Harvest + Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.


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Blueberry + Brown Sugar Corn Cakes

Blueberry and brown sugar corn cakesBlueberry and brown sugar corn cakesBlueberry and brown sugar corn cakesBlueberry and brown sugar corn cakes

“I realized something else tonight. Something about pancakes.”

“What about them?”

“We both got so obsessed about that first pancake being thrown away that we forgot something really important,” Max explained. “That first pancake tastes just as good as all the other ones. It’s not its fault that it was first in line and the pan wasn’t hot enough so it got a bit lumpy and misshapen.”

“And when you’re really famished that first pancake tastes better than all the ones that come after it.”  – You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

 

RECIPE

¾ cup flour

1 cup yellow corn meal (or blue)

¼ cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups whole milk

½ stick butter, melted

2 eggs

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Garnishes: toasted pecans, extra blueberries, lime zest

 

Whisk the flour, corn meal, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla together until well combined. Whisk the liquid mixture into the dry mixture just until it comes together.

Spoon (about) 1/4 cupfuls onto a buttered skillet or griddle over medium heat, and cook until you see bubbles. Flip and cook until golden brown on both sides.

 


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Spiced Chocolate-Almond Overnight Oats

Chocolate Overnight OatsChocolate Overnight OatsChocolate Overnight OatsChocolate Overnight OatsChocolate Overnight Oats

RECIPE

1 cup rolled oats
1 tblsp bulgar wheat
1 tblsp quinoa
1 tblsp chia seeds
1 tblsp extra dark cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tblsp almond butter
1 tablespoon (or more) honey
1 cup chocolate almond milk, just shy of boiling, plus more (cold) for serving
Garnishes: extra cold almond milk, chopped almonds, coconut, dried fruit, sliced banana, cinnamon or carob chips

 

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium – large bowl, stir to combine, and seal (plastic wrap or lid). Refrigerate overnight.

To serve, heat the oats in a saucepan over medium heat or spoon them into microwave-safe serving bowls and heat through. Garnish as you like! I pour a little extra cold chocolate almond milk over top and garnish with flaked sweetened coconut, chopped toasted almonds, cinnamon chips, even sliced banana or dried fruit.


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Lemon + Earl Grey Scented Tea Cakes

Lemon and Earl Gray Scented Tea Cakes Lemon and Earl Gray Scented Tea Cakes Lemon and Earl Gray Scented Tea Cakes Lemon and Earl Gray Scented Tea Cakes Lemon and Earl Gray Scented Tea Cakes

“As an adult, I have often known that peculiar legacy time brings to the traveler; the longing to seek out a place a second time, to find deliberately what we stumbled on once before, to recapture the feeling of discovery … ” – Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian  

Many moons ago, I lived in England. Oxford, England, to be exact, and it was one of the most interesting, exciting, and enriching times of my life. During college, I spent an unforgettable term at Oxford that was filled to the brim with exploring, studying, meeting, greeting, adventuring, gallivanting, studying, learning, growing, journeying, studying, and also eating. Now, jolly ole’ England isn’t necessarily renown for its culinary offerings, but I had the best time trying out the typically English fare that I’d heard all about my whole life, but frankly, had never really given much thought to trying. From bangers and mash, crumpets, and chicken tikka masala (considered to be one of the country’s national dishes), to super cozy roasts, sticky toffee pudding, banoffee pie, and tons and tons of tea – there were plenty of epicurean options to keep me thoroughly satisfied, interested, and FULL throughout the entirety of my stay.

Some of what I enjoyed most during my time in Oxford were all of the lovely tea cakes and tea time confections in which I indulged on a more-frequently-than-I-should-have basis. I just figured with all of that studying and hard work should come a sweet reward (every day, apparently). On a daily basis, I would venture from my little flat, umbrella in hand, and make my way to one of several charming coffee or tea houses where I would claim a table and sprawl all of my things out in what was probably an obnoxiously overdramatic and conspicuous fashion as if to say, “I’m here! This is my seat! Look at all of the LEARNING that is about to commence over here!” (I was excited to be there, what can I say?).

Following this aforementioned sprawling, I would saunter up to the counter and order some sort of tea. I remember very clearly thinking that I needed to be drinking tea because that just seemed like the right thing to do. I wasn’t even a “tea person” to be honest, never had been, instead preferring to take my caffeine in the coffee form, but during this time across the pond, I thought it fitting to give tea a real go. I have since gone back to coffee-drinking, but I still love the ceremony and delicate nature of a real British “high tea.” Recently, probably because the 10-year anniversary of my time there is next week, I’ve been pondering ways to incorporate some of those flavors into my own kitchen and travel right back to the little neighborhood tea shops and cafes that provided such a comfy and pleasant backdrop to my experience there.

