Thursday, July 23, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Peach, Blueberry & Blackberry Crumbles

Thank you Aggie of Aggie’s Kitchen for your selection this month! Your timing was perfection as the peaches could not have been more beautiful and ripe at my local market. In addition, I found locally grown blackberries to add to this dish. Cooking and baking with local produce is bar none! My only regret was not topping them off with a bit of green tea or lemon-vanilla whip cream….

Peach, Blueberry & Blackberry Crumbles
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

For the fruit:
2 pounds of ripe (important) peaches
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of AP flour
1 cup of blueberries
1+ cup of blackberries

For the crumble:
1 cup of AP flour
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 pound of cold, unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Immerse peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute, until their skins can be removed easily. Place under cold water and peel off skins. Slice peaches into wedges and place in large bowl. Add, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, flour, blueberries and blackberries. Allow mixture to sit for awhile (Can be done a few hours ahead of time)

For the crumble, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until butter is size of peas. Rub mixture with fingers until it's in big crumbles. (This took me a few minutes) If you make this ahead of time, store in ziplock bag and place in refrigerator.

When you are ready to cook, line baking sheet with parchment paper (easy clean up). Fill ramekins with fruit mixture. Sprinkle crumbles over fruit and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm!

So good...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ahhhh trial is over and I can finally start to enjoy this Summer’s bounty and dining alfresco! This week’s Barefoot Bloggers’ recipe is the first chance I’ve had to cook in weeks. Well, it wasn’t so much cooking as it was “preparing” ingredients a.k.a. quick and easy. Love it!

Pasta salad, like couscous, can be improvised in a myriad of ways so I love this kitchen sink approach to balancing out a meal. I tend to steer clear of pasta and use couscous or quinoa instead because of the lower fat and calorie content of these alternative grains. (It doesn’t help that I grew up eating pasta and chicken so often that I’m a tad over it at this point.)

That’s not to say that I didn’t binge only ever so slightly on this delicious pasta salad. After all, it was loaded with kalamata olives and capers! Sun-dried tomatoes are good, but give me imported olives or pickled anything and I go nuts. By adding asparagus, I was able to incorporate some healthy veggies and get that bold Viva Italia color to the dish!

I used only half the dressing. I always do this because Ina’s recipes always result in far more dressing than one would ever need. But, today I had another reason to cut the dressing in half. Last night, my husband and I were out doing errands and picked up dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. In reading the menu, I discovered that the Barbeque Chicken Salad and the Chinese Chicken Salad contain approximately 1200 calories each! (The dressing constitutes 75% of that total figure) You see, while I’ve apparently been under a rock, effective July 1, 2009, restaurants with 20 or more locations in California (chains) are required to list the calorie content in each item on their menu. While I (normally) do not eat at “chains,” and probably why I did not know this, I am contemplating the title of my next blog post: “Did I really need to know that?”

I guess the law is already working.

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

1/2 pound of fusilli pasta
kosher salt
olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium diced
1-2 tablespoons of capers
crumbled feta
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the Dressing:
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan
basil, chiffonade

Cook pasta. Drain and cool. Blanch asparagus and chop into 1 inch pieces. Place pasta, asparagus, tomatoes, olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes and feta in a bowl.

For the dressing: combine sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour half the dressing over the pasta and toss. Sprinkle parmesan and basil.