See ya later summer!

I could wax poetic about the final days of summer slipping into the horizon like grains of stand through an hourglass.  But. Whatever.

For me, Labor Day Weekend is the signal of something new, not the symbol of something lost.  And while I try not to ever wish away time,  I am always glad to see September.

In our neck of the woods, probably like yours, Labor Day weekend is about BBQs, pool parties and trips to the beach.  So, here is a nice accompaniment that’s easy to put together and travels well.

This slightly sweet cornbread calls for three flours: all purpose, corn meal and corn flour.  Okay, to be honest, the original recipe called for masa harina.  I didn’t have it on-hand and  knowingly swapped-in the corn flour (even though one isn’t a substitute for the other).  If you are a purist, find masa harina.  If not, corn flour will do.

My twist includes lemon zest and sliced almonds.  I think the different textures make this simple corn bread interesting.

Adieu summer!  Bring on the Autumn!

If you like this, you might like these

Blueberries and Cream Cookies

Baluberry Muffins

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Cornbread

adapted from the Sunset Cookbook credited to Doug Case


  • 1 C fresh blueberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 C butter, melted
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2/3 + 2 TBS C all purpose flour
  • 2/3 C yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 C masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1/4 C sugar + additional for sprinkling on top if desired
  • 1  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 C slivered or sliced toasted almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter and line with parchment an 8X8 paking pan.
  2. Place clean, dry blueberries in a fine-meshed sieve placed over a bowl.  Sprinkle 2 TBS all purpose flour over the berries.  Gently toss in the sieve to release extra flour into the bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk and butter to blend.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, corn meal, masa harina, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  5. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture, fold until all ingredients are just combined.
  6. Gently stir-in berries and lemon zest.
  7. Scrape batter into pan; spread level.  Sprinkle almonds and sugar over the top.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting.


Sometimes, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do

Somebody asked me to name the one thing I can’t resist.  This was at work and was posed by a colleague who could not believe that I don’t like doughnuts.  It’s true.  In the palate lottery I somehow escaped a taste for most breakfast related pastries–doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, french toast–all completely lost on me.  TD thinks it’s un-American.  I’m just thankful that there is one category of “sugar and fried”  I don’t love (carrot cake rounds out the list of not-likes if anyone is keeping track).

My answer to the question?  Nutella.   I probably hadn’t thought of the stuff in months.  Of course then, it was ALL I could think about.  I think I’ve mentioned before that in a pantry filled with baking supplies (there are at least a couple of pounds of chocolate in there at all times), the only thing I can’t keep on-hand is nutella.

Truth be told, a jar of that chocolate hazelnut manna, a spoon and a cup of strong coffee would have scratched my co-worker induced itch.

However, that would have been embarrassing.  So I threw in some crispy rice as to appear more respectable.

Why the “c” and not the “k” in crispy?  Two reasons.  First, it really chaps my hide when words are purposefully misspelled for marketing reasons.  So much so that I refuse to patronize, purchase or consume the misspelled entity.  Reason number two?  I’m cheap and used generic crisped rice.  So, my treats were literally “rice crispied.”

If you like this, you might like these

Devil’s Food Hazelnut Crunch Cake

Bella Bars

Nutella Rice Crispy Treats

adapted from the original Rice Krispys Treats recipe

speaking of Kelloggs, if you haven’t seen the Drunk History version of the famous familial fued…you’re missing out


  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 1/2 C nutella
  • 4 C miniature marshmallos
  • 6 C crispy rice cereal (I used generic hence the “c” instead of the “k”
  • 1 C chopped, toasted  hazelnuts if desired.


  • Grease or butter a 9X13 baking pan
  • In a large saucepan, melt together butter and 1 cup of nutella over low heat.
  • Add in the marhsmallows and stir until combined and melted.
  • Add in rice crispies and nuts and mix.
  • Using a buttered/greased spatula (and clean fingers if you can stand the heat), evenly press mixture into prepared pan.
  • Melt remaining 1/2 C of nutella.  Spread evenly over pressed treats.
  • Allow to cool and cut.

Ridiculous Salad

I know, I missed last week’s post.  Would you believe I’m still working on it?

In the meantime, I’d like to share something ridiculously delicious.  TD and I have been experimenting with the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables available this time of year.  The following came out of a trip to the farmer’s market and a lazy Sunday evening.

We started with a base of white balsamic and olive oil (we use a basil infused olive oil available in bulk at Whole Foods).  Next, one large tomato chopped into 1/2 inch chunks.  Allow it to drain in a colander with the help of a sprinkle of sea or kosher salt.  Give the whole thing a shake every few minutes to release the tomato juices (into the sink).

The next two piece can be done on the grill or stove-top.  Boil some corn and sear some stone fruit.  Here we’ve used yellow peaches but white peaches, nectarines, plumbs or a combination would fit the bill.  To sear, I gave each half a light coating of olive oil and dropped it into a hot pan for about 90 seconds.

Basil is absolutely necessary here.  Trust me.  We’ve tried the cheese two ways.  Below, we’ve used fresh baby mozzarella.  It works really well.  But, if you want to take things to the next level, use burrata. Burrata cheese and stone fruit together will change you life.

If using the burrata, don’t mix it into the salad.  Plate the salad and then let people dribble their own over the top.  Finally, if you dare, cook up a couple of pieces of super thin prosciutto.   Let it get nice and crispy, then give it a fine chop.  Set aside to sprinkle over the salad right before serving.

Salt and (liberal) fresh cracked pepper to taste.

