July 25, 2014
I was at the farmer’s market yesterday and saw that sour cherries are still available around here. I was surprised, because I know that sour cherries are only available for a short while…and we picked ours a month ago! But of course I wasn’t thinking about the fact that there are a few different varieties of them, and the ones available now are a darker red shade, but still just as sour. So, I wasn’t going to post this recipe because I thought the season was over, but we’re in luck around here! Grab some this weekend and bake these…I promise you won’t be sorry. The crust is heavenly, and I love hand pies because the crust to filling ratio is perfect. And these are a perfect dessert to bring to your friend’s BBQ! No serving hassle at all…just put them on a plate and watch them disappear.
Sour Cherry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies
adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe for rhubarb cream cheese hand pies
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. Gently stir in 3/4 cup buttermilk with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Using your hands, knead it just two or three times to form a ball. If it doesn’t come together, add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does, then gently knead again. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days or slip plastic-wrapped dough into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
The Cherry Filling:
1 lb. pitted sour cherries (about 4 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp instant tapioca
Place cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan with sugar and tapioca and stir to combine. Cover and cook at medium-low heat for 15 minutes, no need to stir. Increase the heat to medium, remove the lid and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until thick enough that if you run a spoon across the bottom of the pot, you can see a trench quickly form and disappear. Spread mixture on a large plate in the fridge or freezer to cool quickly, then scrape into a bowl. Keep cold until needed; it will be thicker and easier to “scoop” onto the pie bases.
The Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 large egg yolk
Beat cream cheese, sugar, zest, juice and yolk together in a small bowl with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Keep cold until needed.
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line two to three baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat your remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water and keep aside with a pastry brush.
Dust your counter or pastry mat with a lot of flour, unwrap the first half of your dough and start rolling your dough by pressing down lightly with the floured pin and moving it from the center out. Be patient about rolling, don’t press too hard, and it won’t crack as easily. Roll until 1/8″ thick. I cut mine into circles using a 3″ biscuit cutter, but you can also cut into 3″ squares using a pizza wheel or pastry cutter. You won’t have as much dough scraps left if you cut into squares, but I really wanted rounds. If doing rounds, you’ll have quite a bit of scraps, which you can form back into a ball, refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then re-roll and cut some more. It will make for slightly tougher crust on those, but I didn’t think it made that big of a difference. If your dough becomes soft, slide onto baking sheets and freeze for 15 minutes. It will make it easier to assemble.
Brush half the squares very, very lightly with the egg wash; these will be your bases. Cut a small vent in the other half of the squares; these will be your lids. In the center of each egg washed square, put a small dollop (a measured teaspoon) of cream cheese, then cherry filling on top. Don’t overfill! Top each filled base with a vented square. Press outer edge of top and bottom all around to seal with your fingertips or a fork. Transfer pie to a baking sheet, spacing 1-inch apart. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. Repeat with remaining dough, including second half from fridge, and fillings (you will probably have some fillings left over…you can do what I did and re-roll the remaining scraps a third time and make a tiny little pie for someone who won’t mind tough pie crust, like my son. :) )
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden, and even more brown at edges. Transfer to cooling racks and cool to room temperature before serving.
July 22, 2014
We love green bean salads in the summer here at S&SK, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. Plus, it reminded me of the long forgotten 3-bean salad of my growing up. So long forgotten that I kept wracking my brain as to what the 3rd bean was. I knew it included canned green beans and canned kidney beans, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember the 3rd bean. So of course I googled it and saw that it was wax beans! So if you want this recipe to look like the classic but taste 21st century, you could make it with green and wax beans (at farmer’s markets up here right now) and kidney beans. :-) We served this with potato salad and grilled meats. Yum!
Margaux says . . .
We loved this recipe! I’m always looking for new ways to prepare green beans because it is a family favorite. The flavor in this salad is amazing, with the capers, herbs, shallot and lemon. I used canned cannellini beans. I served it with California burgers and corn on the cob…perfect summer weeknight meal.
BEAN SALAD adapted from Bon Appetit
2 cups cooked beans, fresh or dried (such as cannellini, borlotti or cranberry) or 1 14-oz. can cannellini or kidney beans, rinsed
1 pound green beans (or half green and half wax beans), ends trimmed, beans snapped in two
3/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 or 1 whole lemon, depending on how large
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the dried or fresh shell beans according to directions. Drain and set aside to cool. Alternatively, open the can, rinse and drain. Cook the green beans (and wax beans if using). Place in steamer, bring water to a boil and steam for 5-6 minutes. Alternatively, cover in water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Either way, drain, place back in the pan, cover with cold water and ice to cool down and stop the cooking. Once cool, drain and dry with paper towels.
