August 17, 2014
Milestones: Back from Vacation and On the Move

Milestones: Back from Vacation and On the Move



Vacation is to blame for my two-week lapse in posting. I was busy with watching the waves, digging hole after useless hole in the sand with my feet, and reading from an actual paper-and-glue book. It was glorious. Vacation is a milestone. It is the final event that, for me, makes summer, summer. I will wash the sand from our swim suits and beach towels, pack them for the year, and start…

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July 30, 2014

IMG_7899shoestring french fries, peach ketchupIn contrast to last week’s raging heat and humidity, the past two days have felt almost like fall. Or at least like the dwindling days of August not July. It has been great. I’ve taken the baby for a walk, moved her jumperoo by the screened door so she could bounce around to the breeze, and made French fries for lunch. How do French fries fit into all of this? With the door and windows open anyway, frying sounded like a good idea. Plus, I had peach ketchup in the freezer that I made when Mr. L brought all those peaches home. And, I am totally procrastinating packing, cleaning, and all around getting it together for our back-to-back beach vacation and move. I am totally checked out. French fries for lunch it is!

The ketchup is tangy, sweet and spicy. It actually can double as a barbecue sauce and is fabulous slathered on a piece of grilled chicken or pork chops. Either way, it’s my new favorite thing and is dangerously addictive. If you don’t want to mess with frying, it’s great with plain ole bagged potato chips. (Again, addicted.) The ketchup freezes like a champ, too, so you can make a batch and freeze in an ice cube tray to enjoy a single serving at a time long after summer has ended. Happy condiment making!

Peach Ketchup

The ingredient list may seem like a lot but look through it—many of these things may already be in your pantry. Plus, the instructions are short!

5 peaches, pitted and roughly chopped (3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. chile flakes and black pepper
1/3 cup. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a 4-quart sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to low or medium-low to keep it at a simmer for 30 minutes to an hour or until it has thickened. (The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor will be.) Cool and pour into a jar or freezer container. It can be refrigerated up to a week or frozen up to 6 months.

Shoestring French Fries

This recipe is adapted from Saveur and is very straight forward—just potatoes fried in oil. I only used half of one large russet potato since it was for me. (I will use the other half to make fries for Mr. L tonight). This recipe makes two generous side servings or enough for four to snack on. You can, of course, double the recipe if you feel like frying your pants off.

1 large russet potato (peeled, if you so desire—I skipped that step)
Canola oil for frying
Salt, to taste

Slice a thin slice off the bottom of the potato so that it is flat on one side and doesn’t roll while slicing. Slice into thin planks then slice the planks into matchsticks. Place in a large bowl of water until right before frying. In a large saucepan or pot pour in 2 inches of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 375°F – 380°F (If you don’t have a thermometer, add a small piece of potato to the oil to test it. When it bubbles furiously the oil is hot enough.) As the oil heats, drain the potatoes and place them on a kitchen towel. Blot with the towel until they are very dry. Fry in 4 or 5 batches for 2 to 3 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown. Remove with metal tongs or a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or newspaper. Sprinkle with salt and serve with the Peach Ketchup.

shoestring french fries, peach ketchup

Shoestring French Fries with Peach Ketchup In contrast to last week’s raging heat and humidity, the past two days have felt almost like fall.

July 23, 2014
The Hot Dog Days of Summer

The Hot Dog Days of Summer

IMG_7516In honor of National Hot Dog Day and the fact that this has been the hottest, most humid, most sweaty week of summer yet,  I have these three hot dog ideas to share. The hot dog chili is one I got from my mom who, I believe, got it from an old church cookbook, so you know it is legit. It is pretty fool-proof. Enjoy!

Pickled Slaw Dog:Toss shredded cabbage with thinly sliced jalapeño or serrano…

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July 21, 2014
Pure and Simple Cherry Tart with a Buttery Biscuit Crust

Pure and Simple Cherry Tart with a Buttery Biscuit Crust

Sour Cherry Tart, pie cherries, two for the moon

Queen Anne’s lace flowers make the tart look all the sweeter. (Don’t worry, they’re food safe.)

