Dreams do come true! Today, Super Sous and I got to visit America’s Test Kitchen in Brookline, MA-a cook’s playground, to say the least!!!
How do you capture a bit of summer and make it last? This, my friends. This is the way.
Yellow Peach Sorbet
Yield: Approximately 3 pints
2 pounds yellow peaches, approximately 7 to 8 medium peaches, pitted
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place peaches in the blender and blend until smooth. Measure out 4 cups. Return 4 cups pureed peaches to the blender (reserve any leftover for adding to sparkling wine!). Add sugar, juices and vanilla extract. Blend on low for 3 minutes.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, until mixture is chilled.
Pour half of the chilled mixture into your ice cream machine and churn until a soft-serve consistency is achieved.
Transfer to a large container, cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap to the surface of the sorbet, and freeze until very firm, at least 5 hours.
Repeat with remaining mixture or put remaining peach mixture into ice pop molds.
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
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.
It’s a one pot wonder, it’s delicious, healthy, sustainable and it’ll serve a family, dinner party or just yourself – for many meals. What more could you ask for?
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.
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?!
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.
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.
Yields 8 meatballs
1 large Italian eggplant, peeled and diced medium (1.25 pounds diced)
8-ounces cremini mushrooms, diced medium
6 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
3 packed tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, grated on a Microplane
1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
¾ teaspoon ground fennel
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
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 1/2 teaspoon 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 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the meatball mixture into equal sized 1.75-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.
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?!).
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.