lemon + zucchini corncakes

Limón y calabacín, or lemon and zucchini as you may know them, were the flavors of my summer. Working at a Montessori school’s garden all season, we had an overflowing crop of zucchini and lots of time to mess around with new recipes and get creative.

…zucchini ice cream, anyone? ;)

I’ve never been a huge fan of lemon flavor in desserts, but this summer my taste buds must have changed on me. ‘Cause now it’s all I crave. With the help of the Montessori kids who came to work in the garden, we started experimenting with some lemon-rosemary zucchini bread, then progressed to Martha’s lemon-zucchini cornmeal cookies *veganized* (Mom’s faaavorite), and from there I decided to add the tasty combo to my favorite cornmeal pancakes that I posted here last summer.

Fluffy and buttery cornmeal cakes with shreds of bright green zucchini and tangy lemon zest, spread with maple syrup-greek yogurt….. it’s summer bundled up into a little pancake.

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peaches and ginger cheesecake

Today I bit into my first perfect peach of summer.

It’s a little late, I know, and now I’m regretting not stuffing my mouth with them for the past 3 weeks.

I mean come on Michele, you live less than a mile from Peach Tree Road…..

Each year I experience the same moment: biting into a soft, still-warm-from-the-sun peach that twists apart into two perfect halves in my hands, sunset colored flesh that breaks between my teeth with ease, not mushy but not too firm, and tasting of pure summer. And once again I remember why this is my most favorite of fruits. Silly of me to ever forget.

So a couple weeks ago we celebrated my summer birthday with a delicious home-cooked meal on the patio, featuring rosemary-lemon roasted chicken, fried plantains with sweet chili-cilantro sauce, citrusy jicama slaw, lots of sunshine, and great company. And I decided to make my own birthday cake :)

My idea was for a gingery peach cheesecake, to use up some of our not-quite-yet-perfect summer peaches. However I couldn’t find a recipe I was satisfied with, and out of all the cakes, pies, cobblers and whatnot my mom and sister have made over the years, neither had ever made a cheesecake. So I plunged into the unknown, using my imagination and a couple different recipes for estimates. And what do you know, it was one of those lucky days.

I would expect no less on my birthday, of course ;)

From the oven emerged a naturally sweet, nutty, and gingery crust surrounding a light and creamy filling, flavored with vanilla and fresh ginger. The early summer peaches which topped it off were slightly less-than-perfect, but the cake didn’t seem to mind.

I get pretty excited when I luck out like this with a made-up recipe. Because it doesn’t happen often. Soo, I’m sharing it with the world in hopes that you’ll try it, or at least go take FULL advantage of summer’s sweetest fruit. Continue reading