A very good crusty baguette; two pints of cherry tomatoes; a handful of fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano and sage; olive oil roasted garlic, or fresh garlic smashed and olive oil; sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, room temperature softened Brie
,Turn oven to 425 degrees. In a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet add the tomatoes, some of the herbs, olive oil with roasted garlic or fresh smashed garlic with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Place skillet in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to burst and start to char. Remove skillet from oven.
To baguette slices add softened Brie and top with tomato mixture (be sure to scrape up some of the pan drippings as well. Add more fresh herbs if you like, salt and pepper. Enjoy.
You can make this any time of the year using store-bought cherry or grape tomatoes. Best with summer home-grown but needs must!
This is a pantry basic in our kitchen here at Food on Fifth and has been for quite a few years. It’s easy and incredibly useful for everyday cooking. This pantry basic saves a lot of time, while combining two things we start most meals with….olive oil and garlic.
This all started when we were on a photo shoot a few years ago. The food client sent in a gigantic jar of fresh, whole, peeled garlic cloves. There were hundreds in the jar. We only used a few for the recipes we were preparing. We are a group who does not easily toss out good food. The last day we dumped all the garlic into a roasting pan, filled it with olive oil, completely covering the cloves, set the oven on 325 degrees and let the roasting do the rest. 45 minutes later we had a huge pan of perfectly roasted garlic. We let it cool down completely, divided it among canning jars and each of us took home our own little bit of heaven. Did I say how aromatic the studio was? People kept coming back and asking us what that aroma was all day…just garlic.
So now I do this on a regular basis so I always have garlic roasted in olive oil in my fridge. I don’t have access to a gigantic jar of fresh garlic cloves, but a few local import markets have pretty nice sized jars of peeled, fresh garlic as do some larger supermarkets. As I scoop out of the jar to use when cooking, I always add a bit of olive oil back to the jar so the garlic is always covered completely to keep the contents from going “bad”. It works like a charm. It is as easy-as-this every time.
Ingredients: 3-4 cups fresh, peeled garlic cloves + enough olive oil to cover while roasting + extra oil for jars for storing
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place garlic cloves and enough olive oil to cover them in an oven proof pan. Roast garlic for 30-45 minutes, or until cloves are softened and a light golden brown. Remove pan from oven. Let cool completely. Divide roasted garlic cloves with roasting oil between glass jars. Top off jars with more oil. Cover jars with tight-fitting lids and refrigerate.
I have kept jars of this roasted garlic in olive for months and continually use. Just be sure to top of the jar with enough fresh olive oil to keep cloves submerged/covered between uses.
Gifting? yes this is a great gift for any of your friends who love to cook and love their garlic.
August in Nashville and we are all enjoying ripe, juicy colorful tomatoes from our gardens, but soon, very soon, the weather will change and the vines will have lots of end-of-the-season green tomatoes hanging on. There are many recipe for using green tomatoes. Pickled, fried, jammed and juiced, but this late summer/early fall green tomato pasta sauce is another to add to your list of what to do with those late, we-are-never-turning-red green tomatoes.
A few green tomatoes chopped and sautéed, a quick multi-herb pesto, lots of parmigiana-reggiano…everything mixed and quickly cooked together. Served over a sturdy noodle such as Bucatini with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt…in a half hour you’ll have a pasta dish to celebrate green tomatoes, not fried.
Tossed with noodles and generous grating of parmigiana-reggiano…..and a slightly chilled glass of Italian Red might be a little bit of heaven on a late summer evening. Go ahead, fry, pickle and jam all you like, but do try this recipe and let me know what you think.
For the Pesto- 1/4 cup each fresh basil leaves, parsley, arugula and mint + 2 garlic cloves + juice of half a lemon + olive oil + salt and pepper and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.
a drizzle of olive oil
6 medium to large green tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb Bucatini or Spaghetti noodles
extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for topping servings
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
While waiting…in a food processor pulse together the basil leaves, parsley, arugula, mint and garlic cloves, and lemon juice, leaving chunky. Drizzle in some olive oil (I like a less oily pesto, but use what you like) and pulse. Add in salt, pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse a few more times to blend. Scrape pesto out into a bowl and set aside.
In a large saute pan set over medium high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and the chopped green tomatoes. Toss to coat the tomatoes and saute, stirring, for 8 minutes. Pour in the broth. Add salt and black pepper. Bring to a low boil, turn heat to simmer, stirring often until liquid is reduced by half. When tomatoes begin to soften, sprinkle in the 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss to coat well. Add the pesto to the hot sauce, stirring until well mixed. Cover and keep sauce warm until pasta is cooked.
