Berrylicious Sweet Rolls

Berrylicious Sweet RollsLabor Day Labors
Not sure if you noticed, but it was kinda hot over the Labor Day Weekend. With temperatures as high as they were, everything we had on our schedule got canceled. And, no one wanted to even think about going outside so we just laid around like slugs. Thank goodness it was the opening weekend for College Football.

The good news is that temperatures are coming down into normal territory. This is good for obvious reasons but also for one not too obvious. If I am not stuck inside bored out of my mind, I won’t find myself eating as much and I ate way too much this last weekend.

Because my daughter and I had cabin fever, we passed the time cooking. We made pasta salad, potato salad, and BBQ chicken. We also made an attempt at French Macarons. (We did okay for a first attempt but they weren’t too pretty…)

Amidst all of the dishes we whipped up, I did manage to make a new recipe for Berrylicious Sweet Rolls that I had been meaning to try out. You know, for the kids.

These rolls are a nice diversion from the usual cinnamon rolls, though nothing could replace cinnamon rolls on my list of awesome tastiness. Instead of cinnamon and sugar, the filling is made by mixing the frozen berries of your choice with sugar and some cornstarch. Personally, I am a fan of the frozen Marion berries we carry from Willamette Valley Fruit but you can use any good quality frozen berries.

These Berrylicious Sweet Rolls are not as sweet as you would think. But, they are definitely worth the work for a Sunday morning treat.

Be careful when baking them. Mine turned out darker than I intended because the original recipe called for too much baking time…or maybe it was just that hot in my kitchen…

Berrylicious Sweet Rolls
Yields 16 rolls
Start these the night before for a fantastic morning treat. Set them to rise in the fridge overnight, and just pop them in a preheated oven in the morning. (See instructions below.) Read more…

Quick and Easy Fruit Cobbler

Quick and Easy Fruit CobblerGobbler of Cobbler
The fourth of July is upon us. So, let the BBQ planning begin. I gotta be honest though, there isn’t going to be much to plan. I’m going low key.

See, we just got back from a crazy (yet fun) experience back East and I just don’t have the mental capacity to put together a big party. I know we will be grilling and we will most likely watch the parade downtown. But beyond that? Not a whole lot going on…

There are some things that you must have on the Fourth. Potato Salad is one. The grilled meat of your choice is second and without fail there has to be some sort of dessert. For most that would be a pie—because nothing says Happy Fourth of July more than a pie. I like a good pie as much as the next guy, but just thinking about rolling out the dough makes me tired.

I’m going the lazy route and making a Quick and Easy Fruit Cobbler. Nothing could be easier. You find your favorite fruit. You toss it with some sugar, a little thickener, throw some biscuits on top and Ta-da! Yummy, tasty dessert that took no time to make. Top it with some vanilla ice cream while it’s still warm and you’ve reached nirvana.

Peach Cobbler is probably the most common. And when peaches are in season, like right now, it can be fantastic. However, the berries that are currently available are also at peak season. And, when you run across a flat of plump sweet blackberries or a few quarts of blueberries, you have the makings of something pretty spectacular. Even better, you don’t have to choose. Mix your berries together to get a little bit of the goodness from each. Or get really wacky and throw some peaches in, too. There are no rules!

Whatever your plans for the Fourth of July holiday, I hope you get to spend some quality time with family and friends…and some cobbler.

Quick and Easy Fruit Cobbler
Both tapioca flour and Instant ClearJel are good choices for thickening. They keep the fruit’s juice clear and the fruit flavor true. The resulting color and flavor is spectacular. Read more…

Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake

Cracker Jack Ice Cream CakeTake Me Out To The Ball Game
I recently came across a photo of a Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake when I was looking through a magazine about great American cakes. And, it blew my mind. It combines a number of things that I love all in one: cake, ice cream, and baseball.

If you have been reading this blog with any regularity you will know of my love for baseball—and nothing says baseball more than Cracker Jacks…well, maybe hot dogs and beer. But, you get the idea.

