spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze #bundtbakers

It’s that time again friends! #Bundtbakers is back, and this month is extra special to me for a couple of reasons.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

It’s my first turn to host this month, which means I’m in charge of gathering the links to everyone’s bundts and sharing the list with each participant to share on their blog. Hosting also means that I have the honor of choosing this month’s theme! September is one of my favorite months of the year because it’s still warm and sunny enough to spend time outdoors, but there’s a slight chill in the air and you can literally smell fall coming around the corner. The best part of September to me though, is the produce. This is the time of year that all those fall flavors start making their way back into our farmers markets and kitchens, and I could not be more excited about it. Pumpkins and winter squash and apples and pears and root vegetables and cranberries and figs! Be still my heart.

Given my unhealthy obsession fondness for fall produce, I decided “Autumn Harvest” would be the perfect theme for September. Make sure you check out the bounty of bundts below the recipe! They all look soooo deliciously autumnal.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

The other reason this month’s #bundtbakers is so special to me is the reason this particular cake came to be.

I’ve mentioned, a few times I believe, my good friends who are planning a wedding. Those of you who’ve been reading since the beginning may even remember that these friends inspired me to start blogging in the first place. Shortly after Russell and I were married, our friends were engaged and we had them over to our place to pass on some wedding supplies and talk through the beginning stages of their planning process. I made a big fancy brunch, and when I served a 3 layer pistachio cake for dessert they insisted that I start a blog about my cooking and baking. I habitually posted photos of my food to facebook and instagram, but I was sure that writing an actual blog was out of my league. After another glass (or two) of wine though, they had me convinced and the very next morning I started Brooklyn Homemaker.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

As their date has drawn closer and closer, Russell and I have tried to do our part to help them through the stressful and complicated business of planning a wedding. They really enjoyed several aspects of our wedding, so we’ve been giving them tips and advice on how we pulled a few of those elements together. I know that wedding planning is torture to some, but I loved every second of planning my wedding, so I’m happier than you can ever know that I have the opportunity to help someone else with their planning.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

One element of our wedding that they really enjoyed was that our caterer’s mother baked us some pies to serve along with our cake. Since my baking has played such an interesting role in our friendship, they asked if I might be able to bake them a few things for their dessert table. Of course, I was thrilled to agree. We decided on two different types of desserts; a pie, and a bundt cake; two of each so there will be enough to go around. Their wedding is less than a month away now, so I wanted the desserts to be appropriate for the fall season. The type of pie has already been decided, but I’ve had a bit of a hard time choosing what kind of bundt to make.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

So, forever indecisive, I just baked two different cakes. NBD.
I thought it could be fun to have a tasting and let the bride and groom decide.

I loved the flavors of last month’s #bundtbakers cake, my honey glazed cornmeal cake, so much that I thought I’d try to give it an Autumnal makeover. Instead of blackberries I substituted diced pear, which I thought would pair well (get it? har har) with the flavors of rustic earthy cornmeal and sweet floral honey.
Next I made a play on a carrot cake, an autumn-produce-packed “harvest cake” with grated carrots, parsnips, apples, and pears. I made sure to add plenty of fall spices, and topped the cake with a cinnamon cream cheese glaze. Then I packed both cakes up in bakery boxes and headed over to their house for a fancy cake tasting.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

While both were absolutely delicious, the clear winner was the spiced harvest cake.

This bundt has a flavor very similar to carrot cake, but with a bit more spice and a richer flavor. The addition of brown sugar helps keep the cake super moist and adds a caramel-y depth of flavor. The combination of apples and pears gives that traditional “carrot cake” flavor a slightly sweeter & fruitier edge, but the addition of parsnips with the carrots keeps everything perfectly earthy and vegetal. If you want to add walnuts or pecans I think they’d be great, but I left them out to accommodate wedding guests with nut allergies. There’s plenty of spice, with an extra boost of cinnamon in the sweet and tangy cream cheese glaze. The crumb is moist and tender and, well covered, I think this cake will travel really well upstate for their wedding.

