Tag Archives: Berries

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed “Croutons”

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

I love salads all year round, but dear lord they just have to be lighter in the summer – otherwise, what’s the point? This is my personal example of the ideal summer salad.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

Butter lettuce, with which I am more than a tad bit obsessed; sweet, juicy, peak-season strawberries; a tangy cheese to offset the sweetness; a light vinaigrette with just the right balance of heft and tartness; and a good crunch at the end.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

We should discuss this crunch. I should tell you how delicious it is, how it could probably adorn a bowl of ice cream so beautifully, and how as written it will yield about twice what you need – which means you can make another batch of this salad if you didn’t inhale them all. Big if, by the way. Enjoy this one on a very hot day, seeing as those seem to be afflicting almost everyone right now.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

Source: ever so slightly adapted from Home by Bryan Voltaggio

Ingredients:

DRESSING:
2-3 oz. dried strawberries
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup white grape juice
Pinch of salt

SUNFLOWER SEED “CROUTONS”:
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tbs honey
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups unsalted raw sunflower seeds
¼ tsp sweet paprika

SALAD:
4 heads butter lettuce
8 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbs olive oil
4 oz. Gorgonzola

Directions:
The night before you want to serve, start the DRESSING: place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, put the mixture into the blender. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and reserve.
To make the “CROUTONS”: put the sugar, honey, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium pot. Over medium heat, cook the sugar and honey together until the sugar melts, then add the sunflower seeds. Cook and stir until the sugars caramelize and the seeds become evenly roasted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the paprika. Remove the sunflower seeds from the pan and cool them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When the seeds cool, break them up into bite-size croutons.
Assemble the SALAD: put the lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Add the fresh strawberries and olive oil. Dress the salad with the dressing, taking care not to overdress it. Toss to combine, then add the sunflower seed croutons and chunk the Gorgonzola on top. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

For whatever reason, I got on something of a blueberry kick earlier this summer, and became determined to find a perfect, foolproof blueberry snacking cake to stow away in my arsenal of simple baking tricks. I’m usually decent at picking good recipes just by reading them, but my skills were lacking this time, alas.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This was the third blueberry cake I made and the only one I feel even remotely comfortable sharing here. The first, I had such high anticipation as it had a crumble topping with peanuts, something I’d never seen before. The peanuts, and peanut butter glaze especially, overpowered everything and that was all you tasted.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Next I tried a simple whole wheat blueberry cake with a glaze made from pureed blueberries, and the whole thing was very meh. It didn’t go uneaten or anything, but I wouldn’t bother making it again, which says a lot.

By the time I got around to baking this cake here, my expectations were pretty low; one bite in, however, and I knew the only mistake about this cake was the fact that I hadn’t photographed it. So, I had to make it again. Oh darn!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This is everything you want in a simple snacking cake perfect for summer. There is no leavening agent and that is NOT a typo. I don’t get it either, but it worked beautifully and earned rave reviews. Get on it while blueberries are still in season!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs poppy seeds
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs sour cream
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries
Raw sugar, like turbinado, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar with either a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Decrease your mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated into the batter before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture, then the sour cream, lemon juice and zest, then the last half of the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with raw sugar.
Bake the cake 80 to 90 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely, then cut out squares and eat!

Foie Gras and Cranberry Sauce Doughnuts

Foie Gras and Cranberry Sauce Doughnuts

Hot damn, last week was a WEEK for me! Yeesh. I’d had all these big blog plans, things like sharing a few more Thanksgiving-appropriate desserts and whatnot, but life just blew up in my face instead. I’ll fill in details tomorrow, because today is about fulfilling promises – specifically a promise regarding Thanksgiving leftovers, in the form of cranberry sauce.

Foie Gras and Cranberry Sauce Doughnuts

I will dare to say that this may be the most insane and awesome way to use up your leftover cranberry sauce. Yes, you will stuff it into a homemade doughnut; but only after you’ve piped a homemade foie gras mousse into said doughnut. !!! What’d I tell ya?

