Honey-Thyme & Blackberry–Goat Cheese Swirl Ice Cream

Honey-Thyme & Blackberry–Goat Cheese Swirl Ice Cream

There is a lot of berry picking nostalgia tied to my childhood. Having a whole lot of woodsy property meant random wild blueberry bushes and happening upon the occasional tiny little wild strawberries, along with a giant huckleberry bush in a clearing and a decent number of raspberries along the driveway. But blackberries were the most abundant, popping up around the edge of our lawn, all along the driveway and main road, and covering a semi-secret enormous hillside a little ways outside our property line. Which is perhaps why they’ve always been my favorite berry. Strawberries are fleshy and sweet. Raspberries are tart and delicate. But blackberries are intense. They are hearty, seedy things. (I might be among the minority here, but I love berry seeds.) Their appearance means season change is just around the corner. Goodbye gross summer and hellooooo glorious fall. Bring on the sweaters, scarves, and birthday cake.

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Blueberry, Peach, & Crème Fraîche Pie Bars with Almond Streusel

Blueberry, Peach, & Crème Fraîche Pie Bars with Almond Streusel

Please.

Look.

Away.

Do not judge these poor bars by their pictures here. I have done terrible things to them.

Those sad, melty looking tops……they were crumbly once. Not long ago. But then I put them in the fridge so I could save them for photos. And when I took them out, they looked less crumbly and delicious than they did on Day One. So I decided to stick them in the oven, because I thought that would help. Not sure why, because it didn’t. Like DID NOT AT ALL. Now they’re weird and melty looking, and I feel as though I’ve dishonored my pie bars. Because they are ridiculously delicious. You can probably tell by all those words in the title, right? Well there’s basil in there too. And the crème fraîche is made with Madagascar vanilla. Yeah, I didn’t eat that right off a spoon or anything. So let’s look past the not-so-crumbly tops and imagine just how good they are. Because they are THAT GOOD. Better, even.

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Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with a Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Alright friends, bear with me, my brain is operating at far from full capacity today. I probably don’t even need to explain why, as it seems most of my northern hemisphere friends are experiencing similar heat waves at the moment. There is only one air-conditioning unit in the living room, which means I spend the majority of the day with papers flying around on my desk as a fan barely cools me down. But the work day is finally over, and I’ve migrated to the living room with my laptop and a cold drink, and I expect to be feeling a whole lot better shortly. (Especially after I’ve eaten my leftover half of a burrito from last night’s Mexican takeout that I’ve been thinking about all. day. And I will eat that thing stone freakin’ cold while I watch Jeopardy!, because that’s how I roll. TV. Zero effort. Don’t even make me look at a stove right now.)

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The Extra Mile: A tale of fruit, heat, and booze

The Extra Mile

This week, I am restless. Our Spring began with nearly a foot of fresh snow on the ground, and I spent the past several days glaring at the dreary, dull-white landscape outside my desk window, feeling rather unenthused about everything. (Don’t worry, I promise my entire post isn’t this grumpy. It gets better, and there’s booze!)

For me, yesterday was the first day of Spring. I say this because it was the first day this year that I opted to walk rather than drive to the UPS drop box near my house. When I say near, I mean three blocks away. And when I say three blocks, I mean three Burlington blocks, which is maybe the equivalent of one block in NYC. It’s less than a mile walk, total. I hate winter. And having to put band-aids on my feet every time I want to walk downtown so I don’t get boot blisters-turned-calluses.

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Chocolate-Raspberry Icebox Cake

If there is any dessert worthy of the description “hot mess,” it’s the icebox cake. It is really difficult to go wrong with this cake. If you can pile whipped cream on top of cookie wafers until you’ve made a mountain of crazy, then stick the whole thing in the fridge, go to bed, and wake up the next day, then you can make an icebox cake. You leave all the work to time and your fridge, where crispy wafers become cream-softened cakey layers while you sleep. Having said that, there are a couple of ways things can go wrong, especially if you’re me, and you decide to take the easiest thing in the world and complicate it. Allow me to explain……

One morning a couple weeks back, as I was lying in bed trying to muster the courage to fling off the covers and sprint downstairs to the warmth of the wood stove, I started thinking about Valentine’s Day posts. Last year, there were savory things. So this year, I wanted to do something sweet. And simple. No candy making or chocolate tempering or anything fussy. Just some chocolate. And something pink. Then my mind wandered to ombre things. (Is the ombre craze over? I feel like I might be a little late to the party on this one, but I love it and I don’t care!) And then I had a vision of a towering pink ombre icebox cake. Which then quickly morphed into lots of tiny little pink ombre icebox cupcakes. And then it changed again, just slightly, to larger cupcakes. Mini cakes. Whoopie-pie sized. YES. I was psyched.

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