There is only one week left in July. We have now passed 2014′s halfway mark and no matter how much I recognize it, the second half will not go any slower. I still need to make the time to do some summer living like reading that book I bought in May and breaking in my floppy hat by the pool. At least I…

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July 9, 2014
DIY: Rustic Dip-Dyed Napkins

DIY: Rustic Dip-Dyed Napkins

IMG_7475Last week I gave old cloth new life. Like the generations of women who came before me, I turned scraps into something vibrant and fresh. It was an effort to de-stress through trying something new. To live in a moment of cloth and dye, color and contrast, while the world went on around me. An effort to chip away at the thoughts that build up on my mind some days like frosted glass making it hard…

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July 4, 2014
Thunderstorms and Fireworks


There is so much life lived between the months of May and September. My mother once said, in reference to memories from her childhood, “In my mind, it’s like it was always summer.”

I think about this sometimes when I find myself doing summery things that I’ve done since childhood like sucking the nectar from a honeysuckleflower, staying outside late into the evening watching fireflies and…

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June 29, 2014

Crunchy Peanut Butter Ice Cream, no cook ice creamI am ending my month o’ ice cream with a classic family recipe: Crunchy Peanut Butter Ice Cream. Growing up, cookouts in my family’s yard would often end with homemade ice cream, typically this one. Creamy, super sweet, and studded with crunchy bits of peanut butter it tastes just like childhood summers. And it is a suiting finish to a 4th of July gathering this week—I mean, what could be more all-American than peanut butter?

Crunchy Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I cut the recipe down to fit my 1 1/2-quart ice cream maker, but I have also included the original recipe for a large 4- to 5-quart ice cream maker—perfect for a crowd. The evaporated milk and condensed milk can be found in the baking section of the grocery store.

1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

1. In a large bowl combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter. Stir together. Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or more.

2. Stir the mixture and pour it into a 1 1/2-quart ice cream canister. Freeze 20 to 30 minutes or until the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Scoop into a freezer container and freeze an hour to ripen and harden slightly before serving.

For a 4- to 5-quart Ice Cream Maker

2 12-oz. cans evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 to 1 1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
milk (see directions below for how much to add)
Ice and Ice Cream Salt for freezing the ice cream

1. In a large bowl combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter. Stir together. Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or more.

2. Stir the mixture and pour into the metal canister of a 4-quart ice cream maker. Add enough milk to reach the fill line on the freezer container. Place in the ice cream maker and layer ice and ice cream salt around the canister. Follow the manufacturers directions for freezing the ice cream.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Ice Cream I am ending my month o’ ice cream with a classic family recipe: Crunchy Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

June 21, 2014

IMG_7426Today is one of the few Saturdays we will have at home this summer. We both have a bit of weekend work travel as well as weddings, vacation, and 4th of July plans. So this morning we brought Willa Claire into bed with us after she woke up early and began teaching her about sleeping in on Saturdays. Then we all got up, Mr. L made his signature bagel sandwiches, and I started slicing peaches for this ice cream. I am making a different ice cream flavor each Saturday. This is the third one; you can find my recipe for tangy Buttermilk Ice Cream here and Salted Nutella Ice Cream here.

Two things inspired me to make peach ice cream: First, I had a bowl of peaches from Mr. L’s recent trip to Charlottesville that smelled so fragrant and sweet. Secondly, a friend recently told be about how they were in the doctor’s office where they flipped through an issue of Better Homes and Gardens in the waiting room. They were surprised to find a story I wrote when I worked there: 50 Ways to Eat a Peach.When I wrote that story I was dating Mr. L and he helped me brainstorm ideas. Some of his ideas—namely a tabbouleh salad with peaches—even made it into the story. One day we can show the story to Willa Claire and tell her about how we had just met when we came up with those ideas together. We will also have to show her this blog and how it captured a little of our life in the treehouse (aka a high-rise apartment). Most days are a mixed bag, but like peaches, when you come across a perfectly sweet one you just have to savor it .

Find the Honey Roasted Peach Ice Cream Recipe recipe is at the end of the post.


IMG_7407IMG_7423Honey Roasted Peach Ice Cream

You can skip the roasting step all together if you prefer, but it does add a richer honey taste to the peaches and the ice cream.

5 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced about 1/4 – 1/2-inch thick
3 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

To roast the peaches, preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly arrange the peach slices on the parchment paper and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of honey. Roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Scrape the peaches and any caramelized bits from the pan into a large bowl. Chop up using a wooden a spatula, potato masher, or immersion blender until finely chopped. Add the remaining sugar and honey. Refrigerate for 10 or up to two hours. Add the cream, milk, vanilla and salt and stir until well-combined. Freeze in a 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker until the consistency of soft serve ice cream, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

Honey Roasted Peach Ice Cream Today is one of the few Saturdays we will have at home this summer. We both have a bit of weekend work travel as well as weddings, vacation, and 4th of July plans.

