Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Spoil Yourself With Blackberry & White Chocolate Muffins

Fresh blackberries, white chocolate, a little bit of yogurt, and a little bit of cream cheese star in these muffins.
Fresh blackberries, white chocolate, a little bit of yogurt, and a little bit of cream cheese star in these muffins.

The one and only time I rafted down the American River was truly memorable.

It wasn’t just the camaraderie of friends laughing and paddling together in three rafts down the relatively calm part of the river.

It was also the wild blackberry bushes our guide had us maneuver our way to near the shore as we waited for the other rafts to catch up to us.

Truth be told, we were all secretly wishing those other folks would just take their sweet time, because we were as content as can be, reaching over the side of our raft to pluck berries that we devoured voraciously.

Nowadays, I get my blackberries from the farmers market or grocery store. Maybe it’s not as adventurous. But it is convenient, especially as blackberries are abundant even through early fall.

In fact, I eagerly picked some up recently specifically to highlight in “Blackberry & White Chocolate Muffins.”

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Brown Sugar Angel-Food Cake — Or What To Do With A Dozen Egg Whites

When life gives you a ton of egg whites, reach for brown sugar, and make this beauty.
When life gives you a ton of egg whites, reach for brown sugar, and make this beauty.

It’s not often that you’re left with 24 egg whites in your fridge.

But that’s exactly what you’ll end up with if you make Chef Missy Robbins’ handmade pappardelle like I did.

Just think of it as the perfect excuse, though, to bake up a “Brown Sugar Angel-Food Cake.”

This recipe comes from “Martha Stewart’s Cakes” (Clarkson Potter, 2013) from the Editors of Martha Stewart Living.

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Next-Level Gin & Tonic

Char some lemon and cucumber to make a gin & tonic extra special.
Char some lemon and cucumber to make a gin & tonic extra special.

Gin & tonic has always been one of my favorite cocktails, even — ahem — before I officially turned 21.

We’ll keep that between you and me, of course.

Evocative of a walk through a spring meadow, it’s a sip that’s light, bright, and so refreshing that it’s nearly impossible to resist — even when you’re 20 3/4. Or, uh, something near that.

Now, South American chef Francis Mallmann has taken the classic up a notch by incorporating a bit of fire.

“Gin and Tonic with Burnt Lemon and Cucumber” is from his newest cookbook, “Green Fire” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy. It was written with co-writer Peter Kaminsky and collaborator Donna Gelb.

If you’ve ever watched any of the late-great Anthony Bourdain’s shows, you’re probably already familiar with Mallmann, who owns Siete Fuegos in Argentina, Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, El Garzon in Uruguay, 1884 Restaurante in Argentina, and Los Fuegos in Miami.

Usually, he’s shown cooking over an immense live-fire grill with enough adjustable racks and levers to make it resemble some sort of medieval rack.

While some of his previous books were especially challenging because few — if any — of us are equipped to grill quite like that, this one thankfully is not. In fact, the recipes offer options for cooking the dish indoors, too, such as on a cast-iron pan or griddle on the stovetop.

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A Two-Fer: Pinapple-Banana Upside-Down Cake

Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with this two-in-one dessert classic.
Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with this two-in-one dessert classic.

Got a soft spot for banana bread? And a passion for pineapple upside-down cake?

Then, you’re sure to love this cake that is both those classics combined into one.

“Pineapple-Banana Upside-Down Cake” is like your favorite comforting banana bread gone next level with sugary, jammy pineapple slices all over the top.

The recipe is from “Martha Stewart’s Fruit Desserts” (Clarkson Potter, 2021), of which I received a review copy, by the Kitchens of Martha Stewart.

With more than 100 recipes showcasing all manner of fresh and dried fruit in sweet treats, this is sure to be a book you turn to again and again year-round.

It’s thoughtfully arranged by the seasons, too, with summer bringing forth “Blackberry Pie” and “Melon Pops”; autumn showcasing “Pear Skillet Cake” and “Cranberry Port Sorbet”; winter announcing itself with “Orange Marmalade Cake with Roasted Oranges” and “Deep-Dish Dried-Apple and Cranberry Pie”; and spring delighting with “Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Cake” and “Lemon Rhubarb Bundt.”

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Time For Strawberry Sumac Cake — And A Very Special Cookbook

Sumac and strawberries make for a fabulous marriage in this moist, tender cake.
Sumac and strawberries make for a fabulous marriage in this moist, tender cake.

It still boggles my mind that more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865, the state of Texas finally “learned” that all slaves were now free, becoming the last state in the Confederacy to recognize that action. Even then, some plantation owners refused to acknowledge the edict, and kept their slaves to work one more harvest.

A year later, though, Black Texans were finally able to rejoice in their freedom with food, music, and dance at the first Juneteenth celebrations.

Now comes the first cookbook to showcase Juneteenth. “Watermelon & Red Birds” (Simon & Schuster), of which I received a review copy, is by Nicole A. Taylor, a food writer who splits her time between New York City and Georgia, and produced the short documentary, “If We So Choose,” about the desegregation of an iconic southern fast-food joint.

The cookbook title refers not only to the native-born African fruit, but to the African American and Native American belief that red birds flying through the skies represent ancestors returning to spread luck.

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