Peach Carrot Cake – Carrot Cake with a Delightful New Twist!

Peach Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Blackberry Garnish

Oh how I love Carrot Cake! I think not so much for the carrot part, but more for that decadent, fail proof cream cheese frosting part. For me, the cake is a medium just to get to the frosting! Is that awful??? SNS? Same goes for Hummingbird Cake…but I digress…just look at this beautiful Carrot Cake!

Peach Carrot Cake...slice of heaven

Easter is a little over a week away and millions of folks around the world will celebrate this holy holiday by “brunching and lunching” with family and friends.  My hunch is that Carrot Cake will make its share of appearances at dessert tables far and wide.  If Carrot Cake is one of your favorites like it is mine,  then you will definitely want to add this new twist on a traditional dessert to your Pinterest board.  It just so happens that my blog’s namesake, the glorious peach,  is the added ingredient that creates such a delightful new riff on a classic cake.  The peach notes in the cake are subtle…the perfect balance of fruit and spice.  I decorate my Peach Carrot Cake in the naked fashion, not to overwhelm the cake with too much of that beautiful cream cheese frosting.  Believe me… it’s hard for an icing addict like myself to admit, but this cake is so good it doesn’t need frosting!!!  Trust me on this one and keep the frosting layers thin.  I also love the rustic elegance the cake renders…especially with the addition of peaches and blackberries.  So earthy and beautiful…like spring and summer wrapped into one!  Peach Carrot Cake

PEACH CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING & CARAMELIZED PEACHES

Makes one 6-inch cake; Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients for the Cake:

  1.  3/4 cup salted butter
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar, firmly packed
  5. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  7. 2 tsp baking powder
  8. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  10. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  11. 1 3/4 cups grated carrots
  12. 1 can of peach halves in juice (2/3 cup of peach pure will be used in the cake, save the rest for the filling)

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1.  3/4 cup softened butter
  2. 7 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  3. 3/4 – 1 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  1.  Remaining Peach Puree Peach Carrot Cake with Peach Glaze and Blackberries

Caramelized Peaches:

  1.  3 – 4 fresh peaches (you may also use frozen peaches, thawed)
  2. 3 tbsp butter
  3. 3 tbsp light brown sugar, loosely packed
  4. Fresh Blackberries

Cake Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line with parchment and butter sides of two 6-inch cake pans
  • Melt the butter and leave to cool.
  • Beat eggs and sugars until fluffy and lighter in color and texture, about 3 minutes.  Add melted butter and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl, then stir into the batter until just smooth.
  • Peel and grate the carrots.  Put the peaches (without the juice) in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add grated carrots and 2/3 cup of the peach puree to the batter and stir until combined.  Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
  • Bake for about 40 – 43 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Beat butter until pale and fluffy.  Add cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until just smooth.
  • Put the bowl in the fridge while you cut the cake.

Assembly:

  • Cut both cake layers in half with a serrated knife so you end up with four cake layers.
  • Put the first cake layer on a cake board or directly onto a plate or cake stand.  Spread a layer of frosting on the first layer, then spread a layer of peach puree over. Repeat this until you’ve used up all layers.
  • Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake and put in the fridge while you prepare the topping.

Caramelized Peaches:

  • Slice the fresh peaches.  Heat the butter over medium heat in a non-reactive skillet. Add brown sugar and swirl with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts.
  • Add the peach slices and caramelize for 2 -3 minutes.  Let cool completely, then put them on top of the cake with the blackberries.

***Cake recipe credit:  Award winning baker, writer and blogger, Linda Lomelino               ***Peach Carrot Cake Photo Credits:  Robyn Rodehaver

Looking for other great cake ideas for Easter (or anytime!)???  Try this one from Peach and the Willow!  Click HERE for recipe!Mandarin Orange Pound Cake

Everyone Enjoy and Happy Easter! He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Love ~ Sabrina

 

Lemon Ricotta Cake with Strawberry Frosting and Balsamic Strawberries

Balsamic Strawberries and Pomgranates.jpgAre you feeling it like I’m feeling it…seeing it like I’m seeing it???   The warmth of the sun, the pop of greens, the new melodies of the song birds???  Spring, albeit too early, is bursting all around us!  From tree blossoms to grass weeds…the signs are everywhere!  Soon…crates of Strawberries will be showing up from Plant City, Florida to satisfy our strawberry indulgences and vices.  And although a nasty freeze will surely make an unwelcome appearance before it’s all said and done…we can still be excited about Spring’s beautiful, life renewing arrival.  Continue reading

Tea (or Champagne!) Party 101 and 3 Must Have Tea Cookie Recipes

 

hearts-and-kyss

Tea  Champagne Party 101.  Start with three really good cookie recipes, a few bottles of champagne and some of your best girlies!  Done!  It’s that easy!  You’ve made a party.

