Peach Salad with Champagne Mint Dressing

Last weekend I got to experience my newish favorite summer activity: picking peaches in Michigan! A lot of peaches. And by a lot, I mean A FREAKING LOT -  something like 90 peaches! And those were just mine! My friend, Anna (known here as the Culinary School Dropout), also picked a bushel and half. It’s safe to conclude we may have gotten a little carried away, but we were having such a good time!

Two days later and I’m still up to my eyeballs in peaches despite handing them out left and right, and also trying to think of new ways to use them. I’d planned on canning most of the peaches, but it’s just so hot out that I’m still talking myself into it. However, this Peach Salad with Champagne Mint Dressing is perfect for these hot days – I even brought it to an outdoor concert last night where it was enjoyed in by all. The salad is cool and refreshing, especially with the mint and Champagne vinegar dressing and sweet-savory sauteed peaches.

Sadly, I also made the rookie mistake of not getting a good photo, so the sad shot of the salad in it’s plastic container will have to suffice. So 2008, oops.

Here’s the recipe for Peach Salad with Champagne Mint Dressing:

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Mushroom Sherry Soup

Despite the recent heat wave, I’ve been craving nothing but mushroom soup. I can’t really explain why – maybe it’s a throwback to my French culinary training that I’ve somewhat abandoned in recent months, or it could just something I need to make every other summer, or it could even be a weird umami craving? Stranger things have happened – just sayin’!

I used a variety of mushrooms from River Valley Ranch for this delicious soup including oyster, shitake and crimini and – get this – a half stick of butter! For those of you still working in professional kitchens, please don’t laugh at me! I NEVER use that much fat in anything other than pastries these days. Although I do fondly remember dumping pounds of butter and quarts of cream in soups in the past. Those are happy memories…

Either way, the butter splurge was worth it in this soup, although I did restrain myself and not use any cream. The other highlight was the dry sherry added at the end for a little extra flavor along with a bit of fresh lemon juice. The soup was so delicious that the other half stick of butter and pint of cream weren’t missed at all!

Here’s the recipe:

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Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce

Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but today my life changed forever and it’s all thanks to a sauce. Or rather this specific oven-roasted tomato sauce, which is unspeakably good – so fresh, so vibrant, I’m convinced I will never be the same as no other tomato sauce could possibly live up to this one.

What makes it so good, you ask? I think it has to be the slow-roasted fresh tomatoes. Or maybe it’s the simplicity of the ingredients – there aren’t many (so unlike me, I know). Or maybe… I don’t know, just take my word that it’s damn good!

I made this version with striped Roma tomatoes I picked up at the farmers’ market, but regular Roma tomatoes would also be great.

I’ll admit I upped the ante a bit by making fresh pasta, but dried is fine, and is in fact what I’ll probably use next time. As much as I love fresh pasta and as simple as it is to make (see video), some nights I just don’t have the energy.

Try this recipe and let me know if it changes your life, too!

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Zucchini White Bean Pasta

Zucchini was one of the first vegetables I learned to like as an adult and also one of the first I learned how to cook. For some reason, I never ate zucchini as a kid but became a little obsessed with it just out of college when the only way I knew how to prepare it was on the George. Since then I’ve experimented with a lot of different ways to cook it: stuffed, cut into ribbons or matchsticks, and mixed in with pasta, which I made last week.

This fresh summer pasta was delicious topped with lots of basil, and the addition of white beans made it especially filling and perfect for a quick and light dinner!

Here’s the recipe for Zucchini White Bean Pasta:

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