Category Archives: Summer

Peach-Sweet Tea Sherbet

I'm not a fan of sherbet but I really loved this: captures the taste of fresh peaches perfectly, and it's not icy.
1+ quart sherbet
Shopping List

3  large fresh peaches (or frozen)

1/2 cup buttermilk

almond extract

1 tsp citric acid

11/2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

3 TBL black tea leaves (loose, not from tea bags)

2 tsp tapioca starch OR 4 tsp cornstarch

The book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream is an outstanding source of information and recipe ideas for ice cream. I found the amount of almond flavor overwhelming and suggest a smaller amount here.

Peel

  • 3 large fresh peaches

If using frozen peaches make sure they are peeled.

Cut the peaches into chunks and heat in a small saucepan, mashing. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool and strain through a medium-to-fine sieve. You need to obtain 11/4 cups peach puree and to it add

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 couple drops (1/8 tsp) almond extract
  • 1 tsp citric acid

Refrigerate this mixture.

In a saucepan, combine

  • 11/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (The book provides other options)

Over medium heat, cook and stir until it comes to a full boil.  I prefer to use tapioca starch, but ATTNif you are using cornstarch, add

  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

If you are using tapioca starch, add

  • 2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water

Add

3 TBL black tea leaves (not from tea bags)

Steep for 6 minutes, but ATTN no longer as it will impart a bitter taste. Strain the hot base through a fine sieve and cool in an ice bath. When the temperature is cool to the touch (50º F), combine with the peach mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (to get a better texture). Churn in ice cream freezer. While  you can eat it right away, it’s much better packed and frozen for at least 4-6 hours.

Dana Cree’s excellent book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream

 

Mango Lassi Frozen Yogurt

The hint of orange flower water really makes this frozen yogurt a delight. It's tangy.
1+ quart of frozen yogurt
Shopping List

2 cups full fat Greek yogurt

2 or 3 fresh mangos or 300g frozen mango pieces

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp orange flower water

1 cup heavy cream

2 TBL milk

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tsp tapioca starch OR 4 tsp cornstarch

The recipe in Hello, My Name is Ice Cream is a much more nuanced description of how to make this frozen yogurt, giving you a number of options for thickeners (“texture agents”) and it has a more subtle mango flavor. I pushed up the mango puree volume substantially. I encourage you to track down the book if you have any interest in ways to improve the result through the use of other texture agents or alternatives to the corn syrup I used. Don’t use low-fat Greek yogurt: it will change the texture of the result because of the higher water ratio.

In a blender, puree about

  • 300g (3/4 pound) mango peeled cubes (fresh or defrosted)

run through a medium strainer to remove any stringy bits. You should have about 11/3 cups mango puree.

Combine and refrigerate

  • 11/3 cups mango puree
  • 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a saucepan, combine

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup  (The book provides other options)

Over medium heat, cook and stir until it comes to a full boil.  I prefer to use tapioca starch, but ATTNif you are using cornstarch, add

  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved completely in 2 TBL cold milk

Reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

If you are using tapioca starch, add

  • 2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved completely in 2 TBL cold milk

Cool the hot base mixture using an ice bath. When the temperature is cool to the touch (50º F), pour the base through a fine sieve to combine it with the mango mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (to get a better texture). Churn in ice cream freezer. While  you can eat it right away, the frozen yogurt will have a  much better packed and frozen for at least 4-6 hours.

Dana Cree’s excellent book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream

 

Fresh Cherry Crostata

Easy to make and adaptable to other fruit (see notes)
Makes a 12-inch crostata, serving about 8 people
Shopping List

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter

1/4 cup sugar

2 TBL almond flour or blanched, slivered almond ground finely

2+ cups  flour

3 pounds fresh cherries, pitted (or other stone fruit)

1 TBL tapioca starch or corn starch (for other stone fruit)

A crostata is a homestyle pie that is made in a free-form shape on a flat pan.

In food processor bowl, combine

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add

  • 6 ounces (11/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into dice

Pulse food processor until mixed. With the motor running, in a slow stream begin to add

  • 1/2 cup ice water

ATTN however you will not use all the water.  As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the motor. (Discard any extra water.) Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container and ATTN refrigerate for at least one hour.

Prepare the fruit just before the dough comes out of the oven. If using cherries, wash and pit them, removing stems. If using peaches or other larger stone fruit, peel them by dipping briefly in boiling water, cut into wedges or desired pieces..

