End-of-Summer Peach Galette

IMG_3613Summer is my favorite season. I love the sweltering days leading into still-warm nights, the smell of sunscreen, and of course, all of the incredible produce summer has to offer. And my favorite of all of those wonderful fruits and vegetables are peaches. In New York, peaches had a pretty short growing season (July and August) and I would eat one pretty much every single day. IMG_3605I'm still getting used to the idea that here in California, there aren't really seasons--at least, not in the way that I'm used to them. The idea that it could be around 60 degrees in January boggles my mind (what do people talk about when they can't walk about the weather??) But one thing I will definitely be able to get used to is the amazing produce all year-round--and I can't say that I'll miss only being able to buy apples and root vegetables for six months of the year.

IMG_3614I made this galette last week when Ari's family came over for dinner--I love galettes because you get all of the flavor of pie but without the hassle of making a double crust or worrying about shaping the dough exactly right (plus, I don't have a pie tin.) I'm loving our new kitchen too (and the fact that it's a separate room! And there's a DISHWASHER! If you've ever lived in New York, you know that's not something to be taken lightly.) We're still getting settled into our new little cottage, but it's really starting to feel like home.

Peach Galette (Adapted from Home Made Summer, a truly beautiful cookbook)

For Dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon sugar

9 tablespoons butter, very cold and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 (or more) tablespoons ice cold water

For Filling:

3-4 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced

Pinch of salt

4 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

 

For Crust: Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or a large mixing bowl. Add butter and finely pulse or mix by hand until the butter is about pea-size. Slowly mix in apple cider vinegar and drops of water until dough comes together but isn't too sticky. Form a disc and wrap in plastic, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Combine sliced peaches, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl and let sit for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from fridge, then roll out crust on a lightly floured surface until it's about 14 inches in diameter. Place on parchment paper on to pot a baking sheet, then pile fruit in the center and fold up the edges around the fruit. It's ok if it's not perfect! Bake for about 35 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly, then serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream.

Strawberry Cake

IMG_2453Thank goodness for long weekends. Mine was spent at my college reunion (how has it already been five years?) and picnicking in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Monday, with plenty of ice cream and sunburns and (warmish) beer–overall, a perfect kickoff to summer. How was your holiday?IMG_2446 IMG_2438Strawberries aren't quite in season just yet, but I couldn't resist a giant box of them on sale at the grocery store–you know when you bite into a strawberry that summer can't be too far away. I had been wanting to try out this cake recipe for the past few summers but never got around to it, so this (and an extra day off) seemed like the perfect excuse.IMG_2440

marble plate & knife: katy skelton c/o / napkin: h&m (old) / forks: vintage

Strawberry Cake (adapted very slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

6 tablespoons  unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon table salt 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 large egg 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared cake pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a rack.

 

 

Cocktail: Margarita

IMG_2089In case there were any doubts that global warming is happening, it hit 90 degrees in New York this week. 90! After what felt like a week of beautiful spring weather, I guess it's already summer. Which is why you need this margarita in your life.IMG_2096 I made these a few weeks ago when it was still feeling rather wintery and after the first sip, said to Ari, "These should be drank on a beach." (And not in a small first-floor apartment.) While I still agree with that sentiment, margaritas taste equally good after a long day at work when you need something not too sweet that goes down easy–preferably accompanied by some guacamole.

Margarita (Makes 1, very slightly adapted from PUNCH)

1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila

3/4 ounce orange liqueur (preferably Cointreau, but I used triple sec)

3/4 ounce lime juice

Salt (to rim the glass)

Prepare a coupe, cocktail or rocks glass with a salted rim if desired (to do so: rub a lime wedge around edge of glass. Pour coarse salt onto a small plate, then twist glass rim in salt until evenly covered. Tap off excess.) Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into prepared coupe or cocktail glass, or over ice into prepared rocks glass.

