Mini Perfect Party Cake -- Tuesdays with Dorie

Happy Birthday, Nummy Kitchen! I started Nummy Kitchen on June 28th, 2008. I can't believe it's been a year, and what a fun year it has been, I have tried so many new recipes and cooking techniques, joined quite a few fun blog cooking and baking groups, learned so much, and most importantly made so many wonderful food blogging friends! I would have never imagined I'd have as many visitors as I do, or get so many sweet comments on my posts as I do. Each one makes me smile and I am so happy to share with all of you. I joined Tuesdays with Dorie right after I started Nummy Kitchen and am happy to say I haven't missed a single Tuesday since then!

Now, on to Perfect Party Cake -- thank you to Carol of mix, mix… stir, stir, for picking this absolutely delicious cake! I am a cake fan, and my favorite is white cake, and I love jam and coconut (even thought I skipped the coconut on my mini), and I adore baked goods with buttermilk, so I had a hunch I would fall for this cake and I sure did.

I baked 6 mini cakes in my Baker's Secret Texas sized jumbo muffin pan. I halved the cake and frosting recipe.

I wasn't too sure about the frosting, but I went with it anyway, and it came together in the end. After the initial whisking of the sugar and egg whites over the simmering water, I have to admit I was kind of put off by the eggy smell, but after whipping with butter and lemon juice and vanilla, this frosting came together beautifully. Although I have to say that this one didn't knock my socks off quite like the frosting we made with the TWD cover devil's food cake, that one was amazing, but this one was still really good!

The cakes baked up perfectly in about 20 minutes, the flavor was mild, the texture nice and moist, what more could you ask for in a basic white cake? I will use this cake recipe again for sure! This was such a fun recipe to put together, and even more special since it has been a year since I started working on Nummy Kitchen. Thank you so much for visiting :)

stop and smell the strawberries

Putting some of those local strawberries to good use, before they slip away, was top priority this weekend. After my friend Chris and I grabbed lunch at St. Honore, we drove out to Sauvie Island where there are plenty of U-pick farms offering up their fresh fruits. After taste testing several varieties, I settled on a flat of sweet berries at a small stand. No picking required.

Three things calling for strawberries were then created in my kitchen.

Freezer jam. After much trial and error, Sure Jell pectin wins hands down.


These delicious strawberry tarts (with a few blueberries thrown in)...


and a summer favorite around our house...


Strawberry tarts
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons ice water

In a food processor, mix the flour and sugar. Add butter and blend for 10 seconds or so. The butter should be in small pea-sized pieces. In a separate bowl, mix together egg yolks, sour cream and ice water. Add egg yolk mixture into processor and blend just until a ball forms. Place the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Once the dough is chilled and easy to handle, divide it into 8 portions. Roll these out into 6 inch circles and place them on baking sheets. Silpats work great. Any baked on juices will easily wash off. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour
6-8 cups fresh fruit, slice and mix with 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons or so of the sugar and flour mixture on each pastry circle to within 1/2 inch of edges. Combine the fruit and 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar and mix gently. Place 3/4 to 1 cup of the fruit mixture onto the pastry. Fold up edges slightly. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Here's the tart making process, photographed in the wee hours of the night...








. . .

signs of summer

Fresh Strawberries

Our week back in civilization has consisted of a broken toilet, burrowing moles, lawn mowing, angry chickens, laundry and more laundry. Bailey received a professional grooming. After a week in the desert, a total of 15 ticks had taken up residence on her body. Those as well as the imbedded cheat grass had to go.

I'm plugging along on the design of two web sites. As a print designer, this is a new challenge for me. Some differences include saturating the heck out of colors (which are now only made up of red, green and blue) and making decisions about what a link looks like when a cursor hovers over it versus what it looks like after its clicked on.

The garden is growing like crazy. Last night we had a huge salad with the two types of lettuce, cilantro, carrots and red potatoes. The potatoes are so yummy. I cut back the green stalks that were taking over the raised bed they're in and the potatoes are still growing under ground. Next year I'll be planting them somewhere else where they have more room to spread out... those are the best potatoes I've ever had! Even my daughter ate one on her salad!

While we were gone we almost missed the yummy Oregon strawberries that are the best thing to happen to June around here.

pick of the crop

. . .

Gazpacho -- Barefoot Bloggers

Our second Barefoot Bloggers recipe for June is Ina's Gazpacho, picked for us to try by Meryl of My Bit of Earth, thank you Meryl! I am not really a fan of cold soup but was excited to give this a try.

Ina Garten's Gazpacho

1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded (I used green)
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

I halved this recipe and it still made a ton. Even though cold soups aren't my favorite, this soup was wonderful! I was so surprised to like it, I can't wait until it sits overnight and the flavors can mesh together a little more. My littlest loved it, the older two didn't want to try it, and I really can't blame them because I remember not wanting to try gazpacho when I was a child either. Now I am looking forward to trying more gazpacho recipes and experimenting with additional veggies, yum!

Johanni - Naturetable June

Time of butterflies and blooming roses, time to celebrate midsummer night.

Lavender Baby

The blooming and smelling lavender I our garden inspired me last week to make this soft blue eyed Lavender Baby.
It is available in my etsy shop

Coconut Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise -- Tuesdays with Dorie

Ta-da! Here is my Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise, picked for our Tuesdays with Dorie treat of the week by Andrea of
Andrea In The Kitchen -- thank you! This dessert jumped out at me the first time I flipped through Baking From My Home To Yours, since I absolutely love coconut and pineapple and it looked like a fun little kitchen challenge.

