Strawberry Balsamic Italian Crostata

March 15, 2015

IMG_3426Apple Butter

Strawberry Crostata

We are at the height of our strawberry season here in Central Florida.  I wanted to be sure to include a delightful recipe her for you that includes a jar of my Strawberry Jam.  The preparation is simple and is a classic European dessert served in the afternoon with coffee.  You can substitute many different varieties of jam as well, whatever you have in the pantry should work out for you.  I hope you enjoy this.

Recipe calls for a 10 inch Tart pan with removable bottom



Strawberry Crostata

Mango Lime and Tequila Popsicles

July 13, 2014

Mango Lime & Tequila Popsicles

Mango Lime & Tequila Popsicle

Mango season is upon us here in Central Florida!  I have had 60 pounds of fresh, untreated Kent Mangos delivered to our kitchen to make various jams and chutneys for our Farmer’s Market tables.   One of the other things I love to do with our jams is to use them to enhance and create other easy to make dishes.   This is a simple recipe that I developed for a very light-tasting summer popsicle.  You can use any flavor jam for this, I chose to use my Mango Lime and Tequila Jam for a gorgeous tropical treat.  This recipe will make enough to fill a 4 pop mold which can be purchased inexpensively at any local market.    This is made using a 2 cup measuring cup and a blender.    

Yummy close up

Yummy close up

Sicilian Pineapple Ricotta Cheesecake

December 22, 2013


Sicilian Pineapple Ricotta Cheesecake

Sicilian Pineapple Ricotta Cheesecake


Her name was Anna.   A most beautiful Anna, sturdy around the hips. freckled arms so big and strong.  I loved her the moment I met her.   Her eyesight was failing then, but you would never know it really.   She was a force in the kitchen and I loved to watch her prepare and serve her specialties influenced by her Sicilian heritage.  Weeks before she passed away she could no longer eat, for me this was the most tragic.  I think of Anna quite often.  She made  a version of this lovely cheesecake every year in a large 9 X 13 glassbake dish.  I never did get her recipe for this cake, but I so wanted to create it this year as it has been so very long since I tasted Anna’s cake.

This recipe is close, it is a lovely and light cheesecake, not at all smooth.  It has a rustic texture with a background of custard and pineapple.  Decadent and delicious to finish off a holiday meal or a meal of any sort really.

Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake





Apple Slice

March 8, 2013


I was inspired by a recipe that I found here.  Of course, Giulia’s photos of the Apple Slice are gorgeous and appealing, unlike the ones I have posted here for you of my rendition!  However, I could not let my photos stop me from posting this here for you today.  This is reminiscent of a French Clafouti and uses very little flour.  I completely love this and will be making it again.  I made a few changes to her recipe which included translating it into American Measurements and then adjusting the cooking temperature and time as I did not want blackened bottoms on my slices.  I have recommended an 8 X 8 baking dish for this, but I believe you could also get away with using an 8 X 6 dish and come away with an even denser custard.  In my photo the apples (which had cinnamon on them) almost look like home fried potatoes!   Believe me, this tastes nothing like a breakfast casserole.   I wonder if a bit more butter and a bit less cinnamon would have given a more appealing and browned look in these photos.  I hope you try this one.

Apple Slice

Apple Slice



Apple Slice Piled High

Apple Slice Piled High



Pumpkin Custard Upside Down Crisp

November 11, 2012

As we are getting closer to Thanksgiving, I wanted to post up a recipe for a simple and tasty dessert for your holiday table or to be enjoyed the morning after for a decadent breakfast treat!   This custard takes advantage of seasonal pumpkin and,  an added bonus, you don’t have to add any sugar to the custard!  One eight oz jar of my Pumpkin Butter (or Fruit Butter of your choice) is all that you need to sweeten this delightful dessert.  If you are lucky, all of the topping will sink through the custard so that you will have a delightful bottom of gooey oatmeal to enjoy with each bite!  If you look at my photos, you will see the lovely bottom layer all nice and browned 🙂  Simple and old-fashioned dessert reminds me of something my grandmother would have served–hope you love this recipe.


Pumpkin Custard Upside Down Crisp

Rustic Apple Cake featuring Sunchowder’s Apple Butter

October 19, 2012

It is finally fall…the weather is beginning to break here in Florida.  We have had some cooler nights (in the 70s) and I just love it.  Fall is my favorite time of the year, it reminds me of Spring renewal in the Northeast.  I have planted a bit of a garden this year and now is the time for hurried growth, completely the opposite of how I grew up in New Jersey.   I love this simple recipe for Rustic Apple Cake.  It is not too sweet, even with the addition of my Apple Butter.  I prefer using Granny Smith apples, but you can, of course, use your favorite apples and swap out the walnuts for your favorite nuts or those that you have in abundance.



