Going native.

pawpaw1Pat came across some pawpaws on a recent fishing trip and brought them home for me to experiment with. For the uninitiated, pawpaws are a native fruit not typically found in the grocery store or even at farmer’s markets.  They tend to fall off the tree when they are fully ripe, which happens to coincide with them being incredibly delicate. This delicateness is a large part as to why they aren’t well known – they don’t travel well and need to be eaten almost immediately while giving off an aroma that permeates the surrounding area. They smell like they taste, tropical and yeasty – think a slightly fermented mango-banana mix.  They aren’t much to look at – shades of green and black. Peel the skin off to find pulpy, soft flesh littered with large seeds, that require some work to get to the fruit. A 3″ pawpaw produces a surprisingly small amount of pulp. It takes a number of fruits to be able to make something with them, so if you come across some, grab more than you think you’ll need. They can be eaten raw, but they bake well too, especially when paired with dairy. Continue reading

Stovetop Granola is totally a thing.

My go-to summer breakfast is fruit with yogurt and granola. I typically buy my granola in the summer, not because it’s too hot to turn the oven on, but because I’ve fallen in love with a ginger granola that I’ve yet to be able to perfect at home and I find ginger granola to be the perfect complement to any fresh fruit combo I throw together.  That changed last week however, when not only was I out of granola, it was so incredibly hot outside that just the thought of getting in my car to go get granola was out of the realm of possibility. I began to wonder if stovetop granola was a thing and if it wasn’t, then could I make it a thing? Continue reading

Lemon cake and berries.

A few years ago now, we were at a Memorial Day BBQ at a neighbor’s, when one of the guests showed up with this wonderful lemon cake. The rest of us brought  various forms of strawberries, as they were gloriously in season. The resulting pairing of fresh strawberries with strawberry ice cream and lemon cake was a nice twist on the idea of strawberry shortcake.

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Lessons.

bluebellsI suppose it started when I found myself saying “Yes” to every kid from Charlottesville High School Band that asked me to buy fruit in their fundraising drive late last fall. We’ve always bought fruit to support the local high school marching band, because my better half, having done that himself, likes to support the local band, although I have to admit that these last few years I’ve been a supporter knowing these are the same families we’re going to hit up when Edie starts fundraising for orchestra next year.  Some of our family are big citrus fans and eat it up rather quickly, but I found a few pieces languishing in the drawer (no doubt a testament to how many times I said YES), so I thought I’d get crafty with it and try my hand at baking with it. Continue reading

Recent Kitchen Experiments.

I kept seeing mentions of banana bread pop up everywhere last week, so when I got up Sunday morning, it seemed like the obvious thing to make for breakfast was banana bread.  My go-to recipe for banana bread is from my 1980-something Betty Crocker cookbook. I don’t alter it much, with the exception of subbing in some whole wheat flour for all-purpose and excluding nuts. I am just not a fan of nuts in my banana bread and thankfully, no one else is here either.  To be honest, the only time we like nuts in our baked goods are pecan pie and grandma’s fruitcake muffins. Continue reading