But seriously…with a little pre-planning, you can throw the most heavenly tea champagne party that’s ever been.  The pay off is so worth the effort!   Like with any party, once you’ve determined what you’re celebrating…birthday, engagement, baby shower, etc…you can then settle into some details.  My planning/brainstorming looked something like this:

Tea Party…Around Valentines Day…A “Gal”entines Day Affair…Marie Antoinette Style…One Year Blog Anniversary…around 8 – 10 ladies…all in shades of blush Continue reading

“That Calls for a Celebration!” A Modern Day Tea Party

CHEERS!.jpg

So your kid went pee-pee in the potty for the first time?  Let’s Celebrate!  Your pups got a clean bill of health at the vet?  Let’s Celebrate!  Your rude co-worker didn’t give you the stink eye in the hall today?  Let’s Totally Celebrate!  Point is, it really doesn’t take much to whip me into a frenzy and pop a cork in celebration.  But with the one year anniversary of my blog approaching, I knew I wanted to do something a little over the top to commemorate the occasion.   Soooo… (pronounced long and drawn out…very southern-like), being the self proclaimed prissy pants that I am and having never shied away from anything girly or glamorous, I decided to throw a tea party…but not just any garden variety tea party.  A modern day Marie Antoinette style tea party where there is, in fact, no tea, only champagne, and plenty of delectable treats on which to feast your eyes and tickle your taste buds.  Since the party was to occur just before Valentines Day, I made it a “Galentines Day” affair and invited a few girlfriends, making it the most fabulous, frolicky, gorgeous party I’ve thrown in a very long time!  Friends came dressed to the hilt and we spent Friday afternoon laughing, loving, sharing, being a little serious and a tad silly!  I’m guessing Marie Antoinette would have felt right at home! Continue reading

When Life Gives You Muscadines…Make Jelly!!! (Duh.)

The last time I was at Gloucester Vineyards, it was the end of the Muscadine harvest.  The stately rows of grape leaves had begun to yellow, crisp and scorch; some falling from the vine;  exposing the last of the season’s most syrupy fruit to ripen and raisin in the Indian summer sun.  I consumed all the ripe grapes my stomach could bear…just standing there and “grazing” as we call it.  It was only when I could simply eat no more that my dad and I began picking fruit for my jelly making…about 40 lbs in all, I’d say; enough fruit for about 30 pints of jelly.  I know I’m biased…but there is no better jelly than Muscadine.  Don’t even try and sway me…nope…it’s the “end all- be all” of homemade jelly.  And just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of taste bud satisfaction with the perfect bite of homemade buttered biscuit smeared with Muscadine jelly, try cooking with it!…As in Muscadine Jelly Baked Ham!!!!  Eyes roll back, I tell you.  Eyes roll back…

muscadines
Black and Bronze Muscadines…washed and ready to hit the stove (or pop in your mouth!)
muscadines-cooking
Cooking the grapes releases the juice
muscadines-popping-and-releasing-juice
The grapes pop and break down when cooked on medium high heat…releasing their syrupy juice
straining-the-muscadine-juice
Strain the juice from the cooked grapes
muscadine-juice-with-pectin-and-sugar
Muscadine juice, sugar and pectin…back on the heat
rapid-boiling-point
Jelly is almost done when it reaches a rapid boil
muscadine-jelly
Voila!  The beautiful color comes from the muscadine skin…just those few black grapes thrown in provided this perfect pink!…no food color added!
jars-of-muscadine-heaven
Plenty  Muscadine Jelly to share!
the-perfect-mascadine-jelly-bite
One decadent bite!  A flakey, buttery, buttermilk biscuit glistening with Muscadine Jelly

 

Interested in making your own stash of Muscadine Jelly but can’t find the fruit locally?  Send me a message and I’ll tell you how you can have muscadines sent to your doorstep next season.  Cheers!!! 

