Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blueberry Cream Cheese Dessert

If you aren't sure what dessert you are going to make for your Labor Day festivities or ANY festivity for that matter MAKE THIS please.  This dessert is just hurting people up in here.

It's so good.  My Mom made this for me when I was home a couple of weeks ago and I had about fourteen servings. She also made it with fresh Maine blueberries.  It wasn't fair.  I didn't even have a fighting chance. 

Start by adding the water, half the sugar, cornstarch, and half the fresh blueberries and simmer until berries begin to burst, about 3-5 minutes. Continually stir over medium heat so the mixture doesn't burn.  Take off the heat, and add the rest of the blueberries.  Set aside and let the mixture cool for 45 minutes. 

Next, make the crust.  This crust is so good.  It's nutty and savory and yummy and so easy!  Flour, butter, and walnuts with a pinch of salt. Easy peasy.

Press the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan to form a crust.  Cook at 350 for 15-16 minutes then set aside to cool for 45 minutes. It will end up like this:

Beat your cream cheese with the powdered sugar, and then fold in the Cool Whip.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust. 

Next, pour the blueberry mixture on top.


Isn't this sooooo pretty?!  It also keeps like this for 2-3 days.  So if you need a dessert to serve over the weekend, this is the perfect thing to make.  It probably won't last though, but that's not my fault.  You just didn't make enough.

Oh..before I forget, top with some extra whipped cream.  DUH LISH.

Here's the recipe: 

2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Melted
2 Cups of Flour 
1 1/3 Cups of Finely Chopped Walnuts 
Pinch of Kosher Salt 

Cream Cheese Filling: 
8 Ounces of Cream Cheese, Room Temp 
1 Cup of Powdered Sugar 
8 Ounces of Cool Whip  

Blueberry Topping: 
2 Pints of Fresh Blueberries 
3 Tbs Cornstarch 
1 Cup of Sugar, separated 
1/4 Cup of Water 

Whipped Cream: 
3 Cups of Heavy Whipping Cream 
2-3 Tbs of Sugar 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix crust ingredients and press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 15-16 minutes to set the crust.  Set aside to cool, about 45 minutes.  While crust is cooling, make cream cheese filling and blueberry topping.

To make the blueberry topping, add water, 1/2 cup of sugar, and cornstarch to a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until blended. Add 1 pint of blueberries to pan and simmer until berries begin to burst, stirring constantly for about 3-5 minutes.  Take off the heat, add remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and other pint of blueberries. Stir, set aside and cool for 45 minutes.    Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended.  Fold in Cool Whip. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust. Pour blueberry mixture over cream cheese.  Let set in fridge for 30 minutes before serving.  Add fresh, real whipped cream on top to make it extra special.

To make the fresh whipped cream for topping, beat heavy cream on medium until cream begins to thicken.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar until it reaches desired sweetness. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Stay hungry!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wedding Dessert Bar

Friends.  Weddings.  Dessert.  Maine.  Just a few of my favorite things and they all happen to come together in this sweet post.  My friend Lottie got married on Chebeague Island in Maine last August and seeing a Facebook post about their anniversary reminded that I had been meaning to do a writeup on the beautiful dessert bar at their wedding reception.

First up, obviously, is the wedding cake itself.  A lemon cake with a strawberry and lemon curd filling & buttercream frosting.  I'm obsessed with the spiral of flowers coming from the top.  The hydrangeas are perfect and so summery.

Once you had your fill of cake, Lottie & Marc had to-go bags and boxes for the rest of the treats.  They said "Love is Sweet".  See what they did there?  I'm obsessed.

Since it was a Maine wedding, it wouldn't be complete without blueberry pie.  How cute are these mini blueberry pie pops?

Speaking of Maine, the dessert table also featured maple cookies with maple frosting.  Chewy & delicious, these were a favorite of the bride.

Next up are these cute little strawberry rhubarb pies...

...and for the chocolate lovers, a platter of fudge brownies.  Yum.

Isn't a dessert bar such a fun way to go?  Lottie did it right with beautiful presentation, gorgeous flowers, and, of course, tasty treats.  Love is sweet, indeed!

For those wondering, the cake & desserts were baked by Nothing Bakes like a Parrott and the flowers were done by Heather Caron Floral.  All of these beautiful photos were taken by Melissa Mullen Photography, care of Charlotte.

Congrats & happy anniversary Lotters & Marc!  Stay hungry!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cheesy Tomato Oil

HI GUYS.  Sorry for the brief delay.  We missed you. 

