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Lavender Pavlovas with Summer Berries-9

Mini Lavender Pavlovas with Summer Berries

Lavender Pavlovas with Summer Berries
I think the very first time I even heard the word “pavlova” I was watching an episode of Martha Stewart Living. Martha made mini pavlovas that she formed into perfect spheres. When they came out of the oven and cooled completely, each one was broken in half through the middle and a perfect scoop of passion fruit sorbet was placed inside. I was intrigued. But it took a long time for me to actually make pavlova. Years. And now it’s become one of our very favorite desserts, particularly in the summer when berries and stone fruit abound.

Lavender Pavlovas with Summer Berries-4

Summer heightens my affection for lavender. It seems like it’s every where I look these days and I adore it. Adding a little lavender to these mini pavlovas makes them extra special. There’s just enough ground dried buds for a pleasant lavender essence, but not enough to remind you of perfume (or worse, soap!).

Lavender Pavlovas with Summer Berries-2Lavender Pavlovas
Each mini pavlova should have a crisp, melt-in-your-mouth shell with a chewy, marshmallow-y center. The fruit should be ripe and juicy. Typically there is a cream of some sort too. I used to serve them with yogurt, but my love affair with coconut cream is going strong, so that’s what I used for this recipe. Summer is the perfect time for pavlova because they are at their very best when the weather is dry and warm. Humidity makes for pavlova that doesn’t dry out enough – the surface becomes sticky quickly. But it’s not impossible! I made them when we lived in New York successfully. They just don’t keep quite as long…which usually isn’t a problem. Ha!

Lavender Pavlovas with Summer Berries

I made two variations – neither of which could be determined the clear winner. It was neck-in-neck and we decided we loved both equally. There is something quite wonderful about the deep, dark chocolate mousse with that hint of lavender, the overt sweetness from the pavlova, and the slightly tart blueberries. It just tastes right. Like nothing else could possibly add anything that isn’t already there. And I suppose that’s how I feel about the combination of strawberries and lemon too. Lavender goes well with each element and they all go well with each other, so everything is in harmony.

Lavender Pavlovas with Summer Berries-5

Since it’s still the beginning of the month, it’s the perfect time to check out what’s available and in-season during June. This month’s #EatSeasonal round-up is laden with beautiful summer berries and other produce. So many gorgeous recipes from my fellow food bloggers!

6Jun6june blogger photos and linksBlueberry Mint Gin Cocktail by Vintage Mixer

Bourbon-Cherry and Almond Dutch Baby by Floating Kitchen

Breakfast Strawberry Shortcakes by Completely Delicious

Strawberry and Mango Kale Salad by Project Domestication

Spinach Salad with Grilled Strawberries, Asparagus & Walnuts by Simple Bites

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Waffles by The Lemon Bowl

Rhubarb Crumb Bars by Bless This Mess

Chocolate Cherry Cake with Chocolate Oat Streusel by Climbing Grier Mountain

Super Summer Detox Salad by Well Plated

Blueberry, Feta and Honey-Caramelized Onion Naan Pizza by Kitchen Confidante

Cumin Orange Shrimp-Stuffed Cucumber Boats by Cookin’ Canuck

Blueberry Buckle by Foodie Crush

Keep reading for the mini lavender pavlovas recipe!

Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler-2

Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Vegan Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb CobblerThis cobbler recipe was created in partnership with Pamela’s Products as part of the 2015 Baking Partner program.

Well, spring whizzed by, didn’t it? It’s been a really busy few weeks and months, but I feel like I managed to really enjoy the nice weather, beautiful blossoms, and the return of some of my favorite fruits and veggies to the produce section. There are also so many exciting things are happening right now, not the least of which is that I’m teaming up with Pamela’s Products again this year as a Baking Partner. (Cue the Happy Dance!) Throughout the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some new recipes I’m developing using Pamela’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour and other baking mixes. (You can see last year’s recipes here.) First up: Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler.

Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler-2
Cobblers come in many shapes and forms. I chose to do a sort of deep dish variety topped with gluten-free drop biscuits or dumplings. I think this is our preferred fruit dessert of all time. Tender, sweet biscuits on top of in-season fruit is just fantastic – nothing better. I was tempted to try other fruit with the rhubarb, but I kept coming back to the old standby. It’s a classic combo for a reason! I also love that ruby red color. Cobbler tends to be a homely dessert, but in a “so ugly it’s pretty” kind of way. Am I right?

Pamela's Products Biscuit and Scone Mix-2

I made several variations of this cobbler as I was testing it out and every single bite was 100% enjoyed by me and my family. We are strawberry-rhubarb fiends! It was a tough job, I’m sure they’d tell you.I’m experimenting with going dairy- and (mostly) egg-free again. So this recipe is also vegan. Eggs aren’t needed at all with the Pamela’s Biscuit and Scone Mix anyway, so that wasn’t an issue. And it’s easy enough to make dairy substitutions for the almond milk and organic vegetable shortening. For the topping, our go-to is whipped coconut cream. But…someone, I won’t say who, did complain a little that I didn’t make homemade ice cream to go on top. Ha! (SPOILED.) It so good piping hot out of the oven with the cream melting into a pool around the fruit. Mmm… (more…)

Mushroom and Leek Chicken Rice Stew

Chicken Rice Stew with Leeks + Mushrooms

Chicken Rice Stew with Mushrooms and Leeks
April is here at least! The trees in our yard are full of fluffy blossoms. The days are getting longer. And I’ve been spending a little time each afternoon basking in it all as I ride my bike. Spring is wonderful! It’s also time for this month’s #EatSeasonal roundup. This month I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken Rice Stew with Mushrooms and Leeks that was inspired by new favorite show, A Chef’s Life, on PBS. I started watching a few weeks ago and after the first episode, I was 100% hooked.

The show features Chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Ben Knight, who have moved back to Vivian’s (very small) hometown in Eastern North Carolina from New York City to open a restaurant. Together they have a set of twins, two restaurants, and all the stress and excitement to go along with it. Each episode is centered around a seasonal ingredient that Vivian weaves throughout the ever-changing menu at their main restaurant called Chef and The Farmer.

In another life, I think I would have really liked to have been a chef. I dream of going to culinary school sometimes still. But I guess I have the best of both worlds in that I don’t have that pressure and stress of running a restaurant, but I get to cook and experiment all I want (and eat!) at home. (more…)