Summer’s Perfect “Send Off” Meal ~ Panko Encrusted Swordfish with Southern Field Pea Relish

swordfish-with-lady-pea-relish

Still reeling from a sun and fun filled Labor Day Weekend on Smith Lake with friends, my mind keeps nagging me that our frolicking days of summer will soon dim into the short, crisp days of fall.  My heart actually grimaces a little when I consider that very soon, summer vegetables like our beloved tomato, will disappear from the farmers market and be replaced by it’s boring cousin…the dull and lifeless grocery store variety shipped from God knows where.  And then there’s the disappearing field peas and sweet corn that my family and I have lapped up all summer long with great enthusiasm.  Yes…I “put up” a few bags of peas and tomatoes in the freezer…but who am I kidding?  Those will be consumed by the end of September!  So what is left to do but embrace the fact that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the changing colors of a Tennessee fall and all its beauty…that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, football season with tailgates and boiled peanuts and “football food”!…and that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the baked goods and holiday fare that I will soon be preparing and enjoying with wild abandon?!!!  There!  Done.  I feel better.

But before I start carving a pumpkin or making a spice cake, I must share with you a meal that I served for a couple dinner parties over the summer.  The first time I made Panko Encrusted Swordfish with Southern Field Pea Relish, we had just returned from Gloucester Vineyards (my childhood home), with a bushel or so of freshly shelled White Acre field peas.   I had employed my son and husband, along with mom and dad, to help me shell the said peas, thinking it would be fun for all of us to sit in rocking chairs beneath my parents’ covered porch and talk while the whippoorwills sang us a pretty melody, just like I remember as a child.  Hahaha!  For two city boys, the talking and bird listening was great…but the shelling?   The finger blisters?  The slow moving pace of the peas falling into a large, seemingly bottomless bowl?  LOL!!!  But for me?  Sheer bliss.  It reminded me of a sweet time…a slower time…a time before cyber space and social media check in’s…and it was heaven.  And I knew those peas would taste better for the effort.  Shelling Peas.jpg Growing up, I really don’t think we enjoyed a Sunday lunch without peas making an appearance at the table.  We never tired of them…ever!  And my grandma Berta, being the saint that she was, made sure she froze enough peas to get us through all of winter’s Sunday lunches!  Glory be!!!  They were always served in a pretty painted flower laced bowl  with bits of salted pork swimming in the broth.  Occasionally, and especially in the summer when okra was fresh, a few pods would have been placed atop the boiling peas to add their own earthy flavor to the mix.  These days, when summer tomatoes are at their peak, I enjoy peas alongside freshly cut ‘maters with sea salt and bits of crumbled bacon.  Talk about the ultimate main course salad!lady-peaslady-peas-and-vine-ripe-tomotoes-with-bacon

I make my peas very simply…start with enough water so that when peas are added (you can buy frozen peas at your local grocery…they’re quite good!) they will only be slightly covered by water.  Now add your salt pork…you can use smoked jowl, bacon, country ham…whatever you have available.  I usually use about 8 ounces of smoked pork and I allow the pork to boil for about 10 minutes before I place the peas in the boiling water.  Add peas and return to a boil…now taste.  The water will not be salty enough…even with the salt pork.  So begin with teaspoon increments and add salt to the peas, water and pork.  Continue to taste until desired saltiness, being careful not to over season.  The salt from pork will continue to be released as you cook.  Continue cooking on medium for 30 – 45 minutes.  This beautiful, simple field pea dish is the building block for the relish that you will make for the Panko Encrusted Swordfish.

…Getting back to my story.  We had returned from Florida with a bushel or so of peas…

I had invited a few couples over for dinner that week and knew that I wanted to serve something slightly more elevated than a bowl of field peas and ham.  That’s when I remembered a recent article I had read in Garden and Gun that had incorporated peas into a relish.  My mind started running and I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to serve!  My family cannot get enough of my Panko Fried Chicken so I thought to myself, “what if I lightly fry Mahi Mahi or Swordfish the way I fry my chicken?…then top it with field pea relish?”…and that’s exactly what I did.  As it turns out…the meal was a huge hit with our guests!  The field pea relish with its lightly sweet and acidic notes, made the perfect complement to the crunchy, buttery fish.  Served alongside creamy Gouda Grits and a simple Spinach Salad, this elegant summer meal is worthy of your fanciest dinner party menu or presented casually the way I did.  Either way…it’s a show stopper!!!  And a recipe you will want to Pin and return to summer after summer!  (Psst!  While it’s still “summery” outside…make this dish this week!  Heck!  I break the rules about wearing white after Labor Day ALL the time!)

