Thursday, July 11, 2013

More Peaches

It feels like full-on summertime right now. And nothing makes me happier. My one summer ritual is to go to the Farmer's Market each Saturday morning and buy a bag of fresh peaches. In summer, I don't think you can really have too many peaches. I'm reminded of that hilarious Will Ferrell SNL "More Cowbell!" skit about Blue Oyster Cult recording the song "(Don't Fear) the Reaper." 

At the climax of the skit, THE Bruce Dickinson (aka Christopher Walken) exclaims, "Guess what? I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!" I kind of feel the same way about summer. I got a fever and the only prescription is more peaches! I've been muddling them, grilling them, freezing them, you name it. This is my latest preparation.

I think I actually made it three times in a week. Peaches, asparagus and goat cheese prove to be a fantastic combination for a salad. It's delicious, not to mention healthy.

I can kind of fall off the health wagon on the weekends, so it's nice to find something I can really savor that I don't have to feel guilty about (unlike the pizza-by-the-slice at 2 am). 

The dish really comes together quickly too, which is a bonus because I'd rather spend the day's "golden hour" outside instead of manning a bunch of pans in the kitchen. And I believe it would pair with almost anything: a burger, rib-eye, BBQ chicken, turkey sandwich, quiche..... 

While the components of the salad can be prepared ahead of time, you do have to wait to slice the peaches until you're ready to serve the salad to avoid discoloration. The reward is great for very little effort. 

So go out and get some fresh peaches and enjoy the glory of summer! 

Peach and Asparagus Salad

1 bunch of asparagus, sliced on the bias in 1-in pieces
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
Zest and juice of 1 lemon 
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp shallot, diced
5-6 cups of mixed salad greens
1 Persian cucumber, halved and sliced in half-moons
2 peaches, thinly sliced lengthwise
2-3 oz crumbled goat cheese (I personally love Humbolt Fog)
1/4 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
Salt and pepper

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the asparagus in one tsp olive oil for about 4 minutes until bright green yet tender. Add garlic, lemon zest and red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and squeeze the juice from half the lemon on it. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 
2. Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, juice from the remaining lemon half, shallot, dijon mustard, and 3 Tbsp olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
3. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the dressing. Top with the asparagus, cucumber, cheese, almonds and peaches. Serve immediately. 
Serves 4

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lazy-Ass Pie

My last post was for something that was pretty high maintenance to make. Although delicious, I did admit they were a labor of love, especially if you're not a baker like me. My friend's wife made them and he wrote this to me: "This recipe is a keeper! Everyone loved the cupcakes, even though Missy B said they were a pain in the ass to make." Well, Missy B, I couldn't agree with you more! So in your honor, please behold the Lazy-Ass Pie!

It's so lazy, you don't even have to use utensils to eat it! Just pick it up and start chowing down.

It's so lazy, you don't even have to make a pie crust! Just go buy the frozen kind. No one has to know. 

I mean who doesn't love a good pie?! But I mean who actually loves going through all the work to make a good pie?! Probably only my friend Meredith. And when you make it in a hand-held version, well, life just got better.

No doubt, this little pocket of deliciousness would be excellent any time of the day, any day of the week. Honestly, you can even eat one in the morning and it's like eating a blueberry pop tart—except for way better. I know it's probably frowned upon to give your kids pie for breakfast but I think you could get away with this one, and they will think you're the freaking best parent in the world.

So be smart about your July 4th holiday. You can hold your cold beer in one hand and your lazy-ass pie in the other! Or you can spend your time making a complicated pie from scratch. No contest. 

Happy Independence Day, America!

Lazy-Ass Pie

1 frozen pie crust, thawed
2 cups blueberries 
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water ( = egg wash)
2 Tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. 
2. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a 15x12" rectangle. Cut into 6 rectangles. Brush the edges with water; mound a small spoonful of blueberries on one half of each rectangle. Fold dough over, and press edges to seal and then "close" the seam by pressing the back of a fork on it. 
3. Place each pie pocket on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut a few tiny slits in top (which I forgot to do). 
4. Bake pie pockets, rotating sheet halfway through, until juices are bubbling and pastry is golden brown, 30-45 minutes. Don't worry, the berry juices are supposed to run onto the parchment. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.