Category Archives: Recipes

Bing Cherry & Walnut Scones

{good morning & happy sunday to you!}

Before I embark on the culinary adventure du jour (Eat, Pray, Love at the theater), I had to fit in a morning batch of scones. Scones have been everywhere lately: my friend Maggie recently introduced me to Chocollage’s melt-in-your-mouth nibble (after which I’ve been lusting ever since), coffee shops everywhere from here to New York dried my mouth out with ancient scones on Tuesday, and The Painted Lady fed me a plain (cream?) scone that paired almost too well with their gooey lemon curd yesterday. So I decided to whip up a batch of my own little breads this morning:

They only take 15 minutes to bake and are so much better fresh out of the oven than even Chocollage’s scones (yeah, I said it). See this blog post at Savory Sweet Life for the recipe I followed. My only alteration: I added about 1/2 cup each of chopped walnuts and halved bing cherries. I give them an A+ for their lightness, moistness, and yumminess. And I plan to sneak a few into the theater … Happy Sunday!


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choco gelato + anisette clams

{dark chocolate gelato prep}

I’d been dying to use the ice cream maker since we hit 90F in Virginia, but I just hadn’t found the time. So I took advantage of our 108F day to stay indoors and make dark chocolate gelato. Yum. I’ve justified this batch of chocolaty, frozen goodness with my recent 3-pound weight loss, soon to be a 3-pound weight re-gain.

I followed Ina Garten’s {Deeply Chocolate Gelato} recipe and subbed in Dagoba dark chocolate for the 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate. Need a way to spend your 105F day tomorrow? Well then, follow Ina Garten’s full recipe here or the abbreviated version below:

  1. Heat 2 1/4 cups whole milk, 1/3 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer.
  2. Add 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.
  3. Place 4 large egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  5. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and stir in 2 T. Kahlua, 2 t. vanilla, and a pinch of heavy salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely in the fridge.
  6. Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  7. Pour the mixture into an airtight container, stick it in the freezer until fully frozen & enjoy!

While the gelato was setting up in the freezer, I got out the clams I bought at the Old Beach Farmers Market this morning (surprise surprise) for a yummy afternoon snack.

If you have ever had the mussels at Bonefish Grill, you know that they are amazing. And apparently the secret ingredient is ::drumroll:: Anisette. So I added a splash of the anise-flavored liqueur to my clams instead of the usual white wine, threw in a few large dices of tomatoes from our garden, and finished them with lemon juice and basil. So good:

I hope you’re staying cool today, too. If you’re close, come share a bowl of gelato with me!

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Sunday Morning Muffins

{sunday morning best}

What does Sunday morning mean to you? To me, it means good food. Whether I’m visiting a friend, alone in a foreign city, or at home with my parents, I can’t start Sunday until I’ve had good food, gosh darnit. This morning, Mom Googled blueberry muffin recipes before I got up because after freezing two trays of Pungo blueberries, we still had about 5 cups of fresh blueberries left.

She decided to try this one: And boy, so should you.

This recipe creates a savory blueberry muffin that you bake and then dip in melted butter and coat with sugar while still warm. So if you love a muffin with your salad at The Painted Lady (who doesn’t?), this muffin is for you – just skip the butter and sugar bit. The recipe also calls for sour cream … and we don’t really believe in a sour-creamless muffin. This muffin’s moist and fluffy and not nearly as dense as the sour cream coffee cake muffin by Ina Garten that we usually make. Our only criticism: though the recipe cites a baking time of 24 to 26 minutes, ours were done in precisely 17 minutes. Beware!

Bon Appetit and Happy Sunday!


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My friend Kristin schooled me on music-festival mozzadillas: quesadillas made with mozzarella cheese, pesto, tomatoes, and something else that I’ve forgotten. Yum, right? In a bind for a snack the other day, I made up something similar: a quesadilla made with {1} sliced fresh mozzarella, and {2} basil from the garden. It’s not as guilt pleasure-ish as the super savory, salty, yummy pesto version, but it sure was refreshing and delicious. If you’ve never tried subbing mozzarella for queso blanco or Mexican 3-Cheese Blend, do it.


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Iced Espresso Shot

{fancy a glass?}

Working on a beautiful Friday afternoon is torture. And since I’m not a masochist, I took off at precisely 3:30 pm. When I got home, all I could do was plop on the couch, turn on Giada (Food Network), and scratch Bella’s tummy. “Man, I want a drink. But it will put me to sleep, and I want to enjoy the afternoon outside.” Giada started making vanilla simple syrup for apple tea (lame). So I started making some vanilla simple syrup, too. “What to do with my simple syrup … need to wake up … want a cocktail … don’t want drunken tiredness.” In the corner of my eye was a beautiful, almost-brand-new bottle of Tripe Shot Espresso vodka. “Mmmm caffeine …” I finished my syrup, let it cool for a bit, and by 5:00 pm – tah dah! I had an iced espresso shot in hand and was on the back deck to enjoy the weather and watch Bella terrorize little critters.

