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.

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