Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.


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fast and slow

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Here I sit, with a measly two weeks to go until I turn in the manuscript for my book. I’m on holiday with my family in Virginia at the moment, tucked away high up in the Blue Ridge mountains for the week to enjoy the Thanksgiving festivities … and to write. It’s fitting that I’m spending these final days before my “due date” in the place that inspired the book’s genesis in the first place. Every time I’m here in these mountains – in this cozy, slow-paced hometown of mine – I am reminded of what a special place this little corner of the planet is, and my excitement to shine my own light on it with the rest of the world is reignited all over again. Feels like a privilege that I’m even being afforded the unique opportunity to do so, actually.

So, here I sit. Dotting i’s, crossing t’s … trying to compute and figure and calculate the metric conversions of each and every ingredient listed in my book. Trying to decide if I actually do like the chocolate in my chocolate blackberry cobbler or if I just really WANT to like it. Trying to figure out if the buttermilk-lemongrass granita recipe is as great as I think it is, or if I’m just really wanting it to be great. Those are two different things, turns out, and I’m learning that sometimes I’m very guilty of the latter. My book is, above all else, intended to be an authentic and real representation of the things I love most … so that is the lens through which I am scrutinizing it’s pages as I work my way back through it all this one last time. Is this real – I mean really real? Did I capture that right? What am I missing? Does this read the way it’s supposed to? Am I being true to myself? Will people feel the way I hope it makes them feel?

Yes. And yes and yes and yes. I think I did, and I think they will. I hope they will.

So, here I sit. Continue reading

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apple apple pies

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I’ve been hitting the apple recipes a little hard recently, I will admit. But the humble apple is my favorite seasonal ingredient and I find that I’m always loading up my basket with heaps of different colored varieties … dreaming up ways to incorporate them into recipes both savory and sweet. My most recent daydreaming resulted in these handheld apple pies, which are nothing short of adorable – even Lucas commented immediately on them upon making their acquaintance in the kitchen last night. “Wow.” he said. “Those look awesome!

While inside I was simultaneously doing jazz hands and patting myself on the back, to him I just acted like it was no big deal … I just kept low-key washing dishes as I nodded in their direction on the stovetop where they cooled from their stint in the oven. “Oh those little things?” I replied, dripping with nonchalance. “I just whipped them up earlier with some extra apples I found lying around in the pantry.

Tee hee.  Continue reading


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pumpkin butter old fashioned

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Ah yes. It’s that time of year again, when food bloggers far and wide come together to share their best and brightest pumpkin-filled creations, in the hopes that you, dear readers, will enjoy them to your heart’s content. The “Virtual Pumpkin Party” is an annual celebration – a Fall fete – that puts the season’s poster child for good eats on a pedestal (where it belongs!). You really can’t go two feet without tripping over a pumpkin this time of year, at least not where I live, so a one-stop shop of fantastic, tried and true pumpkin recipes just makes sense, no? My friend Sara Cornelius, of the blog Cake Over Steak, organizes this each year and it’s just a really nice thing. I made several of the recipes from last year’s pumpkin party and they were all fantastic. I’m sure this year’s squad will be no less grand.

I’m contributing a little seasonal twist on a favorite cocktail – the Old Fashioned – and incorporating some spiced pumpkin into the mix. It’s pretty delicious, if I do say so myself … the spices and sweet pumpkin play quite nicely with the oaky-smoky bourbon, accented with a little splash of orange. A seasonally on-point cocktail with all of the lovable Rat Pack swagger that we’ve come to expect from an Old Fashioned.

Cheers, friends! And a happy Virtual Pumpkin Party to you.

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Pumpkin Butter Old Fashioned

Makes one drink. I typically use a Mason jar or a highball glass for these … 

INGREDIENTS

Juice from 1/2 naval orange (you can sub 1/4 cup of apple juice/cider here)

Dash or two of orange bitters

1 Tbsp pumpkin butter (store-bought or homemade)

2 oz bourbon or rye

Ginger beer or club soda, for topping

 

DIRECTIONS

Fill your desired glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine the orange juice, bitters, pumpkin butter, and bourbon. Give it a good shake to combine and then pour into your prepared glass. Top with ginger beer, as much or as little as you like, or club soda and enjoy!

 

For all of this year’s great pumpkin recipes, check out the links below!