I’m literally giddy with excitement.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Spiced Harvest Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

adapted from Ree Drummond for Food Network

Cake:
Butter and flour for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup grated parsnips
1/2 cup grated ripe bartlett pears (Bosc should work too)
1/2 cup grated granny smith apples (or any tart firm apple)

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-4 tablespoons milk

Directions
Butter and flour a non-stick bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together the sugars, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and combine. Then add the grated carrots, parsnips, apples, and pears, and mix well. Pour the batter into prepare Bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s soft and smooth and light. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and blend until there are no lumps. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the glaze reaches the desired thick yet drizzle-able consistency.

Well covered in an airtight container, this cake should keep at room temperature about 3 or 4 days.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m so excited about how many bakers are participating in this months event! There are a total of 20 outstanding Autumn Harvest themed bundts to drool over, so make sure you follow the links and check them all out. Every single one sounds unbelievably delicious and I wish I could have a slice of each and every one!

 

BundtBakers

 

Interested in learning more about us? #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com. If you are just a lover of Bundt baking, you can find all of our recipe links by clicking our badge above or on our group Pinterest board.

toasted coconut cream pie

Suddenly, one morning last week, I woke up with a hankering for coconut cream pie.

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Don’t ask me why. Just don’t, okay. I honestly couldn’t tell you.

I mean, I’ve always considered pie one of my favorite food groups, but double-crusted fruit pies have always been much more my style than cream pies.

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Perhaps one reason I prefer fruit pies is that the crust and the filling cook all at once, rather than baking the crust separately from what’s going into it. I’ve never been a fan of blind baking pie shells, and have had more than my fair share of sadness and anger and tantrums over blind baking disasters. You name it, it’s happened to me. I’ve had aluminum foil stick to the crust and tear it in half when removed, I’ve had crusts bake with a giant humped bubble in the center because there weren’t enough weights to keep it flat, and I’ve even had the crust shrink and slip down the edges of the pan leaving me little more than a half inch mound to contain my filling.

My love for sweet potato and pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving was my incentive to try try again, and I’ve finally gotten the technique down. Sort of. If you’re new to blind baking, check out this great tutorial from thekitchn for more detail. In my experience, the key points to keep in mind are as follows:
A) Use parchment paper, not foil, and you won’t have to worry about it sticking to the crust.
2) Chill (or better yet, freeze) your crust for a bit before baking and it won’t shrink as much.
3) Fill the parchment-lined pie crust with plenty of weights or beans, you don’t want to skimp.

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I woke up with my coconut cream craving I knew I could handle the blind baking. What I wasn’t expecting was how much more time goes in to a cream pie than a fruit pie. I mean, the recipe is not at all difficult, but I won’t lie to you; This pie is kind of involved. You’re making a crust, and a filling, and a topping; all of which need to be prepared separately, combined, and chilled before eating.

But then there’s the eating. The sweet, creamy, coconutty wonderful eating.

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

All this pie making, and pie eating, got me thinking about where the idea of coconut cream pie came from. Who on earth got the idea of putting coconut into a pudding, then putting that pudding into a pie shell, then topping that pudding filled pie shell with whipped cream?

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

As it turns out, the coconut cream pie has been around for over a century.

Back in the late 1800s Europeans and Americans were really in to their imported tropical fruit like pineapples and bananas, but the coconut hadn’t yet taken off. This was mostly because they were hard to transport without spoiling, and because people didn’t really know what to do with them once they had them in their kitchens. Everyting started to change when a French company based in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) started shredding coconut meat and drying it for easier shipping, thereby making coconut accessible to European chefs and home cooks.

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Shortly after gaining popularity in Europe, coconut took the United States by storm when a Philadelphia flour miller received a shipment of coconuts as payment of a debt from a Cuban businessman. In 1895 he set up a factory for shredding and drying his coconut meat and singlehandedly put coconut into the hands of American homemakers and commercial bakers and candy makers.

