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Monday, August 31, 2015

Grilled Veggie Sandwich w/ Goat Cheese (aka The Frodo) inspired by Baker's Blues

Grilled Veggie Sandwich w/ Goat Cheese (aka The Frodo)
Nine years! That's how long I've hoped that, and waited for, this book to come out. Back in the summer of 2006, I devoured the first two books in this trilogy by Judith Ryan Hendricks while occupying a quilt in my backyard, sounds of my then 2,3, and 8 year old kids somewhat muted in the background. I couldn't put them down. They were the catalyst for my need to bake bread. If it weren't for those little ones who kept me so tired, I'm pretty sure I would have found work in a bakery, where I had to be in at 3am.

I'd actually logged a little early morning bakery time during my culinary apprenticeship a number of years before that—and enjoyed it—but these books just sucked me in and brought it to a whole 'nother level. Of course, I was also set to move to Seattle and just insert myself into Wyn's life. (I have been to Seattle since then, and wouldn't have regretted the move one little bit.) I purchased a copy of The Tassajara Bread Book, which was/is very important to Wyn, online immediately.

Although it took some time and practice...and 4 or so more years to actually completely conquer my fear of yeast (not to mention sourdough)...I've now shared 130+ yeast bread recipes right here on All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. Any time somebody asks me why I started baking bread, I tell them about the books Bread Alone and The Baker's Apprentice, and that summer 9 years ago.
Friday, August 28, 2015

Buttermilk Pie | #FridayPieDay

Buttermilk Pie
Buttermilk Pie may look like a Plain Jane, but looks can be deceiving. There's actually quite a bit of complexity in each bite—smooth vanilla-infused custard that's both sweet and tangy at the same time. Aside from the fact that it's delicious and fits in on the dessert table year-round, it's also ridiculously easy to make. If you can run a blender, you can make this pie. And while a homemade pie crust is something to be proud of, if that's not your thing, a storebought crust basically turns this into the easiest recipe ever.

I like it plain-jane-as-is, but try adding a fluffy dollop of whipped cream, dust it with powdered sugar, or serve it with seasonal fruit or a fruit compote if you want to dress it up a bit. I really don't think you can go wrong with this one.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Yogurt Plum Coffee Cake

Yogurt Plum Coffee Cake
Let me ask you a question. Do you eat coffee cake for breakfast or for dessert? I've always thought of it as an a.m. food—surely because that's how we ate it in my house growing up. It's just like having a Danish or something. A nice slice alongside!

I only ask because I've noticed a fair amount of people who consider coffee cake dessert here in this wide world of food blogging. Is it a regional thing? A family-specific thing? A who-gives-a-f*ck thing? (I'm guessing that last one is the majority.) For me, it will always be a breakfast or brunch offering, though.

Cake in the morning just makes sense anyway. You know, more hours to burn it off.
Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tangled Apple, Pistachio, and Golden Raisin Salad

Tangled Apple, Pistachio, and Golden Raisin Salad
It's transition time in the world of food. Peaches, corn, tomatoes and zucchini battle apples and pumpkin for our attention on food blogs, twitter, and pinterest. And I'll be honest—I'm torn. I'm totally an autumn kinda girl, willing the cooler air, football games, and apple orchards in with all my might. But, there's still about a month left of summer, and now is the time for trying to keep up with the summer harvest.

There are worse dilemmas to have.

I think August and September just have to be transitional months. A little bit of summer and a little bit of fall. That's a compromise I can work with. Today I'm looking forward to fall with a fresh, simple apple salad that lends itself nicely to cool weather lunches and potlucks.
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fresh Peach and Whiskey Ice Cream

Fresh Peach and Whiskey Ice Cream
I've got a double-whammy to share with you today—Eat a Peach Day and this month's round of she made, ella hace with my friend Leslie from La Cocina de Leslie! Two reasons for one delicious post. Well, I guess it's actually two since both Leslie and I are sharing a recipe. Hmmm, so maybe it's a triple-whammy. Or would that make it a quadruple-whammy? I'll let you ponder that (or not) while I turn my attention to PEACHES!

My kids went back to school this past week, but we still have another month of summer to go—that means tons of fresh produce is still rolling in. My kitchen looks a little ridiculous right now. My counters and table are overrun by tomatoes, chiles, zucchini and yellow squash, corn on the cob, and green beans. I'm not even the one with a garden, my neighbors are. Not that I'm complaining (much), but I find myself without any space in my teeny-tiny kitchen to prepare or put it all up!

