by Marisa McClellan in In Season, Recipes, August 9th, 2013
by Allison Milam in In Season, August 7th, 2013
A ripe peach is one of the true joys of late summer. When they’re in season, I buy at least five pounds at a time from my Saturday morning farmers market. Through the course of the week, I slice them over yogurt for breakfast. Come lunchtime, I heap them on toast with a little fresh ricotta and mint. When I’m on my own for dinner, I tumble them into a bowl of greens with crumbled feta (my husband doesn’t dig fruit in salads). Just before bed, I’ll grab one as a snack and eat it messily over the sink.
However, despite my best efforts, there are sometimes a few stray peaches left at the end of the week that are starting to get slightly too soft to be eaten raw. That’s when I turn to baked goods. There are all sorts of transcendent peach-based quick breads, tarts and scones out there, but there’s a particular cake that’s claimed my heart this summer: Ina Garten’s Fresh Peach Cake.
Before you start baking, read these tips
by Allison Milam in In Season, July 31st, 2013
It’s the vegetable to be gushed over at brunch and the one worth of recipe swapping at book club. And if it’s on the menu with the Parmesan descriptor attached, all bets are off — we’re ordering it. Sturdy yet tender, filling but wholesome, the eggplant is the king of meatless for a reason.
Though it works as a standup main course, the following dishes speak to eggplant’s versatility as we transform it into easy, hand-held starters. Each of these small bites helps to ring in a meal with flair. Call them finger foods, call them bite-size — either way, compact eggplant appetizers are a lovely way to kick off dinner.
To start, Giada’s Mini Eggplant Parmesan are reminiscent of the classic dish, though they’re not engulfed in tomato sauce and cheese. That way, you can pick them up with your hands for easy eating. Similarly, Food Network Magazine’s Eggplant Ricotta Bites (pictured above) are crispy and to the point. Each circle is topped with a dollop of ricotta and a sprinkling of diced tomatoes.
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by Marisa McClellan in In Season, Recipes, July 26th, 2013
Can you believe it’s already August? With this sultry month come many lovely things — most importantly, the ripe, in-season peach. As we transition from the inaugural crates of summer strawberries, these golden kaleidoscopes of gold and red are so juicy they dribble down your chin. And with a velvet fuzziness on the outside and an ambrosial sweetness on the inside, peaches are deep summer’s most lusted-after loot.
Peak peaches deserve to be the highlight, the reason everyone’s at the table. That’s why FN Dish has assembled a list of the finest peach recipes. These unconventional dishes run the gamut and show us all the pretty peach is capable of — and, goodness, are they good.
1. Your mother wouldn’t be happy with us, but let’s start at dessert, the most iconic peach player of all. We all love Peach Cobbler, but unconventional desserts like Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies, Caramel Peach Upside-Down Cake and Food Network Magazine’s Peach Cobbler Ice Cream Cake will raise eyebrows. Even something as simple as Food Network Magazine’s Hot Peaches and Cream can show the tender peach in all its glory.
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by Allison Milam in In Season, July 24th, 2013
When my husband was little, he and his brother went to spend the night at their aunt’s house. The next morning, she made pancakes for them. Scott thought that the pancakes were studded with chocolate chips, so took a giant stack. Turns out they were filled with blueberries.
Because he wasn’t mentally prepared for blueberries, he spit out the first bite in surprise and yelled “yuck.” His aunt was mightily offended and despite his protestations, made him eat the rest of the stack. He has not touched a cooked blueberry since.
What this means practically is that when I’m cooking and baking for the two of us, I take care to avoid making things that involve blueberries (it’s the nice thing to do). I dearly love a blueberry baked good, however, and so at least a couple times a summer, when blueberries are in season, I make up some treat that my friends and neighbors might like so that I can have all the enjoyment of it without eating the whole thing on my own.
Before you start baking, read these tips
by Allison Milam in Drinks, In Season, July 17th, 2013
On their own, in-season cucumbers are cool and refreshing. But when it comes to the fine art of pickling, arguably no other veggie does it better. Cold, refreshing and satisfyingly crunchy, pickles spike burgers with acidic crunch and pickle spears are a barbecue necessity. Before reaching for the jar, remember that pickling is actually a relatively simple science and you can do it to a whole slew of vegetables.
Today FN Dish is zeroing in on the cucumber and considering cuke creations that push way beyond the standard dill.
Let’s start simple with quickest of the quick. True pickles take some time to come to fruition, but Rachael Ray’s Quick Pickles take a mere 15 minutes to come together. Tyler Florence’s Quick Sweet Pickles run a little longer — though not long at all — at four hours.
Alton’s Dill Pickles are the most iconic. Patience is key here; you’ll have to push your pickle craving back a bit for it to undergo the transformation. Alton’s calls for both fresh dill and the seeds, so the end result will likely resemble the pickle of your childhood. For pickles that don’t pucker, Alton’s Kinda Sorta Sours run the middle ground.