When water comes to a boil, add in the Bucatini and cook just until al dente. Drain well.
Serve pasta in bowls topped with the sauce and more grated cheese. A good Italian red or white will bring this meal together.
This recipe is based on a Mario Batali recipe from years and years ago. I made some changes to make it even better.
It’s a funny thing how the mind left to it’s own devices can ramble and roam going back and forth, weaving from the past, to now, then to the future and back connecting memories. Often one thing, in this case making banana bread on a Sunday morning, led me to think about The Velvet Underground and Nico singing Sunday Morning from an album in which one of Andy Warhol’s banana images was the cover. Which led me to many other mental ramblings that gave me much pleasure on the Sunday morning while I was baking this bread.
Start with 3 quite ripe bananas…….
Batter mixed, spread into loaf pan, topped with ripe banana sliced….baked until golden brown. Sunday morning’s are special in that the world seems quieter, more subdued, allowing the mind to wander and weave. Enjoy your Sunday mornings and be well.
My friend Mark gave me some beautiful just ripe pluots from his tree recently. I picked up a small container of wild plums from the farmer’s market the same day. Both fruit, along with the only black pepper mixture I use in my kitchen, Flower Pepper, which was given to me by another friend, Jesse, are the main ingredients for this very dense, moist everyday cake.
There is a cookbook I purchased last year, A New Way to Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi, that I pretty much adore. My recipe is a riff on one of the recipes from her book. I simple cannot say how densely moist it is, how the fruit and the black (flower)pepper create a magical flavor profile. No frosting, nothing la-di-dah about this one. It is a cake for sharing.
For the recipe for making your own Flower Pepper, click on the link in the post.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar/caster sugar (put in a food processor and pulse a few times to make finer if you do not have caster sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper, divided (Flower Pepper or any good quality black pepper)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup whole milk
4-6 ripe small plums, or pluots, or wild plums (can be a mixture of all) pitted and quartered
a small handful of slivered or sliced or chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a springform pan and line with parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar, vanilla and 2 teaspoons of the black pepper until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.
In another bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, the almond flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper.
Add the flour mixture gradually into the butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon stir in the milk until well blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. This batter is rather thick so use your spoon to spread batter evenly.
Arrange the quartered fruit on top of the batter. Just barely push down into the batter. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper over the top of the fruit and then the almonds.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Remove the sides of the pan and continue to cool on a wire rack. Right before serving brush the top of the cake with the maple syrup.
This recipe is a slight riff on a recipe in “The New Way to Cake” by Benjamin Ebuehi. Her recipe is “Plum and Black Pepper Cake”. Published by Page Street Publishing.
Early Saturday morning on a trip to the downtown Farmer’s Market I found a few pints of the first local blackberries. Small and sweet and juicy, warm from the sun where they sat, my mind was already thinking of fresh blackberry scones for Sunday morning. Long, laid-back weekends call for something special.
This recipe is easy and pretty quick and is very much inspired from a recipe in the “Sister Pie” cookbook for blueberry scones with a swap to blackberries in my version. This cookbook often calls for “sugar-sugar” which is just equal parts granulated and raw sugars mixed together. It’s great to sprinkle on the tops of pies or cookies as well as these scones.
Fresh from the oven, buttery-warm, with crunchy granulated “sugar-sugar” tops and full of juicy blackberry goodness.
Have a lazy, joy filled, laid-back 4th of July 2021. Be kind. Be sweet. If you are not vaccinated please wear a mask and if you are I send you a big thanks from the bottom of my heart.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cold, cut into small pieces
2 cups fresh (local) blackberries
1/4 cup raw sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid shake 1/4 cup granulate sugar and 1/4 cup of raw sugar together. Set aside.
Whisk together 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 egg. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk together 1 cup cornmeal, 1 3/4 cups flour, all of the baking powder, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the kosher salt.
Sprinkle the cold butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Using a combination of a pastry blender and your fingers work the butter into the mixture evenly like you would when making a pie crust. Use your fingers to unclog the pastry blender when need be. I used the pastry blender at the beginning and ended with my fingers to get the butter pieces mixed well throughout.
Toss the blackberries into the bowl and stir with your hands to distribute evenly into the dry mix.
