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

Lighter Twice-Baked Potatoes

Would you believe that I had never made twice-baked potatoes before?  Shoot, I’ve barely ever even eaten them.  I don’t know why… the few times I’ve had twice-baked potatoes, I liked them.  I liked them very much indeed.  I always make sure to grab the little bite-sized TBPs from buffets when they’re there, but for some reason it never really occurred to me to bake them at home.

Then last spring, hubby and I visited our friends in Texas, and they fed us twice-baked potatoes.  Holy home cookin’ revelation, Batman!  They’re not hard, and they’re always appreciated.  Why not whip some up at home?  Well, time got away from me, as it often does.  But the other night, I found myself looking for a quick side dish to whip up, with a bag of Yukon Golds languishing in the bottom of my freakishly organized pantry.  So I thought I would lighten up the traditional twice-baked potato by mixing it with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, mayonnaise, or Ranch dressing.  It’s not a complete health food, of course… there’s a bit of cheese in there, if you hadn’t noticed.  Hey, protein, right?  Anyway, the flavor is spot on and the guilt isn’t quite as debilitating.  Go ahead, have one.

Lighter Twice-Baked Potatoes

5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 + 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese mix
~1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Scrub Yukon Gold potatoes and wrap in two paper towels (one large packet is fine; no need to individually wrap the potatoes).  Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave 8 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  Remove from microwave and allow to rest a few minutes until potatoes are soft enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, position a rack a few inches below the top of your oven and preheat the broiler to high.
  • Halve the potatoes.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out the insides of each potato half, making sure to leave enough potato flesh so that the shells retain their structural integrity.  (How’s that for words?  I’m a lawyer!)
  • Place potato flesh in a bowl and combine with yogurt, 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper.  Using a fork (or potato masher, if you are fancy like that), mash together the potatoes, yogurt and cheese until they are combined and fluffy, but don’t be too precious about lumps.  We’re going for rustic here.
  • Scoop potato filling back into shells.  Press a pinch of reserved cheese on each potato half.
  • Broil approximately 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly and filling is warmed through.

Makes 10 potato halves.

Source: Covered In Flour

Also, just because I can…

This is Ezra.  He’s my new nephew.  He’s part beagle, part rat terrier, part Doberman, ALL cuteness.  Hi, Ezra!

Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup

It’s been another hot-hot-HOT summer in DC.  I’ve been dealing with the heat in many ways: getting up before 5:00 a.m. to get my runs in before the sun comes up, jumping through the neighbors’ sprinklers, and eating plenty of chilled soup.  The first chilled soup I ever had was a classic gazpacho – my mom and little brother make it best – and that’s still my favorite.  But I’ve been on something of a Greek yogurt kick recently and this is a perfect, easy, light and refreshing supper to whip up when it’s so hot you can’t face the idea of turning on the stove.  The “soup” is icy cold and minty, and the radishes add a fun crunch.  It’s the second best way to cool off from the heat of a mid-Atlantic summer.

The best way to cool off?  Well, duh… the neighbors’ sprinklers.

Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Mint

1 unpeeled English cucumber, chopped roughly
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
juice of 1 lemon (or 2 limes)
2/3 cup packed mint leaves
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon sugar
skim milk (optional), as needed
thinly sliced radishes and mint sprigs for garnish

  • Add cucumbers to blender and pulse to begin chopping.
  • Add lemon (or lime) juice, salt, mint leaves, yogurt and sugar to blender and blend until pureed and combined well.  Thin with milk as necessary.  When soup reaches desired consistency, taste for seasonings and adjust (adding more sugar or more salt) as you prefer.
  • Chill soup 1 to 2 hours in refrigerator.  Before serving, stir well.  Garnish with thinly sliced radishes and mint sprigs.

Source: Adapted slightly from Love Soup