Foie Gras and Cranberry Sauce Doughnuts

This recipe is really incredible. First off, it’s a fantastic basic old-fashioned doughnut template you need in your baking repertoire. Secondly, creative and unique are total understatements and don’t suffice as adequate descriptions, but they might have to do. The proper words might not yet exist in the English language (sadly the only language I completely know). You have to take at least two bites to get the whole experience here. The first bite hits you with warm, pillowy doughnut texture and the tart bite and jelly-like texture of the cranberry sauce. The second bite mixes the sweet-tart cranberry sauce with the really savory/salty foie gras, which has a wonderful contrasting texture from the doughnut itself: very soft and thick and velvety against the chewy breadiness.

foie gras mousse and cranberry sauce

foie gras mousse and leftover cranberry sauce

All in all, I gotta say this is simply THE best vehicle for transforming your old cranberry sauce from last week. Amazing!

Foie Gras and Cranberry Sauce Doughnuts

Source: slightly adapted from The Laws of Cooking: And How To Break Them by Justin Warner

Ingredients:

FOIE GRAS MOUSSE:
4 oz. foie gras grade B, roughly chopped
About 7 seedless green grapes
1 small shallot, diced
½ tbs orange liqueur
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs heavy cream

DOUGHNUTS:
½ cup warm water
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
4 tbs unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
¼ cup leftover cranberry sauce, blitzed in a small food processor so it is smooth enough to be piped through a plastic storage baggie, if necessary
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:
First make the FOIE GRAS MOUSSE: put the foie gras in a skillet over low heat. Once some fat has rendered and pooled, about 3 minutes, add the grapes and shallots to the skillet. Cook until the shallots soften and the foie gras begins to melt and darken in color, about 5 minutes. Add the orange liqueur and cook 1 minute more.
Carefully pour the hot mixture into your blender and add the salt. With the blender running on a low setting (if possible), slowly pour the heavy cream in and increase the speed to high until combined.
Transfer the mousse to a bowl and store in the refrigerator, uncovered, until cool to the touch. Pour or scrape the mousse into a plastic food storage baggie, or a disposable pastry bag, but do not cut the tip yet. Tie or seal the bag and allow to chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled, at least 1 hour.
Now make the DOUGHNUTS: add the sugar to the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit until the yeast has foamed, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot and let cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Once the yeast has foamed up, add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer bowl and slowly combine with the dough hook. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides. Continue kneading the dough on low, then gradually add the butter, then add the beaten eggs one-half at a time. Once the dough is uniform, turn it out onto a clean, floured work surface and knead just until smooth, about 10 turns. Take care not to over-knead or you will end up with a tough doughnut.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set the bowl on a heating pad set to its lowest setting and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Flip the risen dough out onto a floured surface, knead once, and regrease the bowl. Flip the dough back into the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise again on the heating pad until doubled, about 1 hour more.
Fill your deep fryer or a large Dutch oven halfway with the oil. Bring the oil to 350 F. Lightly sprinkle a sheet pan with flour and set aside. Place a cooling rack on another sheet pan and also set aside.
Turn the dough out onto a clean floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, very gently roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch. Cut out circles of the dough with a pint-sized drinking glass or biscuit cutter of about the same size. The recipe instructs not to reroll the scraps, as those doughnuts will be tough. I discarded that dough. Place the circles onto the floured baking sheet, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 10 minutes.
When the oil is up to temperature, working in batches, drop the doughnuts into the hot oil and fry until risen on one side, about 1 minute. Then flip and cook the other side another minute. Use a spider to remove them from the hot oil, then place them on the cooling rack lined sheet pan. Allow to cool slightly.
Transfer your leftover cranberry sauce to a pastry bag or plastic food storage baggie and snip off the tip.
If your doughnuts are too hot to touch, use a twice-folded paper towel to hold them, and use a chopstick to the side of the doughnut to create a tunnel. Don’t poke all the way through! Cut the tip off the bag with the foie gras mousse and pipe it into the hole until the doughnut feels full and heavy, but not until it overflows. Next, pipe in some of the cranberry sauce, allowing it to dribble out of the doughnut. Set the doughnut back on the rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Repeat until done.