Pour the cream-egg mixture over the dry mix and stir using a rubber scraper until well blended. Use your hands to gently press mixture together in the bowl to create a dough. Some of the berries with be crushed while you work, but that is the general idea. Get the dry and the wet mixed to form a dough.
Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife cut the dough circle into 8 to 10 equal wedges and place a couple of inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of each with the remaining 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and sprinkle the tops of each generously with some of the sugar-sugar.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until scones are golden brown and doubled in size. Cool on a wire rack.
Save the leftover “sugar-sugar” for your next baking project or add a bit to a cup of tea or coffee. Keeps in airtight jar for ages.
I often take a devil-may-care approach when I get a “hankering” for dessert. Not one to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with the fussy details of lengthy recipes, the “cheater ice-cream” concept, which has been around a long time, is one I return to over and over in the summer.
The basic idea is this…purchase a quart of half-gallon of your favorite, good quality, but not too expensive, vanilla ice cream. Soften and stir in whatever you like. This is a fun thing for your kids to do as well. Imagine the possibilities!
cheater ice cream..start with a good vanilla ice cream. Soften, then stir in berries, edible flowers, softened goat or mascarpone cheeses, pink peppercorns crushed, chocolate syrup, instantespresso, peanut butter, bananas, crumbled cookies…whatever you like. Re-freeze…scoop…enjoy all summer long.
It is a rare thing that I would make a bbq sauce using local, short-season Tennessee strawberries for a recipe such as this, really it is a rare thing for me to make any bbq sauce….. But, truthfully I bought too many strawberries from the Farmers Market…if that is possible…and a pint or two got over-ripe before we realized it. Shame on me…quickly I forgave myself and whipped up a batch of sauce for slathering on ribs or chicken, pork chops or wings in celebration of Memorial Day weekend. This holiday is the first yes-we-are vaccinated and yes-we-can be together to celebrate and it seems important to make some classic food for summer.
I must admit that the recipe for this bbq sauce is more of a add-and-taste-adjust-add-and-taste until you have it how you like your bbq sauce to be. I will give you the basics and the rest really will be up to you. It’s hard to go wrong as long as you tweak your way to the result you prefer. As you probably know, bbq sauces are as varied as each person who makes one, and no two homemade sauces are ever alike.
This Strawberry BBQ Sauce has all the right stuff…it is not cloyingly sweet, it is tangy with vinegar and lemon juice and spicy with hot sauces. Everything cooked down slowly to allow the flavors of the ingredients to meld. Once you toss all the ingredients in the pot to cook…your work it done…just let it simmer.
Serve with a simple coleslaw, extra sauce on the side…. whatever are your favorite sides….and a cold beer of course!
Please have a safe and cozy Memorial Day Weekend.
3 pints “almost-too-ripe” Strawberries, capped and pureed in a blender or processor
1/2 cup fruit vinegar such as apple, or any other
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
salt and black pepper to taste
Add all the ingredients to a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low to simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir often, taste sauce, adjust and continue cooking. When sauce has thickened, remove from heat, let cool and put in glass jars with lids. Chill until ready to use.
If you like a hotter sauce, then add some chopped hot peppers, crushed dried red peppers, or a wee bit of habanero salsa.
If you like it sweeter and thicker add more brown sugar or honey…maybe some molasses.
A splash of balsamic or rice wine vinegar might be something you would like. Or some ketchup?
Make it how you and your family like it…just start out with some very ripe, local berries from wherever you live.
Late May in Nashville means an abundance of fresh, juicy, local strawberries. Sliced strawberries on buttered bread toasted with a light sprinkling of raw sugar is just about a close to Nirvana as you can get when it comes to food.
This was our Friday lunch, and might be Saturday’s lunch as well and why not Sunday breakfast with a few slices of Gruyere added? We try to eat as many as we can while the local crop is plentiful. Simple is best, although over the years I have posted recipes for strawberry jam and Victoria sponge cakes with strawberries…let’s not forget the strawberry tarts. Those are all delicious and wonderful, but our absolute favorite way to eat strawberries is just like this. Simple and lightly sweet.
There is no recipe. Just grab some really good crusty-loafed bread such as sour-dough. Fresh local berries capped and sliced. Smear the bread slices with yummy softened butter and toast. Top toasted bread with sliced berries and a light sprinkling of raw sugar. It is as Easy-as-This.
Life is short, summer is here, treat yourself and others kindly and enjoy the bounty.