Naptime Everyday: Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Baking
Strawberry picking season is here and we’ve already conquered the local farm. Two children and 12 pounds later, we are swimming in bright red fruit and I couldn’t be happier. One of the desserts I made with our recent haul is this easy peasy, delicious pistachio strawberry pavlova. It is made with a pistachio meringue, topped with whipped cream and a generous spread of fresh strawberries.
Last month I received my first pressure cooker and it has been a revelation. I am able to cook everything I want, except now in half the time. No joke! I plan to share more and more about it as I continue my experiments, but today I want to share my favorite thing to cook in it: artichokes. As you know, I have a longstanding love for artichokes. This comes from my mother who cooked them nightly when they were in season. I try to do the same, the problem is time. They take so long to cook! But not anymore…
It’s been a busy month of end-of-school picnics, holiday weekends, and soccer tournaments. That means that I’ve been employing a lot of my favorite weeknight shortcuts like cooking double of what I need and repurposing leftovers. It takes a little strategizing, but it is worth the effort if it means solid meals to grab when rushing about. Here are three of my favorite spring meal tips for the “busy season” and a few favorite salad technique!:
My parents visited us last weekend and I wanted to make us as a little breakfast treat for Sunday morning. I didn’t have a lot of time to pull together anything complicated so I pulled out one of my old favorites and made some batter for scones. There is no easier make-ahead breakfast treat, in my opinion, since the dough takes all of five minutes to come together in a single bowl.
I have embraced the zoodles trend wholeheartedly and am never letting go. I love zucchini, I grow it in the garden, and could basically eat it for every meal. Last summer I purchased a very simple zoodle maker and got to work. Now I make zoodles with green and yellow squash and serve it with all kinds of sauces and toppings. Last week I made a very summery version of our favorite dish to celebrate the beginning (return?) of spring.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time will know that I am one for birthday cakes. I firmly believe dessert is always on the agenda when it is your special day! Just look back at my birthday celebrations each year and you’ll see I am not fibbing about this. Last week was my husband’s birthday so I, naturally, made a cake. His favorite cake of all time is yellow cake with chocolate frosting and I saw no reason to change his mind by presenting anything new.
This is a good one from my mother. She wrapped it up and sent it back to Connecticut with me that last time I was in Cooperstown. So many of my good recipes come from her! This isn’t a long post but I absolutely have to share this with you. It the best kind of loaf cake: soft and crumbly with a strong Meyer lemon flavor and a slightly crunchy, slightly sweet coconut topping. It is perfect with a cup of tea, sent to school in the lunchbox, or topped with whipped cream and eaten as dessert!
Casual desserts that can please both adults and children, and are easy to make, are harder to come by then you think. Ice cream sandwiches are great when it’s warm out, and most adults, and some children, love a good apple tart in the fall. But, really, when it comes one thing that please everyone year round the list is pretty short. One of my go-to’s in the this situation is a pan of brownies. Made from scratch with a generous dose of sea salt, and a hint of bourbon extract, they are perfect for just about everyone.
Spring has sprung and I am still chugging away at cleaning out the pantry. It is has been slow going, yet effective. My shelves are less crowded and I’ve definitely saved money drawing on the dry goods instead of purchasing more. My friend Phoebe has been up to the same thing, cleaning out the pantry in light of a recent move, and today I am joining her in her Pantry Purge. A bunch of use are showing what we are making from our pantry wares in order to inspire others and encourage the spring cleaning mood!
I’ve been working on my baked chicken recipes since it seems that there are a never enough and, generally, my children like them. Since I am about the plant our new summer herb pot I decided it was time to use up the last of my frozen pesto cubes from last year and make this baked caprese pesto chicken. I know my basil will soon be plentiful again and I plan to make lots of fresh pesto as soon as I have enough!
I’d intended to get this up in time for Easter, but whatever. With the new puppy in the house and a three-day weekend it was next to impossible to do much writing at all last week. So! Here we are today with some amazingly delicious homemade candy that will knock your socks off and is just the antidote for all the store bought stale sugary stuff the bunny might have dropped off over the weekend.
Potatoes are on weekly rotation in our house. It took me a long time to get to love them again after spending a semester at St. Andrews in Scotland (potatoes for every meal!), but now we’ve made peace. My favorite way to prepare them is by roasting them until the skins are crispy and the insides are nice and soft. Sometimes I even smash them, like I did here, so they turn into delicious crispy circles with creamy interiors.