Recipes for coconut cream pie start showing up in cookbooks almost immediately, and by the early 1900’s coconut custard and coconut cream pie was everywhere.

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

And it’s no wonder. This pie is really something. As much as I still think baked fruit pies are more my thing, this pie is worth all the time and separate steps. The crust is flaky and tender and crisp, and since it’s made with butter instead of shortening, it’s got a great flavor as well as texture. The coconut pudding filling is rich and custardy and creamy and thick, studded with plenty of super flavorful toasted coconut. The whipped cream is just barely sweetened, and laced with just a hint of rum to take that tropical coconut to another place. The whipped cream is also stabilized with a tiny bit of gelatin, just to make sure it doesn’t turn into a runny puddle if you don’t serve every last slice right away.

If you’re a fan of cream pies, or a fan of coconut, this recipe is one to dog-ear.

toasted coconut cream pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie

adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Pie crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup ice cold water

Coconut Cream Filling:
1 ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk, well stirred (not cream of coconut)
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Stabilized Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
6 tablespoons ice cold water
1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
1/3 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if not using rum, add another teaspoon)

Make the pie crust:
Stir or whisk together flour, sugar, & salt in a medium bowl. If you have time, toss the bowl in the freezer for a 15 or 20 minutes. Cube the butter, add it to the chilled flour, and cut it in with a pastry blender, until it looks like coarse pea sized chunks. You can also do this by pulsing in a food processor. If you took very long to cut the butter in, you can toss the bowl back in the freezer for another 15 minutes, but if the butter is still firm and cold, don’t bother.

Start mixing in the water and stirring and tossing with a fork to distribute and combine. Try starting with about 1/4 cup, mix together, and add about a tablespoon or two at a time, until it starts to come together. The less water you use the better and flakier the crust will be, but you don’t want to use so little that it won’t hold together. If you can press it together with your hands and it mostly stays in a ball, with a few little bits crumbling out, you’re good to go.

Form the dough into to a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Try to handle it as little as possible so as not to warm or melt the butter. Press or pat the covered ball of dough into a thick disk and refrigerate for at least two hours (or up to a few days)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

On a well floured surface with a floured rolling pie, roll the dough out in a disk that’s about 2 inches wider than your pie plate. Transfer to the plate, center the crust (do not stretch it out or it’ll shrink when baked) and trim the edge so there’s about half an inch to an inch of overhang. Fold the overhang under itself right at the edge of the pie plate, and crimp the crust with a decorative edge.

To blind bake the pie crust, cut a large square of parchment paper and line the crust with it. Fill the paper with pie weights, dried beans, or pennies to weight down the crust or it’ll bubble up when baked. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are beginning to turn golden brown. Remove the pie plate from the oven, and lift the weight filled parchment out of the pie crust. Return it to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, or until the center of the crust looks dry and cooked through. Set the crust aside to cool.
For more information on blind baking a pie crust, check out this detailed tutorial from TheKitchn.

Make the filling:
Turn the oven down to 325. Spread the coconut in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, and toast until golden brown, about 9 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. When cool enough to handle, reserve 1/2 cup for garnishing the finished pie.

Bring the coconut milk, whole milk, 1 cup loosely packed toasted coconut, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture reaches a simmer, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl to break them up, then whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch until well combined and no lumps remain. Gradually whisk the simmering liquid into the yolk mixture to temper it, then return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, and let thicken at a low simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Off the heat, whisk in the vanilla and butter. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate until the filling is cold and firm, at least 2 to 3 hours.

Make the stabilized whipped cream:
In a small pan, combine gelatin and cold water and let stand until thick.
Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for just a few minutes. (do not allow it to set).
Whip the cream with the confectioner’s sugar, until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream.
Whip at high speed until stiff. Add the rum and vanilla, and whip for 1 minute more.

