Individual Summer Pies

Individual Summer PiesWith a basket full with plenty of ripe peaches, sweet strawberries and deep hued cherries, I knew I just couldn’t let the fruit that were a bit past their fresh eating days go to waste. With my favorite pate brisee {pie dough} on hand, pie was a dessert I could manage baking up sitting down. I didn’t just want to make a hearty fruit pie by combining the different fruits together. I wanted to highlight each signature flavor. My collection of mason jars, meant I had the perfect containers for individual pies that would satisfy any fruit pie craving. Individual Summer Pies

Individual Summer PiesIndividual Summer Pies Individual Summer Pies Individual Peach Crumble PiesI like to let my fruit pie fillings sit for at least five minutes, so that the flavors and natural juices develop more intensely. I used a blend of the ripest white nectarines and peaches on hand, creating a naturally sweet pie topped with equally decadent crunchy almond crumble, which I need to place onto everything. Individual Peach Crumble PiesMy baking sheets have definitely seen better days, considering they’re the first set I bought. Individual Strawberry PiesThe random patterned top on the strawberry pies, came from a piece of dough not large enough for much else. When desserts are in mini form, anything goes with design, at least I think so. Individual Cherry PiesI’m quite a sucker for a fresh peach pie, but after this summer, my love of cherries has gone to another level, mostly in part for this simple syrup, which give these pies an intenser cherry flavor. Heated up with a scoop of ice cream, these individual pies are sure to be a crowd pleaser at parties or eaten solo on a brisk summer night.
Individual Summer Pies

Peach Almond Crumble Pies

Ingredients {Makes 3, 3″ pies}

One Recipe – Pate Brisee {one recipe will make about 9, 3″ pies}

2 pounds {about 2 medium} – Peaches {chopped}

1/3 cup – Dark Brown Sugar {packed}

2 tablespoons – Cornstarch

2 teaspoon – Fresh Lemon Juice

Pinch of Salt

Almond Crumble

1/3 cup – Almonds {raw, unsalted}

1/3 cup – Dark Brown Sugar {packed}

Recipe

For the almond crumble, chop the almonds in a food processor until resembles coarse almond meal. Add in the brown sugar, and pulse until combined. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter your metal jar lids, making sure the remove the bottoms if they have a rubber strip. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll pate brisee to 1/8″ thickness, and cut circles 1/4″ larger than your jar lid. Fit dough into buttered lids, leaving an excess overhang. Refrigerate about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt. Let sit until juices thicken slightly {at least 5 minutes}. Divide filling between pie shells. Trim excess dough, and finish the edge. Bake until golden brown, and juices bubble {about 25 to 30 minutes}. Serve warm, or a room temperature.

Strawberry and Lemon Basil Pies

Ingredients {Makes 3, 3″ pies}

8 ounces {about 2 cups} – Strawberries {chopped}

1 tablespoon – Fresh Lemon Basil {finely chopped}

1/2 cup – Sugar

1 tablespoon – Cornstarch

2 teaspoon – Fresh Lemon Juice

Pinch of Salt

Lightly beaten egg

Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter your metal jar lids, making sure the remove the bottoms if they have a rubber strip. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll pate brisee to 1/8″ thickness, and cut circles 1/4″ larger than your jar lid. Fit dough into buttered lids, leaving an excess overhang.  Refrigerate about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon basil, lemon juice and salt. Let sit until juices thicken slightly {at least 5 minutes}. Divide filling between pie shells. Trim excess dough, finish edges, and top with single layer of dough with holes to vent or smaller rounds of dough. Brush with a lightly beaten egg, and sugar. Bake until golden brown, and juices bubble {about 25 to 30 minutes}. Serve warm, or a room temperature.

