Cherry Clafoutis

I’m excited that my mom Andrea is joining us again today while I’m out of town at the Food Blog Forum. Last time Mom guest posted, she shared her South African Pannekoek recipe, and today she’s writing about a special French dessert she learned in culinary school. 

Cherry Clafoutis // Feast + West

Clafoutis is a classic French dessert that I learned to make in culinary school. Every year when fresh cherries are abundant, I feel compelled to buy enough so I can make a cherry clafoutis!

Clafoutis is a delicate, baked custard with fresh, pitted cherries. This dessert is at its best served warm, with a touch of powdered sugar sprinkled on top. It is fairly easy to make and it is a definite crowd-pleaser. This recipe serves 4 to 6 but it can be increased to make more servings.

Cherry Clafoutis // Feast + West

While cherries are the classic fruit in a clafoutis, it’s worth trying other seasonal fruits. You could substitute fresh raspberries and grated dark chocolate for the cherries in this recipe. Try halved, fresh apricots or sliced pears baked in a cognac infused custard. How about diced, fresh peaches, substituting brown sugar and pure almond extract for the sugar and vanilla? The sky’s the limit so make up your own version of a clafoutis! // andrea

Click below to see the recipe for Andrea’s Cherry Clafoutis! 

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Kitchen Road Trip: New York

Kitchen Road Trip: New York // Feast + West

Good morning, friends! I am writing to you from the 2014 Food Blog Forum in Asheville, N.C. I am so, so excited to be here to make Feast + West a better blog! I’ve got posts scheduled over the next few days while I’m off learning about the business of food blogging. I’ll be back later in the week but I’ll be sure to tell you all about it! You can follow along on Twitter and Instagram! Now, let’s get into this New York gift guide.

New York is a special place. I’ve had a few great trips to the Big Apple, and I fell in love. I think it’s easy to forget, though, that New York City is just one small part of New York. When I road tripped last summer, I loved exploring upstate New York. The rolling hills of the Hudson River Valley were just breathtaking. I could spend more time travelling through New York — I’d love to see the Catskills and Niagara Falls one day.

After the jump, you’ll find a few of my favorite New York finds from all over the state, and you can find some more over on Pinterest. Have a great week, everyone! // susannah

Click below to see the New York gift guide!  

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Spiked Thai Iced Tea

Spiked Thai Iced Tea // Feast + West

Whenever I go to a Thai restaurant, I indulge in Thai iced tea. It’s iced tea brewed from Ceylon tea leaves, a black tea with a brilliant orange color. Restaurants usually serve it with sweetened condensed milk over ice, though you can also drink it hot if you prefer. I find myself at Thai restaurants so rarely, so this tea is an extra special treat for me. I’ve been craving it lately, so I thought, ‘Why not make it at home and spike it?’ With a little vodka or rum, it morphs into Spiked Thai Iced Tea. It’s sweet and silky, with a subtle hint of vanilla. If you like sweet tea, you’ll love this.

My, what a week it has been. I started the Friday Night Delights column because my favorite way to end a week is to drink cocktails with friends. There are a lot of friends on my mind this week who I’d love to (but cannot) get drinks with tonight, so this one’s for them. Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend! // susannah

Click below to see the recipe for Spiked Thai Iced Tea!

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The Grown-Up Back-to-School Wishlist

Grown-Up Back-to-School Wishlist // Feast + West

Confession: I am a little bit jealous of the little ones, the college kids and the lovely teachers out there who are preparing to start school. Even though I’ve been out of school for a while, I still get butterflies about the exciting things to come this time of year. I also get the itch to buy new school supplies. These days, I keep a grown-up back-to-school wishlist to suit my whims.

Something about freshly sharpened pencils and a new notebook makes me feel like a kid again. At the very least, new desk accessories always inspire me to straighten up my desk. (Am I alone in this?!) I’ve got zero plans to go back to school anytime soon, but here are a few things that would definitely spruce up my office. What’s on your grown-up back-to-school wishlist? // susannah

Grown-Up Back-to-School Wishlist // Feast + West // Feast + West

1. Nell & Mary Splatter Tote ($85) // 2. Poketo Brass Colored Pencil Holder Set ($78) // 3. Poppin Mint Stapler ($14) // 4. ban.do Colorblock Mermaid iPhone Case ($25) // 5. Anthropologie Angled Heirloom Letter Opener ($12) // 6. Sugar Paper Polka Dot Notebook ($26) // 7. CuteTape Gold Stripe Washi Tape ($1.80) // 8. Kate Spade Saturday Striped Zipper Pouch ($25)

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Tangy Peach Salsa

Tangy Peach Salsa // Feast + West

Salsa should be at the core of every gathering, right? Right. I love a good plate of chips and salsa, but sometimes salsa can be so, well, boring. Yeah, I said it. But really, salsa is supposed to be refreshing, juicy and flavorful.

With a little knife work, it’s not hard to put together your own salsa, so I say nix the store-bought jars whenever possible. They’re so limiting! And how can you even choose between restaurant-style, homestyle, chunky, mild, medium and spicy? You can yield so many different flavors when you mix it yourself. And you get to decide how spicy you want your salsa to be.

