A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Good Eats: Experimenting with Broiling Fruit

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

I had some time on Saturday afternoon to experiment in the kitchen. I have read about the intense, almost smokey flavor that fruit takes on when broiled and it intrigued me.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

I sliced up a few lemons and oranges and arranged them on foil covered cookie sheets. I even added a handful of blackberries for good fun. Under the broiler they went for 5-10 minutes.

The result? The wedges of fruit almost disintegrated, and in their place, an incredibly concentrated flavor infusion that took on a juicy, syrupy quality. Part sweet, part tangy, and yes – just a little bit smokey. Ooooh so good.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

The lemons may have been my favorite.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

I broiled all of the fruit with just a dusting of sugar to try and achieve that charred, bubbly effect. Not enough sugar to create a caramelized layer, but just enough to give the broiler something to burn.

The oranges held their consistency a bit more, but stacked on a cheese plate they would make the most perfect sauce to soak up with fig bread and goat cheese.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

And perhaps the most intriguing? The blackberries. These guys took on a cooked character that I didn’t expect. So good. And so perfect muddled in a cocktail or as a fruit bruschetta (with a creamy cheese. my taste buds are glazing over).

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

These were so easy that it feels like every roasted chicken, baked fish or tangy salad ought to have some broiled fruit on it somewhere.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Broiling happens at an incredibly high temp (500+) and will bubble the top of fruit until it caramelizes or blackens. You could also do the opposite and turn the heat down way low and dry out your slices for an entire day for an entirely different taste.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Be sure to leave the oven door open just a couple of inches while broiling. Air circulation is important in such a high heat environment.

Before and after.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Pieces of the finished fruit slices are still tart, some are now sweet, others are just a bit smokey. I’m excited about this entirely new flavor palette to explore.

PS cocktail suggestions to come. More good eats found here. Happy start to the week!!

Living Room Ideas: A Fireplace Makeover?

I have kind of a crazy idea.

Fireplace Faux Wood Stack Screen : PepperDesignBlog.com

Redoing the face of this fireplace has been on our todo list since the beginning, but we’ve found bigger and more urgent projects to tackle over the past five and a half years so this guy has been on the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ list for a while.

Before Shots of Our Home | PepperDesignBlog.com

I added a very basic wood box mantel (basically a plywood box) three years ago and the wood stack facade last spring. The sunburst mirror was a diy project from about the same time.

We’ve thought about tearing out the brick (which is not original) to see if there might be a beautiful Spanish fireplace hiding underneath. But we’ve come to grips that, when torn off, the plaster holding the brick together will surely tear out any decorative stucco below.


So my new thought is to box the fireplace in with dry wall and tile it. Embrace the square shape and use it as the foundation for a brand new look.

The first little redo inspiration seed was planted when I was watching Secrets From a Stylist, season 1 (what happened to that wonderful show?) when Emily takes on a Spanish home and includes a fireplace makeover. I couldn’t find a straight on pic (and the ochre is not my favorite room color-wise), but that herringbone pattern totally knocked my socks off.

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

Two years later and ideas for the fireplace rise again when I spot a very beautiful marble makeover by Molly Wood in December 2013′s Better Homes & Gardens (I have also since subconsciously purchased a couple of those really cool gold wiry stars for our mantel only to come back to this picture and get why I was drawn to them).

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | Molly Woods Fireplace, BHG | PepperDesignBlog.com

How cool is that whole fireplace? The white/grey, the warm wood, the natural accents (even though it’s decorated for the holidays in the above).

So I’ve been playing around mixing those various elements with some quick photoshop mockups…

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

A marble herringbone tile with a grey quartz base (we have a chunk left over from our kitchen counters)? A new warmer wooden mantel?

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’m thinking that a marble slab may be out of the ballpark, but maybe a lighter grey quartz? Or perhaps we could find a stone yard remnant…

I don’t know though. The scale of the tile feels too small and the color too cool. Perhaps a lighter marble is out there (already on sheets) waiting to be discovered.

Or or or, how about white ceramic.

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

I love that.

Am I crazy for thinking chevron/herringbone here? Should we tear down the brick to see what’s really left of the original fireplace? Not touch it at all? Consider plastering it over (to look and feel more like a Spanish fireplace) or a different tile pattern altogether?

I’m so inspired and ready to go on this, but I also know that these ideas need to simmer a bit. Something else amazing might pop up instead.

PS a lighter marble fireplace inset (would be great if I could find that shade in herringbone sheets). More living room renovation posts here.

Home Inspiration: Beautiful Hanging Planters

A little eye candy…

Favorite Hanging Planters Inspiration Board | PepperDesignBlog.com

1. Wooden Hanging Planter | 2. Air Nest | 3. Copper  Cup & Macrame | 4. Earthenware Planter | 5. Geometric Cage in Sunset Orange | 6. Navy, Gold & Neon Pink | 7. Geometric Terrarium | 8. Porcelain Cone Planter | 9. Rope Hanging Planters

Happy Wednesday! Oh man I love etsy too much…

PS more inspiration boards right here.

PPS and – this is so exciting – This Old House features our faux log fireplace facade as one of their featured projects. Thanks, TOH. Makes me so happy + warm & fuzzy. (Same project snuck into the magazine).

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