Seasonal Fruit Parfait with Honey Vanilla Yogurt


Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me tell you how this dessert came about.  I had R and her sister S in the house.  R was on her way back overseas for work (but she’s coming home for good soon!) and S stopped by for an overnight in part to see her sister and in part to break up a trip of her own.  Hubby, knowing what levels of silliness were likely to transpire (he’s spent time with me, R and S before) wisely decided to spend the day parked in front of a video game and ignoring us.  Meanwhile, we debated how we should spend the day we had together.  Yoga class?  Farmers market?  Long walk before it got too hot?  Beg hubby to make us lavender foot baths and take over the living room?  (That’s what R and I did on her last visit.  Hubby is a good sport.)

As appealing as that last one sounded, we decided to go to the farmers market and bring back ingredients for a fresh seasonal lunch, then cook it together.  R and S were in charge of lunch – they made a delicious heirloom tomato and purple basil salad with burrata (pasteurized – no worries) and fresh mushroom ravioli (bought at the market) with a sauce made from corn and tomatoes, sauteed and then simmered in a bit of broth and yogurt.  Divine.  And I was in charge of dessert.  While at the market we decided on a fruit parfait.  R wanted peach and blackberry, but the white nectarines at my favorite fruit and veg stand were so fantastic that S and I formed a voting bloc and outvoted her.  For the creamy element to the parfait, I whipped up a simple, sweet Greek yogurt cream and layered it with the diced nectarines and blackberries.  Perfect summer dessert, but not so decadent that it couldn’t double as a light (!) breakfast.  Dessert for breakfast?  That’s my favorite.

Seasonal Fruit Parfait with Honey Vanilla Yogurt

2 white nectarines or peaches
1 pint blackberries
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
seeds of one vanilla pod

  • Prepare the fruit: wash the berries and wash and chop the nectarines into bite-sized pieces approximately the same size as the berries.
  • Whisk together the yogurt, honey and vanilla bean seeds.
  • Layer parfaits: spoon yogurt on bottom, then add a few berries and nectarine pieces, spoon yogurt on top, and continue with more layers as desired.  Finish with a dollop of yogurt on top.

Nota Baker: You don’t have to use nectarines and blackberries here just because I’ve called for them.  Use whatever fruit is in season in your area.  I recommend a combination of two fruits, but in any event no more than three.

Yield: Serves 4 as a small dessert or 2 as a good-sized breakfast.

Source: Covered In Flour

Shrimp, Cucumber and Nectarine Salad


I don’t know about you, but I’m hot these days.  H-O-T.  Hot as in melting in a puddle of Brooks Brothers and humanity by the time I get to the office at 7:30 every morning.  That’s DC summer for you.  Now, I know true Southerners say that the South starts at Richmond, and they’re right, I’m sure.  But it’s still HHHHHHOT in DC, and I’m a New Yorker originally, so even six years into living here, this is still an adjustment.  And on those evenings when I’ve dragged myself home from the metro, feeling like I’m swimming instead of walking in the humidity, and it’s 8,000 degrees in the shade, the last thing I want to do is fire up the stove.  It’s nights like these that call for a simple, slap-together salad of some truly refreshing ingredients.  Already-cooked and chilled shrimp, cool cucumbers and some juicy summer stone fruit – that’s the formula for surviving a July night in DC.  Eat it, then throw open your windows and lie on your living room floor fanning yourself with the Bit ‘o Lit.  Actually, scratch that last bit.  I’ve never done that.  Never.


Shrimp, Cucumber and Nectarine Salad

1/2 pound shrimp, pre-cooked, chilled and peeled
1/2 cucumber, sliced as thinly as possible
2 nectarines, sliced into thin wedges
juice of 1/2 lime
3 tablespoons (approx.) extra-virgin olive oil
2 pinches cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt (I like Maldon)
fresh mint (or cilantro)

  • Evenly divide shrimp, cucumber and nectarines on two plates and toss together.
  • In a small bowl, squeeze out the lime half and add cayenne pepper and sea salt.  Stream in extra-virgin olive oil while whisking vigorously to create an emulsion.
  • Drizzle dressing over two salads.  Top with roughly chopped fresh mint or cilantro (whichever you happen to have on hand).  That’s it!  Serves two.

Wine Pairing: This would be great with a really refreshing summer wine, like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc (with green notes to complement the cukes) or a lovely, fruity-yet-dry rose, straight from the chiller, condensating (it’s a word because I said it is) on the glass.

Source: Adapted from Everyday Food, July 2008.