Tuesday, June 30

Recipes for Fourth of July

Celebrate our country with classic American comfort food and fresh summer recipes

Recipes for 4th of July

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays of the year. We always go up to Lake Sylvan, Minnesota, to spend time with my husband's side of the family. It's a trip that we look forward to every year and one of our favorite places to visit. Our days are spent boating, swimming, eating, drinking, and relaxing. I love coming in from a long day in the sun to sit around the table with the family for a good meal, followed by a friendly game of cards or dice. My husband and I are in charge of dinner one night and are going to grill up a bunch of steaks with homemade steak sauce and a big dish of mac and cheese. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate America and have suggested some additional recipes below to make your celebration just as special.

P.S. Follow my Pinterest board for even more ideas!

Fourth of July Recipes:
  • Grilled Beer Brats - Classic beer-braised brats are finished on a hot grill and served on toasted buns with sautéed peppers and onions and the condiments of your choice.
  • Herbed Potato Salad - This mayo-free version is light and tangy with a ton of fresh greens herbs.
  • BBQ Tri Tip Sandwiches - Grill up a big piece of tri tip over the weekend and turn leftovers into delicious BBQ sandwiches the next day.
  • Homemade Lemonade - The perfect drink to quench your thirst from a hot day in the sun. Kids will love it, and adults will love it if you put booze in it.
  • Nectarine & Blackberry Pie - A free-form galette that showcases all the best summer fruits. Serve it with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, June 22

Pineapple Margaritas

A sweet and tropical spin on a margarita cocktail

Pineapple Margaritas

I've gotten to be much more of a wine drinker in recent years, a big departure from my cocktail-loving early twenties where a night out wasn't complete without vodka. I still love to try specialty drinks at fancy bars and restaurants, but when I entertain at home it's usually wine, beer, and spontaneous Fireball shots. The exception is margaritas - they are so easy to make and I like the fresh homemade versions much better than the sweet-and-sour mix ones you find at most Mexican restaurants. I've been tweaking this pineapple margarita recipe since Cinco de Mayo and have settled on my ideal balance of sweet, sour, and boozy. This margarita is sweeter than the classic due to the pineapple juice, but still has some sour thanks to the fresh lime. I like to serve it with a salt and sugar rim, which looks impressive but couldn't be easier to do. Make a pitcher for your next party and your guests will go crazy!

More Cocktail Recipes:
- Grapefruit Tequila Palomas
- Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas
- Pineapple Mango Rum Slushie

Pineapple Margaritas:
  • Combine 1 c. freshly-squeezed lime juice, 2 c. pineapple juice, 1 c. tequila blanco, and 1 c. triple sec in a pitcher.
  • Refrigerate until cold.
  • Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp. white sugar with 2 tbsp. kosher salt in a shallow bowl or plate.
  • Wipe a wedge of lime on the rim of 4 glasses and immediately dip the wet rims in the sugar-salt mixture.
  • Fill the glasses with ice and carefully pour in the margaritas. Garnish each glass with a wedge of pineapple if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves four

Thursday, June 18

Tacuba Style Chicken Enchiladas

Decadent chicken enchiladas in a luscious poblano cream sauce

Rick Bayless Enchildas Especiales Tacuba Style

I usually make enchiladas out of store-bought salsa verde and leftover rotisserie chicken for weeknight-friendly entertaining, but these tacuba style enchiladas from Rick Bayless are worthy of a Sunday night dinner or special occasion. The star of the dish is the poblano cream sauce, which is basically a rich bechamel that's blended with spinach, garlic, and roasted poblano peppers. Some of the sauce gets tossed with shredded chicken to form the filling and the remaining amount gets poured on top of the enchiladas. If that's not decadent enough, the top is sprinkled with grated cheese before baking in the oven until bubbling. These are the best enchiladas I've ever eaten and my husband can't stop talking about them!

