Seasonal

Individual Peach Cobblers

image This unique yet delicious peach cobbler recipe uses fresh peaches, fall spices and a delectable non-traditional biscuit-like "crust." I was perusing my neighborhood farmer's market yesterday and I came across so many perfectly ripe white and yellow peaches. When I find perfectly-ripe, locally-grown, pesticide-free produce, I have a hard time walking away. So, I purchased some peaches, and by "some," I mean several pounds. I prefer white peaches for snacking (since I find that they are a little sweeter and less tart) and yellow peaches for baking. Plus, I didn't want to let another summer go by without making a peach cobbler, so I used the yellow peaches for this dish.

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Everyone knows that the crust is the best part about peach cobblers, so I made this cobbler in individual ramekins to ensure that everyone gets a generous serving of crust. But this isn't a traditional pie crust--it's more of a biscuit or scone, but it works perfectly. To make this dish, I peeled several peaches and then cut them into wedges. I tossed the wedges with brown sugar, lemon juice, flour and ground cinnamon. I greased ramekins and then filled them with the peaches and dotted them with butter. I baked them for about 14 minutes, until the juices were just starting to bubble. While the peaches were baking, I prepared the crust. I combined all purpose flour, almond flour (ground almonds), brown sugar, salt, butter and buttermilk. I pulsed the ingredients in a food processor until they were combined. I then turned the rather sticky dough onto a work surface and kneaded it a few times. I then patted it into a 7 inch by 2 inch rectangle, and cut the rectangle into 6 equal squares. I placed a square on top of each peach-filled ramekin, then brushed egg whites and sprinkled sliced almonds and brown sugar. I returned the cobblers to the oven for an additional 25 minutes.

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The cobblers oozed with peach goodness and had beautifully-browned tops. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 20 minutes. You can even top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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Individual Peach Cobblers
Author: Vallery
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh peaches peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • FOR THE CRUST
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup almond flour (almond meal)
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • sliced almonds, for garnish
  • vanilla ice cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and prepare 6 small ramekins by lightly greasing them and placing them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the fresh peach slices with the brown sugar, flour, lemon juice and ground cinnamon.
  3. Fill each ramekin with the peach slices and the remaining juice. Place in the oven for approximately 14 minutes, until the peaches just start to bubble.
  4. While the peaches are baking, prepare the dough.
  5. Combine the baking powder, salt, all purpose flour, almond flour and brown sugar in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until small crumbs form. Add the buttermilk and pulse until combined.
  6. Remove the dough and knead it until it comes together (about 15 seconds). Using your hands, pat the dough into a rectangle 5 inches by 7 inches.
  7. Cut the rectangle into 6 equal squares.
  8. Once the peaches are baked and bubbly, place a square of dough on top of each ramekin. Brush the lightly beaten egg on top of each square of dough. Sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar on top of each ramekin, and sprinkle sliced almonds on top.
  9. Bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the dough is browned and the peaches are bubbling over.
  10. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes (they will be very hot!)
  11. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

Mimosa Popsicles

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Mimosas are essential for any brunch spread, and the last heatwave inspired me to make mimosa Popsicles!  I decided to use small disposable plastic cups and they worked out perfectly. I filled them about 1/3 of the way (about one inch) with Champagne. I froze them for two hours and then situated the Popsicle sticks in. I then poured about an inch of orange juice (1/3 cup) and frozen them for another 3 hours.

imageUnmolding the frozen Popsicles was extremely easy--they came right out. I recommend unmolding them within 24 hours and then storing them in the freezer in an airtight container with small pieces of wax paper or parchment paper between them.

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A fun and drip-free way to serve the Popsicles is to put them in a glass of Champagne of a mimosa "Poptail."

Mimosa Poptail

Happy Summer brunching everyone!

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Grilled Salmon Skewers with Lemon

d052d9b1-43ee-4a8f-82be-935eef23d885 This recipe for salmon skewers can be made outdoors on a grill, or inside in the kitchen. Either way, you will have delicious, moist salmon kebabs that are simple to prepare and nourishing for your body.

Salmon is a favorite of mine, but the hefty cost of wild-caught salmon (both financially and environmentally) prevents me from consuming it on a regular basis. However, we must be in the middle of salmon season since I found wild-caught salmon at my local grocer for less than $9 a pound!

