Last week was a zoo. Total, complete and entire. I was so ready for Saturday so I could head to the office and have no phones ringing and where the email deluge would slow down. I got up early and headed to the living room and sat down at the computer and started to work on the week's menu and grocery list. Plus the obligatory check of the weather and Facebook. I'd planned to start this post... But, at 8:12 we got a call from the idiots at the Fraternal Order of Police. I hung up on them. Grrrrr. Connie woke up and started puttering around. I'd had all of about half an hour of quiet time.
While Connie went to the farmers market and grocery and TJ's, I headed to the office to start in on the mountain on my desk. The bad news is I'll be there all day Sunday too. So much for brunch at Chef Josephs!
The fruits and vegetables are wonderful this time of year. So, I've got corn on the cob, watermelon, zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers on the list. A couple of weeks ago we scored a box of fresh cherries. They were amazing. My kitchen was covered with cherry juice by the time I got done pitting them. About half went to a boozy cherry dish from a friend's blog. The other half went to the amazing cherry clafouti from A Kitchen in France. That's this Sunday's recipe from Weekend in a French Kitchen. I've made clafoutis before and we've thoroughly enjoyed them. This one was a bit lighter and more flavorful than it's predecessors. I made half a recipe since we're not into sweets too much. In fact, despite the fact that this was really wonderful, about a third of it went into the trash. Sweets just don't get eaten around here... Here's what it looked like:
Clafoutis are pretty darned easy to make. First you put the fruit in a buttered baking dish. Then, you top it with a custard of flour, sugar, vanilla, milk and eggs. Pop that in the oven and bake it for about 45 minutes total. Cool it (if you can wait) then dust it with confectioners sugar to serve. I confess that we didn't wait. It just smelled too good!
Let's see, in addition to the clafouti we 've had the most amazing cocktail: Cucumber Jalapeno Margaritas. An absolute five in my book. I got the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. One of the magazines I quit taking eons ago but that is now on nextissue.com so I skim it... I think next time we'll make our own margarita mix and avoid all of the chemicals and preservatives that come with the prepackaged stuff.
Here's what the recipe was:
Jalapeno Cucumber Margarita
10 servings (needless to say, we cut the recipe to two servings!)
1/2 medium cucumber, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced
3 c margarita mix
1 1/2 c gold Tequila
3/4 c orange liqueur
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the jalapeno and cucumber with 1/2 t kosher salt. Add the margarita mix, Tequila and orange liqueur along with several ice cubes. Shake well. Strain and serve over ice.
We also had a lamb pasta sauce that was incredible. It was supposed to be lamb meatballs in spicy sauce. My ground lamb was frozen. Pasta sauce was the best alternative. I doubled up on the spices (not the herbs, just the spices) in the sauce since the ground lamb wasn't seasoned as the meatballs would have been. The only change we'd have made is adding more cheese. It's a recipe I got from the New York Times. The original measurements are given below.
Lamb in Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 lb ground lamb
1 medium onion, diced
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 small sprig rosemary
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 t fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t ground cumin
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 t sugar
1/4 c orange juice (I used 1/4 c of frozen concentrate)
crumbled feta cheese
Brown and drain the lamb and onion. Crush the tomatoes. Add them along with the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for about half an hour to reduce the liquid. Serve over cooked farfalle. Top with crumbled feta cheese.
Mid week our friend Diane stopped by to pick up the bike her boyfriend, Craig, had bought from Connie. We made antipasto salads. Well, kind of. Let's see, no provolone and the truffle cheese (which was provolone based) had mold on it, so I used cheddar. No chickpeas so I used black beans. No salami so I fried some bacon. LOL. Talk about substituting! Diane is the ultimate baker so I was a bit hesitant to make a pie. But, since we had help to eat this one I pounced on the opportunity. Peach sour cream pie. It looks like it came from All Recipes. It tasted as wonderful as it looked. And, made a mighty fine breakfast too!
Peach Sour Cream Pie
4 fresh peaches sliced 1/4" thick (you can substitute a 16 oz bag of frozen peaches, thawed, drained and patted dry)
1 T lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1 c sugar
1/3 c sour cream
1/4 c flour
Prebake the crust in a 425F oven that's been preheated. It'll take about 15 minutes for it to get golden brown. Allow it to cool for about 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 350F. Toss the peach slices and the lemon juice. Lay the peach slices in the pie crust. Mix the other ingredients and spoon the custard over the peaches. Bake for 50 minutes. The original recipe called for tenting foil over the pie for that 50 minutes then removing the foil and baking it for an additional 30 minutes. I didn't use the foil and skipped the last 30 minutes because the filling set up enough for my taste.
adapted from All Recipes
Last, but not least, watermelon wedges. With all kinds of wonderful things sprinkled on them! Now, this is one that I saved in nextissue.com also. BUT, it doesn't reference the magazine. My guess is Cooking Light. I put the spice mixture together for this and cut a couple of wedges. The cilantro was chopped and ready to go but I totally forgot that and the olive oil the first round. So, I made another wedge. Connie liked it better with the cilantro and olive oil. I preferred just the spice mixture.
Chile Lime Watermelon Wedges
grated rind from one lime
1 t ancho chile powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
8 - 8oz wedges seedless watermelon
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T chopped fresh cilantro
Put the lime rind in a cake pan or on a half sheet and bake it at 200F for 10 minutes. You want it to be slightly dry but not dry enough to lose it's flavor. Mix it with the chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Lay the watermelon wedges on the dish you'll use to serve them. Sprinkle them with the lime mixture. Then, drizzle them with the evoo. Finally, top them with a sprinkle of cilantro
I think this is adapted from Cooking Light. I got it from a magazine on nextissue.com - one that doesn't show attribution...