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Entries in summer (4)

Saturday
Sep032016

Grilled Summer Corn, Zucchini, & Tomato Tart (Not Quiche)


 

     Anytime I mention quiche to someone I get a HUGE eye roll. I know it is so very passé, but sometimes it works. And in this case, it was all that was going to work. The reason being? Hermine decided to drop a shit ton of rain, wind and palm fronds all over the place. It wasn’t fit for woman nor beast out there. I had a fridge full of leftovers from the previous night’s BBQ that I wanted to use in some way. Now, I could have made a blueberry tart, but didn’t think that was a good choice for dinner, plus I love the combo of grilled corn and zucchini. I did add diced tomatoes, but probably wouldn’t next time, they didn’t really add much. If I had fresh basil, I would definitely have used that, but I didn’t so I used thyme. Plus, I had pastry dough in the freezer, and that made a savory, summer, light dinner even easier. This is very much a seat of your pants sort of recipe, no exact quantities, or ingredients, just use what you have on hand.

 

Pastry dough for a 9-inch tart (recipe below makes enough for two crusts)

3 large eggs

Heavy cream

Grated cheese (I had Manchego on hand)

Grilled corn, kernels off the cob

Grilled zucchini, diced

Fresh thyme

1 cup diced tomatoes, drained (optional – in fact don’t bother)

Salt & pepper

For the tart

     Preheat oven to 450°F. Roll out dough on a floured surface 2-inches larger than a 9-inch tart/quiche pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough up so it’s slightly higher than the pan’s edge. Prick and freeze 20 minutes. Line chilled pastry shell with parchment paper and cover bottom with pie weights or beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment then continue baking to dry out the shell (no one wants a soggy bottom). Let cool 20 minutes before filling.

     Lower oven temperature to 375°F. Toss the corn kernels and zucchini together in a medium bowl, add fresh thyme or basil, season with salt and pepper. Lightly beat three eggs then add enough heavy cream to make up 1 ½ cups (thanks Julia Child for that tip – think 1 large egg and enough liquid to make up ½ cup), season with salt and pepper, set aside.

 

     Spread about ½ cup of shredded cheese on the bottom of cooled pastry, top with enough filling to cover the entire tart bottom.

 

     Pour egg mixture over and bake 25 minutes. Spread more grated chees on top, bake for an additional 10 minutes until slightly brown and puffed up around the edges. Let cool 10 minutes and there you go. A yummy corn and zucchini not quiche

 

For the crust

2 cups all purpose flour

¾ cup shortening/lard – chilled and cut in cubes

Ice water

     Process flour and shortening together in the bowl of a food processor for 30 seconds. If the dough does not form a rough shape, add a little ice water by tablespoon. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface, divide in two equal pieces, and shape each piece into a disk. Cover one disk with cling film and freeze. Roll disk out 2inches larger than tart pan   

Monday
Jul252016

Peach & Blueberry Pie

 

…Was not what I had intended for these fruits. I had that brief moment of insanity when I thought I’d grab a handful of berries or bite into a peach for something healthy during the day. Well that lasted a Nano second. Each time I circled those peaches on the counter and

moved the berries to a different shelf in the fridge I said to myself, “you really should eat these before they go off.” But I didn’t. I kept circling and moving telling myself tomorrow. And when tomorrow finally came, I had pie. A delicious perfect pie made from perfectly ripe peaches and perfectly sweet blueberries.

     Some recipes I’ve come across call for (what I thought) a crazy amount of sugar,  more than a cup, which I think is unnecessary. I want to taste the fruit, not just a bunch of sugar wrapped up in a crust.

 

For the filling

7 medium peaches – peeled and sliced

1 pint blueberries – picked through

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

½ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

For the crust

2 cups all purpose flour

¾  cup shortening/lard – chilled and cut in cubes

Ice water

A few tablespoons of milk for top of pie

     Process flour and shortening together in the bowl of a food processor for 30 seconds. If the dough does not form a rough shape, add a little ice water by tablespoon. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface, divide in two equal pieces, shape each piece into a disk. Cover one disk with cling film and refrigerate. Roll disk out 2inches larger than pie plate. 

     Toss the blueberries, peaches, sugar, lemon zest, juice and cornstarch together in a large bowl.


     Spoon into crust, top with 2nd crust rolled out crust, crimp edges, brush all over with milk, score the crust in four places with a sharp knife (this allows steam to escape while baking). Place pie on a rimmed baking tray lined with parchment paper to catch any juicy overflow. Bake in the middle of oven at 425F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F, bake for another 30-40 minutes until golden brown and juices are bubbling and thickened. Test to make sure the fruit is done by slipping a sharp knife or tester through the vents in top. The filling should be soft and tender, not mushy. If the crust edges begin to brown too much, cover with foil.

  

 

Thursday
Jul072016

Tomato & Corn Salsa - Summer In A Bowl

 

     

 

     It’s summer so that means fresh local tomatoes and fresh local corn. And right on cue this NYTimes Cooking recipe popped up on my news feed. It’s easy. It’s fresh. This salsa hits the sweet, hot, and tart tastes. One little change I did make was to blanch and peel the tomatoes. I also used nice meaty, ripe, plum tomatoes. Just one note of warning – the recipe calls for you to season to taste. Well, you’ll probably end up, spoon in hand, unable to stop tasting. It’s really that good. Simple ingredients combined for a big taste. 

Sunday
Jun192016

Vanilla Genoise with Mascarpone Cream and Fresh Strawberries

 

I saw a recipe for a Strawberry Cassata on the NYT Cooking website the other day and it looked so appetizing. A light sponge cake, soaked in vodka laced syrup, layered with sweetened fresh ricotta and topped with berries. While that recipe wasn’t a “traditional” cassata – no candied fruit on top and no marzipan. It did get me thinking about making a copycat dessert. So I did.

 

For the cake: 

3 large eggs, room temperature

6 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for dusting

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

1-teaspoon lemon zest

For the Mascarpone Cream:

1-cup heavy cream

8oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

16oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

     Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper, butter paper and dust entire pan with sugar, tap out excess. Whisk vanilla into cooled, melted butter – set aside.

     Beat eggs, sugar and lemon zest together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on high, until a thick, ribbon forms when the paddle is lifted. This will take at the very least 5 minutes - don’t under beat.

     Remove bowl from stand, sift flour over mixture and fold in until incorporated. Add ½ cup of batter to butter and vanilla, gently fold together until completely mixed, fold butter mixture back into batter. Spread batter into the prepared pan, smooth top. Bake for 25 minutes until top springs back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan until you can handle it, run a knife around the edge of pan, and turn out onto a cake rack. Cool completely then use a serrated knife to cut in half making two layers.

     Whisk cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Whisk in mascarpone until smooth.

     Place bottom slice of cake on a plate, cut side up. Spread with ¾ of mascarpone cream. Place strawberries in a circle starting from the edge, filling in until cream is covered. Cover with top slice, spread remaining cream and decorate with strawberries.

     Keep chilled until ready to serve.