Almond Stone Fruit Tart

Almond Stone Fruit TartGone Stone Crazy
In case you haven’t been in the produce section lately, I am here to let you know that stone fruit season is upon us! And, that makes me very happy. It also creates a bit of a problem…

I am a fool for stone fruits. I look forward to this season every year. To me, there is nothing better than a juicy peak-of-season peach. I have been buying nectarines by the dozen…and don’t get me started on the cherries. I’ve become a bit of a stone fruit hoarder. I just can’t help myself. I see ‘em and I gotta have ‘em.

My fruit hoarding has presented other problems. Usually, I can count on my family eating all of the fruit before I can even get to it. But, my current obsession means that they are having trouble keeping up—which is how I found myself with a few pounds of black plums that needed to be consumed ASAP. So I made this almond stone fruit tart.

The best thing about this tart is that you can use whatever fruit you have on hand as long as you let it dry a bit before baking. I’ve made it with peaches and nectarines. Cherries are good too or even a combination of all three and, of course, plums or pluots are amazing!

Almond Stone Fruit Tart
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. She uses orange sections for her tart. I decided to be different…

If you want to make this tart gluten-free, we recommend using King Arthur Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour instead of the regular flour.

This tart takes some time to make, and we have marked where is possible to prepare some of the steps a day or so in advance for ease of assembly on the day you bake it. Read more…

Pan-Fried Trout with Lemon Butter Sauce

Pan-Fried Trout with Lemon Butter SauceGone Fishin’
For whatever reason, I have always associated Father’s Day with camping or living in the mountains. I have no idea why. I guess dads and camping kinda go hand in hand? Growing up we didn’t do a lot of camping and the only mountain living we did was in a condo at Tahoe. Perhaps I have seen too many movies, read too many books or looked at too many L.L. Bean catalogs but the picture of frying fresh rainbow trout by the side of a river in a cast iron skillet over a campfire is what I see when I think of Father’s Day.

I have the perfect skillet for it too; My grandfather’s vintage 9-inch cast iron skillet that he would take with him on camping trips building trails in the early days of the Sierra Club. That skillet has seen a lot of miles. On a whim, I pulled it out not too long ago and pan-fried for dinner some of the excellent trout we have in our meat case. Trout is not usually something I make often—mainly because it just seems so much better eating it on the banks of the river you just pulled it from but that night it hit the spot.

We all over-ate.

Trout is best prepared simply. You can dredge it in a little flour or cornmeal to give it a little crunch or, like I did, heat a little butter and olive oil in the pan and fry it up as is. Squeeze a little lemon on it and it’s heaven on a plate.

We are hoping to get away and do a little camping as a family this summer though unfortunately, it won’t be for Father’s Day this year. If you find yourself with the time and the inclination, I encourage you to grab a tent and your fishing pole and find your own A River Runs Through it moment…just don’t forget the pan.

Pan-Fried Trout with Lemon Butter Sauce
Yields 4 servings 

Read more…

Graduation Feast

Graduation FeastMy sons are graduating from eighth grade this week and the whole concept is blowing my mind. I am not prepared, nor do I feel old enough, for two kids in high school. It feels like I was just holding them on my shoulder while they drooled and then I blinked and they were 14…

With all of the chaos that is the last week of school (never mind the graduation-specific stuff), it is safe to say that I haven’t been doing much cooking. So, in honor of two of my most favorite people, I have put together a list of their favorite dishes. These are the recipes that, if I had 10 more hours in the day and I could clone myself, I would serve to celebrate their accomplishments. These are also the recipes that I usually have to double if I want to actually get to taste them myself…unless they have friends over, then I’m out of luck.

To all of you who might have kids or relatives graduating from middle school, high school or college, I offer you a hearty congratulations not only to the graduates for their hard work and dedication to get to this milestone—but to the families that worked equally as hard to get them there!

Cherry Cola Ribs
You’ve gotta try these. They’re the bomb! They are also extremely addictive.

Feast or Famine Mac ‘n Cheese
I offer you two of my top recipes for a comfort food favorite, Mac & Cheese. True, the desperate can go the blue-box, plastic cheese route. But the real deal is easy to prepare, and you can make extra for the freezer.  Read more…

Garden Green Bean Salad

Garden Green Bean SaladHow’ve You Bean?
The recent warm weather means that my garden is starting to produce. So far I have picked some sweet snap peas and a few juicy strawberries…and the herbs are going crazy. The biggest crop we’ve had so far though is the green beans.

I love fresh green beans. My daughter eats them raw, which I will do as well when they are fresh off of the vine. They are crunchy and sweet and taste very much like summer. Usually, I just steam or blanch my green beans and eat them with a little butter and occasionally a little garlic. But, with so many beans coming in I have been looking for something else to do with them.

The obvious choice would be to pickle them. Pickled green beans are fantastic straight from the jar. And, they are even better in a Sunday morning brunch Bloody Mary. Alas, pickling takes time that I do not have at the moment. So, whatever I decide to do with my bans has got to be a little faster than canning.

My search has unearthed a number of green bean salad recipes that are great for the warmer weather and pair well with grilled fish and chicken. They are also a nice change from the usual picnic potato salad.

Last night we had this Garden Green Bean Salad with some pan-fried rainbow trout. It was perfect!

Garden Green Bean Salad
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Chili Corn Casserole

Chili Corn Casserole Corn Fed
Can someone tell me where the month of May went? Yesterday I blinked and now all of a sudden we are staring Memorial day in the face. The fact that Memorial Day weekend is upon us is a good thing in my opinion, if only because it is the herald of summer weather, fun, and a slower pace.

For me, and a lot of other people, Memorial Day marks the beginning of BBQ season as well as the arrival of the summer produce. I’ve noticed the peaches and nectarines have started to appear as well as the English peas and the good strawberries. What makes me happiest though is when the local corn starts coming in.

I love fresh corn on the cob and when it’s at its peak, sometimes I don’t even bother to steam it. Corn the cob can be a pain in a BBQ setting ‘cause you aren’t always able to sit and eat. And, managing it one handed can lead to either serious butter stains or corn in the dirt. So, it’s nice to do something with corn that is more paper plate friendly.

Per usual, I will be spending Memorial Day enjoying America’s pastime from the bleachers in Brentwood. But, there will still be time to throw some steaks on the grill and celebrate. So, I am crossing my fingers there will be some corn on the way to the baseball fields ‘cause there is still one more family birthday to celebrate and I’m in charge of sides.

I found this take on cheesy corn casserole in one of my magazines and I can’t wait to give it a try this weekend. The original recipe called for green onions. But, since I am a rebel, I am going to swap those out for diced green chilies. Feel free to try the onions for less of a kick.

Happy Memorial Day!

Chili Corn Casserole
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Yields 8 to 10 serving  Read more…