Cucumber Sandwiches

School is out for the year, the pool has finally opened, the sun is in the sky until bedtime, and everyone hates when I turn on the oven. Unfortunately, summer is the time when I have more time than ever to cook. So today, in an effort to assuage the swelter in my kitchen, I’ve moved my cooking operations to the table, away from any tempting source of heat.The key to these sandwiches, like most other sandwiches, is the bread. It needs to be sturdy enough to hold all the toppings but soft enough to compliment the smooth texture of the other ingredients. Honestly, I hate making bread. It’s far too precise for my liking. But, lucky for me, my fiancé found all of the patience that I lost. He makes bread constantly and managed to spare me a loaf. You need something dense and moist, with small grains. Bigger grains means more crumbs and weird texture.These sandwiches recall English gardens and lazy afternoon teas. The secret is that they take only minutes to assemble, allowing you to look incredibly sophisticated and put-together. Because you are. Continue reading

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Rhubarb Cake

I promised myself that I would start posting about real meals. No more desserts. That’s right, it’s time to get healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not how I’ve been raised. Whenever the ingredients for a dessert are available, they must be used ASAP. Which means I preheated the oven immediately when an abundance of rhubarb found itself onto my counter.

We don’t have many recipes from my dad’s side of the family, but not for lack of delicious food. When my parents would visit his grandparents, my mom often tried to get the recipes from my great-grandma. Unfortunately for my mother, Grandma Claire made meals by sight, “add more cheese until it looks like this, heat until it looks like this,” etc. So the following recipe is one of the few that has made it into this generation.It is from my dad’s other grandma, and focuses on rhubarb, a seasonal vegetable that often yields much more than we know what to do with. So, in the beautiful tradition of my family, we turn surplus into a cake.
The recipe itself was given to my dad with very litte instructions. As I prepared to make this cake, I realized that the piece of paper I was looking at listed only a few ingredients and came with some arrows. And no where did it even mention rhubarb. Apparently, I am just supposed to know how much I need. And, by gosh and by golly, it came pretty naturally. This cake runs in the family. Continue reading

Strawberry Scones

It’s official. Summer is here, and I am welcoming it with open arms. The weather is beautiful, the windows are open, baseball is on the television, and the farmer’s market has finally opened. I end up buying with bags of goodies, plopping everything down on the counter and stare at the pile for a while. Unfortunately, berries have yet to saturate the stands, so until that happens, I’ll be living off of the stores from last year.
This morning, I had a craving. I don’t particularly like breakfast, but today was different. I needed something with berries, and I needed it ASAP. Breakfast pastries are amazing, but most of the time they take too long to make. Croissants are amazing, but if I want them, I need to start the night before. Luckily, these scones take just over 20 minutes to make. And you can add absolutely any mix-in, such as berries, fresh or frozen. Today was frozen strawberries. Thawed and drained first, or the entire batch will be very pink and very mushy. Tomorrow might be chocolate. But honestly, it might just be whatever I find in the market. Rhubarb… Continue reading

Scotcheroos

My family has a tradition of running. My dad and I used to go on runs together when I was younger, until he decided biking offered less chance of an injury. My mom used to run track in high school, and so far my brothers and I have followed in that tradition. As my family has run hundreds and hundreds of laps around various tracks, only a few things have changed. The distances are now measured in meters, not yards. Tracks are no longer made of cinder. And post-race food, I am sure, has evolved into delicious confections, something fit for car trips and parties.

My favorite of these treats, the scotcheroo, has been dwindling as peanut allergies take off. Thankfully, no one in my family has this allergy, so I can fill the kitchen with peanut butter to my heart’s content.
This recipe is another one of those when you cut off just a little piece. And then another one. And another. All of a sudden you’ve had a row.
But honestly, there are worse things you could be eating. I have a friend who allows her children to eat these for breakfast, figuring that they couldn’t be much worse than most sugary cereals. Obviously, I follow that logic any time I have scotcheroos in the house. Continue reading