Category Archives: Dessert

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Blueberries and Nectarines: A Father’s Day Tribute

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend in the US, I am, of course, in a reflective mood, especially when it comes to my Dad. I lost my Dad years ago from heart disease. He was 52.

Was my Dad perfect, no. He was known to smoke and drink and swear and eat too much food and was an incredibly insular person towards most people. Most would call him a real son of a b@*%h. When it came to me though, my Dad had a tender heart.

Before I attended art school, I had never heard of the “intrinsic” value of something. Well, let me re-phrase that; I did not have a vocabulary word for the meaning of something that has more sentimental value than real value. Though I am good at getting rid of items once they are spent or tired, I do have a few items that I will never see myself letting go of.

One of these items is an old worn out camouflage shirt that was my Dad’s from the 1970’s. My Dad was a skinny dude back then and there are still tell tale signs of his personality within it, such as the worn out pocket on the front from his cigarette packs and the tag that reads “made in the U.S.A. (because everything he bought had to be made in the USA.)

In the early 90’s, I took it from his closet because it was fashionable for girls to wear camouflage (and flannel and doc martin’s and other various manly attire), but I ‘ve kept it all these years, certainly not because it is becoming of me and my figure, because it is a far cry from fashionable anymore, but because the 30+ year old fabric has been washed so many times that it has a softness to it that can’t be replicated, it is comfortable and cozy, and in a way, it makes me feel closer to my Dad even though he has been gone for a very long time.

Moving on with life and moving around the country, you sometimes are lucky enough to get glimpses of your old life in new and refreshing ways. As I have told you guys before, I have the fondest memories of peaches and a lot of them involve my Dad. Shaking peaches from our tree out beside the barn with my bare feet (he never made me wear shoes, because I hated them.) My Dad reaching in his back pocket to retrieve his ever present pocket knife to cut a peach into slices for me and him to share together in the early afternoon hours.

Living on the West Coast of the United States, peaches aren’t in season until much later in the year, so I don’t get to stand with the sun at my back savoring the memories of a fresh cut peach shared between me and my Dad.

Sometimes, I think my Dad gives me little gifts from wherever his spirit is now, I see little glimpses of him in everything and it’s good to feel like you have someone on your side out there somewhere, pushing you to move forward and make progress. Last week, I tried my first fresh nectarine and it was so similar to the taste of a perfectly ripe peach that my heart soared. What a wonderful gift for me.

I bought a few nectarines and used one of them along with fresh blueberries to make my beloved coffee cake, an adapted recipe of a simple sour cream coffee cake from the Joy of Cooking that I love to add cut up fruit to, especially peaches. So curl up to this comfortable, cozy dish and rejoice in the bounty of this earth and the people who have your back, even the ones who are whispers of wind that help fill your sails. Enjoy and Happy Father’s Day to the Dad’s out there, even the imperfect one’s.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Blueberries and Nectarines
Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Blueberries and Nectarines

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Peachberry Pie

As you all know, I am a girl from the southern part of the United States, which makes peaches near and dear to my heart. The month of June brings out the strongest yearning for fresh juicy peaches in the hot sunshine. Yummy. This pie is one of my favorite ways to cook with peaches.

Peachberry Pie

Peachberry Pie
Peachberry Pie

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Almond Peach Brown Butter Tart

Next week will kick off the official peach season for the south eastern portion of the United  States. Though I no longer live there, I remember this time of year with fondness. I was lucky enough to grow up with my very own peach tree in my back yard and have fond memories of climbing the tree to shake the branches with the full weight of my body, hoping that a fully ripe peach would fall to the ground. A true prize, biting into the perfect peach, my body would lean forward to let the juice fall away from clothes, the sign of real southern belle.

Peaches are something that I hold near and dear to my heart and my family will occasionally surprise me with a whole box of them. The following tart is a great recipe when you have perfectly ripe peaches, as it showcases their fresh flavor without cooking them. The nuttiness of the browned butter with the fruity undertones of almond extract mixes with the fresh citrus flavors of the peaches to create the most delightful combination. Yummy, can’t wait for peach season to arrive here, but this is for all of you lucky people that have those wonderful little peaches at your disposal right now.

Almond Peach Brown Butter Tart

Almond Peach Brown Butter Tart

For the crust:

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Frosted Sugar Cookies

Okay, y’all, I love cookies. You know from my past posts that I make a holiday basket for my family and these were included in this year’s basket. A frosted sugar cookie is not only a very fun cookie, but it can take on different incarnations depending on the family. The cookie can be big and soft or thin and crispy, the frosting can be big and fluffy or thin icing or just a hint, barely a smear lightly coating the cookie.

