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Desserts

Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

I said on FoodFitnessFreshAir’s Facebook page that I’m taking a little break from recipe development. When summer’s showering the garden in red, all I want to eat are tomato sandwiches. Nothing fancy. A little mayo, salt and pepper, maybe some lettuce and/or basil. A fresh garden salad thrown on the side, and I’ve found food heaven, within just the 10 minutes it takes to slice, toast and take a first bite.

As Katie from Eclectik Domestic pointed out, this could mean I may never return to developing recipes…Because really, who ever gets sick of tomato sandwiches in the summer? Not this girl. Good thing there are multiple meals in the day. Rest assured, eventually I’ll save the no-cook meals for lunch and start churning out new creations again.

In the meantime, my mom’s holding me over with this killer Blueberry Strawberry Crisp she whipped up for my birthday last week. (Yes, I turned the ripe age of 23! Whatever that means.)

My sister’s been getting into the cake business, making these elaborate trillion-layer cakes at any opportunity she can get. When I turned down her offer to create one for my birthday, she was slightly crushed. It’s not that I don’t love my sister’s dreamy, mousse-filled, icing deco cakes, because I do. But when summer hits, I want seasonal fruit with a chill side of straight up vanilla ice cream. My mom fulfilled that, and then some, with this crisp.

You’ll find that blueberries make up the bulk of the filling, letting just a few, slightly more tart strawberries sweep in to balance out their sweetness. I know strawberries are on their way out, so feel free to use nectarines, peaches or any other suitable, seasonal partner in crime. My mom had some strawberries frozen from an earlier, orchard-picking trip, so that’s what went into this particular pie pan.

Birthday or not, this is a real summer celebration. As are tomato sandwiches. Pair the two together, and you’ll create the picnic party of the year. For real.

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Sometimes you’ve got to take risks. You’ve got to quit that job that’s ruining your life. Or hop on a plane and go explore the world. Or kiss that someone you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Or say yes to the one you’ve loved so long. Life is an experiment. If you’re not kicking off your safety shoes from time to time and moving beyond your comfort zone, then I say you’re not really living.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta take a leap of faith. And sometimes you’ve gotta throw the basil in your strawberry muffin batter.

When the results turn out well, then here you are, on Earth, to tell about them.

Basil and strawberries are a combination in which I’ve grown quite fond. I know their sweetness and mintiness compliment one another and that I generally enjoy them when they’re hanging out in the same space. Pairing them with chocolate, however, and packaging it all in a muffin was an upshot I couldn’t predict. But as I said, taking chances can be fun, especially in the kitchen. So that’s what I did. I took a chance and threw the basil into the batter. Fortunately, I loved the results.

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

These aren’t overly sweet, so the chocolate doesn’t act as overkill or even seem strange next to a bite of basil. Instead, it plays up the sweetness of the strawberries, and then the basil sweeps in for a clean finish. I really love the complexity of this muffin. You’ll get a wide range of complimentary flavors that all come together for a unique and exciting bite. I’d like to try turning this into some kind of cake because I am totally dreaming of serving it up with a sweet scoop of vanilla ice cream. Though I suppose you could do that with these too.

Feel free to use all whole grain flour, but expect a denser turnout. To yield a moister, lighter muffin, go half and half, as in the recipe below.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

Although it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet here in Philly, I’m kicking off the season with a fresh start – starting now. I’ve got some pretty exciting things coming up (hello trip to France!). And also some rather crazy changes happening as we move into one of my all-time favorite seasons. I’ll fill you in on posts to come. For now, let’s talk about one of the latest transformations to happen, aka, the bright new feel of this site!

Sorry that it has been down the past few days, but Food-Fitness-FreshAir is back, and, in case you haven’t noticed, with a spankin’ new design. I’m happy to say both my blog and I are kicking off the season feeling fresh. We’ll be celebrating the early spring cleaning with the recipe below. It in itself makes me want to grab my party hat.

