Two Winners and a Loser!

The FAIR has come to a close and with it the end of food-on-a-stick season, although I have a feeling I’ll continue just a bit longer. Someone astutely commented that “everything tastes better on a stick” and I think you are really on to something. My kids will apparently eat anything if it is impaled by a skewer, which immediately turns into a mighty dagger. The end of the FAIR also brings the winners of our raffles!!! Read More

Wild Blueberry Tart

Wild Blueberry Tart Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

The end of August brings a shift in everything from the weather, to the fruit and our schedules. This week we went to meet my sons’ teachers and visit their classrooms, a day filled with excitement and a touch of dread. They are excited to reunite with all of the kids they haven’t seen over the summer, but the freedom of their/our summer schedule seems to be coming to an abrupt end. All of a sudden we are more conscious of their bed time and reluctantly reconnecting with the basic properties of writing a sentence. Oh, so much is forgotten in the heat of summer. Our carefree and shoe free days are ending, as is berry season.

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Fig, Champagne Grapes and Raspberry Cake, for my 17th Anniversary!

Fresh Figs and Fruit | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

This time of year brings with it all of the sensual fruits. They seem more decadent, rich and sweet and just a little bit adult. To me they are the fruits of romance. Perhaps it is because the first time I ever ate a syrupy ripe fig was on my honeymoon in the South of France. We had a small house on a hill over looking Saint-Tropez and a fig tree on the terrace. We’d sit under the tree, drink our morning coffee and pluck figs off to eat them while looking at the Côte d’Azur. It is hard not to associate anything in that picture with romance. But the figs were the star. Every year I look forward to eating them on our Anniversary. Read More

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Salty and sweet is a classic combination. I’ve always upped the salt in my cookie recipes. Together they create just the right balance for the perfect cookie. I was intrigued by the the use of sea salt in the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe that was featured in the New York Times last month. At the bitter end he sprinkles the cookies with course sea salt as they enter the oven. Great idea! I have to say his recipe is fantastic and I’ve made them a bunch of times with great reviews. Then I added a secret ingredient that made them something truly unique and absolutely addictive: Bacon.

Yeah, bacon. I’d gone to Cooks of Crocus Hill to pick up some kitchen essential and there it was at the check out counter, the Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar. I’d had smokey bacon as a garnish on a caramel sundae and loved it, but in chocolate. This was something as a culinary professional I was obligated to try.

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Framboise Lambic with Blueberry Ice Cream

Framboise Lambic with Blueberry Ice Cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Recently my husband has been on a Lambic beer kick. He’s tried them all (pêche, pommes, kriek and cassis) and the Lindemans’ Framboise (raspberry) is the hands down favorite. I’m not a beer drinker, unless I’m sitting on a tropical beach with the sun beating down on me and eating something spicy; at which point a beer satisfies my needs. But this beer is different. It is the dessert of beers. Lindemans’ Framboise is made in Belgium from barley, wheat and wild yeast. After it spontaneously ferments (this is sounding a lot like the start of a levain bread dough) the raspberries are added and you have a complex flavor of juice and the bitter slightly sour taste of the beer. I can even drink this without a beach!

My sons requested root beer floats after our long, hot car ride back from the cabin. As I was scooping the ice cream into the glass and the foam came up over the glass I had a vision of an adult version of this classic kids treat. I grabbed my husbands glass of beer and threw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But vanilla ice cream? It needed something more, something fresh and fruity to bring out the character of the beer. I had just made a blueberry-ginger sauce that would fit the bill perfectly. All I did was pour some of the sauce over the ice cream in a dish, refroze it for about 20 minutes and then scooped out the blueberry swirl ice cream into the beer. Now we have something to talk about, and it’s Framboise Lambic with blueberry ice cream. Read More

Grilled Pineapple with Rosé Glaze

Grilled Pineapple with Rosé Glaze | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I’m always looking for things to throw on the grill in the summer. I’ve tried everything from brioche fruit pizzas to Brussels sprouts. I admit the Brussels sprouts were not amongst my greatest achievements in grilling, but this pineapple is now one of my favorites. I did nothing but slice it, paint it with simple syrup and grill. The pineapple was so fragrant and sweet that it called to me in the grocery store. It reminded me of a trip I took to Hawaii with my dad in high school. I bought a pineapple from a fruit stand on the side of the road and ate the entire thing. It was divine, but I spent the rest of the day recovering. I’ll never eat an entire pineapple again but when I find one as good as this it is terribly tempting.

The contrast of the intense sweet and acidity in pineapple is perfect with the smokiness of the grill. Combined with the rich flavors of Rosé glaze and vanilla ice cream and this grilled pineapple with rosé glaze is a decadent dessert that is both fast and easy. Read More