Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I'm Reading Today

The sun's finally reared its smiling face in SF.  Grills are being dusted off, picnic tables cleaned, and summer produce is showing up at the market.  Today's recipes are inspired by the market-enjoy!

Strawberries in season are one of the most delicious things, ever.  Melissa Clark, in today's New York Times, transforms hers into a tiramisù that is nothing like the coffee laden version we're used to.  Her market-fresh version takes Italian ladyfingers and soaks them in Moscato wine instead of the more traditional espresso or Marsala.  She dots her mascarpone with fresh vanilla bean and layers it all together for the beauty you see above.  After resting for at least 6 hours (or up to 2 days) the flavors mesh to create the perfect make-ahead dessert for your next sunny evening soiree.  While the strawberries look fantastic here, feel free to use whatever fresh berries, or even stone fruit, that you find at your farmers' market.

Deviled eggs should become a regular on your summer menus.  Farm fresh eggs are so easy to find these days and recipes like this really help them shine.  Once you know how to hard boil the perfect egg (meaning no green ring around your yolk-just bright yellow and tender on the inside), the rest is a breeze.  In this Deviled Egg recipe from today's Washington Post the egg cooking method is identical to mine, plus 1 minute (mine sit covered, off the heat, for 14 minutes instead of 15).  This should be a jumping off recipe-one you use as inspiration for flavors of your own.  Some ideas for other fresh additions I like: finely minced radish and fresh chive, toasted curry powder and mango chutney, minced cornichon and smoked paprika, or diced piquillo peppers and cilantro.  This is one of those recipes that reminds everyone of the past.  Never out of fashion but definitely "old school", deviled eggs are always a hit.  Of course my book, "eggs", has a great recipe to check out too.

Grilling pizza and flatbreads has become a popular summer cooking method.  It keeps the house cool (no 500 degree oven blasting away) and gives the breads a smoky flavor more reminiscent of a true wood burning or brick oven.  In today's Seattle Times, I found this Assoc. Press recipe for Grilled Summer Herb and Olive Foccacia.  The yeasted dough can be made in a food processor and only needs two short rests, totaling just over 30 minutes.  Keep on eye on the dough as you grill it, making sure your heat is just right.  I've seen breads like this char in an instant and that's definitely not the goal.  Look for a crispy, crunchy crust with a light, fluffy interior.  This simple version has Kalamata olives plus some rosemary and thyme (are those really "summer herbs"?) but I'd try using cheese, fresh tomatoes, fig jam, or baby arugula.  The bread is a great base for which ever market fresh toppings you have around.

Happy Reading and Happy Cooking!

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