June 18, 2014

White Bean Burgers, Veggie Burgers, sliders

I am on deadline for a few work projects and the baby is teething, so I am going to keep this one very short and share a vegetarian recipe and also a quote in honor of Maker Faire at the White House today:

“The only way to predict the future is to create it.”

This quote is credited to many different people online and I’m not sure where I first heard it, but I believe it was on a radio station in Charleston that was fundraising to stay on the air. I am pretty sure it was just an alt rock station so the quote was a little grandiose for their purposes, but it is a good one to remember when everything is in limbo. Like say, for example, when you live in a one bedroom apartment in super-expensive DC with a five month old that is on the cusp of being mobile and you are trying to figure out where to move to. (To be continued. Find out what happens next season).

The third ice cream of the month will be posted here on Saturday. Until then, go create something, whether it is the future or just dinner.

White Bean Sliders

As with many bean burgers, these sliders are pretty soft in texture. So they work better as sliders than regular-sized burgers as there is more crispy edge to enjoy. 

For the burgers:

1 can cannellini or white kidney beans
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. zest
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 carrot finely shredded
2 Tbsp. minced onion
Swirl of Sriracha sauce to taste
1/4 cup minced parsley or cilantro
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten

Canola oil for cooking
Slider buns
Any toppings you have on hand. My faves: lettuce, pepper jack cheese, avocado, radishes, and/or tomato, mayo

Drain and rinse the white beans. Place in a medium bowl and mash the beans. (I like to use the beaters from my mixer rather than a potato masher because the fit into the curves of the bowl.) Stir in the remaining ingredients and shape into slider-size patties. They will be very soft so handle gently. Add a little canola oil to a nonstick skillet. Add 3 to 4 patties at a time and cook 4 to 5 minutes per size. Cool slightly on paper towels. Serve on buns with toppings.


White Bean Sliders I am on deadline for a few work projects and the baby is teething, so I am going to keep this one very short and share a vegetarian recipe and also a quote in honor of…

June 13, 2014


I am making an ice cream recipe every Saturday in June. Last week I make tangy buttermilk ice cream so this week I am going salty. Salted caramel has been done, but a cold salty-sweet combo with Nutella? The world (i.e. me) is ready for it.

It is hard to imagine now in these Nutella-crazed days that it was once unheard of. The first time I tried it was in the late 90s when a friend who had been to Italy gave me a taste. I was not impressed. It looked like chocolate so why didn’t it taste like chocolate? I guess I had to learn to appreciate the flavor of hazelnuts first. Then when Giada de Laurentis came onto the scene, the way we all view Italian food changed (especially for Mr. L *wink, wink*). She talked about Nutella with nostalgia as an Italian childhood staple akin to peanut butter and I was curious to try it again. It still wasn’t instant love for me, but eventually it won me over. I may or may not even eat it on toast for breakfast sometimes. Only Willa Claire would know for sure and she’s not talking.

This ice cream is following the trend of simplicity that my buttermilk ice cream did last week. There is no cooking or eggs involved. I also discovered a surprise bonus: One pint of heavy cream is just the right amount to make both the Buttermilk Ice Cream and the Salted Nutella Ice Cream. Just saying.

Salted Nutella Ice Cream

The salt is completely optional if you want to make just plain Nutella Ice Cream. This recipe makes a small batch. I made mine in a Cuisinart 1 1/2-quart ice cream maker and it filled a little more than half of it.

1 cup milk (a general rule for ice cream is to use whole milk, but I used 1% with great results)
2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt such as fluer de sel and Maldon salt, or kosher salt
Sprinkles or additional coarse salt to top the ice cream

Place the milk, cream, Nutella, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk, whisk, whisk until the nutella is incorporated. Alternatively, you can blend it all together in a blender. Pour into the ice cream canister and begin churning. Once it begins to set up, after about 10 minutes, sprinkle in the salt a little at a time so it gets churned into the ice cream. Serve as a soft-serve ice cream or freeze to harden. Even after frozen it remains incredibly easy to scoop.

Salted Nutella Ice Cream I am making an ice cream recipe every Saturday in June. Last week I make tangy…

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