panko-encrusted-swordfish-and-lady-pea-relish-over-baby-spinach

SOUTHERN FIELD PEA RELISHshallots-and-garlic

  • 1 tbsp. minced shallot
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups cooked field peas (lady peas are pictured)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. chopped parsely
  • 1/2 tbsp. chopped chivesherbs-for-pea-relish
  • 1/2 tbsp. chopped oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, simmer minced shallot and garlic in 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar over medium heat until softened (about 5 minutes).  Place mixture in a bowl and combine with peas, olive oil and chopped herbs and zest and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

panko-swordfish-with-lady-pea-relish

PANKO ENCRUSTED SWORDFISH     (Serves 4)

  • 8  – 4oz  swordfish fillets…2 fillets per guest  (I have also used Mahi Mahi!)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut or vegetable oil or enough to cover bottom of frying pan to 1/4″
  • salt and pepper to taste

The breading of the fillets is a 3-part process using three bowls for dredging and dipping.  I like to season and bread all of my fish before heating the oil.

  1. Place flour, buttermilk and panko crumbs in three different bowls.  Add 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper to the flour and panko crumbs; stir to combine.
  2. Wash and dry fish fillets;  lightly salt and pepper each side of the fish
  3. Dredge each fillet in flour; shaking off excess
  4. Dip floured fillet in buttermilk and coat
  5. Dredge and fully cover the floured and buttermilk’d fillet in panko crumbs; set aside on tray
  6. Repeat for all fillets
  7. Place oil in frying pan and heat on high, watching carefully
  8. When oil has reached frying temperature, place the fillets into the pan; be careful not to overcrowd
  9. Fry on each side about 3 minutes or until golden brown
  10. Remove to lined plate or warm oven until ready to serve; top with Field Pea Relish
panko-encrusted-swordfish-and-lady-pea-relish-over-gouda-grits
Panko Encrusted Swordfish and Southern Field Pea Relish with Creamy Gouda Grits and Fresh Spinach

Bon Voyage Summer!!!  See ya later Field Peas and Tomatoes!  Until next time!!!  We love you!  Peace Out!

Autumn…we’re comin’ for ya!!!

Remember to follow these and other Peach and the Willow recipes and decorating ideas on Pinterest.  Search me, Sabrina Shelfer Pflug, and pin from the Peach and the Willow Recipe Board!  Happy Pinning!

Field Pea Relish recipe courtesy of Garden and Gun Magazine, June/July 2016

Green Sauce ~ Three Saucy Babes ~ Part 3

Green Sauce

Awwww…Green Sauce, you beautiful babe you!  You’re pretty, smart and voted most likely to succeed!  Dinner parties are more interesting when you’re invited as you simply light up the table!   Vegetables are more vibrant when you’re around.  Even the humble grilled cheese breathes a breath of fresh air when you come to call.

Green Sauce is relatively new to my kitchen but has quickly sprung to the top of my “must have” list.  Although this saucy babe shares similar ingredients with Salsa Verde, Chimichurri or Pesto (all of which I greatly enjoy), I find Green Sauce to be something quite different and delicious in its own right.  The parsley and basil swim around beautifully in the most perfectly salty/citrusy bath, lending a freshness to almost anything with which its is paired.   My “go-to” for a quick dinner party is Seared Steak with Green Sauce.  It’s fancy without being snobby,  never takes itself too seriously but always completely consumed to the great delight of my guests.

Grilled Steak, Roasted Carrots, Purple Sweet Potatoes, Corn and Green Sauce
Pan Seared Steak with Roasted Carrots and Purple Sweet Potatoes finished with Green Sauce.  Green Sauce pairs as beautifully with the vegetables as it does the steak!

I’m a big believer that sauce should enhance the food…not smother the food. It should be a compliment to the dish…not overwhelming to it. I find this sauce always delivers!