Cherry Pies

Ingredients {Makes 3, 3″ pies}

1 cup – Fresh Cherries {coarsely chopped}

1/4 cup – Cherry Simple Syrup {recipe here}

1 tablespoon – Cornstarch

Pinch of Salt

Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter your metal jar lids, making sure the remove the bottoms if they have a rubber strip. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll pate brisee to 1/8″ thickness, and cut circles 1/4″ larger than your jar lid. Fit dough into buttered lids, leaving an excess overhang.  Refrigerate about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the cherries, simple syrup, cornstarch and salt. Let sit until juices thicken slightly {at least 5 minutes}. Divide filling between pie shells. Trim excess dough, and finish edges. Bake until golden brown, and juices bubble {about 25 to 30 minutes}. Serve warm, or a room temperature.

Flower + Herb Arrangements

Flower + Herb ArrangmentFresh flowers are a weakness of mine, and I try to have them throughout each room in the house, not only because they’re pretty, but for the aroma they bring into any room. I tend to place simple bud vases with single large blooms in the bathroom, or gather smaller arrangements together to create table centerpieces lovely from every angle the eye can see. Lovely mint julep cups were on sale here last week, and I just couldn’t pass up this great opportunity. I’ve been eyeing these pretty and versatile glasses for some time, imagining creating lovely flower arrangements or delicious drinks.

Since the beginning of the month, I’ve slowly begun collecting a variety of herbs from the garden to prepare for the colder months ahead, hanging them along the wall in my dark basement. Some will be brewed for tea, while others as spices in special dishes like this holiday baked brie.

Flower + Herb ArrangementI’ve been trying to take in as much summer freshness into my days, while I still can. So, I decided, while smelling the fragrant herbs in my basket, why not create small pretty arrangements, that make a subtle statement. The sweet basil and the refreshing lemon mint scents blend beautifully, hugging your senses with summer love. Herbs usually last in water and cool temperatures, refreshed and cut every other day, about 1 to 2 weeks, depending on care. Which allows me to enjoy the scents of gardening and summer until the remainder of August, while still working well with the beginning of the Fall season, where then I can start envisioning what these delicious herbs will become once winter.

Flower + Herb ArrangementThe front garden is blooming with so many pink garden roses, which I paired with delicate white flowering lemon mint.Flower + Herb ArrangementThe deep plum coloring of the Thai basil, is the perfect color as he head into fall.
Flower + Herb ArrangementI’d say the most unique part of my garden, are the small corners dispersed throughout of different succulents. We have small ones that resemble a bushel of rosettes, like these, and my favorite, which look like large bloomed flowers, like this one. I just loved the lavender hue a flowering succulent looked along with bright yellow flowering dill.
Flower + Herb ArrangementA large bunch of fresh mint makes for a beautiful, and beyond aromatic arrangement. Flower + Herb Arrangement

Nostalgia

Nostalgia photo by The Dreamery Do you ever get an intense feeling of nostalgia, where a certain smell or the weather takes you back to a certain moment or time in your life? This morning a cup of coffee took me back to my favorite coffee shop in Arizona, and drinking multiple pumpkin lattes, getting me through planning several large fundraisers. The morning sun and the brisk end of summer wind reminded me of opening the wood window shutters every morning in Portugal, looking out onto the farms and forest. I usually get these feelings, often wondering if it’s because I’m longing to be somewhere else in my life, to a time a bit more fulfilled, or is it because that I’ve had and continue to have many happy memories, that I’m often reminded of them by the simplest of things.

I think another part of nostalgia involves growing, and learning from events in your life. For me, it’s my love and much greater appreciation for Portugal and my family. Now that I’m older, and life’s responsibilities occupy my time a bit more, I don’t have the opportunity for month-long stays like I used to have when I was younger in school. But since then I’ve become more sure of who I am, my interests and how much my past has shaped those.Nostalgia photo by The DreameryLooking back on these moments that suddenly appear in your day, allows you to make connections within in your present life. For me, I always knew I loved nature because I spent many summers in Portugal, where we live on a farm. The fact that I cannot go at this time, makes me truly appreciate those long summers spent outside all day, picking potatoes and riding tractors, going onto the farm with my family picking dinner, making wine and looking up into the best starry skies.

