Monday, August 27, 2012
DuTill & Daughters. The romas are ripening on the counter and will become canned crushed tomatoes ready for any number of winter sauces and stews. I've even pickled my yellow pear tomatoes- that's a first for me. And the rest of the cherry tomatoes (one really big colander full), well, there was no doubt in my mind they had a higher calling than simply adorning a salad.
Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
For a printable version, click here.
This is not so much a recipe as it is a set of directions. You can use this to preserve as many or as few tomatoes as you have. Season the tomatoes to your liking- you can easily switch up the thyme for rosemary, or leave out the herbs altogether. I filled two sheet trays with halved tomatoes, which amounted to 8 quarter pints packed full. I chose the smaller jars because I know I can use the small amount quickly and an open jar won't linger in the fridge, preserving the freshness of the rest of the roasted tomatoes.
Unfortunately, there is no good way to make these tomatoes shelf stable. I do NOT recommend simply pouring olive oil over them and closing the jar. Commercial kitchen can do that because they have the means to heat the oil quickly to kill any possible pathogens. We home cooks don't have that option. The solution is to pack the tomatoes well into freezer-safe jars or zip top bags and freeze them for later use. The tomatoes will store safely in the freezer for several months.
To make the slow roasted tomatoes:
1. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Lay them cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss a few cloves of garlic and sprigs of thyme onto the pan.
2. Roast the tomatoes at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of the tomatoes and how dry you prefer them. When the tomatoes are done roasting, mash the roasted garlic and give the whole mixture a light toss. Let the tomatoes cool on the pan.
3. Tightly pack the tomatoes into freezer safe containers. Freeze until needed, up to 6 months. Use the tomatoes in salads, pasta sauces, stews and braises in place of tomato paste or in addition to it, over white beans, or to top grilled bread (to name just a few things).
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I wasn't sure I was going to make these popovers. After all, I had just put my stamp on mini Dutch Baby pancakes, and they're an awful lot like a popover. Actually, I didn't decide to make them until this very morning. But my fellow Tuesdays with Dorie bakers requested them, and who am I to question it? At the very least, I could compare them to my Dutch Babies and to the popovers of my childhood.
I suggest you pop on over (ha ha!) to the hosts this week, Paula and Amy (check out her son's great origami hats too, so cute!) to find the incredibly simple recipe. And while you're at it, see how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers fared with their attempts to make popovers as well.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Makes about 3/4 cup.
For a printable version, click here.
I used the peach infused vinegar we found on our tasting day for this vinaigrette. I think a champagne or white balsamic vinegar would work just as well in its place. If you want to try making your own, here's a description of how to make the infused vinegar from Martha Stewart. The peach is the star of the show, so make sure it's perfectly ripe and has a fresh, strong peach aroma. I've used the vinagrette both to dress a salad of mixed baby greens as well as over a peach and mozzarella caprese salad. It would be fantastic drizzled over a grilled pork chop or roasted chicken as well.
1 ripe peach, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 tbs peach infused vinegar
1 tsp honey
pinch of sea salt
3-4 tbs light flavored oil such as canola (to make it really special, use a nut oil such as hazelnut, pecan or walnut oil)
Place all ingredients except the oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for one week.
To make the peach caprese salad, alternate slices of peaches and fresh mozzarella cheese on a plate. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves. Drizzle the peach vinaigrette over the top.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
My house's lack of air conditioning drives me from my kitchen. I can't stand to turn on the stove or the oven. Case in point- two days ago I had picked pounds and pounds of figs and needed to turn them into jam. The only time it was cool enough to fire up the stove was after I tucked my boys in bed. And even then I had the back door and windows wide open.
chicken drumsticks). The big question is, how to get some bread to dip in the tzatziki without turning on my oven and turning my kitchen into a sauna. Then it hit me- the grill. If I can roast a whole turkey on it, I can bake bread there too. Hooray! It's not pita and its not Greek, but man this bread is good. And it made fast friends with my tzatziki. Now, I'm off to dream about really being in Greece with the white sands, sea breezes, and some else to bake my pita bread for me...