Spread or pipe the whipped cream over the chilled filling. Sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup toasted coconut over the whipped cream and return the pie to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour more for the whipped cream to set. Cover with plastic wrap after the first hour, if not serving at that moment. Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic too, and stored in the refrigerator.

chicken BLT caesar salad

There’s just something about a Caesar salad.

chicken BLT Caesar salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

I don’t know what is, but every once in a while, I just need one. At this point, Caesars are so ubiquitous as to be kind of boring and cliche, but every so often you just have to have one. I can’t even really explain their appeal. They’re not the most interesting salad in the world, containing little more than lettuce, croutons, and dressing; and if they’re bad they’re usually baaaaadddd. It’s not hard to get them right though. When you get the dressing right, and the lettuce is super crisp and fresh, and the croutons are homemade, a Caesar salad is just so damned satisfying

chicken BLT Caesar salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

I think their simplicity might be what makes them so enticing, but it can also be their downfall. A salad made with sad flabby wilted lettuce, with sweet gloppy bottled dressing, and oily mouth-slicing craggy croutons has nothing to redeem it, and can put someone off Caesar salads for life. When they’re done well though, with crisp fresh lettuce, good croutons, creamy cheesy garlicy dressing. Yes. Just yes.

chicken BLT Caesar salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

Anyway, most people, when they’re trying to take this salad from light meal or side to filling and satisfying sustenance, tend to add sliced chicken breast. I am one of those people. Whether I’m out to lunch or trying to come up with a quick dinner, a good Caesar with chicken is always a welcome option.

chicken BLT Caesar salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

This time around though, I thought it might be fun to jazz things up a little. Russell and I tend to eat this salad once a month or more, so I was looking for a quick addition or change that would have a big impact. It’s easy to get tired of eating the same old thing, so it’s great to find simple and easy ways to add a little interest to something you make well and often. In this “BLT” interpretation, the addition of crispy bacon adds a nice saltiness and richness to make it feel like a truly substantial meal, and the sun-dried tomatoes add a nice concentrated sweet summery-ness that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in a Caesar. To dress my Caesars up a little, I also like to use a vegetable peeler to add some shaved parmesan.

chicken BLT Caesar salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

You can definitely use bottled dressing at home to make things a little easier on yourself, but to be honest, I have yet to find a bottled dressing out there that I like. I’ve tried though. Lord how I’ve tried. It definitely is nice to just reach for the bottle (of dressing, not booze, though that’s nice too) when you get home from a long day and you just want to throw something together. My problem with the bulk of bottled Caesar dressings though, is that they’re usually way too sweet. I think that lemon juice adds plenty of sweetness to Caesar dressing, and even think that too much lemon can go too sweet, so the fact that most bottled dressings have added sugar or corn syrup is bewildering to me. The nice thing about this dressing recipe is that it doesn’t take too long to pull together, and that it makes more than you need and keeps well in the refrigerator.

I totally acknowledge that this is definitely not a traditional, old school homemade caesar with raw eggs and whole anchovies, and I’m sure some people out there in the world will be furious with me for trying to “pass off” this recipe as a Caesar. Thing is, using mayonnaise and anchovy paste instead makes things waaaaay quicker and easier, and gives the dressing staying power, without compromising on flavor.

chicken BLT Caesar salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

This dressing has a nice creamy texture, but the addition of olive oil thins it out so that it’s not too gloppy or heavy. The cheese is nice and salty and forward, and the garlic gives a nice fresh bite. The amount of lemon juice here adds a nice fresh bright sweetness and acidity without going too sweet or blatantly citrusy. The anchovy paste adds a great depth and brininess without having to bust out the food processor to puree whole anchovies yourself. Anchovy paste, by the way, can usually be found in the same aisle in the grocery store as canned tuna fish. All in all, it’s pretty damned good, and if you have some in the fridge you can throw together a caesar salad in a snap, and dress it up however you like.

chicken BLT Caesar salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

Chicken BLT Caesar Salad

dressing adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Caesar Dressing:
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
2 small (1 large) head crisp romaine lettuce
1 small to medium loaf of italian bread
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 strips of thick cut bacon
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped and loosely packed
1/4 cup parmesan shavings (or grated parmesan)

Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add the mayonnaise, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust to your liking. Refrigerate until ready for use.
This will make more dressing than you’ll need for one night of salads, but it stores well, refrigerated, for a few weeks.

