Blackberry Jalapeño Margaritas and Cakes

I'm 34 now. Why would I leave my dog, go out, and pay for margaritas, when I could sip from home and watch true crime shows?!? Allow me to introduce you to these Blackberry Jalapeño Margaritas. They're worth staying home for. (The 30's bring so much wisdom, friends. If you're in your 20s, just know it gets so much better, or at least, way more comfortable.) Cheers!  


Earl Grey Honey Simple Syrup for Blackberry Bread Pudding and Cocktails

The core of this recipe trio is honey. Supporting beekeeping is good for the bees, and honey is better for you than sugar. The Earl Grey flavor is subtle, so play with the tea quantities if you want a stronger bergamot flavor. These are all loose guides, so follow your palate and instincts. The Earl Grey Honey Simple Syrup really shines when paired with Prosecco or Champagne.


Frozen Blueberry Tart with Lavender Coconut Crust (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

April 2015

Floral, salty, crunchy, icy, juicy, fruity, creamy, minty and mapley… this tart is all of those elements in one bite! This spring inspired tart is easy to make, can be made the night before a gathering, and when garnished with a mound of fresh berries and mint, this tart is quite the show stopper!

Frozen Blueberry Tart with Lavender Coconut Crust (Gluten-Free & Vegan) //

After you make this tart once, you’ll surely have new ideas and inspirations for different versions. I’m already dreaming of swapping the blackberries for pureed peaches in peach season and riffing off my corn popsicle recipe for a dessert with a surprising key ingredient and a pale yellow palette.

Frozen Blueberry Tart with Lavender Coconut Crust (Gluten-Free & Vegan) //

Whether for a crowd, or for your own, sweet, spring and summer indulgences, I hope this tart finds its way to your freezers!


Bon Appétit!

Frozen Blueberry Tart with Lavender Coconut Crust
Gluten-Free with Vegan Option

About this Recipe: You’ll need a food processor or blender for the crust to thoroughly grind and blend the lavender. Use organic lavender buds for the crust (i.e.: food-grade/pesticide-free). Make the tart the night before to ensure it freezes, but if you’re in a pinch, a couple hours will suffice. Pull from the freezer a few minutes before serving (in summer months, serve directly from the freezer). The whipped cream I featured uses dairy, but I offer a vegan option below to make this recipe completely vegan.



A Purple & Green Themed Spring Brunch

April 2015

In an anthropomorphized world, Billy Buttons would be the wide-eyed boy with a dirty face, a dangling overall strap, a slingshot in his back pocket and tussled hair. His very traditional and formal mother would insist on calling him by his given name, Craspedia, but all the other children would chant and cheer, “Billy, Billy Buttons is here!”

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 09

In reality, Billy Buttons are these silly, globular flowers, like lollipops or sugary gumdrops on sticks. When I saw these deep violet and chartreuse preserved billy buttons (available here), visions of a purple and green brunch filled my head. When your grocery list is “purple” and “green,” the grocery store becomes a totally different shopping experience and a challenging assignment for guests who ask what to bring.

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 02

This purple and green inspired frittata took center stage with slices of heirloom rainbow carrots, asparagus spears and new-to-me purplish kale sprouts (when a kale and a brussels sprout love each other very much…). Always keep a frittata in your proverbial back pocket as a brunch host. A frittata serves a full table of friends, it’s a blank canvas for colorful and seasonal ingredients, and it’s a comforting crowd pleaser.

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 10

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 14

My green and purple shopping list led me to Trader Joe’s Pesto Gouda, and my old time favorite- blueberry chèvre. Pesto Gouda is a worth buying even when you’re not on a strict color mission.

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 07

We toasted blackberry juice mimosas with fresh kiwi and blueberry garnishes.

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 15

It wouldn’t be a With The Grains brunch without a little something for the sweet tooth. This gluten-free, frozen dessert was a nod to the emergence of spring and warmer temperatures, topped with homemade whipped cream and juicy blackberries, blueberries and fresh mint. With the lavender crust and frozen fruit layer, the dessert is light, floral and the perfect touch for a spring brunch.

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 03

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 12

Behind every styled table and fork clanking on a plate, is this pair of pumpkin seeds waiting hopefully for fallen morsels of brunch…

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 16

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 17

As the colors disappeared from the table, we switched to a completely different palette: neons! This brunch took place on Easter morning and transitioned to an Easter Egg Hunt! “Were there kids there?” asked the Urban Farmer’s mom. Nope, just a bunch of adults, hunting for bright, plastic eggs on a farm. More on that to come!

Purple and Green Brunch by With The Grains 18

Stay tuned for our Easter Egg Hunt adventures and the recipe for the Purple & Green themed frozen berry dessert!


Here’s to Colorful Menus!

p.s: If you like my fern centerpieces, check out this DIY I did for Roxanne’s Dried Flowers.

Carrot, Kale Sprout & Asparagus Frittata

About This Recipe: The vegetable component of this frittata recipe is really flexible. The portions I list below are a loose guide, as I was very fluidly creating this version while setting a table, brewing coffee and whipping cream for brunch. Roast, sauté and combine according to your cravings and what’s in season. The main ratios to mind are the egg mixture proportions. I found the Kale Sprouts at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find them, you could easily substitute kale or brussels sprouts (cut in halves).



Donut o’ the Month: Whole-Wheat Lemon, Lavender & Blackberry Glazed Cake Donut

April 2015

April showers bring May flowers…and floral donuts too!


I recently had to drive through a neighborhood I visit all too infrequently. The drive reminded me just how beautiful that neighborhood is, especially in spring. Each house seemed to be framed by a blossoming bush or tree. The bold house colors of the historical row homes and their antique details really seemed to sing. I drove at an elderly pace, taking in the views of white petals, bright pinks, a lot or two transformed into communal gardens, trees swaying on the blistery day… all of these views reminded me of how deep my hibernation had been.


Like the awakening annuals, the busy bees and the returning birds, I am ready for this change of season, for exploring new flowering fields and even the blooms breaking through concrete too. Despite the wanderlust whirling inside me that yearns for the exotic, far-off corners, I’m making a conscious effort to be more adventurous, more playful and to take the time to explore what’s close to home.


A flowering breakfast donut is a great reminder of all those goals! Here’s to April and its promises of spring in full bloom!


Bon Appétit!

Blackberry, Lemon & Lavender Cake Donuts with Lemon Lavender Glaze
yield: about 12-15 donuts, depending on the size of your cutter

About this Recipe: Be sure to source an organic lavender bud for this recipe. I found mine at a Farm-to-Table conference, but I’m sure there are farmers or smaller stores that sell them as well. Avoid lavender that isn’t labeled food-grade, as it probably was sprayed with pesticides. I used a food processor to grind the lavender with the flour to make sure it was equally dispersed and to achieve a more palatable texture. You can substitute your favorite berry for the blackberries. Be sure to use an organic, non-gmo oil to keep these donuts as guiltless as possible. They’re best when fresh and still warm.