Grilled Herb and Cherry Tomato Focaccia
Makes 2 8-in diameter focaccia loaves. Recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
For a printable recipe, click here.
This recipe is a slightly altered version of my standard no-knead bread. You can go nuts with the toppings or leave the bread plain as can be. It's quite easy to make and only requires you to think of it early in the day so that you can mix up the dough. Then go to the beach (like I did) and don't give it another thought.
1 2/3 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp quick rise dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the baking pan
2 tsp sugar
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-2 tbs chopped fresh herbs
small handful halved cherry tomatoes
In a large container or bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the herbs and tomatoes. Cover loosely and leave on the counter for about 2 hours. At this point you can use the dough or refrigerate it up to one week.
Turn on your gas grill to a medium high heat about 20 minutes before you intend to make the bread. You want it to reach 450 degrees. Coat the bottom of an 8 inch metal cake pan or pie tin with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt.
Pull off a large orange-sized piece of dough and flatten or stretch it until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Place the dough in the cake pan and sprinkle the herbs over the top. Lightly press the tomatoes, cut side down, into the dough. Let it rest while the grill heats up. When the grill is ready, press your fingers into the dough to dimple it and drizzle the top with a bit more olive oil.
Place the pan on the grill and bake the bread for 15-20 minutes. You may need to rotate the pan occasionally to avoid hot spots. When the bread is almost cooked through (with about two minutes left or so), use tongs to flip it over in the pan. This will help the top brown and char the tomatoes nicely. Remove from the grill and let it cool slightly before cutting the bread into wedges. Serve warm.
Friday, August 10, 2012
With wristbands purchased, we set out for the rides. The biggest problem? Where to start first. My little one was ready to jump on the first bumper car he saw and his big brother would have happily ridden every kiddie ride along with him. But his buddy, the seven year old daredevil that he is, wanted to hitch a ride on the swinging pirate ship or spin upside down if at all possible. And he wanted my son to go along. For a few moments, he forgot he was supposed to be having fun and started getting upset, nervous, and fearful. Very fearful. It took a lot of convincing to get him to shake his nerves and get on that pirate ship, but he did it. Though he looked like he wanted to jump off the ride the moment it started swinging, he made it through and I was very proud of him for taking the chance.
So in the spirit of being fearless, I've started a business with my sister. I'm offering the handmade jams and preserves that I've come to love making (partly as a result of writing this blog) for sale in our Etsy shop, DuTill & Daughters. It's exciting and daunting at the same time. And there's fear, big time fear. Will people be willing to pay for my creations? Will we be successful? All I can do is follow the advice I gave my son and give it a try. Because who knows what the outcome could be? Perhaps from the fear will come happiness and joy.
shop, white tea peach preserves. My Mom used to make a similar cookie using blackberry jam. I think you could use just about any jam you love and the results would be delicious. With a cup of tea or coffee, you'll feel like you're at the fanciest of French patisseries.
Spiral Jam Palmiers
Makes about 12 5-inch cookies. Adapted from Martha Stewart and my Mom.
For a printable version, click here.
Warning- making these cookies is a messy job. But the end results are SO worth it!
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (from one package), thawed
about 1/4 cup your favorite jam or preserves
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating work surface
1 to 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional- depends on the jam you choose and if the flavors would work well)
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper. Place the sheets of puff pastry side by side on the parchment. Press together at the seam. Roll the pastry out with a rolling pin to create an 11 x 20 inch rectangle. Transfer the parchment to a baking tray, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, stir together the two sugars and cinnamon (if using). Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Spread the jam in a thin layer over the pastry- you want to cover the whole sheet to the edges. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the jam. Starting with the short side and using the parchment to help you, roll the pastry into a log. Wrap the roll tightly in the parchment paper and freeze the roll until firm, about 20 minutes.