IMG_1994Farming and food have become a great passion of mine, and need each other to thrive successful. I want to integrate my past into my future goal of a owning a bakery and farm. It’s a part of how I was raised, my family, and all those wonderful happy moments in my life that motivate me to create a future.

Nostalgia photo by The DreameryIt’s amazing how so much can be conjured with an instinctual whiff or a small melody. A song you didn’t notice at that time, a place you didn’t even know had a particular smell. On one hand we long to be be in the past, but look more forward to the present and future. I stumbled upon this passage, and loved the bittersweet interpretation of nostalgia and how I’ve been feeling.

“But here is the truth of nostalgia: we don’t feel it for who we were, but who we weren’t. We feel if for all the possibilities that were open to us, but that we didn’t take. Like wax dripping from a flame, in the moment capable of transforming into any form, then solidifying into what it will always be, it becomes the past. A solid, single record of what happened, still holding its wild curves and contours the potential of every shape it could have held. It is impossible-no matter how blessed you are by luck, of the government, or some remote invisible deity gently steering your life with hands made of moonlight and wind-it is impossible not the feel a little sad, looking at the bit of wax. That bit of the past. It is impossible not to think of all the wild forms that wax now will never take.” Welcome to Night Vale #21

Nostalgia photo by The Dreamery

Nostalgia photo by The Dreamery

What are your thoughts on nostalgia?

Summer Squash Salad

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This past weekend the garden bloomed with plenty of bright green zucchinis and yellow squashes. They’re lovely grilled or baked into cakes, but I prefer mine fresh as a salad. I topped steamed asparagus and hericots verts, with spaghetti-like ribbons of squash. When I made a batch of this, I knew extra was going to be needed, because I have been adding it onto everything.IMG_4620

I just loved the way the roasted tomato pesto became the perfect dressing for a bed a delicately sliced summer squash. It brought out each lovely ingredient’s flavor, a flavor so distinctly homegrown. When you take the time and effort to take seeds, nourish them and ensure they grow into food, you taste the difference in vegetables’ taste. Reading The Third Plate has given me a greater sense of where my food comes from, and more importably the techniques used to get them onto our kitchens. So, I was proud of this simple dish, a lunch I quickly put together with ingredients picked from the garden a few steps from my kitchen.IMG_4621

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Summer Squash Salad

Ingredients {Serves 2}

2 cups {about 1 medium} – Zucchini

2 cups {about 1 medium} – Yellow Squash

1 cup – Red Grape Tomatoes {halved}

2 ounces – Fresh Mozzarella {chopped into 1/2″ pieces|

3 small – Artichokes {halved, use a jarred brand with no salt}

1/4 cup – Fresh Parsley {chopped}

Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons – Roasted Tomato Pesto {recipe here}

Recipe

Using a mandoline, or a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the zucchini and yellow squash into a medium bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, mozzarella, artichokes, and parsley. Season with salt, pepper and pesto, and toss together.

End of Summer Soirée Inspiration

End of Summer Soiree InspirationThe days are becoming brisker as Fall nears. Some are attempting to savor every last bit of summer by going on their getaways and vacations now before normal routine begins once again in September, while some have already said “adieu” to the carefree spirit of Summer. For most, it’s the days spent enjoying deep relaxation and laughs by having plenty of casual get-togethers with loved ones. It’s the last weeks to enjoy fresh meals made with the farmers market’s best, sip cocktails underneath the stars, and appreciate the last of what the season has to offer. I would have people over to grill and entertain everyday if I could, so I’ve compiled a few images that are inspiring me to throw and an End of Summer soirée…

{from top to bottom, left to right}

Rustic wood, cheerful sunflowers, and fragrant herbs are the perfect combination for an end of summer gathering

Have lounge seating at your wedding, or bring sofas outside for an outdoor movie night, to create comfy nautical corners that remind you of summer