I did make a few changes, I used macadamia nuts instead of almonds, and sadly ran out of coconut, I used the last up in the meringue but thought I had another bag for the outside, but didn't. I made four layers instead of three and my a last minute decision to skip the ganache and use vanilla ice cream instead, it's just been so hot lately and a freezer friendly dessert was in order. Not to mention that my husband does not like, pineapple, or coconut, or meringue, or macadamias (or almonds!) so I knew this would be a dessert for the kids and I to share, a little at a time, while picky husband can have a bowl of his favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Just a quick little post tonight, we haven't even tasted this yet, so I'll have to report some more after we do a taste test tomorrow, but I'm sure we'll love it. Here are some process photos...

All done, yum! I had a lot of fun putting this together, and I really can't wait to try this since the pineapple coconut combo is one of my favorites.

Update: finally got a chance to try this amazing dessert, all I can say is wow! I think this could be a new favorite TWD treat for me. I loved the chewy coconut in the meringue and the roasted pineapple and the vanilla ice cream worked really well with this. This would be perfect to serve at the end of a summer dinner party. The kids loved it too, my two year old called it "ice cream pizza" -- probably because we always have pineapple on pizza :) I can see making this again for sure, maybe even trying to do more layers, yum!

a day at Whisper Lake

When you hang with bat enthusiasts until the wee hours of the morning, you sleep the day away. I actually didn’t get myself out of bed until around 10 am every day this week.

I took a hike around Whisper Lake this afternoon.

The Mariposa Lilies are at their peak.

Sagebrush Mariposa Lily

Sagebrush Mariposa Lily

Sagebrush Mariposa Lily

as well as a few other flowers

yellow flowers

Bailey and I even found a little time to do some porch sitting...

sittin' on the porch

A simple day requires a simple supper... this soup recipe is super simple. It’s a super simple soup. I think that’s what I shall call it. Requires very little chopping. No pureeing. We can thank my sister-in-law Lorrie for this recipe. Thank you Lorrie for the oh so super simple soup supper!

simple soup

Lorrie's Super Simple Soup
1 box of Pacific Natural Foods buttery sweet corn soup
4 al fresco all natural roasted pepper and asiago chicken sausages, sliced
2 cans of whole black beans, drained
1 package frozen sweet corn
A few chunks of brie cheese
Put the first 4 ingredients in a large pot and heat until hot. Ladle into bowls and add a few small chunks of brie cheese.


more bats...

Day four of the bat excursion. Over ten miles on dusty, windy gravel roads. The scene out the windows was of a consistently desert-like landscape... sagebrush, basalt rock walls, and the same "motorcyclists use extreme caution" sign before each corner, give you the sense you're viewing a backdrop from an old movie repeating over and over. The arrival at the trail to our destination was not exactly a breathtaking experience, but more of the same. The group hauled copious amounts of gear through more sagebrush and dusty rattlesnake country surrounded by more basalt rock walls.

Don't get me wrong, I do very much love the desert. The simplicity of the scenery. The dry air. The quiet. There is a lack of visual stimulation that I find very calming. Small bursts of color here go a long way.

The trail led us to this extraordinarily beautiful oasis. A place called Dutch Henry Falls. More land owned by The Nature Conservancy.

Quite an amazing contrast to the surrounding desert landscape.


Very challenging for those who had to string nets...

Dutch Henry Falls

Dutch Henry Falls

The net stringers had slippery moss covered rocks that shift under foot to contend with. One wrong step and their chest high waders could be quickly filled with water.

We were very content to be spectators on this excursion.

Dutch Henry Falls


Cranberry Orange Scones -- Barefoot Bloggers

Our Barefoot Bloggers bonus recipe for June is Ina’s Cranberry Orange Scones, picked by Em of The Repressed Pastry Chef. Thank you, Em! We love scones at our house and the kids and I really enjoyed these, of course picky husband didn't want any because he doesn't like cranberries. I actually forgot that he doesn't like them before I made this recipe, there are so many things he doesn't like that I think I just need to start a "picky husband won't eat" list :)

Cranberry Orange Scones
Ina Garten
with my minor changes in itallics

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling -- I upped this to 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream -- I used 3/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice -- I used orange juice concentrate for a little extra flavor

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. I don't like baking scones higher than 375, they get too dried out at 400 for me so I dropped the temp 25 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! This step I actually did in the food processor (14 cup), which I love for doing biscuit and scone doughs.

Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended. I kneaded these in by hand after removing the dough from the food processor.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

After one sheet of fluted circle scones I decided to try out my new Lodge cast iron scone/cornbread pan.

There was just enough dough left, and I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure if I had filled it too full or not.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, -- I only did the egg wash on my circle scones and skipped the sugar sprinkled on top -- sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked.

I was worried these would stick in the pan but luckily they didn't, yay! The bottoms are a little lighter than I expected, which is fine with me, they were fully baked and nice and fluffy inside. I was playing it safe with these and didn't want burned brown bottoms. Next time I know I can leave them in a little longer in this pan.

This recipe makes a huge batch of scones!

The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

Results: We absolutely loved these for breakfast and I would make this recipe again for sure, just leaving out the cranberries in half of the batch for my picky husband :) I think it is a great scone base and open to lots of adaptations.