Summer Fruit Love Fest

Stone fruit and berries continue to dominate my meal planning. This weekend was no exception. By request, my mom showed me the steps to make an apricot pie so I’m armed and ready to make the next one at home. See the “fruits” of our labor…

We also experimented with an ad hoc blueberry compote to serve on waffles, in place of syrup. To make the compote, I combined fresh blueberries with strawberry jam in a small sauce pan over low heat, and added a little extra sugar to make sure the finished product was thick enough.

Also, I put overly ripe fruit to use in an apricot, plum, and strawberry cobbler using the recipe for “Summer Berry Crisp” from the Epicurious iPad app – with a few modifications, of course.

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Cooking with the iPad

I found a new iPad app called “The Photo Cookbook” that features gorgeous photography, and step-by-step cooking instructions. Plus you can email a shopping list:

“I’m cooking “honeyed apricot lamb with lemon couscous” from the Photo Cookbook iPad App and was wondering if you could pick up a few things:

4 lamb leg steaks
4 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 small butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
600 ml/1 pint chicken stock

2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
100 g/3½ oz ready-to-eat dried apricots
2 tbsp clear honey finely grated rind and
juice of 1 lemon
200 g/7 oz couscous
salt and pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint, to garnish”

The truth is I used pork tenderloin and didn’t have coriander, lemon, butternut squash or ginger and I used about 12 ripe apricots instead of dried. Lastly, I served it with acini de pepe pasta pearls instead of couscous, but it still tasted great.

Basically, you brown the meat in a large pan or dutch oven for a couple of minutes o each side in oil, then add the onion and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Next I added the apricots and honey and simmered for 20 minutes over medium heat. Serve with couscous, rice, risotto or pasta. Pretty easy!

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Farmer’s Market Finds

This morning we took a stroll through the Mountain View Farmer’s Market and picked up some summer goodies…berries, apricots, artichokes, and vegan pappardelle from Santa Cruz Pasta Factory – which I served for dinner with pesto (see below).

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I boiled the pappardelle noodles in salted water to go with homemade spinach walnut pesto from my previous post. To make the pesto a little more creamy, I thawed it in a sauce pan over medium heat, and added about a tablespoon each of whipping cream, olive oil and parmesan. Once the sauce was added to the drained pappardelle noodles, I cooked the mixture over low heat and added more salt. The pasta was served with freshly grated parmesan.

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Happy summer!

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So Meaty

A lack of vegetables in the house this week has resulted in protein-packed meals with a side of healthy carbs. Here’s what I threw together…

  • Monday night, I made chicken breasts (broiled with salt) and Ina’s Herbed New Potatoes.
  • On Tuesday, I added chicken sausage to the leftover chicken and potatoes.
  • Wednesday, I broiled a pork tenderloin with soy sauce and honey (it made a huge mess), with a side of white rice.
  • Tonight was the culmination of the week’s recurring theme. I made my cassoulet recipe from Papa’s birthday (see post) but used leftover pork tenderloin, the last chicken sausage, diced tomatoes, and white beans. I didn’t have bread crumbs, so I used crumbled Kashi whole wheat crackers. Lastly, I steamed corn on the cob for the side dish.

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Heirloom Anticipation

Heirloom tomato season is coming, get excited! My @farmfreshtoyou delivery arrived and I noticed that heirloom tomato tours are coming in July, which means delicious rainbow-colored tomatoes will follow. We are suckers for caprese salad in the summer months, so to whet our appetite, last night I used a ripe hot house tomato with ricotta in place of mozzarella. Works well, actually.

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Eat, Pray, Love, Spaghetti

I can’t read about food without developing a nagging craving for it. Tonight’s spaghetti dinner was the culmination of countless descriptions of guiltless carb-loading in Italy from the pages of Eat, Pray, Love. (And by pages, I mean iPad – which I love reading on so far!)

It was also really important to me to find a tomato sauce recipe that required simmering on the stove. The anticipation of bubbling sounds and aromas coming from the kitchen are part of the experience (and leave me a little time to work out before dinner). I found Mario Batali’s “Basic Tomato Sauce” from the Epicurious iPad app, which I cut in half (and left out the carrot because I didn’t have one).

I also learned from my recent pasta class at Williams-Sonoma that Italians add salt to the water until it tastes “like the sea.” I’ll admit it, I was a little gun shy about adding multiple tablespoons. (The package called for 4 tablespoons but I couldn’t get past 2, which was plenty.) I plated the pasta with a little olive oil and about a half cup of sauce, and the salt brought a nice flavor to it. Buono appetito!

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