While I may have not had the opportunity to sit in front of the computer lately, I have been managing to spend a good deal of time standing in front of the stove (and grill, and oven and cutting board). True to my word, here is a list of some of the recipes that have been keeping me busy, and our bellies full, over the summer. If there are any items of particular interest, please feel free to let me know and I would be more than happy to provide additional information. Happy eating!
BCFS= Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Ina Garten
BIP = Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten
FS= Forever Summer, Nigella Lawson
MSBH = Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, Martha Stewart
NC= The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver
TBCC = The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina Garten
TIC = The Instant Cook, Donna Hay
* = Recipe prepared with changes
Those items without notation are my own.
• Pancakes: I have a standby recipe of my own but I've recently been experimenting with these as well.
• Hashed browns (BCFS)
• Frittata with chèvre and oven-roasted tomatoes
• Herb-baked eggs (BIP)
• Lemon and parsley chicken (TIC)
• Grilled chicken and vegetable stacks (TIC)
• Griddled aubergines with feta, mint and chili (FS)
• My Mom's pea and mushroom subsi
• Tabbouleh with chickpeas
• Ben’s tomato and herb spaghetti
• Salmon and asparagus tart
• Le grand aiöli
• Seared tuna with mango salsa: The salsa is great as printed, but I have tweaked the recipe. In once case, I used sriracha chili sauce instead of the jalapeno and added some toasted sesame oil to finish. On another occasion I used peaches in the salsa, to pair with a grilled chili-rubbed pork loin.
• Roast leg of lamb (NC)
• Rack of lamb persillade (BIP)
• Perfect roast chicken (TBCC): I do not actually use Garten's recipe exactly, but this is the closest to my method and a source of inspiration.
• One-bowl chocolate cupcakes* (MSBH): made once as cupcakes, once as a layered slab cake. Both delicious, moist and insanely popular.
• Dark chocolate frosting (MSBH)
• Outrageous chocolate cookies*
• Double Chocolate Cheesecake*: I am told family members fought over this cake.
• Blueberry cheesecake
• Mixed berry cream cake
• Arborio rice pudding: Instead of apples and caramel, I recently made this with mango purée and cardamom.
• Honey poached peaches: Recipe below.
Honey poached peaches
If at all possible, start these peaches the day before serving. I love the visual combination of the spiky green pistachio slivers against smooth, blushed peach cheeks. It is the perfect dessert to linger over in the late summer sun.
3 cups water
5 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
5-6 medium peaches, about 1 kilogram in total, halved lengthways (see note)
In a medium saucepan, combine water, honey, sugar and vanilla bean. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add peach halves cut side down (this may need to be done in batches), and simmer uncovered for 3-4 minutes. Turn using a pair of spoons and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the flesh is just tender when pricked with the tip of a knife or tines of a fork. Cooking time will, of course, depend on the ripeness of the fruit. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a bowl and continue until all the peaches are cooked.
Increase the heat and boil the remaining poaching liquid until reduced to a syrup consistency. The poaching will stain the syrup a pink-peach, which will deepen upon reduction.
While the liquid is reducing, use your fingers to peel the skins off the peaches and remove any remaining stones.
Pull out the vanilla pod and pour syrup over the peaches. Cover and chill, for at least an hour or preferably overnight. The longer the peaches sit, the more they will soak up the deeply aromatic liquid.
Serve as pictured with ricotta cream and a sprinkling of slivered pistachios, or over ice cream or simply as they are.
• If the peaches are freestone, then remove stones before cooking. If not, then pit after cooking. Leaving the peels on the peaches will not only protect the tender flesh, but also tattoo the fruit a mottled sunset hue.
• Testing for doneness on the cut side of the peach helps to hide any marks.
• My dear Sean’s mother suggests these peaches on top of Belgian waffles for a truly decadent brunch.