bushes. We had no idea about taking care of raspberries, but we eagerly grabbed the plants and found a little home for them along our fence, dreaming of jam, and pie, and afternoon snacks. Now, six years later they are out of control; bushes racing up and down that fence as if they own the place. But we adore them, despite their wild tendencies, and every August as the season starts slipping away a bit too soon, I am comforted by the deep pinks and reds peeking out at every turn. Those late berries extend the summer, there in our backyard. It’s been such a gift.
And there I was, picking those late berries, when I realized I almost let the whole summer slip by without making these little pretties. Ms. Erin from Naturally Ella put out a lovely ecookbook several months ago, titled, appropriately, Summer, and somehow I almost let it all get away: the long days, the warm nights, these lovely recipes. But on this last day of August I bring you sweet berry treats to carry you into what comes next. May summer always peek out at you from some small, wild, corner.

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There are mornings, like everyone this weekend, where I open my eyes to a beautiful, sun-filled sky, only to turn on some sort of rectangular device and read sentence after sentence of misery and destruction and abuse and heartache. Then come those moments, moments where the world looks so bleak and hopeless, where the lurking arms of fear begin to grab for the thoughtful. The night then sets in, a darkness without stars, before the day even had a chance to prove itself.
So while the record in my mind is still spinning those dark tunes, I have to find a way to hum a new song, to change the album. I look around to see if there is still good walking among us, if there is beauty to be found. I turn off the rectangle and look to my hands. They have been idle, scrolling the time away. I put them to work. They will bake bread, they will whip cream. They will touch wood and leaf and skin. They will hold. They will build. They will pick berries, and wipe tears. They will beckon happily to the neighbor, to the wanderer, and offer what they have. Today I can just give you fragile cones filled with cold pink, but I give them to you freely. And as we bite in, together, desperate for joy in simple things, let us remember it’s only clouds that cover the stars, clouds that darken the sun. So let our hands be the wind: we will scatter the clouds apart, send them on their way. Then we will pick up our pens, gather our paper, and write new sentences for the world to read upon its waking.

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My Dear and Lovely Winter,
Today we were working in our garden. I was incredibly crabby, because [as you’ve probably figured out], I’m a terrible gardener: so, so impatient in that space. There was an ungodly amount of scraggly, prickly weeds taunting me, not to mention all the raspberries about to fall off the bush, herbs on the verge of flowering, and a big pile of compost to turn. As I was muttering unmentionables under my breath you ran to me. But I didn’t want you to help. I just wanted to work in quiet and bask in my annoyance, ripping and plucking and pulling alone. I hesitated and you quietly asked again, there among all our weeds and thorns, with your little arms outstretched.
You moved toward me, and I was struck. All you want is to be part of us: this family, this little unit of four, in whatever shape or turn it takes. Nothing more is needed – you are content with the untidy garden, grape juice stained couches, used Hondas, thrift store toys. You are willing to help weed gardens, sweep floors, dust bookshelves, whisk batter. You look through cookbooks, dance to Ella Fitzgerald, memorize Star Wars characters; embracing all the things we love and do just to be near, just to make up the whole. And as you stood there waiting for my response, well, that’s when I felt the very core of me shake. Because so often what I want to be part of, and what I want to be doing, is a much more grandiose affair. There are the all dreams of what could be, time spent longing for what is missing; putting minutes and hours that can’t be returned into who is watching me, who is reading me. And some days [oh! too many days!], I miss what I am a part of – the absolute and the real; this gorgeous, wonderful, tangible life. I’ve left so many blank pages in my books, precious pages that I could have filled.So, dear one, here is my hand, my heart. Yes, come kneel beside me; let us till this dirt, plant these seeds, tend to this garden. You will look over and often find me watching you, stunned by your sincerity, your faithfulness. In those moments I will be paused, writing furiously across my soul, filling line after line with your grace, your beauty, and your friendship. And maybe. If I choose not to run and hide from my part in things, you will also learn to embrace all the simple, glorious days of your life.

Your Mommy

Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim. – Tyler Knott Gregson

raspberry tartlets with amaretto cream and whole wheat pat-in-the-pan crusts

These tarts were a favorite treat at a coffeehouse I worked at, made by the wonderful Amy Hughes [Amy! I hope you are well, where ever you are]. I’ve tweaked the crust – added whole wheat flour and less sugar, but the filling is kept the same. I didn’t want to change it at all.
*If you don’t have a tartlet pan, you could probably substitute a muffin pan. At the coffeehouse these tarts were originally made with lovelier tartlet molds, which gave them a much more crisp, finished look. But they are  typically a bit larger, so you will have to adjust accordingly if you use those. I used a 12 cup tartlet pan with 1/4 cup capacity. This recipe makes 12 tartlets, although you will have dough leftover. You can either make 24 by doubling the filling, or save/freeze the dough for a later use.

for the crust
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup [2 sticks] butter, cut into small squares
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until combined. Add the butter, and pulse until butter is the size of small peas, 8-10 pulses. Add the yolks and vanilla, and process until the dough starts coming together, about 10 seconds.
Place dough on a light floured surface, and gently kneed until dough forms a ball. Split dough in half, and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375. Very lightly grease a 12 cup tartlet pan [see note, above]* and set aside. Using one half of the dough, separate dough into 12 pieces. Gently pat the dough into each well of the tartlet pan, pressing them firmly to the sides and bottom. Pierce the bottoms of each tart with a fork several times. Line each little shell with parchment paper or foil and fill with baking weights. Bake tarts 15 minutes. Remove parchment [or foil] and weights and return the pan to the oven. Bake 2 or 3 more minutes, until crust is light golden brown. Remove and place on a wire rack. When cool to the touch, remove each tartlet from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.
for the filling
8 ounces cream cheese, soft
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup raspberries [or other berries]
In a standing mixer, mix cream cheese until smooth and no lumps remain. Add remaining ingredients, and mix together until combined. Spread evenly on cooled tart crust. Place raspberries on top of the cream, gently pressing them in. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
I was asked to host a dinner party. The menu was to be from America’s Test Kitchen’s latest book, The Menu Cookbook [There is a post about the whole evening here, on The Feed, if you’re interested]. It was a lovely time, filled with good food and wine, family and friends. This little pretty, pictured above was dessert. And it was delicious.
The raspberries were oh so tart, but the streusel topping was sweet and the flavors balanced perfectly. The crust was crisp and held up all that juicy fruit without a problem. Oats and almonds in the streusel added texture and another dimension of flavor, and we were content. Content with this simple dessert.

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