Rustic Apple Cake from Sunchowder’s Emporia






Fresh Ricotta Panna Cotta with Port Fig Sauce #Baketogether

August 31, 2012

I very much wanted to participate in the No-Baketogether this hot month of August with Abby Dodge, so here I am on the last day of the month, rushing to put this quick dessert together.  I must admit I have never made panna cotta, and was really looking foward to trying this perfect florida weather dessert.  So nothing like being an over-achiever or anything, but in the middle of processing 525 jars this week, (not complaining)  I just stopped short and made this not only because I love the baketogether, but I had this idea to use up some of my “tester” fig jam from the 100 or so jars that were processed here in the kitchen this week.  Abby’s recipes are always so terrific and they end up being staples and keepers in my files.  I would like to try this particular recipe with marscapone cheese next time as I would prefer a smoother tongue-feel, but this recipe is low-calorie and so fresh-tasting, if you don’t mind that little bit of “grain”, you will love it!

If you would like to participate and find out more about Abby Dodge and the Baketogether, please read more here.  Abby and the entire community are really fabulous and I enjoy learning something new each month and really get a kick out of all of the different variations the group can come up with when given a basic recipe.



Lovely no cook panna cotta with fig and port preserves topping.

Peach Ginger Cardamom Pie for Pie Day!

June 20, 2012

Cardamon Ginger Peach Pie

Here is a recipe for a lovely pie I baked today to particpate in Pie Party 2012  across the country!  I have combined fresh peaches with cardamom, crystallized ginger and a few scrapes of nutmeg to make a luscious fruit filling.   The crust comes from one of my standard go to books, The Joy of Cooking.



Peach Cardamom Ginger Pie with Lattice Crust


Peach and Raspberry Tartlettes for #Baketogether with Abby Dodge

June 11, 2012

So here it is, a month has gone by and we are smack in the middle of glorious peach season.  The blueberries and blackberries are just finishing up here in Florida, and the peaches are coming down from South Carolina.  Dripping with juice, tart and sweet, peaches are so delightful, really I do look forward to this time of the year–for fruit that is, not for the change in our weather 🙂   I just completed a batch of Peach Bourbon Jam, nothing but peaches, sugar, lemon and bourbon–some added before cooking and some added at the very end to finish off the jam.  When I saw Abby’s new baketogether challenge for very berry mini pies, I knew I wanted to use fresh peaches and a slathering of my Peach Bourbon Jam as the base for the tartlettes.  This month Abby put up a badge at the one year anniversary of baketogether, there you can read all about the monthly challenge and join in if you would like to bake with us!  These tartlettes were unbelieveably delicious, these will be another kitchen staple here at my home.  I was able to use fresh harvested pecans from a farm up in Georgia which I incorporated into the topping.  Please visit Abby’s Site so that you can view the original recipe and look at all of the wonderful adaptations from talented bakers across the country.    Here is my spin on Abby’s original recipe for Very Berry Mini Pies.

Lovely Peach and Raspberry Tartlettes with Peach Bourbon Jam





Mom’s Custard Rice Pudding circa 1950

April 15, 2012

Rice Pudding

Mom used to make this rice pudding for us when we were kids, and I would love to eat it warm for breakfast.   She had a special pink pyrex casserole she used to bake this in,  and one year at a family gathering it was smashed to pieces…I mourned over it.   These objects take on a life of their own especially after a loved one’s death.  They seem irreplacable, but the healing is in the making.  So her recipe lives on through me and hopefully my daughter will someday make this same pudding and feel as gushy as I do about my “vintage” pyrex.   These past few months have been difficult for me, my brother has been horribly ill and is thankfully on his way back up.   He lost his swallow relflex and has been in a skilled nursing home working hard with a speech therapist to regain his ability to swallow and have his stomach tube removed.   I visited him this week, and he had been taken to the hospital to have the “official” swallow test done and he passed!  For now it is on to soft foods for him and he does not have to be tethered to a bottle of chocolate protein…and I am hopeful that he will continue to get stronger.    I asked him if he would like to have a bit of “mom’s” rice pudding, can you guess what he said?



Digging in to a Rice Pudding Casserole


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