I was in Maine a couple of weekends ago and my Mom made the most delicious food ever.  It was a compilation of all my favorites - lobster, more lobster, sausage and pepperoni bread, this ridiculous blueberry cream cheese crumble dessert that I'll post about on Wednesday and THIS.  Let me just tell you what THIS is.  It's tomato oil, according to my Mom.  She's a freak of nature and just whips stuff up like this and doesn't really realize how genius some of her simple creations are. Olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, cheese, and lots of garlic.  I can't tell you how incredible this is.  You'll just have to take my word and make this stat. 

So there's the quick way and there's the long way.  I've had them both and knowing how impatient I am, I think I'll make it the quick way from now on.

You can either get a large can of San Marzano tomatoes or you can get a jar of your favorite pasta sauce.  Rao's is amazing and is packed with flavor already.  If you go the traditional (long way) you need to simmer the sauce for a long time in the oven.  Like for 45 minutes to an least. So just get a good sauce that's already been simmered low and slow and call it a day.

Before adding the sauce, add the olive oil, thinly sliced garlic and red pepper flakes to your serving dish. Simmer in the oven for 10 minutes to infuse the oil.

Next add your sauce (be careful because the oil is hot), mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil and pop it back in the oven for another hour or so, or if using a jar of pre simmered sauce, just cook until heated through, about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Take it out of the oven and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.  If you can.  Charlie swooped in at about 3 minutes into cooling time.  Serve this as is with a loaf of crispy crunchy bread, like a french baguette.

This is soooo delicious.  Soooo savory and soooo easy to make.  My Mom made like twice this much and just left it on the counter.  It was basically gone in 4 hours.

This is going to be my new go to company dish.  It's communal, soul satisfying, rustic and yum.

Here's the recipe: 

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp of Red Pepper Flakes
2 Garlic Cloves, sliced very thin 
1 Large Can of San Marzano Tomato Puree (or a jar of your favorite marinara sauce) 
1, 8 oz Container of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (cherry size) 
1 Cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese 
5-6 Leaves of Fresh Basil 
Fresh Crusty Bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Add garlic and pepper flakes to oil and heat in the oven for 10 minutes to infuse oil. Add tomato sauce, both cheeses, and basil. If using San Marzano tomatoes, simmer in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  If using a jar of marinara sauce, you can cut the simmer time in the oven to 20-30 minutes. Serve with fresh crusty bread that's been heated slightly in the oven and enjoy!

Stay hungry!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hardly Housewives on Hiatus

Please excuse us for the next two weeks while we take some time off from blogging and catch up on life.  I'm coming off of a weekend of being sick and heading into my last two weeks at home with Will before heading back to work while Jaisa has been on the road nonstop.

We may share a picture here and there, but things will be pretty light around here while we recharge.

I'm planning on spending the next fourteen days like this...

Expect some new stuff (homey, hungry, baby, & otherwise) at the end of the month!  See you then!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Power of Plating

I've been able to spend a lot of time at my parents' house during my maternity leave and one of the constants there is beautiful food.  It's always delicious and, even for a casual, thrown-together dinner, it's always beautifully plated.  My parents have collected a great set of serving dishes over their 35 years of marriage and meals at "home" (whether formal or informal) are always served up beautifully.  It has me thinking about the serving dishes Jesse and I own and how I can make the meals I cook as visually appealing as possible.  Here are a few shots from some tasty meals with my family in New York.  None of them are staged.  Not even the one with the New York Times in the background.

Various occasions for cheese, crackers, and other hors d'oeuvres:

Breakfast on the back porch:

...and various other delicious meals, all served up simply and beautifully:

This is making me crave my dad's cooking and a dinner on the back porch at my sweet childhood home.  It's also making me think about investing in solid, classic pieces instead of buying cheap or trendy melamine platters at Target or Home Goods each season.  Stay simple & stay hungry!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Household Command Center

First of all, is there any term more mom blogger-y than "Household Command Center"?  I apologize.

I've seen a bunch of colorful & functional designs for a family's organizational hub and need to implement something similar for our house.  Even with our work calendars synced up online, weekends and evening are booking up so quickly for us that we need a paper calendar hanging somewhere prominent so we can keep track.  I could also use a place to consolidate bills & paperwork that need attending to.  It would be helpful to also have a spot for things like the key for our tractor (oh, I haven't told you about our tractor yet?) or a shopping list for the week.

