Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: peaches

semifreddo

Semifreddo desserts are easy to make but look and taste like you took a class at Le Cordon Bleu! Semifreddo is an Italian word meaning “half cold” or “half frozen.” It refers to a class of frozen desserts that are similar to ice cream, but made with heavy cream instead of churning air into the mixture while it freezes. Semifreddos are very similar to mousses and are often served in the form of ice cream cakes or tarts.

There are many different recipes for semifreddo, that use different bases to mix with the cream. In Italy, semifreddo is commonly made with gelato. Cooked custards and custard-based sauces are another common choice to mix with the cream. One of the biggest benefits of making semifreddo is that you don’t need an ice cream maker or other specialty equipment to make it. Many semifreddo recipes involve no cooking at all. The most difficult part of making semifreddo is waiting for it to freeze, which typically takes from several hours to overnight in your freezer.

Semifreddos are a great base for just about any flavor or combination of flavors. Once you learn the basics of the recipe, you can customize your semifreddo with your favorite blends of fruits, chocolate, coffee, spices and more! Best of all, the texture and flavors are delicious. For semifreddos with a crust, use a springform pan so it’s easier to remove and present. But you could just as easily form the crust in the bottom of a loaf pan and mold your semifreddo on top of that. Using individual ramekins works well, too.

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Raspberry & Chocolate Semifreddo

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 ounce) box chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1⁄4 cup (1 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, unsweetened raspberries (if using frozen berries, thaw before use)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Break cookies into pieces and place in a food processor; process to finely ground crumbs. Combine crumbs with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the butter. Press crumb mixture evenly over bottom and halfway up sides of a 9 inch round and 3 inch deep springform pan. Bake 10 minutes or until crust is set; cool on wire rack 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl of electric mixer, using the whip attachment, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add cream; beat at medium speed until soft peaks form; transfer to another bowl and chill.

In clean bowl of electric mixer, combine egg whites and 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Place bowl over a pot of simmering water (not touching bottom of bowl); whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 130 degrees F.  Place bowl on the stand mixer; using the whip attachment, beat on high-speed until meringue forms and mixture is room temperature, 3 to 4 minutes.

Place raspberries and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor. Process until pureed. Place mixture in a strainer placed over a large bowl. Press firmly on the raspberry mixture to extract all the juice. Discard seeds. Gently stir in half the meringue. Gently stir in half of the whipped cream mixture. Repeat stirring in remaining meringue and whipped cream until well combined.

Pour mixture over cooled crust, smoothing top. Cover tightly with foil. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, run a thin spatula between semifreddo and edge of rim to loosen. Remove rim from spring-form pan. Cut semifreddo into wedges; serve immediately. If there is any remaining semifreddo, reattach the rim of the springform pan, cover and return to the freezer for up to 1 week.

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Pistachio, Strawberry and Vanilla Semifreddo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided, plus 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (about 4 ounces), hulled, halved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups chilled heavy(whipping) cream

Directions

Line a metal loaf pan (approximately 9x5x3″) with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang on all sides.

Grind pistachios and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer pistachio mixture to a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup milk; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl; strain, discarding solids. Stir in almond extract; set pistachio mixture aside.

Place remaining 1/2 cup milk in a separate small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over another medium bowl; strain, discarding solids, and chill vanilla mixture.

Purée strawberries and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a food processor until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over another medium bowl; strain, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids. Stir in vanilla extract and set strawberry mixture aside.

Whisk eggs, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Beat egg mixture at high-speed until it triples in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170°, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water and continue beating until thick and cool, about 3 minutes. Add one-third of egg mixture to each of the pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla mixtures; fold each just to blend.

Beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add one-third of cream to each of the pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla mixtures; fold each just to blend. Cover vanilla and strawberry mixtures separately; chill. Pour pistachio mixture into pan; smooth top. Cover; freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. Gently pour strawberry mixture over pistachio layer; smooth top. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. Gently fold vanilla mixture to blend; pour over and smooth top. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Fold plastic wrap over; seal tightly and keep frozen.

Uncover semifreddo. Using plastic wrap as an aid, lift from mold. Invert onto a chilled platter; peel off plastic. Slice crosswise.

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Triple Layer Berry Semifreddo

Ingredients

  • 1⁄4 cup (1 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1⁄3 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄2 cups halved and hulled fresh strawberries (6 ounces)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups fresh blueberries (6 ounces)

Directions

Coat a 9 x 5 x 3-inch metal loaf pan lightly with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap extending generously over edges of pan.

In large bowl of electric mixer, using the whip attachment, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add cream; beat at medium speed until soft peaks form, scraping down bowl once. Transfer to another bowl and chill.

In clean bowl of electric mixer, combine egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar.  Place bowl over a pot of simmering water (not touching bottom of bowl); whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 130 degrees F.  Place bowl on the stand mixer; using the whip attachment, beat on high-speed until meringue forms and mixture is room temperature, 3 to 4 minutes.

Combine milk and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl; set aside. Place strawberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a food processor; puree until smooth. Transfer to a second medium-sized bowl. Place blueberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar in clean food processor; puree until smooth. Place strainer over another medium-sized bowl; sieve blueberry mixture through strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard blueberry skins.

Gently stir 1/3 of the meringue into each of the three bowls. Gently stir 1/3 of the chilled whipped cream into each of the three bowls. Pour blueberry mixture into bottom of prepared loaf pan. Refrigerate the bowls of vanilla and strawberry mixture. Freeze loaf pan until firm, 45 minutes. Gently pour vanilla mixture over blueberry mixture; freeze 45 minutes. Gently pour strawberry mixture over the vanilla layer, smoothing top with a spatula. Pan will be full, so do not cover with foil until top is firm, about 45 minutes. Continue freezing at least 3 ½ hours or overnight.

To unmold: wrap sides of pan with a hot, wet cloth or dip briefly in a sink of warm water to loosen. Using plastic wrap as an aid, remove semifreddo from pan; place on a serving platter; discard plastic wrap.  Cut into slices; serve immediately. To store, cover and return any extra semifreddo immediately to the freezer for up to 1 week.

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Apricot Semifreddo with Blackberry Sauce

A healthier version.

Serves 12

APRICOT SEMIFREDDO

  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1 ½ cups sliced fresh apricots
  • 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries

BLACKBERRY SAUCE

  • 1/2 pint fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

To make the Apricot Semifreddo:

Line 4-cup loaf pan with plastic wrap. Whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until thick and light yellow, about 1 minute.

Bring milk to a boil in saucepan. Slowly pour hot milk over egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return to saucepan; cook over medium-low heat (do not boil), stirring often, until custard is thick enough to coat the back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain, and cool.

Meanwhile, place dried apricots in heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water, and let stand 15 minutes, or until softened. Drain, and cool. Put in food processor with fresh apricots, and purée until smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Add custard, sour cream and almond extract.

Put egg whites in large bowl; beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into apricot mixture.

Pour half of mixture into prepared pan. Place 3 rows of blackberries on their sides down the center of loaf pan; top with remaining mixture. Cover; freeze at least 4 hours.
To make the Blackberry Sauce:

Press blackberries through fine-meshed sieve into bowl. Stir in sugar and lemon juice. Set aside.

Remove Apricot Semifreddo from freezer; let stand 10 minutes. Unmold onto plate, and cut into 10 slices. Drizzle with Blackberry Sauce and serve.