So what do I do? Hit up the market and roadside stands for deep ruby plums and fuzzy peaches. You know, so I can fill in the tiny gaps and form teetering pyramids. The fruit disappears in a flash, though, so I had to snag a couple of those peaches to make this ice cream. Yeah, I'm still in full-on ice cream mode, too.
Friday, August 21, 2015

Sweet Tea Peach Popsicles (with or without Peach Bourbon)

Sweet Tea Peach Popsicles (with or without Peach Bourbon)
I originally shared this recipe in a post that I wrote for Mrs. Happy Homemaker just after she unexpectedly lost the love of her life. The popsicles are made from ingredients that reminded me of the time I had just spent with Crystal two months before...along with her husband Michael.

That being said, these popsicles are a refreshing frozen summer treat - with a Southern twist that anybody can enjoy, but if you have a few moments, I hope you'll drop my original post at Mrs. Happy Homemaker to read about the inspiration behind these Sweet Tea Peach Popsicles!
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blended Coconut Oil Coffee inspired by Thrill Me

Blended Coconut Oil Coffee
Last month I was part of an excerpt tour for the latest release in the Fool's Gold series by Susan Mallery titled Thrill Me. I featured Thrill Me Excerpt 5, in which our two main characters, Maya and Del interact alone for the first time in the ten years since their first-love relationship "ended". This encounter started in a local coffee shop called Brew-haha, which winds up being a supporting character in its own right throughout the book, supplying caffeine and a gathering spot for locals and tourists to the small town of Fool's Gold. Today I'm back with my review of this romance novel to go along with that excerpt.

If you spend any amount of time here, you probably know that I'm a big reader. But...and I've mentioned this before...romance has never really been my genre of choice. So if may come as a bit of a shock that this is a romance novel. It's actually book 20 in a series that I'd never heard of before. And guess what? I liked it. It was fun. Plus, I love the stereotype of being a desperate housewife who escapes reality for a while by throwing a little romance paperback in my beach bag (which I totally did, by the way).
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Grilled Duck Half w/ Raspberry Barbecue Sauce

Grilled Duck Half w/ Raspberry Barbecue Sauce
Would you believe me if I told you that you could have tender, succulent duck for dinner on a busy weeknight? Well, guess what? You CAN have tender, succulent duck for dinner on a busy weeknight! It's simply a matter of combining seasonal fruit and raiding your spice cupboard to throw together a flavorful barbecue sauce while your grill heats up.

You may know that I am a Maple Leaf Farms ambassador for a few simple reasons. They are a local family-run business here in Indiana and they produce a superior product that stems from caring and commitment. I'm not paid to use, write, or talk about their products—I do it because I think everybody should know about their availability.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Whiskey Caramel Apple Pie inspired by August: Osage County | #FoodnFlix

Whiskey Caramel Apple Pie
"My last refuge, my books: simple pleasures, like finding wild onions by the side of the road, or requited love."

August: Osage County is one of those movies I only really wanted to watch once in my life, but wound up watching twice. I saw it when it was first released on DVD. A tragic and heart-wrenching story with moments of humor that soon turned to disgust. The one character that I would have liked to see more of was the one that departed the screen early. I did think that the whole cast was pretty amazing and they played their parts to a T.

In simplest terms, August: Osage County is a drama that hints at dark comedy that is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. The story takes place in Oklahoma and centers around the Weston family—the main characters being:
  • Violet - mother, wife, pill addict with cancer who runs over with piss, vinegar, and a venomous tongue
  • Barbara, Karen, and Ivy - the adult daughters, each with their own distinct personalities, paths, and problems
  • Beverly - father, husband, poet, and alcoholic whose death brings them all back together
Friday, August 14, 2015

Western BBQ Bison Burgers

Western BBQ Bison Burgers
Usually when I make something big and meaty that would be really nice to wash down with a cold beer, I get comments like "oh, my husband/boyfriend/man would love this" and "that is some man-pleasing food". Ummmmmmmm...okay. I get it. My guy totally appreciates brat-topped pizza, sticky ribs, and fat burgers. But, you know what? So do I!

Those are what one would call backhanded compliments, right? Inadvertent or not, I tend to get a little indignant when I read them. Apparently, as a woman, I should be massaging my kale and frosting my dainty cupcakes. I do like kale. A lot. But that's not the point. Why must I feel shame for enjoying an extremely fat, extremely juice, extremely flavorful burger right alongside my man?

