I often like to serve in season fruit plain and unadorned. Cherries and most berries usually just get washed before they make it to the table. Peaches are the exception to this rule. I love them baked, in savory dishes and in salads. I have been making some version of this salad nearly everyday for lunch. This plan will continue until they disappear from our farmers’ market. This peach, sunflower seed and tomato combination is one of my favorites. It is followed closely by peaches, raspberries and slivered almonds over greens. I like using the ratio of 1 peach: 2 tsp something crunchy: 3 cups of greens: 3 tbsp of dressing for two people. A perfectly ripe tomato, handful of raspberries or avocado slices are a nice bonus.
I think it is all about getting the right balance of sweet, crunchy, greens and acidity. The sweetness of the peaches pair really well with a more acidic dressing. For this salad, I just whisked together 2 parts balsamic vinegar with one part olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Sometimes there is no reason to make things more complicated, and this makes for a simple and easy weekday lunch.
Peach, Tomato and Sunflower Seed Salad
1 ripe yellow peach, sliced
2 tbsp of raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 tomato, diced
3 cups of spring mix
For the dressing:
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, the juice of a lemon wedge whisked together.
I like to toss all the ingredients in the dressing and save the sliced peaches to add to the top.
Check out some other ideas for peaches from the archives:
I have had chimichurri that is far too vinegary or garlicy, but I think this version strikes a nice balance. For me, it is all about adding some lemon to brighten the flavors and using a mellower vinegar that doesn’t overpower the herbs. Chimichurri is traditionally served in Argentina with steak. I actually used the leftovers as a dressing for greens, tomatoes and beans. It pairs well with any protein, and I have even seen it mixed with pasta. It’s really easy to make and worth having extra to pull together quick weeknight dinners.
1 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped with the stems removed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 lemon zested and juiced
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
I prefer this to be a fairly smooth texture, and pulsed the ingredients in food processor until well combined.
We bought a bunch of perfectly ripe peaches at the market this weekend, and I knew I wanted to use some to make a salsa. This was was so good you could really just eat it with a spoon, but I served it with a roast chicken breast. I knew I would be alone for dinner tonight, and I have no problem making a special dinner for one. In fact, I like it. Usually, I just make something J hates, but since I knew he would love this I made extra to send with him for lunch. I will be making more of this salsa next week and hopefully buying extra peaches for making jam. I’m feeling ambitious.
Peach and Basil Salsa
3 1/2 cups of diced yellow peaches (about 3-4 peaches depending on size)
1/4 cup diced onion
juice of one lime
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup basil, lightly packed
pinch of salt
Toss all the chopped ingredients together with the lime juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Allow to sit for about five minutes prior to serving. It is best served the same day, but you can refrigerate it overnight if necessary.
My Italian grandmother used to make the best Eggplant Parmesan. She would fry delicate slices of eggplant and bake the layers covered in cheese and sauce. This is not that dish. In fact, she would probably shudder at this quick version. But, that’s okay because it’s really delicious and a perfect quick weeknight meal. Roasting the eggplant prior to adding the sauce eliminates the need to fry it and makes for a much less messy process.
I feel like a need to add a quick word about vegan ‘cheese’…most of it is awful. Sorry, it just is. I think you just need to try a few kinds and see what tastes best to you. I don’t eat it often and only serve it melted. If you eat dairy, it would also be great with regular mozzarella cheese!
I always like to top baked dishes like this with fresh herbs. When I made this I had some fresh oregano on hand. It is also great topped with chopped fresh basil or parsley.
Vegan Eggplant ‘Parmesan’
8 Japanese Eggplant
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups vegan or regular mozzarella
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or oregano for serving
Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick rounds and top with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and olive oil, arrange in a single layer in a baking dish or individual heatproof dishes, bake 450 for twenty minutes, remove from the oven and add sauce and cheese and bake for another 20 minutes Raise the heat to broil and bake two additional minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Allow to cool for about five minutes prior to serving. Top with freshly chopped herbs.
This was breakfast today. Yes, I broke the yolk. This happens in real life. Yesterday, I dropped a whole omelette on the floor so today was an improvement. These turkey sausage patties are actually better the next day making them perfect for reheating. I have a ton of fresh sage and was thinking of a way to start using some of it. It is one of the few herbs that is loving the partial shade on our terrace. (I, however, am not loving it and am thinking of sneaking my tomato plants in with the apartment’s landscaping…) Sage can be really strong, but turkey can be pretty bland. The combination with the apples and onions give these a great texture. Don’t worry about making flat patties as you are forming them. They will be very delicate before you cook them. I just flattened them once they were in the pan. They will cook quite quickly, and I found frying them to be easiest as two man job if you can recruit the help. Of course, these are great with a sunny side up egg.
I am now somewhat obsessed with the idea on making sausage links. Real sausage. Last night I took the first step: adding the grinder attachment for my standing mixer and natural sausage casings to my wishlist on a certain website.
Apple and Sage Turkey Sausage
1.5 pounds lean ground turkey
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh sage, finely minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, form the mixture into small rounded patties. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place the patties into the oil and press with a spatula to flatten. They will cook fairly quickly and need about 2-3 minutes per side.