These tea cakes are very un-British in composition, and are actually something you would find all over the American South. I just happen to prefer this style of tea cake to the more classically British one. So I thought I would take the Southern-style tea cake and incorporate some of the flavors that you’d find at tea time … a mash-up, if you will. These little poofy, pillowy, and cake-like cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth without giving you a toothache. Just sweet enough, with a hint of lemon, honey, and an Earl Grey tea glaze, they are quick to put together, simple to pull off, and would probably taste just as good with a cup of coffee, if that’s your poison.

 

RECIPE

1 cup room temperature butter

1 3/4 cups white sugar

2 eggs

The zest of 1 lemon (or 2 if you like things extra citrusy)

1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

Cream together the butter and sugar until very smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and add the lemon zest, honey and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add this into the creamed mixture and stir/knead to form a solid, smooth dough.

Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into circles with round cookie cutters (the size of your choosing). Place the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.

Bake the tea cakes for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


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Individual Poblano Corn Puddings

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RECIPE

Serves 8. If you’d prefer to make one large casserole of corn pudding, just butter a 9 X 13 baking dish, pour in the corn pudding mixture, and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.  

 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ small onion, diced

3 poblano peppers, medium diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (15.25 ounce) sweet corn, drained and divided

1.5 cups heavy cream

½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

5 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons sugar

5 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter 8 ramekins.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes (stirring as you go!). Transfer to a small bowl when they’re done and set aside.

Using the same pan, add 1 can of corn, the cream, and the nutmeg. Cook over medium high heat, simmering gently, for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon of each should do it). Process this mixture in a blender or food processor until broken up and clumpy (technical term). This should take just a few seconds with a blender and about 8 – 10 pulses with a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the poblano mixture to the creamed corn mixture in the large bowl. Whisk in the sugar and cornstarch, being careful to break up any lumps. Now’s the time to test for seasoning! Check to see that there is enough salt, and add accordingly.

Lastly, whisk in the beaten eggs. Divide the mixture up among the 8 buttered ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and set.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Lemon, Rosemary + Olive Oil Cake

Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil CakeLemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil CakeLemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil CakeLemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil CakeLemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil CakeLemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Cake

Sometimes, the best meals and/or dishes can come from the most unlikely of flavor pairings, and such is the case with this wonderful cake. Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Cake is nothing new, really, and I certainly didn’t invent this unique flavor combination, however I think it is safe to say that it is not a cake you see often and it definitely has the ability to pique one’s curiosity and get your attention.

“Wait, there’s rosemary in this?” People will undoubtedly ask, as they get their first whiff of this amazingly aromatic confection. Oh yes there is, and it’s such a knockout. By incorporating just the right amount of this potent fresh herb into a sweet and citrusy cake batter, you change the entire recipe into something that is refreshingly different, but altogether comforting and maintaining enough of the familiar to make it approachable for even the most hesitant of eaters and the pickiest of palates. Not too sweet and perfectly moist, this has got to be one of the easiest cakes to make and, dare I say, it might even be foolproof. An added bonus is the intoxicating way your whole house will smell as the flavors begin to mesh together in the oven, perfuming the air with the familiar aroma of a baking cake with a little something extra behind it to set it apart from the rest.

Maybe the fact that this cake is not too sweet would qualify it as a coffee cake, but then again, I’m not entirely sure what differentiates a coffee cake from any other. By calling a cake, “coffee cake” you get the automatic excuse to eat it as soon as you wake up without having to feel guilty or awkward. “Guys, relax. It’s okay … it’s coffee cake!” So, whether you choose to enjoy this cake first thing in the AM or as an end-of-the-day treat, it will most likely be just what you want, whenever you need it to be.

 

RECIPE

If you’d rather not use the full amount of olive oil, as it is pricier to do so, you can simply do half olive oil and half coconut or canola oil.

8 eggs

1.5 cups sugar

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

10-ounce jar of lemon curd

1.5 cups olive oil

2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 cups flour (all purpose)

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Using a stand or electronic mixer, beat the eggs until smooth and frothy, about 2 – 3 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add in the sugar and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon curd and mix to combine. With the mixer running, drizzle in the olive oil and add in the rosemary. Add the flour mixture (mixer should be off for this) and mix just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into a buttered and floured Bundt pan and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool almost completely in the pan before transferring to your serving or storage container. Drizzle with the sweet lemon glaze and enjoy!

Sweet Lemon Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons (give or take) fresh lemon juice

Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine. You’re looking for a thick consistency that is just loose enough to pour. So, I recommend starting with one tablespoon of lemon juice and going from there, adding a teaspoon at a time until it all comes together in a thick glaze.