Bourbon Mint Cranberry Sauce

Bourbon Mint Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce. That classic Thanksgiving staple that I just couldn’t abide as a child. Cranberries were WAY too tart for my little unsophisticated palate back then. But even as I began coming around on cranberries in general (which, to be perfectly candid, began rather unglamorously by drinking Cape Cods in my early twenties), I still eschewed the traditional cranberry sauce because I just didn’t see the point.

Bourbon Mint Cranberry Sauce

bourbon mint cranberry sauce

I mean, you have gravy for the turkey – what’s the purpose behind the cranberry sauce?? A few years ago, I gave in. Now I alternate bites of turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce, because let’s face it – cranberry sauce is just really, really delicious.

Bourbon Mint Cranberry Sauce

While I will never turn down good ol’ regular cranberry sauce, if you add bourbon, I’ll love you even more. This stuff was outstanding. Less sweet than usual (though of course feel free to add as much sugar as you like), with a wonderful stiff alcohol-y bite, tempered by the mint flavor. Possibly my favorite cranberry sauce to date, and in another week I will have a VERY special post for you using up the leftovers. I’m so excited to share that one with you!! In the meantime, give this one a go next Thursday. I promise it will be a big hit. Enjoy!

Bourbon Mint Cranberry Sauce

Source: Fine Cooking Magazine, Oct/Nov 2015

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs. fresh cranberries
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, plus more to taste if desired
1/3 cup bourbon
5 big sprigs of fresh mint
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
Put the cranberries, sugar, bourbon, mint, salt, and ½ cup water in a 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and many of the cranberries pop, about 20 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if you want and cook until dissolved. Cool to room temperature and remove the mint sprigs.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

So I didn’t really plan or intend to take this much time off from blogging lately, but it sort of coincided with some nuttiness in my real job plus some incredibly loud construction going on across the street from my building. Like, metal pounding metal stakes into the ground. The sound is actually rather unnerving, and everything I tried to write just leeched out undertones of the inner rage I was feeling at the noise. Better to not subject anyone to that.

goat cheesecake with blueberry-gin compote

They seem to be taking a day off, so I’m writing out as many blog posts as I possibly can, while I can think clearly! Let’s talk goat cheese in a cheesecake. This is not a savory cheesecake at all, so the goat cheese isn’t terribly obvious in the flavor department. It’s more that it lends a background tanginess that cuts the sweetness of cheesecake, and mostly it provides creaminess to the texture.

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

I was very much in love. Upon initially reading the recipe, I was a bit skeptical that the batter might not work properly. It just seemed like overkill to include sour cream, and ricotta, and goat cheese in addition to the cream cheese. But I was wrong, it works beautifully! This was among the creamiest and smoothest cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted, so I can’t complain about any perceived overabundance of batter ingredients.

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

The blueberry sauce was really gorgeous, both to look at and to eat. You don’t taste the gin outright, but it does complement the sweet-tart nature of the blueberries, and the texture achieved here is divine. It’s really rich and smooth, but with those plump bursts of the whole blueberries added in. Cheesecake is always a labor of love and time, so I firmly believe it’s got to be completely worth it when you do make it. This one will not disappoint. Enjoy!

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

Source: slightly adapted from Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends by Bryan Voltaggio

Ingredients:

CRUST:
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup plus 1 tbs graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

FILLING:
12 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
10 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup plus 7 tbs granulated sugar
2 ½ tbs sour cream
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp kosher salt
2 ½ tbs all-purpose flour