Cake Over Steak • Crispy Baked Pumpkin Wings
A Couple Cooks • Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Baked Gnocchi
Well and Full • Epic Pumpkin Tacos
Style Sweet CA • Pumpkin Pie Cake
The Road to Honey • Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting & Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Inspired by the Seasons • Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake
Cook Til Delicious • Pumpkin Apple Butter Pie
Brewing Happiness • Loaded Vegetarian Pumpkin Nachos
The Monday Box • Pumpkin Cranberry Biscotti
Grain Changer • Pumpkin Spice Candied Almonds
CaliGirl Cooking • Pumpkin Popovers
Craft Beering • Pumpkin Strudel with Pumpkin Ale Syrup & Pumpkin Seeds
B. Britnell • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles
Squaremealroundtable • Pumpkin Pie with a Cinnamon Spiced Crust
Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • Pumpkin Ginger Muffins
Seasons and Suppers • Pumpkin Brownie Loaf
The Green Life • Chocolate Pumpkin Butter Cups
Kitschen Cat • Pressure Cooker Savory Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Snixy Kitchen • Cheesy Pumpkin Taquitos with Roasted Jalapeño Pepita Crema
Vermillion Roots • Malaysian Pumpkin Curry (Rendang)
Heart of a Baker • Pumpkin Doughnuts with Cinnamon Glaze
Faring Well • Pumpkin Snack Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting
Warm Vanilla Sugar • Baked Pumpkin Brie Dip
Harvest and Honey • Pumpkin Butter Old Fashioned
Salt & Lavender • Pumpkin and Lentil Soup
Ruby Josephine • Pumpkin, Date and Almond Butter Stuffed Moroccan Tea Cookies
Ginger & Toasted Sesame • Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Butter and Sage
Tasty Seasons • Glazed Pumpkin Ginger Scone Cakes
Jam Lab • Dark Chocolate Spider Macarons with Pumpkin Cardamom Buttercream Filling
Tending the Table • Curried Pumpkin Soup
Brooklyn Homemaker • Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake
Appeasing a Food Geek • Yeasted Pumpkin Rolls with Slow-Cooker Apple Butter
Long Distance Baking • Sweet and Savory Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties
Salted Plains • Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Blondies
Nommable • Brown Sugar Pumpkin Challah Buns
Twigg Studios • Pumpkin Leek Onion and Cheese Pie
Dunk & Crumble • Pumpkin Pie Popsicles
Katherine in Brooklyn • Pumpkin Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Swirl
Cloudy Kitchen • Spiced Shortbread and Pumpkin Custard Dessert Jars
Anna Banana • Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Bread
Taste Love and Nourish • Bourbon Glazed Orange Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Floating Kitchen • Easy Blender Pumpkin Chocolate Pudding
La Pêche Fraîche • Checkerboard Pumpkin Cheesecake
Let’s Eat Cake • Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
A Butterful Mind • Pumpkin Crostini
Erin Bakes • Pumpkin Cake Pie
Spice & Sprout • Miso Pumpkin Glazed Tofu Noodle Bowls
Linden & Lavender • Mini Pumpkin Maple Crunch Cake
Jessie Sheehan Bakes • Pumpkin Mousse with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Kale & Caramel • Sweet Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Strata
Lemon & Vanilla • Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel
What Should I Make For … • Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Cocoa & Salt • Pumpkin Cake with Blonde Chocolate Ganache
Beyond Mere Sustenance • Pumpkin Kentucky Mule with Ginger and Spices
Feed Me Phoebe • Red Curry Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie
Wood and Spoon • Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread
Foolproof Living • Turkey Pumpkin Chili
An Edible Mosaic • Nutty Spiced Pumpkin Crackers (Paleo)
Delicious Not Gorgeous • Pumpkin Cranberry Raspberry Oatmeal
Ridgehill Home • Pumpkin Pie Crumble Bars with Vanilla Bean-Whiskey Caramel
Loves Food, Loves to Eat • Pumpkin Curry
Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
On the Plate • Pumpkin & Halloumi Frittata
Ciao Chow Bambina • Deep Fried Pumpkin Pie Bites
Especially Southern Dishes • Maple Pumpkin Pots de Creme with Maple Swiss Meringue
The Table of Contents • Marbled Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares
A Cookie Named Desire • Roasted Pumpkin Pizza
Homemade Banana • Everything Bagel Pumpkin Seeds
This Mess is Ours • Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Float
What Annie’s Eating • Pumpkin Risotto
Culinary Postcards • Pumpkin and Almond Ricotta Stuffed Buckwheat Crêpes
Baked – The Blog • Pumpkin Millet Sandwich Bread
Feedtheswimmers • Kabocha Squash Soup with Ginger and Sesame
The Pancake Princess • Best Pumpkin Bread Bake-Off
The Pig & Quill • Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Toast Crunch Treats
Fit Mitten Kitchen • Pumpkin Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast
Oat and Sesame • Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars with Peanut Butter Pumpkin Swirl
Kitchen Konfidence • Pumpkin, Olive Oil and Dark Chocolate Cake
80twenty • Pumpkin Pear Shrub
Displaced Housewife • Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Muffins
Wellness with Alyssa • Cinnamon Spice Pumpkin Oat Bars
Smart in the Kitchen • Pumpkin, Apple and Honey Nut Squash Soup
Meg is Well • Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
Seasonal Cravings • Pumpkin Apple Sangria
Beer Girl Cooks • Pumpkin Ale Braised Short Ribs Sliders with Beer Caramelized Onion Horseradish Sauce
Pass Me The Dimsum • Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Hommus
Figs & Flour • Seasonal Pumpkin Burrata
Madeline Hall • Turkey Sausage and Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
Vegetarian ‘Ventures • Pumpkin Farro Risotto with Roasted Veggies
The Lemon Apron • Pumpkin Butter Pecan Rolls with a Cream Cheese Glaze

