Monday, September 27, 2010

Fig Bounty

For the past few weeks, I have basically been living off figs.  This particular season, the fig bounty has been of such abundance that I had to come up with ways to use this glorious fruit (not a bad problem to have!).  Besides just eating them fresh off the tree or indulging in this decadent treat, I decided a bread of some sort would be the perfect recipient of my favorite 'end of Summer' fruit.  

And yes, I would be thrilled to know how you satisfy your fig fancy ~

Fig Banana Bread
2 Bananas (ripe)
4-5 Figs (ripe and cut into small pieces)
1/2 cup of melted butter
3/4 cup turbinado (raw sugar)
2 cups of all-purpose flour 
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom*** (this is what puts it over-the-top)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix mashed bananas and butter in large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar, lightly beaten eggs, figs and vanilla.  Sprinkle baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom over the mixture and stir in.  Add the flour last, mix well.  Pour into a 4 x 8 loaf pan and bake for approx. 1 hour or until toothpick comes out dry.  Once removed from oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve!     

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fast Forward to Fall

Now that Summer has officially signed off, our arms are wide-open in acceptance of Fall!  Is there anything better than the change of seasons?  Autumn provides such a golden crispness of color and harvest ~ a fresh start to looking at the world through a 'new lens'. 

Bring on the pumpkins, apple picking, chai tea lattes, cozy sweaters, and a kitchen filled with the aromas of roasting root vegetables and chunky soups.  Fall is here, so put on those boots and let's go!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pastries & Petals

Carmel-by-the-Sea is filled with magic around every corner, so it was a 'sweet' surprise to find the newest addition to this 'fairy land of perfection' ~ Pastries and Petals.  A lovely new bakery and cafe with outstanding treats (re: cheesecake cupcakes and champagne) prepared on-site by the pastry-chef co-owner.  The menu is filled with savory choices and sweet temptations all being served with a rosebud in a 'culinary boutique' atmosphere underneath an eye-catching antique crystal chandelier. Pastries and Petals is the ideal addition to one of my favorite 'villages' in the world, and I cannot wait to return and indulge!

Pastries And Petals
Mission St 2 NE of 5th
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
(831) 620-1400


[Reverie-Daydream Images]

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Crate of Goodness

A wooden crate filled with rhubarb and fresh herbs (including my favorite, lemon verbena) hand-picked by my lovely friend, Sherry, greeted us upon our return from the South.  You see, Sherry is a Southern Belle too, and she gets it ~ she knows just how wonderful it is to welcome someone home with a perfectly simple gift of home-grown goodness!  This crate was just what the doctor ordered to set my baking heart on fire again!

Lemon-Verbena Rhubarb Crumble

8-10 Stalks of Rhubarb cut into small 1/4 chunks 
12 Lemon Verbena leaves
1 cup of turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
1-1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
6 tablespoons of butter

Place rhubarb in a non-reactive bowl/pan (I used a ceramic baking dish) and sprinkle with sugar.
Allow rhubarb and sugar to sit for approx. 3 hours., and then strain liquid contents of dish into a small saucepan.  Replace rhubarb in baking dish.  Bring 'sugary substance' to a boil and remove from heat.  Add lemon verbena and let steep for 15 minutes, then drain into bowl (discard leaves).

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining sugar, rolled oats and butter together forming a chunky mixture (you may wish more/less butter and/or oats).  Pour the infused sugar 'syrup' over the rhubarb and then add the 'crumble' topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes - 1 hour (or until the rhubarb mixture is bubbling and the topping is golden brown).  Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or sorbet!


[Reverie-Daydream Images]

Monday, September 6, 2010

Smoldering | guest post by Sean Patrick McArdle


It was the end of August, and it was as hot as a smoldering Cuban cigar in Tampa’s Ybor City, (pronounced EE-bore). The heat and the imminent late afternoon rain was the narcotic needed to get my reluctant model in front of my lens. 

After Georgia, it was my turn to spend quality time with my family and have the opportunity to show Mel and Gaia my favorite places near my home town in Florida. 

Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., this small corner café known for its Cuban coffee and authentic Cuban sandwiches, frequented by the local cigar workers is now in it's six generation of family ownership. Casimiro Jr. aspired to take the Columbia beyond its humble beginnings and envisioned an elegant dining room with music and dancing, the likes of which were unheard of in this part of the country at the time. The Columbia Restaurant has seen its share of change, but through its dedication of successive generations of family management, it has persevered as Florida's oldest and world's largest Spanish restaurant.

I was originally inspired by Columbia's architecture, but Melissa's values of quality food, supportive family and originality made me see the Columbia's true magnificence. Mel always helps me see things in a new light, and I was enchanted to capture her in mine.

Friday, September 3, 2010

1+1 = Masterpiece


This is what happens when two perfect worlds collide ~ a mini-masterpiece!

McDreamy's incredible photography 
paired with 
karey's ingenious words of magic. 


{via the sweeterie}

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