COMPOTE:
8 oz. blueberries, divided
½ tsp orange zest
½ tbs honey
½ tsp gin
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
For the CRUST: preheat the oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt. Mix until the mixture resembles wet sand. Pour the crumbs into a 9” springform pan and use a flat-bottomed drinking glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake 9-12 minutes, until browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 300 F.
Meanwhile, make the FILLING: mix the goat cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, granulated sugar, and sour cream in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until fully blended, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next one, followed by the yolks in the same fashion. Add the vanilla and salt. When they are incorporated, stop the mixer and add the flour. Mix on low speed until just blended.
Prepare the cheesecake for baking. Take two large strips of aluminum foil and lay them out on a flat surface so they overlap a bit. Tape them down the middle with sturdy packing tape or duct tape. Turn the foil over and tape the other side. You want no seam left flapping open. This is the only way I’ve found to ensure that no water seeps into your cheesecake. Set a tea kettle full of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Place the springform pan over the aluminum foil and tightly wrap the sides. Place the springform in a roasting pan. Carefully pour the filling into the crust, then add enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the pan. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until the sides are set and the center is jiggly but not liquidy. Shut off the oven and crack the door open. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour. This helps to prevent the dreaded cheesecake cracks. Remove the cake from the water bath and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Right before you’re ready to serve, make the COMPOTE: put half of the fresh blueberries, the orange zest, honey, gin and salt in a small saucepot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and cook about 3-5 minutes, or until the blueberries are completely tender and soft. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve. Add the remaining blueberries and mix well. Cool slightly before serving.
Serve slices of the cheesecake with a nice dollop of compote.

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

I keep yapping about how berry season held us over until stone fruit arrived, and I would be very remiss to exclude raspberries from this little venture. If we’re talking about just outright snacking, I have to admit that raspberries are my least favorite of the four main berries, but I absolutely adore cooking and baking with them. No clue why…

raspberries

So, this ice cream. It was incredibly interesting, and not quite what I was expecting when I read the recipe title. Making chocolate ice cream from scratch generally involves, well, actual chocolate (PSA courteous of Captain Obvious). So I read the recipe title and assumed it contained actual chocolate plus raspberries, and I worried that the assertive chocolate flavor would overwhelm or outshine the more delicate raspberry flavor.

raspberries

Not so. This recipe doesn’t actually call for any chocolate, just good cocoa powder. Which actually relegates the chocolate flavor to a more accompanying background note that complements the raspberries, thus allowing them to be front and center on the taste buds. With each bite there is no mistaking it: the raspberry gets top billing here.

chocolate raspberry ice cream

I would advise churning this ice cream for less time than your ice cream maker suggests. It’s a VERY thick custard, and in my experience, thicker-than-usual custards like to over-churn, and over-churned ice cream is all kinds of inedible nastiness. So watch it carefully, and stop it around 5 or so minutes before you usually do. The major upside of super thick custard is that it yields an incredibly creamy finished product. I hope y’all will enjoy it!

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups heavy cream
5 tbs unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups fresh raspberries
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
Whisk together the cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large stockpot. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil (it may start to foam up). Remove from the heat and add the raspberries and salt. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. If you wish, press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, but subtract 5 to 10 minutes from the recommended churning time to prevent over-churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze about 2 hours or longer before serving.

Romaine, Blueberry, and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Monday is killing me today, and no, it has nothing to do with the wine I consumed last night! (Actually my lack of sleep had much more to do with cat drama during the night, which I won’t bore you with, but if anyone is a cat whisperer, please do drop me a line. Thanks!)

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Anyways, after I stopped forcing stone fruit season to arrive before it intended to do so, I’ve been gobbling up all the berries like they’re going out of season soon. Ha!

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

About a month ago, I picked up (what was then) the latest issue of Food & Wine, and was immediately intrigued by their idea of using fresh blueberries in a vinaigrette for salad. I’m here to report it is indeed delicious, so I put together a simple and summery salad of romaine, fresh sweet corn, and more blueberries (plus croutons!) to showcase this unique blueberry salad dressing.

Romaine, Blueberry and Corn Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

I hope y’all enjoy it!

