Friday, July 31, 2009

Double peach pie

1 premade crust
2 ripe white peaches, sliced into 8ths
3 ripe yellow peaches, sliced into 8ths
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Toss the peach slices with lemon juice to coat. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top and stir.

Spread pie crust out in pie plate. Pour peach mixture in. Fold any extra crust over the peaches gently.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until crust is browned.

Serve warm or cool. Vanilla ice cream? Why not!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer vegetable tian

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 tomatoes
2-3 carrots
2 zucchini

Brush a large baking dish with olive oil. In a medium pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Uncover the dish and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Sprinkle with parmesan before serving.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

101 salads...

(c) Francesco Tonelli for The New York Times

Bittman is back with his infamous 101 lists. This time it's 101 Simple Summer Salads - and they look amazing. I read through the whole list (twice) and copied the ones I'm most likely to try. There are about 89 others I'd love to try as well, but these are the ones with ingredients we often have on hand or combinations that I just couldn't resist trying.

Seriously. You need to see his 101 list. It's totally inspirationful.

Here's my to-make list:

Trim crusts if necessary from day-or-two-old bread (or even three-day-old bread), cube and marinate in black olive tapenade thinned with more olive oil. Add chopped capers and toss with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.

Chop or slice radishes (or jicama, or the ever-surprising kohlrabi) and combine with chopped or sliced unripe (i.e., still crunchy) mango, lime juice and mint or cilantro.

Combine sliced green tomatoes and sliced fresh mozzarella; top with roughly chopped basil, olive oil, black pepper and crumbled bacon.

Slice fresh figs — many, if you live where they grow — and top with crumbled bacon, balsamic vinegar (the best you have) and crumbled blue cheese.

Toss cooked bulgur with cooked chickpeas, quartered cherry or grape tomatoes, a little cumin, lots of chopped parsley, and lemon juice.

Toss cooked quinoa with fresh sliced apricots, cherries, pecans, and enough lemon and black pepper to make the whole thing savory.

Cube watermelon and combine with tomato chunks, basil and basic vinaigrette. You can substitute peach for the watermelon or the tomato (but not both, O.K.?). You can also add bacon or feta, but there goes the vegan-ness.

Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice. Astonishing.

Roughly chop cooked or canned chickpeas (you can pulse them, carefully, in a food processor) and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, lots of chopped fresh parsley and mint, and a few chopped tomatoes. Call this chickpea tabbouleh.

Cook whole, unpeeled eggplant in a dry, hot skillet or on a grill, turning occasionally, until completely collapsed and soft. Chop and toss with toasted pita, toasted pine nuts, cooked white beans and halved cherry tomatoes. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and lots of black pepper. Or a (non-vegan) yogurt dressing is good, especially one laced with tahini.

Roast beets whole (or buy them precooked), then slice or cube and toss with a little chopped garlic (or a lot of roasted garlic), toasted walnuts, orange juice and olive oil.

Mix cooked or canned chickpeas with toasted coconut, shredded carrots, chopped celery, curry powder, olive oil, lime juice and cilantro.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mom's garlic bread

1 loaf French bread
garlic powder
dried parsley

Cut the bread into rounds. Place small pats of butter on the top side. Sprinkle (don't be shy!) with garlic powder and then a little salt and parlsey. Broil in the oven until the edges brown.

Goes gread with pasta.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Caprese salad with goat cheese

sliced ripe tomatoes
thinly sliced onion
a splash or two of balsamic vinegar
1 tound semi-firm fresh goat cheese, crumbled
fresh basil
salt & pepper

Friday, July 17, 2009

Aloco (fried plantains)

Aloco is a traditional recipe from Côte d'Ivoire, where I grew up. It's sold from small roadside restaurants and is served with a spicy tomato-onion sauce and grilled fish. For a lunch or snack, you can make it with just the sauce - or eat the aloco by itself with salt. Oh yeah - this is most definitely finger food!

about 1 1/2 cups oil
several very ripe plantain bananas (mostly black, and don't be afraid of a few moldy spots)
one onion, chopped
two tomatoes, chopped
one chile pepper, cleaned and chopped, OR Scotch Bonnet hot sauce
1/4 tsp bouillon

Cut the ends off the plantains. Make a cut down the length of the plantain and pull off the peel. (This is much easier than if you peeled it like a banana.) Cut the plantains in half lengthwise. Cut again into 1/4 spears. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Place a frying pan with high sides over high heat and pour in enough oil to cover the bottom well - don't be stingy. Once hot, add a piece of plantain. It should bubble, but not brown immediately. After a minute or so, it should be bright yellow. This means your oil is the right temperature.