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Espresso Semifreddo with Dried Cherries

Serves 8

Ingredients

Semifreddo

  • 1/3 cup freshly made strong espresso or coffee, hot
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
  • 6 crisp amaretti cookies

Fruit

  • 1/4 cup Kirsch (cherry liqueur)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon, in strips
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) dried cherries

Directions

While the espresso is still hot, add all but 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and with a wooden spoon or a spatula, push ricotta through. Add half of the espresso mixture, amaretto, lemon zest, and salt, and whisk until well combined.

Combine egg yolks and remaining espresso in a stainless-steel bowl and whisk until eggs are foamy. Set the bowl over, not in, a pan of simmering water, being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Continue whisking until the mixture is foamy, light-colored, and tripled in bulk. This could take up to 10 minutes. If cooking too quickly, turn heat off and work over the hot water. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, whip egg whites until foamy. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip to stiff peaks.

Stir 1/4 cup of cooled yolk mixture into the ricotta mixture to lighten. Fold in the remaining yolk mixture and 1/3 of the whites. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf pan and gently smooth top. Crumble the amaretti cookies and spread over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 24 hours.

For the fruit: Combine Kirsch and sugar in a medium stainless-steel saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight at room temperature.

To serve:

Remove semifreddo from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. Uncover top; invert semifreddo onto a serving platter and remove plastic wrap. Cut into 1-inch slices, spoon on cherries, and serve.


summersoup

Summer’s soup recipes are wonderful and on a warm day what could be lovelier than a bowl of cold soup. Summer soup is different from winter soup. Winter soup is heavy, substantial, serious. It sticks to your ribs. But summer soup is light, frivolous, festive. It cools you down from the inside out. And if it is the right soup, it can even be a little bit sweet.

These soups make elegant starters for a dinner yet are just as comfortable for outdoor eating, picnics and barbecues. The hotter the temperature, the cooler the soup needs to be, so add ice cubes or serve in chilled bowls. Not too hot, then serve at room temperature, which also gives soup maximum flavor.

A summer soup made with the bounty from your local farmers market or CSA is a great way to eat healthy and support local growers. Whether you’re using fruits, vegetables or a combination of both, you’re likely to come across some interesting flavors you haven’t experienced before. Flavoring your summer soups with an array of spices will add diversity.

Even though most summer soups are served cold or chilled, most must start out being cooked on the stove. When you can, you might want to do any of the necessary cooking in the cooler morning hours, so you won’t be heating up the kitchen right before mealtime. This strategy will give your soup plenty of time to chill. Chilled soup leftovers make an easy and quick lunch, also.

Cold soups need to chill at least two hours to taste their best at serving time. If you need to chill your soup quickly, place it over ice to cut down on the refrigeration time.

Fruit Soups

Fruit soups are a refreshing way to start or end a summer meal. Berry soups are often a combination of sweet and tart flavors. Tartness is important, since some of the flavor may fade while the soup cools. Buttermilk or yogurt are often used to add a smooth tartness.

Fresh lemon juice is often used to bring out the flavors of the fruit, but be careful when using lemon — too much can turn your soup an unappealing brown. Color is an important aspect of these cool, lively dishes.

Fruit soups are fun to garnish in creative ways, with whole berries, sliced fruit or a bit of sour cream. Soups served this way have visual appeal

Vegetable Soups

Cool summer vegetable soups are a nice variation from serving a salad. They can also be a hearty meal by themselves. Unlike the desired smoothness of a fruit soup, summer vegetable soups are often rich and full of texture. For additional texture, add beans, rice or bread to the mix.

Again, there’s nothing like a summer farmers’ market to offer you an array of vegetables for creating soups: spinach, avocados, cucumber, tomatoes, beets, carrots, corn and asparagus, for example. Any of these creatively combined with herbs and spices in a summer soup will revive your weary taste buds after a long summer day.

Remember, when cooled, some of the flavors of your vegetables may fade, so you need to start with the freshest ingredients you can find. Newly picked vegetables will give you the most satisfying results.

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Blueberry Soup

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons honey, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream, plus extra for garnish

Directions

Combine blueberries, water, cinnamon stick, honey and ginger in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until most of the blueberries have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Puree the soup in 2 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when pureeing hot liquids) or use an immersion hand blender. Place a fine sieve over the pan and pour the soup through it back into the pan, straining out any solids. (Discard the solids.)

Whisk cornstarch and milk in a measuring cup until smooth. Whisk into the blueberry mixture. Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat, stirring. Boil, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, loosely cover and chill until cold, at least 5 hours or up to 2 days.

Just before serving, whisk 1 cup sour cream into the soup and ladle into bowls; top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and swirl it decoratively into the soup. Garnish with additional blueberries, if desired.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare through Step 2 and chill for up to 1 day. The finished soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Herbed Zucchini Soup

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, (about 3 medium), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or dill
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, (3 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and zucchini strips

Directions

Place broth, zucchini and tarragon (or dill) in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the zucchini is tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Reheat over medium-high, slowly stirring in cheese until it is incorporated. Remove fromthe  heat and season with salt and pepper. Chill and serve with garnishes.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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Chilled Melon Soup with Basil

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chopped honeydew melon
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped basil, plus a few leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a blender and purée, stirring often, until very smooth. Transfer to bowls and serve grnished with basil leaves. Alternately, transfer to a container, cover and chill before serving.

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Chilled Tuscan-Style Tomato Soup

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (1-inch cubes) country-style Italian bread
  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, each cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Additional basil leaves, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In small skillet, heat oil on medium until hot. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring. Remove skillet fromthe  heat.

In food processor pulse bread until coarsely chopped. Add tomatoes and garlic; pulse until soup is almost pureed. Pour soup into a bowl; stir in chopped basil, sugar and salt. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight. Garnish each serving with basil leaves. Makes about 6 cups.

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Peach Soup with Shrimp and Crab

8 servings

Ingredients

Seafood Topping:

  • 8 ounces chopped cooked shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon seeded, minced hot fresh pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Soup:

  • 3 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup matchstick-cut radishes
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon seeded, minced fresh hot pepper

Directions

To prepare seafood topping:

Combine shrimp and lime juice in a medium bowl; add crab; toss gently to combine. Stir in 3 tablespoons onion and next 4 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt). Chill at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

To prepare the soup:

Combine peaches, 1/3 cup juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place half of the peach mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed peach mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining peach mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup onion and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

To serve: Ladle about 1/2 cup of soup into a shallow bowl and top with 1/4 cup of the seafood topping.

summersoup6

Cucumber Soup with Watermelon and Mint

12 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 large cucumbers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 block (1-pound) silken tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons (about 1 lemon) lemon juice
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, stems removed, chopped and divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups seeded and diced watermelon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl, setting aside 2 tablespoons of mint and stir to combine. Working in batches, purée allthe  ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer soup to a large pitcher, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

Before serving, taste soup and adjust seasonings, if needed. Divide soup between chilled bowls and top evenly with watermelon, reserved chopped mint and a drizzle of olive oil.


MarcheMarche’s location is ideal for both catching fresh seafood and harvesting food from the land. While Marche recipes make frequent use of pecorino cheese, olive oil and unsalted bread, they are also influenced by other nearby regions. Marche’s most famous appetizer is Olive Ascolana-olives are stuffed with a bread, cheese and meat filling before being deep-fried. Since it is deep-fried, I don’t serve them, but if you would like to know how to make them click on the recipe link.

