citrus-oliveoil-sliceIn my house, olive oil, zest and the juice from citrus, generally means – marinate the chicken breasts and light the BBQ. However, today, I used these few ingredients in a whole new way. In a cake!

The fusion of the citrus zest and the olive oil, mixing around in my kitchen aid, permeated my kitchen with the most wonderful scent. I could not wait for this cake to emerge from the oven. I am going to make this cake over and over again.

Next time, mini olive oil citrus cakes, anyone?

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summer-reading-08.jpgI have books stashed everywhere. The car. The kitchen. The upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and the living room just in case I’m watching something on TV that isn’t recorded and I have to endure the commercials.

This summer I read the following books:

"My Lobotomy" by Howard Dully:  Somewhat tedious, at least what I can remember of it.

"Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell: Utterly fascinating as the two previous Gladwell books have been. He describes how timing, culture and class are major contributors to success. How one can have natural talent, even genius, but it often takes circumstances the reader might never have considered to optimize these qualities. I knew if I’d just been born in the 1960s, I might have had a better shot at organizing my garage!

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salsaverdeSalsa Verde makes a perfect dip during the summer and also adds a refreshing burst of flavor to all type of dishes. It is a great marinade and topping for grilled fish, seafood, chicken, beef, and lamb.

Some recipes call for boiling the tomatillos, but roasting adds more flavor to the sauce and is worth the extra step.

When selecting tomatillos, always slightly open the husk to inspect the flesh color and tone inside. The flesh should be firm and without major blemishes and the color should be bright green, with a fresh, fruity smell.

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blueberrytartBlueberries are intense. Intense color that stains your mouth purple. Intense sweet and tangy juice so rich it almost tastes like wine. Unlike other fruit, such as apples, they don't even need vanilla or cinnamon to give them a boost. They are the boost. The intensity of blueberries make them a nice kind of accent to other dishes, like in a fruit salad or a salsa. They are also great as polka dots in pancakes and muffins but a little trickier in pie. Just too intense. That's why I love blueberry tarts.

When you pick a bucket full you end up with about four pounds, which is a lot of blueberries! I called my mom for a recipe for a blueberry tart. This particular one uses three cups of blueberries and combines them with a sour cream filling that bakes up like a custard. Plopping blueberries into a custardy base, a pastry cream or clafouti seems like the right way to handle them.

I am hopeless when it comes to pie crust. I just don't have the pie crust mojo. So I rely on recipes with graham cracker crusts, and press-in crusts. This recipe has a crust that is no fail. Really. I swear. I'm going to use it as my default pie crust from now on. My mom cut the recipe out of a newspaper over twenty years ago so I apologize for not being able to attribute it properly. I have simplified the instructions somewhat.

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grilled_nectarines.jpgDoes anyone remember the scene from the television show "Strangers With Candy" where the tremendously unpopular Geraldine Antonia Blank (otherwise known as Gerri), tries to woo her classmates into coming to her house for a party?

"Anyone coming to my party Friday night? We’re serving hot fruit!"

While the phrase sounds odd out of context and perhaps a bit unpleasant, here’s something that sounds good: grilled fruit.

Ribs and chicken aren’t the only things that should get grill time. There’s nothing quicker and easier than slicing a fruit or two, tossing it on the grill and dressing it with a glaze, syrup or a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s the perfect topping for a scoop of ice cream and quite a delicious and unusual way of serving summer’s stone fruit. The heat brings out the sweet sugary flavors and the grill lends a tiny bit of outdoor panache.

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