My cookie is a sugar cookie recipe that has been in my family for more than thirty years and maybe even longer, not sure. It is my favorite, full of butter flavor. The frosting has a secret ingredient that I discovered in a bakery a few years ago that serves the best decorated sugar cookies that I have ever tasted, hands down. As I crooked my neck, as I do at all my favorite eating joints, to watch the lady in the back feverishly whipping together some frosting, I saw it, the golden key to what my frosting was missing… butter extract. I know, it sounds weird, but it is crazy good.

Anyway, if you are feeling in a festive mood, these cookies are a winner!

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Frosted Sugar Cookies
Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Earthquake Cake: Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there! Today I am giving you one of my mother’s favorite cakes. This cake came about when I was about ten years old and I am not exactly sure where my mother got the recipe, but this became the cake that I “trained” on. I can tell you now, that I rarely ever have boxed cake mix in my house, it’s just not something that I keep around, because I know how to make homemade versions of all the cakes made on box mix form. What got me there truthfully is my mother and boxed cake mixes…

Earthquake Cake gets its name from the deep cracks created when the cream cheese mixture sinks into the center of the dessert while cooking in the oven. The middle becomes a gooey delicious treat surrounded by chocolate cake with a coconut pecan layer that becomes toasted in the oven. Mmmm…

When I was younger, sure my mother made cakes from scratch while I watched, willingly, in anticipation. At the age of 10 or so, my mother knew it was time for me to start baking a little on my own, so she gave me training wheels, ie boxed cake mixes. I’m not sure, but I think she knew that if I was successful at cooking ventures early on, that I would continue to be interested later. She would have me bake this delicious earthquake cake dessert to bring to church and social functions, with all the older people gloating over my creation and my chest would fill with pride. My cooking became reinforced and I grew and grew and grew.

So I wanted to give all the moms out there a simple dessert that you can share with your children to get them interested in cooking. If you have a little aspiring chef, let them try their hand at this. The cake mix  makes it foolproof and it really is simple to put together.

Earthquake Cake

Earthquake Cake
Earthquake Cake

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Gratitude Apple Bread

One year ago today, I had just quit my job writing technical reports for a pharmaceutical company to go on a new adventure following my husband’s career.  As I found out the hard way, working with Big Pharma had left me stressed out and tired after having worked under three different company logos, three different company names, and three different company mantras in three years without ever leaving the same cubicle, due to acquisitions. Always worrying about my job security, I stayed later than most of my colleagues and came in earlier. I was part of the rat race. Me, the carefree art student, found myself in a black hole of negotiating quality agreements, understanding and enforcing government regulations through various systematic protocols and procedures to ensure compliance, and completing trend analysis of testing data and providing these reviews to not only my superiors, but any regulatory agency that showed up for surprise audits. I had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and needless to say, this was not how I had pictured my life going.

Moving yet again, I had asked my husband if it would be okay for me to take a bit of time off before venturing out into the working world again. I needed to get back to calm, to an even-ness, before I made a decision of the new direction of my life. He obliged a six month reprieve to do exactly what I wanted, a sabbatical. So I finished projects on our house to prepare it for the sale, I had a huge yard sale, we drove across the  country, I decorated and organized our new apartment, took care of all the paperwork that accumulated from moving and selling our house, and then after about three months, everything just stopped. There were no immediate projects that I needed to work on or complete, nothing.  After 5 years of scrambling around, my chaotic life had come to a dead stop and I noticed something, a deafening silence. It was increasingly evident that I was in a place where I knew no one. A melancholy quietness had blanketed my life and I started to feel like I was starring in my own version of “Lost in Translation.”

I prepared my resume and started throwing my hook into the water, a few nibbles, but after months nothing came of it. I started to feel trapped in my life, desperate. As January 2012 neared, I started to make New Year’s resolutions. I was going to live my life with gratitude, I felt that I was being too negative and I had a lot to be happy for; I just wasn’t seeing the picture clearly. Everyday, I was going to write down one thing I was happy about. After about ten days, I noticed I was happiest when I was cooking and began to think about how I have used food to interface with people over the years. It is what I love, so I decided that I would share with the world my recipes, my stories, my love. My thinking was, if you blog about it, they will come, so “Creative Noshing” was born.

Today’s post though, isn’t about what I’ve given to you, it’s about what you all have given to me. Each and every day, you give me inspiration, validation, and a community to feel part of. I have laughed and smiled and cried at some of your posts and comments. Every person who has clicked my follow button, I am so honored and amazed that you did. Some of you have touched me even further by giving me a stamp of approval through trying my recipes and blogging about it, reblogging me, “pinning” me, and/or nominating me for awards. Not to mention those of you take time out your day to comment, especially the one’s who I ended up having great back and forth conversations with. This post is for you, I want you to know I appreciate your generosity, kindness and hospitality and in turn I want to promote your blog to others, because you are the real deal and genuine. In no certain order, I want to give a special thank you to the following blogs:

Sugar Dish Me

Sweat Like Mambo

Mon Food Blog

Shecall

The ObamaCrat

Tabkhet el yom

“Round the Bend

Sheepless in Rhode Island

My Gulity Pleasures

A Dollop and A Pinch

rosewinelover

lostdododesigns

What to Cook?

