Birthday bounty

June 20, 2015

This morning's haul. I love summer.

This morning’s haul. I love summer.

It is, I believe, no accident that my birthday falls a few days past the summer solstice. That way, I can feel like the peak of summer vegetable and fruit goodness, which hits in this part of the world between the solstice and the Fourth of July, is all in honor of me.

And even if it’s not, that’s OK. Because the bounty of veggies and fruit that are flooding the farmers markets and roadside stands and you-pick-it places are about the best birthday present I could have.

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Poetry from the oven

June 19, 2015

Lives there a man with soul so dead,

Who never to himself has said,

“Oh, Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, it’s a blackberry cobbler!”

(With apologies to Sir Walter Scott….)

Heaven.  Fresh from the oven, still bubbling, heaven.

Heaven. Fresh from the oven, still bubbling, heaven.

I know you’ve read this on these posts before, but….

It just don’t get no better’n this!

“This” is a blackberry cobbler. It is the be-all and end-all of desserts. It is a small piece of heaven come down to earth to rest in your dessert dish, topped, if you are fortunate, with a scoop of Yarnell’s French Vanilla ice cream.

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Summer pizza

June 18, 2015

It's all about the tomatoes. Well, and the cheese.

It’s all about the tomatoes. Well, and the cheese.

Back several years ago, and I think I blogged about it, I went with a couple of friends to the allegedly second-oldest same-family-run pizza joint in the country, Papa’s Tomato Pies in Trenton, NJ. Dinner the other night kinda reminded me of it.

No, I couldn’t get my crust that impossibly crispy. My oven doesn’t go to 800 degrees, after all. I didn’t even put any herbs on it, as I was focusing on the ripe tomato goodness. But pair the lusciousness of an early summer tomato with the salty richness of parmigiano, the bite and bloom of some garlic confit and its oil, and a smooth bite here and there of fresh mozzarella, and put that all on top of a thin, chewy crust, and it ain’t no half bad pizza.

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Just kill me now

June 17, 2015

Awwwww, yeah. This.

Awwwww, yeah. This.

Seriously.

Kill. Me. Now.

Because if it gets much better’n this, I don’t know that I can stand it.

Actually, I can. Because there is one thing in this meal that can stand improving in this meal, and it will take me about one or two more tries at it to get it absolutely perfect, and when I do that, watch out. Because this was Sweet Baby Jesus good as it was, and if I can get it any better, well, we may all be in trouble.

Unless the rest of you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have more self-control than I do.

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You need this:

This. You need it. Trust me.

This. You need it. Trust me.

Because, this.

Porterhouse. Blue cheese butter. Jealous yet?

Porterhouse. Blue cheese butter. Jealous yet?

Which then goes with this.

Dinner. M'mm h'mmm. Thank you. Drive through.

Dinner. M’mm h’mmm. Thank you. Drive through.

If you never used a sous vide circulator for anything else, it would be worth it for steak. Quite simply, the thing transforms what would otherwise be a pretty damn good steak into a Sweet Baby Jesus good steak, with a minimum of effort on your part.

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Good idea. Poor execution.

Good idea. Poor execution.

This should have been good, and wasn’t.

This, on the other hand, was gorgeous.

This, on the other hand, was gorgeous.

This should have been good, and was just exceptionally Sweet-Baby-Jesus wonderful.

And that’s the way it goes in the kitchen sometimes.

The idea behind the chicken and asparagus pie was a good one, and a different version of it would be successful. The “crust” is four russet potatoes, peeled and grated, water squeezed out; 1/2 an onion, grated; an egg and a few cracker crumbs, like you were going to make latkes. Instead, I pressed all that (forgot to add that I added salt and pepper) into a pie plate and baked it for 15 minutes or so, until the edges were beginning to brown.

The premise of the filling is chicken, Alfredo sauce, and a green thing, in this case, asparagus. I made up a quickie Alfredo by melting a four-ounce chunk of cream cheese with a cup of grated parm and a half-cup of milk, and stirred that up with a couple of cups of diced chicken and a bunch of cut-up asparagus. And I added some tarragon.

Now, I love me some tarragon, which is kinda odd, as I loathe licorice and have problems with dishes that are fennel-heavy. But I love me some tarragon, especially with fresh green things like zucchini, green peas, sugar snaps, and the like. So figured it should go well with the asparagus, right?

Probably. In principle. But I’m not sure whether my tarragon is tarragon-on-steroids, or what, but holy hell, this was some INTENSE tarragon. I used about a tablespoon, tablespoon and a half, minced, and it took over the entire dish. WAY too much tarragon; as Child A noted, “it tastes like black jellybeans.”

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Too many blueberries? Naaaahhhhh....

Too many blueberries? Naaaahhhhh….

Those of you who know me know that moderation, in much of anything, is not one of my virtues.

That said, I may have possibly — just POSSIBLY, mind you — put a few too many blueberries in these blueberry muffins.

But they were the very first fresh blueberries of the season. And they were SO very good.

I brought a quart of these babies home from the Farmers’ Market this morning, and I was happily breakfasting on blueberry muffins, complete with an absolutely unhealthy amount of melted butter, by 9 a.m. ┬áSo I reckon these berries were likely less than 24 hours off the bush.

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