My blog turns 1 today, and I honestly cannot believe it’s been a whole year since I wrote my very first post! Like all new beginnings it brought a lot of excitement, and hope, and thrill, and a sense of adventure. Along the way, I’ve learned new things, and acquired new skills, and I realized that I know nothing still.
When I started I thought I had a pretty good idea what I am getting myself into, but nothing prepared me for the amount of work that blogging really is. It’s been a challenge, often exhausting, and sometimes frustrating, it’s been an itch, and a labor of love, but above all it’s been a source of constant inspiration and creative energy, that fuels my passion and feeds my soul, and I am grateful for every single moment of it.
The funny thing is, that cooking is such a small fraction of what it’s all about.
I often feel like I am the art director, and editor-in-chief of a cooking magazine, and I am the only employee who also has to do the food styling, and photography, the graphic/web design, and coding, the actual cooking, recipe creation, story telling and editing, and last but definitely first on the list of things to do – the marketing strategy and advertising.
Yes, food blogging means wearing all these hats, but also painting your own photography backgrounds, or dying your own fabric; it means getting excited about rummaging through thrift stores, and antique shops for the next precious find that will take your photos up a notch, and it means learning something new every day. It all seems a blur of activities, and despite the amount of work I’ve done, I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of blogging.
There is so much that I still need to learn, and so much I still want to share with you. In fact I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of ideas I have, and the need to realize them into blog posts. At any moment, I have about 10 different recipe ideas shooting through my brain, all vying of the lime light. Which one to focus on, which one to post first, and which ones to leave for later… I want to get them all out, but I cannot keep up with myself…
In the end, I surrender to whatever I feel most passionate about at the moment; a mood that strikes unexpectedly; an idea that inspires me to make it happen now, and make it happen beautifully. It’s not necessarily the one that is most relevant (as in: right now it’s pumpkin season, but I don’t want to think about pumpkins yet, so I am going to make something with peaches instead), or the most trendy. And even though I try to be more strategic with my posts, that often takes the joy out of it, and it doesn’t feel right any more. I know that if I don’t feel passionate enough and absolutely love an idea, it won’t turn out great, and won’t look its best.
My blog is not a niche blog, (despite all expert advice to the contrary), and it’s not diet-specific. My cooking style is all over the place, but in all the recipes I post, I strive for the golden trio – it has to be super delicious, as healthy as possible, and relatively uncomplicated and quick to make. If it’s on the blog, then you can be sure it’s something really special, and unique, a little unconventional (in a good way), and mostly something that tastes amazing, and deserves to be shared, devoured and preserved in your recipe collection.
I couldn’t reach my 100th recipe by my blog’s anniversary, as I was hoping to, and I couldn’t post as many travel logs, as I wanted. But in between a full-time job, blogging, and two growing girls, life can get pretty hectic, and I pat myself on the back, and think I did just fine.
So today, I’m celebrating with this coconut macaroon peach panna cotta cake, using the last peaches of the season. Even though it’s technically the first day of fall today, we are enjoying a hot Indian summer in the Bay area right now, and it just feels right to do something with summer fruit.
It’s a light cake, and one that is super easy to put together. I made a coconut macaroon base, which only takes 15 minutes to bake, and the peach panna cotta layer is really a 5 minute deal in the blender – I mixed peaches with Greek yogurt, honey, and coconut cream. The sweet and tart taste of the peaches goes really well with the yogurt and the mild coconut. It all ties in together with the crumbly coconut macaroon base, and in between, I layered some chopped fresh peaches soaked in peach schnapps. Hands-on time is probably 20 minutes, or so, but it has to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours, for the gelatin to set.
I toasted it with a glass of peach rosé cocktail which you cannot see on the pictures (I was anxious to try the cake, and the light was quickly disappearing so I couldn’t photograph it properly). But I’ll tell you what it is – a splash of peach schnapps, a splash of coconut rum, and chilled sparkling rosé. It’s simple, and light, and it goes perfectly with the cake theme.
So Cheers to you, my friends, who’ve tirelessly supported and encouraged me in this endeavor! A big Thank You to all of you who’ve stopped by, and read my posts, and even tried some of the recipes, took the time to comment, or ask questions, praised, complemented, and warmed me with your kind words – I truly appreciate every single smiley face, and thumbs up coming my way!
As to what you can expect in the future? Well, I am all ears, if you have a suggestion for me, or an idea you want to share. All I can say is, expect the unexpected, allow me to surprise you, and I hope I’ll make you stick around longer, and share this experience with me. And as always, with an extra pinch of salt, and a lot of love, you can make anything taste amazing.
Cheers to another great year ahead!
- For the coconut macaroon base:
- 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 Tbs honey
- 3 egg whites (3 oz)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- For the peach panna cotta:
- 1 large peach
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ½ cup coconut cream ( I used Trader Joe's brand)
- 2 Tbs honey
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 tsp gelatin, dissolved in ¼ cup water
- For the cake:
- 2 large peaches
- 2-3 Tbs peach schnapps
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- a handful of toasted coconut chips
- Prepare the coconut macaroon base:
- Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the honey, vanilla, and coconut flakes, and mix lightly by hand.
- Line a 6" cake form with parchment paper, and pour the coconut batter in. Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes. Take out and let cool.
- Cut 2 peaches in cubes, and pour the peach schnapps, and 2 tsp coconut sugar over them. Let them marinate while you prepare the panna cotta.
- To prepare the peach panna cotta:
- In a food processor or blender, add the peach (no need to peel), the yogurt, coconut cream, honey and vanilla. Process until you get a smooth cream. Taste and adjust the sweetness if needed.
- Sprinkle gelatin in ¼ cup water, and let it bloom for 5 minutes. Stir and heat in the microwave for 10 seconds until it melts and is warm to the touch. Mix the gelatin with the peach cream.
- To assemble the cake:
- With the coconut macaroon cake base still in its spring form, arrange the marinated peach pieces on top of the base in an even layer.
- Pour the peach cream over them (it should reach almost to the top of the form).
- Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
- Once the gelatin is set, carefully remove the side of the form, and decorate with toasted coconut chips, and more peach slices.