This little space has been neglected this summer. It wasn’t intentional, it never is, but life doesn’t stop.
It’s been a lazy summer with late mornings, copious amounts of coffee and tea sipped leisurely and schedules and plans thrown to the wind.
There are times I just don’t want to cook or bake, create recipes, menus and blog posts. I don’t want to post a photo of my seasonal salad brimming with local produce; I just want to eat it and enjoy it. Sometimes, I think this whole social media craziness has taken the fun out of eating, going out, and just having fun.
So, I’ve done nothing this summer, and enjoyed every second of it. I have sat on the sofa and watched Netflix with my daughters, I have listened to my son’s endless conversations about Pokeman and his obsession with Jordan shoes, and I have enjoyed date nights at French bistros with my husband.
I’ve been lazy with my cooking too. It has been really hot in Denver and you all know how well I handle heat! The last thing I want to do on a hot a day is be in the kitchen cooking. Our grill has been getting a huge workout this summer. It’s so convenient to throw meat, chicken or seafood on a hot grill with a spicy, smoky rub or marinated in a tangy sauce or just toss in seasoned butter after it comes off the grill. A salad, lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil and dinner’s done. The abundance of summer produce makes getting a salad together a breeze. Soft butter lettuce, crisp, refreshing romaine, arugula or mizen tossed with crunchy cucumbers, ruby red or golden beets, colourful globes of rainbow radishes and liven up with seasonal peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries or jewel hued berries. If you’re feeling adventurous, grill the vegetables too and make a grilled vegetable salad or enjoy straight off the grates.
One on my favourite salads this year has been the Caprese; vibrant and rosy heirloom tomatoes sliced, sprinkled liberally with sea salt, and arranged alongside creamy burrata or little morsels of mozzarella, and of course, the freshest and most fragrant basil you can find. A hefty glug of excellent olive oil all over and you’re done. Sometimes, I’ll drizzle a little white balsamic vinegar but usually, it’s really not needed.
Too much of not doing anything can be quite detrimental though, especially to my creativity and inspiration. Procrastination, indulgence in long bouts of inactivity, binge watching brainless TV show leads to a dullness of mind and body! Many times I felt I needed to get back to my site that I pay a lot to keep up and running! I just keep hitting a brick wall because I was sure no one wanted to see another smoothie recipe, or the “best cinnamon rolls ever” or the “last brownie recipe you’ll ever need” or a “healthy” cake made with coconut flour, no eggs, cauliflower purée and basically, no taste (and no, I didn’t make one of these cakes, but it’s amazing what I see on blogs) I’m all for creativity but some times food should be enjoyed without interference.
I really struggled on the inspiration front and of course, then the little thoughts of negativity crept in; do I want to keep doing this, who’s interested in what I’m cooking anyway, who wants ANOTHER cookie recipe, and so on and so forth. One day in Costco, I passed the magazine rack and saw all the beautiful front covers of food magazines and the inspiration of the chef, cook, food stylist and photographer splashed across each one. I picked up a baking magazine that drew me in with a photo of a beautiful cake on the cover and I threw it in my trolley as a splurge. That day I also found my Food and Wine issue that had gotten tangled in with the junk mail that comes in never ending stacks.
The next two days I read each one cover to cover many times over. It was the spark I needed to get back to doing what I’ve enjoyed for so long but haven’t done in so long just for fun: baking.
At home these days, I rarely make baked goods anymore. When the children were little the house always smelled like vanilla and cinnamon. There were goodies emerging from the oven on a regular basis and consumed happily by little girls dressed up as princesses. Being a stay at home mom had its advantages; baking and cooking were not jobs and I enjoyed baking at a leisure pace without deadlines and stress. The princesses grew up (into bigger and more entitled princesses) and now baked goods aren’t on their approved eating list. Baked goods are still very much on my husband’s eating list and he will happily eat all the trays and tins of the muffins, cupcakes, cookies and so on, but upsetting as it is for him and just as hard for me, I won’t let him.
I admit, I miss baking for fun and then enjoying the rewards of the hard work. I bake for work all the time but I have learned that only certain things catch the eye of the folks who come to shop. Muffins are not an attraction….but, put that same muffin batter into a donut pan, drizzle a honey glaze and all of sudden we have “oh my gosh, donuts!” 🙂
I wanted to bake for myself, for fun and for inspiration. I made a dozen muffins and took half to work to share with my guys and the rest we ate at home. I’ve decided to enjoy myself and bake what I want and I will just give away my experiments. The guys at my coffee shop have become my guinea pigs lately.
Since I don’t bake often for home, I decided that I would make the muffin I like and want. None of that coconut flour, gluten free, spelt (though I like spelt) or avocado, black beans, chick pea water. I didn’t want dairy free, egg free or coconut oil, chia seeds or hemp, etc. I wanted grain flour, butter, heavy cream and all the goodness of the sweet, Colorado peaches. I did add a streusel for texture and a bit of rosemary for fragrance and interest. So, don’t eat 12 of these, but enjoy one and I know you will love it, because it’s a rich and dense yet soft muffin with crunchy bits on top.
So, here are my Palisade peach muffins with a delicious rosemary streusel and minimum interference. Granted, it’s just a muffin recipe and there’s a million out there but this one really is the “best ever” 😉 It’s REAL food, enjoy it in moderation.
- 2 cups/280g all purpose/plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons/115g unsalted butter, melted
- ⅔ cup/150g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup/250ml heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups/265g chopped fresh peaches
- ROSEMARY STREUSEL
- 1 ½ cups/210g flour
- ⅓ cup/80g brown sugar
- ⅓ cup/70g white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup/115g butter, melted
- 1 ½ teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C
- Line a 12 hole cupcake/muffin tin with paper liners.
- Make the streusel by mixing all the dry ingredients and the rosemary together in a bowl.
- Add the melted butter and make a crumble mixture, keep aside.
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and keep to the side.
- In another bowl by hand or with a mixer, mix together the butter, vanilla and sugar together.
- Add the eggs and mix well until incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture and mix in gently.
- Add the cream and mix into a thick batter.
- If the batter looks too dry, add more cream by tablespoons till all the flour is coated and mixed.
- Add the chopped peaches and fold in gently.
- Divide the batter between the paper cases.
- I used an ice cream scoop to make life easier.
- Sprinkle the rosemary streusel over the top the muffins, dividing between the 12 muffins.
- You may have a little leftover but the muffin will hold quite a bit.
- If some is leftover, you can bake separately on sheet tray and add the extra crumbles after the muffins bake for extra crunch.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-35 minutes.
- Check with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean and the crumble is lightly browned.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and the remove onto a rack.
- They are best still a little warm but because of the cream and butter, they will stay soft for day or two.
- Warm a little before devouring with coffee or tea.
I am ready for autumn. The signs are slowly making an appearance, random aspens are turning golden, a gust of wind blows the leaves off the trees these days, the mornings are cool and the sunrises are breath taking. The days are still searing but the days are getting cooler as well. The sure sign of autumn will be the pumpkin recipes all over the internet 🙂
I have not perused Pinterest lately, has fall arrived officially in the blogosphere?