July 31, 2014
The fruit has been fantastic this year. The peaches have real flavor, and I've never had better blueberries than the local ones I bought yesterday. As for raspberries…. they're springing up all along the road.
Made the best pie last night, using the fruit I happened to have on hand. I liked the result so much that I just had to write the recipe down.
Peach, Blueberry and Raspberry Pie
all butter pie crust (recipe below)
4 ripe peaches
1 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Peel the peaches by blanching them in boiling water for 15 seconds or so and then running them under cold water. The skins will slip right off. Slice them into a bowl, being sure to capture all the juice.
Add the blueberries.
Stir the cornstarch into the sugar and stir the mixture into the fruit. Add the lemon juice and give it another stir.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spoon the blueberries and peaches into a prepared pie shell. Put the raspberries on top. Dot with the extra two tablespoons of butter, cover with top crust, crimp the edges, cut slits into the middle of the pie and bake in hot oven for about an hour, until the crust is golden.
(Probably wise to put a sheet of aluminium foil beneath the pie when you put it in the oven; mine spilled over a bit at the end.)
Allow to cool before serving.
I don’t often make an all-butter crust, but for some reason I did. I found this dough so easy to work with – and so delicious – I can’t wait to do it again.
Wonderful All Butter Pie Crust for a Double Crust Pie
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 pound very cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
8-12 tablespoons ice water
Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.
Add the butter cubes to a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the ice water over the mixture, pulsing until the dough begins to hold together, about 10 seconds. If it doesn’t hold together, slowly add a bit more ice water.
Turn the dough out and form two disks. Wrap each one in wax paper and refrigerate for an hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm just until it's pliable, about 15 minutes. Roll the first disk out on a floured surface, fit into a deep 9 inch pie pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll the second disk out, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate that as well.
July 30, 2014
I've been working – finally – on my memoir of the Gourmet days, and the other day I found myself trolling through the magazine's very first issue.
Mostly it's a testament to how much things have changed. But then I came upon this…..
"Food Flashes" by Clementine Paddleford
“Come the last, mad midnight of 1940, when the bells are belling and the crowds are yelling, let smoke snacks bombard the senses. America has gone smoke crazy. Deep within us all persists a natural craving for the taste of wood smoke. That yearning is a heritage harkening back millions of generations, perhaps, to some dim memory from the paleolithic age when the first true men ate meat roasted over a forest fire. Now the craving is easily satisfied. That leathery smokehouse smell is getting its dark perfume into every kind of food.
For the holiday party may we suggest a smoked suckling pig. Serve his brown majesty kneeling on a parsley bed. His quizzical eyebrows are of lemon peel, his eyes are slices of stuffed olive, the apple in his mouth, a rosy lady apple. Ornamental is the word for this hickory-smoked sweet morsel, the average weight seven pounds for around $5 at R.H. Macy’s.
Then smoked turkeys, smoked oysters, smoked Wisconsin cheese, smoked salt..
I like the idea of the smokehouse smell being "leathery." And I very much like the price: all you can hold for five bucks.
July 27, 2014
Caramel Bourbon Peaches
Peel two ripe peaches by blanching them in boiling water for about 15 seconds and then running them under cold water; the skins should slip right off. Cut each one into eighths and put them into a bowl. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of good bourbon and swish them around.
Put a half cup of sugar in a heavy skillet and cook over low heat until it begins to liquify. Cook it, without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally, until it turns a deep golden color – about 5 minutes. Add the bourbon-soaked peaches and a couple tablespoons of cream and watch it hiss angrily, spitting at you and seizing up. Don’t worry; this fit will end, and if you stir it once in a while it will all soften in about 5 minutes, leaving you with tender caramelized peaches.
Spooned hot, over cold vanilla ice cream, this will make you very happy.
July 25, 2014
I've been looking for one of these for a while now. I love the idea of spraying olive oil onto pans – or spraying neutral oil onto cake pans – but every time I think of using an aerosol spray, I think about the ozone layer. Besides, I like to control the quality of the oil I use.
I've bought regular spray bottles, but they all have problems. Most are made for water, and they tend to clog. And this one is BPA-free, which becomes more important to me the more I read.
This swell new oil sprayer is from Michael Graves design. You fill it with your own oil, and when you pull the trigger it gives you a measured blast of oil.
It's not cheap – $20 – but when you consider the price of good olive oil, and how much you waste when slicking a pan, it pays for itself in a very short time.
All I can think is – why did it take so long for someone to come up with this?
July 20, 2014
Diane Johnson’s Salmon Cooked on Salt (from the Gourmet Cookbook)
This is just about the easiest way I know to perfectly cook salmon. If you’re using wild Alaska salmon, you’ll end up with a piece of fish that’s tender, moist, incredibly delicious – and completely sustainable.
Get out your 10-inch cast iron skillet and fill it with 2 cups of Kosher or coarse sea salt. Put it on the stove, over moderate heat, and let it warm up for about 4 minutes, until the salt is hot when you touch it.
Thoroughly dry a 1 1/4 pound center cut filet of salmon and season it with salt and pepper. Put it, skin side down, on the salt, cover the pan (aluminum foil makes a perfectly adequate cover), and cook for about ten minutes without turning, until it’s almost cooked through. Remove from the heat and let it stand for another minute.
Take it off the salt, leaving the skin behind; the skin will be too salty to eat, but the fish will be everything you wish a piece of salmon could be.