Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi break down an often intimidating branch of home cooking in their wonderfully accessible cookbook, The Gentle Art of Preserving. Stock up on fresh summer fruits and veggies while you still can—their recipes will let you enjoy them all winter long.
Try this recipe for a childhood favorite: Fruit Leathers! Choose your favorite fruits and get started.
Makes 1 fruit leather, approx. 14 inches square
Raspberry and Banana Leather
Cut the fruit with or without the peel into chunks and puree in a food processor or blender. Pour the purée onto silicone mats or plastic wrap-lined sheets. Make sure the pool of purée doesn’t go over the edge of the sheets; smooth out by shaking and tilting the sheet to make it spread out. The purée should be no thicker than ¼in. Dry in the dehydrator at 135°F for 4–6 hours, or in the oven at 140°F for 6–8 hours. Fruit leathers are ready when they are not sticky to the touch, but can be peeled easily from the mat or plastic wrap. Lift the edge, which will adhere lightly to the surface, and peel it back. If it peels back easily, it is ready.
STORING YOUR FRUIT LEATHER
Either eat immediately or cover the dried leather in a layer of parchment paper and roll up, or cut into 2-inch-wide strips and roll up. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks, but do check regularly for any signs of mold. Alternatively, pack into vacuum bags and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Looking for something to do with the summer's bounty of strawberries? Gabrielle Langholtz, author of The New Greenmarket Cookbook (our August Top Pick in Cookbooks!) has you covered. Featuring 93 recipes from 93 of New York’s top gastronomes and chefs, this book has a recipe for just about any craving or occasion. Langholtz collected this three-part recipe from pastry Chef Pichet Ong, and his panna cotta is the perfect base for bright, fruity compotes.
Lemon Thyme Panna Cotta With Rhubarb Compote and Lemon Thyme Shortbread
You can make just one or two of this recipe’s three components—they’re wonderful alone or in any combination—but each part is so simple, it’s easy to make them all. Pastry Chef Pichet Ong’s yogurt panna cotta is sublime, requiring so little work, you’ll want to make it all year long as a creamy canvas for whatever berries you bring home.
Lemon thyme, whose leaves have little yellow edges and a fragrant citrus flavor, is transformative on lemon-loving mains like scallops or roast chicken, but it’s also bright and beautiful in sweets.
Variation inspiration: You can swap out the thyme for lavender, which is available May through July, for a flavor that’s both fresh and floral.
Lemon Thyme Shortbread
Recipe by Pichet Ong, Pastry Chef, blog.pichetong.com
Make the panna cotta: In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon thyme, milk, cream, sugar and salt over medium heat and bring just to a simmer.
Remove from heat, cover and let steep at room temperature for about 1 hour. Remove and discard the thyme.
In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir to combine and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, return the milk mixture to a low simmer (do not boil) then add the gelatin mixture and stir well. As soon as the gelatin dissolves, remove from the heat. Whisk in the yogurt and divide into 8 glasses or 4-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate until set, at least 5 hours.
Meanwhile, make the compote: Combine all ingredients except the strawberries in a small saucepan and let sit for 20 minutes to macerate. Cook over low heat until the rhubarb is soft, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add the sliced strawberries.
Make the lemon thyme shortbread: Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, blend together the lemon thyme leaves, lemon zest, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt just until thoroughly combined. Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a rectangle, about 1-inch thick, and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a large rectangle, about ½-inch thick.
Using a knife, cut rectangular cookies about 3½ inches long by 1 inch wide.
Transfer cookies onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Bake the chilled cookies until the edges turn golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Garnish each panna cotta with 2 tablespoons of compote and serve alongside the shortbread.
Although there's a diverse array of recipes inside Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, Jeni Britton Bauer's ice creams are the foundation. Try this rich and creamy Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard for a more sophisticated take on an old favorite.
Oh, and remember that recipe for Blueberry Cobbler we shared at the beginning of the month? This ice cream makes the perfect pairing if you prefer your desserts à la mode.
Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard
Makes about 1 quart
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk, the egg yolks and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
Whisk the cream cheese, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually add about 2 cups of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, one ladleful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, just until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve if necessary.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Remove the frozen canister from the freezer, assemble your ice cream machine and turn it on. Pour the custard base into the canister and spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the custard into a storage container. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Salty Goat’s-Milk Chocolate Frozen Custard
In the Cook step, reduce whole milk to 2 cups and add ¾ cup evaporated goat’s milk to the saucepan with the cream, sugar and corn syrup. After you cook the egg yolks, add 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% or more cacao) and stir until completely melted.
This week's recipe comes from Marinades by Lucy Vaserfirer—a cookbook entirely dedicated to what our cooking columnist Sybil Pratt describes as "that little something that gives anything and everything you cook on the grill a special zing." Try this Indian-influenced Curry Marinade with lamb chops.
This bright yellow mixture isn’t exactly an authentic Indian recipe, but it’s sure to satisfy fans of curry.
Tool: 1-gallon zip-top bag
Yield: About ½ cup (enough for 2 to 4 servings)
Measure the oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro and curry powder into a 1-gallon zip-top bag and shake or squeeze until blended. Season to taste with salt.
SUGGESTED USES: boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pork chops, or lamb chops (marinated 2 hours to overnight) or shrimp (marinated 20 to 45 minutes), grilled.
Grilled Lamb Rib Chops
For 2 servings, add 6 frenched lamb rib chops (about 1 inch thick) to the Curry Marinade in the zip-top bag and turn to coat. Seal the bag, letting out all the air. Marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Set the bag aside at room temperature for about half an hour. Remove the chops from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, then grill over direct high heat until medium-rare, 10 to 12 minutes (or until the desired doneness), turning once. Moisture will just begin to accumulate on the surface of the chops when they are medium-rare. Tent the chops with foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Serve these lamb chops with dal and basmati rice, or any other Indian-style side dishes you like.
Our Top Pick in Cookbooks this month is Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes by Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck! With 140 seasonal recipes to choose from—plus growing tips and advice for canning and preserving—you'll be able to incorporate ripe fruits into your dishes in inventive ways all year. Take a break from summer burgers and BBQ with this light, fresh recipe for pan-roasted salmon.
Salmon with Plum, Cucumber, and Mint Salad
Not only is this salad a beauty to behold, it’s explosively flavorful, too. The syrupy, slightly tannic flavors of the plum really come alive when tossed with zingy rice vinegar and an abundance of clean, fresh mint. Although pan-roasted salmon has a melt-in-your-mouth quality that contrasts nicely with the bright fruit, you could throw the fish on the grill instead; the smokiness would also add a nice layer of complexity.
Makes 4 servings
Season the salmon liberally with salt and pepper. Rub the lime zest into the flesh.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Add the fish, flesh-side down and sear, without moving, until the underside is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and continue cooking to your desired doneness, 3 to 4 more minutes for medium-rare.
While the salmon cooks, prepare the salad: In a large bowl, combine the plums, cucumbers, scallion and mint. Toss in the 1 tablespoon of vinegar, the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil and salt and pepper to taste. Taste the salad and add more vinegar if desired.
Place each salmon fillet on an individual plate and top with a few spoonfuls of the salad; serve any remaining salad alongside.
How are you celebrating Independence Day tomorrow, readers? I'm sure most of you will be enjoying food and fireworks with friends and family, so today we're sharing a recipe for a dessert that's almost as American as apple pie: blueberry cobbler! Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of the quickly growing Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, expands upon her ice cream offerings with plenty of unique new flavors, but her recipes for baked goods, sundaes, parfaits and frozen layered cakes in Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts are the real show-stoppers here.
Makes 9 servings
Butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Combine the blueberries with the sugar, salt and lemon juice in a medium bowl, tossing to coat.
Add to the prepared pan. Spoon the batter over the fruit, making 9 equal biscuits.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the cobber for 35 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are golden and the berries are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Sweet Cream Shortcakes
Makes 9 to 12 servings
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Butter a quarter sheet pan.
Put the flour and cold butter in a food processor and pulse 15 times. Add the cream and pulse until the dough comes together into a shaggy mess.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together. Fold the dough in half, then fold it over itself two or three times, just until it is no longer clumpy. Spread the dough onto the pan—it spreads easily, so you can use your hands.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.
