Thursday, August 26, 2010
Am I commiting a faux pas by posting an egg recipe with this massive recall going on? Perhaps, but these eggs were cooked, and salmonella-free. They also happened to be delicious. For our southern picnic, fancy deviled eggs only felt appropriate. I made two versions: one with a little bit of truffle oil, and one with lots of cayenne pepper. I topped the cayenne eggs with, well, more cayenne pepper. I topped the truffled deviled eggs with fresh chives from my mom's herb garden. I haven't shown you that yet, but it is quite a sight to see. Don't believe me?
It's a cook's dream, but back to the deviled eggs. I love making them because you can play with so many different flavors. I usually start with a base of the egg yolks, Dijon mustard, and a little mayo. From there, you can add: pickle juice, roasted red peppers, capers, crabmeat, bacon, horseradish, olives, curry powder, smoked salmon, etc.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
This was my first foray into making fried chicken. I was nervous, to say the least. Something about the dish feels unfair to me. It's almost as if every step has to be completed perfectly to end up with good fried chicken. Also, doesn't it seem as though every recipe out there claims to be the best? I have been eyeing the recipe from the Ad Hoc cookbook for a while now. I figured, go big or go home.
The first step is brining the chicken, which is done for 12 hours. I am rather convinced that this step makes all the difference. This was the most flavorful and juiciest fried chicken I have ever tasted. Everyone lucky enough to be a taste tester enthusiastically agreed. I forgot to take a picture of my brine, but it just looked like a big pot with lemons and garlic and herbs, so not terribly interesting.
Then, you dredge it in seasoned flour, buttermilk, and seasoned flour (set aside in a separate bowl).
Enjoy hot, or at room temperature. This is perfect picnic food!
Buttermilk Fried Chicken (from Ad Hoc at Home)
Oh, and for your viewing pleasure...I'm told this is a well-loved song in the south. It's charming, kind of.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Summer is definitely drawing to a close. School is starting back up, the days are getting a wee bit cooler (and more noticeably darker sooner), and stores are now stocking cashmere sweaters and tweed coats. Where did the summer go? I do not know, but I am determined to hold on tightly to these last three weeks. I do love autumn, but I also like the idea of summer.
In honor of this lovely summer, and Jack's return to VA, I prepared a picnic that we could devour on the lawn of the farm. I will be sharing all of the items I prepared throughout the week. Let's start at the finale, the very sweet White Peach and Blackberry Crumbles. These are a snap to prepare and perfect for this time of year. If you've never had a white peach, you are missing out. They have a delicate peach flavor and are the traditional fruit used for Bellinis. I like them raw, pureed, or cooked up in all kinds of desserts, like this one.
Slice the peaches and toss with lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, flour and a little salt.
I baked the crumble in individual ramekins, but throw all the peaches into a big pie dish, if you please.
Peach and Blackberry Crumbles (adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home)
For the fruit:
- 2 pounds firm, ripe white peaches (6 to 8 peaches)
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh blackberries (1/2 pint)
For the crumble:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily. Place them immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the blackberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into ramekins or custard cups.
For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it's in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumbles in the refrigerator and bake before dinner.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This has been the best discovery I have made this summer: heirloom tomato napoleons with parmesan crisps. The combination is heaven. If you claim to not like tomatoes, get thee to a farmer's market and purchase a wobbly, bumpy, lumpy tomato in a hue of purple or yellow or green: the less perfect-looking, the better! I am willing to bet that the tomato will taste like nothing you've ever purchased at your regular grocery store.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Two weekends ago, on the hottest day of the summer so far (easily 102 degrees...ick), Jack and I set out to pick blackberries in a little town faraway from my apartment. "Can't we just do something inside?," he pleaded. The thing is, the blackberries were just sitting on all of those bushes, plumped up and waiting to be plucked. Needless to say, it was incredibly hot and not exactly my best plan ever. I think I made up for it by taking him to Dinosaur Land and then getting ice cream. We're very sophisticated.
P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!
This pie recipe is from Fitness Magazine. I found the recipe six or so years ago and it's always a hit!
Lemon Blackberry Pie (from Fitness Magazine)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 6 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup blackberries
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg whites
Heat oven to 400°F. Sift together first three ingredients.Cut in butter until the mixture looks like pebbles. Mix in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough begins to come together.
Form into a ball, cover with a towel, and let rest 5 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 12-inch round. Gently place in a 9-inch pie pan; flute edges.
Lightly prick bottom of crust with a fork. Bake 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine lemon juice and sugar.
In another bowl, beat eggs and egg whites together. Add to lemon juice mixture and beat until mixture turns a bright lemon color. Add zest and butter.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Place blackberries in bottom of pie shell.
Pour lemon mixture over blackberries. Bake 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Do you ever fixate on recipes? Most of the time, I struggle to choose what it is I want to make. I rifle through a huge stack of magazines and then I leaf through my cookbooks and turn up with nothing but an empty notepad where groceries should be listed. Every now and then, however, I can identify exactly what I want to cook with no hesitation. Last week, I had a hankering for fish tacos, so fish tacos are what I made.
The first step is making your own tortillas. Now, I don't have a tortilla press (yet), so mine are rustic looking, but they taste so much better than anything you can buy in a plastic sleeve on your store shelves. Easy to make? Indeed. Mix a little masa with some salt and water. Heat a griddle or pan over medium high heat and cook the tortillas for 50 seconds on each side. Presto! Homemade corn tortillas.
Load your tortillas up with anything you like. For me: red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, avocado, thinly sliced jalapeno...
And don't forget the fish. This has been lightly beer-battered and then flash fried until crisp.
The finishing touch is a zesty sauce with a little kick. It's the icing on the...taco.
P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!
Beer-Battered Fish Tacos (Adapted from Fine Cooking)
For the spicy tartar sauce:
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 Tbs. minced pickled jalapeño
2 Tbs. dill pickle relish
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. yellow American mustard
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
About 2 qt. vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup beer
2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
1 lb. firm fillets of mild, white fish (such as bass, cod, or haddock), cut into strips about 4-1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, or 1 lb. frozen batter-fried fish fillets
If using fresh fish: Fill a large, deep, heavy pot with vegetable oil to about 11/4 inches deep. Heat the oil to about 350°F. (To check the oil temperature, use a deep-fry thermometer, or add a cube of bread to the oil, which should bubble immediately.)
Meanwhile, prepare the batter: Mix the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and stir in the beer until smooth. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
Season the fish with salt. To cook the fish, work in batches of about three or four pieces at a time. Using kitchen tongs, dip each piece in the batter, let any excess drain off, carefully submerge the fish in the hot oil, and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I am so excited to announce my very first giveaway! The awesome people at CSN Stores have generously offered to sponsor a $40 gift certificate giveaway for one of my lucky readers! If you aren't familiar with the company, they have a network of over 200 stores. They sell everything from dining room furniture to kitchen essentials to bicycles. There really is something for everyone!
Here are the rules for entry:
* This giveaway is only open to US and Canadian readers.
* Leave a comment below this post telling me what your favorite summertime dish is. Include your e-mail address so I can contact you. Please leave only one comment.This comment will count as your entry.
* Readers will have until Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 12noon (EST) to enter.
* A winner will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, August 11, 2010.