Croutons: Preheat oven to 350. Cut the crust off the loaf of bread using a sharp bread knife. It’s okay if some is still on, but you want to get a good bit of it off. Then cut the bread into 1-inch cubes, trying not to smoosh the bread too much. You want about 3 or 4 cups of loosely packed bread cubes. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crispy and just beginning to brown, about 10 or 15 minutes, checking them often. Set aside.

Salad: Slice your head of romaine into bite-sized stirps, and wash and dry using a salad spinner or kitchen towels. Set aside. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown and crisp bacon to your liking, and drain on paper towels. Crumble once cool. Sear chicken breasts in same skillet over high heat. Sear on both sides for about 5 or 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through. You can use bacon grease to cook the chicken, or you can drain it off, wipe out the pan, and add an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
Let chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes before slicing into thin strips with a sharp knife.

Assemble the salad; you can either toss the lettuce, croutons, bacon, chicken, and tomatoes all together in a big bowl, OR you can just combine the lettuce and croutons together and arrange the other ingredients on top of the plated salad after dressing. Either way, toss the salad with about 1/3 cup of dressing with salad tongs or two large spoons. If you like a creamier, more dressed salad, you can add more dressing, 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup at a time, but this dressing is very flavorful so I’d suggest tasting the dressed salad before deciding.

I went camping!

A couple weeks ago I pulled a Snake Plissken and escaped from New York.

Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!

I’ve mentioned this before, but my mom is in the process of renovating an old house upstate. I am a weirdo masochist so rather than using my vacation time this year to go to Europe of the Caribbean, I opted to go upstate and spend my vacation time sanding ceilings on a ladder, getting drywall dust in my eyes and lungs, breathing paint fumes, and working 10 hour days in an empty 100+ year old home with no air conditioning or functioning plumbing.

Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!

When my mom said her contractor was almost finished putting up her new drywall and that she could use help sanding and painting, it didn’t take much arm twisting to get me on board. I totally love those kinds of projects and not-so-secretly wish that I had the opportunity to do them in a home I owned myself. She also needed some help choosing fixtures and finishes for her bathroom and kitchen, which is something I already spend countless hours doing on Pinterest, planning for my non-existent future home. The opportunity to actually do this for real, even if I wouldn’t get to live with the finished product, was a total dream.

My only stipulation for doing all that sweaty manual labor was that I would get to take off for two days with my older sister and her kids to go camping. Sorry house! I needed those two days to at least pretend this was an actual vacation! My mom needed the break just as much as I did, so she even joined in the fun and drove up to relax (and drink) with us on our second day.

Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!

Before I moved to Brooklyn I used to camp, like, a lot. For most of my life I’ve lived either in the Fingerlakes region or in the Adirondacks, so spending time outdoors has always been a major part of my life. Since moving here though, opportunities to get out into the wild have been fewer and farther between. Having grown up in southern California, Russell doesn’t really share my love of staring into a camp fire for hours on end, or my love of sleeping with nothing but a thin sheet of polyester protecting me from the nocturnal creatures outside, making camping trips even less likely.  What, to me, is the height of rest and relaxation, to him is a painfully boring way to feed mosquitos.