David Lebovitz lets us all live vicariously through his picturesque (and delicious) adventures in Paris in his book, My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories. Parisian desserts may strike fear into the hearts of inexperienced home cooks, but Lebovitz offers a solution with this simple stunner: a ridiculously decadent recipe for salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse that just might take some of the sting out of being stuck stateside.
Salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse
MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT AU BEURRE SALÉ
There’s not much I can say about this. One bite will leave you just as speechless.
1. Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of a wide saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium heat. As it begins to liquefy at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to very gently drag the liquefied sugar toward the center. Watch carefully, as once the edges start to darken, the sugar is in danger of burning. Continue to cook, stirring very gently, until all the sugar is melted and begins to caramelize.
2. When the caramel is a deep amber color and starts to smoke, wait a moment for it to smell just slightly burnt, then remove it from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter, stirring until melted. Gradually whisk in the cream and stir until the little bits of caramel are completely melted. (A few can be stubborn, so be patient. You can strain the mixture if they simply refuse to budge.)
Once smooth, add the chocolate, stirring gently until it’s melted and smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let it sit until it’s at room temperature. Once it’s no longer warm, whisk in the egg yolks.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Fold one-third of the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture, sprinkling in the flaky salt. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites just until no streaks of white remain. Divide the mousse into serving glasses, or transfer it to a decorative serving bowl, and chill for at least 8 hours. While it might be tempting to serve this with whipped cream, I prefer to serve it pure, straight up with just a spoon.
Father's Day may be behind us, but Steven Raichlen's Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys is sure to be a welcome addition to any guy's culinary arsenal, especially if their recent Father's Day gifts included a grill or some fancy new kitchen gadgets. Raichlen offers straightforward advice and step-by-step instructions to help any dude find his footing in the kitchen—from using a blowtorch to sear salmon to shaking up a mean martini. Guys (and gals!) looking for the perfect summer backyard burger should try out this recipe for the Ur-Burger, and discover firsthand why Man Made Meals is our Top Pick in cookbooks this month.
Photo credit: Lucy Schaeffer/Man Made Meals
Shop: My dream ground meat mix combines ground sirloin (40 percent), chuck (40 percent) and brisket (20 percent). Make friends with your local butcher and ask him to custom grind it for you. Brioche rolls (French egg bread) make great buns. Add ripe heirloom tomato and leaf lettuce or arugula. Perfection lies in the details.
Gear: Your basic kitchen gear including a large (10 to 12-inch) cast-iron or nonstick skillet and an instant-read thermometer.
What else: I prefer my burgers hot off the grill (surprise), and on page 113 you’ll find instructions for grilling burgers. But apartment dwellers without grill access can take comfort in the knowledge that many an iconic burger (California’s In-N-Out Burger and Umami Burger to name two) is cooked on a griddle, and you can achieve the same result using a skillet.
Time: About 20 minutes
The perfect burger. Platonic idea? Or beef patty that actually exists? If you start with the right meat, patty shape and bun and keep the flavorings subordinate to the beef, any burger has the potential for greatness. In the following pages you’ll find some favorites. We start with the Ur-Burger (from the German word ur for original, fundamental, or basic), which you can customize to taste.
Makes 4 burgers
1. Divide the beef into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a patty about 1-inch-thick and slightly larger in diameter than the buns (lightly wet your hands with cold water before handling the meat). Work with a light touch, handling the meat as little as possible. Make a slight depression in the center of the patties; they should be slightly concave. You can form the burgers up to 6 hours ahead. Arrange the burgers on a plate lined with plastic wrap and cover them with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate the burgers until you are ready to cook them.
2. Just before cooking, generously season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper, turning them gently.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers, spacing them 2 inches apart. Cook the burgers until the bottoms are browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a spatula, gently turn the burgers over and continue cooking them until done to taste, about 5 minutes more for medium. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of a burger. When the burger is cooked to medium the thermometer will register 160°F.
4. Transfer the burgers to a warm plate. Place a tiny pat of butter (about 1 teaspoon) on top of each burger and let the burgers rest for
1 to 2 minutes. (Chefs call this “tempering” the meat and it helps produce juicier burgers.)