This can be served as a colorful side or add-in grilled shrimp or chicken for a main dish.

This stuff is ridiculous I tell you.  And, the variations are endless.

If you like this, you might like these

Panzanellaish Salad

Ridiculous Salad

(serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side)


  • 3 TBS white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 TBS olive oil (use the good stuff)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 ears of corn, boiled or grilled
  • 3 peaches or nectarines (if using plumbs, use two 5-6)
  • 1/4 C chopped basil
  • Fresh mozzarella or burrata (2-3 ounces per person)
  • 2 slices prosciutto, cooked until crispy and chopped
  • freshly ground salt and pepper to taste


  1. If boiling corn, set ears in a larger saucepan filled with cold water over high heat.  Allow it to come to boil.  Drain immediately and set aside for a few minutes.
  2. While corn is cooking, chop tomato.  Sprinkle with sea or kosher salt and allow to drain in a colander over the sink.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil.
  4. Halve peaches and brush with olive oil.  Heat a large pan over medium high heat, sear, cut side down for 90 seconds.
  5. Chop basil, set aside.
  6. While corn is still warm, cut off-of the ear and add into bowl with oil and vinegar.  Add in tomatoes (use a slotted spoon so that the seeds at the bottom of the colander don’t come along for the ride). Gently toss to coat.  Gently add-in peaches and basil.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cook prosciutto chop and set aside until just before serving.
  9. Prepare cheese (when using mozzarella, we cut the little balls into wedges slightly smaller than the tomatoes and peaches).
  10. When ready to serve, sprinkle with prosciutto and add cheese.
  11. Note, the peaches and tomato will continue to give-off juices.  If made more than an hour in advance, be sure to drain-off some of the juices before serving.



Giant Lemon Pie

This post begins and ends with bad cell phone pics.  Sorry.

Melbourne, like most cosmopolitan cities, has a top notch public transportation system which TD and I used liberally.  One of our most often-used landing points from our hotel in South Yarra was the Central Station in the city center.  We must have passed through that station at least twice daily during our visit.

Situated right alongside one of the many escalators was a little coffee shop selling the most outrageous looking pastries.  The giant lemon meringue pie immediately caught my eye on our first trip past.  While timing never worked so that we were in a situation to stop and actually order a piece, I did work up the courage to snap a picture (we ordered a couple of flat whites as to not raise any eyebrows when snapping the photo).

Shortly after, the idea that I could replicate this citrusy matterhorn took seed and I found myself, during our time in Australia, often thinking about how I might execute such a feat.

About halfway through my research, I began to lean toward a baked-center approach. Think lemon bars.  I was considering the pie more in terms of a tart than a true lemon meringue pie.  But, I couldn’t quite figure out how to evenly bake the filling at about four-to-six inches of depth.

Then I happened on a post for a lemon meringue pie in the blog, Dutch Oven Diaries.  They used a stovetop filling approach that looked successful.  Unfortunately, the largess of the pastry also meant a two day-cooking time.  Hence, the awful shots taken at night.  Maybe some day I’ll learn how to take real pictures.

And so, I shifted gears and experimented.

I probably had a little more fun that a girl with a pastry-bag full of meringue ought to.


But, the attempt was successful, at least in looks.  I knew I didn’t have the right apparatus to form the same wide peaks as the pie in the metro station.  So I went with quantity and height.

Not one to waste an opportunity to experiment on others, I lugged the finished product to a dinner party.  While the pie was voted a success in general, I found the filling’s texture to be a little too gelatinous.  In the photo below, it also looks like I broke the meringue. I promise, it wasn’t broken when I piped it.  I suspect the fact that it sat out for about 2 hours before being served might have something to do with it.

As such, I consider this a work in progress and am on the hunt for an excuse to try it again.

If you like this you might like these

Raspberry Lemon Bars 

Longfellow Lemon Tart (the photos in this post are even worse than the ones in this post…small consolation).

Giant Lemon Meringue Pie


Pie Pastry

  • 16 oz flour
  • 8 oz butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cold water to mix
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, place rack in middle slot.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl cut in the butter until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix the egg yolk with 3 tablespoons of water and add to the flour and combine until mixture comes together, add more water if necessary.
  4. Wrap and chill in fridge for 30 minutes then roll out the pastry and line your 9 inch flan, pie or spring form pan with the dough and prick all over using a fork to prevent the crust from puffing.
  5. Line with baking paper and fill with pie weights (or dried rice or beans) and chill for another 30 minutes to prevent shrinkage.  Bake for 20 minutes at then remove weights and bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool completely before filling

Lemon Filling 

  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ¾ cups water
  • 1 ¼ cups lemon juice (juice from about 12 lemons)
  • Rind of 5 lemons
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1  cup cornstarch
  1. Put the water, sugar, salt, lemon rind, juice and butter into a large saucepan and bring slowly to a
  2. boil.
  3. Beat egg yolks with the cornstarch and slowly add some of the hot mixture to temper the yolks whisking constantly.
  4. Once tempered return egg mixture to the remaining liquid and heat whisking until the mixture thickens.
  5. Pour into the baked pie crust.
  6. Chill overnight until set.


  • 10 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  1. Whisk the egg whites until white and fluffy (until stiff peaks are formed) then whisk sugar gradually into the whites.
  2. Pile the meringue on to the now set pie, forming decorative swirls onto the filling making sure you cover right to the edges so no filling is visible.  You can also pipe the very top of the meringue using desired-size tips.
  3. Put the pie into the oven for about 5-10 minutes until the meringue is a light brown.
  4. Store in the fridge, best if served the same day.