More Enchilada Recipes:
- Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
- Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Enchiladas
- Shrimp Enchiladas

Tacuba Style Chicken Enchiladas with Poblano Cream Sauce:
- 12 corn tortillas
- 3 c. cooked, shredded chicken (about 3 cooked chicken breasts or a small rotisserie chicken)
- 2 c. milk
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 c. grated cheese, such as Monterey Jack
- 1 c. baby spinach
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 2 poblano peppers
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- canola oil, for brushing tortillas
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Roast the poblano peppers on a gas flame, under the broiler, or on the grill for 5-10 minutes, or until skin are blackened all over. Seal in a plastic bag and let steam for 10 minutes, then rub off the skin, discard the stems and seeds, and rough chop.
  • Place the peppers in a blender or food processor with the spinach and quickly puree.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a sauce pot over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly so there are no lumps, for a minute or two.
  • Combine the milk and chicken broth and microwave until warm. Slowly add the mixture to the sauce pot, stirring so there are no lumps.
  • Add 1 1/2 tbsp. salt and a pinch of pepper and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Pour the sauce into the blender with the poblano mixture and puree until smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Heat the oven to 350F.
  • Combine 1 c. sauce with the the chicken in a bowl and set aside. Pour 1 c. sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.
  • Brush the tortillas with oil and lay on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 2 minutes, or until warm.
  • Working one at a time, fill a tortilla with some of the chicken and roll up tightly. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is starting to brown.
  • Let cool slightly, then divide onto plates and eat.

Serves four-six

Wednesday, June 17

Grilled Snapper with Onion Escabeche

The secret to flavorful fish is marinating it after it's cooked

Bon Appetit Grilled Snapper with Onion Escabeche

Fish doesn't need to be something you eat only on special occasions and can be an inexpensive, simple, and healthy weeknight meal. This recipe for grilled snapper with onion escabeche comes from the latest issue of Bon Appetit and calls for grilling quick-cooking, easy-to-find snapper fillets and then marinating them in oil, vinegar, and onions. By marinating the fish after it's cooked, the fish absorbs all the flavor without changing its delicate texture. With the exception of the snapper, I almost always have the rest of the ingredients on hand in the fridge and pantry. We liked this so much for a weeknight meal that we've already eaten it a couple times in the last few weeks. The fish is very mild and not "fishy" at all, which makes it a great option for the whole family.

Note: Snapper is often called rockfish at many grocery stores and fish markets. Using skin-on fillets will make it easier to grill but either will work. If you don't have an outdoor grill or don't want to use it, you can cook the fish on a grill pan or even in a hot skillet.

More Grilled Fish Recipes:
- Grilled Sicilian Swordfish
- Whole Grilled Snapper with Lemon-Garlic Sauce
- Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mustard Sauce

Grilled Snapper with Onion Escabeche:
  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Brush 2 boneless snapper fillets (preferably skin-on) with canola oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl, combine 1/4 thinly sliced red onion, 2 tbsp. rice vinegar, and 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and let sit.
  • Grill the fish for 3-4 minutes (skin side down), then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the fish to a plate and pour the onion mixture on top. Let side, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with a handful of fresh parsley leaves and serve.

Serves two

Tuesday, June 16

Italian Frittata Sandwiches

How Europeans do an egg sandwich

Giada DeLaurentiis Italian Frittata

Almost every country in Europe seems to have their own take on a frittata, which is basically a baked dish of eggs with various other ingredients mixed in. I've featured many frittata recipes on KSD over the years but love how this recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis takes things a step further by putting it on a sandwich. The frittata has two of my favorite Italian ingredients, prosciutto and parmesan, along with potatoes, onion, basil, and garlic. It cooks until set and then is cut into squares and sandwiched between buttery garlic bread with some peppery greens. It can be served room temperature or warm and is one of those recipes that works equally well for breakfast as it does for lunch or dinner.

Note: As previously mentioned, I hate do not like mayonnaise. However, both my husband and I agreed that this sandwich might be great with some mayo or aioli in place of butter on the bread. Do as you wish.

