Watermelon and Black Pepper Granita

Watermelon and Black Pepper Granita  | a little saffron

It’s sweaty out there, whew. Jeans are getting pushed to the back of the closet. No pants til September. If, like me, you’re looking for an excuse to stick your head in the freezer for a blast of cold air, the answer is granita. Gra-ni-ta! That’s the Italian name for this icy dessert, and you can flavor it pretty much any way you like. This one tastes intensely of sweet, fresh watermelon enhanced with liqueur and black pepper. We think it’s pretty spot on and we’ve looked forward to it for dessert each night this week. Watermelon granita hits the spot when your apartment’s AC has given all it can give, and it’s time to find other ways to keep cool.

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Peach and Plum Crisp for #SoLetsPigOut

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July is stone fruit heaven right now with all kinds of plums, fragrant peaches, and plump cherries — it’s the best kind of birthday present. I paired plums and peaches to make what is probably my favorite summer dessert: the Peach and Plum Crisp. It’s as easy to make as it is delicious, and this peach and plum crisp will be loved by everyone at any potluck or hangout you’re invited to this summer.

And you’re invited to a potluck going on right now! Gina and Emily are graciously hosting the #SoLetsPigOut Summer Potluck with 31 fantastic recipes for your summer days. We’ve got you covered for the sunny, delicious weekends to come.

I offer up this crisp because it is a summer staple for me and a total crowd-pleaser. It uses up the bounty of summer in beautiful sunset-hued shades of orange, pink, yellow, and purple. One friend said it’s the best thing she’d ever eaten!

Another thing I love about this crisp is that it doesn’t ask too much of you on these hot, hot days. Slice up fruit until it fills your baking dish. Cover with oats, butter, and other good stuff. Bake. You do have to heat up the oven for this one, but it doesn’t bake for long and it all can be made ahead. So feel free to make this a night or two ahead, and store it in the fridge until the day of your event.

Feel free to serve the crisp warm or at room temperature, but you definitely want to add some ice cream or a big splash of heavy cream. I’m partial to Jeni’s goat cheese ice cream with red cherries (even more stone fruit!) because that creamy tang against the intensely flavored fruit and crisp topping is just perfect.

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Breakfast in Bed + A Giveaway

Breakfast Galette

I’ve always been a breakfast person, but I never gave much thought to breakfast in bed. Now, it seems all I needed was the right equipment.

Kate at Pacific Merchants sent me a beautiful acacia wood Breakfast in Bed set to try out. The tray, plate, and bowl are light and they feel good and smooth in my hands. The natural wood color really shows off the food you serve on it.

Like Pacific, I’m a fan of everyday luxuries and life’s simple pleasures. A pretty bowl of plump raspberries. A new lipstick called ‘Lady Danger.’ On a weekend, a pretty tray with matching plates and bowls makes breakfast feel even more special. This set is great for a Sunday morning treat, and I also found myself also using it to elevate even the most simple of breakfasts: avocado toast. A jar of water with fresh cucumber slices on the side, and I felt like I was being really, really nice to myself.

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The idea of breakfast in bed inspired me to make a breakfast galette. You know I love galettes, both savory and sweet, and this one also calls again for my most favorite, versatile dough: pâte brisée. And what could be better than a cheesy, oniony galette with an egg on it? A *mini* breakfast galette baked just for you. This recipe makes two single-serving galettes. You know what means. A really good flaky crust to filling ratio.

So here’s the plan. The night before you want to surprise someone with breakfast in bed, make the dough and store it in the fridge. On Sunday morning, roll it out, layer it with bacon, cheese, and shallots, and bake it off. This is easy enough to do while you let your boo sleep in.

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Shrimp Dannys

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This is my favorite picture. I don’t remember what we were laughing about but it must’ve been good. Eve snapped the photo at our brunch engagement party, which our friends hosted at her and Kit’s new apartment. There was a ton of food, including biscuits and quiche (recipes from my blog!!), and Katie’s famous strawberry salad. Kit made brisket because now I’ve been to Austin and know that I really, really love brisket.

I also love this photo because in a sense it’s now old. Dated. Those two lovely people you see on the left are now getting married! And Eve, photographer extraordinaire, and Kit, our brisket champion, are engaged, too! Another friend also got engaged this spring. I am so happy I have friends along for this ride.

So much good. So much happiness.

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Shrimp Dannys were also on the brunch menu, of course. You haven’t heard of them? Kit brought these puff-pastry-wrapped shrimp to a brunch at our place once, and Danny liked them so much they were named after him. We now want them at every party ever.

And what’s a party without balloons? With us at this party were a ton of balloons hanging around the kitchen and living room with a photo of Danny and me tied at the end of each string. It was a floating tour of our relationship. You could walk through the highlights of the past three and a half years. Such a sweet surprise.

That feeling I had in Vegas welled up in me again, my heart swollen:  I think I’m in love with our friends. Continue reading  continue reading

Smoked Peaches and Cream Pops

Smoked Peaches and Cream Pop

In April, I came back from Charleston with a fiancé, an even bigger crush on that city, and a mini stovetop smoker.

We came across this little smoker during a cooking class at Charleston Cooks! The instructor smoked pork chops in 20 minutes, and at a price tag less than $40 we had to have this smoker, too. Meat is the obvious choice for what to smoke first, but I couldn’t help trying something unexpected: fruit.

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Billy of Wit & Vinegar is hosting Popsicle Week  and I wanted to come up with something special, especially since this summer’s mascot is smokin’ hot Mariah circa 1999.

Ripe peaches and smoke floating up from a grill are sure signs of summer, and here I put them together with a Smoked Peaches and Cream Pop. It’s a fun twist on the classic peaches and cream flavor combination. The first taste is striking because the smoke is unexpected. Soon that smoked peach pop is gone and you’re looking for another one. This is a standard-looking popsicle but it packs surprising flavor. Continue reading  continue reading