Full disclosure, I am a fan of peanuts in my ice cream as well as caramel but I have never even considered putting cracker jacks on my ice cream. Mind blown.

This Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake is fairly easy to make, especially if you use a springform pan, But, it does require freeze time. So, be sure to plan ahead if you are making this for a special occasion…but who really needs a special occasion?

Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake
Yields 8-10 servings Read more…

Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry ClafoutisCherries Jubilee
Over the Memorial Day weekend, we found ourselves driving through Brentwood on the way to a tournament in Stockton. And, it was all I could do not to blow off baseball and spend time in the cherry orchards. The signs were everywhere announcing that the orchards were open for picking. It was killing me not to stop.

The good news is that the boys played well. The bad news is we came home too late to do some pickin’. Some of our friends from other teams got to stop…and I am so jealous. And, they now are the proud owners of buckets of cherries that they can use to make tasty treats like this Cherry Clafoutis that is relatively simple to make.

Alas, our schedule is booked yet again for this coming weekend. Otherwise, I’d be heading out there, bucket in hand. So, if you find yourselves with nothing to do this weekend, consider enjoying some fantastic weather and a little taste of heaven from the trees.

And, you can get directions and other information here to help you find your perfect Brentwood cherry picking spot…

Cherry Clafoutis
Adapted from Julia Child
Yields: 6 to 8 servings for dessert, or 4 for breakfast.
We like to make our Cherry Clafoutis in a blender—it is incredibly easy!

Read more…

Gam’s Sunday Dinner Spoonbread

Gam's Sunday Dinner SpoonbreadThe Kitchen Table
Years ago when we remodeled our house, I remember having conversations with the architect about features in my kitchen that I wanted to have a certain way. And, I remember him saying things like If you do that your kids will always leave their backpacks there. or You need to make sure there is space here because this is where everyone will be hanging out.

He was right of course. Everyone is always in the kitchen. Whether it is Thursday night or we’re having a dinner party—everyone always ends up in the kitchen.

It makes sense really. Many of the important events (and even the not so important things) that have happened in my life have happened or have been discussed while we were seated, usually but not always, having a meal around the kitchen table.

Growing up, we had dinner together every night around the kitchen table. We would talk about what happened during our day. If we were exceptionally lucky and the conversation was lively, some of us were covertly able to slip the dog whatever offensive veggie happened to be on the plate that night. No matter what, the kitchen table was where we met after a day of going our separate ways.

Later in life, it was where engagements and babies were announced or lost lives were celebrated. But, always the kitchen table was where we came together.

It’s no different in my home. We eat together at the table in the kitchen every night (that we don’t have a sporting event). My kitchen table is where our friends come to hang out and eat and play the occasional NSFW card game. It is where the homework gets done and the epic Monopoly beat-downs occur.

Without out a doubt, it is the center of our home.

When we decided to change the name of our weekly recipe blog, The Kitchen Table was pretty much the first idea to pop into my head. And nothing else we came up with seemed to make as much sense. For the most part, I try to make this blog not just about a bunch of recipes and food, but also about good stories and interesting experiences. I would love to think that most people can relate to them, or at the very least be entertained. (I do have my quirks…)

So, without further ado, I am happy to announce that going forward What’s For Dinner Wednesday shall now be known as The Kitchen Table. And, I hope that you get as much enjoyment and food for the soul out of this Kitchen Table as I have had from mine.

When thinking about family gatherings around the table my tastes gravitate towards the comforts of Southern style cooking. So, with that in mind, Gam’s Sunday Dinner Spoonbread is a favorite southern-inspired family recipe that has been enjoyed many times around our kitchen table.

Gam’s Sunday Dinner Spoonbread
This is one of those down-home recipes that always reminds me of our dinners at my grandmother’s house. So good served warm with melted butter, and a perfect accompaniment to any BBQ.
Yields 6 servings
Read more…