Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pops

After using 1 cup of watermelon for the ice pops, grab a spoon and eat watermelon until you consume it all. Yup. This pretty much sums up my summer so far!

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pop

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pop

Yield: 6 ice pops

 

1 cup watermelon, deseeded

1 ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

8 mint leaves, finely chopped

¾ cup water

6 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute.

Pour into ice pop molds and freeze.

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

It’s a one pot wonder, it’s delicious, healthy and it’ll serve a family, dinner party or just yourself – for many meals. What more could you ask for?

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

 

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small

1 fennel bulb, cored and diced medium

4 celery stalks, cut into thirds lengthwise and diced small

6 carrots, peeled and chopped roughly

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

3 cups corn kernels

2 ½ cups lima beans

2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, spots or greening removed and diced medium

4 cups vegetable stock

5 sprigs thyme, tied together with the bay leaves (use butcher’s twine)

2 bay leaves, tied together with the thyme sprigs (use butcher’s twine)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pound Dungeness crab meat

Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish

 

In a 5.5 quart pot, set over medium heat, add the olive oil and the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft, translucent, and lightly caramelized.

Add the fennel and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the celery and fennel begin to soften.

Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 6 to 8 minutes until the carrots begin to soften.

Add the garlic and the Old Bay seasoning and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add the corn, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes, stock, and herb bundle. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just cooked through.

Turn off the heat. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.

Add the crab, gently stir to combine and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper.

Remove and discard herb bundle and serve stew in bowls garnished with some hand torn parsley.

Crispy Vanilla Meringues

I’ve been making so much ice cream lately that I have quite an excess of egg whites. What to do, what to do, what to do…. How about these light and crispy sweet delights?!

Vanilla Meringues

 

Crispy Vanilla Meringues

Yield: approximately 50 meringues

 

¾ cup granulated sugar, processed in a food processor until very fine, 1 minute

1½ teaspoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

¾ cup egg whites / 5-ounces (approximately 5 egg whites)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

 

Adjust two oven racks to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 210ºF.

Whisk to combine the sugar, cornstarch and cream of tartar in a small bowl.

Place the egg whites, vanilla extract and salt in a clean and dry large bowl and whisk on medium speed with an electric mixer (or use your stand mixer with the whisk attachment) until very soft peaks are formed.

Very slowly add the sugar mixture. Continue to beat until stiff peaks are formed.

Dot the four corners of each of two sheet pans with some of the meringue batter.

Line the sheet pans with parchment paper. The dots of meringue batter will help to keep the parchment paper from curling up.

Using a piping bag with a medium star tip, or a good, old-fashioned tablespoon, pipe or spoon 1-inch to 1½-inch circles of meringue batter onto the parchment paper-lined sheet pans. Unlike cookies, meringues won’t spread when baked, so less space is needed between them.

Place the sheet pans in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 2½ hours. After 2½ hours, do not remove the meringues. Rather, turn off the oven and let the meringues cool for 1 hour, just to be sure the meringues are crunchy.

Store meringues in an airtight container, layered between sheets of wax or parchment paper.

Note: After whipping the meringues, bake them right away or else they may begin to deflate and the texture may be compromised. Also, make meringues on a dry, sunny day, not a wet, rainy one. Too much moisture in the air will result in a sticky or tacky meringue, because sugar attracts moisture.

Roasted Eggplant Meatballs

I’m not usually one for a faux meatball: the texture is usually all wrong and flavor bland. That said, this little puppy is darn good. In fact, I wouldn’t even classify it as faux. It stands on its own. Meaty from the mushrooms and eggplant and deliciously herby. And with the added Parmigiano-Reggiano, it’s a mouthful of umami. No meat required. 

eggplantmeatballoverhead eggplantmeatballside

Eggplant Meatballs

Yields 8 2-inch meatballs

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced small

8-ounces cremini mushrooms, diced small

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated

1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 ½ teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

¾ teaspoon ground fennel

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg, whisked

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Adjust 2 oven racks to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put eggplant and mushrooms in a medium bowl and mix in olive oil. Toss or stir to combine. Season with salt and stir to combine.

Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Spread eggplant mushroom mixture onto sheet pans.

Bake for 20 minutes. Stir, rotate pans and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove sheet pans from oven and let eggplant and mushrooms cool to room temperature.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Place eggplant mushroom mixture and all additional ingredients in a food processor.

Pulse to combine. The mixture should be well combined and still have some texture (not blended into a paste). Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the meatball mixture into equal sized 2-inch balls.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and beginning to firm up.

Remove sheet pan from the oven and let meatballs rest at room temperature for 5-8 minutes.

Serve with your favorite pasta, marinara sauce and/or pesto in addition to some fresh basil and grated parmigiano-reggiano.

Toasted Almonds – Your Way

It’s not a particularly sexy recipe, but it makes a world of difference in terms of taste, texture and freshness when you toast your own nuts (heyyyy-o – who said this post wasn’t sexy?!).

Toasted Almonds

 

Toasted Almonds

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread out raw nuts on a sheet pan in a single layer.

Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 17 minutes, stirring occasionally for even cooking, until lightly colored. Be sure to set your timer. To test for doneness, break one nut in half and check for color. It should be a light golden brown color on the inside.

Remove from the oven and transfer the toasted nuts to a plate to cool, or toss in a bowl with a very light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a good sized pinch (or two) of kosher salt.

 

 

 

Peach Rosemary Ice Pop

What to do with your peaches this season? Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! Here’s a recipe for dessert (or a snack).

Peach Rosemary Ice Pop

Peach Rosemary Ice Pop

Yield: 6 ice pops

 

10-ounces of cut peaches or 1 10-ounce bag frozen peaches

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

¾ cup water

6 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute.

Pour into ice pop molds and freeze.

 

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Summer means sweet, ripe tomatoes in abundance and I just love when they start going off like wildfire in the garden and at farmers markets. This is usually the signal for me to start making big batches of  tomato sauce, freezing in abundance and roasting and snacking endlessly on cherry and grape tomatoes. And, of course, there’s one of my favorite tomato stand outs – the tomato sandwich. Bright, sweet, acidic, of the earth – it’s truly a summer delight – and here’s my take on it.

 

Heirloom Tomatoes Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

 

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Yield: 4 servings

 

For Basil Lemon Ricotta

1 cup whole milk ricotta, drained (I use Angelo and Franco brand ricotta)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest from one lemon

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 small garlic cloves, minced

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Whisk all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

For Sandwich

1 small ciabatta loaf or sourdough boule, cut in half widthwise and lengthwise, seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, different colors if possible, cut into ¼- and ½ -inch slices

16 medium basil leaves, hand torn

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Spread basil lemon ricotta over toasted ciabatta and arrange 1 layer of heirloom tomatoes on top.

Put some of the hand torn basil on top of the first layer of tomatoes and then add another layer of tomatoes.

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top.

Roll up your sleeves and dive in.