Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Strawberries

“PURITY AND SIMPLICITY ARE THE TWO WINGS WITH WHICH MAN SOARS ABOVE THE EARTH AND ALL TEMPORARY NATURE.”  Thomas Kempis

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Strawberries | From My Sweet Heart

I am a purist at heart.  And I firmly believe that vanilla is under rated. 

Would I turn away a piece of oreo snickers triple chocolate mousse turtle pecan double caramel chocolate chip pumpkin dulce de leche mocha fudge ripple cheesecake with raspberries and extra whipped cream?

Probably not!

But a sweet and creamy vanilla cheesecake with a thin layer of vanilla cookie crust topped with fresh strawberries and brushed with a light and sweet strawberry glaze appeals to me even more! [Read more...]

Honey Almond Panna Cotta with Lemon Thyme Peaches

SHALL I PART MY HAIR BEHIND?  DO I DARE TO EAT A PEACH?”  T.S. Eliot

Honey Almond Panna Cotta with Lemon Thyme Peaches | From My Sweet Heart

Shall I put herbs in my dessert?

I must!  Because Kristen of The Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, and leader of The Improv Cooking Challenge has compelled us to create something using peaches and herbs!  And before you know it, she’ll have us all ‘shaking our groove thing’, too!  Thanks Kristen, I’ll have disco in my head for weeks now!  But each month Kristen gives us 2 ingredients to incorporate into a recipe of our choice. This month I am pairing peaches with thyme!

This dessert is so unique.  And I have fallen in love with the soft, creaminess of panna cotta.  I hope you will love it, too! [Read more...]

Summer Berry Terrine with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

IT’S AS IF WE SPEND OUR ENTIRE LIVES AVOIDING JELLO BUT IT IS ALWAYS THERE AT THE END, WAITING.”  John Grisham

Summer Berry Terrine | From My Sweet Heart

It’s BERRY WEEK which means the Theme Weavers are at it again, celebrating all week long with all things berrylicious!

I haven’t spent a lifetime avoiding jello.  But it definitely isn’t my first choice of dessert.  Sure there’s always room for it, because there’s nothing really to it!  When I was growing up, jello was a staple at my home.  It was an easy dessert, and one that we had often. This fresh berry terrine is definitely more substantial.  And flavorful.  Because the berries are really the focus in this terrine.  Fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are submerged and suspended in sweet cran-strawberry juice.  A little brown sugar and lemon juice round out the flavors.  A bit more going on here than just jello.  But it’s still a light and refreshing way to showcase our beautiful summer berries! [Read more...]

Black Bean Tart with Chili Crust

MY GARDEN IS MY MOST BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE.”  Claude Monet

Black Bean Tart with Chili Crust | From My Sweet Heart

I love creating vegetarian meals.  They sure do make the most colorful masterpieces!  When I moved to my home 18 years ago, I was excited to have several areas of my yard that I could devote to gardening.  Unfortunately now, so many trees on the perimeter of my property have grown so much, that my yard is now too shady for a proper garden.  And I’ve resorted to planting a few peppers and cucumbers.  My deck is the home of my many pots of herbs and my Meyer lemon tree!  Fortunately, I have a wonderful farm market nearby.  And with the exception of the black beans, all of the ingredients for this tart came from local sources.

Not only is this black bean tart vivid in color, but it is bright and bold in flavor as well. A light black bean puree, sweet corn and red bell peppers, spicy jalapenos, mild scallions and the kick of cilantro are bound by melted Monterey Jack cheese. All of this nestled on top of a flaky crust made fabulous by the warm spices of chili powder, cumin and paprika!  And to top it all off. . . . . [Read more...]

Mango Coconut Cream Puffs with Mango Mojito Sauce

“THERE SHALL BE ETERNAL SUMMER IN THE GRATEFUL HEART.”  Celia Thaxter

Mango Coconut Cream Puffs with Mango Mojito Sauce | From My Sweet Heart

Well it is that time of year.  Though it is not technically autumn, September 1st always feels like the beginning of fall to me, no matter what the weather.  In my mind, I just know that summer is over.  So The Baking Group (not yet officially named), has decided to give summer a tropical send off! Since I realized that I haven’t eaten one mango all season, I decided to mix a combination of tropical flavors into one little cream puff!  Sweet cream, mangoes, coconut, spiced rum and mint all mix and mingle to create a light, clean, fresh bite. [Read more...]