Source: vinaigrette from Food & Wine, July 2015

Ingredients:

VINAIGRETTE:
¼ cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle in adobo
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

SALAD:
2 hearts of romaine, chopped or torn
1 ear of corn, husks and silks stripped away and discarded, kernels cut off the cob
A couple of generous handfuls of fresh blueberries
Croutons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
First make the VINAIGRETTE. In a small saucepan, use a potato masher to mash the blueberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 8 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly.
Scrape the blueberry mixture into a bowl and whisk in the oil, vinegar, and adobo sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the SALAD, place the romaine chunks into a large salad bowl, followed by the corn kernels and the fresh blueberries. Season lightly with salt and heavily with black pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add more dressing if needed (you can always add more dressing in, but you can’t take it out if you overdress the salad!). Garnish with croutons and serve immediately.

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

This summer, I learned the hard way, yet again, that stone fruits (specifically peaches, nectarines, and plums) really aren’t ready for prime time up here until August (apricots seem to usually be ready much sooner). I always try to force my will upon the stone fruits sometime in late June/early July, and every time I lose. This year I ceded the issue when I royally screwed up a nectarine crostata that shoulda woulda been delicious if not for unripe, horrifically uncooperative fruit.

So, we’ve been enjoying berries instead. Perhaps it’s the inner contrarian in me, but I absolutely love finding savory recipes for berries, despite the fact that they are so perfect in desserts and drinks. And make no mistake, I love berries in desserts and drinks! But, we’re consuming less sugar these days, so this just fits our lifestyle better, I guess. Fortunately, there are many, many methods of showcasing berries in all their sweet-tart glory that don’t add any sugar and are perfectly at home as your main dish for dinner.

grilled venison chops with blackberry-sage brown butter

Like this one. This one is beautiful. It came together very quickly, yet I would have happily paid $30 in a restaurant for it. This is one of the first recipes I made in the new apartment, (which is why the photography is subpar) as I was dying to try out my brand new indoor grill pan, and it taught me the value of saran-wrapping your smoke detector! Hashtag newer building problems.

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

No matter. All worth it. Well, for us anyways. I suppose the neighbors may respectfully disagree… I hope y’all enjoy it!

Source: slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
4 (8 oz.) venison chops
2 tbs canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips, plus whole leaves for garnish
12 fresh blackberries, sliced in half

Directions:
Preheat your outdoor or indoor grill pan to high.
Brush both sides of the chops with the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill and grill until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the chops and grill 3 minutes on the other side, until you have a nice brown exterior and the inside is between medium-rare and medium. Venison is incredibly lean, so you really, really don’t want to cook them even a second past medium.
When done, transfer to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest 5 minutes.
While the venison is resting, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced sage leaves and cook, occasionally stirring and turning the leaves, until the edges curl and the butter is dark amber but not black or burnt, about 5 minutes. Add the blackberries to the butter and cook for 20 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon some of the butter onto 4 large dinner plates. Top with the venison chops, and spoon some of the blackberries and butter over each top. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.

Strawberry Gazpacho

Strawberry Gazpacho

Please meet the first meal I cooked and photographed in our new place for the blog! Except that technically I didn’t cook anything… because gazpacho… but still! Summer fruits and vegetables are popping up everywhere in my neck of the urban woods, and in fact as I write this I’m planning my first venture to scope out my new city’s farmers markets!

For me, the default in using summer fruits has always been desserts or other baked goods that are really just desserts with slightly less sugar masquerading as breakfast items. It’s easy, it works, everyone loves it. Pardon the pun, it’s low hanging fruit. These sweet berries, melons, and stone fruits are made for sweets.

strawberries for gazpacho

But, I’m feeling more savory (that’s code for cranky – moving is a real pain!) than sweet these days, so I plan to use this wonderful summer bounty in more salty, umami, main-course-type recipes this year. Not exclusive of sweets of course – that wouldn’t be any fun!

Starting with some of the first berries we see in late spring/early summer up here – strawberries! The ones I’m finding lately are perfect – juicy, sweet, plump, and bright red. While gazpacho is traditionally made with tomatoes, I very pleasantly discovered that strawberries make a wonderful stand-in. This strawberry gazpacho is sweeter and less acidic than its more typical tomato sibling, but with the same basic flavor components and textures. As all gazpacho should be, it’s light and refreshing, and packs a ton of flavor into a healthy, guilt-free meal or side dish. Enjoy!

