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poached pears – an easy dessert

poached pearsIt’s been a while since I last poached pears.  A super easy dessert to make and one where you don’t need any special ingredients.  Poached pears make the best use of unripe fruit and heightens the flavor of firm but ripe pears.  This light and delicate dessert is perfect for entertaining; the pears stay in the poaching liquid until ready to serve.  Serve the pears whole, sliced or quartered.  Continue Reading →

fresh fruit tart

fresh fruit tartThis time of year the local farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh produce.  It’s a place I enjoy wandering around seeing what vendors have to offer.  Last weekend I picked up a lovely box of redcurrants.  I haven’t used these for what seems like eternity and it was a fruit my mom used for jellies.  Continue Reading →

Citrus Fruit Salad with Roasted Pecans

Citrus Fruit SaladWe had a glorious sun-filled weekend.  Today the morning started off with a grey sky and snow falling gently to the ground…the chunky snowflakes were pretty but more snow?  A total of 10cm (4-inches) fell with more forecasted on the way.  I’m usually more tolerant of our winters and I really don’t want to sound like a broken record, but for the love God, please stop snowing!  Continue Reading →

Peach and Blueberry Crostata

peach and blueberry crostataIt’s peach season, along with other stone fruits, in Nova Scotia.  I, like many, look forward to this time of year when local produce hit the shelves of grocery stores and farmers’ markets.  It also signals the end of summer and even though the days are warm, daylight hours are beginning to shorten.  There’s nothing quite like taking a bite out of a fresh, juicy peach.  Picking ripe peaches isn’t difficult…choose ones that aren’t hard and blemish-free.  Keep in mind the sweetness of a peach does not increase after picking and fresh ones tend to spoil quickly so only pick what you can use within a few days.  Continue Reading →

Blackberry Sorbet

blackberry sorbet by The Culinary ChaseIt’s the subtle changes in the weather when I start to notice a shift as we slowly drift out of summer and into autumn. I know, shhh! not so loud but it’s true. The sunlight looks different as it lands in areas of the house and the air smells different. As I was rinsing the blackberries a subtle breeze came through the kitchen window – the kind that signals things are changing. I remember my mom years ago saying something similar but at the time I really didn’t take notice. The summer harvest is a time of year I enjoy as local produce becomes more abundant. Blackberries (also known as brambleberry, dewberry) are loaded with nutrients and have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. For more health benefits, visit the Huffington Post article.  Another sorbet to add to my list of simple desserts to make.

Makes 4 cups
adapted from Honey & Jam

2 cups water
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1 cup sugar
3 cups fresh blackberries
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

blackberries by The Culinary ChaseIn a pot, bring water to a boil. Remove pot from heat and add tea tags. Allow to steep 5 minutes then remove tea bags. Add sugar to the tea infused water and heat until sugar dissolves. Cool. Purée berries in a food processor and then push through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Add puréed berries and lemon juice to the tea mixture. Pour into a container and freeze until solid.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: This summertime treat is a gorgeous color and the flavor was amazing!   Enjoy!

Lemon Rosemary Sorbet

Lemon Rosemary SorbetWant to make an easy, delicious-tasting dessert or pallet cleanser? Sorbet is simple to make and because it contains no dairy, it’s perfect for anyone who is lactose intolerant or vegan. This frozen treat knows no boundaries so use your favorite fruit or chocolate and satisfy your cravings for a frozen treat. Lemon and rosemary are a perfect pairing for this sorbet. Looking for other sorbet ideas? Why not try mango sorbet, Meyer lemon sorbet or basil and lime sorbet..all are super easy to make.

Makes 3 1/2 cups
inspired by Food & Wine

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 rosemary sprigs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Lemon Rosemary CollageIn a saucepan, bring the water, sugar and rosemary to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Discard the rosemary and let the syrup cool to room temperature. Add lemon juice and refrigerate until chilled. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour syrup into a shallow container and freeze. I used this method as the quantity wasn’t sufficient for my ice cream maker to work properly.  The subtle hint of rosemary is a lovely match to the lemon.  Enjoy!

Stone Fruit Cobbler

fruit cobbler

Are we bypassing Spring this year?  The weather has been up and down like a toilet seat at a mixed party!  I made this cobbler in the hopes that it was going to be warm soon.  The winter wasn’t particularly harsh but the cooler temperatures with a few spikes in heat has made it feel as though winter is still nipping at our heels.  Oh well, give it a few weeks and we’ll be complaining it’s too hot.

Serves 4 to 6
adopted from Chef Megan Garrelts

3 nectarines, pitted and chopped
3 peaches, pitted and sliced
1 cup assorted berries, hulled
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
citrus sugar cookie dough (click here for recipe)

Preheat the oven to 350°f (180°c).

mixed fruitButter four 8-oz. ovenproof ramekins or a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Dust the buttered ramekins or dish with sugar.  In a large bowl, toss the fruit together with sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, orange juice and zest, ginger, and cornstarch. Depending on the sweetness and ripeness of your fruit, you may need to add more sugar, or a smidge more cornstarch (not more than 1 teaspoon).

Mound the fruit mixture into the ramekins or baking dish. The fruit will collapse as it bakes so you want to heap it so the fruit peaks above the top of the baking dish, and dot with cubed butter.  Slice the sugar cookie dough and top the cobbler, distributing it evenly over the fruit.  Bake the cobbler until the cookie dough is golden brown and the fruit begins to bubble, about 20 minutes.

cobblerThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  While it’s not stone fruit season yet, frozen fruit is a good alternative.  And you don’t have to use the exact fruit mentioned in the recipe…use whatever frozen fruit your family enjoys.  Make sure to place ramekins on a baking sheet as the juice from the fruit will bubble over (yum!).  Cardamom is an ancient Indian spice and while it is used primarily in savory dishes, its lemony undertones is a surprising compliment to the fruit in this cobbler.  Enjoy!