Category Archives: Summer

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.

Bread Salad

4 to 6 people
Shopping List

2 or 3 large (11/2 pounds) very fresh tomatoes

2 or 3 Persian cucumbers

1 french bread (a “baton”)

1 lemon

oil from a jar of anchovies

prepared (Dijon) mustard

1 clove garlic,

about 3/4 cup olive oil

1/3 of a shallot

6 to 10 stems of flat (Italian) parsley

Cut

  • 2 or 3 large (11/2 pounds) very fresh tomatoes (heirloom in a mix of colors is nice) into 3/4– to 1-inch chunks
  • 2 or 3 Persian cucumbers, cut into similar-sized chunks

and place in a non-reactive colander. Place the colander over or in a large bowl and sprinkle with

  • 11/2 tsp salt

Let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile,  cut

  • 1 french bread (a “baton,” not a thick loaf)

into 3/4– or 1-inch cubes. With a baton, every piece will have some crust. Place the pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake in a 200ºF oven for 10 minutes. The pieces will be dry but not toasted.

Grate the peel from

  • 1 lemon

and reserve the peel. Juice the lemon into a large salad bowl. When the 30 minutes have elapsed, add the tomato juice and the grated lemon peel to the lemon juice. Add

  • 2 tsp oil from a jar of anchovies
  • 1/4 tsp prepared (Dijon) mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced

Add

  • olive oil as needed (about 3/4 cup)

to make a smooth salad dressing. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Reserve half the dressing and toss the bread cubes in the salad bowl. Wait 5-10 minutes. Add the tomato and cucumber pieces and

  • 1/4 to 1/3 of a shallot, cut into very thin slices and broken into rings
  • 20 to 30 flat (Italian) parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Add most of the reserved dressing and toss. Serve immediately.

Sour Cherry Jam, No Pectin

Wash and pit 2 quarts of sour cherries. Chop into pieces (mostly halves) and measure. For 5 cups of fruit, I used 3 cups sugar. Stir together in a large stainless steel or porcelain pot. Let sit for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally; cook until temperature is 224 F. Transfer to sterilized pint jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 5 half-pint jars.

Tuna-Tomato Napoleons


Don't bother with this unless you have amazing tomatoes. Coupled with grilled thin layers and a spicy-smoky citrus dressing, this is one of our summer favorites.
Makes 4 servings


Shopping List
11/4 pound tuna, cut into 1/4-inch slices.
3-4 heirloom tomatoes (depending on size)
1 head Boston Bibb lettuce
1 cup Chipotle Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 vegetable oil

Prepare Chipotle Vinaigrette or use some other creamy salad dressing (you want to dilute it a bit if it’s very thick). Pluck and wash

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves

and dry them thoroughly. Roughly chop them and set aside.

The thinly sliced tuna
The thinly sliced tuna

If you can convince your fish vendor to cut  1/4-inch thick slices, do it. If not, buy a thick tuna steak; freeze it for 8 minutes and slice it yourself with a very sharp knife with a long thin blade. You will need 3 or 4 slices of tuna per serving.

Wash and dry

  • 3 or 4 heirloom tomatoes
  • 9 to 12 lettuce leaves

Ingredients, ready to go
Ingredients, ready to go

Cut the tomatoes into ATTNthin slices. Tear away any tough or unattractive areas of the lettuce leaves. Arrange all the ingredients so you will have ready access to them as the assembly will proceed rather quickly.

The piece of tuna at the front is almost over-cooked.
The piece of tuna at the front is almost over-cooked.

On each plate, place a lettuce leaf, a slice of tomato and splash it with 2-3 tsp of salad dressing. Brush the tuna slices with a little oil. Put a slice or two of tuna on the hot grill and ATTNwatch it like a hawk. It needs to cook 15 seconds on each side, if that. Place the tuna on the tomato slice. Again, layer lettuce, tomato, dressing and the second piece of tuna. Continue working to make a third layer and end with a final lettuce leaf, tomato and a little more dressing. Sprinkle the reserved cilantro leaves over the top.

The completed Tuna-Tomato Napoleon
The completed Tuna-Tomato Napoleon

Sour Cherry Jam

Pit 1 quart of sour cherries and chop them (to make about 2 to 21/2 cups fruit). Add sour cherry juice (see note) to make a total of 6 cups fruit and juice. Place fruit, juice and a 57g package of pectin in a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil, add 5 cups sugar and let boil for 10+ minutes until it’s thick enough to set (see note). This yields 8 pints. Place in canning jars and process for 10 minutes in water bath.

Note: I freeze sour cherries. When defrosted they give off too much juice for pies. I re-freeze the excess juice and save it for making jam. Regarding how long to boil the mixture, there are a variety of tests you can perform, but for reference, my jam reached 224 F (I’m at sea level).

Garlic Scape Pesto

Cut scapes into 11/2-inch pieces. Blanch in boiling water for 15 seconds, just enough for them to turn a bright green. Immerse in cool water and drain thoroughly when they are no longer hot.

Process scapes in small batches in food processor with olive oil. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste. If the batch is large, you may have to process it a second time in a smaller batch to get it smooth.