Related Recipes:
- Swiss Chard, Potato, & Aged Cheddar Frittatas
- Egg, Bacon, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
- Chorizo, Egg, & Potato Breakfast Burritos

Italian Prosciutto & Potato Frittata Sandwiches:
- 1 baguette, cut in 8 and halved lengthwise
- 1 large russet potato (7 oz.)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. prosciutto, chopped
- 1 1/2 c. baby arugula, loosely packed
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 3-4 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. basil, sliced or torn
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Poke holes all over the potato with a fork and microwave for 3 minutes, or until partially cooked. Let cool until you can handle it, then peel off the skin and dice into bite-size pieces.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, cream, parmesan, prosciutto, and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until starting to soften, then add in the potatoes and minced garlic and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and brown in some places. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the broiler to high.
  • Add the eggs to the skillet with the potato mixture and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for a few minutes, or until the edges are starting to set but the top and center are still jiggly.
  • Transfer to skillet to the broiler and broil until the top is golden and the center is set, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Let the frittata cool slightly and toast the bread.
  • Rub the toasted bread with the whole garlic clove and spread with butter.
  • Loosen the frittata with a spatula and cut into squares. Place the frittata slices and a bit of arugula between the bread and serve.

Serves six-eight

Monday, June 15

Individual Strawberry Tartlets

Buttery, flakey dough filled with jammy roasted strawberries

Huckleberry Individual Strawberry Tarts

I made these strawberry tarts for my friend who is obsessed with mini-everything. She is a talented baker and loves sweets, so I knew that these individual-size desserts would be a hit. The recipe comes from the Huckleberry cookbook and calls for rolling out squares of buttery homemade dough and filling them with a mixture of fresh strawberries, melted butter, and brown sugar. The tarts bake in a hot oven, which roasts the berries and causes a thick puddle of sweet strawberry jam to pool in the middle. The house smelled incredible while these cooked, filling the air with the scent of caramelized sugar, butter, and fruit. Serve these warm or at room temperature with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream.

Related Recipes:

Mini Strawberry Tartlets:
For Dough
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1/4 c. cold water
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder

For Filling and Assembly
- 3 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. white sugar, plus more for sprinkling dough
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 egg, beaten, with a splash of water or milk (this is egg wash)
- powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream to serve

  • To make dough, pulse flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a food processor or mix by hand.
  • Add in the butter and pulse or use a pastry cutter until pea-size pieces form. Pour in the water and pulse or mix a few times until dough starts to come together.
  • Dump the dough onto a clean surface and press together with your hands until it holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to a few days.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and let sit for 10-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss the strawberries in a bowl with the melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  • Roll out the dough to a large square that's 1/8" thick. Trim edges until you get about 14" square.
  • Cut the square in thirds in both directions to get 9 even squares. Combine the scraps of dough and roll out a few more squares if possible.
  • Divide the strawberries in the middle of each square of dough, leaving a 1" border around the dough edges. Brush the edges with egg wash and fold over to form a little picture frame.
  • Arrange the tarts on a parchment or nonstick mat-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 356F.
  • Take the tarts out of the freezer and brush the edges of dough with more egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake immediately for 30-35 minutes, or until the dough is darkly golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves ten-twelve

Mini Strawberry Galettes

Wednesday, June 10

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Show-stopping twice-baked sweet potatoes with creamy taleggio cheese

Barefoot Contessa Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Baked sweet potatoes have been on permanent rotation as a weekly side dish at our house. I love the way they taste and they have more fiber and vitamins than regular potatoes. While delicious on their own, this twice-baked sweet potato recipe is on a whole other level. The recipe comes from the latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook (I'm a huge fangirl and love every single one of her cookbooks) and calls for mashing the cooked sweet potatoes with buttery sautéed shallots, creamy taleggio cheese, and thyme before baking them a second time until puffed and golden. The potatoes are the perfect mix of salty and sweet with creamy pockets of melty cheese running throughout. These make a great side dish to a simple roasted chicken, grilled meat, or even a sturdy fish like salmon. Or pair this with a green salad for a satisfying vegetarian meal.

