Cashmere Apron

patriotic berry trifle

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Ahhhhhhhhh….the beginnings of summer are here. And what better way to kick off this Memorial Day weekend than with FOOD, GLORIOUS, FOOD! Our post before this highlights a unique and delicious Memorial Day BBQ meal (you can scroll down to see it) and today’s post follows with a festive patriotic berry trifle and watermelon stars with goat cheese.

Wherever life takes you this weekend, our hope is that you are doing what you want with the people that mean the most to you. You will see the trifle recipe first because if there is one thing we can count on in life, it is uncertainty. EAT DESSERT FIRST!

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Ingredients
1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 premium made angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 pints blueberries

Directions
Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

Beat remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

Arrange 1/2 the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop 1/2 of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Serves 8

Compliments: Sunny Anderson

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lavender lemon bites

lavender lemon bites

Summer was definitely in the air this past Mother’s Day weekend. After a few weeks of May gray, Saturday dawned hot and sunny. I had been waiting to bake with the lavender sugar I picked up on my last visit to Ojai. While kids were swimming in the backyard and playoff basketball was being watched upstairs in the man cave, I whipped up these Lavender Lemon Bites and served them poolside with fresh blackberries and lemon zinger sun tea dusted with just a bit of the lavender sugar. They were so good I can’t wait to use the lavender sugar again…next on the list…mini lavender pound cakes with vanilla bean ice cream.

Ingredients for Crust
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup butter (I slightly melted mine)
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
Ingredients for Filling
2 eggs
1 cup lavender sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
powdered sugar for garnish
1/2 to 1 tsp lavender for garnish

Directions
Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend together the above ingredients and pat into a buttered 8″ x 8″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Filling: Mix together eggs, lavender sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon juice and pour evenly over the hot crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool in the pan. Cut into small bite-sized pieces and place on parchment paper. Sift powdered sugar over the top and sprinkle lightly with lavender buds.
Additional lavender recipes and products can be found online at New Oak Ranch in Ojai, California.

tropical muffins with coconut topping

Muffin Ingredients
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup regular oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tb canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
cooking spray

Muffin Topping
2 Tb flaked sweetened coconut
1 Tb finely chopped macadamia nuts
1 Tb granulated sugar
1 Tb regular oats

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare muffins, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Combine banana and next five ingredients in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in pineapple, 1/3 of the coconut, and 3 tablespoons nuts. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

To prepare topping, combine 2 tablespoons coconut and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Sprinkle about 1 tsp of topping over each muffin. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins immediately; place on wire rack to cool.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Courtesy of Cooking Light magazine