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Summer

(Almost) Labor-Free Labor Day Fruit Thing

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by Jessica Harper

Fruit-dessert1So as the days of summer dwindle, so does my supply of summer fruit. The bowl that I filled on Thursday with the bounty from the farmers’ market was down to a few lonely items by Sunday.

I was gonna make a cake or a tart or a cobbler or a pie but a) everybody’s so annoyingly calorie-phobic and b) I’m too lazy. (Isn’t Labor Day supposed to be Labor-free?) So I embraced my inner sloth and just threw together something so simple you barely have to be conscious to make it.

The hardest part was locating my cherry pitter, which I’d received as a hostess gift some time in the ‘90’s from someone who didn’t know me well enough to know how seldom that tool would see the light of day.

I only had a few cherries, so the task of pitting them was over before it could become annoying. I threw them into a saucepan, added my two remaining nectarines and what was left of my berry stash and cooked ‘em up with a little sugar, lemon and orange zest. Now I’ve got this lovely, almost labor-free compote and only one task remains. Hint: it involves an ice cream scoop.

Peach Ketchup

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by Amy Sherman

peachketchupI can, can you? Sure you can! Canning is not hard to do at all, especially if you pick a really easy project like canning fruit. This year I received a box of luscious peaches from Washington state. They were perfectly ripe, but a bit crushed in spots due to poor handling in transit. Instead of canning slices or halves, I used the fruit—some perfect and some not so perfect—to make peach ketchup!

Peach ketchup is a lovely peachy color, but it tastes very much like tomato ketchup. Taste it before you can it, and adjust the spices and sugar to suit yourself. Use really great tasting fruit, it should not be brown or overripe, but if it is soft in spots, that's ok. Use the tangy sweet and sour ketchup just as you would regular tomato ketchup. It’s particularly great on potatoes.

Sweet Preservation ia a great go-to resource for canning and freezing stone fruits, offering how-to-tips, recipes, health information, customizable canning jar labels and more.

A Celebration of Peaches

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by Amy Ephron
     
 

peachbasketIt’s the end of summer. And I always get nervous that it’s almost the end of peach season (which is true). So the race is on over here to figure out all the things I can do with peaches before the summer ends.

I spent a summer once on a farm in Pennsylvania. We had fresh yellow peaches every day from the Amish Farmer next door. We ate them for breakfast, sliced with their skins on, in a bowl, with unsweetened heavy cream poured over them (not too heavily, not like cereal) and walnuts if we were feeling adventurous. It was a delicious way to start the day.

There was peach cobbler once a week in the summer when I was growing up. Perfect with a real pie crust on the top. And then when I started entertaining for myself, peach praline pie was one of my favorite things to make.

Here are some of our favorite peach recipes. Tell us yours!

Peach Lemonade | Noble Pig's Peach Margaritas | Sangria with Sparkling Wine and Stone Fruit

Ginger Peach Preserves | Fresh Peach Jam with Bourbon

Peach and Raspberry CobblerCornbread Crisps with Peach Salsa | Blue Cheese and Peach Chutney Crostini

Peach and Pecan Chicken Salad | Peach Salad With Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts | Pork Chops with Peach-Ginger Chutney

Fresh Peach Tart  | Iron Skillet Peach Pie | Peach Galette | Fresh Peach and Cinnamon Ice Cream | White Peach Sherbet | Grilled Peaches Stuffed with Mascarpone Cheese and Rosemary | Grilled Pound Cake with Warm Peach Coulis and Chantilly Cream | Amaretto Peach Bake with Honey-Lemon Olive Oil Cake | Peaches in Sauternes | Blackberry and Peach Crisp | Peach and Tart Cherry Cobbler with Sour Cream Biscuits | Summer's Best Fresh Peach Cobbler | Peach and Raspberry Cobbler

 
     

Making Dinner in the Heat, No Cooking Involved

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by Evan Kleiman

coconut-cevicheThis quick and easy dinner was inspired by Aida Mollenkamp‘s Chile Basil Coconut Ceviche. Black Cod arrived from the fish CSA this week, I just bought a can of coconut cream and I was awash in fresh lime juice.

It was, as they say, beshert, meant to be. It never occurred to me to combine coconut milk/cream with lime juice to “cook” the fish. Black Cod is so luscious that I normally wouldn’t use it in ceviche but somehow the idea of combining like with like (rich fish and rich coconut cream) seemed like a good idea.

I looked in the fridge to see what I had that would appeal in the same way Aida’s mixture of mango with coconut appeals. I had a luscious Weiser Ogen melon. Score!

Worcester Burgers with Stilton and Arugula

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by Joseph Erdos

labordayburger2What would labor day be without grilling and hamburgers? Burgers are a mainstay of any backyard get-together. No party, especially one at my house, could ever take place without them. It's hard to believe that September is here and soon summer barbecuing will be over. But while the weather is warm there's still time for one last outdoor party before the leaves start falling. So if you are planning on making burgers, this is a recipe for something different.

