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Archive for August, 2010

One of the things that I look forward to in the summer is going to the farmers’ market in Fairport. I especially look forward to visiting one of my favorite vendors, which I have nicknamed “my tomato girl”. Her name is Jess, and she owns Raindance Harvest Sustainable Farm. She grows the most amazing heirloom tomatoes! She also grows heirloom lettuces, baby squashes, green and yellow beans, as well as yellow, purple, and orange carrots, which are equally amazing. And on top of that, she is the best looking farmer I have ever met. :) She really is!

Heriloom Tomatoes

I was ecstatic when I visited her stand a few weeks ago and saw that the heirloom tomatoes were available! I went to the market again yesterday and bought a few more. I decided to make a small appetizer with them. I sliced them and topped them with some basil olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was great!

Fresh Tomatoes

I am a sucker for fresh bread. It makes me so happy whenever I can find warm bread while grocery shopping. When I was little, my parents used to send me to the bakery to get bread, and I would come back with 2 loaves, except that one of the loaves would be half (sometimes even more than half) gone. I can eat an entire loaf by myself. While preparing the tomatoes, I thought that some fresh bread would go really well with the tomatoes. So I baked some fresh bread. “You baked fresh bread?” you ask. Why yes, and I have done it numerous times, except that I did not spend hours baking it. I have found the best bread in the frozen section of the Nature Marketplace in Wegmans. They are the French rolls made by Alexia. You just bake them in the oven for about 8 minutes and voilà… you have warm fresh baked bread! I really love the brand! I also buy their sweet potato fries. YUM!

To top it all off, we enjoyed the appetizer with some Watermelon Martinis. :) We used a mix that is made by Wegmans. They also have a mix for Mojitos and margaritas. I bought the mix by chance, since they did not have the Mojito mix. It’s super tasty! I am glad that we tried it.

Watermelon Martini

We enjoyed the appetizer and drinks on our deck.

Appetizers and Drinks

I love summer!

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I have been on a baking kick lately. It’s Kristin’s fault! :) A few weeks ago, while we were making plans to get together, she kept mentioning this Nectarine Upside Down Cake that she discovered in her new cookbook called Everyday Greens: Home Cooking from Greens the Celebrated Vegetarian Restaurant. I really wanted to try it, so I asked her if she would make the cake in return for a dinner at my house. She agreed. The cake was fantastic! I asked her for the recipe and she gladly gave it to me.

This past weekend we were going to a small get together with a few friends so I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to make the cake. The recipe is very simple. You make a caramel mixture from butter, brown sugar, and some rum. You add the sliced nectarines (or peaches, which I bought by mistake, since I thought that the recipe required them) on top of the caramel in a spoke-like fashion, and then you top if off with a cake batter made from almond paste, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder, and salt.

As I was making the cake batter, I noticed the almond paste requirement. I apparently did not read the recipe very well before going to the grocery store, since I did not buy the almond paste. I decided to pulverize a bunch of almonds in my small food processor and add it to the batter. The end result was delicious! The cake was a hit! In fact, I liked the cake so much that I made it again this past Sunday. :) The recipe mentions that the cake can also be made with other fruits such as peaches (HA!), apricots, plums, and fresh cherries. I think that even pears and apples would work. The possibilities are endless!

I am a sucker for fresh things… bread, fruit, anything. Oh, and especially if they are locally made/grown. While I was grocery shopping on Sunday, I saw these beautiful apricots that were brought in from a local farm. I could not resist! I bought a fairly large pint, and as soon as I got home from the grocery store, I ate a bunch of them. An hour later my stomach was killing me. (I am unable to eat a lot of fresh fruits. That pesky stomach! But I could not resist!)

It was another rainy day in Rochester, which put a damper on my bike riding plans, so I decided to make something with those beautiful apricots, especially since Joel informed me that they were getting very ripe. I searched on my trusted sites and came across a recipe for a Breakfast Apricot Crisp. Perfect! And oh, how perfect it was. YUM!

I did however make a few adjustments to the crisp recipe. I doubled the amount of oats and flour (I used white and whole wheat flour), cut the sugar to only 4 tablespoons, added a teaspoon of honey to thicken it a bit, substituted pumpkin seeds for almonds, and added vanilla and coconut flakes. :)

Ok… so I did make a fair amount of changes, but I think that you can add whatever you like in it. Next time I will try adding some cinnamon and cardamom. (My friend Sally gave me a delicious granola recipe a few years ago that included cinnamon and cardamom, and it worked wonderfully.)

Happy baking!

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