Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This little figgy...

...got dipped in chocolate!
I'm so happy that the figs at the farm are finally ripe! I've picked quite a few and plan to make most of them into preserves and chutney, but I have been eating my fair share of them fresh. There are endless ways to use fresh figs. In a salad drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette is one of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy fresh figs but they are also the perfect dessert fruit. So this little figgy got dipped into a dark bittersweet chocolate. I sprinkled the freshly dipped figs with just a tiny dash of sea salt. These chocolate covered figs are quite fine on their own but paired with a bowl of rich vanilla ice cream, and you've got a match made in figgy heaven!

Chocolate Dipped Figs
Melt about 1/2 a cup of high quality bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips, in the microwave at 50 percent power for 1 1/2-2  minutes, stopping to check and stir chocolate mixture a couple of time. Once mixture is melted, dip the figs that you have dried with a paper towel into the chocolate. Once fruit is covered in chocolate, set them on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Refrigerate figs until chocolate covering is firm, before serving.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rustic Tomato and Cheese Tart

This tart is a twist on the traditional tomato pie.  It's a wonderful combo of two classic southern favorites, biscuits and tomato pie. In place of the traditional pastry crust, buttermilk biscuits make up the crust of this free form tart. It's everything you love about both dishes in one amazing tart! 
Really ripe summer tomatoes are what make this tart so fantastic. Heirloom variety tomatoes are the perfect tomato for this tart but any just picked tomatoes from your local farmers market will do!
This tart is perfect for a brunch or lunch. Just serve it with a green salad for a complete summertime meal!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Star Spangled Cake Topper Tutorial

and a giveaway!

This is a super easy festive topper for a cakes or cupcakes that's perfect for the 4th of July! I made these Star Spangled cookies as a centerpiece for the 4th a couple of years ago. I used the same method to make the fondant cake topper. I LOVE how they turned out and thought I'd share this idea with my Half Baked readers. These fun stars will make any cake the star of your 4th of July table!

About a pound of white fondant, gum paste, or a combination of the two, divided into three equal parts (you can buy the colors already mixed but for this small project, coloring a little white fondant is more cost efficient.)
red and blue  gel colors . Regular food coloring will not work.
star cookie cutters that fit inside one another, small, medium, and large.
18 gauge wire or toothpicks
Divide fondant/gum paste into three equal parts. Knead red food coloring to one piece, blue food coloring to one piece and leave the third piece white. Add enough food coloring to make the fondant a very bright red and blue. How much you need will depend on the amount of fondant you are coloring. Wear plastic gloves or put the fondant into a small ziplock baggie to knead in the food coloring or you'll have festive colored hands as well! 

Dust your work surface and a rolling pin lightly with a little powdered sugar or corn starch. Roll out all three colors of your fondant to about 1/4 inch thickness. I find it easier to thread a wire in the stars if they are not too thin. Try to roll all three colors of the fondant to about the same thickness. 
First cut out your largest star. Cut the center of the large star out with the medium sized star. Next cut out a medium sized star out and insert it into the cut out in the center of the large star. Finally, cut out the center of the medium star with the smallest star cutter. Cut a small star out and put it in the center of the medium star.
*Keep fondant covered with plastic wrap while not using as it dries out quickly. Thread a wire or toothpick into the bottom of the star, pushing it  at least half way into the star.  I let mine dry flat for a few hours and then them stuck them into a piece of oasis to dry completely. Cut wires to desired lengths.  Then I threaded the wire through festive straws but that's an optional step.
If using just fondant not a mix of fondant and gum paste, you may need to let the wired stars dry flat for several hours, up to overnight before picking them up. Gum paste or a 50/50 mix of gum paste and fondant dried fairly quickly and doesn't need as long to dry before you can use them.
Your toppers are ready to use!

We took the these photos at Waterberry Farm.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!

So far this summer has been an extremely busy one for me, fun but busy. Last summer our family farm along with several others in our area joined together to form The Route 52 Farm Trail. All the farms on the trail are open to the public on Saturday's June and July. We sell our produce, baked goods and preserves. This year we've added two local artisans work as well at Waterberry Farm. Fat Bird Designs sells gorgeous hand painted tea towels and other beautiful hand made goods. Beatrice and Lulu makes heirloom children's clothing and many other beautifully crafted items.
Ok so I guess not all of you will be able to visit is at Waterberry Farm. Never fear! Fat Bird Designs and Beatrice and Lulu have teamed up for a giveaway!!

Fat Bird Designs is giving away this stunning original, one-of-a-kind hand painted table runner.

 Beatrice and Lulu is giving away these adorable recycled chevron drink coasters. She makes the absorbent center using her daughters old baby bibs! So cool! Read about how she makes them here on her blog

She's also giving away one of her cute chevron print hats. The winner will be able to get the hat personalized with their monogram in the center!

a Rafflecopter giveaway