Preheat oven to 400º F.

In a small bowl combine the following

  • 2 TBL almond flour
  • 1 TBL flour
  • 1 TBL sugar

ATTN If using fruit other than cherries, add

  • 1 TBL flour (for a total of 2 TBL)
  • 1 TBL tapioca starch

Roll the dough into a 15-inch circle, even up the edges of the dough and transfer to a baking tray that has sides Spread the almond/flour mixture in the center 12-inch circle and place the fruit in that area. Fold the outer 11/2 inch edge of dough in, making a pattern of decorative folds with the excess. Spread

  • 2 TBL melted butter

on the dough and then sprinkle with

  • 2 TBL sugar (sometimes I use coarser sugar)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling. Remove and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine.

 

Fig and Hazelnut Tart

 

Shopping List

1 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted

1/3+ cup granulated sugar

scant light brown sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks

1 Tbl Frangelico

1 Tbl vanilla extract

about 15 fresh black figs

In an 8- to 10-inch tart pan, make

  • 1/2 recipe for Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Tart Dough), blind baked and cooled

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. In a food processor, combine

  • 1 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/3+ cup granulated sugar
  • scant light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Pulse until the mixture is sandy and there aren’t large pieces of nuts left.  Add

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbl Frangelico
  • 1 Tbl vanilla extract

and pulse until the eggs are smooth but chunks of butter are still visible, about 15 – 20 short pulses. Scrape the sides of the food processor and pulse an additional 5 times. Scrape the mixture into the cooled tart shell. Arrange

  • about 15 fresh black figs, stems trimmed and cut in half

cut side up on top of the filling.

Bake 20 minutes at 375°F, then rotate the tart 90 degrees on the rack. Lower the oven to 325°F and bake until the figs begin to bubble and caramelize and the filling turns golden brown all over, about 45 additional minutes, turning again halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.

Cold Borscht

The perfect thing for a hot summer night.
A little more than 2 quarts
Shopping List

2 bunches of beets (about 21/4 pounds including greens)

1 medium onion

1 TBL sugar

sour salt (citric acid), or a lemon

16 oz container of sour cream

Peel and cut into largish dice (3/8– to 1/2-inch on a side)

  • 2 bunches of beets

Measure the volume (about 6 cups in my case) and place in a soup pot. Note: the beets in this batch weighed about 800g after peeling. Add

  • 1 medium onion (150g), minced finely
  • 6 cups water (actually, it should match the volume of the beets)

Bring to a boil and then start a timer for 15 minutes. Check whether the beets are cooked; they should be soft enough to chew but not mushy. If they need a few more minutes, cook a little longer. Turn off the heat and remove any scum that collects at the top of the pot. Add

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sour salt (citric acid) or 3-4 TBL of lemon juice

Let stand to cool for 30 minutes. Place half the beets and some liquid in the jar of a blender. Run until fully pureed. Return to pot. In the jar of the blender combine

  • 3/4 cup (roughly) sour cream

about a cup of liquid from the soup. Process until smooth and pour back into soup pot. Stir and adjust any seasonings as needed. Chill in refrigerator.

ATTN My mother would make borscht (with a slightly different recipe) and only add the sour cream just before serving. This allowed her to freeze the soup and serve it at a later time. I do it this way because the sour cream blends thoroughly in the blender and it’s already in use when I’m making the soup. I haven’t frozen this, but I can’t imagine any reason it would fail.

My mother would garnish this with diced boiled potatoes, diced cucumber or diced hard-boiled eggs. I didn’t ever develop a taste for any of these additions.

Basmati Rice Salad

Simple cold salad that shouts summer.
8 servings
Shopping List

1 cup basmatic rice

1 small bunch fresh mint

1 bunch scallions

2 small, juicy lemons (or 1 large)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup frozen edamame or peas

Cook

1 cup basmatic rice

and spread the cooked rice on a large tray or jelly roll pan to cool. That will take about 10 minutes.

