Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Claremont Canyon Hike

Gabe and I went on one of our favorite hikes last weekend, up in the Berkeley Hills. In retrospect, hiking up super steep hills in 80 degree weather wasn't the best choice, but the view once we reached the top was well worth it! If you're ever in the area and are up for the challenge, I highly recommend it. Or you can just look at these pictures and pretend you're there...


Neon moss

Love my neighborhood!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

I originally made this crisp just a few weeks ago when it was just starting to feel like spring...and now here we are with weather in the 80's today! I'm definitely not complaining. Last weekend I went wine tasting in St. Helena and took full advantage of the sunshine. These photos are from Frog's Leap Winery which is my new favorite place...a beautiful tasting room, 42 acres of gardens, chickens, and amazing wine. Definitely check it out if you're in the area!

Anyway, back to the crisp, which I think is the perfect spring/summer dessert...fresh fruit with just a little sugar, a crumbly topping, and vanilla ice cream on top!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp:

For the filling:
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups rhubarb, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
Zest of one lemon

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup rolled oats
Pinch of salt

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the fruit, sugar, flour, and lemon zest, and pour it into a 9 by 13 baking pan.

For the topping, use your fingers or a pastry cutter to combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and oats until the mixture is coarse with pea-size chunks. Sprinkle it evenly over the fruit and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream!

Look at this furry, chubby belly...Poppy needs to work on her abs a little.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Feta and Chive Biscuits

I made these scones as part of an Easter brunch that included quiche, two kinds of cinnamon rolls (regular and orange-pecan), and fruit salad, all made by my mom who is a master of brunch! Not to toot my own horn too much, but these biscuits were a pretty solid addition. They are cheesy and salty with just a little bite from the chives and sour cream - great for breakfast, brunch, or anytime you need a little carb and cheese laden comfort food in your life!

Feta and Chive Biscuits (recipe from Joy The Baker)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup cold sour cream (Use the full fat kind! You'll thank yourself.)
1/3 cup chopped chives
3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture is like a coarse meal. I've said this before, but the colder the butter is, the better! If it's at all warm it will get all mushy and melty, which eliminates flakiness in baked goods.

In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg, and cold water. Add it to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Finally, sprinkle in the chives and feta and then dump out the dough onto a clean surface and knead it until it comes together, about 10 or 15 times.

Roll or pat the dough out so it's about 1 inch thick, and using a cookie cutter (or in my case a beer tasting glass), cut out 2 inch round circles. Arrange the cutouts on the prepared baking sheets, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Look at that butter...ohh yeah. The biscuits are best right out of the oven but will keep for a day or two in an airtight container.

Doesn't this picture just want to make you cuddle up with a cozy blanket?!