August, 2013 Archive

Friday, August 30, 2013

pink lemonade popsicles

pink lemonade popsicles

[It’s the last chapter of Popsicle Week, wherein I admitted that I had something of a popsicle incident this summer, wherein incident = gotta a little carried away, made too many and couldn’t let summer end without sharing the queue with you. This is Popsicle 3 of 3.]

I began this summer of accidental popsicle obsession by saying that growing up, we made popsicles by pouring orange juice (created with or without manual labor) into these molds, letting them freeze and eating them outside so we didn’t sticky up the kitchen floor. And yet, when I first bought my popsicles molds a year ago, did I put juice in them? No. I had to make things really, really complicated. Banana purees, Nutella and salted pistachios. Strawberries, lime, black pepper and sometimes white tequila. Key lime pie filling rolled in graham cracker crumbs. Butterscotch. Pudding. Pops.

raspberries, lemons, go!
scene of raspberry violence

It seems only right and proper that I end* Popsicle Week with a riff on the same frozen juice popsicle. But, you know, I couldn’t use just any juice, it had to be lemonade, which to me is the quintessential sitting at a picnic table in a beach town icy drink to slurp through a straw while being unable to consider a single other thing on this earth that previously felt urgent, as we did yesterday afternoon on our Maine vacation.

straining the raspberry puree

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

butterscotch pudding popsicles

butterscotch. pudding. popsicles.

[It’s Popsicle Week, wherein I admit that I had something of a popsicle incident this summer, wherein incident = gotta a little carried away, made too many and now can’t let summer end without sharing the queue with you. This is Popsicle 2 of 3.]

Once you realize that popsicles are more than juice, frozen on a stick, but are in fact a format in which to reformat your favorite desserts, things go downhill. I mean, one minute, you’re slurping your summer away on fairly innocent banana purees and there’s not a thing on earth you would change, and the next minute, you’re wondering why none of your so-called loved ones have ever loved you enough to make you a strawberry cheesecake popsicles (something I came soclose to making last week but my husband begged me to give our freezer a break). I may have even assembled the ingredients for tiramisu popsicles before realizing that my husband had a point, that maybe things were getting out of hand? But it was too late for the butterscotch popsicles, which were already setting up in the freezer, and after he tried one, all the arguments stopped.

this is all you'll need to make butterscotch
this is how we make butterscotch sauce

Of course, who likes butterscotch pudding, anyway? I mean, yeech, right? Brown sugar, butter, cream and sea salt bubble together until dark and syrupy with the complex notes of everything worthwhile in this world (vanilla, brown butter, aged bourbon, kittens) then expanded with milk and a little thickener into a pudding that sets as it cools. I cannot imagine anything worse to eat. In Opposite Land.

this is butterscotch

Continued after the jump »

Monday, August 26, 2013

key lime pie popsicles

key lime pie popsicles

[Welcome to Popsicle Week, wherein I admit that I had something of a popsicle incident this summer, wherein incident = gotta a little carried away, made too many and now can’t let summer end without sharing the queue with you. This is Popsicle 1 of 3.]

This — and amazingly, not the fudge, banana-nutella-salted-pistachio or the strawberry-lime-black-pepper ones before it — is the popsicle that sent me into a tailspin that begin in late June and continues to this moment, when we managed to squeeze in one last vacation before summer was over but are maybe kind of sad we forgot our popsicle molds? No, that would be weird. Which doesn’t mean that it’s not true, just that I’m not going to admit it.

zesting the limes
zesty!

You’d think that the one that sent me over the edge into some sort of popsicle fevor/fervor would at least been insanely decadent, all salted caramel ganache and peanut butter penuche. At the least, it would have been extraordinary in complexity, one of those recipes that imagine you’d like to tether yourself to the freezer for an afternoon in the name of a stunning striated popsicle, frozen in segregated layers (but that, sadly, disappear in the exact same amount of time as the frozen juice varieties do). You wouldn’t guess that it might be a popsicle with but five ingredients, one that is no more complicated than a pinch of salt and another that comes straight from a can.

you can use regular limes, too

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, August 22, 2013

almond-crisped peaches + uk book tour

almond crisped peach + mine

I hope, if we are going to continue to be good friends, that we can have an implicit understanding that there is no such thing as too many peach recipes. Not in July, not in August, not in New York, which grows surprisingly good peaches for a Yankee. And I know that as a writer and food person, I’m supposed to be on the lookout for my crutches, my overused ingredients. I should probably lay off the tomatoes, the caramelized onions, the feta, Dijon, strawberries, green beans, white beans and butternut squash. Sheesh, I should show some range! Maybe I will, you know, after peach season is over. Because I’m not done with them yet. I’m not done with summer yet. Maybe it’s this mild August we’ve been having or, I confess, the not-supposed-to-be-but-kinda-has-been fun of having a husband out of a job for the last few months, but once you become a summer person, it’s hard to react with anything but venom when you spy apples and butternut squash at the farmer’s market before Labor Day, as I did this week. How gauche!

butter + peaches + almonds + sugar
halved peaches, some freestone

But, you know, September’s not going to be too terrible. School resumes, which is pretty awesome if you’re three-going-on-four, we’ll all be back to the grind (sigh/yay) and oh, there’s this little trip I’m taking across the pond for a UK book tour.

ground almonds, sugar, butter, and maybe oats

Continued after the jump »

Monday, August 19, 2013

rice-stuffed tomatoes

rice-stuffed tomatoes

Guys, we should definitely, definitely talk about these. Here, I’ll go first: I think it’s essential that you not let another tomato season pass without making them. I realize that you might imagine rice-stuffed tomatoes to be something unappealing. Maybe you had a cold, stomach-turning one at a buffet wedding too many years ago that its squidgy horror should still be fresh in your mind, and yet. Maybe you cannot imagine why anyone would consider rice stuffed inside a tomato to be something noteworthy, being just rice and tomatoes, possibly two of the most generic foods out there. Maybe you’re waiting to hear what I dolled these up with to make them interesting — was there bacon or cheese or caramelized onions? Did I amp it up with whole grains or kale? Maybe I cooked an egg inside, like that one time? And maybe you’re going to be disappointed when I tell you that I added nothing, just about nothing at all, and that’s the best thing about them.

red and yellow medium-large tomatoes
take just a little off the top

I started obsessing over rice-stuffed tomatoes a year ago. At the time, I loved them because they felt to me like the essence of simple Italian and Mediterranean cooking, this idea that you don’t need to lay 16 outside flavors onto things as simple as seasonal tomatoes and plain rice to make them taste amazing. You could coax the maximum flavor out of them with seasoning, by toasting the rice, by cooking them with a tiny amount of onion and garlic in olive oil then slowly in the oven. But, at the time, I never told you about them because they made me a little sad. At the time, I was moping that the family vacation to Rome — a place I imagined did a fine job with these throughout tomato season — we’d been trying to take for as long as we’d been a family had gotten postponed again due to all of those real-life things that have the nerve to get in the way of a good time. I mean, I know that sometimes as a grown-up you don’t get to do everything that you want, but I was starting to question the point of working all of the time and spending scrupulously if it didn’t, at least every few years, lead to things we really wanted?

grapefruit knives make pretty, clean cuts

Continued after the jump »