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Vincisgrassi is a pasta dish layered with lasagna noodles, chicken livers and giblets, veal brains, ham and mushrooms with béchamel sauce, Parmesan cheese and white truffles, if they are in season. Tender pockets of ravioli pasta are filled with a parsley and ricotta mixture and served with sole cooked with tomatoes and white wine in what is called, Ravioli ai Filetto di Sogliola.

Lumachelle, a cheese flavored egg pasta, is made into a popular soup called Minestra di Lumachelle. Other popular soups in the Marche cuisine include Minestra di Trippa, a tripe soup served with battuto, a herb-flavored pork fat. Brodetto or fish soup, is eaten further along the coast and may contain any number of types of fish that are seasoned with vinegar, garlic or saffron and thickened with flour.

Several classic seafood combinations include a Potacchio sauce seasoned with white wine, tomato, onion. rosemary and lemon juice. Alla Marinara cooks the seafood in tomato sauce and Gratinati al Forno broils the fish in the oven. Porchetta combines cured pork, such as pancetta or prosciutto, wild fennel, rosemary and garlic with seafood and spices.

Mussels are stuffed with ham, bread crumbs and parsley before roasting in tomato sauce to make Muccioli Arrosto. Dried cod, tomatoes and carrots are cooked in a garlic and rosemary flavored sauce made with olive oil, white wine and milk for a dish called Stocco All Anconetana.

Marche cuisine includes a wide range of meats, from beef and lamb, free range poultry and pork, rabbits and game birds. Ground beef and bone marrow are mixed with cheese, spinach, bread crumbs and eggs to make a pasta that is served in broth. Quail, salt pork, peas and tomatoes are braised in white wine.

Marche’s variety of salumi is quite extensive. Ciauscolo,is a sausage that is spread on bread and prosciutto form Carpegna is especially well-known.

Fresh vegetables, such as greens, zucchini and peas, are eaten in season.

Marche cuisine takes advantage of dried lentils and beans to eat all year-long in soup. In the dish, Minestra di ceci, chick peas with pork ribs and tomatoes are simmered in a herb broth. It is served over toast with grated pecorino cheese.

Pecorino from Marche is eaten while relatively young and mild. It is used frequently in focaccia and pizza. Formaggio di fossa is a rare cheese from Talamello, made from sheep and cow milk. It is wrapped in cloth and buried in pits to age.

Marche cuisine also uses cheese in sweet dessert dishes. Calcio are pocket shaped pastries made with fresh pecorino. Piconi are made with ricotta and flavored with cinnamon and rum. Becute, a raisin and nut biscuit and Frustenga, a dried fruit and walnut cake, are both made with cornmeal.

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Dinner Menu

Antipasto

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Slices of fresh Italian bread,  Ciauscolo, Pecorino cheese and olives.

First Course

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Lasagna with Meat Sauce & Béchamel – Vincisgrassi

Ingredients

Meat Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb or pork
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound chopped chicken thighs
  • 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

White Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper

Lasagna:

  • 1 (1-pound) package lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Directions

In a large stockpot, bring several quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook until the pasta is al dente. Strain and set aside to cool on kitchen towels.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped prosciutto and sauté until almost crisp. Add the carrots and onions and sauté, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add the ground lamb to the mixture and cook until evenly browned. Pour in the white wine and the stock. Stir in the tomato paste until well mixed and add a little salt and pepper. Reduce the liquid by half. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

In another pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped chicken, mushrooms and a pinch of nutmeg. Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add this mixture to the simmering meat sauce, along with 1/3 cup of whole milk. Cover the meat sauce and simmer for another 15 minutes, tasting towards the end for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the white sauce:

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a light roux, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of whole milk. Allow the white sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat a large rectangular baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Cover the bottom with a layer of lasagna noodles. Add a layer of meat sauce topped with white sauce. (Be sparing on bottom layers to avoid a soggy casserole). Add a layer of Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layering process, ending with a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Using a pastry brush, brush the top noodles with the melted butter and sprinkle on the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden brown.

Serve the vincisgrassi piping hot from the oven, cut into squares.

Second Course

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Fish in Spicy Sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as snapper or cod
  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped fine
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces (200 g) roasted red bell peppers packed in oil, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (100 g) pitted black olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salted or pickled capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A small bunch parsley, chopped
  • Hot water
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Cut the fish into serving pieces. Salt and pepper the fillets and flour them lightly. Heat the oil in a large skillet and brown the fish on both sides, then pour in the wine.Simmer for 1 minute. Remove the fish to a platter and keep warm.

In the same skillet sauté the onion, carrot and celery. When the onions are lightly browned, stir in the tomato paste, roasted red peppers, olives, capers and a half cup of hot water. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper. Return the fish to the skillet and gently heat. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Zucchini Carpaccio

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 pound piece Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh mint or parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions

Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice zucchini into very thin lengthwise slices. Overlap zucchini in 1 layer on a plate; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the olive oil and lemon juice and scatter with leeks. Using a vegetable peeler, shave very thin slices of Parmesan over the leeks. Garnish with mint leaves.

Dessert Course

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Poached Peaches in White Wine

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 firm peaches 
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • White wine
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Mascarpone cheese or Frozen Yogurt

Directions

With a paring knife cut the fruit in half and remove the stone. If the stone will not come away easily, make a shallow incision around the stone and it will fall away once cooked.

Place the fruit cut side down in a pan or pot that fits the fruit snugly. Add in the herbs, lemon zest and the honey. Add enough wine to reach halfway up the fruit. Cover with baking paper (parchment) and bring the pan up to a medium simmer for 8-12 minutes total depending on the size of the fruit.

Give the peaches a turn on their backs after about 5 minutes and they are done when a knife slips easily into the thickest part of the fruit.

Once the peaches are cooked, remove them from the pan and place on a plate to cool. Return the pan to a low heat and reduce the wine until it becomes a syrup. Be careful not to let the mixture burn. Strain the syrup into a bowl and allow to cool.

To serve: Carefully remove the skins and arrange the peach halves on a serving plate. Drizzle the peaches with the white wine syrup and add tablespoons of mascarpone or yogurt on top of each peach half.


summer fruit

You think fruit, then dessert: fruit pies, fruit crumbles, fruit crisps, fruit compote on spongecake, fruit in ice cream or fruit on its own. When it’s hot and you need something refreshing, summer fruit fills the need– from tart blackberries to sweet strawberries to juicy peaches. However, there’s a savory side to summer fruit, that definitely deserves your attention.
Fresh fruit, summer fruit in particular, can really add something special to your recipes. When combined with the right ingredients, summer fruit can take on a savory flavor that’s far from a dessert — and just as good. I have included both desserts and savory dishes in the recipes in this post.
These summer fruits celebrate the freshest flavors of the season:

  • Apricots
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Blackberries
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Passion Fruit
  • Melons
  • Lemons
  • Limes

summer fruit 1

Vegetable Salad With Blackberry-Shallot Vinaigrette

Chopped salads add a splash of color to a meal. If you’re making this salad in advance, keep the salad and dressing separate and hold off adding the tomatoes and avocado until just before serving. You can substitute vegetables that are in season for some of the ones listed in the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped green beans or asparagus, steamed just until tender
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped radishes
  • 1/2 head radicchio, chopped
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 10 blackberries, halved

Dressing

  • 10 whole blackberries
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In large bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, green beans, bell pepper, radishes and radicchio. In a separate small bowl, toss avocados with lemon juice to coat and then fold into the salad.