Ginger(ly) Homemaking

Mama Miyuki Easy Pantsy

A Chef in Thyme

The Sugared Pecan

Liberez Vous

Susartandfood’s Blog

Hot, Cheap & Easy

Danny’s Kitchen

kiwsparks

Filing Away Cupcakes

Green Pocket Protector

Chez Chloe

Foodashion’s Blog

Hot Rod Cowgirl

Year of Healthier Living

Go check out their blogs!

Just like my Grandma taught me, you don’t come showing your appreciation empty handed. Below is the perfect thank you present. Good old fashioned apple bread. Yum!

Gratitude Apple Bread

Gratitude Apple Bread
Gratitude Apple Bread

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Magic Middles Peanut Butter Cookies

Every cookie that I make for my yearly holiday basket is normally made for someone in mind. I am feeding about 20-25 people’s different tastes, so it goes to accept that every cookie that is sent out isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite, but someone will appreciate it. I try to keep tabs on which family likes what so that I can send them more of an item while lessening that item for another family that may prefer more of a different item, but everyone gets a little of everything.

My side of the family likes caramel and vanilla flavors, while my other side of the family is more into richer flavors of coffee and chocolate, my cousins family loves spicy flavors such as cinnamon and ginger, while I also also have a couple that enjoy fruity flavors. My husband’s sister really enjoys nutty flavors, especially peanut butter. This past year, I started making these peanut butter cookies that will be a perfect inclusion into the holiday basket. The creamy center of peanut butter makes it just different enough that it is elevates the cookie above the normal cross hatched peanut butter cookie, making it the perfect present. If you are allergic to peanuts, you could get creative and use a different nut butter to suit your taste. Enjoy!

Magic Middles Peanut Butter Cookies

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Berry Berry Cobbler

Before we get into a debate about what a cobbler is, I understand that there are different kinds of cobblers. This kind happens to be what my family made when I was coming up.

A simple sugary batter is poured into a buttered dish with fruit spooned on top and somehow, magically, the batter rises to the top and the fruit juices end up on the bottom making this lovely interpretation of a cobbler. It is quick and easy and can be made into many different variations, depending on what fruit you have available, it just takes a little creative ingenuity. Enjoy!

Berry Berry Cobbler

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

When I lived in the Midwest, I was introduced to a new food item, rhubarb. Rhubarb did not grow in the southern part of the United States, but as I was growing into a new part of my life, so must my palate.

I probably would have never tried it had I not been informed by my neighbor that I had the plant growing in my garden. Of course, informed by a, “if you are not going to use it, can I have it” proposal as they point to it over the fence. Obviously untended to, as the weeds blew like waves of grain around it, I assured my neighbor I was going for a more natural looking garden, a quaint wildness akin to the English gardens spoken of in novels. Urrrr yeah, something like that.

The truth of the matter, the last time I was in that God-forsaken garden “weeding” it, I found a snake skin and poison ivy. One I could identify, the other I could not. Guess which one. Yeah, it took weeks to get over the poison ivy debacle, but a side ways look told me the neighbor wasn’t buying it.

Oh well, whatever, I had danced my way out of giving up what was rightfully mine, all mine, even if I hadn’t known about it seconds ago.  Unfortunately for my neighbor, it just set a fire under me to figure out what to do with rhubarb, my strange new food item obsession.

During my research, I came across an article that included a prize winning strawberry rhubarb pie from some state fair. Of course, I clipped the article and made it. Over time, the article was soiled and falling apart from so much use, so I transposed it to a handwritten sheet of paper and I am so glad that I did because it is a delicious pie, replete with the perfect tartness from the rhubarb and sweetness from the strawberries. Served with a side of cream, so yummy, I never for a second felt guilty about hoarding my pretty little rhubarb plant.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Sunshine Cookies

Well, yesterday I was craving sweets and the day before that and the day before that. Try as I might, my sweet tooth is pretty relentless. One of my tricks is never buying pre-made sweets at the store. If I am going to have a treat, I have to get off my lazy rump and make something from scratch. This usually will work to stave me off for a few days, opting for  fruit options or just eating a lightly sugared bowl of cereal. Sometimes though, you just have to have it, that wonderful hit of sweetness.

With a couple of oranges left in my fruit basket and equipped with plenty of golden raisins, I set out to make a new cookie. Something tart, sweet and delicious. The bright citrus notes permeating from the oven as they cooked, I couldn’t wait to bite into one of them. Boy was I rewarded, vibrant citrus notes held up front reminded me of the summer sunshine and the plumped raisins gave the cookie a honeyed caramel back note when accented by the butter. Truly delicious.

Sunshine Cookies

Sunshine Cookies
Sunshine Cookies

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