I’ve been feeling somewhat uninspired lately. Uninspired in the kitchen, uninspired to write, and even more uninspired to get up at 7 a.m. to exercise outside before it hits 100 degrees. I’m not sure if it is the endless heat wave in Dallas or my body telling me to slow down, but it sure feels like a “funk” and quite frankly, I am over it.
Greetings from Texas! I know, it has been ages. I am sure many of you are wondering if I just forgot about Plum Pie completely in a heat-induced memory coma. Fear not, I could never forget! But I am just now beginning to feel like a normal person again after the move. The good news is that Andrew the H, Henry the dog, and I are finally moved in and semi-settled at our new house. We made the journey in less than a week with two stops, two very full cars, one adorable dog, and lots of Wendy’s kids meals (Admit it. You love the mini frosty, too.). And once I found the Casey Anthony trial on Sirius XM’s HSN radio channel, the trip just flew by. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration, but it did provide some fascinating road trip entertainment.
Ah, June. Usually you are peaceful, if not a little bit hot, but always full of long afternoons, dreams of beach vacations, and gallons of lemonade. Did you forget? You are meant for relaxing and blissfully licking ice cream out of waffle cones as it melts down your fingers. I must say, you are acting a little crazy these days. I mean, I get it. Sometimes things can get a little crazy. But can we relax a little bit in July? Maybe even August, too? I don’t want to be greedy here, but sleep deprived is really not a good look for me.
Have you ever tried to make fresh squeezed lemonade? Because it is the bomb and so, so easy. Seriously, you will thank me later. In fact, it may change your entire summer. Promise. Have I convinced you to try it, yet? I had actually never made my own fresh squeezed lemonade until the summer of 1995 when I reached the apparent maximum on my lemonade spending allowance. Didn’t know there was such a thing as a lemonade allowance? Me either, until I had one. Let’s back up a bit shall we? Growing up, my family spent every summer in the then-sleepy beach town of Seaside, Florida. Some may recognize the location from The Truman Show, which launched the beginning of the New Seaside as we now know it. Hardly recognizable these days. True Hollywood Story.
So, I don’t know about you, but I am pret-ty excited about this royal wedding. After watching every single special on television this week (and taping a few others), I feel incredibly knowledgeable about the big day. While most of you out there are completely over all of the hub-bub, I simply can’t wait. I get it. Who are these people? The idea of a monarchy is sooooo 1540. How terribly borrr-ing. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all. My husband likes to mock me constantly over my endless fascination, and now, I think he simply is starting to feel sorry for me. For the past week, he has insulted Prince William’s looks (okay, okay he used to have a better hairline but he absolutely does not look like a horse!) but in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with him that a little whitening gel and Invisalign from Tom Cruise’s dentist couldn’t fix. This has been a nightly
argument discussion this week.
There is really nothing better than a middle of summer tomato from the farmer’s market. And after tasting one, it is even harder to eat mid-winter grocery store tomatoes. So what’s a tomato-loving girl to do during the winter months? Why, make slow roasted tomatoes, of course! These jewels are fool proof and provide the perfect flavor pop for your winter tomato blues. They take less than 5 minutes to put together then slowly caramelize and shrivel in the oven for most of the morning (or afternoon). If you have never tried slow roasted tomatoes before, you will be shocked by the change of flavor from simply roasting super low and super slow.
There is the most amazing restaurant in Durham, NC that I used to make my parents take me to whenever they visited me in Chapel Hill throughout my college years there. Durham is just a short drive from Chapel Hill and many may ask why we made that trek even though there are so many exceptional restaurants in Chapel Hill. Well, my family is one to travel for good food, and Magnolia Grill really is that good. If you are ever in the area and happen to stop by there then you will immediately understand why we drove the extra 20 minutes for this fine food. And hey, I am not the only one that thinks this is one of the best restaurants in the area. Gourmet (rest in peace) named Magnolia Grill the 11th best restaurant (out of 50) in the country!
I have always loved to cook and so naturally, my mom will give me cookbooks for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays. Karen Barker of Magnolia Grill’s cookbook was one such gift. In fact, I was a lucky girl that Christmas. I got both the dessert cookbook, Sweet Stuff: Karen Barker’s American Desserts and Not Afraid of Flavor: Recipes from Magnolia Grill (Find recipes from the book here). Both books have been two of my favorite cookbooks for years. They are perfect for those Sundays when you want to cook all day and need a challenge (though not all of the recipes are challenging). It is Southern flavor at its finest, and Karen Barker really knows how to crank out a delicious dessert. I have been making her version of a crisp for some time now and love using it when peach season rolls around. Fun fruit fact: blackberries are extremely nutritious and have tons of fiber. Who knew?
It seems like this summer has been filled with an abundance of peaches and squash (zucchini is included in that group, and we are talking about the summer varieties today) so far. Things on the menu at my house/apartment lately have included grilled chicken with peaches, peach ice cream, and peach-blackberry cobbler. I’ve made Homesick Texan’s summer squash enchiladas, simple sauteed squash, and Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini & ricotta galette. And it is only July! I know, things are getting out of control over here. And, to be quite honest, I have only just begun my peach/squash madness (recipes and posts to come shortly, I promise).