For the dressing:

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl and place whole berries for the dressing in the strainer. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash berries through the strainer to separate the juice from the pulp and seeds. Discard pulp and seeds. Whisk together the blackberry juice, shallot, olive oil, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle desired amount over the salad. You may not need to use the entire amount of dressing. Top with pine nuts, the halved blackberries and serve. Serves 4.

summer fruit 3

Summer Fruit Soup

Makes about 4 cups; (serving size: 1 cup)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ripe cantaloupe chunks (about 1 inch)
  • 3-4 ripe peaches (1 lb), peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup white Zinfandel wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Honey (optional)
  • 1 cup raspberries, rinsed and drained
  • Mint sprigs, rinsed

Directions

In a blender or food processor, puree cantaloupe, peaches, white Zinfandel and lemon juice until smooth. Taste and add honey if desired.
Pour soup into a container, cover, and chill until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. To chill faster, nest container in a bowl of ice water and stir soup often until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour the soup into shallow bowls. Scatter raspberries on top. Garnish with mint sprigs.

summer fruit 4

Mozzarella, Basil and Nectarines with Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients

  • 4 large nectarines
  • 12 large basil leaves
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 thick round slices
  • 1 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions

Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid is slightly syrupy. Remove fromthe  heat and pour the vinegar into a glass measuring cup. Set aside to cool and thicken.

Cut the nectarines into ¼ inch thick circles, going around the pit and keeping the slices whole.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sear both sides of the nectarines for 1 minute or until warmed, but still firm. Alternately, you can grill the nectarines directly on the grill. Keep the nectarines warm while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the panko crumbs, flour, parmesan, salt, pepper and cayenne, mixing thoroughly to combine.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Take each slice of fresh mozzarella and coat it in the beaten egg, then dredge it through the bread crumb mix, pressing on both sides to adhere. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and when hot, saute the coated mozzarella slices, turning carefully once, until golden and the cheese starts to melt but still retains its shape, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels.

To assemble: place one nectarine slice on a plate, top with 1 slice of mozzarella and then a basil leaf. Repeat the layer one more time and finish with a nectarine slice. Garnish with basil and freshly grated pepper. Drizzle on the balsamic glaze.

Food 52

Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce

Plum Sauce

  • 1 pound pitted, chopped plums 
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 minced hot pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • Salt & Pepper

Pork

  • 2 boneless pork tenderloins
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

To make the sauce:

Bring all ingredients except the plums to a boil. Stir in the chopped plums. Reduce the heat and simmer very slowly until thick and syrupy, about 45 minutes. Depending on your preference for consistency, either puree in small batches in the blender, blend with an immersion blender or mash with a potato masher. The sauce may be made two days in advance.

To prepare the pork:

Heat an outdoor grill. Bank the coals on one side, so that one half is very hot and one half can be used for indirect cooking. If you have a gas grill, turn off one burner after the grill heats. Brush the hottest part of the grill with a little oil so the pork won’t stick.

Pat pork tenderloins dry with paper towels. Lightly salt and pepper them on all sides. Sear the pork on all sides over the hot side of the grill. Move the pork to the indirect heat, brush liberally with some plum sauce and cover the grill for about 8-10 minutes. Total cooking time, including searing is 15-18 minutes. If you have a thermometer, cook to 155 degrees F.

Heat some plum sauce in a small saucepan on the stove or the grill. Remove the pork from the grill and tent with foil, allowing the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Slice the tenderloins. Pool the plum sauce on the plate and serve with the sliced tenderloin fanned out on top. This dish goes well with garlicky, sautéed greens.

summer fruit 2

Creamy Rice Pudding with Peaches

Ingredients

  • 5 cups whole milk (or any combination of whole and 2 percent reduced-fat milk), divided
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and mashed

Directions

Combine 4 cups milk, rice and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Whisk egg yolks and about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture together in a small bowl. Whisk back into the pan and add the remaining 1 cup milk. Place over medium heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Let cool and chill at least 2 hours before serving. Top with mashed peaches.

100_0723

Blackberry or Blueberry Crumble

Blackberries were plentiful this year where I live. I had more than enough to use in fruit salads and decided to make this dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur clear gel for fruit pies or cornstarch

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar,the  1/4 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and oats. Using a pastry blender, a fork or your hands cut in the butter. Keep mixture cold until ready to use.

In a large bowl combine berries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and clear gel or cornstarch; toss to coat. Pour the blackberry mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Top with the crumble topping. Bake until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbly, about 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.


Unlike traditional canned jam, these preserves do not require long days of preparation, exact cooking times (or any cooking at all sometimes), sterilizing jars and hours of your time.

All that’s needed is fresh ripe fruit, clean jars or containers that can go in the freezer, sugar and pectin to help the jam set. Since freezer jams use much less sugar and often are uncooked, they look and taste more like fresh ripe fruit than conventional jam. They’re versatile, too. Enjoy them on toast for breakfast, of course, but they’re also delicious spooned over yogurt or ice cream for dessert or stirred into a sauce for a roasted pork loin or chicken.

There are only a few things to keep in mind before starting in order to get the best-tasting results:

Since the fruit will not be cooked, make sure it is perfectly ripe—the jam is only going to be as good as the fruit used. Also make sure to use the right kind of pectin; otherwise the jam won’t set.

All fruit contains pectin, some more than others, and it is the combination of the fruit’s natural pectin and acid along with added sugar that causes jam to set after it has been cooked to a temperature of 220°F. Because freezer jams aren’t cooked and use less sugar, the fruit’s natural pectin needs to be boosted with commercial pectin, which is available in most supermarkets.

There are two main types of commercial pectin: regular pectin, which needs to be boiled with the sugar and water in order to set (jell) and “no cook” pectin that is designed specifically for uncooked freezer jams. Pectin is available in powder and liquid form.

Types of Pectin

Below are two of the well known brands of pectin. There are other brands depending on where you live. Be sure to use a pectin (the package will tell you) that is made for freezer jams.

SURE-JELL PREMIUM FRUIT PECTIN is a dry pectin product that can be used to make either cooked jams and jellies or quick-and-easy freezer jams and jellies. 

SURE-JELL FOR LESS OR NO SUGAR NEEDED RECIPES is a dry fruit pectin that can be used to make recipes with at least 25% less sugar than other regular pectin recipes. Look for the pink box!

MCP® PREMIUM FRUIT PECTIN is a dry pectin product that can be used to make either cooked jams and jellies or quick-and-easy freezer jams and jellies. It is available on the West Coast.

CERTO® LIQUID FRUIT PECTIN was the first commercially produced pectin product and was introduced in 1912. Liquid pectin can be used to make either cooked jams and jellies or quick-and-easy freezer jams and jellies.

Ball® Brand RealFruit™ Instant Pectin is prepare in less than 30 minutes with no cooking required!

Ball® Brand RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Flex Batch Pectin is great for lower-calorie jam. “It has been reformulated for improved flavor and performance. Be assured of a good set each time, as this formula provides more flexibility for sugar while maintaining a good gel,”according to the company.