This version combines juicy peaches and garden-fresh cherry tomatoes with onion, sweet peppers, salt, herbs, lime juice and olive oil. The resulting flavor is sweet and sour — a refreshing change for this common appetizer. Make this Tangy Peach Salsa and all your guests will stand around it in awe of you. Make this salsa and see if there’s any left for your guests after you try it. No, really. It’s that good. Give it a go before peaches are no longer in season! // susannah

Click through to see the Tangy Peach Salsa recipe!

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Desktop Wallpapers // 4

South Africa Free Desktop Wallpapers // Feast + West

Last year, I visited my sister and extended family in South Africa. I had a great trip, traveling all over Cape Town, up the Garden Route  and into the semi-desert Karoo hills. There is so much culture and natural beauty in South Africa. It was amazing to see it again, this time as an adult. I took a gazillion photos (of course!) with both my D-SLR and my phone, but I recently realized I never really went through all of them when I got back. Actually, I kind of forgot about them and no one ever got to see them! I’m the worst. However, I decided to turn a few of them into wallpapers for you!

This is the first time I’m sharing my own photography in my desktop wallpaper column, but I’m on the lookout for more photographers who would like to participate. Send me a note to hello [at] feastandwest [dot] com and let’s chat! Happy downloading! // susannah

South Africa Free Desktop Wallpapers // Feast + West

Click below to download these FREE South Africa desktop wallpapers! 

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Kitchen Road Trip: New Mexico

Kitchen Road Trip: New Mexico // Feast + West

Good morning, friends! New Mexico is next on the Kitchen Road Trip itinerary. Though I’ve driven though New Mexico, I probably know it better from TV and the movies. I watched ‘Thelma & Louise’ for the first time this weekend, and the way those two women marvel at their surroundings was much like my experience with New Mexico. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ also capture the beauty of the Southwest. It’s an area of the country of which I would very much like to see more.

On that trip through New Mexico, we stopped for breakfast in Santa Fe. We walked through the historic Plaza, perusing the collection of artists and jewelers in the market. The Spanish-American architecture and Native American influence will always stick with me. In this New Mexico gift guide, there’s tons of bright colors indicative of the brilliant culture in the Land of Enchantment. To see where I’ve been so far this year, check out the Kitchen Road Trip archive! // susannah 

The Kitchen Road Trip series is a virtual ‘trip’ to a different state. Posted weekly on Mondays, each post is a gift guide to items from a different state, in alphabetical order, and features food & drinks, books, home goods and travel items.  

Click below to see the New Mexico gift guide! 

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Blackberry Gin + Tonic

Blackberry Gin + Tonic // Feast + West

Gin and I have never really gotten along. I wrote it off on the principle that it smells like Christmas trees. I recently decided to give gin another chance, starting small with gin + tonics. Because the gin and tonic is a basic, two-ingredient cocktail, you can add any fruit or herb to them for a little kick.

Now, I have been waiting all summer for blackberry season. Blackberries are always such a conundrum to me. They’re both sweet and tart, juicy and crunchy — absolutely bursting with flavor. They are incredible in baked goods like cobblers and pies. They’re fantastic paired with vanilla ice cream. And, mashed up, they are perfect in cocktails. This Blackberry Gin and Tonic is a beautifully refreshing libation you can enjoy for the rest of the summer months. Hope you enjoy it and have a great weekend! // susannah 

Click through to learn how to make a Blackberry Gin and Tonic!

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The Ultimate Raleigh Travel Guide

Raleigh Travel Guide // Feast + West

It’s been a while since I posted a travel guide, so I thought I share the things I love about Raleigh, one of my all-time favorite cities. I attended college in Raleigh, then took a job there after I graduated. I lived very close to downtown and watched Raleigh grow and change a lot over the years.

After moving to Charlotte last year, my view of Raleigh changed from that of a resident to a visitor. I travel there often to visit my dear friends, and sometimes for work, too. My group of friends loves to explore, so I developed quite a lengthy list of favorites over the years. Thus, this guide is absolutely jam-packed with tips for you! It is the ultimate Raleigh travel guide.

Next time you’re in the City of Oaks, (perhaps for Hopscotch in a few weeks?) check out a few of these places for food, drink and shopping! And enjoy it, in my honor please! // susannah

Click below to see the ultimate Raleigh travel guide!

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Fried Egg + Avocado Toast

Egg + Avocado Toast // Feast + West

I am all for trying difficult recipes, but sometimes simple is the answer. When I’m feeling lazy or short on time, I love smearing a ripe avocado on a piece of toast and topping it with an egg. Sometimes I’ll poach the egg, sometimes I’ll scramble it, sometimes I’ll fry it or hard-boil it. Whatever feels right! Most of my family members despise eggs, but they’re missing out. Eggs can be a really lovely, protein-rich meal. This Fried Egg + Avocado Toast is an old standby for me — I’ll eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This isn’t technically a recipe, I suppose, but more of a reminder that good, wholesome food doesn’t have to be complicated and time-consuming. Even I need to remember that from time to time. // susannah 

Click below to see how I make this Fried Egg + Avocado Toast! 

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