While the rice cooks, combine the following in a 2-quart (or larger) bowl:

  • grated zest of 2 small lemons
  • 2 TBL lemon juice
  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 3 TBL finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup  chopped finely scallion greens (save the solid parts of the stems for something else)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Place

  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame or peas

in a strainer and run under cold water until they are defrosted. Drain and add to dressing, along with the cooled rice. Mix everything well (with your hands if you don’t mind doing that) to break up the rice thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

You can serve this right away but I prefer to let it sit in the refrigerator for a bit before serving. It’s great made a day before serving.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

 

Creamy Coffee Pops

When making this recipe, choose strong coffee. I used decaf to accommodate our friends. If you have already got ready-made coffee, you need about 11/2 cups of coffee. Or starting from the basics, in a French press,  brew

  • 3/4 cup  ground coffee (I used decaf espresso to accommodate our friends)
  • 2 cups boiling water

In a mixing bowl, combine

  • 11/2 cups strong brewed coffee
  • 2/3 to 3/4 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly, adjusting the sweetness to your taste by varying the varying the amount of sweetened condensed milk. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour and pour into a frozen pop mold.

In my mold it was enough to make 11 pops, but it will vary according to the size of the molds you use.

 

Eggplant Soup

Cool, delicious and creamy.
Makes 6 cups
Shopping List

2 pounds eggplant

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large onions

6 garlic cloves

Cayenne

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1-2 lemons

liquid smoke (optional)

herbs to garnish (za’atar or parsley)

Prick holes in

  • 2 medium eggplants

Roast on grill very dark. If using an oven, blacken under broiler (4 minutes per side), turning as needed. When the eggplants are cool, remove flesh and discard skins. Chop flesh a bit and reserve.

In large saucepan, saute

  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook 7 minutes, until onions are soft. Add

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne to taste (non, a pinch or more!)

Add the reserved eggplant and cook for a minute. Then add

  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 cups water

Bring to simmer for 10 minutes, check seasoning and adjust salt, pepper and cayenne.

Puree soup in batches in blender. ATTN Hot liquids expand a lot in the blender and can be almost explosive, so either leave the lid ajar or work in very small batches. Alternatively wait for the soup to cool before using the blender.

ATTNGrate a small bit of lemon rind and reserve it for the garnish.

Strain soup through a fine strainer to remove seeds, if any remain after the blender. Add

  • 3 to 4 TBL lemon juice, to taste

If you want a smoky flavor, consider adding

  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Mix the lemon zest with 1 TBL olive oil for a garnish. For each bowl of soup, top with a tsp of the lemon-flavored oil and some zaatar or chopped parsley.

ATTN I liked this so much served cold, but I guess you could serve it hot.

Adapted from The New York Times, August 14, 2013

 

Key Lime Pie Pops

No key limes in mine, but the taste is wonderful.
Shopping List

4 large limes or 7-8 key limes or 1 bottle key lime juice

14-ounce can of sweetenend condensed milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

1 box graham crackers

Zest limes to make

  • 2 tsp lime zest

Juice limes to make

  • 3/4 cup lime juice

Combine juice, zest and

  • 14-ounce can of sweetenend condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch salt

Stir to mix and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until solid.

Coarsely crush graham crackers to make

3 cups of graham cracker crumbs

To serve, dip mold in lukewarm water for 10 seconds. Unmold each popsicle,   press each side into graham cracker crumbs, coating thoroughly.

ATTNUse gluten-free graham crackers if you want a gluten-free dessert. The pops are also delicious without the coating.

From Smitten Kitchen who republished it from Paletas by Fany Gerson

 

Cold Pea Soup

Delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day. And easy to make, too.
4 servings

1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 cup sour cream (or more to taste)

Parsley, for garnish

In a saucepan, combine

1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until peas are bright green and tender, 10 minutes or so. Cool for a few minutes. Pour the cooked peas into a blender and carefully blend them until they are pureed. Do this in several batches. Add

Salt and pepper, to taste

Force through a fairly fine strainer, discarding solids. Stir or whisk in

1/4 cup sour cream (or more to taste)

You may substitute heavy cream if you prefer a less tangy flavor. Refrigerate (for up to two days) before serving, cold. Garnish with some

Chopped parsley

Dollop of sour cream, if desired

Adapted from Mark Bittman in The New York Times

Rhubarb Crumble

Not particularly sweet — on purpose.
4 to 6 servings

Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash, dry and trim

  • 11/3 pounds of rhubarb

Cut it into short pieces across the stem. It will make about 4 cups (one quart).

Add

  • 3 TBL sugar
  • 3 TBL flour

Let stand for 15 minutes, while you mix the crumble topping.

In another bowl, combine

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/8 tsp salt

When it is mixed thoroughly, add

  • 5 TBL butter, melted

mix together with your fingers. It should stick together.

