A Simple Side: Grilled Peaches

September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Early in the stone fruit season, it seems criminal to eat a peach or nectarine in any other way than out-of-hand.  But fifteen dozen peaches later, the cobbler, crisp, pie, chutney and jam recipes become splotched and stained.  There comes a point when a cook simply doesn’t know what to do with all those orange globes, piled high on the counter top.  If you find yourself in this predicament, lips stained and cheeks sticky, here’s a twist on this summer staple.

While the sun is still letting off steam in Arizona, I’m reminded by friends in other parts of the country that a cool morning chill is starting to creep under the windowpanes, enticing a transition from iced coffee to hot coffee and oatmeal bowls instead of cereal and cold milk.  Barbecuing days of summertime are numbered; burgers and hot dogs will soon be replaced by squash soups, hearty breads and about a thousand pumpkin recipes.  And so, it’s with a head-nod to the rest of the U.S. that I present the simplest side imaginable: grilled peaches.

Grilled peaches have a syrupy, more concentrated peach-flavor. If grilled for just a few piping minutes per side until softened (but not mushy), they’re sublime.  Especially tasty with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.


On a hot grill, place peach halves or large slices, cut-side down.  Grill for 2-4 minutes on one side and then turn with tongs.  Grill long enough for grill marks, but not blackened sides.  Serve hot or warm.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, SCD-safe

GUEST POST: Lori´s Pineapple Sorbet!

July 21, 2010 § 2 Comments

As you probably guessed, dessert is a main course at our house.  After the success of the Raspberry/Blueberry sorbet, I decided to experiment with another favorite fruit: Pineapple.   We liked it even better!   The foundation of this recipe is the same as the Raspberry/Blueberry Sorbet.

Serves 4 – 6
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into large pieces (about 2 cups pureed)
1 seedless orange
1/8 cup lime juice, fresh
1/4 cup corn syrup

1.  Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce heat, allow to simmer without stirring, until sugar dissolves (approx 3 minutes).  Set aside to cool completely. (I placed the pan in a bowl of ice water to cool faster.)
2. Peel orange and pineapple.  Cut pineapple into large chunks, including the core, and puree along with the orange.  (We like bits of pineapple in our sorbet; if you prefer it smooth, leave out the core and press the puree though a strainer.)  Add lime juice and whir again.  (Note: The pineapple/orange puree should measure about 2 cups — doesn’t have to be exact.)   Add cooled sugar syrup and corn syrup.  Whiz a few seconds to stir.
3. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and proceed with the manufacturer’s directions.  If you prefer the sorbet soft, eat right away.  Otherwise, place in freezer to firm up.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free

GUEST POST: Lori´s Raspberry & Blueberry Sorbet

June 27, 2010 § 1 Comment

After Regina left for Guatemala, the meals around here degenerated quickly.  I scoured the refrigerator for every last morsel of her leftovers.   After two days, I finally accepted the fact that we would have to fend for ourselves.  Why not start with dessert?  Temperatures are supposed to hit 109 degrees today — time for something cold.  We love fresh raspberries and blueberries this time of year so I adapted a Raspberry Sorbet recipe form Paula Deen (FoodNetwork) to come up with the following:
Serves 4 – 6
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cups fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup corn syrup
1.  Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce heat, allow to simmer without stirring, until sugar dissolves (approx 3 minutes).  Set aside to cool completely. (I placed the pan in a bowl of ice water to cool faster.)
2.  Puree berries with lime juice in food processor. (You can press puree through a strainer if you don’t like the seeds.  We like the seeds, so I skipped this step.)  Add cooled sugar syrup and corn syrup. Whiz a few seconds to stir.
3.  Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and proceed with the manufacturer’s directions.  If you prefer the sorbet soft, eat right away.  Otherwise, place in freezer to firm up.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free

¡Hasta luego!

June 20, 2010 § 1 Comment

I’m on the eve of a 2-month blogging hiatus.  In a few hours I’ll be boarding a plane, zipping southbound to Guatemala.  I’ll be spending my summer eating corn tortillas, exploring lakes in the highlands and immersing myself in Guatemalan culture while beefing up my Spanish.  My mom promises to experiment with sorbets (and possibly a guest post or two!) in my absence.  Wishing you all wonderful summers (and culinary explorations) in the meantime.

Xo, Regina

P.S.  This chocolate sorbet was a dream!

Granola Bar Cookie Bites (also vegan!)

June 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

These little guys might not look like much, but I’ve eaten four “trial” batches of them for two consecutive weeks and have yet to tire of them.  While they’re great for dessert, I prefer popping one in my mouth before early morning jogs and in the late afternoon, before I pick 726 tomatoes from the garden.  They’re unintentionally vegan, which is a plus for some, and they have a warm flavor from the mild, molasses-y brown sugar and cinnamon.  The texture is what really knocks my socks off — the unsweetened, natural coconut flakes are a must!  If you don’t have almond butter, swap it out with natural, chunky peanut butter.  I’ve done both, but prefer the subtler taste of almonds in this granola bite.

1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons real coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons dried berries (I enjoy the varying size and sweetness of dried cherries mixed with dried blueberries)

1/3 cup almond milk or milk equivalent
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
3 tablespoons almond butter, natural & chunky


1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees on convection (or 350 in a standard oven).  Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

2.  In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients & sugar and toss with a fork.  Add dried berries and chocolate chips to the flour mixture and toss.  (This will help them adhere to the dough.)