 


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matchmaker matchmaker

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Indiana is flat, but you probably know this already. Or, maybe you don’t. When the apples fall from the trees in the many orchards that live on the outskirts of my city, they fall straight down, and stay there. No rolling or helplessly creeping their way downhill, as they tended to do in the mountainside orchards I visited as a kid growing up in Southwestern Virginia. I’ve no preference though, for either the stationary or the rolling apples. I love them all the same. They all make for some great cakes.  Continue reading


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summer melon soup & sunrise toast

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Summer. It’s dog days aren’t quite upon us here just yet, but you can sense their impending arrival. The low, lazy hum of the bugs outside my bedroom window creates the score each morning now, making room for additional bandmates … the lawnmowers, ice cream trucks, and the ch-ch-ch-ch of the neighborhood sprinklers. Those are the sounds of summer these days, kicked off every morning by those relentless bugs. Their chanting, screeching vibrato just reeks of hot, humid midwestern summer days. “Cold days are quiet. Hot days are LOUD!” Elle mentioned the other afternoon, licking the sticky orange juice that dripped down her arm as she worked her way through a popsicle. Passion fruit, I think it was. “That makes this an extra fancy one,” I informed her.

It begins right after the sun has comfortably situated itself up in the sky, that sound to which I refer – the call of the katydid – and it gets louder and louder as the morning minutes tick by. “Get out of bed sleepyhead!” It seems to say. Another summer day has begun. It feels like nature’s cheeky alarm clock, alerting us that the heat is on, that the humidity is here in all its glory, and that we’d better not forget the insect repellant today. It’s gonna be a scorcher …

The siren songs of summer. Lawn mowers! Cicadas! Sprinklers! Playing children! Weed Whackers! Ice cream trucks! Thunderstorms! Fireworks! Like a conductor, August tends to bring them all up to a full crescendo before the Fall months ease them back down to a dull roar … then a low hum … and then finally, winter’s cold blankets the world in silence for a few quiet months. Show’s over for a while. That’s the final act.

Just like the sights, smells and tastes of it all, a year can be pretty interesting if you pay attention to how it sounds.  Continue reading


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miss american pie

We spent last week at Lake Michigan, doing and not doing the things you do and don’t do when on a proper vacation. We skipped rocks and hunted for beach glass. We played games and drank beer. We saw lots of family and ate loads of food – the classic summery vacation types of foods that one comes to expect on these sorts of occasions. There were bratwursts simmered in really good beer and then grilled to charred, snap-crackling perfection. There were succulent and juicy Italian beef sandwiches with spicy roasted peppers that just might make a beef-eater out of me yet. There was taco night. There was pizza night – from a local pizzeria … called “Villa Novas” I think. I made a big jalapeño and pistachio pesto pasta salad with fresh grilled corn, strawberries, avocado, and pistachio-crusted goat cheese fritters that will make its way here to the blog in the near future. And then there was the fruit.

Michigan is appreciated as a cherry and berry-picking haven and I visited with every intention of sampling their goods as much as I could. We ate tons of blueberries and strawberries throughout our weeklong stay, but it wasn’t until our drive home that we procured some cherries, much to my fruit-loving daughter’s delight. I think I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the tedium associated with pitting a bunch of cherries, so I tend to steer clear. But my Aunt Pam casually mentioned that she just smashes her cherries with her palm, pops the pits out and then proceeds right along with life. Huh. That was one of those “now why didn’t I think of that?!?” moments.

Our time in Michigan also brought about my first actual taste of strawberry rhubarb pie. I know, I know. I sort of can’t believe that I’d never tried it prior to that first slice last week, but I think I just assumed I wouldn’t like rhubarb. Growing up in Virginia, I had a friend who loathed the stuff and I must have absorbed some of her negativity along the way. And so. I took a casual, somewhat messy, over-sized, spur-of-the-moment bite of a gorgeous strawberry rhubarb crumble pie last week and was instantly and forever changed. I knew immediately it was going to trump the ranks and become my favorite pie, and that 33 years of lost pie time needed to be made up for. That’s a long time to go without knowing your favorite version of something … a long while to wait for a true love, be it pie or otherwise.  Continue reading