While the great thing about these jams is the ability to control the amount of sugar, it’s important to remember that the less sugar you use, the less firm the jam will be. The directions on most boxes of pectin advise using the exact amount of sugar recommended or the jam will not set properly. This is simply a matter of taste; I prefer to have a jam that is a little runnier and a lot lower in sugar. The main thing to remember is to stir the pectin into the sugar thoroughly or it will clump together.

Whether you’re wondering how much pectin you’ll need, or which kinds of fruits will work best, this tool will assist you. Pectin Calculator: http://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/reference/pectin.aspx

Hints for Success:

When making freezer jam with pectin, make sure that the ratios of sugar to fruit to pectin is what is recommended by the pectin manufacturer regardless of the pectin brand you use.

Since the jam is not sterilized by boiling, it must be frozen or refrigerated to keep from spoiling.

Cover the jam with clean, tight-fitting lids—never with paraffin. Leave a 1⁄2 inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing and cover.

Using the paddle and your stand-type mixer to crush berries will incorporate air into your jam. The jam will be opaque and lighter in color, but quite attractive.

Once the pectin begins to set up thickening the jam, do not stir. Continuing to stir will break down the pectin and make for a syrupy jam.

Recipes Follow Using Freezer Jam Directions.

Variation 1 – No Cook- This version uses fresh berries and Ball Instant Pectin — there’s no cooking whatsoever.

Double Berry Freezer Jam

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant pectin
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh raspberries

 Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and pectin, set aside. In a large bowl, mash fruit with a potato masher until crushed. Add sugar mixture to fruit and stir for 3 minutes. Ladle into containers and set aside for 30 minutes to set. Cover and store in the freezer for up to 1 year.

Varination 2 – Quick Cooked- Low or no-sugar needed pectin allows you to use considerably less sugar than traditional cooked jam recipes. This version does require some cooking and works best with sturdier fruit like peaches, pears and plums.

Peach, Plum & Fig Freezer Jam

Peel the peaches but leave the skins on the plums to give this jam a tangy-tart edge.

Makes: 3 cups

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons no-sugar needed pectin
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped peaches
  • 1 ½ cups chopped plums
  • ½ cup chopped fresh figs
  • Juice of one lemon

 Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and pectin, set aside. In a medium saucepan combine fruit and lemon juice, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar and pectin mixture and bring to a hard boil. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat. Ladle jam into containers, cover and set aside to set for 2 hours to set. Transfer to freezer and store for up to one year.

Variation 3 – Using a sugar alternative.

Strawberry Freezer Jam with Truvía ® Natural Sweetener

This jam has 88% fewer calories and 89% less sugar** than the full-sugar version.

38 servings (1 Tbsp per serving)

5 Calories Per Serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed strawberries
  • 2⁄3 cup Truvía® natural sweetener 
  • 1⁄2 packet (25g) pectin for no-sugar-needed recipes
  • 1⁄2 cup water

Directions:

Wash and rinse freezer proof containers with tight-fitting lids.

Wash and hull strawberries. Crush 1 cup of berries at a time using a potato masher, leaving some bits of fruit. (Do not purée)

Measure 2 cups of crushed fruit and place in large bowl.

Blend together Truvía® natural sweetener and pectin until thoroughly mixed in a large saucepan.

Stir in water and bring Truvía® natural sweetener, pectin and water mixture to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Add fruit into hot pectin mixture and stir for 1 minute until thoroughly mixed.

Pour jam into prepared containers, leaving 1⁄2 inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing and cover. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set.

Store jam in the freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw each jar in the refrigerator before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

 

Homemade Cherry Freezer Jam

Recipe makes five ½ cup containers of jam.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups washed and pitted cherries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons low sugar pectin

Directions

Place berries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a lid. Simmer over a low heat until berries are easily mashed and syrup develops. Mash fruit to your desired consistency. Use a blender if you want it smooth. Stir in pectin. Pour into storage containers. Cool before placing in the refrigerator or freezer.

This method can be used with most types of fruit, especially berries. Use your homemade freezer jam to top toast, stir into yogurt or add to a smoothie.

Store homemade jam in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for one year.

Peach Freezer Jam

If you want to use glass canning jars, be sure to choose wide-mouth dual-purpose jars made for freezing and canning. These jars have been tempered to withstand temperature extremes.

Six 8-ounce jars

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ripe peaches, pitted and quartered (5-6 peaches)
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened white grape or apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1.75-ounce package “no sugar needed” fruit pectin
  • 1 to 3 cups sugar depending on how sweet you want the jam

Directions:

Chop peaches in a food processor. Measure out 3 cups. (Reserve the rest for another use, such as a smoothie.)

Place white grape (or apple) juice, lemon zest and juice in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin; continue stirring until completely dissolved. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that cannot be “stirred down”), stirring frequently. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Immediately stir in the chopped peaches. Stir vigorously for 1 minute. Stir in sugar amount to taste, until dissolved. (I use only one cup, but the jam is a little loose.)

Divide the jam among six 8-ounce jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space between the top of the jam and the top of the jar (this space allows the jam to expand as it freezes). Cover with lids and let the jam stand at room temperature until set, about 24 hours. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year. Defrost frozen jam in the refrigerator.

Variations: This recipe can be adapted to make other fruit jams. Substitute 3 cups chopped or crushed fruit of your choice for the peaches and follow Steps 2 through 4. Cranberry-raspberry juice can be used instead of apple or white grape juice. Omit lemon zest and lemon juice if desired. Here’s the amount of fruit you’ll need to start with to get 3 cups chopped or crushed:

  • Blueberries: about 2 pounds or 2 1/2 pints; remove any stems, crush with a potato masher
  • Cherries, sweet or sour: about 2 1/4 pounds; remove stems and pits, finely chop
  • Raspberries: about 2 pounds or five 6-ounce containers; crush with a potato masher
  • Strawberries: about 3 pounds; hull and crush with a potato masher

Strawberry Freezer Jam With Liquid Pectin

4 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed or finely chopped ripe strawberries (approximately 1 quart whole, washed and stemmed)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3-ounce pouch liquid fruit pectin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Place the prepared strawberries into a large bowl. Measure the sugar into a separate bowl. Add the sugar to the strawberries and thoroughly mix; set aside for 10 minutes.

Stir the liquid fruit pectin and lemon juice in a small bowl. (Do not heat the pectin.) Stir the pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is no longer grainy, about 3 minutes.

Pour into clean containers. Leave 1/2 inch of space to allow for expansion during freezing. Cover and let stand at room temperature until set (but not longer than 24 hours). For immediate use, store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Freeze remaining containers for up to 1 year.

To use, thaw and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

  • Note: You want bits of fruit in the jam, so if you’re using a food processor, use the pulse or on-off switch so you don’t end up with a puree. You can also use a potato masher, crushing only 1 cup of berries at a time.
  • Note: Use rigid plastic or glass containers, with lids that seal tightly. Consider 1- or 2-cup sizes, so the contents are consumed within 3 weeks of thawing.

Orange Blueberry Freezer Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries, crushed
  • 1 pouch (3 ounces) liquid fruit pectin

Directions

Rinse four clean 1-cup freezer proof containers with lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 250°F. Place sugar in a shallow baking dish; bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 tablespoon peel from the orange.

Peel and chop the orange.

 In a large bowl, combine blueberries, warm sugar, grated peel and chopped orange; let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pectin; stir constantly for 3 minutes to evenly distribute pectin.