I've searched online for some great options... here are a few I came up with:

Vintage Violet Style
While I think chalk paint is a little too trendy to have on a full wall, I do like how you can add notes right along the command center.  Vintage Violet Style has a simple wall with a phone charger, calendar, key hooks, & some organizational functions.

The Caldwell Project
The Caldwell Project's Command Center (above) utilizes some printables found online & part of Pottery Barn's Daily System.

Fabulously Organized Home

I love the idea of keeping a shredder right underneath your command center as Leah @ Fabulously Organized Home has done above.  We always have a ton of stuff I need to shred that ends up in piles for weeks.  I'm also into the wire baskets.

Speaking of trendy, this chevron command center seems to have most of the organizational elements I need - a spot for mail, a calendar, a place to charge phones, & a spot for keys.  I also like how they utilized the side of the fridge (something we'll probably have to do because of the limited space in our kitchen).

Stay organized and stay homey!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Melon Peach Gazpacho with Crispy Prosciutto

I had oral surgery last week so this weekend was filled with soft foods and some quality time with my pain medication. We finally ventured out of the house on Saturday to visit the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. It's one of the best farmers markets I have ever been to.  It's just amazing.  Endless stands of farm fresh produce, cheese, and artisan bread.  Anyway, there was this woman Dana who was making Melon Peach Gazpacho.  I saw the sign and bee lined over.  It sounded incredible and was on my approved list of foods. 

 It...was...oh my goodness. You know I grilled her for the recipe.  I was stunned when she told me how simple it was.  It's all about the produce.  You have to get farm fresh fruit - cantaloupe and peaches from the super market just won't do. 

Throw the peaches and the cantaloupe in a blender.  If you don't have a sieve, you can peel the peaches first and skip the straining all together.  Add rice wine vinegar, apple juice, and lemon flavored seltzer water.  Blend 'er up.

If straining, just work the sieve and push the ingredients through until you're just left with this:

The farmers market didn't serve prosciutto with the gazpacho, but I just can't eat cantaloupe without prosciutto so I had to add some.  In order to provide a nice crunchy texture, I crisped up the prosciutto at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

Next, crumble the prosciutto in the middle of a bowl and then drizzle the gazpacho around it.  Or, just pour it in a bowl and sprinkle the meat on top.


I can't leave good enough alone, so I added a drizzle of balsamic glaze.  Sooooooo GOOD.  This makes me want to bottle August up and save it forever.

Here's the recipe:

3 Cups of Farm Fresh Cantaloupe 
2 Peaches, pits removed 
2 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar 
2 Tbs of Apple Juice 
3 Tbs of Lemon Flavored Seltzer Water 
3 Pieces of Prosciutto 

Peel peaches if you don't plan on straining through a sieve.Blend all ingredients, except pork in a blender.  Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Bake prosciutto at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. While prosciutto is still warm, crumble and add to the middle of the bowl.  Pour the chilled soup table side and enjoy.

Stay Hungry!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Herb & Kale Pesto

Can you believe it's August already?  It's just about the time where stuff in your garden (& the farmers' market) gets really good and this recipe tastes like summer for sure.  The title for this should be "Garlicky, Buttery Herb & Kale Pesto That Is So Tasty But You Can Consider Health Food Because It Has Kale In It, Okay?" but Blogger only gives us so much room for each post's title.  Whatever it's called, here's a quick & easy recipe that I threw together for dinner the other night with leftover kale from last week's farmers' market run.  It's based off of my mom's pesto recipe with a few modifications.

Pesto is pretty easy peasy to make up on the fly using what you have instead of a hard and fast recipe, but for reference, here's what I used:

1 packed cup of kale
1 packed cup of herbs (I used a mix of basil & parsley)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup walnuts
 1 tablespoon of softened butter

Add the kale, herbs, salt, olive oil, and walnuts into a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth, then mix in the cheese and softened butter by hand.

Cook some pasta (the pesto recipe above works on about 6 servings of pasta), reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water when you drain it, and then toss with the pesto.  Sprinkle on some more Parmesan if you'd like and enjoy!  Stay hungry.

PS - Are you still reading?  Good!  There was no organic place to share this above, but I wanted to make sure you got a chance to see this video, which showed up on my Facebook news feed last night with the heading  "I love you internet, don't ever change."  I laughed for about 20 minutes and then worried that this was the country lifestyle I'm headed towards.  When I made Jesse watch it he said "I want overalls".  Yee haw.