food this week

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My wonderful in-laws were visiting last weekend so I made a retro dish, Steak Diane. I remember reading an article a long time ago from I think either James Beard or Craig Claiborne, who talked about going to the theater in New York to see a play and making a quick supper of Steak Diane beforehand. It sounded so chic, so New York, and how can anything with steak, butter, cream, and cognac be anything but delicious.

Easy curries have been on my regular rotation in the last few months. I like their versatility. Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Curry and Zucchini & Shrimp Coconut Curry are my current favorites to riff on.

The eggplants in my garden are going bananas this year. I’ve made Pasta alla Norma and Eggplant Caponata which is a delicious Italian dish great as an appetizer on a slice of baguette or spread in a sandwich. My mom also gave me some corn on the cob and my favorite thing to eat this week was a free form salad with corn and blueberries. Put a few cobs of corn in a hot dry saute pan and turn every minute or so until the corn is grilled on all sides. Cut off the kernels and in a bowl mix the corn with fresh blueberries, diced red onion, & chopped basil. Toss with a little rice vinegar, olive oil, and s & p. Let macerate for about an hour before serving.

Have you tried the new plant based burgers called the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger? They are both delicious, look just like beef, and if no one told me it was plant based, I would not have known. Beyond Burger is sold in stores and the Impossible Burger you can find in restaurants but I’ve heard that they will be in stores soon.

I use these guides to what produce is in season in Hawaii and Southern California. They’re very helpful as I look at recipes and put together my meals. You probably have something similar for your area.

These Green Falafel Balls from 101 Cookbooks are great to freeze and and pan fry a few for lunch. Last but not least, take a look at this incredibly beautiful Rainbow Cake from Molly Yeh. I could never make this in a thousand years but I love it so much. Happy eating.

Photo from NY Times Cooking.

summer fruit

My mother is Korean, and if you know anything about Korean mothers, you’ll know their obsession with feeding their children fruit. When I visit my mom, I’m usually leaving with a bag of fruit in hand. So it’s no wonder that the bounty of summer fruit factors heavily into my summer eating. You can’t beat just eating them fresh at their ripest, but once you’ve gorged through mountains of cherries, peaches, plums, berries, & melons, you have to start looking for other ways to enjoy them.

I started off making this strawberry summer cake from Smitten Kitchen. It’s become my go to easy cake this year and it’s also delicious with mango. The next two on my to make list are Ina Garten’s mixed berry pavlova and summer fruit galette from David Lebovitz.

I make this big batch of brandied cherries each year and freeze them. These little ruby red gems are fantastic in a Manhattan or an Aviation cocktail, spooned over ice cream or sponge cake, or even drizzled over yogurt. This peach tart from Food52 looks totally doable and I love that it gives a zillion variations. When you’re grilling on the bbq, these grilled peaches with creme fraiche from White on Rice are an easy and elegant dessert.

 
 

For a few healthier options, fruit salads are always a good way to go. After cutting up the fruit, toss with a little lemon or lime juice, honey, and chopped mint leaves. If you have leftovers add them to your smoothie or freeze it for a future smoothie. If you haven’t tried the watermelon salad from Love and Lemons, the salty cheese combined with the melon is a great combination, and these tropical coconut popsicles from Pick Up Limes are a cool snack.

 
 

easy slow cooker applesauce

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this is an easy and healthy snack or dessert that’s great for adults and kids. i used granny smith apples because their tartness balances out the sweet. it’s great on yogurt with a sprinkle of granola or nuts, warm oatmeal, or ice cream. enjoy!

6-8 granny smith apples, cored & cut into quarters

1/2 cup apple juice or cider

3 Tablespoons sugar or honey (i used coconut sugar but any sugar will do)

sprinkle of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of ground cardamom (optional)

add all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and mix together. put on high and check after 2 hours and mash with potato masher or inversion blender into big chunks. Cook for another 1 to 2 hours checking after each hour and mashing to your desired smoothness. Add a little additional liquid if needed each time you check on it.

favorite cookbooks

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i heard ina garten on milk street radio this morning and happy to hear she has a new cookbook coming out this month called cook like a pro. ina has been an enduring favorite of mine. her relaxed style and serene home, make you wish she’d invite you to her gorgeous east hamptons abode and sit at her counter while she cooks for you and her husband jeffrey. her recipes are pretty simple but stylish and her cookbook covers are also super comforting to see. i just love to see their bright colors and stripes sitting on the bookshelf.

ina owned a very popular specialty food store in east hampton called the barefoot contessa in the late 70’s and 80’s. she went on to do catering and from there started writing cookbooks and her tv show which is the oldest running show on the food network. she has 11 cookbooks in all but here a few of my favorites and links to a couple of recipes that i’ve made over and over again.

Barefoot Contessa at Home - whiskey sours her drink recipes are great for parties

green herb dip - simple but delicious dip with veggies

chicken salad sandwiches & chicken salad veronique- chicken and tuna salad need to make a comeback! classic

lamb kebabs with couscous - the only recipe i could find online doubles the recipe in the book, so just half each ingredient if you don’t need to feed a large crowd.

Barefoot Back to Basics - tuscan lemon chicken - great for fall barbecue

company pot roast - another classic

Barefoot Contessa Family Style - parmesan chicken -i’ve made this a ton and it’s great with company because you make it ahead of time, keep it in the lowest oven setting and just plate with a salad when you’re ready.

Ina Garten Make it Ahead - crunchy iceberg salad with creamy blue cheese

Cook Like a Pro - this is her new cookbook coming out this month and this is a sneak peak recipe from it that i can’t wait to try. cauliflower toasts