Immediately fill all containers to within 1/2 in. of tops. Wipe off the top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature until set, but not longer than 24 hours.

Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 12 months. Thaw frozen jam in refrigerator before serving.

Yield: 4 cups.


Turkey is an ideal grilling food. From ground turkey burgers and turkey franks, turkey tenderloins and other cuts for the grill, turkey provides you with a wide range of tasty, healthy and convenient meal solutions.

During grilling, turkey cooks best by indirect heat on an outdoor covered gas or charcoal grill with a pan of water placed beneath the grilling surface to catch the dripping turkey juices. Turkey breasts, drumsticks, wings and whole turkeys are all suited for grilling. Whole turkeys that weigh 16 pounds or less are the recommended size for safe grilling. However, you will need quite a bit of charcoal or gas for a whole turkey, which can take anywhere from three to four hours to cook on the grill.

Do not stuff a whole turkey. Because cooking is at a low temperature, it can take too long for the temperature of the stuffing to reach the required temperature of 165°F. Also, smoked stuffing has an undesirable flavor.

Grilling time depends on many factors: the size and shape of the turkey, the distance from the heat, temperature of the coals and the outside air temperature. Estimate 15 to 18 minutes per pound if using a covered grill. Always use a food thermometer. The turkey is done when the food thermometer, placed in the inner thigh, reaches 165-170°F.

Keep food safety in mind before preparing any turkey and remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. Hands should be washed again and rinsed along with all utensils, equipment and countertops that have been in contact with any raw food (especially raw poultry) before preparing foods. It’s 20 seconds of prevention that can eliminate 90% of foodborne illness.

How to Grill Turkey

Bone In Turkey Breast

Grilling a turkey breast is an excellent way to enjoy a turkey dinner without making it a big deal. 

Prepare a barbecue grill with a rectangular metal or foil drip pan under the grates for indirect cooking. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the thickest part of a turkey breast, not touching the bone.

Place turkey, bone-side down, on the grates directly over the drip pan. Grill turkey, covered, on medium 55 minutes.

If using a basting sauce, brush turkey with sauce and continue to grill, covered, 10 minutes. Brush again with sauce; continue to grill, covered, about 10 minutes more or until a thermometer registers 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer turkey to a carving board; tent with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Boneless Turkey Breast

Marinate a boneless turkey breast with olive oil, fresh herbs and garlic for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Then, preheat a grill to medium high and place a boneless turkey breast, skin side down, on greased grill grates. You’ll want to turn the grill down to medium to avoid burning the skin. After the breast browns, turn it over and cook until the temperature reaches 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit on a thermometer. Slice the turkey and serve on top of salads, with fruit or on your favorite sandwich roll.

Turkey Tenderloins

Tenderloin

Turkey tenderloins are the tender long strip of white meat hidden under the turkey breast. Because this strips of meat is an underused muscle of the turkey, it is very tender. One of the best ways to cook turkey tenderloin is with a dry rub and then grill on a hot grill.

Combine one tablespoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, sage, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mixture on a turkey tenderloin and wrap in plastic wrap or put in a sealed bag in the refrigerator for at least two hours (overnight is best).

Rub grill grates with vegetable or canola oil and preheat  the grill. Place the seasoned turkey on the grill and cook five minutes on each side. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer to make sure the temperature is 165 degrees F. Take the turkey off the grill and let rest for five minutes to let the juices rest back into the meat.

Turkey Legs

Rub turkey legs with a mixture of chili powder, cumin, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and let rest several hours to allow the flavors to develop. Be sure to grill turkey legs over a medium-low heat for tender crispy results. In the end, you’ll be able to pull the meat right off of the bone and enjoy as is, with your favorite salsa or smothered with spicy BBQ sauce.

Ground Turkey

How to avoid parched pucks.

Season ground turkey with your favorite herbs and spices. Since ground turkey is lower in saturated fat than ground beef, you need to add olive oil or another liquid to the mix to make a juicy healthy burger. Make sure to place burgers on a well-greased, preheated grill to prevent sticking. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked all the way through to 165-170ºF. Grill some onion slices and peppers on the side and you’ll amp up the flavor even more.

Rosemary Grilled Turkey Breast

Ingredients:

  • 5 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • One 4 1/2 lb. bone-in turkey breast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub all over the turkey breast, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place a heatproof drip pan beneath the grill grates on one side of the grill and preheat to medium. Turn off the side of the grill with the drip pan. Pour about 1/4 inch of water into the drip pan, then place the turkey on the grill over the drip pan, skin-side facing up and cook over indirect heat, covered, at about (375-400°F) for 30 minutes.

Check to make sure there is still water in the pan and add more if necessary. Also, check that the grill temperature has remained constant and adjust accordingly.

Continue cooking for 35-45 minutes, then check temperature of the turkey. When turkey reads 165-170°F on a meat thermometer it is cooked through. Transfer to cutting board to rest for 15 minutes, then slice and serve. 

Red Pepper, Basil, and Turkey Roulade with Basil Aioli

6 servings

This recipe uses a combination of direct and indirect heat, which can be accomplished using a charcoal or gas grill.

If you have a gas grill, you can easily use it to roast the peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves plus 2 cups large basil leaves
  • 1 boneless turkey breast half

Directions:

Roast peppers:

Roast peppers on the grill over high heat, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 5 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, broil peppers on rack of a broiler pan about 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.) Transfer to a bowl and let stand, covered, until cool enough to handle. Peel peppers and discard stems and seeds. Chop peppers and pat dry.

Make Aioli Sauce:

Finely grate 2 teaspoons zest from the lemon and squeeze 2 teaspoons juice. Puree zest, juice, mayonnaise, garlic and the 1/3 cup chopped basil in a food processor until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and chill, covered, while preparing roulades.

 

Butterfly turkey:

Remove and discard skin from the turkey breast, Cut turkey breast in half crosswise and chill 1 piece, covered, while working with the other.

Holding a sharp knife parallel to the work surface and beginning on a long side, butterfly turkey by cutting horizontally almost in half (not all the way through), then opening it like a book.

Place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and, with flat side of a meat pounder, pound turkey to slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. Butterfly and pound remaining piece of turkey.

Make roulades:

Season turkey pieces well with salt and pepper and divide roasted peppers between them, spreading evenly and leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Top peppers with whole basil leaves and sprinkle with cheese. Beginning with a short side, roll up each turkey piece, gently pressing on filling while rolling (don’t roll too tightly, or filling will slip out of the ends) and tie roulades crosswise with string. Season roulades with salt and pepper.

Prepare grill:

If using a charcoal grill, light a full chimney of charcoal and place on one side of the grill. Charcoal will be ready for cooking when it turns grayish white, 10 to 15 minutes. If using a gas grill, light all burners.

First grill over direct heat:

When fire is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack 3 to 4 seconds), place roulades on lightly oiled grill grates directly over the fire and grill, uncovered, turning occasionally, until seared on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Then grill over indirect heat:

If using a gas grill, turn off 1 side of the grill. Move roulades away from the fire and grill over indirect heat, covered, turning roulades occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into several places on each roulade registers 165-170°F, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. Discard string, being careful not to unroll turkey, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Serve roulades with sauce.