Related Recipes:
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes
- Molasses-Chile Butter Sweet Potatoes

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Taleggio Cheese:
- 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and poked with a fork a few times
- 3 oz. taleggio cheese, rind removed and diced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and add the sweet potatoes. Bake for an hour, or until tender and cooked through.
  • Remove and let cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a bowl, leaving a 1/2" border around the edge of each potato half. Season the potato shells with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small pan and add in the shallots. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the thyme and cook for another minute.
  • Add the shallot mixture and a big pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl with the sweet potatoes and mash with a fork. Stir in the egg and cheese until incorporated.
  • Scoop the sweet potato mixture back into the potato skins and lay a sprig of thyme on top of each half as a garnish (optional).
  • Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned.
  • Cool slightly and serve.

Serves four

Tuesday, June 9

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mustard Sauce

Don't be afraid to throw fish on the grill this summer

Bobby Flay grilled salmon recipe

My husband and I eat seafood pretty often, but there's something about living near the beach in the summer that makes fish even more appealing. June means that it's Copper River salmon season and we can buy gorgeous Alaskan salmon fillets at our supermarket and local fishmonger. Salmon is one of the most grill-friendly fishes out there because the flesh is firm and meaty and the skin protects the fish from the hot flames (while getting crispy as a cracker while it cooks). My husband has been really into grilling for every meal and he's gotten good at making pretty much every recipe in Bobby Flay's Grill It cookbook. This meal calls for simply grilling salmon and then serving it with a no-cook mustard sauce and a little salad of arugula and red onion. The tangy, spicy sauce and fresh greens make a nice contrast to the rich salmon fillet and the whole dish comes together in no time. This works just as well for a summer barbecue as it does for a weeknight meal.

More Salmon Recipes:
- Grilled Salmon Burgers
- Copper River Salmon with Tomato-Avocado Salsa
- Sweet Miso-Glazed Salmon

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mustard Sauce:
- 2 (8 oz.) skin-on boneless salmon fillets, preferably fresh and wild-caught
- handful of arugula or similar green
- 1/4 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. minced parlsey
- 1 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
- 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Preheat a grill to high.
  • Meanwhile, combine the mustards, honey, parsley, horseradish, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Brush both sides of the salmon fillets with 1 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the salmon, skin-side down, for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes, depending on how done you want it.
  • Remove the salmon from the grill and let it rest skin side up (to preserve crispiness).
  • In a bowl, combine the arugula and onion and drizzle with vinegar and 1 tbsp. olive oil.
  • Divide the salad onto plates and top with the salmon fillets. Spoon sauce on top.

Serves two, easily doubled or tripled

Monday, June 8

"Lazy" Everyday Salsa

Make this fresh everyday salsa and never buy it from the store again

Rick Bayless Lazy Salsa

Whenever I get free chips and salsa from a good Mexican restaurant, I always end up devouring the whole bowl and getting full before the rest of my food comes out. But when it comes to snacking at home, chips and salsa never have the same appeal. Store-bought salsa just doesn't have the same freshness and flavor that homemade salsa does. This everyday salsa recipe comes from Rick Bayless and is so easy to put together. First, a mixture of tomatoes, onions, chiles, and garlic get grilled over a hot flame and then pureed in a food processor until smooth. The heat of the grill creates a nice charred flavor and helps to bring out a bit of sweetness in the tomatoes and chiles but it still tastes really fresh. This recipe will make a big batch of salsa which will keep for several days and is perfect for snacking or spooning over tacos or enchiladas.

Pro Tip: Place store-bought chips in a 350F oven for 5 minutes to warm them up and give them a homemade feel.

Related Recipes:
- Charred Tomatillo Salsa
- Mango Guacamole
- Queso Fundido Dip

"Lazy" Everyday Salsa:
- 4 medium-small tomatoes (roughly 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 1 white onion, halved
- 2-3 serrano chiles*
- 3 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
- kosher salt

  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Using a grill basket if needed, grill the tomatoes, onion, chiles, and garlic.
  • Cook the garlic and chiles for 10 minutes and the tomatoes and onion for 20 minutes.
  • Let the vegetables cool slightly, then peel the garlic, stem the chiles, remove the core from the tomatoes, and dice the onion.
  • In a food processor, puree the garlic and chiles, then add in the tomatoes and any accumulated juices and puree until smooth.
  • Stir in the diced onion and season with 1/2 - 1 tsp. salt. Add in a splash of water if needed to thin the consistency.
  • Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a few days.