Strawberry Gazpacho

Source: adapted from Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and rough chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
3 tbs dry red wine
3 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cups vegetable stock
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, plus a little more for garnish
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
Add the bell pepper, celery, scallion whites, red wine, lime juice, vegetable stock, ginger, coriander, and strawberries to your blender. Puree until very smooth. Do this in batches if need be. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. If you prefer your gazpacho chilled, then place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you prefer it room temperature, then pour it into serving bowls and garnish with the scallion greens and some extra sliced or chopped fresh strawberries. Serve immediately.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

My apologies – I haven’t been posting as much recently – time-consuming changes are afoot in my house, specifically meaning a move across town (and technically to a different state, but state lines are quite blurry in the NYC area, so moving to a different state won’t really count until the inevitable day I’m held hostage at the DMV changing my driver’s license). We’ll move in two weeks, and we’ve found our new apartment, signed all the pertinent papers, and now are just trying to schedule out the movers and all the pesky little details that accompany any move. Our new place is about the same size as our current one, square footage wise, but a completely different layout. So some swapping of furniture is in order, plus rethinking some of the wall décor.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I hope to be a better blogger for the summer than I have been this spring. I’m a bit disappointed to have only gotten in one rhubarb recipe before its season begins to wane, but this pie is so much better than nothing, and I’m very happy the one recipe I made was such a beauty.

pistachio crumble topped strawberry rhubarb pie

When it comes to fruit pies, I tend to not play favorites between crumble toppings and top crusts – both please my palate. But I was very intrigued to find a recipe that included pistachios in said crumble. If I’m ever forced to pick a favorite nut, it’ll be a toss-up between pecans and pistachios, so this recipe was right up my alley. And I thought the pistachios played very well with the flavor of the strawberries in particular.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

All in all, just a superb pie. The flavor combination of strawberries and rhubarb is a classic for good reason, and here they are nestled in a flaky crust (though feel free to sub in your own recipe if you have a favorite) and then topped with a crunchy crumble laced with pistachios that popped against the fruit’s sweetness. The thickness of the filling was perfect, as it held together and didn’t run all over the place (such a fruit pie pet peeve of mine!). I hope you enjoy it!

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Source: The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

Ingredients:

CRUST:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tbs vodka
4-8 tbs ice water

FILLING:
1 ¼ lbs. fresh rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup strawberry liqueur, or a fruity port wine
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup strawberries, hulled and sliced

CRUMBLE TOPPING:
½ cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup chopped unsalted pistachios
7 tbs unsalted butter, diced

Directions:
For the CRUST: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or two forks to work the fat into the flour mixture. The butter should be the size of peas. Sprinkle the vodka over the flour mixture, then sprinkle 4 tbs water over. Using a rubber spatula, work the liquid into the flour mixture, adding more water 1 tbs at a time as needed to get the dough to just come together. Use your hands to work the dough into a ball, getting the last little scraggles of flour in the bottom of the bowl, and then flatten it into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch regular pie plate and fold the edges under, then crimp the edges decoratively with your fingers or a fork. Put in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
For the FILLING: combine the rhubarb, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the strawberry liqueur and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add it to the rhubarb mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened, no more than 5 minutes (this took me about 2 minutes – watch it carefully). Remove from the heat, transfer to the refrigerator and let it cool and chill for about 30 minutes.
For the CRUMBLE TOPPING: combine the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pistachios in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using either your pastry blender or two forks until it forms coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Remove the crust and the rhubarb mixture from the refrigerator. Stir the strawberries into the rhubarb mixture, then pour into the pie crust. Sprinkle with the crumb topping (you likely won’t need all of it), then place the pie plate onto a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for a bit, then slice into wedges and serve. Keep in the refrigerator topped with aluminum foil.