I recently dined at a fantastic New Orleans restaurant, Peche Seafood Grille, on Magazine Street.  One of the dishes we ordered that evening was whole Red Fish, the quintessential fish of choice for locals. Upon arrival to the table I was delighted to find that the entire top of the fish was covered with their version of Green Sauce!  What a compliment to this beautifully prepared dish!  I have also recently noted that one of Nashville’s acclaimed restaurants, Husk, also serves their version of Green Sauce with beef dishes.

Husk
Photo courtesy of HuskNashville.com
Grilled Provolone Cheese with Green Sauce
A break from blogging for a quick lunch.  Green Sauce and Provolone Grilled Cheese!  Hello versatile sauce!!!  Taste-y sammy!

GREEN SAUCE

  1.  Two cups packed flat leafed parsley leaves
  2. One cup packed Basil leaves
  3. One garlic clove
  4. 2 tsp. capers
  5. 2 anchovy fillets
  6. pinch red pepper flakes
  7. 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
  8. Juice of one lemon
  9. Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor or blender (blender will produce a Green Sauce Eclipsesmoother sauce and this is what I prefer) and pulse until leaves are broken down.  Stream in the olive oil, more for a loose sauce, less for one that is more dense.  Do not over puree’ but, instead, keep it a bit course in nature.

Serve atop meat or vegetables on a large platter or in a bowl for passing.

Recipe compliments:  Food 52  (my favorite food blog!)

Try your own variations with all three of these versatile sauces and share your results in the comments!   I just love hearing from you guys!!!  Cheers!!!

Three Saucy Babes
Three Saucy Babes; Salad Sauce, Good Gookamookee Sauce and Green Sauce

 

Good Gookamookee Sauce ~ Three Saucy Babes ~ Part Two

Good Gookamookee Sauce (pronounced; goo-ka-moo-kee) is HANDS DOWN my most often used and requested barbecue sauce.  But let me be clear…this is my dad’s prized sauce and he deserves all the credit!   When he first made it for our family, he declared “good gookamookee!” the name stuck, and a craze began!  For a lotta folks…it’s barbecue crack (beware people!…highly addictive!).  Just don’t let my dad see you put it on his smoked brisket!  By his rules, he decrees Good Gookamookee can accompany anything but brisket!  (Hmmm…I humbly disagree!…this sauce would taste good on a rock!  Love you dad!)

Good Gookamookee Sauce
I’ve heard the southernism “Good Gookamookee!” all my life.  My dad uses it anytime something is really tasty!  

Please allow me to “break it down” for a moment and elaborate on Good Gookamookee Good Gookamookee Pork Slider Anyone?Sauce and all its many culinary attributes.  It’s a mustard based sauce, highly reminiscent of those made famous in the Carolinas.  It’s wet.  You get me?  Wet!  Not thick and sappy sweet…but liquidy and slightly sweet with a nice little peppery kick and a pleasant vinegary burn. Because of the spiciness and acidity of the sauce, it also plays the role of marinade,finishing sauce, dipping sauce and dressing! Yep. This sauce is kick ass (sorry mom). I have used it in so many dishes I couldn’t possibly be able to account for them. However, it is most obviously and frequently used when barbecuing (my friend Trey swears by his Barbecue Grilled Chicken Thighs with Good Gookamookee Sauce) while my husband puts a little in pasta dishes! It’s delicious mixed in with hamburger meat before grilling with a continuous basting or as that “special something” in your favorite homemade soup. The Peach and the Willow Slaw that accompanies the pulled pork sandwiches in this blog uses Good Gookamookee Sauce as its slaw dressing! So you see…no other barbecue sauce pulls this much weight in the kitchen or at the grill. Without further adieu…I present to you the recipe for Saucy Babe #2…

GOOD GOOKAMOOKEE SAUCE 

  1.  2 cups Cider Vinegar
  2. 1 cup Brown Sugar; packed
  3. 1 cup yellow prepared mustard
  4. 3 tbsp Hot Sauce (I use Louisiana)
  5. 2 tbsp Black Pepper (I use course ground)
  6. 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  7. 1/2 tbsp Season Salt

Mix together and store in a jar or squirt bottle.  Gets better as it ages!!!!  I usually double this recipe because of how often I use it!

