Where Colors Collide in the Pacific

Photo by Chelsea Harms

Photo Info

  • Location: Crescent City, California
  • Camera: Canon T2i
  • Lens: Canon 18-55mm
  • Filter: Zeikos UV 58mm

As a marine scientist, I spend the majority of my time in or around the ocean. However, that vast majority has been spent on the east coast of the USA and in the Caribbean. This past summer, I had the opportunity to road trip to the US west coast and spend a few nights in northern California. My first trip to the Pacific Ocean left me in awe of the beauty that in no way was anything similar to what I have experienced elsewhere.

I was fascinated particularly with the abundance of wildflowers and succulents that seemed to encompass every inch of cliff face and shoreline, adding an incredible depth of color to contrast the grey stones and chilly water. Since I wasn’t about to brave that cold ocean, I was content with spending my time on land for once, simply enjoying all the terrestrial beauty. It certainly became obvious to me why California is a much-loved natural beauty.

To see more photos, visit my blog and read the article here.

About Chelsea Harms

Chelsea is a marine scientist, currently living and studying on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. She enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring the tropical island and scuba diving in the ocean. She loves to document her travels through photography and partakes in the hobby as often as possible. Although marine science is her calling, creative endeavors have always been a passion for Chelsea. She curates a blog dedicated to all things nature inspires, as well as a small and colorful eclectic online shop.

Celebrating the Flavors of Summer: Cherry Cornmeal Pecan Cookies

Photo by Beverly Wang

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ C all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ C butter, room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1 C tart dried cherries

Recently I attended a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Hollywood Bowl with a group of friends from high school. It was my first time at the bowl despite living in Southern California for most of my life, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to picnic in the hills surrounding the bowl prior to the performance. Naturally, I volunteered to bring some baked goods and dessert, and looked to create a portable dessert that captured the essence of summer picnics.

I turned to the Corn Cherry Scone (my favorite item from the Cheeseboard Collective, a wonderful bakery and pizza place in my old college stomping grounds of Berkeley, CA), as inspiration and modified a cookie recipe to imitate the flavors I found in Cheeseboard’s original recipe.* By modifying this excellent cookie recipe from Baking Bites; I was able to capture the flavors in Cheeseboard’s scone. What resulted was a buttery, chewy cookie that was tempered by the tartness of cherries and had an added crunch from the cornmeal. Pecans add a lovely nuttiness as well, but feel free to swap that out for your favorite nut or even chocolate for a more decadent cookie.

cherry cornmeal pecan cookies / recipe & photos by Beverly Wang / featured on dearestnature.com

cherry cornmeal pecan cookies / recipe & photos by Beverly Wang / featured on dearestnature.com

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until  thoroughly combined. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour gradually until the dough comes together, then stir in the pecans and cherries. Note that this cookie dough will be stiff. If you have a warm kitchen and find that your cookie dough is a bit slack, place it in the refrigerator to stiffen a bit before proceeding to shaping.

4. Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon, shape the dough into balls and place 2” apart on the baking sheet (I was able to fit a dozen to each sheet). Place into the oven and bake for approximately 12-14 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly brown, rotating the sheets in between. When done, take them out of the oven and allow them cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

cherry cornmeal pecan cookies / recipe & photos by Beverly Wang / featured on dearestnature.com

In hindsight, I do wish that the corn flavor of the cookies could be amplified bit more. Maybe next time, I will add some pulverized freeze-dried corn ala Momofuku Milk Bar’s Corn Cookies to see if I can boost the corn flavor. Please let me know if you try this! In any case, this cookie was well received and received a lot of compliments. I hope you bake these for those you care about as well. Enjoy!

Notes:

*See here for an excellent article about scone-making and a recipe of the original corn cherry scone

About Beverly Wang

Beverly is a web applications developer living in lovely Southern California. When she's not writing code, you'll probably find her in the kitchen or out capturing moments of her daily life with her camera. Never content to sit still, she always finds herself trying to do ten things at once. She believes that good food, made with love and from scratch, is the panacea for all ills.

Color Crush: Black & White

Snow + trees photo by Jan Luzar

This week’s color crush is actually one that focuses on nature-inspired art, photos, and crafts that feature the absence of color: black and white.

black and white color crush / featured on dearestnature.com

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Stephanie Ryan

Artwork by Stephanie Ryan

Visit Stephanie's

You could say the work of Stephanie Ryan can only described one way … gorgeous! But now that I think about it, more words come to mind: delicate, pretty, bright, bold, dreamy … ok, so a few more ways than just one!

Stephanie Ryan Design / article by Jasmine Flamenco / featured on dearestnature.com

Stephanie discribes herself as a creative soul, a nurturer, an inspirer. She says, “through the use of simple shapes and thoughtful colors, I found that I could express a piece of myself through my art. Peaceful, serene, and beautiful are the colors that I use to express how I feel, and the simple uncomplicated shapes are the life that I am trying to obtain. It is my dream to reach people and soothe their hectic lives with quiet thoughts of inspiration.”

I love that last part about soothing — something I think all of us need at one time or another!

About Jasmine Flamenco

Jasmine is a maker, crafter, ceramicist, wife, knitter, origami amateur, and Master Chef in the making (if Master Chef only included making vegetarian food). Visit her blog for lively inspiration.

Concertina Press

Octopus wedding invitation sample by Concertina Press

If you’re planning an ocean/beach-themed wedding, Concertina Press has a wide variety of lovely nautical-inspired wedding invitations. Owned and operated in Cape Cod, Massachusetts by multi-talented Ruth Bleakley, all of the cards are gorgeously designed and are eco-friendly. They’re printed on cotton or linen card stock and coupled with recycled paper envelopes.

Here are a few that would complement any ocean-themed wedding beautifully:

wedding invitations by Concertina Press / featured on dearestnature.com

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.