Use the bountiful end of harvest fruits, like cherries, as decor, and peaches as place cards

Instead of serving appetizers that can go bad in the heat, serve up a new twist on fish with pickled mussels

This farm to table inspiration shoot has just the perfect details for end of summer soirée

When days call for more effortless gatherings, a good cheese board is a necessity and so are lovely cheese knife sets. They would work great as favors for a wedding, as well

Sip on refreshing drinks with herbs

Setup an ice cream station with chilled marble slabs, or even better, rent an ice cream cart from your favorite creamery

Strung lights with bright greenery, are beautiful to look at starry summer nights

Friday Favorites

Friday FavoritesSpent a gloomy afternoon crafting

Brisker days this past week, feel like Fall is nearing too soon, and I’m dreading the end of Summer. The carefree days, and weekends spent enjoying the great outdoors as long as the sunshine allows us. Instead of focusing on the negative and how much I don’t enjoy the cooler months, I’m learning to appreciate the change of seasons as Mother Nature’s cycle of life. Although there isn’t much the eye can see, below in the soil, much life is living and thriving. I guess nature goes into hibernation much like bears do, but I’m not ready to do so. And even though I can’t walk too normal yet, there’s much to enjoy this beautiful weekend. Whether I’ll got to the farmer’s market, a nice dinner, or simply relax in the garden prepping my work for colder months, I hope your weekend is just as lovely.

Friday FavoritesI’ve been taking lots of photos of Marley lately, but the night’s light was perfectFriday FavoritesThe details of beautiful garden flowersProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetThere have plenty of yellow squash and zucchini from the garden, working on some new dishesFriday FavoritesFood tastes so much better when homegrown and picked, tomatoes, cucumbers, swiss chard, and cilantro from the garden made this summer salad delicious
Friday FavoritesA few new beauty products and the new issue of Martha are the way to start a new weekFriday FavoritesCelebrated National S’mores Day with one made with organic dark chocolate and Belgian waffle cookies
Friday Favorites A healthy chocolate strawberry yogurt breakfast with a special love mug, given to one of my best friend’s in college. So excited as she starts her new blogging journey with The New Fit!

Mango Cherry Sorbet

Mango Cherry SorbetThe weather is changing, the wind has become brisker and calls for a light sweater. Summer is definitely drifting away, and you can feel the change of season in the air. I wanted to make a refreshing ice cream that took me back to the tropical beaches I’ve been missing. The mango flavor was sweet and rich like honey. I got the ripest, smallest golden mangos, which make all the difference in having a distinct flavor. By not straining the pureed mango, it produced a thicker base which became a creamier sorbet. The sugary flaky pastry reminds me of eating a frozen fruit tart or a sorbet croissant sandwich. It was the perfect treat, on a gloomy summer day.Mango Cherry SorbetMango Cherry SorbetI had some leftover puff pastry and since my mother, or should I say my caregiver, has been craving these buttery layers, I decided to bake it up in rounds to sandwich my sorbet between. With some chopped fresh cherries, and a drizzle of my favorite simple syrup, this sorbet just calls for beach breaks and summer fun.Mango Cherry Sorbet Mango Cherry Sorbet

Mango Cherry Sorbet

Ingredients {Makes one quart}

3 1/2 pounds {about 3} – Large Mangos {peeled and chopped}

6 tablespoons – Water

6 tablespoons – Pure Maple Syrup

3 tablespoons – Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 teaspoon – Salt

1/2 cup – Cherry Simple Syrup {recipe here}

Recipe {Adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones}

Puree chopped mango into a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the water, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, and simply syrup, and blend until completely combined and smooth. Taste to make sure it is a bit sweeter than it should be, once frozen it will become less sweet {add additional sugar if necessary}.

Freeze sorbet in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions, and place container in freezer while churning. Enjoy right away, or until firmer {about 4 hours}. Let sit until softened about to scoop {about 5 minutes}.