Serves six-eight
*Or more or less, depending on how spicy you like your salsa and how spicy your peppers are. I used 2 serranos and the salsa was medium-hot.

Friday, June 5

Veggie "Eggs Benedict"

Looks like eggs benedict, tastes like nothing you've had before

Sprouted Kitchen Vegetable Eggs Benedict

I'm going to start by saying that although this recipe looks a whole lot like eggs benedict, it tastes nothing like it. And if you're craving eggs benedict, this is probably not going to satisfy that craving. However, if you're looking for a veggie-packed breakfast with soft poached eggs and a tangy sauce, this is the recipe for you. Taken from Sprouted Kitchen, this dish swaps the uber rich and difficult-to-make hollandaise sauce with a tangy-sweet mix of roasted peppers (using yellow ones will yield the color you see above), goat cheese, and lemon. The meat is substituted for lemony sautéed spinach and tender asparagus. The only remains of a traditional egg benedict is the well-toasted English muffin base and the poached eggs with warm, runny yolks. It's a lighter way to enjoy breakfast or brunch and it makes a beautiful main course that will wow your friends and family.

Note: Scared to poach eggs? See my favorite, fool-proof method for making them here.

Related Recipes:
- Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto & Hollandaise
- Kale & Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs
- Scrambled Eggs Florentine

Vegetable "Eggs Benedict" with Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Sauce:
For Sauce
- 3/4 c. (scant) roasted bell peppers (from a jar is fine)
- 2 oz. fresh chèvre goat cheese
- 2 tbsp. milk, warmed in the microwave
- 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
- dash of hot sauce
- pinch of kosher salt
- pinch of black pepper

For Eggs Benedict
- 2 English muffins, toasted well
- 4 eggs
- 3 c. loosely-packed baby spinach leaves
- small bunch of asparagus
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- splash of vinegar (white, rice, or apple cider)
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 500F.
  • Toss the asparagus with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness, or until tender but not limp.
  • Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients of the sauce and blend until smooth. Check for seasoning.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil to a small pan over medium heat and add in the spinach, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for a couple minutes, or until wilted.
  • In another pan, bring 3"- 4" water to a simmer and add the vinegar.
  • Crack an egg into a small bowl, then slip in to the water and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites are set. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining eggs.
  • To assemble, place muffin halves on plates and top each with some spinach, asparagus, a poached egg, and a spoonful of sauce.

Serves two, easily doubled

Thursday, June 4

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes, Burrata, & Breadcrumbs

Pasta tossed with fresh pesto, grape tomatoes, burrata cheese, and homemade breadcrumbs

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes, Burrata, & Breadcrumbs

This is a fabulous pasta for early summer when tomatoes are just coming in season and fresh herbs are in abundance. The combination of earthy pesto, sweet tomatoes, and creamy burrata mozzarella are reminiscent of a caprese salad but in pasta form. I'm currently obsessed with homemade breadcrumbs and love the salty, toasty crunch that they add to this dish. I add the burrata cheese at the end in big dollops so that it doesn't melt too much and keeps its rich and thick texture. It's almost better if it's not served piping hot and you could even serve it at room temperature as a pasta salad. It's a fast, fresh, and easy meal that you can enjoy all summer long.

Note: I used cappelini in this recipe because I had half a box on hand that I wanted to use up, but I think it would be even better with a thicker noodle like spaghetti or something like penne or orecchiette.  There are some great fresh pesto options at the grocery store nowadays (look for them in the refrigerated section), but I prefer my homemade pesto recipe.

