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Friday, June 8, 2012

Ahhh, summer!

The sky stays light later. The weather is warm and balmy, or warm and rainy. The farm stands and grocery stores are suddenly full of corn on the cob, watermelon and sales on hamburger meat and Popsicles. Kids are playing Flashlight Tag and spend most of the day barefoot. (Parents are spending lots of time admiring their porch as the sun sets, with large, very full glasses of wine.)

It's summer!

One of the best parts of summer, for me, is the food. I freely admit that I'm a foodie! I always know what's coming into season, and have my favorite recipes. I will drive half an hour to the Farmer's Market just because it's more fun and feels more like summer, rather than shop in the grocery store down the road.

Summer and fall compete for "best recipes", in our house. We do a lot of grilling during the summer and use the meat smoker quite a bit for ribs and wings. But I love to make up stews and soups throughout the fall, and root vegetables and gourds are a staple.

And ice cream! Summer is the season of ice cream. We have several places around us that make ice cream in-house and it is fabulous. I love fresh peach ice cream, and anything chocolate's always a hit, but I love butter pecan! 

(My husband's favorite is vanilla. I'm not sure what's wrong with him. We might have him tested.)

One of my favorite summer recipes is for a Lavender Lemon Cake. I have used this one, by Diana Rattray, a few times and it's delicious!


  • 8 ounces (1 cup) softened butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour, stir before measuring
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream, light or full fat
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons, about 5 to 6 tablespoons juice and 1 tablespoon finely grated zest
  • ***Glaze***
  • juice of 1 lemon, about 2 1/2 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


Heat oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt cake pan. Cream butter with granulated sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, along with half of the sour cream. Beat until well blended. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until smooth and well blended.
Fold in the 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers and the juice and zest of 2 lemons. Spoon into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Make Glaze:
Heat lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon) and 2 teaspoons lavender flowers in the microwave or on stovetop. Strain out flowers; set juice aside and discard the flowers.
In a bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, hot lemon juice, and enough hot water to make a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cooled (can be slightly warm) cake.

This cake is the perfect ending to a simple meal, like grilled hamburgers, corn on the cob and salad- a big favorite in the Kelly house! I hope you enjoy it...

What are some of your favorite summer dishes? Do you associate certain foods or recipes with certain seasons? 

What are some of your favorite food-related memories? (For instance, I have to have ribbon candy at Christmas. If I don't manage to get any, it just doesn't feel like the holidays!)



  1. There is nothing wrong with your husband for liking vanilla ice cream. You can do so much with vanilla. Anyways, to be honest I really don't have any favorite summer food, but I find it this year. I grew up on the central coast of California and they have a lot of produce year around. I mean you can get strawberries most of the year, because they have a winter hybrid. Plus, the weather is pretty consistent. Runs between the 60s and 70s with occasional spike in temp.

    For me I love Danish wedding cookies. We would get those at my grandmas house Yum

    1. I agree. While flavors are good, I often go with a plain-Jane vanilla ice cream. :)

  2. Great blog Olivia! :)
    I love farmer's markets too-there's nothing like getting the best, freshest produce locally and straight from the source. I really believe it makes all the difference.

    I love water ices in the summer and white peaches, and there's nothing that beats burgers and chicken on the grill :). Yum yum yum!

    I also love hearty thick soups and stew in the fall and winter, especially chili. I don't think it's a coincidence that we crave light refreshing things in the warm hot summer months, and hearty heavier more substantial things in the cold winter months when the corresponding produce is in season. Guess Mother Nature knows what she's doing after all ;)

    Sweet potatoe pies always makes me think of fall, Thanksgiving in particular because one of my gfs makes the BEST sweet potatoe pie I've ever had and I always have it when I go to her house for Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

  3. Just FYI--Olivia is participating in another summer ritual--the road trip! She will be available to comment, but not for a while!

  4. I love to grill in summer, not only because it keeps the kitchen cool, but it shares the burden--dh is the master griller around here! :-) Of course, I get it all ready, but he does the grilling.

    One of our faves is a satay-type kabob with grilled veggies. Kids LOVE it!

  5. I love homegrown tomatoes in the summer. It's the only time they taste good & I love them.

    One of my favorite food memories comes from sleepovers at my granny's house. She made the best French toast with homemade syrup. Yum!

  6. Yummy! I'm so hungry now! Thanks Olivia! I have to agree with Deb, grilling is first on my summer list and yes, homegrown tomatoes like Samantha said! I love a tomato sandwich in the summer. Ice cream! Oh now I have to go raid the fridge. But before I do I have to add that I love salads in the summer. There is just something about a good, crisp salad on a summer day. Great blog!

  7. Though I've always been a food lover, my tastes have changed. Vanilla was the only flavor I'd even entertain (wasn't big on ice cream to begin with), but now it pales next to Heath or Butter Pecan (ignore the lip-smacking you might've just heard). I'm also obsessed with all things lemon now. LOVE lemon! I'm all over this recipe! Yum!

  8. Also, I've had Olivia's lavender cake and it is amazing!

  9. I love making a melon salad with watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew. When I visit my cousin in Michigan we always end up having a barbecue and we make our own veggie kebabs with zucchini, yellow squash, onions and mushrooms.

  10. I hate lemon flavored anything, but that lavender-lemon cake looks scrumptious!

    I love watermelon and cantaloupe sprinkled with salt; that's always says beach to me. Also, chocolate covered cherries and pretzels are a Christmas staple in our house. :)

  11. I like to make a grilled/roasted corn salsa in the summer, and serve it with just about everything. The best part is that I can make up a huge batch...and the longer it all sits in the fridge, the better it tastes, because the flavors all meld together. It's great.

    And while I love lemony things in the summer, I HATE the taste of lavender. I don't even really like the smell of it much, so I don't think you could convince me to try that cake. Too bad.