Got a party in the works? How about serving up these adorable beach themed lemon cupcakes and cake! No special skills are required to prepare these sweets and your dessert just may steel the spotlight from the honored guest!
As you get older you realize that one of the most important things in life is being well surrounded by people you love. Or to keep certain people close enough to you that they are willing to plan a huge party for you. Just kidding! On May 31st 2015 the party organization team of Sue and Evelyne threw a big 50th Birthday bash for our dearest friend Michele. It was an absolute pleasure to plan Michele’s birthday as she is like family to me and I know it is a mutual feeling. So one more time: Happy 50th Birthday Michele!
I am sure most bloggers want their first real post of the new year to be sublime, an impressive display, a creation to evoke jealousy in other food blogger (said jokingly of course). Well not I, nope, I bring you leftovers! But I am not doing it because I want to, I swear, it is the fault of the Creative Cooking Crew hi hi.
Our first theme for 2015 is: Repurposing Leftovers or How Many Meals Can You Get From One. I went with repurposing. I actually hosted the 25th (family) and the 31st (friends) but both were pot-lucks. Lots of leftovers but small quantities of things that did not necessarily mesh well. So I decided to layer up slices of desserts! I bring you A Cake Reconstruction!
It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a host picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by Caroline Makes… She picked a classic, Funny Girl.
And out of this challenge came a pretty healthy snack that will still satisfy your sweet tooth: Lemon Cream Cheese Truffled Grapes.
It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a ‘host’ picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by Tina at Squirrel Head Manor. Tina picked a movie A Good Year, which is based on a novel by Peter Mayle. Like most of his books, the setting is Provence, the land of lavender – my inspiration!
About 10 years ago I went on a Peter Mayle reading rampage. I read so many of his books I do not remember if I read this one. Apparently that would be a good thing not to remember as the book is very loosely based. That said it was a very cute romantic comedy movie.
Max, an unethical business go getter, inherits his uncle’s house in Provence, the house where Max spent a many summers as a boy. His trip for a quick sale becomes extend as he is in hot waters with the UK government. Well his presence upsets many people in this small French town, including the wine maker who works on the now for sale land and Fanny the lovely eventual romantic interest. What does the future hold for all three characters? Well I hope I wetted your appetite enough to get your hands on the movie.
There is lots of talk about wine and food in the movie but nothing for me really stood out. What did stand out was a “situation” that occurred twice in the movie: the cleaning lady chases away scorpions with fresh lavender to save the terrified visitors. So I looked it up online and indeed lavender is a scorpion repellant. Who knew!
That is when I knew my recipe would showcase lavender buds. I searched high and low for a really ‘out there’ recipe. Most people would find a lavender recipe exotic but I have actually use it in cooking several times. For this event I settled on the curious Lemon Lavender Avocado Loaf by Sheena on Allrecipes.
It so happens that this summer 4 of my friends and I headed out of town to visit a local lavender field. Walking along the 2 toned purple plants up and down the longs field was such an amazing experience. At the midway point the farm had set up a bunch of Adirondack chairs. Imagine 5 lovely ladies sitting in a row just enjoying the calming smell. We we so relaxed and happy, it was hard to leave the fields.
I had recently run out of edible lavender buds so I bought some while at the farm, perfect for this really creative recipe. I hope you were not to put off by this combination of lavender, lemon and avocado but actually it worked really well together. The avocado acts at the fat for the recipe and you only have hints of it on the palate. I will admit the lavender is intense here if you are not used to it. There recipe was for 2 loafs but since I only have one loaf pan I used half the batter for cupcakes which I topped with a pretty raspberry!
I found that the flavors mellowed a bit after a day, so if you have the willpower wait for the next day to try a slice. I brought only one cupcake to work for an adventurous colleague. When my other colleagues found out I was reprimanded quite severely for underestimating their open-mindedness. I made amends by bringing half the loaf in the next day. And they proved me wrong as I mostly got positive comments.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 9×5 inch loaf pans.
