Monthly Archives: July 2009

summer scene

with the bounty of summer fruits, Anne Willan’s clafoutis, here made with Rainier cherries and nectarines and peaches.
clafoutis, golden cherries and stone fruits
this version is eggy and custardy. i think i love the cake-y one better! or even tita Martha’s! but no matter, at least, the children loved it. (from the book “best recipes for absolutely everything“).

and with the proper alignment of all the planets and stars and the availability of ingredients…a perfect entree for summer: salmon Nicoise salad. i didn’t even have it with bread! but i might, next time.
salmon nicoise salad
based on a recipe from Gourmet magazine, August 2009.
a zesty medley of grilled salmon, boiled eggs, potatoes and green beans, assorted lettuces, English cucumbers, a punchy olive vinaigrette, and topped with crackling salmon skin shreds, almost like chicharron…healthy chicharron?

red-white-and-blue hazelnut pavlova

red white and blue pavlova
in the spirit of this beautiful and complex land…celebrating its birthday with a beautifully nuanced torte that is attributed mostly to either New Zealand or Australia. Tony Bourdain ate it with kiwi in NZ and challenged its origins, while i’ve always thought that it was dedicated to the delicate ballerina Anna Pavlova while she performed The Dying Swan…possibly in New Zealand?
this is based on two desserts, one from a cookbook and one from the latest issue of Gourmet July 2009. i was going to serve during my annual July 4th cookout but i couldn’t wait to experiment. this has to be eaten up instantaneously, since the frosting is made of whipped cream with Greek-style yogurt that does not keep at all and must be consumed on the spot.
not at all hard to do.
and on the cookout day, we grilled…
everything but the slug
everything but the slug.

[postscript, added 11 September 2009: i’ve had a grand total of two requests for the recipes! :goodvibes
so here they are, thanks guys. for still reading this blog. :wizard: ]

the hazelnut meringue layers are from epicurious. they are rich and nutty
the cream filling is from “Desserts All Around the Year,” 2008, World Publications group,

“For meringue:

* Confectioners sugar for dusting
* 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
* 3/4 cup egg whites (from 5 to 6 large eggs) at room temperature 30 minutes

For berries:

* 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, trimmed and quartered
* 1 pound blackberries
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For cream:

* 1 cup chilled heavy cream
* 1/3 cup chilled sour cream


Make meringue:
Preheat oven to 275°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans, then dust sides of pans with confectioners sugar, knocking out excess. Line bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper.

Pulse superfine sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a food processor until well combined.

Stir together vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more. Add vinegar mixture, then beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Spoon meringue into pans (about 2 1/2 cups per pan) and smooth tops.

Bake until meringues have a crisp crust and feel dry to the touch, about 1 hour (insides will still be marshmallow-like).

Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringues in oven 1 hour. (Meringues may sink slightly and crack while cooling.)

Run knife along sides of cake pans and carefully turn meringues out of pans. Carefully peel off parchment (meringues will be fragile and the crust may crack further). Carefully turn right side up.

Macerate fruit while meringues cool:
Toss berries with sugar and let stand at room temperature until ready to use (up to 1 hour).

Assemble dessert:
Beat heavy cream with sour cream using an electric mixer until it just holds soft peaks. Put 1 meringue on a serving plate and spread one third of whipped cream over it. Spoon one third of fruit (with juice) over top. Repeat with remaining meringues, cream, and fruit.

Cooks’ note: Meringues can be frozen, individually wrapped, up to 1 month; thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

prepare the meringue layers, as directed from the recipe above. leave to cool, then transfer to a serving platter.
whip 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tbsp. orange juice just until thick. stir in 2 tbsps. thick and creamy yogurt (i used Greek-style) and spoon on to the meringue. top with the fruit and drizzle over 1-2 tbsps warmed redcurrant jelly.
serve immediately!

almond birthday cake

i am looking for summer.
it’s supposed to be here. we’re supposed to be sweating and to have all the windows open and the air conditioners out and putting on sunblock before we venture out.
instead we are enduring gloomy rainy days with the windows shut tight and even a space heater in the bathroom to make showers more endurable.
i’ve always sworn never to complain about hot weather. and now there’s no hot weather to not complain about! :melodramatic:
it’s been the most unusual June. and now with July coming already here! it’s getting a tad worrisome. one weather forecaster was said to have predicted that i sob! summer might skip our area, altogether.
i choose to be hopeful, and to not let the wet weather get the best of us. fingers crossed we’ll be hot and sweaty and sweltering SOON.
felt like we were in a log cabinpuzzled papa
June was a month of celebrations with the husband’s birthday, and two father’s day celebrations (but. no. cookouts. hmph.)
i made a cake for him, something different and light. this almond cake, based on a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, light and not too sweet but really tasty and, well…just different from the same-old same old…i found it on the New York Times Dining section but with a few little alterations, and i iced it with white chocolate ganache instead of the sherry-lemon butter cream because my kids don’t really like anything buttercream.
the morning after bday cake
golden almond butter cake with white chocolate ganache
for the cake:
1 cup plus 2 tbsps. unsalted butter at room temp.
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest (lemon zest in the original recipe)
2 & 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds(lightly toasted & cooled before grinding)
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

preheat oven to 350F. grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. in a bowl, beat together the eggs, 1/4 cup sour cream, vanilla, and zest.
in bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cake flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. beat in butter and remaining 3/4 cup sour cream.
mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. increase speed to medium and beat for 1 & 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. scrape down the sides.
gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides.

scrape batter into prepared pans. bake for 30 to 35 minute, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake layer comes out clean. let cake layers cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes then invert onto racks and peel off paper. let cool completely on racks.

white chocolate ganache recipe is here.

sherry-lemon butter cream recipe is here.