Peach Cobbler

Peach CobblerBaby, it’s Cold Outside

Memo­rial Day Weekend is upon us, and I gotta say, I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that the offi­cial start to Summer and the Summer grilling season is here. Per­haps it’s because it feels more like Feb­ruary than May. ( Seri­ously? Can we shut the fan off now? Thanks.) This time last year, I was at a base­ball tour­na­ment melting into the bleachers. Fast for­ward to the tour­na­ment this weekend and we’ll be wrapped up like we’re at an out­door hockey game.

It goes without saying that I just can’t get excited about firing up the BBQ. I look out­side and think braised short ribs not baby back ribs. I can, how­ever, get behind dessert. Weather doesn’t matter when it comes to dessert, and if you look really close, you will notice that the peaches and nec­tarines are in the market. We’ve received some of the first loads of Fitzgerald Peaches in the store, which is always a happy day. I’m dying to make some­thing with ‘em.

My plan for Memo­rial Day is: figure out what sort of dinner we are going to have once we know the base­ball schedule, and make a peach cob­bler. Whether you BBQ or not, any­time is a good time for peach cobbler…or peach crisp…or peach tart…or peach pie…you get my drift. Nothing goes better with peach cob­bler than a Memo­rial Day BBQ except maybe some good vanilla ice cream—although you won’t hear me say no to peach cob­bler for break­fast either (ice cream included).

Peach Cob­bler
Adapted from King Arthur Flours.
Yields 12 servings

This ver­sion is made from fresh peaches baked with a sug­ared bis­cuit top­ping. Tapioca flour or Instant ClearJel are both good choices for thick­ening. Either, unlike flour or corn­starch, keeps the fruit’s juice clear and its flavor true. The resulting color (and flavor) is spec­tac­ular. Read more…

Canal House’s Chicken Thighs with Lemon

Canal hous Chicken Thighs with Lemon Good Yard Bird

The kitchen can be the world’s best reality check. The out­come of your endeavors is not always guaranteed—no matter how good a cook you think you are—and for that reason it is best to always check one’s ego at the door (and keep your instant read ther­mometer handy). Just when you think you can totally take on an Iron Chef, karma has its nasty way with you. I need only to look back a couple of weeks to the epic fail that was my attempt to make Pearly Rice Balls with Red Bean Paste in them. Instead of pro­ducing lovely round rice balls, I man­aged to make a gelati­nous, shape­less glob that looked like scary fried eggs.

And yet, some­times (cue the choir of angels), you make some­thing so tasty, so utterly divine that your obvious talent just can’t be denied. (Move over Thomas Keller! I laugh at you and your Michelin stars!) Last night was one of those nights…

To be fair, my genius had some help this time around. (OK. Yes. Most of the time I need help.) Mine came in the form of the book Genius Recipes by Food52 by way of The Canal House. This cook­book has been get­ting a lot of buzz lately and for very good reason. It is the bomb-​​diggity. It really is genius. It is also the cook­book we are using for our next cook­book club.

Looking at my copy right now I have at least twenty recipes that I have flagged to try. One of them is Chicken Thighs with Lemon which is what I made for dinner last night à chez moi. My hus­band told me it was the best chicken I have ever made. I’ve made a lot of chicken, which means either this recipe is just that good or I need to go back to school. Full dis­clo­sure, I used pre­served lemons. made by a friend, who also hap­pens to be in our cook­book club. It’s pos­sible that they were the secret ingre­dient because man, they were good.

Do your­selves a favor, go get this book. Or, you can follow along on their blog as Kristin Miglore cooks her way through the book.

And look-​​y there. The BEST EVER CHICKEN is front and center….

Canal House’s Chicken Thighs with Lemon
Recipe adapted from Food 52 Read more…

Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak

Flank SteakThe Fast and the Flank Steak

At any given time you will find bone­less chicken thighs and at least one flank steak in my refrig­er­ator or freezer. Chicken thighs are all-​​purpose, and juicier than chicken breasts. They can be sautéed, grilled, sliced up for panini, thrown in pasta…the pos­si­bil­i­ties are endless.

Flank steaks are equally versatile—plus inex­pen­sive. You can but­terfly them, stir fry them, fill them, roll them up and roast them like in this recipe for Italian Stuffed Flank Steak, you can throw them on the grill for great tacos or slice ‘em up to top a salad.

One of my favorite ways to pre­pare flank steak is with this Spicy Beer Mari­nade that I have been using for years. It travels with us up to Tahoe in the summer for use on Tri Tips when we need to feed a crowd.

For mid-​​week cooking, I like it on a flank steak. Mix the ingre­di­ents together the night before or in the morning before you go to work. Pour it in a Ziploc bag with the flank steak. Pull it out when you get home, throw it on the grill for a few min­utes, and dinner is done! Pair that with your favorite tossed salad and some roasted baby pota­toes and you have an awe­some mid-​​week hot weather meal. Now we just need some hot weather…

Spicy Beer Mari­nade
Makes 2 1/​3 to 3 cups
Recipe adapted from The Com­plete Meat Cook­book
by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly Read more…

Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinade

TGrilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinadeop Five?

We had our cook­book club dinner over the weekend and the con­sensus was that our chosen book left us a bit under­whelmed. There were some very tasty recipes (Hot Pot!!!), and then there were others that just didn’t impress. Our con­ver­sa­tion turned to the recipes we have made from past cook­books that we absolutely loved, espe­cially the ones that have become sta­ples for our dinner table.

One of my favorites, and one we all agreed was great, is a grilled pork chop recipe that I have been making since the weather has gotten bit warmer. (Not that tem­per­a­ture really mat­ters all that much. I have no problem grilling in the rain if necessary.)

These pork chops are cour­tesy of Charles Phan’s Viet­namese Home Cooking and they are fan­tastic. I love how the smell of the freshly chopped lemon­grass lingers in my kitchen. Heaven!

I like to mar­i­nate the pork chops overnight in the fridge to give them as much flavor as pos­sible. Get­ting them in the mari­nade the night before makes for a super-​​fast and easy mid-​​week dinner you can serve with steamed rice and some stir fried bok choy…or what­ever floats your boat.

Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemon­grass Mari­nade
Adapted from Charles Phan’s Viet­namese Home Cooking
Read more…