Place both types of beans in a large bowl. Add the parsley, chives, capers and lemon zest. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, the shallot, the red pepper and salt/black pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and mix thoroughly, best done with your hands.
July 22, 2014
Aunt Suzy says . . .
I have become enamored with farro, an ancient grain that’s a species of wheat. (I love this NPR article that includes a few recipes.) I saw this recipe as I was about to head out to the farmer’s market. Beets are just coming in now up here in Minnesota, and I love using both the beet root and tops in dishes. Star Prairie Trout Farm sells at the market – fresh and smoked – and I had some farro on hand, so I was set! We really enjoyed this and Randy remarked that he would like it equally as a side salad without the trout. A dry rosé wine was a perfect complement.
Adapted from Food and Wine
3 small beets (1/2 pound)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro (8 ounces)
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground pepper
6 ounces skinless smoked trout fillet, flaked
2 cups chopped beet greens or Swiss chard—stems removed, leaves washed and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small baking dish, lightly drizzle the beets with olive oil and rub to coat. Cover the dish with foil and roast for about 1 hour, until the beets are tender. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut into 1/2-inch dice.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the farro and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer the farro to a bowl. Discard the garlic and herbs. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, combine the shallot, lemon juice and honey. Gradually whisk in the 1/3 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the trout.
To the farro, add the diced beets, the chopped greens and the remaining dressing and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, scatter the trout on top and serve. (I think this could also be served slightly warm. Definitely the flavors will be more pronounced if not chilled before serving.)
July 21, 2014
This pasta salad caught my eye on “Food and Wine” because of the olives and tomatoes…I really love that combo of flavors in a pasta salad. But what made this excellent is the mixed herb pesto that you toss it with, and the shaved pecorino that you toss in after it’s completely cooled, so that it doesn’t melt. This dish has a ton of flavor and will be in regular rotation on our “pasta Wednesdays” in the summer!
Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, Olives and Pecorin0
adapted from Food and Wine
1 pound penne
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped thyme
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped marjoram
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes—halved, seeded and quartered
1/3 cup Calamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely grated Tuscan Pecorino cheese (3 ounces)
Freshly ground pepper
Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the penne and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large serving bowl. Let sit to get to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, marjoram with 1/3 cup of olive oil. Add more olive oil if you think it’s necessary…the original recipe called for 1/2 cup, but I felt that was a little much. Scrape into the bowl with the pasta and season with salt, then toss together.
Then toss in the tomatoes and olives and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to develop flavor. Just before serving, add the Pecorino, season with salt and pepper and toss well.
July 20, 2014
My family farm has a couple of cherry trees, and this year we just happened to be in town (its 2.5 hours south of Chicago) when they were ready to pick! We picked as many as we could in 20 minutes, and got just enough for a pie and some hand pies I made a week later. Last year we got lucky with cherries, too, and I made this slab pie, which is also fantastic. It’s always hard to decide what kind of dessert to make when you only get cherries once a year. Next year, I vow to spend more than 20 minutes picking cherries (someone will have to entertain the children!), so that we have enough to freeze for later. Then I can make a pie, a slab pie, this sour cherry crumble pie that Aunt Suzy posted about years ago, and this cake that looks really good.
I found this recipe while reading a Smitten Kitchen blog about a strawberry rhubarb pie recipe that I used recently. The idea is that you bake the crust before baking the pie, so that the bottom crust isn’t soggy. I like that idea. It’s what I do with my single crust baked pies, like peach and custard pies, so why wouldn’t I do it with cherry? The results were just as I wanted…no soggy bottom crust. Instead it was nice and crisp, buttery and delicious. Instead of a traditional lattice top, I used a round cookie cutter to make a decorated top. I could have layered them and added more, because I didn’t think about the fact that they would shrink during baking. So I recommend putting more on than you think are needed.
Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie
adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in The New York Times
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, more for rolling out dough
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons instant tapioca
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pounds sour cherries (about 6 cups), rinsed and pitted
1 tablespoon kirsch or brandy
3 tablespoons heavy cream, or 1 egg yolk lightly whisked with 1 tbsp water
Demerara sugar, for sprinkling.
1. To make dough: in bowl of a food processor pulse together flour and salt just to combine. Add butter and pulse until chickpea-size pieces form. Add 3 to 6 tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until mixture just comes together. Separate dough into 2 disks, one using 2/3 dough, the other using the remaining. Wrap disks in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days) before rolling out and baking.
