Minty Vanilla Coconut Iced Coffee + A Nespresso Giveaway!

Minty Vanilla Coconut Iced Coffee | Fork Knife Swoon

It was just after 8 o-clock in the morning, and one of the movers was methodically surveying our kitchen; opening the cabinets and scanning the counters with a stern look on his face. He was quickly discovering that he had drawn the short straw, designated with packing up the kitchen, pantry and my dishware and prop collection.

“Y’all have three coffee machines?”

I glanced at the counter, then back at him, blushing slightly… He hadn’t discovered the french press or the porcelain pour-over Melitta cup in the cupboard above yet.

Minty Vanilla Coconut Iced Coffee | Fork Knife Swoon

“I have a thing for coffee,” I replied, flashing him a smile and silently saying goodbye to all five coffee makers for the next few weeks.

He nodded, but looked unimpressed, no doubt distracted by the sheer volume of kitchen equipment and gadgetry he was about to pack, so I didn’t explain that each one was different: there was the standard coffee machine, the little workhorse of an espresso machine, and the hybrid (and brand spanking new addition to the family).

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Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta and Herbs + An Announcement!

Tomato and Watermelon Salad | Fork Knife Swoon

One afternoon, shortly after we moved to North Carolina, I found myself standing in the kitchen, talking the ear off of a friendly pest control technician, who made the mistake of asking me about cooking. The conversation wound its way around to southern food, and then of course, to barbecue.

I bemoaned the lack of great local barbecue joints, already pining for the half-dozen or so favorites we had left behind in Georgia. There was Three Lil’ Pigs, a mandatory stop on any motorcycle trip to Pine Mountain. Smokey Pig Barbecue in Columbus. Or J and L’s, the tiny bbq trailer we stumbled across on the way back from a weekend in Savannah, so small I’m not sure we could find it again. The owner came over to our table with banana pudding and thanked us for stopping in.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad | Fork Knife Swoon… 

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Berry Swirled Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Cherry Berry Swirl Frozen Yogurt | Fork Knife Swoon

Madness goes something like this: It’s after seven. The thermometer in the kitchen window still hovers over a hundred degrees. I’ve been peeking through the window every few minutes, checking the sky. The sun finally begins its slow set, suddenly softer and partially obscured by the massive, billowing clouds that have triumphantly filled the sky every afternoon for as many days this month as I can remember.

I pull two pints of homemade cherry frozen yogurt from the very back of the freezer and quickly fill a waiting cone with two big scoops. I hand it to the Honey, grab my camera, and the kitchen door bangs shut behind us.

Cherry Berry Swirl Frozen Yogurt | Fork Knife Swoon

Across the patio and the frozen yogurt is already melting. We reach a small patch of decently green grass and I muster a few quick shots in the seventeen or so seconds before the whole delicious mess completely implodes, sinking into the cone and running down the edges onto the Honey’s hand. The pup lays patiently in the grass at his feet, just outside the edge of the frame, waiting for drips. This is the fourth cone I’ve shot, and he’s a quick learner.

Photographing frozen yogurt outside, in June. In the South. This is my madness.

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Coconut Whipped Cream and Macerated Berry Parfaits

Coconut Whipped Cream and Berry Parfaits | Fork Knife Swoon

Popping in to say hello with a super quick and easy weekend dessert: the loveliest mixed berry parfaits that are sweet and decadent and also just so happen to be vegan and gluten free. This time of year, when the unrelenting heft of the Southern summer begins to creep in, punctuating perfectly gorgeous spring days with thunderous downpours and thicker-than-bootstrap-molasses humidity, I gravitate towards this sort of simple, fresh fruit-based dessert. If for no other reason than it requires little to no cooking. No oven, no baking, little time to labor over in the kitchen, which, wouldn’t you know it, is consistently the hottest part of our house. And then, of course, there is the incredible nature of peak season berries…
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Lattice Top Strawberry Pie

Lattice Top Strawberry Pie | Fork Knife Swoon

A good part of the morning was spent dusted with a fine layer of flour, dotted with butter, and rolling out pastry for a fresh strawberry pie. The strawberries, picked earlier that morning, just down the road, were perfectly ripe, on the verge of being overly so, and filled the kitchen with their sweet, musky aroma. I tossed them with a bit of good vanilla, a few spoonfuls of sugar, and a liberal splash of viscous, aged balsamic vinegar to enhance their natural sweetness, but really, the berries were just about perfect as is, as tends to be the case with peak season fruit.
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Tomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini

Tomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife Swoon

I’m ready for Winter to be over. Or at least ready for North Carolina’s weather system to make up its mind about which season we’re in. It’s currently a day by day decision.

Over the course of the last two weeks, we’ve experienced snowstorms, freezing ice rain, wind storms, vaguely-named “wintery mixes,” and a torrential thunder and lightning storm that included a tornado watch. Smack dab in the middle of all that, we had a handful of perfectly-clear, sunny days with temperatures in the high-seventies. Maybe even eighty. Like it was nothing.

Not that I’m complaining about those gorgeous, warm and breezy, summer-like days, but come on. We had back-to-back days with temperature swings of close to forty degrees. Ridiculous.

My sense of eating seasonally is now completely thrown off. I’m suddenly craving all kinds of warm weather produce. Berries. Tomatoes. Corn. I’m about five seconds away from buying a pack of Chilean strawberries and declaring it Spring. Officially.

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