Lemon Ladyfinger Semifreddo

I’m taking the Blue Ribbon Challenge!

Lemon Ladyfinger Semifreddo | From My Sweet Heart

Well this is my first month participating in the Blue Ribbon Challenge!  This wonderful group is created and hosted by Anna from Crunchy Creamy Sweet.  Once a month, Anna chooses a delectable food theme.  We simply make it in any way we desire, post about it, and link up! The next day, we vote!  And the winner earns the coveted Blue Ribbon Badge!  Anna is such a sweetheart and this is such great fun!   So I encourage everyone to come and join in!  Follow the links for more information!

This month, the theme was semifreddo!  I have only attempted this once before when I made a Pistachio, Vanilla & Strawberry Semifreddo.  And though I think they turned out well, I must admit, I think ice cream is easier to make.  I don’t own an electric hand mixer…..so my arms got a work out with my whisk!  The result, however, is nothing short of sublime!  Lemony, light and luscious!  And this time, I added a hidden treat . . . . . [Read more...]

Peach Raspberry Cake

ONE DOES A WHOLE PAINTING FOR ONE PEACH AND PEOPLE THINK JUST THE OPPOSITE – THAT PARTICULAR PEACH IS BUT A DETAIL.”  Pablo Picasso

Peach Raspberry Cake | From My Sweet Heart

I absolutely LOVE the simplicity of flavors in this peach raspberry cake.  Both fruits can be equal partners in the taste.  Or you can make one fruit shine and the other fruit a detail.  I love baking with seasonal fruit. When they are at their peak, then there’s not much you need to do to add sweetness.  This cake is simple, moist, and subtly sweet with just the hint of lemon.  And the fruit is most definitely the flavor in this cakeI chose to let the peaches shine a little more.  Here are some things you can do to make your favorite fruit the star . . . . . [Read more...]

Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomatoes

“APPETIZERS ARE THE LITTLE THINGS YOU KEEP EATING UNTIL YOU LOSE YOUR APPETITE.”  Joe Moore

Parmesan Tuilles with Heirloom Tomatoes | From My Sweet Heart

Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by KitchenAid.  Also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.

Well, temperatures here in the nation’s capital have been oppressive; reaching 102° today!!!  And I am feeling it!  I don’t know about you, but when it’s this hot; by the end of the day I feel so fatigued, the only thing I want for dinner is a bowl of cereal with ice cold milk!  And when I do eat a ‘meal’, it’s more like an appetizer.  So today, these parmesan tuiles were more than enough!  Light and crunchy, cheesy and salty; and perfectly topped with sweet, chilled tomatoes.

These are quick and easy to throw together and take great advantage of my beautiful, summer tomatoes!  I tried 2 different recipes for the tuiles.  And there was a clear winner for me . . . . . [Read more...]

Pineapple Coconut Tarts

“PARADISE IS OPEN TO ALL KINDS OF HEARTS.”  Pierre Jean de Béranger

Pineapple Coconut Tarts | From My Sweet Heart

Two bites = two words. Tropical. Paradise

A sweet tart crust….. filled with luscious coconut pastry cream….. sprinkled with chewy toasted coconut….. and topped with fresh, sweet, juicy pineapples.

Is your heart open? [Read more...]

Sunflower Seed Cookies

“EVERY FRIEND TO THE OTHER IS A SUN, AND A SUNFLOWER ALSO.  HE ATTRACTS AND FOLLOWS.”  Jean Paul Richter

Sunflower Seed Cookies | From My Sweet Heart

Some days we could all use a little self imposed sunshine.  Such was my day today!  And while I didn’t intend on baking and posting today, a quick trip to the market had me gazing upon these enormous sunflowers and just smiling!  Plus….they were on sale!  While these are not my most favorite flower, when I see them…..it’s like looking at a huge smiley face ….and I can almost hear them telling me….“Have a nice day!”  And then I knew I wanted to bake a batch of sunflower seed cookies!  The best part of a chocolate chip cookie for me is the cookie flavor itself.  I swear I could bake them plain without the chips!  And so I wanted to use a similar cookie base.  But I just had to add something special….. [Read more...]