Vanilla and almond pudding with cherry compote

pudding2Pudding is not just for kids! Really, it can be for grownups too! (Just not from a plastic cup that you buy at the store–kids deserve better than that, too.) I realized that homemade pudding is superb a few years ago after making eclairs. I used all of the cream puffs I made but had quite a bit of leftover pastry cream and ganache, so I ate those things together, and I didn’t miss the cream puff at all.

I had a little dinner party this weekend, and although I usually plan what I want to cook days in advance, I hadn’t decided on a dessert until 12 hours before the meal. It’s hot and steamy here, so I didn’t really want to turn on the oven, and cherries have been extra delicious and cheap for the past few weeks. I thought about buying ice cream, but that’s too easy, and then it hit me: pudding. Pudding topped with cherry compote. Doesn’t it just sound delicious? It gets even better, because I ended up with vanilla and almond pudding with cherry compote. Doesn’t that sound fancy?

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It might sound fancy, but it’s a snap to prepare.

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Foster’s Market blondies

blondies2There’s a deli with locations in Durham and Chapel Hill that I love. It’s called Foster’s Market, and it has homey food and a solid menu. I have the habit of always ordering the same thing, but I’ll occasionally branch out, and I’ve never been disappointed by anything there.

I’ve recently been browsing The Foster’s Market Cookbook, which contains recipes served there plus extras, and I now question my resoluteness when ordering. Everything sounds great, and it’s difficult to decide what to make first.

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Of course, I finally managed to make a decision.

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Summer berry pie

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For me, summer is berry season– not pool season, not beach season, and certainly not summer camp season. I load up on the biggest container of blueberries at the grocery store every week and then make the tough decision to buy or not to buy raspberries in addition to the blueberries. I always eat at least a cup of berries every day, and when they disappear from my fridge, there must be a trip store immediately the next day to stock up once again.

just washed berries twoSummer is my favorite food season, and clearly the aforementioned berries are a big part of the reason. However, not only do I heartily take advantage of the berries, but I also devour watermelons, cherries and peaches, as well as homegrown tomatoes and other yummy super fresh veggies that I don’t feel like listing because nothing compares to the greatness of these summer fruits. (I think I’ve been eating more fruit than anything this past week.)

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Strawberry Shortcake

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I love food. I love cooking. I love baking. I even sometimes love grocery shopping. I love learning about new foods, and I’m game to try anything once. I often try new recipes, and sometimes they turn out great, but sometimes I don’t do something quite right. Sometimes, though, the recipe is just disappointing– it isn’t worth my time, effort or the money spent on the ingredients.

Not only do I plan to share my cooking and baking adventures here, but I’m going to share my honest, not so sugar-coated opinion of the results. Is this food worth it? We’re busy people, and making something lackluster that was supposed to be great is one of the biggest letdowns in life. Sometimes you know when a meal you make just isn’t going to be so good, but I hope to help you avoid the letdowns and find the successes in your kitchen.

This recipe is a success: I don’t think there is any way it could ever fail. It’s a summer staple in my family; no one can resist my grandmother’s strawberry shortcakes. A lightly sweetened biscuit, syrupy strawberries and ice cream. I don’t think there’s anything better than sitting on a porch, eating those three things piled on top of each other.

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