Tomato Lobster Pasta

_MG_6657Though autumn in New York City is reportedly the best time of the year, I can't exactly say that I'm happy about summer ending. Beachgoing, sipping cold rosé, picnics outside, bonfires, all the peaches I can manage to eat...summer is my favorite. So I'm soaking up the last few weeks of warm days as much as possible, and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. It  helped that lobster was on sale (and I only needed one lobster for four very large servings). But it did mean that I had to kill it–but I'm happy to say, there was minimal screaming and Ari only helped a little bit._MG_6654 _MG_6652

That said, if you aren't so inclined to kill a lobster of your own, you can easily use shrimp instead–just peel and devein, and throw in the pan with tomatoes to quickly cook._MG_6665

In any case, hope you are all enjoying the last week of summer to the fullest, and have a wonderful long weekend! Any big plans for Labor Day?_MG_6663

Tomato Lobster Pasta (adapted from Bon Appétit)

12 ounces spaghetti

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound cherry and/or Sun Gold 
 tomatoes, halved

1  lobster, boiled (approximately 12 minutes), shelled, and picked through 
(or 1 lb. cooked large shrimp)

Freshly ground black pepper

Zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional lemon wedges (for serving)

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

 

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes are soft and juicy, 5–8 minutes.

 

Add lobster meat to skillet and toss to coat. Add pasta and ½ cup reserved pasta cooking liquid; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing constantly and adding more reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and top with zest.

 

Serve pasta with lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over (and plenty of crusty bread for soaking up the sauce).

Chorizo-Potato Tacos

_MG_6528First off, thank you for indulging me and for your thoughtful comments on my last post. Still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do, but rest assured, I will let you know. _MG_6509 _MG_6525

And now why you're really here: tacos. More precisely, chorizo & potato tacos with avocado-tomatillo salsa. Comes together in half an hour, doesn't require turning on the stove, and uses those pesky green vegetables that I love but always hesitate to buy since I'm not sure what to do with them. Plus, you can't really go wrong with the combination of potatoes and spicy sausage–a perfect August dinner, if I do say so. _MG_6532_MG_6521

 

Chorizo-Potato Tacos (adapted from Martha Stewart/Rick Bayless)

3 medium red-skin boiling or Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

Coarse salt

1 pound Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed (make sure it's not Spanish chorizo)

1 small white onion, finely chopped

3 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped

2-3 tablespoons lime juice

1 clove garlic

1 jalapeno, stemmed

1 1/2 large ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

Cornmeal tortillas, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine chorizo and onion. Cook, stirring often, until sausage is cooked through and onion is soft, about 10 minutes. If sausage has rendered more than a light coating of fat over bottom of skillet, pour off extra. Add potatoes, and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often, until potatoes begin to brown, about 8 minutes. As mixture cooks, mash everything together a little with back of a spoon or a spatula, scraping up any crusty bits of potato, so that it roughly holds together. Cover, and keep warm over very low heat.

Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine tomatillos, garlic, lime juice and jalapeno. Pulse until fine. Add avocado, and pulse until combined. Season with salt.

Wrap tortillas in a warm, damp kitchen towel, put them in a microwave-safe casserole dish, and cover. Warm in the microwave for 4 minutes, remove, and let stand a few minutes. Top each tortilla with potato mixture and avocado salsa, fold in half, and serve.

Corn Pancakes with Corn and Tomato Salad

_MG_6506Summer is the best time to do the as little as possible to produce. My favorite way to eat peaches is just washed, juice dripping down your chin as you bite into them. Sliced tomatoes need nothing more than a hint of sea salt to be perfect. Roasted corn needs no butter or salt at this time of year. But if you do feel like cooking (and thanks to unseasonably lovely weather in New York, it hasn't been too hot to cook the past few weeks), I suggest you give these pancakes a try. Light but substantial, they stay fresh thanks to a quick corn and tomato salad piled on top, and are just begging for a poached or fried egg to be added on top._MG_6501 This is my favorite time of year for cooking, and here are a few other great recipes that use summer produce, should you be so inclined: tomato-basil bruschetta, zucchini carpaccio, and peach cornmeal shortcakes. _MG_6500

Corn Pancakes with Tomato-Corn Salad (adapted from Food52)

2 cups corn kernels, divided in half (from about 3 ears)

2 tablespoons butter, plus more for cooking

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1/2 cup basil chiffonade, plus more for garnish

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt and pepper

For the topping:

1 pint cherry tomatoes,  halved

1 cup corn kernels

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Eggs, poached or fried or left off if you're lazy

