If you’ve spent much time around the blog, you probably know how much tea I consume. Coffee for me is an occasional treat; tea is the stuff of everyday sustenance. For most of the year I sip hot tea throughout the day to keep warm, and nibble tea-infused desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth. In the heat of summer, though, turning the oven on to bake sounds like torture and the last thing I want to drink is a steaming mug of anything. So instead of tea I drink…oh, wait, I still drink tea! And lots of it. In fact, I store away some of my favorite teas just for summer, because drinking them cold brings out all their tasty flavors.
Stash’s Organic Matcha Mate is one of those teas. When they came out with this tea – a smooth blend of Japanese matcha, green tea and yerba mate – earlier this year I liked it hot, but knew I’d love it cold come summer. It’s a nice, strong tea for early mornings and lazy afternoons when I need a little caffeine boost, but without the bitter flavor that sometimes accompanies robust teas. I’ve enjoyed it on its own several times, but I think the matcha and mate flavors are at their best in slightly sweetened latte form. I brew the tea hot and strong, then pour it over ice with a generous drizzle of honey and a splash of cold almond milk, resulting in a silky and immensely sippable tea latte that’s made for hot days. The distinct tea flavors come through and, if you ask me, they’re actually made stronger by the dash of sweetness in the latte.
I’ll happily eat a chocolate ganache tart anytime time of year. It’s one of the few desserts I’m happy to bake all year, too, even in the heat of summer. See, you just give the buttery pastry a quick bake ’til it’s golden – then you can turn the oven off! The ganache itself warms up on the stove then cools in the pastry shell, so you don’t have to worry about keeping anything heat-generating on for too long. If you’re like me and live in an old house without air conditioning, that’s enough to make this recipe a winner.
And I haven’t even gotten to the chocolate part yet. Ganache is one of those things that’s so decadent and utterly delicious it’s hard to believe it only has two ingredients. A silky, rich blend of cream and chocolate – and that’s it! I like to chill ganache tarts in the refrigerator before serving, so the ganache is cool and thoroughly set. Something about chilled chocolate makes it even tastier as it melts in your mouth! Make sure to use the best tasting dark chocolate you can find, and don’t forget the sprinkle of sea salt. It brings out the flavor of the chocolate and is a tasty foil for the creaminess of the ganache. Mmmm.
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. I made this easy peasy rhubarb buttermilk upside down cake a few weeks back, and have been meaning to share the recipe ever since. Between working on our new house, taking care of our basement kitty, Pinecone (more on her here), and other life stuff, it’s been near impossible to sit down and write. I want to share this cake with you before rhubarb season passes us by though, so here goes! If you like rhubarb, sweet and tart flavors, cake or any combination of those things, you’re going to inhale this upside down cake the same day you bake it, just like Ponny and I did!
It might not be the prettiest cake I’ve ever made (next time I’ll cut the rhubarb into skinnier pieces), but it is one of the most delicious. The rhubarb is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the buttermilk brings out the natural tang of the rhubarb, while also making the cake extra moist. It’s a sweet cake, but not so sweet, like some of the rhubarb desserts out there – I think some people tend to drown rhubarb in sugar. I say let rhubarb be what it is – a tender, tart and magical food we get to enjoy for just a few weeks every spring – and that’s just what this cake does. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
First things first: Ponny and I bought a house!!! I’ve mentioned it a couple times already, but it feels a lot more real now that we’re actually starting work on our little fixer. It’s a 1918 bungalow with a brick fireplace, airy kitchen and stunning original features–okay, so that’s just my positive spin on the fact that it still has all original wiring, plumbing and zero hardwired light fixtures. Yikes. Still, I am so, so happy to own a place of our own after living in apartments–at long last I can paint the walls whatever color I want. I can drill holes wherever I feel like it!
We’re planning to spend every spare moment over the next several months bringing the house into the 21st century, which won’t leave much time for cooking. I don’t want to resort to eating fast food every night, so I’ve been brainstorming healthy and satisfying meals that can be thrown together with minimal effort after a long day of home projects. One of my favorites so far is this spring greens pizza–it takes about five minutes to prep, 15 minutes to bake and even less time to devour because it is so tasty.
The pizza has all my favorite farmer’s market greens of the moment: asparagus shaved into thin ribbons, adorable fiddleheads, peppery nasturtium leaves and tender micro greens. They’re piled high on a olive oil base, dotted with chèvre and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The vegetables bring a wealth of flavors and textures to the pizza and the creaminess of the goat cheese balances the bolder green flavors–it’s one of those meals that’s so simple yet so full of flavor you’re left wondering how so many yummy taste molecules were able to fit into every little bite. Continue Reading
After a long, dreary winter, is there anything so refreshing as looking outside and seeing sunshine and colorful blooms around every corner? Even the dull gray sidewalks are dusted in pretty petal confetti! My food cravings are almost entirely driven by what’s in season around me; I’m the person jumping up and down at the market going, “yes! Strawberries/pumpkins/etc. are back! I’ve waited all year!” So it’s only natural that when spring flowers abound, I’m making plans for how best to eat them!
And I’ll happily eat just about any edible flower there is, including dandelions, which have an unfortunate reputation for being pesky, pointless weeds. But let me tell you, they’re anything but! Think of dandelion greens as a slightly milder friend of arugula. They’re tasty in salads, on pizzas and in smoothies, just like any other leafy green, and happen to be packed with vitamins. The flowers are a little more bitter, but totally edible, too!
If you’re not quite convinced, these sweet mini cakes, with Stash Organic Sunny Dandelion Root Tea-infused frosting are for you. They’re an extra palatable, tasty introduction to eating dandelions that I’m sure will make you a dandelion convert for life! I made a simple yellow sheet cake, cut out rounds and stacked them up to make cute mini cakes that are just the right size for 2-3 people. I won’t judge you if you eat a whole one yourself though, because they are frosted in the lightest, loveliest tea-infused buttercream, and it’s really hard to stop at one slice.
The tea has notes of chicory, cocoa shell, orange peel and vanilla in addition to the dandelion greens, so the resulting buttercream was a little herbal, floral and fruity, with just the right amount of sweetness. You’d be hard pressed to find mini cakes better suited to springtime, especially when you top them with fresh dandelion flowers! Continue Reading