time for berry picking

Beautiful late summer orchards and acres of berry bushes are an inspiration for countless recipes of desserts, lunches, drinks…the possibilities are endless yet everything will have a sweet, fresh perfection that comes from fruit right from the farm.

berry bushes and apple tree orchards, New Paltz, NY

Couldn’t resist a photo of the field of sunflowers we passed along the highway.

recipe: berry peach crumble

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2f cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 6 tbsp. cold butter, diced
  • 3 cups fresh berries – any combo.  I used raspberries, blackberries, & blueberries.
  • 2 peaches, diced
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch

you’ll also need 6 ramekins or an 8×8 casserole dish

a combination or raspberries, blackberries, and peaches

distribute topping even over fruit mixture

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, and oats.  Add diced cold butter and dig right in with your hands to incorporated it.  Keep this cool until you are ready for the oven.

In a separate bowl add your fresh berries and peach.  To this, add remaining sugar (1/4 cup) along with 2 tbsp. cornstarch.  Toss to coat.

Spoon berry mixture into ramekins/dish and top with the crumble.

Bake for 35 minutes until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden.

let cool and serve by itself or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Heaven!

bon appetit!

runway inspiration: marigold

Stores are full of fall merchandise and end-of-summer sales, but I step outside to the 95 degree weather and repulsive humidity and as far as I’m concerned, summer is still in full swing.  There are plenty of lunches in the park and shore weekends left .  I’m still choosing bright,warm summery shades of pink, coral, and orange.  My current favorite is marigold – a bold yellow-orange, perfect for this time of year.  Think August sunsets and late summer blooms.  It’s a great transition color to bring your wardrobe into the the more crisp tones of fall (even though I may be in denial about it…….)

max azria

louis vuitton

marc jacobs

moschino

jeggings – asos

blouse – modcloth

sneakers – keds via modcloth

nail polish – wet n wild

recipe: summer shrimp salad

Another recipe using backyard ingredients!  This one is the epitome of summer – summer veggies, shrimp, fresh herbs and zesty lemon, even a little fruit if you so desire.  I love this because its a real improv-type dish.  No exact measurements; add a little of this, a little of that, use what you have it on hand…mix it up and eat up.

The base of this dish (the necessary ingredients):

-3 lemons – 2 juiced, 1 sliced

-about 1/2 cup olive oil

-fresh chopped herbs (parsley, cilantro, a touch of mint, etc.)

-12 oz. of shrimp

-summer vegetables (squash, zuccini, peas, radishes, etc)

-1/2 large onion, sliced

 

Season shrimp and cut up vegetables with salt and pepper, roast for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Take the shrimp out and let cool.  Turn oven up to 400 degrees and leave the vegetables in for another 10-15 minutes.  Remove and let cool slightly as well.  Add shrimp and vegetables to a large bowl and toss in remaining ingredients.  This is when you can see what’s hanging out in the fridge that you can add.  For instance my mom handed me a peach to put in, so I said why not.  And it added a really nice touch.  You could also try sprouts, edamame, mango, tomatoes….the sky’s the limit.   Get creative.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let sit for an hour or so to let the flavors marinate and serve.

 

 

bon appetit!

 

 

 

using backyard ingredients: honey lavender tea bread

This bread is sweet, floral, light, delicious.  Goes great with tea (hence the name) or even as a dessert.  The vanilla glaze drizzled on top really completes the recipe.  Not only is lavender a pretty and unique flower but it also has a ton of uses.  Baking, cooking, soap, potpourri, oil extract, and more.  It grows really well in the northeast climate and expands every year.  So here’s one way to start making use of a lavender plant.  You and everyone you serve it to will be surprised by how delicious the unique flavor is.

Once you see a decent amount of purple on your lavender plant, pick a bunch of stems

If you have more than necessary for the recipe, tie the extra together and hang upside down to dry.  After about a week you can store this in an airtight container so that you can enjoy the lavender flavor in dishes even when it’s not in season.

You will need 2-3 tbsp finely chopped lavender buds

Milk & lavender simmering

Additional ingredients to create the batter

Vanilla glaze to drizzle over the bread

recipe: honey lavender tea bread

you will need:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped lavender
  • 6 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a 9×5″ pan.

Combine the milk and lavender in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer, then remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.

Cream butter, sugar, and honey.  Beat in the egg until light and fluffy.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and lavender until just blended.  Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make the vanilla glaze you will need:

  • 1  cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together.  Drizzle with the whisk over the bread or onto each individual slice.

 

Sit, relax, and savor the delicious flavor that you created in your own garden right from the first step to the last.

bon appetit!

backyard ingredients

Nothing like walking out your back door to pick the ingredients you need right off the plant.  They really give a dish an amazing delicious flavor with a freshness you’ll never find from anything else.  I love growing herbs during the summer, I have some in pots and some right in the garden.  The best part is making a meal without having to run to the store and I just pick the amount I need and that way nothing will go bad (which is usually the case when I get a bunch from the store that ends up sitting in my fridge and rotting).   Lots of times I even plan recipes around what I have on hand, which is really the best way to cook – using what’s in season and readily available.  Take a look at my herbs that I have growing and look out for future posts of recipes using my fresh herbs.

the Italian essentials – parsley and basil

Lulu enjoys the fresh aromas

lavender – one of my favorite scents ever

So growing in pots I have parsley and basil, both are doing really well.  In my garden I have a row of cilantro, my favorite herb.  Even though it grows best in Mexico and climates like that, it does surprisingly well in the humid New Jersey heat.  Lucky me!  As far as perennial herbs I have lavender, mint, and oregano all of which spread and go wild, so I have plenty of that.  I just planted rosemary this summer, also a perennial with a delicious florally scent.  Watch for ideas of things to do with all of them!

style inspiration: snow white and the hunstman

Ravenna 

concept korea

The evil queen possessed the highest degree of glamor, with so much going on in each outfit, mixing elements , each look more intricate than the next.  She had a dark aura that came from within and radiated out on every aspect of her being, including her clothing.

feathers, metallic, tight fitting, beading, sharp textures

The Huntsman

belstaff

anne valerie hash

Very practical minded, his clothing had a function.  His clothes reflect the trouble and torment that he has witnessed in his life.

leather, suede, belts, pockets, masculine, effortless

Snow White

tess giberson

alexander wang

tess giberson

 She goes through a transformation throughout the story, from a torn and tattered damsel in distress, to a confident warrior, to an angelic queen.  Through every stage her clothes always exude her innocence.

distressed, carefree, lightweight fabric, sheen