Since Russell was going to sit this trip out and stay home with the pups, it took me all of a quarter of a second to decide I wanted to go camping. I called my sister and begged her to come with me (she needed zero convincing), and we started making plans. Since we only had a couple days, and my niece and nephews would be with us, we decided pretty quickly on Fair Haven Beach State Park. It’s less than an hour from my home town, and since it’s an established camping park we could just roll up, set up the tent, and get down to the business of relaxing. It also has a number of amenities like playgrounds and fishing spots to keep the kids entertained while we were doing our thing. Not only that, but it’s absolutely gorgeous there, with scenic ponds, untouched wooded areas, zillions of deer running around, and a gorgeous sandy beach on the shore of Lake Ontario, all just a short walk from the camp.

Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!Brooklyn Homemaker goes camping!

Once we set up camp, and opened some wine, we set to building a fire and setting up our temporary kitchen. With three kids to feed, my sister takes food just as seriously as I do. We brought a ton of fresh produce with us, some from her garden and some from the farmer’s market in my home town; along with plenty of supplies from the grocery store. We ate like kings (and queens) over the course of our stay, and I while I was there I was bound and determined to try to take some blog worthy camping food photos. Always thinking ahead, just before leaving Brooklyn I rolled a couple of my knives into some kitchen towels and stuffed them into my suitcase along with my camera equipment and a cutting board.

campfire grilled salmon with tomato mango salad | Brooklyn Homemakercampfire grilled salmon with tomato mango salad | Brooklyn Homemaker campfire grilled salmon with tomato mango salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

We had a ton of juicy ripe tomatoes, and she’s picked up a couple of mangoes, so just before we got on the road I decided we should pick up a nice piece of fish and some limes to pull everything together. The salmon at my hometown Wegmans looked beautiful so that was that.

campfire grilled salmon with tomato mango salad | Brooklyn Homemakercampfire grilled salmon with tomato mango salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

Truth be told, if I were making this at home I would have done things a little differently. We didn’t bring any oil with us and the pan I used to cook the salmon wasn’t really ideal, but that’s half the fun of cooking in the great outdoors. The recipe below should be used only as a guideline, as cooking times and your camping supplies will vary a lot. It was a bit hard to gauge when the fish was cooked because the coals weren’t as hot as I would have liked them, but in the end everything was absolutely delicious. The salad was bright and acidic and complemented the smoky fatty salmon perfectly. Sometimes kids can be picky eaters but all three of them loved it just as much as we did.

Then, afterward, we had smores. Duh.

The whole trip was absolute heaven and I’m so glad I made the time to go. Spending time with family, sunny days, starry nights, the smell of wood smoke, plenty of wine, and chipmunks making off with the marshmallows. The perfect trip for the end of the summer. What better farewell to the season than to fully immerse yourself in it?

campfire grilled salmon with tomato mango salad | Brooklyn Homemaker campfire grilled salmon with tomato mango salad | Brooklyn Homemaker

Campfire Grilled Salmon with Tomato Mango Salad

4 servings of salmon (at least 4oz each- I used one big fillet that I portioned myself)
salt & pepper to taste
juice of 3 limes, divided
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 mangos
1 small red onion, finely chopped

Season the salmon with salt and pepper, and squeeze with the juice of 1. Brush the grill or the pan with some olive oil, if you have it. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill or pan. Grill or sear until the flesh on the cooked side is visibly turning pale and firm. You want it to be cooked about 1/2 way up the side. Depending on the heat of your fire, grill, or pan, the time this will take can vary quite a bit. Over a camp fire it took a long time, but in a hot cast iron on the stove top it would only take 3 minutes or so.

Flip the salmon over and cook until sides have visibly turned completely pale and firm.

Meanwhile, make the salad. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl with finely chopped onion. Remove skin and pit from mango and slice into bite-sized chunks, add to the bowl and squeeze the remaining two limes over everything. Toss it all together with a spoon and season with salt and pepper.

If not already portioned, slice your cooked salmon into individual fillets with a sharp knife. Spoon salad over salmon just before serving.

Serve with grilled corn, if desired.