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marinated salmon

This entire recipe can be made start-to-finish in less than 30 minutes. I made a little extra marinade that I brushed on the kebabs once they were on the grill. Since I live in a tiny studio apartment with no access to outdoors, I grilled these in my kitchen on a cast-iron griddle.  They came out absolutely perfectly. I intended on bringing these for my lunch today, but I had an entire serving as soon as they were done since they were so flavorful and moist right off the grill.

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Indoor grill life!

To make the marinade, I mixed fresh dill with Dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  I then reserved about 1/3 of the marinade in a small bowl and set aside. Next, I cut the salmon into chunks and mixed it into the marinade. I allowed the salmon to sit in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes while I sliced the lemons and prepared the grill.

Once the griddle was hot, I grilled the kebabs for about 3 minutes on each side, lightly brushing with the remaining marinade. Serve immediately!

Grilled Salmon Skewers with Lemon
Author: Vallery
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 kebabs
Ingredients
  • 1 pound wild-caught salmon, scaly part of the skin removed
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons light/refined olive oil or safflower oil (do not use extra virgin olive oil--you need an oil with a high smoking point)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, very finely chopped.
  • Skewers (if using wooden, soak them overnight)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper and garlic. Pour 1/3 into a smaller bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut the salmon fillet, skin removed, into 1 and 1/2 inch chunks. Mix the salmon chunks in the large bowl of marinade. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the lemons by thinly slicing them. Prepare the grill. If using a stove-top griddle, light the heat to medium-high.
  4. Prepare the skewers by alternating the salmon chunks with the thinly-sliced lemon. Once the grill is hot, add the skewers and brush remaining marinade on the kebabs. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, until done. Serve immediately.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Tart

IMG_9431 Believe the hype. Strawberry and rhubarb baked together is one of those rare and special food pairings. This was my first time baking with rhubarb, and I'm pretty much obsessed with it now. That it isn't easy to come by and has a very short season makes it all the more special. If you can get your hands on some rhubarb, do yourself a favor and make this tart!

 

Tart is truly an appropriate word when it comes to describing rhubarb. While cooking it in a pot with some sugar, I discovered this magical window where the rhubarb finally softens, but is still bursting with juiciness and vibrant flavor. Keep on cooking and you'll have something more akin to jam, which is delicious in its own right. I'll now be adding rhubarb to many of my goodies whenever I have it on hand!

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Pairing rhubarb with strawberries works well for many reasons. First, rhubarb is difficult to find and expensive. Second, a lot of rhubarb that you do find may not be all the way red. So, the strawberries also lend their lovely red color to the tart.

I made my basic almond crust in a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. I baked the crust for about 10 minutes before adding the filling, and then I baked it for another 25 minutes or so. The key is to not overcook the rhubarb before putting it in the tart, since it will continue to cook while it's in the oven! Cook the rhubarb just until it begins to soften. Then, immediately remove it from the stove and stir in the strawberries and remaining ingredients.

Happy baking everyone, and have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Tart
Author: Vallery
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 12 ounces rhubarb, chopped at a diagonal
  • 8 ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CRUST:
  2. Combine the almond flour, flour and butter using a pastry cutter, food processor, or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Press the mixture into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Once chilled, bake the tart crust for about 10 minutes. It should not be brown. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  5. FOR THE FILLING:
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Add the sugar and rhubarb to a pot over low heat and stir. Cook until the rhubarb just starts to break down. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the strawberries, lemon juice and corn starch. The filling will have a fair amount of liquid.
  7. Scoop the filling (leaving as much liquid as possible) into the crust, and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.
  8. Cut into pieces and serve. This can be stored in the refrigerator in a closed container for up to three days.

 

Peach and Plum Tart with Pistachio-Almond Crust

Peach and Plum Tart with Pistachio-Almond Crust This decadent, delicious and very doable tart is something I created to celebrate summer. It has many of my favorite things: fresh stone fruit, pistachio and almonds blended into the crust, and a light, fluffy center of aerated mascarpone. The fresh plums and peaches keep surprisingly well. There's no need to cook them or do anything else to preserve them during the life of the tart.

The filling consists of mascarpone cheese and heavy cream, whipped with honey. The crust, a combination of pistachios and almonds, pairs perfectly with the honey-sweetened cream and fresh peaches and plums. This tart is delectable, yet light. The crust is so darn good that it can stand on its own. You now have a pistachio-almond shortbread cookie recipe as well!

