Stone Fruit Summer Salad

A photo of a bowl of Stone Fruit Summer Salad

Senior Salad
My daughter is graduating from high school this week. It goes without saying, that a lot is happening in our household. There have been awards dinners, championship softball games, the final this, and the final that. All of which leads up to the grand finale of the Graduation Ceremony.

The whirlwind doesn’t end there though. What comes next is a weekend of party hopping from house to house to celebrate not only your kid but all of the others who spent hours in your living room and backyard and who are for all intents and privileges, your family too.

So, when asked to bring something to said soirees, I immediately thought of this Stone Fruit Summer Salad that we talked about before. Stone fruits are just now coming into the market and are the perfect way to celebrate the season and your graduates.

Feel free to mix it up with the fruit you choose. The cherries are good right now and add a nice pop of color alongside some sweet fleshy apricots or peaches.

If I am making this for just my family, I will add some toasted pecans, or hazelnuts, or whatever you prefer for some crunch. (I leave them out for big gatherings to avoid problems with nut allergies.)

And even if you aren’t celebrating a graduate, this salad makes for a lovely warm summer evening meal.

Stone Fruit Summer Salad
Adapted from Joanne Weir’s More Cooking in Wine Country
Yields 6 servings Read more…

Rosé Marinated Stone Fruit with Burrata & Arugula

Rosé Marinated Stone Fruit with Burrata & Arugula plated

Warm Night Girl Dinner
The weather is getting warmer which, for me, means dinner al fresco on our back patio. It also means lighter fare and making use of the seasonal produce which is starting to roll into the store.

I am not typically a salad person, I leave that to my daughter, but there are some nights when a salad is exactly what I want. The dudes in my house definitely are not big salad eaters so I save salad nights for when it’s just the girls.

My go-to girls’ night salads almost always contain a combination of fruits and nuts (except when it’s taco salad night). One favorite is a spinach salad with cut fresh strawberries and spiced, candied pecans—finished off with a little blue cheese dressing from our cheese department. So good!

I am not opposed to changing things up. At this time of year, it is a safe bet that I will add any of the stone fruits coming into season. And, peaches, or apricots are always a good idea.

That being said, sometimes, early in the season, the fruit might need a little help. This is why I love the idea of marinating your fruit in something tasty before tossing it in your salad.

This idea for marinating your peaches in rosé for this Rosé Marinated Stone Fruit with Burrata & Arugula is brilliant. The marinade adds flavor and a pop of acid. Perfect!

Rosé Marinated Stone Fruit with Burrata & Arugula Recipe
Recipe adapted Foodv52

The quantities in this recipe are flexible and can be adjusted according to your taste. You can omit the prosciutto for a vegan version. Read more…

Savory Loaded Shortbread Cookies

photo of Savory Loaded Shortbread Cookies from the cookbook

Short(bread) Debate
Now that Christmas has come and gone and you find yourself with a little extra time, I offer up something to occupy your brain while you stare out the window in a post-holiday stupor. Does a cookie need to be sweet in order to call it a cookie?

There are plenty of examples of so-called cookies that are so borderline in their sweetness—you could call them more of a cracker or biscuit than a cookie. Shortbread is the perfect one. All you need to make shortbread is flour and some sort of fat. Typically, that fat is butter which gives the shortbread most of its flavor. Sure, there is sugar added but the overall taste leans more towards butter than sugar. And yet, most people would still consider it a cookie.

Shortbread gets its name from the crumbly texture. The fat, usually butter, inhibits the formation of long wheat protein (gluten) strands when mixed with flour thus its famous melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

So, by that reasoning, if all you need to make a crumbly cookie is fat, who is to say you couldn’t do it with, say, bacon fat? You would still have the same occurrence with the lack of gluten development. And, in theory, the same texture. But, does the bacon fat automatically mean the shortbread is now more of a cracker?

These are the kinds of things that run through my head at weird times and have people avoiding me at parties. Or perhaps I have been watching too much Lessons in Chemistry

Either way, I’m whipping up some of these Savory Loaded Shortbread Cookies if only to start the debate.

Savory Loaded Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Cookies: The New Classics by Jesse Szewczyk
Yields 24 Cookies

Cheddar cheese, fresh chives, and bacon combine in this savory cookie. It takes full advantage of all the flavors of a stuffed baked potato by swapping a buttery shortbread base for the standard russet.

They make a wonderful appetizer that is infinitely easier to manage than a baked potato. Read more…

Molasses Spice Cookies

Viking Christmas
According to Ancestry.com, I am 84% Scandinavian. This is no great revelation because I grew up amongst of a bunch of very tall, sometimes grumpy, frequently loud, frustratingly stubborn, hard-partying Vikings on both sides of the family.

Holidays with this crowd as a kid were a lot of fun because no one loves barely controlled chaos more than a kid. The adults had different views. I thought it was great.

My grandmother was one of nine kids born to a couple of Danes who found themselves in California at the turn of the 20th century. Though they embraced their new country and refused to speak in their native tongue once they arrived, they did manage to keep a few of their traditions going.

We still have Ebleskiver every Christmas morning, though how my great-grandmother managed to feed that many people with one pan that only makes 7 at a time boggles my mind. (We continue to use her pan but have added a couple more.) And we still enjoy treats with a lot of the traditional warming spices of winter: cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, cardamom, and, of course, ginger.

I love a good chewy ginger cookie. But, I really only eat them around Christmas time, so they are, in fact, a treat. In all honesty, these wouldn’t qualify as a traditional Danish cookie except for the spices, though I don’t think Julemandon (Santa Claus) would object to these being left for his midnight snack.

Glӕdelig Jul!

Molasses Spice Cookies Recipe
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Yields about 22 cookies

These Molasses Spice Cookies have a nice crisp edge and soft interior. The warming spices and molasses flavor make them perfect for your holiday cookie tray. Read more…