BBQ Turkey Legs

Turkey legs, seasoned with smoky, sweet-flavored barbecue sauce, taste delicious when prepared on the grill. Instead of worrying about the turkey legs sticking to the grill, cook them covered in aluminum foil. Keep the turkey legs moist in the foil by basting the meat on a regular basis with your favorite BBQ sauce. To improve flavor, brining is an important first step for turkey legs.

Ingredients:

Brining Solution

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 8 turkey legs

Directions:

In a large bowl or pan, combine the water, salt, brown sugar and liquid smoke. When salt and sugar have dissolved, add the turkey legs.

Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Drain brine from turkey legs, discard the brine and gently pat turkey dry with paper towels.

Preheat the grill to medium. The temperature should read between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a charcoal or gas grill.

To brown the skin and lock in flavor, sear each turkey leg on the grill on direct heat for approximately two minutes on each side.

Baste each turkey leg with a generous amount of barbecue sauce. Make your own or use a commercial brand.

Wrap each turkey leg loosely in foil. Avoid tightly covering the drumsticks, since this can prevent heat from circulating properly around the meat.

Cover the grill and cook the turkey legs for approximately one-and-a-half hours. Baste them with barbecue sauce every 20 to 30 minutes to keep the drumsticks moist.

Check the internal temperature to determine when the meat is cooked thoroughly. The meat thermometer should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you remove the turkey legs from the grill.

Then add more barbecue sauce, rewrap the legs in the foil and allow the turkey legs to rest for 30 minutes before serving them.

Turkey Burgers with Barbecued Onions

One way to keep the turkey moist is to add milk  and  lightly mix them together. Overhandling the meat can make tough burgers.

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, halved, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey (not lean — use a mix of dark and white meat)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika or regular paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sesame seed buns

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add onions; stir-fry onions 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring often, until soft and starting to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Stir in barbecue sauce; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cover; keep warm.

Meanwhile, prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Lightly mix turkey, milk, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl; form into 4 patties.

Grill until cooked through, turning once, about 8 minutes total. Place on buns and top each with onions.

Grilled Turkey Tenderloins with Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless turkey breast tenderloins
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper

Marinade

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Peach Salsa

  • 4 small peaches, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
  • 1 hot pepper, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or sweet onion

Directions:

Season tenderloins with garlic powder, salt and black pepper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients.

Place the tenderloins in a large plastic storage bag. Pour marinade over tenderloins and coat well. Seal bag and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Oil grill and preheat to medium-high.

Remove tenderloins from marinade and discard the marinade.  Grill tenderloins turning frequently, about 25 minutes or until done and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

While turkey is grilling prepare salsa. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Slice the tenderloins into about 3/4-inch slices and spread peach salsa evenly over tenderloins.

 


Meat may be the star attraction, but what barbecue is complete without complementary side dishes? They pair exceptionally well with grilled foods and sometimes they can even steal the show. Sides are also practical because it’s a way to be sure there’s something for everyone on your BBQ table.

Save yourself time in the kitchen by cooking as much as you can on the grill. Eggplant, portobello mushrooms, onions, zucchini, asparagus, sweet peppers and hot peppers all taste wonderful when grilled with just a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Invest in a grill pan and you’ll be able to grill green beans, carrots, button mushrooms, patty pan squash, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower florets for additional healthy veggie options. And don’t forget you can grill corn on the cob, either in the husks or wrapped in tin foil.

Need a potato fix, but don’t feel like spending the afternoon deep frying in the kitchen? Wrap a whole potato in tin foil and cook it in the hot coals or on the grill grates for a healthier and more satisfying potato dish.

Make individual foil packets to cook more delicate foods. Toss in lemon slices with the veggies and you’ll have an elegant, healthy side, without much clean up.

Salads top the list of popular barbecue sides. Most can be made in advance and many salads taste better after sitting overnight in the refrigerator. The exception is a mixed green salad – remember to wait until the last minute to add the dressing. Both can be made ahead and kept separate.

All the recipes on this post are not your traditional barbecue sides. They appeal to adults and kids alike, keep well as leftovers and most can easily withstand being left out in the sun for a while.

Celery, Apple and Fennel Slaw

Serve with grilled pork, fish or chicken.

4-6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed celery leaves
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 firm, crisp apple (such as Pink Lady, Gala, or Granny Smith), julienned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Whisk first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.

Add celery, celery leaves, thinly sliced fennel, chopped fennel fronds and apple; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grilled Green Beans and Peaches

4 Servings

Mix 2 peaches (cut into 1/2-inch wedges) and 1 pound trimmed green beans with 2 tablespoons olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

On a preheated grill cook peaches and green beans in a skillet that can go on the grill or on heavy duty foil with a few holes poked in it, until beans are crisp-tender and peaches are lightly charred, 8–10 minutes. Place in a serving bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds and 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar.

Smashed Roasted Potatoes

6–8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds small Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Wrap each potato individually in foil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender, 45–60 minutes. Let cool slightly. (Can be prepared ahead up to this point.)

Unwrap potatoes and arrange on the same baking sheet. Set another rimmed baking sheet over potatoes, rimmed side up and press gently to smash potatoes without breaking them apart.

Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with half of the oil. Carefully turn potatoes to coat.

Preheat oven to 500°F.  Roast potatoes for 15 minutes. Drizzle with remaining oil, turn to coat and continue roasting until crispy and golden brown, 25–30 minutes.

Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled in alternating strips and cut into chunks
  • 1 Red or Vidalia onion, cut into chunks
  • 10 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Gently combine all ingredients, except basil, in a bowl and let sit a for a few hours. Toss again. Add basil, toss and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Sweet Corn and Zucchini Saute

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

Directions:

Saute zucchini and onion in oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add garlic, corn kernels, chives and Italian seasoning; saute 5 minutes or until tender.

Chickpea and Walnut Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw mix
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette, homemade or store bought

Directions:

Mix garbanzo beans, shredded carrot, broccoli slaw mix, chopped walnuts and dried cranberries with the vinaigrette. Place baby greens in the bottom of a serving bowl and place bean mixture on top. Shred Parmesan cheese over the salad.


Crumbles, Crisps and Cobblers are simple old-fashioned desserts that offer the comfort of fruit pies but without the work of making a pie crust. Cobblers have a softer biscuit-like topping and texture, while crumbles and crisps have a crunchy, streusel-like topping that provides a contrast to the soft fruit in the filling.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their favorite recipes with them, such as English steamed pudding. Not finding their favorite ingredients, they used whatever was available. That’s how all these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names. Early colonists were so fond of these fruit dishes that they often served them as the main course or even for breakfast. It was not until the late 19th century that they became primarily desserts.

Cobblers originated in the early British American colonies. English settlers were unable to make traditional suet pudding due to a lack of ingredients and cooking equipment, so instead, they covered a stewed filling with a layer of uncooked plain biscuits or dumplings. The origin of the name cobbler is uncertain, although it may be related to the now archaic word cobeler, meaning “wooden bowl”.

In the United States, varieties of cobbler include the Betty, the Grump, the Slump, the Dump, the Buckle and the Sonker. Grunts, Pandowdy and Slumps are a New England variety of cobbler, typically cooked on the stovetop in an iron skillet with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings.