Add plantain pieces to cover the bottom of the pan, but not crowd them. Stir every 2-3 minutes, flipping each piece as they begin to brown. Take your time cooking them - reduce heat if needed. Each batch should take about 8-10 minutes.

Don't worry about getting each one evenly browned. The best aloco (in my opinion) is a piece that's dark brown and caramelized on one side and soft and deep yellow on the other.

As the aloco browns, remove using tongs and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

Repeat with remaining plantain pieces.

The sauce

Using the leftover oil from the aloco, cook the onions until soft and beginning to brown. Add tomatoes, bouillon and hot pepper. Cook on high, stirring often, until 1/3 of liquid evaporates. Serve alongside the aloco.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Zucchini casserole with parmesan

We were very, very pleased with this dish. We ate it for both breakfast and lunch until it ran out!

4-6 medium zucchini, grated
4 eggs
1/3 cup light cream (15%)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2-3 Tbsp parmesan

Spread the zucchini in a large baking dish. In a bowl, beat the eggs then add cream, salt and Italian seasoning. Mix well and pour over zucchini. Stir gently to coat.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° for about 25-30 or until the egg mixture sets. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake another 5 minutes.

Serve warm. (Reheats well.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coconut ice cream

Light and refreshing, this coconut ice cream is perfect on a hot day.

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flaked coconut

Combine coconut milk, cream, milk, vanilla and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add flaked coconut, mixing well. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tomato, onion & basil salad - made in a bag!

For packing picnics, this is the way to go! Can be made in advance and fits easily in a cooler or bag.

6-8 ripe tomatoes, sliced
2 large onions, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
freshly ground pepper
salt to taste
snipped fresh basil
large Ziploc bag

Pour olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper into the bag. Add onions. Seal and squish onions around to coat with oil and vinegar.

Add tomatoes and squish around gently until evenly mixed in. Refrigerate 2-3 hours to marinate and chill.

Before serving, add basil and squish around one more time. You're ready to go!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Garlic pizza with fresh tomatoes

Rather than the traditional tomato sauce, this pizza uses fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.

1 batch favorite pizza crust
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
fresh basil

Make pizza dough according to instructions thru to spreading out on pizza stone or baking tray.

Brush the crushed garlic and olive oil over the dough, going all the way out to the edges.

Top with chopped tomatoes, then mozzarella. Top with mushrooms.

Bake in preheated oven at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Sprinkle with snipped basil before serving.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sweet-n-sour chicken with nectarines and apricots

Another product of this year's amazing peach harvest.

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1-2 nectarines, sliced and cut into pieces
1-2 apricots, sliced and cut into pieces
1 Tbsp oil

Sweet and sour sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup ketchup

sliced green onions

First, make the make sweet and sour sauce. In a large frying pan, mix vinegar, sugar, salt, orange juice and ketchup. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until it has evaporated to the consistency of maple syrup. Add fruit to the sauce and set aside.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cook in frying pan until no pink remains. Add red peppers, carrots and onions for three minutes. Add to sweet and sour sauce and heat.

Serve the chicken over hot white rice, with sweet and sour sauce pour over and then topped with green onions.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Fresh mint ice cream

This ice cream is a refreshing treat. We left out the traditional chocolate chips, but didn't miss them. It's a simple recipe that uses both fresh mint and peppermint extract. So far, it's my favorite of of ice cream adventures.

2 cups 2% milk, chilled
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring
1/2 cups chopped fresh mint leaves (not stems)

Heat 1 cup milk is a saucepan. Just as it begins to steam, add sugar, salt and mint. Remove from heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in food coloring and peppermint extract.

Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Roasted chicken & guacamole sandwich

1/2 round loaf of Turkish bread, sliced to form a pocket
roasted chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 avocado
1/2 tsp lemon juice
seasoned salt
sliced tomatoes

Mash the avocado with a fork and mix in lemon juice and a dash of seasoned salt. Spread inside the bread pocket, then add chicken and tomato.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Apricot-topped blondies with salted caramel

I needed to make a dessert and had the ingredients for blondies, but no nuts or chocolate. I had apricots. And I had the ingredients for sauce caramel. Voilà! (Blondies recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes.)

1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup of flour
1/4 batch sauce caramel
3 apricots, rinsed and sliced
kosher salt

Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg and whisk. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing it all together.

Pour into a round cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven at 350° or until puffy.

Remove from oven and top with sliced apricots. Drizzle caramel on top - don't be timid! Bake for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Sprinkle kosher salt over top. Let cool completely before serving.