Freezes well. You can serve it on pasta, but we prefer to eat it on crackers. The best thing is to use this as a filling for ravioli; serve with a basic tomato sauce. The blanching reduces the garlic level to a tolerable state.

Yellow Tomato Soup

Puree 1 lb peeled, seeded yellow tomatoes with 1 TBL olive oil. (I was short on yellow so I added one red one: the soup is still a rich yellow.) This will make about 3 cups of juice. Add 3/4 cup chicken stock. Strain through a coarse strainer to capture any seeds. To the puree add 2 tsp sherry vinegar and 3-4 TBL heavy cream. Chill.

Lemon Whipped Cream

*Small Recipe (for 9″ cake): Combine in top of double boiler, 2 egg yolks, zest of 3 lemons, 1/4 cup lemon juice, pinch of salt, 3/4 cup sugar and 3 TBL butter and cook as directed below.

*Full Recipe (for tube cake): Combine in top of double boiler, 4 egg yolks, zest of 4 lemons, 1/2 cup lemon juice, pinch of salt, 11/2 cups sugar and 6 TBL butter.

Set double boiler over medium heat and stir mixture continuously making sure nothing sticks to the pan. Cook for 10-20 minutes… time varies according to the temperature of the ingredients, etc. It is done when the mixture starts to thick and it coats a spoon. (It thickens more when it cools completely.) Transfer to small bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled.

Beat whipping cream (8 ounces for small cake, 12 ounces for large) until it is thick, but peaks don’t form. Add lemon curd to taste, and beat more. Generally there will be more lemon curd than you will need to flavor the whipping cream, but it just depends on how you like it to taste.

The lemon curd keeps refrigerated up to 5 days. This is great with a fruit salad or as a filling for Lemon Cloud Cake.

Lemon Cloud Cake

A lemon chiffon cake filled with Lemon Whipped Cream.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

For 9″ cake: With mixer, beat 3 egg whites, 1/2 TBL lemon juice and (adding gradually) 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 11/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. In mixer beat 3 egg yolks, 3 ounces milk, 1/4 cup oil and 2 tsp lemon zest. until pale yellow.

For 10″ tube cake: With mixer, beat 7 egg whites, 1 TBL lemon juice and (adding gradually) 1/2 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 21/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt. In mixer beat 7 egg yolks, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup oil and 4 tsp lemon zest. until pale yellow.

Add dry ingredients and beat about 2 minutes at medium speed. Fold in egg whites, blending thoroughly. Pour into an ungreased spring-form pan (9 inches is ideal). Bake about 50 minutes — don’t open oven until at least 45 minutes have passed. Cake rises and then settles back down. A finger pressed in gently into cake won’t leave a print when it’s done, and you can probably hear a crackling sound, too.

Cool in inverted pan for 30 minutes. If it’s a tube pan, rest inverted pan on a bottle. When completely cool, remove from pan, cut into layers and fill with Lemon Whipped Cream.

Chiffon cake doesn’t get hard in the refrigerator, so you can make and fill this a bit in advance.

Cherry Pie

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine 4+ cups of pitted sour cherries (I prefer the bright red Montmorency cherries), 3 TBL minute tapioca, 3/4 cup sugar and 2 TBL kirsch. Let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out pie crust and fit into 9-inch pie plate. Pour filling into crust, dot with 2 TBL butter cut into small pieces, cover with top crust and seal. Brush top with egg white.

Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until crust is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes more.

Ice-Box Cake

Make whipped cream using 2 cups heavy cream, 2 – 3 TBL confectioners’ sugar and 1 – 2 tsp vanilla. Spread 1/2 TBL whipped cream on each cookie in a box of Famous Chocolate wafers, building up a stack. Arrange two 7-inch stacks next to each other (on their sides) on a plate to form a cake. Cover generously with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight. Serve, cutting on diagonal.

Cold Borscht (for 40)

The perfect thing for a hot summer night. Normal people will probably want to cut this in half or freeze some of: it freezes really well.

Peel and dice 31/2 lbs of beets (to make 8 cups). Bring to simmer in pot with 8 cups water, 1/2 onion finely grated, 2-3 cloves garlic run through a garlic press and salt. When beets are cooked — not too soft — remove from heat and add sugar (2 TBL) and sour salt (1/2 tsp) to taste. Let cool. Mix with sour cream to serve and garnish with any of the following: diced boiled potatoes, diced cucumber, diced hard-boiled eggs or none of the above.

Grilled Swordfish

Easy as can be. Get a 1-inch thick swordfish steak. Let it come to room temperature and season lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Get the grill hot (400 degrees F.), and grill for about 5 to 6 minutes per side. I prefer charcoal but it works just fine on a gas grill.

Corn-Crusted Soft-Shell Crabs

In a pie plate, beat together 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk and some salt. Put some very fine (Indian Head brand) corn meal in another pie plate and mix with some ground pepper. Dip each cleaned soft-shell crab in the egg mixture, let drain a bit and dredge in the corn meal (on both sides). Heat a large frying pan, melt butter and fry crabs 5 to 7 minutes per side. Serve immediately.