{my version of vanilla simple syrup.}
To a tiny pot/saucepan, add 1.5 c. water & 1.5 c. sugar & 1 T. Madagascar vanilla bean paste. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let cool (mostly).

{my iced espresso shot}
In a little glass, add a few ice cubes, a heavy hand of triple espresso vodka, and a splash of vanilla simple syrup. Sip. Relax. Wake up. Love summer.

Addendum: While I was out there, this little dragonfly stopped in for a visit. Have I mentioned dragonflies love me? It’s why I have so many dragonfly photos, including on this blog’s header.

Second Addendum: Woah! Another one just came! See the little ant, too? Click on each to see the dragonflies in more detail. They’re lovely.

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Clams {6 each}

{clam spaghetti}

When your boss climbs up two flights of stairs, walks to your desk, and asks you innocently, “Do you like clams?” You wonder if it’s a trick question. Well, I wondered that anyway … as it were, he wanted to offer me fresh clams, harvested this morning by a client on the Eastern Shore. I took two dozen and happily went home to make clam spaghetti for my parents and “little” brother Brandon. It was a challenge in itself to get a picture of the finished dish (a mere 20 minutes after I began; this is quick!) – Brandon was hovering over the platter with tongs, ready to dish out his portion.  “How many clams are there?” “Two dozen.” “Oh okay. So we get 6 each, right?” hah! And he ate all six of his clams. Plus one. Since I got the boys’  hearty approval on this dish, I thought I’d share my method:

  1. Scrub 2 dozen middleneck clams; throw out any open clams
  2. Submerge clean clams in big bowl of water; add a handful of flour to the bowl (to help collect sand); mix in flour until dissolved; set aside
  3. Boil 1 pot of water; add 1 lb. spaghetti; cook to al dente; drain
  4. While water’s boiling, heat 1/2 c. olive oil in a large pan
  5. Add 8 finely-chopped garlic cloves & about 3 T. finely-chopped red onion to the hot oil
  6. Sauté garlic & red onion until translucent, 2-3 mins (don’t brown!)
  7. While sautéing, drain & rinse the clams you set aside earlier
  8. Add 1/3 – 1/2 c. white wine & clams to the pan; cover; let cook about 6-7 minutes (the wine helps steam the clams)
  9. Remove lid; if any clams have not opened, throw them out
  10. Whisk in a few T. butter (I use unsalted) to make the pan sauce a little thicker & creamy – you could probably add cream here instead, but I prefer butter
  11. Add about 1/3 c. parsley to the pan
  12. Dump cooked & drained spaghetti into pan with clams & sauce; toss together; sprinkle with extra parsley sprigs for color
  13. Eat up!

In the middle of cooking, I drizzled a few slices of ciabatta bread (a weekend Farmer’s Market purchase, 2 days old) with olive oil & threw them under the broiler until light brown. The little crostinis were perfect for sopping up all the yummy sauce at the bottom of our pasta bowls. Mmmm bon appetit!


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Devilishy-Delish Choco Chip Gems

{Yo-Hi choco chip cookies}

Mom has the best *secret* recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It’s from her Yo-Hi Devils high school cookbook (yeah I know: high school cookbook?), and I have been wooing boys and pleasing co-workers with this recipe since I was old enough to follow these super-easy instructions:

*Preheat oven to 350 F*
{1} Cream together 1 c. Crisco, 3/4 c. sugar, & 3/4 c. brown sugar.
{2} Add 2 eggs & 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir until well combined.
{3} Add
2 c. flour, 1 tsp. salt, & 1 tsp. baking soda. Stir.
{4} Stir in
1.5 c. chocolate chips.
{5} Spoon onto baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes.
{6} Eat warm and/or cool.

NB: When I was little, I stirred ingredients with a wooden spoon, spooned dough with silver teaspoons onto a bare cookie sheet, cooled cookies on tinfoil spread across the counter, & let my little brother lick the spoon and bowl with me. Now, I still stir with a wooden spoon, but I line baking sheets with parchment paper, spoon dough with a mini ice cream scoop, and cool cookies on a wire rack. Oh, and I lick the spoon and bowl myself. Either way, these turn out great every time. Just don’t tell other Yo-Hi Devils I’m publicizing the recipe …

{Bella loves them, too}

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