2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place larger dough disk on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12-inch circle, about 3/8-inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Line dough with foil and weigh it down with pie weights. Bake until crust is light golden brown, about 30 minutes.
3. While pie crust is baking, prepare filling. In bowl of a food processor, combine sugar, tapioca and cinnamon (use more tapioca if you prefer a thicker, more solid filling, and less if you like a looser, juicier filling). Run the motor until tapioca is finely ground. Place cherries in a bowl and add sugar and tapioca mixture. Drizzle in kirsch or brandy and toss gently to combine.
4. When pie crust is ready, transfer it to a wire rack to cool slightly and reduce heat to 375 degrees. Remove foil and weights. Scrape cherry filling into pie crust.
5. Place smaller disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it 3/8-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (or several round cookie cutters of different sizes) to cut out circles of dough. Arrange circles on top of cherry filling in a pattern of your choice.
6. Brush top crust with cream or egg wash and sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar (as you can see in photos, I forgot my sugar. Oops.) Bake until crust is dark golden brown and filling begins to bubble, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours, allowing filling to set before serving.
Aunt Suzy says . . .
This recipe caught my eye because Randy has been talking up trying the slow-roasting method for cooking salmon. Our usual approach is high-heat roasting for a very short period of time. We also love mustard greens; this is an unusual, but ultimately delicious, use of them. As Margaux says, the slow-roasting yields a tender and, we felt, silky textured piece of salmon. The original recipe called for 4 pieces of salmon, but we both made it with 2, using the full quantities of ingredients for everything else. If making with more pieces of salmon, we recommend upping the amounts of the other ingredients. We served with Green Rice and a dry French rosé wine.
We loved this dish! I’ve never made salmon slow roasted, and I thought it was really tender and delicious, and not dry at all. The sauce was divine. I only made two pieces of salmon, but still made the full recipe of the chickpeas and sauce. The leftover chickpeas and greens made a nice lunch the next day, and we ended up using almost all of the sauce because it was really good over the rice I made to accompany this as well.
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Mustard Greens, Chickpeas and Lemon-Mustard Sauce
2 tablespoons plus olive oil
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch small mustard greens, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon honey dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water
2 4-6-oz. salmon fillets
1/2 small shallot, very finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, patted dry
¼ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper
Preheat oven to 250°. Lightly coat a large baking dish with oil. Place chickpeas in a medium bowl and mash about half of them with a fork. Remove skins that have come loose. Add the cumin and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stir to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer chickpea mixture to the prepared baking dish.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mustard greens and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add honey water and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until greens are completely wilted, 2-3 more minutes. Transfer to dish with chickpea mixture.
Season salmon with salt and pepper then arrange over greens and chickpea mixture. Bake until salmon is opaque in the center, 25-35 minutes, depending on thickness. (Ours were relatively thin sockeye salmon pieces which were fully cooked at 25 minutes.)
LEMON DRESSING AND FINAL ASSEMBLY
Whisk shallot, 1/4 cup olive oil, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon honey in a liquid measuring cup. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the capers and crushed red pepper and cook until opened and crisp, about 30 seconds; drain on paper towels.
Place the greens and chickpea mixture on individual serving plates. Top with a piece of the salmon then drizzle with the dressing and top with capers.
July 8, 2014
Aunt Suzy says . . .
I was in our local coop the other day and was happy to see Chef Kate of Community Cooking with Kate doing a food demo. The things she demos are always delicious and use seasonal ingredients, plus she gives out recipes! I especially liked this onion jam, something I don’t think I’ve ever tasted before. Yum! I made this yesterday for a potluck dinner + movie with friends for our appetizer. Chef Kate served the jam with gruyere cheese and artisan nut thins crackers, so I followed suit. I have to confess I was a little worried whether we would like this. Not to worry, every last morsel of crackers, jam and cheese were gobbled up with a side of rave reviews! So next time you want to serve a unique appetizer, I highly recommend this. A glass of Prosecco is a great match.
2 large sweet onions, like Vidalia
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
NOTE: you can adjust ingredients up or down to taste. You can also substitute golden raisins for the apricots.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat till shimmering. Add the onions and the salt and saute for about 15 minutes, until translucent and fragrant.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes until caramelized. Check every so often to stir and add water if it’s becoming too dry in order to prevent scorching. I used the entire 45 minutes.
Serve with cheese and crackers or crostini. I think a manchego or a pecorino romano would work well as options to the gruyere. Randy thought this was equally delicious without the cheese.