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the avocado and lemon juice with the last egg. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the lavender and lemon zest; mixing just enough to evenly combine. Pour the batter into prepared pans.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour (about 25 minutes for cupcakes). Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a ‘host’ picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by Marie-Anne at This Mama Cooks! Anne-Marie picked a movie that was on my list of food movies to see but I never really got around to it. The movie Toast is an autobiographical comedy-drama based on the childhood of food journalist and chef Nigel Slater.
The Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge is all about baking and making sweets. Every month we are given two required ingredients to work with. This month it was Blueberries and Lemon. Two awesome fruits that pair so well. Lemon desserts are so summery and refreshing. Blueberries are gorgeous little blue gems that I adore. I wanted to showcase them separately but in one dessert. So I did sort of a half-half stacked pie with my creation: a Blueberry and Shaker Lemon Pie.
OK I know what you are thinking now, one of 3 words: what? why? ewww! Now hold on, we are here to explore new tastes and sometimes the unknown can be quite a revelation.
This liqueur is all Tasty Trix’s fault. I even emailed her and told her so. Tasty Trix talked about an Icelandic birch Liqueur she discovered on a recent trip. I wanted to try it but I would have to go to Iceland. She mentioned Pine Liqueur was close. I got none of that around either.
But I just happen to still have 3 ice cubes of spruce extract in the freezer from when I made Spruce Beer soda a while back. So I went searching for a liqueur recipe that would fit the bill with my spruce ressource.
1 1/2c vodka
2 tbsp spruce extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Add the spruce extract to the vodka and steep for 10 days.
Put sugar and water in a small pan. Bring to a boil and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Let simple syrup cool. Add the sugar syrup and mature for 2 to 4 weeks.
After proper maturity the taste is quite nice and only slightly evergreen-ish. Really it is pretty good. And I even found a perfect cocktail to use my Spruce Liqueur. It mixes surprisingly well with lemon and soda. I dare you to try it!
Lemon Spruce Fizz
1/4 cup Spruce Liqueur
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup soda water
lemon twist to decorate
Add liqueur, lemon juice and soda water to a shaker. Shake vigorously with 1 ice cube. Pour into a martini glass and serve with a twist of lemon rind.
The Vegan round up of the Creative Cooking Crew is up: check the pics on our Pinterest page and here are the links to the participants!
The Vegan Gutbuster from Lori of Taste with the Eyes.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake with Cranberry Topping from Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz.
Sweet Plantain Empanadas with Mixed Mushroom Picadillo from Norma at Platanos, Mangoes + Me!
Pumpkin Crepes and Maple Ice Cream from Marisa, Cook’s Book. Mushroom Yakitori and Mushroom Scallion Potstickers from the Home Skillet team. Nime Chow from Victoria of Mission Food
Smoked Tempeh & Grain Meat Meatballs with Zucchini Spaghetti & Grain Meat Ragu from Lazaro Cooks.
Lemongrass Chickpea Tofu Skewers with Spicy Soya Pomelo Dip from Maya of Foodiva’s Kitchen
Two Potato Tofu Napoleon from Christo of ChezWhat?
Vegan Sushi and Edamame Salad by Maureen of Cuisine by Maureen Batata Vada by Deana of Lost Past Remembered Baked Pear and Chi Lentils from The Ardent Epicure
Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic Cashew “Cheese” from Tracey of TastyTrix Broccoli Divan by Faith of An Edible Mosaic Lentil Loaf by Erica of My Colombian Recipes. Cauliflower Soup by Laura of La Diva Cucina Hot Tofu Sliders from Angela of Spinach Tiger
Meatless Meatballs + Spaghetti from Jessica of Cajunlicious
Tempeh Filo Triangles and Brussels Sprouts Slaw from Kelly of Pink Apron.
Baja Style Tofu Tacos with Beet/Carrot Slaw + Avocado Mash from Debi.
And, La Frita, my vegan Cuban burger.