  1. In a blender, purée half the corn kernels, butter, and buttermilk until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Mix in remaining corn kernels, onion, and basil.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until just combined.
  4. In a skillet, melt some butter over medium heat and about add 2 heaping tablespoons of batter for each pancake. (You can customize this based on how big you'd like your cakes to be, of course.) Cook about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. For the topping, combine tomato and corn with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spoon mixture over the corn cakes.
  6. Top each cake with an egg, salt, and pepper, and garnish with basil.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

_MG_6495I think we can all agree that fried chicken is basically the perfect food. Salty, crunchy, pairs well with anything from waffles to salad...what more do you need? But though I love fried chicken, I had attempted to make it only once before, when Ari and I spent our first Thanksgiving together (cooking a whole turkey for two people seemed like overkill). I used the same recipe as below, but didn't have an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil, so while the chicken tasted good, it was a little too dark on  the outside for my liking._MG_6492This time, I was prepared and was even ready to substitute regular flour for gluten-free (I used thisone, but found I prefer this). It worked out surprisingly well, and I would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference had I not known already._MG_6494I've already waxed on about my love for Thomas Keller, so no need to reiterate it here – but be warned, if you brine your chicken (which you should, to make it incredibly juicy), you need to do so 12-24 hours before you plan to fry it. It's worth it, I promise. I served the chicken here with a simple slaw of red cabbage, scallions and shredded carrots tossed with a little apple cider vinegar, and watermelon rind pickles.

_MG_6477

Buttermilk Fried Chicken (adapted from Ad Hoc)

1 gallon cold water 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey 12 bay leaves 1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled 2 tablespoons black peppercorns 3 large rosemary sprigs, or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary 1 small bunch of thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme 1 small bunch of parsley Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons 5-6 pounds chicken pieces (such as breasts and thighs)
3 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour) 2 tablespoons garlic powder 2 tablespoons onion powder 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 2 cups buttermilk Corn oil, for frying
  1. In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chicken pieces, being sure they're completely submerged, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the chickens and pat dry. Scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin and cut each bird into 8 pieces, keeping the breast meat on the bone.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  4. In a very large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of  oil to 330°. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crunchy and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160°, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain, and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, and serve hot or at room temperature.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

_MG_6464I've been wanting to try my hand at making watermelon rind pickles since last summer, when I realized how much watermelon rind goes to waste when you eat the red part. I had also tried them at a great little restaurant in Williamsburg called Rye (get the duck confit), and I'm pretty happy with how well they turned out. _MG_6472 These are what you would call "quick pickles" - you don't seal the jars, but if you would prefer to use that method I'm sure it would work.  Serve with pulled pork sandwiches, chicken liver mousse, or as part of a cheese plate._MG_6474 Watermelon Rind Pickles (adapted from Epicurious)

1 4-pound piece watermelon, quartered

8 cups water

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

8 whole cloves (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)

8 whole black peppercorns

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 teaspoon pickling spice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Cut watermelon pulp from rind, leaving thin layer of pink on rind (reserve pulp for another use). Cut green outer skin from rind; discard. Cut enough rind into 1 x 1/2-inch pieces to measure 4 cups. Combine 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt in large pot; bring to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain. Transfer rinds to large metal bowl. Combine remaining 2 teaspoons salt, sugar and next 7 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate atop rinds to keep rinds submerged in pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Strain liquid from rinds into saucepan; bring to boil. Pour over rinds. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Repeat straining and boiling of liquid and pour over rinds 1 more time. Pour rind and liquid into jars and cover. (Will keep, refrigerated, for 2-3 weeks.)

Happy 4th of July!

Hello from California! If you have been following along on Instagram, you probably know that I have been traveling around a bit and eating A LOT. Highlights include an incredible dinner at Animal in LA, amazing lunch from Sqirl, and of course, so many tacos (we may or may not have stopped in an old west-style town along highway 1 to eat leftover carnitas tacos. At 9 a.m.)

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We're heading up to Napa today to attend a friend's wedding, but I hope that whatever your Independence Day plans are, they include plenty of food being eaten outside, friends and family, and fireworks. Happy 4th of July!
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