The Sonker is unique to North Carolina: it is a deep-dish version of the American cobbler. In the South, cobblers most commonly come in single fruit varieties and are named as such, blackberry, blueberry or peach cobbler. The Deep South tradition also gives the option of topping the fruit cobbler with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

Some of these terms are more universal than others, but here are the most generally accepted definitions:

Crisp : baked fruit topped with a mixture of some combination of flour, nuts, cereal (especially oatmeal), butter and sugar. The topping ranges in texture from streusel to granola and usually completely covers the fruit. It is sometimes called a crumble.

Cobbler : baked fruit topped with a batter or biscuit crust. The topping is often “cobbled” rather than smooth; the topping is generally dropped or spooned in small clumps over the fruit, allowing bits of the filling to show through.

Grunt or Slump: as the biscuit-topped fruit cooks on the stove, it supposedly makes a grunting noise‚ likely the result of the steam from simmering fruit escaping through the vents between the biscuits.

A Buckle is made with yellow batter (like cake batter), with the fruit mixed in with the batter.

Betty consists of fruit, usually apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betties are an English pudding dessert closely related to the French Apple Charlotte. Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.

Pandowdy is a deep-dish dessert that can be made with a variety of fruit, but is most commonly made with apples sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. The topping is a crumbly type of biscuit, except the crust is broken up during baking and pushed down into the fruit to allow the juices to come through. Sometimes the crust is on the bottom and the desert is inverted before serving. The exact origin of the name Pandowdy is unknown, but it is thought to refer to the deserts plain or dowdy appearance.

These desserts are such a simple way to use the abundance of fresh, seasonal fruits found on farm stands and in produce aisles. Unlike pies, crisps and cobblers are forgiving with exact measurements. Butter alternatives, such as Smart Balance, are an easy substitute that can reduce calories and saturated fat in the nutrition content of these dessert. It is easy to scale up for large picnics or down for dinner for two. Crisps and cobblers are at their best when highlighting the colors and flavors of summer fruit. With two basic recipes, buttermilk biscuit dough or a crisp topping, you can transform the fruits of summer into dozens of fantastic fresh-baked desserts. The processor can also make quick work of mixing the topping ingredients.

Juicy cherries, berries, sliced peaches, nectarines or plums are piled into a buttered baking dish, tossed with a bit of sugar and sprinkled liberally with streusel topping to become a Summer Fruit Crumble. Those same fruits can be placed in the same buttered baking dish and topped with sweet biscuit dough, then cooked until bubbly and brown. Now you’ve made cobbler.

A crisp or cobbler can be cooked in any type of oven proof baking dish. Ramekins, pie pans, Pyrex casseroles or  decorative gratin dishes are all fine choices. Plan for about a cup of uncooked fruit per serving and room for a topping or base. Make extra topping to keep in the freezer and you can have a fruit crisp or crumble oven-ready quicker than it takes to preheat your oven.

The art of perfecting a crisp and cobbler requires consideration of fruit size, flavor, texture and juiciness. Balance sweet and tart, crunchy with soft. Fresh, frozen and dried fruit are all possible sources for the fillings. A few dried cherries mixed in with fresh or frozen berries will absorb juices and thicken the mixture. Tart rhubarb is well paired with chewy dried apricots for a more toothsome filling than rhubarb can offer on its own. When cutting fruit:  large strawberries are best halved or quartered and stone fruits (peaches, etc.) cut into chunks rather than thick slices.

Most fruits need some sweetening in addition to the topping. Tart fruits such as sour cherries, rhubarb and raspberries always need some added brown or white sugar or honey in the fruit layer. In all of the recipes below sugar alternatives, such as Truvia for Baking, will work perfectly. A deep layer of juicy fruits can be thickened during baking with a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour mixed in with the sugar in the fruit layer. For textural variety mix soft berries with stone-fruit chunks, such as, strawberry-apricot or blueberry-peach. Or plan for color. A blush-hued cobbler with red plums, raspberries and rhubarb will evoke an evening sunset.

Nuts, spices, herbs and zests are also welcome additions to expand the basic ingredients. Sprinkle a few sliced almonds in with the topping or add some minced orange zest to the fruit. Blueberry crisp can be enhanced with a few chopped walnuts in the topping and some lemon zest in the filling. Culinary herbs more familiar in savory preparations are sophisticated additions to these homespun desserts. Try a few leaves of thin-sliced fresh basil as garnish on a peach crisp or add a little rosemary and black pepper to the sweetened whipped cream served with the cobbler. A scant teaspoon of cardamom in the biscuit dough is an unexpected flavor that blends nicely with most fruit.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

To ensure that the filling is thickened and fully cooked, bake the cobbler until it bubbles in the center.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large lemon, finely grated to yield 1/2 teaspoon zest, squeezed to yield 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1/2 cup mild honey (such as clover)
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or sugar alternative equivalent
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 oz. (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or butter alternative, such as Smart Balance)
  • 2/3 cup canned evaporated whole milk or regular whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Sugar to sprinkle on the top, optional

Directions:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix all of the filling ingredients; set aside.

Make the topping:

In another large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add the milk and stir just until the mixture comes together.

Prepare the cobbler:

Butter a shallow 2-quart dish. Transfer the filling to the dish.

With a tablespoon drop tablespoons of dough on top of the filling. Sprinkle the dough lightly with sugar, if desired.

Bake until the topping is deep golden-brown on top and the filling is bubbling in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. If the dough browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Pear Crisp with Amaretti Topping

Look for Italian Amaretti cookies at specialty stores or gourmet grocers. And choose slightly under-ripe, firm pears.

Ingredients:

  • 6 peeled Anjou or Bartlett pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 amaretti cookies (Italian almond macaroons)
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place pears in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, lemon juice and salt; toss well to coat.

Transfer mixture to an 11×7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place cookies in a food processor; process until finely ground. Combine remaining flour, cookie crumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in nuts.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over pear mixture. Bake for 50 minutes or until pears are tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Peach Blueberry Crumble

Bake the crumble on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet to catch any fruit juices that may bubble over.

Ingredients:

  • 7 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into small squares

Directions:

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon mixture into a greased 8 1/2- x 11-inch baking dish.

Stir together dark brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture forms pea-size pieces.

Spoon topping evenly over filling, and bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and top is golden.

Blueberry Crisp

Fresh blueberries are best for this crisp recipe, though frozen berries will also work. Keep them frozen and bake the blueberry crisp 10 or 15 minutes longer. Thawed berries are too fragile to use and give off too much liquid.

8 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Coat an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cornstarch evenly in the dish.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, vanilla and blueberries in a large bowl; toss. Place in prepared baking dish.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cinnamon) in the bowl of a food processor; pulse twice to combine. Add butter; pulse 5 times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spoon topping evenly over blueberries, packing down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.

Plum Cobbler

This low calorie dessert can be prepared as one large cobbler or in individual ramekins.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds plums, peeled, pitted, and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 6 ounces chilled 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour; toss. Arrange mixture in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine remaining flour, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and baking powder in a food processor; pulse 3 times. Add butter, lemon rind and cream cheese; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; pulse until blended.

Drop dough by spoonfuls over plum mixture; sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden.

Grilled Peach Crisps

A perfect finish to a summer barbecue.

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 small to medium peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2 cups reduced-fat vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat granola

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cut sides of the peaches. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat grill to medium. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.

Place peaches cut side down on the grill grates. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until peaches are tender and begin to caramelize.

Place 2 peach halves in each of four dessert bowls. Top each with 1/2 cup ice cream and 2 tablespoons of granola.

 



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