Fortunately, when it all seems too much, I can count on ladies like Kita at GirlCarnivore to have my back. She knows the joy in not only making, but devouring, some perfectly cooked meat. I mean, she is the mastermind behind #BurgerMonth, so obviously this girl is all about enjoying epic burgers and such.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

OREO Cookies 'n Cream Ice Cream

OREO Cookies 'n Cream Ice Cream
Some people just like to do things the hard way. Take for example, me. Although my blogging friend Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake and I live in the same state...a mere 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive from each other...we actually met in person for the first time when we were both more than 2,000 miles from home. If that's not the hard way, I don't know what is. Totally worth it.

Hopefully next time we'll do it the easy way. Today I'm excited that Liz's blog is my Blogger C.L.U.E Society assignment; this month, the group scoured their assigned blogs for recipes that would help us Beat the Heat! Since I drop by Liz's blog on a fairly regular basis, I knew the hardest part wouldn't be finding a recipe that I wanted to make, but rather narrowing it down to the one recipe I couldn't live without.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer Vegetable Goulash

Summer Vegetable Goulash
A couple of weeks ago, a friend mentioned that she'd been trying to make a good vegetarian version of goulash, but she hadn't gotten it quite right yet. I made a few suggestions for when she was ready to try again, and then went back to business as usual. Or not. The thought of a vegetarian goulash niggled at the back of my mind for a solid week, until I decided I needed to make some in my own kitchen.

It's funny though, because at first I thought - vegetarian goulash!? The thought was basically an oxymoron in my mind. I mean, I grew up in the Midwest, and in these parts, hearty stews and casseroles always had meat in them. When I thought goulash, I thought ground beef in a paprika-spiked tomato base over noodles that was "lightened" up by stirring through a big scoop of sour cream...and then finished with melty cheese.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try a meatless version. With the abundance of summer vegetables in evidence on my kitchen counter and table, as well as dotting the road with stands every few miles, now was definitely the time to do it.
Saturday, August 8, 2015

Zucchini Cheddar Bread

Zucchini Cheddar Bread
Happy National Zucchini Day! With zucchini madness in full effect right now, I'm constantly on the hunt for new and exciting ways to use zucchini. As much as I love a good zucchini quick bread, after already making four loaves in the past couple of weeks, I decided to incorporate zucchini into a savory yeasted loaf. Three loaves, actually.

You may remember last November when I shared this Spice-Swirled Cranberry Sweet Potato Bread as part of the Three Loaves Movement. Three Loaves encourages the use of sustainable and seasonal ingredients, and I can't think of anything more appropriate to the season than zucchini!

One loaf for my family. One loaf for a friend. One for someone in need. This recipe makes three large free-form loaves—as in, 2 pounds each. While it tastes delicious alone, it's pretty darn tasty toasted, as the bread for a grilled cheese sandwich, and alongside a nice brothy bowl of soup.
Friday, August 7, 2015

Cherry Buttermilk Popsicles

Cherry Buttermilk Popsicles
Did you know that there is actually an "official" time period for the dog days of summer? I've always considered them to be the hottest, stickiest days of the season and for the most part, I was right. But according to infoplease:

"Dog Days is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun."

Kinda cool, right? It also says that the days can vary a bit due to a difference in latitude since the movement of the equinoxes changes gradually over long periods of time. So, give or take. I always feel like they extend well into August in these parts.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Malted Guinness Beer Bread

Malted Guinness Beer Bread
The smell of this bread baking envelopes the kitchen in a warm, heady smell that, for me, conjured up memories of touring breweries and distilleries in Ireland. In two words, it smelled magical and comforting. My daughter said it smelled like bittersweet chocolate. I'm sure it was the combination of thick, rich Guinness and malt in the form of barley malt syrup and malted wheat flakes. This is definitely not your granny's beer bread.

With pleasantly chewy texture and notes of rich, malty chocolate, it's not for those with wimpy tastebuds. If you tend towards dark stouts and porters, dark chocolate, and dark coffee, I bet you'll fall head over heals for it like I did, though. I'm putting myself out there when I say basically, this is THE BEST beer bread I've ever eaten. Bold words for a bold bread.

I actually made this loaf almost five months ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing it with you. I was waiting for the right time, and since I'm hosting this month's edition of #TwelveLoaves, I decided that time was now; I chose Malt as our theme.