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by Marisa McClellan in In Season, July 12th, 2013
You don’t need us to tell you it’s hot. We’re officially occupying the dog days of summer, and there’s no escaping — or is there?
When you post up after a long day, arm your wet bar with a little something different: the cooling qualities of watermelon. There’s no better ingredient to better your summery cocktails, with the fruit’s natural sweetness and refreshing water content. Though all of these drinks employ the same fruit, they each revive in a different way, running the line between iced and frozen, alcoholic or virgin, traditional or eccentric. If these don’t cool you down, nothing will.
Everyone loves a good cocktail. Today FN Dish is slurping the iconic ones, this time with a watermelon twist. With light rum, fresh mint leaves and a big squeeze of lime, the Barefoot Contessa’s Watermelon Mojito is best enjoyed curled up on a beach chair. As for Food Network Magazine’s Watermelon Sours, sour mix, lime and fruit-flavored liqueur punch up each slurp.
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by Allison Milam in Entertaining, In Season, July 10th, 2013
Of all the wonderful fruit that comes into season during the summer months, apricots are my very favorite. It hasn’t always been this way. When I was growing up, it was nearly impossible to find truly good apricots unless they came from someone’s backyard tree. As those were pretty darn hard to come by back then, I spent most of my formative years eating terrible, mealy grocery store apricots.
Five or six years back, I discovered just how good a locally grown, never-refrigerated apricot can be. Because I know their season is short, I always order at least half a bushel from one of my local growers. (I get the seconds, because they’re so much cheaper and really, who cares about a few bruises and blemishes?)
Once those apricots are in my kitchen, I spend the next week finding ways to use them up. I make jam. I make chutney. I can them in halves in honey syrup. I eat the ripest ones in just a couple greedy slurps. Once I’ve done all my favorite things, there are still more apricots to be used. That’s when I start digging through my collection of apricot recipes, looking for other things that are begging to be made.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
by Heather Ramsdell in In Season, July 8th, 2013
A good tomato sauce, a piping hot slice of margherita pizza, the iconic tomato soup — all of these are made possible by the juicy tomato. Tomatoes add richness to any number of home cooked dishes, whether roasted until the skin falls off or stewed into a multipurpose sauce. Though tomatoes have worked their way into our everyday lives, today we’re viewing them from a different angle. When you’re entertaining this summer, showcase the sophisticated side of the tomato, in all of its in-season glory.
As an appetizer, have guests smear Food Network Magazine’s Spicy Tomato Jam and goat cheese on a fresh baguette. Or create mini pizzas for a bite-sized starter. Giada De Laurentiis uses a cookie cutter in her recipe for Pizzette with Gorgonzola, Tomato and Basil, which will disappear the moment they’re set out.
Imagine slicing into Food Network Magazine’s picturesque Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above), with its red and yellow hues amplifying any main dish it meets. Or in Food Network Magazine’s savory Tomato Cobbler, fresh dough and a rich tomato filling reach bubbling perfection together in the oven.
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by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, In Season, July 5th, 2013
I went to the farmers’ market to get strawberries. I thought I might have missed their short season, but they were in fact there. And then, as if I were somewhere I might never visit again, I suddenly needed everything else there, too.
I hadn’t thought of tea radishes or pink or icicle radishes either — or purple, yellow or white spring onions, carrots, herbs, peonies, tiny, odd lettuces — or shell peas. I didn’t need snap peas, but there they were, tight in their skins, like a bin full of miniature blimps. I wanted to see them again, so I took a picture. The farmer said I could even taste one. Almost involuntarily, I found myself unfurling a bag from the roll and stuffing some in.
The less common the vegetables were, the more I suddenly needed them. And now that I already had to carry a bag, there wasn’t much reason not to quench my drought of fresh chamomile flowers, or to fill the now obvious garlic-scape chasm in my life. I pressured a nearby stranger who claimed not to know what to do with radishes to drag them through butter and dab them in salt, and later saw her headed to the register with three bunches.
Each summer I choose a salad that will become my go-to barbecue and party contribution for the season. One year I spent three months making variations of potato salads (my husband really liked that year). The next time around, I declared that it was to be the summer of slaw and ended up shredding cabbage, carrots, beets and kohlrabi well into the fall. The year I got married, I was all about quinoa salads.
I find that I really appreciate having a particular genre of salad to work with each year, as it gives me some structure (always a good thing in a busy life), but also allows me to explore the many different varieties that each kind of salad embodies. There’s a great deal of pleasure in trying on different combinations and seeing how the various flavors mix and marry.
Recently I decided that the summer of 2013 is going to be all about panzanella. This is a traditional Italian salad that stars cubes of toasted stale bread and often features tomatoes and a variety of other crunchy, savory things. It can be made with grilled vegetables, sweet potatoes and even chicken or tofu (I do love a salad that can become a full meal).
Before you start cooking, read these tips