Here is a burger with a slight English accent. First the meat mixture contains Worcestershire sauce, the famous condiment originally from Worcester, England. And there's Stilton, the British blue cheese. Any blue cheese would work in place of Stilton, but this cheese is worth searching for. It's strong flavor works surprisingly well with arugula and of course, beef. These burgers are tangy, pungent, and peppery.

Since I like to use lean beef, I bind the meat mixture with eggs and breadcrumbs to keep it from crumbling. The burgers are cooked just until done, rested, and then topped with Stilton, a slice of tomato, and arugula. Serve with buns of your choice. But before you add ketchup, mayo, or mustard, just try the burger as is. You might find it's juicy and flavorful enough to not need any condiment cover-up.

Cheese-Filled Grilled Avocados

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by Cathy Pollak

Cheese-Filled-Grilled-AvocadosHere it is, the perfect appetizer for your Labor Day Weekend ~ Last Hurrah of Summer bash. There are many reasons this dish is awesome, but reason numero uno (besides taste) is its simplicity. You can make as many as you need, it's ready in minutes and you have the grill going anyway.

And, if your grill-centric partner won't let you near the flames, it's even better. You can send this appetizer outside for them to whip-up, while you finish meal prep in the kitchen. It's also vegetarian, vegan, non-dairy, (sub in vegan-non-dairy veggie cheese) gluten-free, kosher...making it easy to serve to a crowd who have all kinds of dietary restrictions.

A fun variation would be a hot sauce bar, where everyone can choose their level of heat. Since we like it spicy at the Noble Pig house, we chose Sriracha...and it was fantastic.

Magical things happen when you grill an avocado. The buttery inside becomes even creamier and the flesh is infused with the smokiness of the grill. Since the avocado already has a high fat content, sprinkling lime on top is all that's necessary before placing it on the grill.

Homemade Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce

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by Cathy Pollak

Kansas-City-BBQ-SauceWe are big barbecue lovers over here, ribs, pulled pork and brisket make for an amazing meal. But the sauce has to be right. Like perfection. Sometimes I crave my tangy-vinegar based Eastern Carolina Barbecue Sauce. But lately I’ve been wanting something sweet with a little bit of smoke on the side.

Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce is known for its balanced sweet-smoky-spicy flavor. It can be hard to achieve since the sweetness can easily overpower the other flavors. However, I’ve been playing and tweaking and I think I’ve finally gotten it. Practice makes perfect!

The sauce is thick and somewhat dark brown. It’s powerful and ornery with lots of attitude. I love this sauce on pulled pork and all kinds of other barbecue. I have been spending a lot of time learning about all the different regional styles of barbecue, it’s fascinating and it’s not just about the sauce.

Tomato & Polenta Pie

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by Megan Martin

tompolentaAt noon on any summer day, there's a certain silence that sweeps across our pastures. It's a livestock siesta and no better time to enjoy the peacefulness of the sun and swaying pines around us. Dane and I think of a savory snack to bring to the breeziest spot on the farm - under the shade of our oldest oak tree.

This season we've collected cherry tomatoes by the buckets - sauces, sun dried and salsa has been happening a lot in my kitchen, but there's nothing like the smell of roasting a tray of fresh picked tomatoes.

This simple pie has a cheesy polenta base that feeds my love for the taste of southern grits. I top it with bright, tart roasted tomatoes - although a variety of garden vegetables could be roasted or sauteed for a satisfying topping.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce With Roasted Vegetables

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by Jessica Harper

SummerVeg1The trouble with going to the farmers’ market is that everything looks so gorgeous I buy enough to feed everyone in my zip code. Then I go home and realize that I actually have to do something with all this bounty, as in, cook it, at which point I have been known to utter a mild curse.

Last weekend I visited the relatively new market at the Beverly Glen Circle. The produce and friendly purveyors were so seductive, I found myself leaving with armloads of bell peppers, eggplant, red onions and masses of heirloom tomatoes, herbs, stuffed flatbread, artichoke spread and even some truffle-scented sea salt, although I’m clueless as to its practical use. If you’d seen me schlepping all those bags to the car, you’d have mistaken me for someone who actually likes spending most of the day in the kitchen.

Iron Skillet Peach Pie

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by James Farmer III

peachpieskilletEarly August is here and the close of peach season in my neck of the woods is drawing nigh. Thankfully 'maters and peas and other summer produce will take us into an Indian Summer and then, thankfully into fall!

I have two sets of iron skillets - one set for savory cooking and one set for sweets. There's hardly anything better than a good iron skillet, but there's hardly anything worse than a peach or apple or berry pie that tastes like onions and gravy! Trust this Farmer, keep a sweet skillet handy so you don't serve onion/gravy flavored peach pie at a dinner party!

Mimi was the source - of course - of any of my iron skillet prowess. She taught me about cooking with them, in them, seasoning them and even bringing a rusty one back to life. She told me that if the house caught on fire, grab the silver and family photos - the skillets will be just fine!

So here is one of my favorite pies in an iron skillet - peach! Followed closely by apple and bringing up the rear would be my pineapple upside cake. The iron gets so hot that the cake or pies cook quickly and give your crust some crunch and substance. Besides tasting absolutely divine, these desserts are beautifully presented in their skillet caches - one less dish to wash and allows for easy reheating!

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