I like roasting pretty much any vegetable at a high temperature. Browning things in a super hot oven with olive oil, garlic and herbs just works reliably well. Carrots are surprisingly good made this way, especially when they are served all on their own. The best part of these are the crispy slightly blackened edges. This give them a subtle smokiness that pairs really well with the strong flavor of rosemary. I diagonally sliced them so they would have as much surface area for browning as possible.
Rosemary Roasted Carrots
12 large carrots (sliced diagonally)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder (fresh garlic will often burn)
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Peel and slice the carrots and dry off any excess moisture. Toss with the rosemary, spices and olive oil. Roast for ten minutes and use a spatula to flip them over. Check every ten minutes, for a total of about 30 minutes. The cooking time will depend of the size of your carrots, but the edges should be slightly brown and crisp.
I had never even seen Romanesco until it caught my eye at the farmer’s market last weekend. It was in between the cauliflower and broccoli and looked part space age and part dinosaur…of course I had to buy it. Then I saw it over at the Fast Grow the Weeds and at the lovely La Tartine Gourmande. So, I guess it isn’t so obscure. I roasted mine with olive oil, salt and pepper at 450 until it was lightly browned and slightly crisp. This took about 35 minutes with turning them once. The most important thing for flavor is the slight browning rather than a set time in the oven. I thought the flavor was maybe a little sweeter than cauliflower and mellower than regular broccoli. I am not sure how short the season is, but I plan on buying more if I see them this week. If not, this method works well with regular broccoli too!
When I saw this Eggplant Relish over at Food on the Food, I know I would have to make it. It sounded so good, and it totally is. You should need to make this, especially if you are a eggplant fan. I have been pretty much putting it on everything, including turkey burgers, chicken and tuna steaks. It would be perfect to serve with roasted vegetables. Personally, I like this quite spicy and added about a 1/2 tsp of cayenne and some extra cumin to the original recipe.
Spicy Eggplant Relish
Slightly adapted from Food on the Food
2 tbsp olive oil
1 minced onion
2 Japanese eggplants or 1 globe, diced into small cubes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
1 medium red bell pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cayenne (you may want to start with 1/4 tsp)
Heat oil in a large skillet and add onion, eggplant, cumin, and salt, and sauté over medium heat until eggplant is tender, 10-15 minutes. Add pepper and sauté another 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Stir in lemon juice and cook several minutes more. Add cayenne a few shakes at a time until you get the desired heat. Add more salt if necessary. (I added another 1/2 tsp of salt.)
My mother in law had four perfectly ripe avocados, and I was happy to take half of them off her hands and share my guacamole recipe with her. Good guacamole should be all about perfectly ripe avocados. Fortunately, avocados ripen well on the counter so can buy them under ripe and wait a day or two. This can be made a day in advance if you make sure the top is coated with lime juice otherwise it will oxidize and turn brown.
4 ripe avocados
juice of one lime
2 tsp of kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
splash of Tabasco sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
1 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
Mash the avocados gently with a fork with the onions and lime. Add the salt, pepper, tabasco sauce and optional cilantro. Squeeze additional lime over the top.
Burritos with a few ingredients are a staple in our house. I love spelt tortillas. They fold easily and have a mild flavor. Cooking the bison steaks can be a little tricky, and they are best cooked to medium in a cast iron pan. They are leaner than beef, and I imagine overcooking would make them borderline inedible. I made sure they were dry with a paper towel and brought them to room temperature (so they wouldn’t curl in the pan). I added a little oil to a cast iron pan over medium/high heat. You will want to generously add salt and pepper into each side and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. It is key to allow the steaks to rest before slicing them. I recommend slicing the bison quite thinly to prevent them from being tough. This dinner comes together really quickly and looks bright and fresh served with tomatoes and fresh limes.
When I pull into my driveway these allium are the first thing I see, and they couldn’t make me happier. I love that the simple row of purple globes have such a great geometric impact. Sometimes simple is best. For years, I resisted making roast chicken at home. It was fine when other people made it but never my favorite thing. It wasn’t until I used this ultra simple Thomas Keller method that I really appreciated it. I actually like his recipe best with just (Kosher) salt and (freshly ground) pepper. Of course, it is important to buy the best chicken available as it will make a tremendous difference in flavor. I use the pan drippings for the potatoes and they wind up crispy and soak up the chicken flavor. We have ever so creatively dubbed them ‘Chicken Potatoes’. This is about as simple a preparation as possible, and it comes out perfectly every time. Don’t be afraid of the high oven temperatures (450 degrees). I promise the chicken will not burn.
Roast Chicken Recipe by Thomas Keller available at Epicurious.
Crispy Chicken Potatoes
5-6 medium yukon gold potatoes
1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
Parsley (or other fresh herb)
Slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch think sticks and pat dry. Remove the roast chicken from the pan and allow to rest lightly covered with foil. If there is excess fat in the pan it make be skimmed off, but you will need enough to coat the potatoes. Use a spatula to fully coat them with the dripping and add salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes and use heat proof spatula to flip them bake for another 10-15 minutes. I like to turn the oven to broil for the last two minutes, but you will have to watch them carefully to be certain they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and add additional salt and pepper and a handful of chopped parsley.