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Summer Luch

 

Although I am a proponent of early dinners, sometimes we switch over to a late lunch. Either way, it’s just breakfast and one another main meal that gets us through the day. If I’ve been clever enough to make some extra protein in another dinner, putting together the late lunch is a snap. And, that’s exactly what prompted this healthy and quite tasty summer salad lunch. I had made an extra pork tenderloin – nothing fancy, just a little seasoned rub – earlier in the week. I took all of the odds and ends of leftover vegetables and herbs I found in the fridge – some already cooked and some just a handful of raw waiting to make their magic – broad beans, corn, a bit of red bell pepper, a few favas, scallions, and only God knows what else – I heated the mix with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzled the warm vegetables with a bit of lemon juice and then turned the mix into a bed for the sliced tenderloin.   Couldn’t have been better if I was cooking from a recipe.

Gooseberry

There is no country like Great Britain when it comes to naming what I call (and they do too) nursery desserts – syllabub, spotted dick, whim-wham, roly-poly, fool, and apple dappy are just a few of the sweet desserts the English call puddings. Fools are one of my favorites simply because they are so easy to do, particularly in the summer when berries and fruits are at their peak. I don’t know where the name “fool” comes from, but perhaps because a cook would be a fool not to embrace this easy to do dish which in its basic make-up is just fruit and whipped cream, although there are ways to fancy it up. I tend to lighten it a bit with a combination of yogurt and whipped cream. Gooseberries are the traditional berry used, but they are rarely available except for a couple of weeks in the summer at farmers markets, so feel free to use any berry or fruit you like.

In this recipe, I just sprinkle the top with crushed cookies, but if you want to turn it into a dinner party dessert, layer the fool between layers of crushed cookies in individual glass bowls or even martini glasses, ending with a layer of fool. You can also save a few gooseberries to use as garnish along with that proverbial mint leaf.

 

1 pound fresh gooseberries, topped and tailed

3 tablespoons granulated sugar or to taste

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Confectioners’ sugar or to taste

¼ cup crushed cookies of your choice

 

Combine the gooseberries with ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until very soft.

Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the granulated sugar and process to a smooth puree. If you hate seeds, press the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container and set aside to cool. If you don’t mind seeds, transfer the puree to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Place the heavy cream in a medium mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat for a minute or so to lighten. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold the yogurt into the whipped cream.

Scrape the whipped cream mixture into a serving bowl. Gently fold in the cooled gooseberry puree. Taste and, if necessary, sweeten with confectioners’ sugar.

Sprinkle the top with crushed ladyfingers, amaretti cookies, vanilla wafers, or butter cookies and serve immediately.

If not serving immediately, do not sprinkle the top with the cookies until ready to serve. Refrigerate for up to 6 hours.

PattyPan©StephenKolyer

I’m always drawn to summer’s sweet little patty pan squashes – the colors are so vibrant and the shape so flowery. The one problem with them is that they don’t have a lot of flavor. Many years ago when we had a take-out food shop, I would buy teeny tiny ones from an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania and then pickle them to add some zest. The little flower shapes would look so inviting in the canning jar and were terrific out of it as a garnish for cold meats. When I want to cook them, I usually slice or cube them and sauté in butter or extra virgin olive oil. Just when the squashes have squeezed out all that almost-tasteless liquid and have begun to brown, I add some fresh garlic, lemon zest, and basil – season with salt and pepper and toss for a couple of minutes. Then, I serve with a squeeze of lemon juice. Tasteless they will not be!

 

patty-pan-squash_p6288142

PestoPasta_4068

Everybody I know has a favorite pesto sauce recipe – just because if you grow basil you have to have something to do with it when it goes summer haywire and bolts to the sky. And, although I hate giving a name to a traditional dish that I’ve messed around with I don’t quite know what else to call my pesto. I guess I could just call it green pasta sauce. To my version, I add a few mint leaves and a bit of fresh green chile – the former for a bit of freshness and the latter for a bit of the heat that we love. It still tastes like pesto, but with a bit of pizzazz. Try it, you might just like it.

 

3 to 4 peeled garlic cloves

½ hot green chile, seeds and membrane removed, optional

½ cup pine nuts – toasted if you have the time

3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves

About 10 mint leaves or more to taste

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

 

Combine the garlic, chile, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process, using quick on and off turns, until coarsely chopped. Add half of the basil and again using quick on and off turns process to coarsely chop. Add the remaining basil along with the mint and, with the motor running, begin adding the oil, processing until a thick green sauce forms.

Add the cheese, season with salt, and give a quick couple of turns to incorporate.

If the pesto is too thick for your taste, add more oil. If too thin, add more basil and, perhaps, a bit more cheese. The flavor is yours to decide.

If not using immediately, scrape the sauce into a nonreactive container. Smooth the top and cover it with extra virgin olive oil to prevent discoloration. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

broad-beans_p7038211

Steve, my photographing husband, does not much like green beans. I have no idea why as I find them bland with nothing off-putting at all. However, I introduced him to what I call broad beans, but which are actually Romano or Italian beans, he took a liking to them so when I can find them they sometimes take the place of ordinary green beans. I find their flavor richer and like to mix them up with other vegetables – corn, onion, and broad beans being one combo I’m particularly fond of. I also like to use them in a light pasta. The one in this photo is sliced broad beans, cherry tomatoes, garlic, sweet onion, and basil with a good dose of grated Parmigiano. Light, filling, and healthy, too.

 

broad-beans_pasta_7038220

Garlic fresh_P6288157

Garlic Scapes_P6288150

‘Tis the season for all types of fresh vegetables, but one of our favorites is fresh garlic.  And, when it arrives, so do garlic scapes.  Both are less pungent than dried garlic (which my son, Chris, tells me I always use too much of in everything) and the bulb has a sweetness that is only detected in the dried when it is roasted.  This is an easy recipe that allows that flavor to shine.

 

4 to 5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

⅓ cup unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

8 ounces diced pancetta

2 bulbs fresh garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 shallot, peeled and minced

8 ounces arborio rice

Zest of 1 orange

Salt and pepper

½ cup finely chopped garlic scapes

½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus more to taste
Place the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a bare simmer, lower the heat, and leave on the heat as you prepare the rice, taking care that it doesn’t boil and lose volume.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or just until the pancetta begins to crisp.  Add the garlic and shallot and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 4 minutes or until the aromatics have softened, but not taken on any color.

Add the rice and orange zest and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute or until the rice is glistening.   Season with salt and pepper.

Begin adding the stock, a large ladleful at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the stock before adding more.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 minutes or until the “sauce” is creamy and the rice is almost cooked.  Add the scapes and cook, stirring, for about another 5 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

Stir in the cheese, taste, and, if necessary, season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and ladle into shallow soup bowls, sprinkling with additional cheese, if desired.

Oyster Mushroom_P6288128

I purchased this absolutely beautiful oyster mushroom at the green market just because, to me, it was a work of art.  Of course, it was a wonderful subject for Steve to photograph, also.  Once it had been admired and framed, I sautéed it in a little extra virgin olive oil and garlic and scooped it up on a piece of toast as Steve’s reward for being such a gifted photographer.

 

Oyster Mushroom_P6288094oyster-mushroom_p6288189Oyster©StephenKolyer

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