Pulled Pork Sliders with Good Gookamookee Sauce and Peach and the Willow Slaw.PNG
Pulled Pork Slider with Good Gookamookee Sauce and P & W Slaw

A Pulled Pork Slider is the ultimate summer crowd pleaser!  Poolside, lakeside, beach picnics or just a great lunch or supper at home, this is the ticket!  And EASY!  The only thing the pork requires from you is patience.  Here’s your step by step guide for Pulled Pork and Peach and the Willow Slaw.

PULLED PORK

Buy a pork butt or shoulder just big enough to fit in your Dutch Oven.  You will want a big Seared Pork Shoulder‘un cause you’ll want as much pulled pork as possible!  Turn stove burner on high and pour 2 – 3 TBSP of Vegetable Oil in the bottom of your pot, bringing up to high temperature but not smoking.  Generously salt and pepper your roast on all sides and sear the meat on high a couple minutes per side.  End with the fatty side on top (you want the fat to seep down into the meat).

Next, douse in 3 – 4 Tbsp Worcestershire over the top of the roast…Seared Pork Shoulder with Worcestershire

Cover pot, turn burner to low heat and walk away!  The secret to good stovetop pulled pork is cooking it low and slow.  I cooked mine a little over four hours but it could have withstood longer.  Check your pot every hour or so to make sure you have liquid at the bottom of pot…adding water as needed.  I didn’t add any water during my cook time.

Once done, remove roast to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.  Using your fingers, pull the pork into strips.  You will have a mound of beautiful pulled pork like this…

Pulled Pork

Some folks sauce their pulled pork at this juncture.  I find that my family likes to sauce as they go…some want more, some less.  This is totally up to your preference.  When the pork has been pulled, it’s ready to be stacked onto a slider bun, splashed with a little Good Gookamookee Sauce and topped with Peach and the Willow slaw…

Good Gookamookee Pork Sliders.PNG
Pulled Pork Sliders with Good Gookamookee Sauce and Peach and the Willow Slaw

Pulled Pork and Good Gookamookee Sauce go together like peaches and cream but if you want a truly elevated Pork Slider, add my Peach and the Willow Slaw.  I would say my slaw is like a classic vinegar slaw, but it’s not.  I would say it’s like Asian slaw, but it’s not!  So it’s simply “Peach and the Willow Slaw” and it’s my original.  Because this slaw is crunchy, spicy and sweet, it is a perfect pairing with the meat and soft bun.  And, since there is no mayo involved, it packs beautifully for any outdoor dining situation.  And let’s talk about the colors!  Don’t they say we eat with our eyes????  Check out these gorgeous slaw ingredients!

P & W Slaw
Gorgeous ingredients for Peach and the Willow Slaw

PEACH AND THE WILLOW SLAW

  1.  1/2 head of red cabbage, julienned
  2. 1/2 jicama, shaved into strips or julienned (if not available…no worries)

    Julienned Slaw Veggies
    Julienned Slaw Veggies
  3. 1/4 large sweet onion, julienned (I almost exclusively use sweet yellow onions in everything I cook…just my preference)
  4. 1 white carrot, shaved into strips (orange works…I like these better)
  5. 1/2 of granny smith apple, julienned
  6. 1/2 jalapeño, minced (Good Gookamookee is pretty spicy on its own so if you can’t tolerate a little heat, forego the jalapeño.  That said, most of my folks want it in there!)
  7. 1/4 to 1/2 cup Good Gookamookee Sauce
  8. Salt to taste (you will not need pepper…there’s plenty in the sauce)

Mix all together.  Done!  Yields 8 servings or enough toppings for  16 sliders.

Peach and the Willow Slaw
Peach and the Willow Slaw

All that’s left to do is pack your cooler with Pulled Pork, a jar of Good Gookamookee Sauce and your Peach and the Willow Slaw and head outside to play, eat and enjoy!  Pack your pulled pork in aluminum foil and throw the foil package on a hot grill to warm before serving.  It’s also fine room temp.  Assemble your sliders at your outing!  Super fun and easy!

Good Gookamookee Pork Sliders Lakeside
Pulled Pork Slider with Peach and the Willow Slaw – Lakeside!

Happy Summer Everyone!  Cheers!!!

