Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Happy National Cheesecake day! Baking the perfect cheesecake to celebrate the day . . . join me!

Best Tips for baking the perfect cheesecake:

  1. Cream cheese and eggs should be room temperature.
  2. Use a springform pan.
  3. Don’t over mix the batter and beat on a low speed.
  4. Sour cream adds a creamy texture
  5. Lemon zest adds a citrus flavor.
  6. A little flour thickens the batter.
  7. No opening the door to peak at the cheesecake!
  8. Don’t over bake the cake.
  9. Gradually cool the cheesecake.
  10. Chill for 8 hours or overnight before serving.


A generous dose of lemon adds a lively flavor to this classic dessert.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 4 8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 8-ounce sour cream, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature, lightly beaten

Crust: 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 stick(1/2 cup) butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375Fº.

  2. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add sugar and butter, blend together.

    Line a springform pan with the crumb mixture on bottom and sides. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest. vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until combined and well blended, about 2 minutes.

  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  5. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined. Occasionally, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

  6. Pour into the prepared crust.

  7. *Be sure to put a pan on the rack under the cheesecake to catch any butter that seeps out of the springform pan.

    Bake for 10 minutes at 375Fº. Reduce the heat to 325Fº. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven. Leave the cake in the oven to cool for 2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven, place on a wire rack and cool completely.

  8. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

  9. To serve:

    Remove the collar of the springform pan.

    Place the cheesecake on a cake stand or serving plate.

    Slice and serve with cherry or blueberry pie filling.

Have A Berry Sweet Day

Have A Berry Sweet Day

Have a berry sweet day . . . make a classic American dessert . . . Strawberry Shortcake!

During my childhood, we waited with great anticipation for summer. It was the season of laughter and long visits on our front porch. We spent long days in the garden growing radishes, corn and tomatoes. Among the fresh berries of the season, Louisiana strawberries were our favorite.

With the season’s abundance of juicy strawberries, we made strawberry shortcakes. They were served on our front porch and enjoyed by all. Pure happiness!

Recreating my favorite summer and classic American dessert . . . A Classic American dessert


  • About one hour prior to serving, toss the hulled, sliced strawberries with the sugar. Set aside at room temperature.
  • When zesting the lemon, remove only the outer, colored layer of the peel, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath.


Strawberry Shortcake

Summer strawberries add sweetness to this classic American dessert. Make these in individual servings or one large shortcake for an impressive presentation. Either way, juicy strawberries ladled over warm shortcakes and topped with whipped cream will be devoured by all!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 3 - 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 whole strawberries for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk, chilled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Whipped Cream topping: Whip 2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup sugar until the mixture is thick and creamy.


  1. Preheat oven to 375Fº.

    Line an 8" cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease. Set aside.

  2. Make the topping: About an hour before serving this dessert, hull and slice the strawberries. In a mixing bowl, toss the strawberries and sugar together. Set aside.

  3. Make the shortcake: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  4. Cut in the butter with pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

  5. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, egg, vanilla and zest.

  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add the milk mixture all at once. Mix it lightly and quickly with a spatula. When the dough begins to hold together, turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead lightly. Pat into 2 thin rounds about 8" in across. Place in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

  7. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

    Remove from the oven. Cool on wire rack about 10 minutes. Turn out of the pan. Cool another 10 minutes.

  8. Serving: Split the shortcake in half. Place the bottom half on a cake stand, spoon the prepared strawberries on each layer.

    Top with whip cream. Garnish with reserved strawberries.

    Cut into wedges and serve!

Seeking Summer Southern Comfort Food

Seeking Summer Southern Comfort Food

Seeking summer southern comfort food . . . and we found it! More like we rediscovered one of our favorite recipes from years past. It all began in the 80’s. Our friend, Polly Cook Williams made this pasta salad for all of her bridal showers, baby showers, and parties. It was always the hit of the party and loved by all. So when we requested her recipe, we were grateful when Polly shared her recipe. Polly’s Pasta Salad.

Immediately, it became a favorite recipe. And I began serving it for my parties too. 

When my children were toddlers, I carried on the tradition of Polly’s Pasta Salad and made it for our picnics, trips to the beach, and summer meals. Although they all enjoyed it, Catherine was especially fond of it. So it was no surprise when she recently requested the recipe. Not to be found anywhere in my collection of recipes and recipe box, my frantic search led us to a phone call with Polly. Within an hour, she had retrieved her recipe and forwarded it to us.

A hasty dash to our local grocery store for the list of ingredients . . . followed by unloading the groceries, simultaneously putting on a big pot of water for the pasta. Next, pasta cooking, vegetable chopping, cheese grating, basil mincing . . . finally tossing the pasta salad. Much to our delight the result was a blast from the past with this delicious southern comfort food!

In her creative pursuit, Catherine made a few modifications to the original recipe. Both recipe versions are delicious and comforting!

So if you are seeking summer comfort food . . . here’s the perfect recipe for you!