Hands down, these are the best muffins I’ve had in a long time. And all of their star ingredients make them a healthy choice, too.

The chocolate-infused recipe is 100% whole wheat, but stays incredibly moist from the bananas, yogurt and tahini. Yes, tahini. This is the secret ingredient that adds an interesting depth of flavor to these muffins. Though it’s likely you’d only be able to pinpoint it if told it was in there. Even more importantly, the tahini keeps these muffins butter-free, relying on the naturally heart-healthy fats of sesame seeds instead. Combined with the omegas from the walnuts, this is one stellar choice when you need an on-the-go snack. After the first bite, you’ll want to celebrate too.

Click here for recipe…

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse Phyllo Cups

Chocolate Mousse Cups

Valentine’s Day rarely contributes much normalcy to my life. One year, I ended up at a Tex Mex themed bar in the middle of the ghetto. While neon-colored margheritas were ubiquitous, not a soul was dining on any food. Regardless, my date insisted we stay for dinner. The music was so loud it was hard to object.

The next year, I went out for pizza with one of my best friends. A boy, who would later become my boyfriend, ended up joining us out. Towards the end of the dinner, my friend accidentally tipped over her cup of ice water, which then went all over the boy’s lap. It was below freezing outside, but thankfully he took it well. There were no first kisses that night.

Last Valentine’s Day, I came home to a huge package in the mail. I was given a large bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolate, and an assortment of pastries from a local bakery. All sounds fantastic, right? Sure it was fantastic, but unfortunately the friend zone conversation I had to have with my admirer didn’t go over so well. He no longer speaks to me anymore.

This year? This year I’m flying solo with no plans in mind, and I’m fairly certain it will be the most normal Valentine’s Day I’ve had yet. Although, living in a city, you never know what could happen. If Valentine’s Day does end up as just another Thursday night with a square or two of dark chocolate and a good beer to myself, and maybe a phone call with a girl friend to BS about life, I’ll be 100% okay with that. Sometimes normalcy is fine by me.

Phyllo DoughPhyllo Cups

If you are, however, looking for something a little out of the ordinary to celebrate V-day, might I suggest this recipe. Chocolate mousse is a classic, and loved by all. But this definitely isn’t your classic mousse. While it tastes every bit as rich as the real deal, here, heavy cream is swapped for silken tofu to create a much lighter version of this chocolaty treat. Scooped into phyllo cups, whether its for your best friend or your lover, these are bound to impress your date. And trust me, unless you tell them, they’ll likely never guess the secret ingredient. If you want to keep the whole recipe vegan, simply ditch the phyllo cups for a graham cracker based crust. Make mini tarts for an equally adorable treat.

Click here for recipe…

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel—that’s a sight and sound that will inevitably lead to a taste. Or at least a longing for a taste. You can’t tell me that looking at these cookies doesn’t make you want to try one. And if you can, I’d rather not be friends. (Just kidding.)

But seriously, chocolate and caramel is a match made in candy heaven. This recipe from The Comfort of Cooking doubles the pleasure of this pairing by stuffing an already delicious classic into even more chocolate. Behold, a cookie that looks and sounds every bit as decadent as it tastes.

Given all of that, these are surprisingly simple to make. It was probably more difficult trying to convey how awesome these are through the viewfinder of my camera than it was to actually bake them. The dough comes together quickly and after just a short rest period in the refrigerator, they bake up even quicker. Make sure to include the salt, which makes these cookies the addictive delights that they are. I actually amended the original recipe to add a 1/2 tsp. to the dough. I would suggest sticking with this, as outlined in the recipe below, because salt really does wonders to enhance the richness of both caramel and chocolate. Besides, we all know these were never meant to be healthy. Delicious and crowd-pleasing, on the other hand, are these cookies’ destiny. In my kitchen, sometimes that’s all a good dessert recipe needs.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies
Click here for recipe…