Three Saucy Babes You Can’t Live Without ~ Part One

Three Saucy Babes
Portrait of Three Saucy Babes

Sound like rock stars, don’t they?  That’s because these Three Saucy Babes are culinary rock stars!!!  And with not a single “walk of shame” between them!  They bring the kind of giddy “sauciness” to my cooking life that I simply can’t live without in my kitchen!  Spiciness, sweetness, piquantness, freshness…each one adding their own fascinating and lively taste to the food I serve.  And with such great variation!  Are you in love yet?  You ready to turn them up to 11 and rip off the knob???  (Ha!…my attempt at humor has me cracking myself up.)

Introducing Three Saucy Babes:

  1.  Salad Sauce (aka, my go-to salad dressing)
  2. Good Goo-ka-moo-kee Sauce (aka, my favorite BBQ sauce that also doubles as a marinade)
  3. Green Sauce (aka, “Holy Moly that’s awesome sauce”…not to be confused with Chimichurri Sauce)

PART ONE (of a 3 Part Mini Series)

SALAD SAUCE – The “salad sauce” is really a beautiful vinaigrette especially designed for a Greek Salad.  I first became obsessed with it after seeing the recipe on the “How Sweet Eats” blog (her post is here) and have made it a staple in my fridge ever since!  Hear me loud and clear when I say this is EVERYONE’s favorite salad sauce in my circle of friends and family!  I’m always asked about it…by children, adults, parakeets…all walking and talking things really.  So make it tonight…and “I told you so!”

There are nine very humbling, very beautiful ingredients in this salad sauce (aka, dressing) that will elevate ANY salad you make from here until eternity.  Sure…you’ll wander off and flirt with the Green Goddess Buttermilk Dressing or dance with the Caesar Dressing…but you’ll never make those dressings your “go-to” salad sauce…your main squeeze…and this one, you will…

Dressing Ingredients
Salad Sauce Ingredients

 

Salad Sauce Ingredients:

  1.  1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  2. Juice of one large lemon
  3. 3 tbsp. good honey
  4. 4 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  5. 1 tsp fresh dill weed (it’s ok to use dry dill if you don’t have fresh)
  6. 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp pepper
  9. 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except olive oil.  Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil at the end.  I have also been known to pop the ingredients in a bottle and simply shake them up.  The salad sauce will be good to go sealed, in the fridge, for a week or so.

Salad Sauce
Salad Sauce will separate…but no worries!  Just stir it or shake it before serving.

Use it with any salad combination your heart desires.  I love the simplicity of this one made up of butter lettuce, radishes and shaved white carrots.  This salad literally “sings” when combined with my salad sauce!  Fresh, crisp, light and full of flavor!!!  Think about it?  Lemons, garlic, honey, a little vinegar and good oil and spices are the perfect summer playmates for your favorite bouquet of garden greens  and veggies.  Not to mention how quick and easy it is!

Simple Green Salad
Beautiful and Simple Salad – Undressed

You may recall that I declared this dressing as a staple or “go-to” for me?  You might even call it a building block in my kitchen.  Almost every salad variation I make like my Orzo Salad (my niece, Cally’s, favorite) or my Shrimp Salad, uses this dressing as its “sauce”.   What about grilled veggies mixed with crisp greens and crumbled candied bacon?  Marinate the cut grilling vegetables like onions, squash and red peppers in some of the salad sauce before putting them on the hot grill; after grilling, toss them in more sauce and add to the crisp greens and bacon!  I do this all summer long!!!!  Don’t worry, I’ll share some of these salads recipes, as well as others, in upcoming blog posts…

Up next?…Saucy Babe #2!  Good Goo-Ka-Moo-kee Sauce!  Your barbecue will never be the same!!!!!  This sauce will make sure of that!!!Three Saucy Babes

Cheers everyone!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest!!!  Insta:  @peachandthewillow

Pinterest: @peachandwillow

 

 

 

Sweet Lavender For a Sweet Mom ~ A Fragrant and Tasty Gift

Lavender Shortbread Cookie and Lavender Plant Gift Idea

A Lavender Themed Gift Basket is not only a unique and tasty gift idea for your mom this Mother’s Day, it can also be used for birthdays, housewarmings, retirements, thank you’s or any moment in life that deserves celebrating.  My mom loves shortbread, so shortbread sprinkled with Lavender buds should really pique her interest!!!!

