Mother’s Day Meringues (light and simple summer desserts)

On mother’s day, I personally think there should be over-the-top displays of appreciation and beauty. This will come in the form of children helping their mom plant flowers in the garden, cleaning the garage, a foot massage, a favorite meal (basically anything cooked by someone else) and, of course, a gorgeous dessert. After eating the before mentioned  favorite meal, she may long for something light and ethereal. Meringues. This is one easy recipe, served three different ways. It can be made by children of all ages, maybe with a little help from dad. By adding flavors to the meringue, you can personalize the dessert. Read More

Canning Fresh Blueberries at Masala Farm with Suvir Saran

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Canning seems to be one of those skills that you are born into. Most canners can’t remember the first time they saw their mom or granny doing it, it was just always there. I imagine them sitting in a bouncy seat on the kitchen counter watching as jars got filled with the season’s crops. Next thing they knew they were in the process of washing fruit, brewing simple syrup and dunking jars in caldrons of hot water. Then there are folks like me, who are completely enamored with the notion of “putting up” food, but find it a daunting mystery, too big to take on as an adult. Either your born with it, or you’re not, was how I thought. I imagine it is similar to how many folks feel about baking bread. Too time consuming, difficult and rife with stories of disaster. Knowing full well that this doesn’t have to be the case with bread, doesn’t it stand to reason that I could have faced canning as well? It took a visit to Suvir Saran’s American Masala Farm to show me the way. He gave me the gift of canning!

In the amount of time it took me to make a cup of coffee he’d set himself up to preserve a batch of fresh berries he’d bought at a local farmer’s stand. He was so nonchalant about it all. I grabbed my camera and in the following 45 minutes he rocked my world. I asked Suvir how he learned this art and he confirmed my suspicions…“I first saw canning when watching my mother can jams, jellies, ketchup and squash in Nagpur, India. My mom sowed the seeds when I was in 1st grade.” Those of you born into canning families may think my discovery is as obvious as breathing air, but for those of you who have avoided it, I hope you, like me, will be inspired to “put up” everything you can get your hands on*. My only issue now is getting enough jars. Read More

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This is a strawberry-rhubarb crisp I created for my Cooking Channel Weekend Baking post. There is really nothing better than the combo of sweet berries and tart rhubarb. If you are one who has never tasted rhubarb, or tried and decided it is not your thing, I beg you to try it again. Maybe you won’t want to grab a stalk out of the garden and plunge it, raw, into a jar of sugar. That is a more advanced move. The trick is to start gradually, combine it with lots of strawberries and a sweet crunchy crisp. This is not cheating, the rhubarb is still playing an essential role in the flavor of your crisp. It is adding a tart dimension to a potentially overly sweet dessert;  like adding lemon zest to balance sweetness, but it is even more interesting. Pretty soon you will have a rhubarb plant growing in your yard and long for the first stalks to poke out from the spring snow and then dread the last days, when the heat of summer has made the plant too tough to eat. That is why I make this plea now, when rhubarb is at its best! Read More