Butter a 11/2 quart ovenproof dish. Dump the rhubarb mixture in. Dot with

  • 1 TBL butter

Place the topping over the rhubarb. You want to press it down so it holds together a bit. Bake in oven until bubbly and top is browned, about 35 to 45 minutes. Sometimes I put it under the broiler to finish the browning, but if you do that, keep an eye on it!

Delicious served in bowls with vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Tomato and Marjoram Sauce

This is great on Ricotta Gnudi.

In a pan, saute together

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Cook for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, clean and halve

  • 2-3 cups of mixed cherry tomatoes, I mixed yellow and red ones

When the shallot is tender increase the heat, add the tomatoes. The sauce will cook for about 5 minutes. As the tomatoes soften, crush some of them to give the sauce the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the sauce along with

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup water from the pasta you have just cooked

Cook for another minute or two. Stir in

  • 1/4 cup fresh marjoram leaves, chopped a bit if the leaves are large

and serve immediately.

Serves 3-4, depending on how much sauce you want on your pasta.

Cabbage and Ginger Slaw

This is an incredibly refreshing salad.

Makes 8 to 12 servings, depending on your guests

6 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage

1 large red bell pepper, cleaned and finely sliced

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup finely slivered pickled ginger

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together. If making ahead, chill up to six hours, but it is definitely better the fresher it is. We prefer to mix it all together just before our guests arrive.

Adapted from Sunset Recipe Annual, 1996 Edition

Corn Ice Cream

Shuck 3 ears of corn. Cut the kernels off the cob. Cut each cob into 3 pieces. In a large saucepan combine kernels, cobs, 2 cups heavy cream, 13/4 cups whole milk and 2/3 cup sugar. Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat; be sure to stir it from time to time so it does not scorch. Remove from heat once it reaches a boil and let sit for one hour.

Remove and discard cobs. Process liquid and corn in a blender, in batches; when done return to saucepan. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup whole milk. Stir with your finger to make sure the starch is thoroughly dissolved (you can feel any lumps at the bottom). Add to saucepan. Bring mixture back to a simmer and stir until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. Run mixture through a very fine strainer. This will take some time, as there will be a fair bit of solids and the liquid mixture is quite thick: stick with it until you’ve separated most of the liquids out.

Add 1/2 tsp vanilla. Let mixture cool (an ice bath can speed this up), refrigerate for a couple hours and then process in an ice cream freezer.

NOTES

  1. I specifically made this ice cream for a friend who can’t eat corn kernels. You might like to reserve some of the kernels just before the blender step.
  2. Next time I will probably use a bit less corn starch: the mixture was pretty thick.
  3. I also want to try substituting corn syrup for the sugar — just to keep the corn theme going strong.

Mango Tres Leches Cake

You can make a smaller cake, see note at end.
Combine
  • 11/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Stir and set aside. Separate
  • 6 eggs
Beat egg whites with mixer until foamy. Add
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
and beat on high speed, gradually adding
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Stop when glossy and firm peaks form. Set whites aside. In large mixing bowl combine
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3 TBL milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Starting with the dry ingredients first, fold in 1/3 of the  dry ingredients and 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, continue alternating until they are fully incorporated. Put batter in greased 13×9 pan. If you have Magi-Cake strips, use them. Smooth top and bake until done in center, about 25 minutes in 350 F oven.
While cake is baking: puree
  • 2 cups of cubed mango
  • sugar to taste (2+ TBL)
in a food processor. Refrigerate mango sauce. In a saucepan, combine
  • 15 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • pinch of salt
Heat until steaming but don’t let it boil. Set aside.
When cake has cooled, poke many holes with a fork in top of cake. Cut into serving pieces, like 24. It’s important you cut the cake now or the liquid will be unlikely to soak into the middle of the cake. Pour the milk mixture over the cake, cover and refrigerate.
To serve, whip
  • 1 cup (half pint) heavy cream
and add half the pureed mango, but don’t overdo it. You want it to be thick but not super-firm. Add sugar to taste. Cover the cake with the cream, then put the mango puree over the top. You can serve extra sauce on the side, as the amount of mango might be more than you want to use.
NOTE: You can make a 9×9 cake by reducing the ingredients for the cake to 2/3 of what is called for. You can reduce the mango sauce ingredients, but unfortunately, the best I’ve been able to figure is making the full amount of the tres leches sauce and then only using 2/3 of it.