A shallot from Thursday’s potato salad, pale puce around its edges, stands here as both symbol of the summer’s relentless heat and harbinger of better baking weather. I hope, anyway. I’m a little tired of writing about how little actual cooking time this or that dish requires. Maybe the potato salad will be the last recipe of the season to include those words.
Riding Out the Storm
Cooler air blew in on the heels of the sharply downgraded storm, Earl, bringing with it a revived zeal for cooking and baking. Lots of it.
We got down to business on Saturday with butterflied lamb on the grill for the family dinner. Sides for the lamb included spicy pan-roasted corn and a quick sauteed version of ratatouille made with the odds and ends of the week’s CSA produce.
Because we felt downright giddy with the lighter, drier air, we decided to throw together a quick amuse bouche, something to whet the appetite and also set the stage for the fresh tastes of the end-of-summer bounty to follow. When one has peaches, fresh mint, lemons and a container of Greek yoghurt, one makes Peach Soup Shooters.
Or, for the sticklers among you, Peach Soup Cordials, seeing as cordial glasses are the only small drinks glasses we own. But I picture this soup in a Scandinavian-styled shot glass. Give it a try and see what you think.
Quarter, pit, and peel 3 ripe, juicy, and sweet peaches. Put the peaches in a blender with 3 mint leaves and about a half cup of Greek yoghurt. Cover and blend for a few seconds. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of sugar in the juice of 1 whole lemon (a little more if your lemons aren’t particularly juicy), and add this syrup to the blender. Process everything together until very smooth. Chill before serving. Pour carefully into shot (or cordial) glasses and serve as an amuse bouche.
Or, if you are really fancy, include it on a peach-themed dessert plate as one of a trio of small bites that honor my favorite late summer fruit.
She Lights the Oven
I mentioned on Thursday that the digital Thermapen recorded the kitchen temperature at 90.1 degrees. Happy to report a cooling trend: the current reading is a much more comfortable 68.
Now that the oven can be lit for extended periods without turning the kitchen into a sauna, I ended the week in a flurry of baking, making:
Peach and Blueberry Shortcakes
Plum Jam Bars for school lunches, using up one of last week’s half pints of little red plum jam
and a free-form Red Plum Tart – or galette or crostata, whichever you prefer to call it
One Blue Egg, Two Loaves of Bread
I drove over to the Newburyport Farmers’ Market on Sunday morning for a piece of the freshest cod imaginable from Eastmans Fish (http://www.eastmansfish.com) and a loaf of stecco from friend Mary Reilly of The Savory Kitchen (http://thesavorykitchen.net). The market neighbors Joppa Fine Foods and their cheese always beckons, so I dashed in there too.
On the way to the cash register I spotted the cartons of local farm fresh eggs they stock, hailing from Bird in a Beehive Farm in West Newbury. Each half dozen carton held a pale blue-green egg or two, laid by Araucana hens.
The seafoam color made me pause. Six beautiful large eggs. Sunshine and a cool breeze. Hmmmm. My homemade challah requires five eggs and a comfortable kitchen. Did I feel like baking bread? You bet.
The egg rich dough rises for an hour or so in my proofing oven
After the first rise, I braid one loaf of challah and coil the second and let these rise for another 30 minutes
Finished and out of the oven