Ollalie Berry Basil Crisp from My Pantry ShelfOne of the things I love most about summer are the fresh berries and one of the things I like most to do with fresh berries is to bake them into sweet bubbly fruity crisps.  Thankfully my kids disappeared into my parents berry patch the other night and came back with buckets of beautiful Ollalie berries.  After devouring them by the handful and scattering them over waffles, there was still enough for a Father’s Day crisp.  The perfect dessert to cap off a perfect summer adventure day in the canoe and swimming in the lagoon.

Berry Crisp ala mode from My Pantry ShelfOllalie Berry Basil Crisp is one of the simplest yet satisfying desserts that summer can afford.  Ollalie berries are similar to boysenberries, so you can use those or blackberries, or even blueberries if that is what you have on hand.  The basil, an unexpected ingredient, blends beautifully with the sweet berries adding just a hint of herb.  The crunchy top is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet saucy berries and of course the dollop of ice cream.  This dessert was a super hit with my family.  EVERYONE had seconds.

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Chicken Roasted with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts from My Pantry ShelfWeekday meals have become a bit uncivilized these days.  Blame it on the two working parents, the baseball games, or just plain lack of inspiration.  Whatever the cause there  have been a lot of simple salad/ taco/ kitchen sink meals pumping out of my kitchen, except of course for this meal.  Enter my new go-to “I-need-a-super-quick-meal-that-actually-feels -and-tastes-like-a-meal-worthy-of-my-family-sitting-around-the-table-for.”

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts could not be easier.  Make a quick paste of garlic, oil, salt, and herbs to rub over the chicken.  Toss the potatoes and vegetables with oil, salt and pepper, then slide the whole thing in the oven and walk away.  Plenty of time to help the kids with homework, referee the driveway soccer game, coax the children out of the highest branches of the tree, or if your life is a bit more relaxing than mine, enjoy a glass of wine and a chapter of your favorite book.  The chicken roasts up tender with the crispiest of skin.  The potatoes and vegetables cook perfectly in the rendered chicken fat.  Next time I will make this with thighs and drumsticks to appease the little man of the family.  The dish is not only a great weeknight treat, but would be a fantastic dish to serve for company since all the work is done in advance.

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Flourless Almond Orange Cake from My Pantry Shelf

I love a cake that is not pretentious.  One that does not demand some sort of special event such as a birthday, nor hours spent frosting and decorating.  Just a simple, yet elegant treat to bake for almost any occasion.  This Flourless Orange and Almond Cake is exactly that cake.  Oranges, cooked and pureed, mix with almond meal, eggs, and sugar to create an incredibly moist and fragrant dessert.  The toasted almonds give the caramelized top just a bit of crunch.  The cake is great even a day later, so do not be afraid to make it in advance.

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Cheddar Chive Beer Bread

March 17, 2013

Cheddar Chive Cheese Bread

Fresh bread has a way of transforming any meal into something special, but add cheese… and beer… and you have something to get really excited about.  Combine that with the fact that this bread takes only minutes to put together and it is hard to come up with an excuse NOT to make the bread.

Cheddar Chive Beer Bread is moist, cheesy, oniony goodness with just the right amount of tang from the beer.  A quick brush of butter over the top before baking makes for a crunchy buttery crust.  Any kind of beer will do.  I have made this with everything from a light pale ale to a rich Guinness.  Keep in mind that the more flavorful the beer, the more of the beer taste will come through in the finished loaf.  The alcohol however cooks off in the process, so do not hesitate to serve this up to the kids.  My kids love it! Read the rest of this entry »

Butterscotch Walnut Cookie Bars from My Pantry ShelfThough it pains me to acknowledge, there are not one, but two members of my family that are not die hard lovers of chocolate.  Being that cooking desserts without chocolate is somewhat foreign to me, I have taken it upon myself to find recipes for treats that not only please my family, but that I deem worthy of the calories they impart.  Anything caramel is usually a hit with  us- we love Caramel Sauce on Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Apple Tarts, or fruity desserts such as Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes.  Most recently I was searching for a recipe that would pack well for a family picnic and I came across this gem of a recipe in a cookbook I recently picked up, Maida Heatter’s Cookies.

Add nuts to butterscotch mixtureButterscotch Walnut Cookie Bars are crunchy, nutty, butter goodness.  The brown sugar sweetened bottom layer holds the chewy, crunchy walnut topping.  Delicious on their own, these bars are absolutely incredible with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. Kept in an air tight container, these bars keep for a week, but only if you have more self-control than we do.  Enjoy.

Butterscotch Walnut Bar @ My Pantry Shelf Read the rest of this entry »

Grandma’s Cinnamon Bread

February 10, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bread from My Pantry ShelfMy first grade son was recently asked to write up a favorite family recipe to share with his class.  The minute I heard this my mind began scanning the many recipes that he might deem worthy.  While selecting just one recipe seemed daunting to me, he quite simply stated, “I will share the recipe for Grandma’s Cinnamon Bread.” The special bread that my mom makes for him when he stays at her home.

Spreading CinnamonThis made me think, it is the children of the family that ultimately decide which recipes will live on. Perhaps this is because in childhood every moment seems larger than life.  The meals we eat, the people who prepare them for us, the experiences we have in our youth become the foundation of our life.  In truth, if I think of my own favorite family recipes, they are the ones fell in love with as a child, the Swedish Cardamom Bread at our holiday table,  my grandmother’s Royal Danish Soup, or my mother’s spaghetti sauce that I could never get enough of.  Now matter how much I might enjoy a new recipe that I develop or come across as an adult, they never hold the same place in my heart as those I loved as a child.  And also, without the enthusiastic blessing of my children, the recipe never will become a new family favorite.

Roll the cinnamon dough

Grandma’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread is a not too sweet bread with a perfect cinnamon spiral through the center.  It is delicious on its own, but my favorite way to eat it is toasted with butter.  It also makes a special French Toast.  The recipe makes two loaves.  The bread freezes well.  If you slice the bread first, it is easy to grab a slice to toast for an easy breakfast.

So, what is your favorite family recipe?  Tell us in the comments below and leave a link if there is one!  This post was submitted to Yeastspotting.

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Satsuma GranitaThere is sense and order to the world.  Need proof?  The ripening of winter citrus.  It is the darkest days of the year that bring us the brightly colored, terrifically acidic oranges and lemons, limes and grapefruit, or at my house…  buckets upon buckets of satsuma mandarins.  Not familiar with satsumas?  They are a small orange with a sweet tart bite.  They are similar to the other easy-peel small citrus, such as clementines, that are sold in boxes at all the grocery stores right now.  In fact, this recipe could easily be used with those little cuties or even a standard orange variety.Satsumas cut in halfSatsuma Granita is the ultimate anti-winter.  Fresh-squeezed satsuma juice is mixed with a touch of lemon juice and bit of ginger-infused simple syrup.  The mixture is frozen and fluffed, then gently packed back into the peels of the satsumas.  Fun to look at, even more fun to eat, these balls of cool orangey ice will make you forget it is the middle of winter.  As my kids said, “They are like snow cones, only BETTER!”  They are also remarkably easy to make.  If you happen to have young children underfoot that have run out of engaging indoor activities, by all means put them to work!  My daughter happily monkeyed up the tree to pick the fruit before juicing the lug of fruit.  What delicious fun!

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