Thanks, Polly :- )

Pasta Salad

Always a great pasta salad to serve for parties and picnics!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes


  • 1 box spiral pasta
  • 2 red peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 can baby corn
  • 1 jar pimentos, drained
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 bottle Caesar salad dressing
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, julienned
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cool pasts according to the instructions, drain. Toss with desired amount of Caesar salad dressing.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, while pasta is steaming hot, stir in shredded cheese.

  3. After incorporating cheese as evenly as possible( it will not be perfect) add the rest of the ingredients and stir until mixed evenly.

  4. Enjoy immediately while hot, or cool and store in the refrigerator to serve cold!

Source: Red bowl available at Nicholson Hardie

Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day! 

When is the last time you enjoyed some homemade vanilla ice cream? Growing up in Louisiana, ice cream was our favorite dessert. We enjoyed it during family reunions, church dinners, and when cousins dropped in for visits.

The great debate was cooking or not cooking the ice cream mixture before chilling it. Aunt Kitty’s vanilla ice cream was extra rich and creamy. She believed in cooking the milk and eggs to reach a custard-like consistency prior to chilling it. Other family members preferred a simpler approach. Mixing and chilling their favorite ingredients. When peaches were plentiful, they were added to create peaches ‘n cream ice cream. It was out of this world!

In those days, believe it or not, we made ice cream with hand-crank ice cream makers. For what seemed like hours, we sat on our front porch and took turns turning the crank until it wouldn’t budge. At this point, we knew the ice cream was fully whipped and chilled!

Then along came the electric ice cream makers. It was a big step up. Then the debate became hand-crank ice cream makers verses electric ice cream makers. Which one produced a creamier ice cream? My father, an engineer, was convinced that the original hand-crank ice cream makers were superior. His claim was based upon the fact that the dasher turned the opposite direction of the canister, thus creating a lighter, creamier ice cream. 

Luckily, many ice cream makers are available today.

For speed and convenience, a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker is the best choice.

For nostalgia, a Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker is one of your choices.

Either way, your ice cream is bound to receive rave reviews!

Celebrate – Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

Source: Ice cream bowls by Nicholson Hardie 

Vanilla Ice Cream

When is the last time you enjoyed homemade ice cream? No doubt it takes a little extra effort and time. With the first taste, you will come to realize that it is worth every bit of it because it's absolutely the best, coolest dessert of the summer!

Prep Time 45 minutes
45 minutes to chill 2 hours


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cans 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 t. vanilla


  1. In the top pan of a double boiler, whisk together the sugar, corn starch and salt.

  2. Slowly pour the milk into the sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat until the milk is hot but not boiling, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add to the egg yolks to a mixing bowl, lightly beat them. Add a little of the hot milk mixture and whisk to combine.

  4. Fill the bottom pan of the double boiler with about 2" of water, set aside.

    In the top pan of a double boiler, add the tempered eggs and the milk mixture.

    Place the top pan of the double boiler on the bottom pan of the double boiler.

    Cook the egg/milk mixture, whisking constantly until it coats the back of a spoon.

  5. Remove from heat. Pour through a fine sieve. Add the cream and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Chill.

  6. Pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Chill according to the manufacture's instructions.

Into The Garden For A Garden Party

Into The Garden For A Garden Party

I would love to be in Nantucket . . . with so many travel complications and concerns about the coronavirus, we decided to spend our summer at home. No worries. I am grateful for my family’s safety and health. And we will make the most of it!

I need to disconnect, reconnect and appreciate our many blessings. In my Texas kitchen, I’m baking bread, mixing sandwich fillings and a making big pitcher of iced tea. Soon I’ll be in the garden enjoying some fellowship. It makes life worth living.

Something about eating outdoors evokes many childhood memories. Growing up in Louisiana, so many happy times were shared over southern food and iced tea on our front porch. Today, I am transforming these memories into a garden party!

Tips For A Garden Party:

  • Be spontaneous, don’t over plan!
  • Offer an assortment of sandwiches, salads, cookies and a couple of miscellaneous items
  • Take along a little extra fruit
  • Bring a variety of beverages and a bottle opener
  • Don’t forget the plates, napkins and utensils


Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumber sandwiches are a light, delicious and refreshing snack to serve on a hot, summer afternoon. Decorate with your favorite herb or flower.

Prep Time 45 minutes


  • 2 english cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf thinly sliced white sandwich bread, crust removed
  • 1 8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature


  1. Peel and discard coarse seeds of cucumbers.

  2. Chop cucumbers finely and squeeze in cloth, removing excess moisture.

  3. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Spread half of the bread slices with cream cheese. Spread with cucumber mixture. Top with the other half of the bread slices. Cut into small sandwiches.

  5. Arrange the sandwiches on a serving platter. Garnish with parsley, salad burnet, mint or edible flowers.

Fashion: Susan Apple, Inc Jade linen dress

Earrings: Ippolita