July, 2010 Archive

Thursday, July 15, 2010

peach blueberry cobbler

cornmeal drop biscuits, cobbler

I am having the worst luck with peaches this summer. Without fail, every week I am lured in by the most fragrant peaches I’ve ever sniffed at the market, and without fail, the day after they come home with me, they’re mush. Sweet, peachy mush. To eat one requires hovering over a sink, and then a mop and a shirt change anyway and no, sadly, I am not speaking of the baby’s messes. These are not bad problems to have; “Woe is me! My peaches are too juicy!” doesn’t exactly make a room nod in sympathy but the week I made the mistake of letting the peaches go a whole 48 hours uneaten the only thing left to with the misshapen lot was to bake them.

these peaches had better days
naked peaches

Like I said, not bad problems to have. These Jersey peaches are a fuzzy lot so although I’m not always particular about peach skin, I demanded it come off before I eat them. Fortunately, this is as simple as a little “X” in the bottom and a quick trip through boiling water, and naked peaches will slip-n-slide all over your counter. (See above: mop and new shirt.) And then, when I realized I had a whole leftover pint of blueberries, I forced them to face the same bubbling dark brown sugar fate as the peaches. With a cornmeal biscuit on top. I don’t think they minded meeting their end this way, do you?

blueberries + sliced peaches

Continued after the jump »

Monday, July 12, 2010

thai-style chicken legs

thai-style chicken legs

I didn’t mean to bury the lede on you all, but that mango slaw was a side dish. I know! What has the smitten kitchen come to? I made, like, a meal, with a side dish and a main course, all while someone yanked on my flip-flops. I barely know what came over me. I do know that my timing was terrible, because I made this last Tuesday. “Wow, Deb, that’s great! Fascinating. Really.” No, Tuesday. In New York City. It was 102 degrees, the hottest day since August 2001 and I decided, at once, that I had to make a very specific dinner that would require me to turn the oven up very high for a sizable amount of time. I think that sleep deprivation has scrambled what’s left of my brain because I’d like to think I wasn’t this dimwitted 10 months ago. (Don’t tell me otherwise.)

boxes and bottles and jars

And then I burned dinner. Like, it’s not bad enough that I turned on the oven, that I turned it up high and that I had it on for 30 minutes. I didn’t cover the dish and the sauce was charred black and what, you expect me to think of these things ahead of time? But despite all of this, this might be the best chicken I have ever made. Was I ever glad I’d let this recipe sneak up on me, take residence in my brain and nudge-nudge me to even get over my issues with fish sauce ["It's fishy!" "It's not fishy, Deb." "People who like fish always say that things are not fishy but they always are." --1 day later -- "Wow, this is not only not fishy, it might be the best tasting thing on earth. I will put it on everything, henceforth." Fin.] because this is perfection.

marinating the chicken

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 8, 2010

mango slaw with cashews and mint

mango slaw with cashews and mint

The inspiration for this slaw is a mango salad I order way too often from a local Thai place in hopes to offset the inevitable damage from the pad Thai I order with it. It has strips of mango, slivers of red pepper, red onion and mint, large toasted cashews and a spicy dressing with a lot of lime in it. It’s always a surprise; sometimes the mango is underripe and sour (which I understand to be more traditional) and sometimes it’s sweet and almost overripe. The best part is that the salad tastes good no matter how the mango arrived that day.

peeling the mangoes
julienned mango

Of course, being me, I had to slaw it. Because that’s what I do, you know? Broccoli! Green onion! Better than old-school and dead simple! Tartar sauce slaw, pickled slaw and three more where that came from. I mean, salads are great but crunchy slaws that you pile on a burger or alongside anything grilled are the best heat wave antidote and this is my favorite one in a long time. It manages to be both sweet (my mangoes were very ripe) and sour, packing a little heat in the background and it was an incredibly refreshing change from the creamy dressing hegemony.

limes for juicing

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

porch swing

porch swings

I know, I know, “Deb, what’s up with putting up a summery cocktail recipe a day after a blissfully long holiday weekend?” Ah, but I think you’re coming at this all wrong; this drink is, in actuality, three days early for next weekend.

bag of lemons
to be squeezed

Or, perhaps, 365 days late for the last time I waxed clumsily poetic about this drink, denied access to it for the duration of a summer pregnancy. It’s nothing short of summer in a glass. It tastes like lemonade. It tastes like iced tea. There are crisp cucumber slices and a splash of 7-Up (for some low-brow fizz, you know?) in a tall glass with ice cubes and if that has not convinced you — and seriously, how did that not convince you? — hopefully its name will.

squeezed and squeezed

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 1, 2010

sour cherry pie with almond crumble

sour cherry pie with almond streusel

If there can be no clearer indication that this will be the Summer of Pie at the Smitten Kitchen — as if a 6-week onslaught of galette after pie smackdowns after savory tart built on a platform of tartlets crusted bettys and free-form pretties did not already lead us to that conclusion — my pastry blender broke this week after putting in five very good years. First, one side of it became unglued from the handle and because I am both stubborn and cheap, I’d just hold it in with my thumb while I cut butter into flour. But then the other side came unglued and I ran out of thumbs. So RIP little pastry blender, and Amazon, hurry and bring that new one along, okay?*

sour cherries
pitting and pitting the cherries

If it could have a fitting final act, this would be a fine one, a sour cherry pie I’ve been angling to make for more than three years and have, without fail, missed the painfully short window that sour cherries are available. Not this year. This year the season seems to be stretching on and on, and I couldn’t be more pleased as while sweet cherries make some fine snacking, sour cherries win all prizes in baking.

pitted cherries

Continued after the jump »