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When I created this tart, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to feature. Once my filling set, I began playing around with the fruit, which is when I settled on the peach-plum combination, which provided a beautiful contrast in color, texture and acidity.

To make this tart, combine ground pistachios, ground almonds (almond flour), flour, powdered sugar and butter until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and the dough appears to have large crumbs. Once crumbly, transfer the dough to a Nonstick 9" Pie Pan. You will have some dough left over, which you can make shortbread cookies out of. Once the dough is pressed in the pan, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350F.

Ground pistachios, ground almonds, flour, powdered sugar and butter

Combine until crumbly.

Press the dough into a nonstick pan.

Chill for 30 minutes before baking.

Bake until the tart crust is light golden, and starting to brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Bake until just beginning to brown.

Once the tart is completely cool, prepare the mascarpone cheese/cream filling. I used my KitchenAid Professional 6500 Stand Mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment to make the filling. I added the mascarpone, heavy cream, honey and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat the mixture on medium until firm peaks formed, approximately two minutes.  If you over whip, you will know it because you will be making butter! So, be careful not to over whip.

Combine the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, honey and vanilla extract using the whisk attachment.

The filling is ready when you have firm peaks.

Pour the filling into the tart pan and smooth the top.

Pour the filling into the tart pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate the tart while you prepare the fruit.

Arrange the thinly-sliced pear and plum slices around the tart. Lastly, sprinkle the coarsely-chopped pistachios around the tart's edges. Refrigerate the tart until it is completely chilled. This tart should be served cold and stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to three days.

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To serve, simply cut the pieces--they will come right out of the nonstick pan!  I sincerely hope you enjoy this recipe!

Peach and Plum Tart with Pistachio-Almond Crust
Author: Vallery
Serves: 1 tart
Ingredients
  • TART DOUGH
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds (almond flour/meal)
  • 1/2 cup ground pistachios
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • FILLING
  • 1 cup cold mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • TOPPING
  • 3 large peaches, thinly sliced
  • 3 large plums, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Prepare the tart dough by combining the flour, almonds, pistachios, powdered sugar and butter until the mixture is crumbly. Then, press the crumbly mixture into a nonstick tart pan, and press the dough up the sides and across the bottom of the pan. You will have a significant amount of dough leftover. (You can make shortbread cookies out of the dough by baking it at 350F.)
  2. Chill the tart dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Once the dough is chilled, bake the tart crust for 15-20 minutes, until just starting to brown. Allow it to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  3. Prepare the filling by combing the mascarpone cheese, the heavy cream, honey and vanilla extract in the bowl a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment. Beat on medium until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to over whip. Pour the filling into the cooled tart crust, and smooth the top.
  4. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Arrange the sliced fruit around the tart. Sprinkle the coarsely chopped pistachios around the edge of the tart. Refrigerate until ready to eat. It may be stored in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

 

Nice Cream Smoothie Bowl

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Summer has always been my favorite season. Perhaps because I was born in the summer, or because I grew up in a nearly-tropical environment that felt like summer most of the year. Whatever the reason, I love this season and I love all of the food we get to eat during these hot months.

I'm celebrating the summer solstice and this heat wave by having "Nice Cream" for breakfast. Nice cream is similar to ice cream because it's frozen, creamy and delicious. But nice cream is kind to your body because it consists of only one ingredient! Bananas!

Last night, I chopped then froze two bananas. This morning, I put them in a food processor and processed until they congealed and were smooth and cream like ice cream. It really is that simple!

Put chopped, frozen bananas in a food processor.

Process until smooth and creamy

At this point, it's ready to eat! But, if you want a scoop-able ice cream, put it in a closed container in the freezer for a couple of hours.

To make this nice cream smoothie bowl, I added a dollop of melted chocolate, raspberries, chia seeds and coconut. This definitely feels more like dessert than breakfast!

Ingredients:

2 bananas, previously chopped and frozen

To garnish: melted chocolate, raspberries, chia seeds and coconut

Method:

Put the bananas in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Transfer the nice cream to a small bowl and garnish with a dollop of melted chocolate, raspberries, chia seeds and coconut.

Serve immediately.