When my daughters were growing up Blueberry-Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake was my go-to recipe for the endless number of school related activities that required donating baked goods. I usually had all of the ingredients on hand and could throw it together very quickly, which was great because I often found out about them having to bring something into school around 10 o’clock the night before. Just as they were getting ready for bed I’d hear “Mom, I forgot to tell you, I have to bring in something for our class breakfast tomorrow”. God knows there was never enough extra time in the morning to run to the grocery store to pick something up – it was always easier to whip up this cake. Back then I put the entire recipe in a 9 x 13 inch disposable casserole tin so that I didn’t have to worry about the pan finding its way back home. That’s a good size cake for a crowd, but now I prefer to make two smaller coffee cakes (8-inch round) and put one in the freezer. The round cakes are a little more elegant and because I sometimes serve this as a desert – with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – wedges, as opposed to square slices, are a more suitable shape. This recipe was adapted from Tidewater On The Half Shell, Fine Virginia Recipes – a very old Junior League cookbook.
The blueberries and apples pair together wonderfully in this cake and make it extra moist.
After I chop up the apple I toss it with a few drops of orange juice to prevent it from browning (due to oxidation) while the rest of the cake is being prepared.
I’m not a fan of party appetizers that are messy or awkward to eat – the kind that drip and break apart after the first bite and leave you awkwardly cupping your hand under your chin to catch the falling food debris, all while trying to maintain your composure and simultaneously engage in cocktail chatter. That’s one of the reasons I love Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Mozzarella Sticks. They’re not crumbly and are easy to eat with one hand, lest you not have to put down your drink! These are fancy enough to serve to company but simple enough to make for yourself – just to nosh on. So if your kids are getting tired of those mozzarella sticks that you put in their lunch boxes, and you have a few extra lying around, try making these. They take less than 10 minutes to prepare and make a great 100 calorie snack – with 10 grams of protein too. They’d also be a great addition to an antipasto platter.
The right balance of colors on a plate can rouse the senses before even the first morsel of food is put into your mouth. We taste with our eyes first. Black Bean Salad in Pepper Cups is a perfect example of how just seeing a dish can fire up your taste buds and ready them for a delicious meal. (Check out this short article on How Color Affects Your Perception of Food.) Whenever I’m serving an entree that’s lacking in color I can always count on this salad’s bright and vivid ingredients to make an otherwise bland looking plate come alive. Using the peppers as a serving vessel provides an extra pop of color and makes beautiful presentation. (more…)