Related Recipes:
- Grilled Pesto Shrimp Pizza
- Angel Hair with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Grilled Asparagus with Burrata and Lemony Breadcrumbs

Pesto Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, Burrata Cheese, and Homemade Breadcrumbs:
- 1/2 lb. pasta
- 8 oz. burrata cheese
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 slices of stale bread
- 1/4 c. pesto
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt.
  • Meanwhile, place the bread in a food processor and pulse to form large crumbs. Do not grind to a very fine powder.
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the crumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the crumbs are crispy and golden brown.
  • Transfer the breadcrumbs to a plate, wipe out the skillet, and add in the remaining tbsp. of olive oil.
  • Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, and cook a few minutes until softened but still holding most of their shape.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. 
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/3 c. cooking water, and add both to the skillet with the tomatoes.
  • Add in the pesto and stir well until the pasta is coated with pesto. Dollop the burrata all over the pasta and turn off the heat.
  • Transfer the pasta to plates and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Serves three-four

Tuesday, June 2

Nectarine Blackberry Galette

A rustic fruit tart using summer berries and stone fruit

Nectarine Blackberry Galette

It's officially June and summer produce is all but here. One of my favorite things to do with sweet summer fruit is make a simple tart or crumble. This galette was made on a whim using homemade pie dough that I had in my freezer (you can use a good store-bought dough to save time) and ripe nectarines and blackberries I picked up at the farmers market. The combination of slightly tart berries and juicy nectarines yields a delicious flavor and gorgeous color contrast. I like to sprinkle the edges of the dough with turbinado sugar to give it some sparkle and a sweet crunch. It's a rustic and elegant dessert that is impressive enough to serve at a dinner party or bring to a friend's barbecue.

Note: The photograph above is a small two-person galette that I made for my husband and I to share, but the recipe below is adjusted to serve a group of six to eight.

Related Recipes:
- Peach Tart with Olive Oil Crust
- Mixed Berry Almond-Oat Crumble
- Strawberry Crostada

Nectarine Blackberry Galette:
- 1 round of pie dough, defrosted if frozen
- 3 nectarines, pitted and sliced
- 1 pint of blackberries
- 3 tbsp. white sugar
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. cold butter, diced
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- turbinado sugar, for sprinkling*
- all-purpose flour, for rolling out dough

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat.
  • In a large bowl, combine the nectarines, blackberries, white sugar, and lemon juice and stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle some flour onto a board and roll out the pie dough into a circle that's 1/4" thick.
  • Mound the fruit in the middle of the dough, leaving a 1" border around the edge.
  • Fold the edges of the dough inwards, crimping as needed, to form a crust.
  • Tuck the butter pieces into and on top of the fruit.
  • Freeze the tart for 15-20 minutes. This will cool down the butter in the dough and help the galette hold its shape.
  • Remove the galette from the freezer and brush the crust with cream. Sprinkle the crust immediately with turbinado sugar and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating once, or until the crust is a dark golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
  • Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve.

Serves six-eight
*Also known as raw sugar or demerara sugar.

Monday, June 1

Duck Breasts with Cherry Salsa

Turn fresh cherries into a sweet-savory salsa for grilled or roasted meat

Fresh cherries are everywhere at our markets in L.A. I can buy a big bag of them, set them out on the table with a small bowl next to it for pits and stems, and they'll be gone before the afternoon is over. But when it comes to cooking with them, my favorite thing to do is use them in savory dishes. The fruit is so sweet on its own that it makes a really nice contrast to rich and fatty meats like duck. In this recipe, a simple pan-roasted duck breast is topped with a sweet and spicy salsa made from cherries, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro. It's a quick meal and the only step that takes any time is pitting the cherries, but luckily you only need to pit a cupful. The salsa idea comes from a Raley's newsletter that my aunt sent me, and while the combination of cherries with raw onion and cilantro might sound odd, it really works together and tastes delicious. If you're not a fan of duck or have trouble finding it at the market, the salsa would also pair well with pork or lamb.

Related Recipes:
- Duck Breasts with Fig Sauce
- Poached Cherries with Goat Cheese
- Duck with Cherry Port Sauce

Pan-Roasted Duck Breasts with Cherry Salsa:
- 2 large duck breasts, skin on and boneless
- 1 c. fresh cherries, pitted and diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
- 2 tbsp. red onion, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
- 1/2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Combine the cherries, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Check for seasoning and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Score the fat on the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern with a pairing knife and season both side of the duck with salt and pepper.
  • Add the duck to the pan, fat side down, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the fat has rendered and the skin is brown and crispy.
  • Flip the duck over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The duck should be pink in the center still.
  • Let the duck rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve with the cherry salsa.

Serves two, with some salsa left over