Cut the firm dough crosswise into 1 inch slices. Generously sprinkle granulated sugar over the work surface and turn a dough slice over in the sugar to coat both sides. Roll each slice out into a (roughly) 5 inch circle, sprinkling more sugar over the top as needed. This part of the job is messy- the jam will leak out a bit as the slices are rolled. Don't worry, they'll turn out just fine. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate to firm up while you preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, 14-16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet before peeling off.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Then I remembered an idea I had read about somewhere, but I had absolutely no memory where. Probably Pinterest. (What on earth did we all do before Pinterest?) Pancakes baked in muffin tins. Genius idea- just whip up batter, pour it into the tins and bake. No flipping, no watching for bubbles hoping your pancakes aren't over or under cooked. Just 15 minutes of sipping your tea and perusing your favorite blogs while the pancakes take care of themselves in the oven. I just had to find that recipe!
The best part of this pancake- watching the looks on my kids faces as I pulled out the super puffed pancakes. Man did these babies get big! They literally squealed with delight. As they watched the pancakes fall, realization set in that they made the perfect little cup for holding my boys' favorite pancake toppings. Score one for Mom this fine morning!
Recipe from Real Mom Kitchen. Makes 9 pancakes (to serve 3-4 people).
For a printable recipe, click here.
This is a great recipe for a quick weekend or even lazy weekday breakfast. It would also be great on a brunch menu, as you could bake up quite a few in relatively little time if you have more than one muffin pan. The topping variations are endless. My oldest filled his with his new favorite jam (which you can find in my Etsy shop, by the way!) and the little one drizzled his with honey. I sauteed up a peach lingering in my fridge leftover from jam making for my Dutch babies. Happiness all around.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbs butter, melted and cooled
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9 muffin cups with non-stick spray. Fill the other three cups with water.
In a blender, place all the ingredients except for the butter. Blend until smooth. Add the butter and blend again. Divide the batter equally among the 9 muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until very puffed and edges are golden. Serve immediately
To make the sauteed peaches: Coarsely chop 1 ripe peach. Saute in 1 tbs butter until slightly softened. Add 1 tbs honey and a pinch of cardamom. Continue cooking until the peaches are fully softened and juicy.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Then of course, I get to read. The anticipation keeps me from waiting too long to dive into the glossy pages. I have a routine- first skim through and dog ear anything that jumps out at me. Then I go back and read each article carefully making sure I haven't missed a single recipe note. Every morsel of food writing gets devoured. When I'm finished I feel full and satisfied.
One of my faves is Bon Apetit. And that magazine inspired this tomato butter recipe. I didn't find an actual recipe in the magazine, just an idea, a little blurb in an article on easy ways to use up all those summer tomatoes. It sounded so good, I had to try to figure out how to do it for myself. It was a bit of trial and error which started out with too much tomato and not enough butter (tomato butter soup, anyone?), but in the end I know I got it just right.
Makes 1 cup butter. Inspired by a blurb in Bon Apetit, August 2012.
For a printable version, click here.
This butter is easily adaptable and very versatile. You can leave out the chili pepper and perhaps add in some chopped herbs. Or make it a bit more flavorful by adding smoky spices like cumin and coriander, or even a chopped chipotle pepper. Make it your own. I topped a burger with it the other night for dinner, but this butter would be just as at home on top of a juicy steak or some grilled fish, slathered over grilled bread or tossed with roasted potatoes or steamed rice.
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 small Fresno chili
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
Roast the tomatoes and chili pepper on a lined baking sheet at 475 degrees until the skins are blistered and the juices start to exude (about 5 minutes). Place the pepper into a small zip top baggie and let steam for a few minutes while the tomatoes cool. Remove the skin, stem and seeds from the pepper and pop it into a food processor along with the tomatoes and salt. Whizz them up until they are smooth. Place the tomato/chili mixture in a medium bowl along with the softened butter and stir to completely combine (I found a whisk to be the best tool). Cover and chill. The butter will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks or you can freeze it for up to three months.