As the years ramble by, I reflect more and more on the love and generosity my parents have always shown to us kids.  Their care and concern extend far beyond the years that we shared within the safe confines of our childhood home and this love remains steadfast today.  Mother’s Day is a time of reflection for me…and gratitude, of course.  As mamas go…I KNOW I have it good…the best!   I always try to find the perfect words to write or speak that will convey this to her.  For me, they always fall short.  Suffice it to say…although I am grown and  now a mother myself, my mom will always be THE MAMA BEAR.  We all know it…it’s all good.  So I celebrate her today and every day…for being loving, strong, compassionate, smart, tough, funny, blunt and beautiful.

If your mom is like mine, she already has EVERYTHING!  Not just a little bit of everything but a lot of everything!  So for many of us, finding the perfect token of our love and appreciation is not easy!  A Lavender Gift Basket is thoughtful and handmade (which she will love!)…even if you sneak and buy the cookies from a local bakery, a Lavender Themed Gift Basket is an unexpected treat!!!  My basket includes a potted Lavender Plant and homemade Lavender Shortbread cookies, but you could also take the theme further and include a Lavender Bath Bar or Body Scrub.  I love everything about this…and so will she!

A Lavender Themed Gift

The gift basket starts with none other than the basket!  You probably have one hiding in a closet right now that needs to be put to good use.  I liked how this one was lined with a linen cloth and outfitted with a chalkboard tag.  The fragrant and beautiful lavender is a potted plant I bought from my neighborhood grocery (Publix for me…but all big grocery stores seem to carry them).  Next, Lavender Shortbread gets lovingly stacked into a cone that I made out of brown kraft paper, then wrapped again in cellophane and finished with a pretty ribbon.  A personal sticker lets the recipient know what kind of treat they are receiving!  (Let’s face it, you don’t see Lavender Shortbread every day!)  For those that love this idea but have no time to bake shortbread, I have learned that The Nashville Cookie Bar bakes Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies and I’m sure they would love to oblige.  You will find their website here.

The homemade Lavender Shortbread I baked is from a recipe found in a favorite cookbook that my mom gave to me.  Check out the following inscription.   It came on a random March day (no holiday involved…So my mom) with the following super sweet message…

To My Darling Daughter Sabrina  ~  Given to you by your mama on 3 – 14- 12.  May the sweetest lady in the world bring deliciousness to all who surround her table for the delectable treats she will create from this fabulous book.  If you do’t send some lavender shortbread my way, I must take this book back.  Much love to one who I love so very much.  Your Mom…Mama

If that’s not a hint…I don’t know what is!!!   Now…to be completely honest…I’ve never made these cookies for my  mom!  I gasp just thinking about the travesty!  The cookies and gift basket shown in these photographs went to a dear friend on her birthday.  So I have some splainin’ to do.  However, I can vouch for the deliciousness of these lavender shortbread cookies as the unique and most unexpected addition of the lavender is a perfect pairing with a cup of hot coffee or tea.  A cookie with floral notes?  Yes and yes!!!

Lavender Shortbread Cookie Dough
Lavender Shortbread Cookie Dough…just before they are popped into a 350 Degree Oven
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Fresh from the oven, lightly golden, with flecks of lavender and glistening with dusting sugar
Lavender Shortbread Cookies on Pedastal
You know I had to keep a few for my family to enjoy.  How pretty they look sitting atop a white pedestal dish.

LAVENDER SHORTBREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender (I bought mine from William-Sonoma)
  • About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting (I love using the white decorating sugar, also from William-Sonoma)
  1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Turn the speed down to low, add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the flour in thirds, beating until just incorporated. Sprinkle in the lavender and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Take out paddle attachment and finish by mixing by hand to insure that the dough is thoroughly mixed.  The lavender should be evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  4. Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies to allow for spreading.
  5. Flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand or a cookie stamp dusted with granulated sugar.  Dust the tops of cookies with sugar.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours, before baking.
  6. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 – 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the edges are lightly golden.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Variation:  Lemon Shortbread:  Substitute the grated zest of a 2 lemons for the lavender and 2 teaspoons extract for the vanilla extract.

Recipe courtesy of “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook” by Cheryl and Griffith Day, Published by Artisan.

Lavender Shortbread Cookie
Hello Gorgeous!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mama’s out there!!!!!  You are special every day of the year!!!!