3.  Add almond milk (or milk equivalent), oil and almond butter to the mixture and stir with a spoon until combined.  Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for a few minutes, until the oven is heated.  Shape into small balls, about half the size of a golf ball, and place about an inch-apart on a cookie sheet (they don’t spread).  Bake for 11-13 minutes until slightly golden on the top.  Remove from oven and let sit on the cookie sheet approximately 3-5 minutes, until set.  Remove from sheet and cool on a wire rack.  They keep well on the counter for several days and freeze-and-thaw without fault.

Diet Notes: Vegan

Pomegranate Pops with OJ, mint & chocolate nubbins

May 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

With projections of 95-98 degree highs by our local weather forecaster, there’s no time like the present to start guzzling smoothies and making popsicles.  I’ve made many-a frozen treat in my day but these little pops (inspired by Giada) might be the most refreshing frozen bites yet.  This icy snack is a bit tart thanks to the pomegranate and has great texture from the cocoa nibs.  (Note: If you can’t find cocoa nibs, try dark chocolate shavings.  I tried both, but the former adds a delightful crunch.)  The OJ balances out the pomegranate juice with a summery sweetness.  But it’s the mint that makes makes this dessert sing!

2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
3/4 – 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup cocoa nibs/shaved dark chocolate


Heat water, cane sugar and mint on the stove until sugar completely dissolves and the mixture just comes to a boil.  Take off the stove, remove mint and cool.  Meanwhile, measure juices and combine in a large bowl.  When minty-syrup has cooled to room temperature, combine with juices.  Ladle a few spoonfuls of mixture into each pop container.  Sprinkle chocolate chunks into each cup and using a spoon, stir to let some of them sink toward the middle.  Insert plastic attachment or popsicle stick all the way into the cup/container.  Freeze at least 6 hours before serving.  When ready to serve, dip molds/cups in warm water briefly before unmolding.  Don’t feel daunted if you’re lacking pop containers — instead, use small, freezer-proof plastic cups or disposable paper cups and popsicle sticks.

Diet Notes: Vegan, nut-free, gluten-free

Espresso Double-Chocolate Cookies

April 7, 2010 § 1 Comment

It has been eons since my last cookie bake-off.  This winter I used my oven for two primary purposes: to test out a new grapefruit sourdough muffin and to roast about 10 too many rutabagas.  Suffice it to say, I’m glad to be back in the kitchen whipping sugar into butter.

Trial 1 of my Chocolate Espresso cookie experiment was a flop even though my dad loved them!  Now, let me back up a second.  Generally speaking, my dad is my recipe barometer.  He loves to try new foods and he’ll also tell me if my bowl of quinoa tastes like pebbles.  But no one in my family (save my grandpa and perhaps a smattering of cousins) likes or has ever liked coffee, save moi.

Knowing I was solo on the coffee-fan bandwagon, I made these cookies one afternoon when I was home alone; I planned to tote them to a gathering with friends later that night.  But, as luck would have it, my dad arrived as I was scraping the cookies off the sheet pan.  “Oo!” he said, eyeing the cooling rack.  “Uh, just warning,” I said, pointing my spatula at the cookies, “These are espresso cookies.  They’ll taste sort of like coffee.”   My dad hesitated and then picked up a cookie.  Taking a tremulous bite he chewed a moment and then, to my surprise, he grabbed two more: “I love them!” he said, “They don’t taste like anything!”


Back to the drawing board.

Clearly, the flavor in those cookies were lacking – not enough coffee and definitely not enough chocolate.  I also found the texture to be a bit off; they were gooey in the middle when they were warm, but resembled fossilized pancakes after they cooled.  So, I started tweaking.  I doubled the cocoa powder; I added more chocolate-covered espresso beans.  I let the dough rest longer in the fridge.  I added brown sugar and whole wheat flour for good “chew,” but balanced both with their respective counterparts – a bit of white flour to add a little airiness, plus a bit of evaporated cane sugar (you can use white sugar if that’s what you have handy).  Several batches and 2 pounds of chocolate-flavored espresso beans later, I found a winner.  Each bite is speckled with crunch (both from coffee bean and chocolate) and the surrounding cookie dough has flavor.  And an added bonus: I can eat three cookies without any caffeine-induced jittery aftershocks.

3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-2 tablespoons espresso powder (*err on the lighter side if you want a stronger chocolate flavor)
1/2 cup cocoa powder, high quality
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons almond milk (or milk alternative)

1 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


1.  Cream butter and sugars for several minutes, whipping air into the mixture so that it turns creamy-colored and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla and almond milk.  Beat an additional minute or two.

2.  Combine flours, baking soda and powder, cocoa and sea salt in a separate bowl and mix with a fork until combined.  Slowly fold flour mix into the wet dough and, if using an electric mixer, stop just before the dough is fully incorporated.  Stir the remaining few times with a spoon and hand-mix chocolate-espresso beans and chips into the dough.

3.  Chill dough a minimum of 6 hours, preferably over night.  This is key – allowing the dough to rest will yield a lasting, chewy texture.  After chilling, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a greased baking sheet, scoop dough into balls.  For large cookies (approximately the size of a large lime) bake 11-13 minutes.  For smaller cookies (approximately 3/4 the size of a golf ball) bake 8-10 minutes.  The edges won’t appear brown and the center will appear gooey and underdone – don’t fear.  Let them sit (and continue baking) on the warm sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

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