 


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Roasted Merguez + Grapes

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RECIPE

3 pounds merguez sausage (Italian, chorizo, linguica, all work as well)

4 tablespoons butter

5 cups (or around 2 pounds) seedless grapes of any color, stems removed

1/4 cup chicken stock

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Fresh baguette or bread of choice for serving

Crumbled goat cheese for serving

 

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.

Parboil the sausages in a medium pot, in water to cover, for 6 – 8 minutes to get rid of some of the excess fat.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large roasting pan over medium high heat and add the grapes, stirring to coat. Add the stock. Stir for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half (just eyeball it).

Transfer the sausages to the roasting pan with the grapes. Roast in the preheated oven, turning the sausages once, until the grapes are very soft and the sausages have achieved a deep brown color (about 20 to 25 minutes).

Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over a medium-high heat and pour in the vinegar. Scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan and reduce the liquid until it becomes syrupy and thick. Transfer the sausages and grapes to a serving platter and pour the sauce over top. Sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles and serve with fresh bread for dipping.

 


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Browned Butter Baklava with Chocolate, Cardamom + Rose

Browned Butter Baklava with Chocolate, Cardamom and RoseBrowned Butter Baklava with Chocolate, Cardamom and RoseHomemade Baklava recipeHomemade Baklava recipeBaklava8Baklava recipe with chocolateBaklava5

Has adding chocolate ever actually made a recipe worse? Probably not, I’m guessing. I bet the same can be said for browned butter. In this case, they work in tandem with the floral notes offered by cardamom and rose to elevate the flavor of traditional baklava. Subtly traveling from a dessert that is often cloyingly sticky-sweet (albeit delicious) to something that is altogether more interesting, complex, and with more to offer than just, well, sweet! sweet! sweet!, this recipe of mine is one of my new favorites. I love to use a combination of different nuts in baklava, to add additional flavor, and I also think that adding some salt to the syrup works wonders.

With baklava, I usually take a bite or two, and then decide that I’ve had enough. Whether it is fortunate or unfortunate, I managed to wolf down several pieces of this stuff very happily and with no problem whatsoever. Given the large quantity I consumed right out of the gate, the jury is still out as to whether I’m actually proud of or annoyed with myself for conjuring up this recipe. For now, I’ll go with proud …

 

RECIPE

For the Honey-Rose Syrup

Note: You can easily leave out the rose water and rose petals in this syrup. Just replace the rose water with plain water.

 

1.5 cups white granulated sugar

1.5 cups dark brown sugar

6 oz. clover honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 – 1.5 teaspoons salt

½ cup rose water

2 cups rose petals

1 cup water

 

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer gently until all of the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Set aside until ready to use. (If you want to make this in advance, just let it cool completely, store in an airtight container, and refrigerate up to a month or until ready to use).

 

For the Baklava

1 pound combination of pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts coarsely ground (you can omit the hazelnuts, or use all pistachios, etc. Just do what you like here!)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

3.5 oz. bar of dark chocolate, chopped

4 sticks unsalted butter, cut up into tablespoon-sized pieces

1 package of phyllo dough, thawed

 

Start by making the browned butter first. Place the 4 sticks of butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter and continue to cook, stirring constantly. It will bubble after about 30 seconds as the water evaporates – this is good! The key is to just keep stirring until the butter solids turn a light brown and your kitchen smells like buttery toasted nuts (takes me about 10 – 12 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat when it is a shade lighter than you want, as it will continue to brown when the heat is off. Set aside.

Now, position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and breadcrumbs in a bowl.

Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the browned butter. Layer 10 pieces of phyllo in the dish, brushing each piece with butter before adding the next (keep the dough covered with a damp towel). Sprinkle a quarter of the spiced nut mixture evenly over the dough, and half of the chocolate. Layer 4 pieces of phyllo on top, brushing each with butter. Sprinkle with another quarter of the nut mixture. Add 4 more pieces of phyllo on top, (brushing each with butter), then add another ¼ of the nut mixture, and the remaining chocolate, 4 more pieces of phyllo with butter, and the rest of the nuts.

Place the remaining 10 pieces of phyllo on top of the nuts (brush each with butter!). Brush lots of butter on the top. Using a sharp knife, slice into the baklava to make 1 1/2 – wide strips. Then slice perpendicularly, to create small squares (like brownies, lemon bars, etc.) Bake for about 1 hour, or until golden brown.

Pour the Honey-Rose Syrup over the warm baklava and let it soak in, uncovered, for at least 6 hours or overnight.

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