5. Meanwhile, spread the insides of the buns with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Pour off the fat from the skillet and wipe it clean with paper towels. Toast the buns, cut sides down, in the skillet over medium-high heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. You may need to work in several batches.
6. To assemble the burgers, spread the buns with “Secret Sauce,” if using, or whatever condiment(s) you prefer. Place a burger on top of the sauce and top it with a lettuce leaf and a tomato slice and any embellishments you like. Add the top of the bun and dig in.
Excerpted from Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys © 2014 by Steven Raichlen. Photography by Lucy Schaeffer. Reproduced by permission of Workman Publishing. All rights reserved. Read our review of this book.
You know what they say: Everything's bigger in Texas. If the dishes featured in Dean Fearing's new cookbook, The Texas Food Bible are anything to judge by, then it must be true. With images of hearty helpings alongside recipes for big, bold and flavorful dishes from one of the pioneers of Tex-Mex himself, this collection is perfect for homesick Texans and any home cooks inspired by this state's unique, rich culinary tradition. For a characteristically spice-filled and soul-warming Lone Star dish, try this recipe for East Texas Gumbo.
East Texas Gumbo
Serves 4 to 6
NOTE: Equal portions of onion, celery and green pepper are known as the “holy trinity” in gumbo parlance. File powder (also known as gumbo file) is ground from dried leaves of the sassafras tree. The spicy herb was first used by the Choctaw Indians, indigenous to the American South, as a thickening agent for stews. It is now primarily used in Creole and Cajun cooking to both thicken and season stews and soups. It has an earthy, woody taste that some liken to root beer. It is always added after the cooking is completed, as it turns stringy and tough when cooked.
American cook and baker David Lebovitz has spent the past 10 years living, eating and cooking in Paris. In My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, Lebovitz offers captivating stories alongside 100 recipes that convey the spirit of the Paris food scene he's grown so fond of. This unfussy recipe for Green Olive, Basil and Almond Tapenade is perfect as a delightfully decadent snack or appetizer.
Green Olive,Basil, and Almond Tapenade
tapenade d’olives vertes au basilic et aux amandes
Serves 6 to 8
When I started my website back in 1999, I never intended to focus on recipes. It was meant to complement my cookbooks by providing additional information, stories and a way to be in touch with readers. But then I moved to Paris. And as I shopped and hit the markets, I got so excited to share all the great things I was tasting and learning about that I couldn’t resist posting those recipes right after I made them. However, I soon realized that I had to respond to an onslaught of recipe requests if I posted a snapshot of a basket of croissants or a gilded gateau Saint-Honore I had admired in a bakery.
(Unfortunately, recipes for fancy Parisian pastries cannot be condensed into 140 characters, nor am I very good at tapping out instructions for rolling puff pastry while riding home on the metro using those itty bitty keys on my smartphone.)
I also realized that no matter what I wrote about on my blog, the ingredients that were available in Birmingham weren’t necessarily available in Brisbane or Bangkok, and every recipe I posted would be followed by a number of requests for substitutions. I had to learn to cover every conceivable base when writing recipes for a global audience because something common in France or America, like olives or canned artichokes, might not be available in Fiji or Argentina. Not to mention folks have various food preferences, allergies and likes and dislikes, such as my fear of squid, which scare the bejeezus out of me (so I understand them 100 percent).
Fortunately, I am pretty sure that anyone just about anywhere can make this recipe and there’s certainly nothing scary about it. Olives are hardy souls and are available jarred or canned. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a country where almonds aren’t available. (But if you can’t get almonds, pistachios make a great substitute). And basil is grown in greenhouses in places where the climate doesn’t welcome outdoor cultivation. So I think I covered everything and there’s no excuse not to make this—unless, of course, you don’t like olives, are allegic to nuts or have an aversion to garlic. Then I can’t help you.
1. Put the olives, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and capers in the bowl of a food processor. (I don’t use a mortar and pestle for this because I like the slightly chunky bits of almonds in the finished tapenade.)
2. Coarsely chop the basil leaves, add them to the processor, and pulse the machine a few times to start breaking them down.
3. Add the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Pulse the food processor until the mixture forms a coarse paste, one that still has a little texture provided by the not-entirely-broken-down almonds.
The tapenade will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.