Tag Archives: Summer

Cherry Chutney

Cherry Chutney
I’m on a serious cherry kick lately.    I can’t get enough of them…  We have gone through almost 10 pounds in the last month because they always seem to find their way into my cart.  You know, just in case I need more.  I’ve been putting them in everything from cakes to oatmeal and this week, I decided to go a savory route.    If you are unfamiliar with chutney, let me give you a quick description.  It’s like a relish, it has sweet and sour ingredients, usually coming from sugar or fruits and vinegar.  It is a blend of sweet and savory.  It’s a great condiment to use with grilled meats or vegetables and this chutney went splendidly with a grilled flank steak.Cherry Chutney

This chutney was paired with grilled meat, but it can also be a great addition to a cheese board or a charcuterie platter or even as a tasty spread on a hearty sandwich.cherry chutney

Cherry season is nearly over, so don’t wait too long to grab a couple of pounds.   I’ll be making another big batch before the summer is over to put up on the shelves so I can enjoy them long after they disappear from the stores. 

Let’s Cook!

Cherry Chutney
Serves 8
A sweet & sour condiment made from fresh cherries, perfect on grilled meat.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 lb. fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately 3 cups)
  2. 1/2 small red onion, diced
  3. 1/3 cup dried currants
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
  6. 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  7. 1 TB whole grain mustard
  8. 2 TB light brown sugar
  9. 1 tsp kosher salt
  10. 1 TB canola oil
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium low heat then add onions and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned (5 minutes). Add red wine vinegar and cook a few minutes more.
  2. Add in cherries, currants, ginger, brown sugar, mustard and salt.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and thickened.
  4. Cool completely then pack in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Notes
  1. I served this with grilled flank steak, but it would be a great addition to a cheese or charcuterie board!
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Cherry Chutney

Cherry Coconut Rum Slushie

Cherry Rum Slushie
It’s summer, people and I am all about the stone fruit right now… particularly cherries. We’ve gone through 5 pounds in a week and a half. I’ve put them in baked goods, drinks, yogurt, etc.  I must admit, this super simple libation might be my VERY favorite way to enjoy this ruby red fruit.

Summer drinks, particularly slushies,  shouldn’t be overcomplicated.  No one wants to spend an hour prepping ingredients for a drink that is meant to be sipped poolside in the summer sun.  This little libation has 3 ingredients:  blackberry soda, cherries and coconut rum.  I feel compelled to warn you about one teensy thing…  it goes down very easily and for a lightweight like me that means I’m on the train to “Tipsy Town” with only two drinks.   

This cherry rum slushie has quickly become my favorite summer sip for a few reasons.  First and foremost, it is delicious!  The fact that it is only 3 ingredients and it comes together in roughly five minutes flat is a close second.  The best reason – you can make a big batch and serve everyone at once.  

Grab a bottle of coconut rum, some fresh cherries, call your friends and celebrate summer!
Cheers!

Cherry Rum Slushie

Fire up that blender!
Cherry Rum Slushie
Yields 2
A super simple summer drink with only 3 ingredients!
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Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 8.4 oz blackberry soda, frozen in ice cube trays
  2. 1/2 cup coconut rum
  3. 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
Instructions
  1. Combine all 3 ingredients in blender until smooth.
  2. (about 30 seconds)
Notes
  1. I used Izze blackberry soda. They did not sponsor this post, I wasn't compensated in any way... We just like it.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Used in this recipe:
Amazon Affiliate Link- I get a few pennies if you purchase through this link.

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Blueberry Crumb Cake

blueberry cake PP
Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month?  Let’s make a cake and celebrate!
Last week, I was flipping through an old book and 2 things fell out onto my lap: this recipe and an old black & white photo from a birthday party.

That’s the story of my life.  I’m usually a fairly organized person,  but little scraps of paper plague my existence.  I find them everywhere.  I mean, literally everywhere.  I scribble down notes or ideas and shove them into a bag or toss them onto the dining room table or kitchen counter.   I’m staring at a handful of them as I type this…crumb cake
I’ve given this recipe a permanent home now, which makes me quite pleased because this cake happens to be one of my very favorite things in all the world.   In my humble opinion, crumb cakes are absolutely one of the recipes that should be in everyone’s back pocket.  A good crumb cake is a crowd pleaser. Have you ever met someone that didn’t like crumb cake?  Me either.  
It almost guarantees you’ll get another invite if you bring it to someone’s house.  Ask my friends, I’ve taken it a few times  😉Blueberry Cake
This cake has a Very Generous crumb topping, which is mandatory in my book.  The cake itself is surprisingly light, but sturdy enough to support a hefty amount of fresh blueberries.   Get them while they are in season, because those plump little blueberries are best in the summer months!

Blueberry Crumb Cake
Serves 9
A fruit-packed cake topped with a buttery, crunchy crumb
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the Cake
  1. 1 1/2 cups AP flour + 1 tsp for blueberries
  2. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp vanilla (preferably vanilla bean paste)
  6. 1/2 stick unsalted butter (4TB), softened
  7. 2/3 cup sugar
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/3 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  10. 2 cups blueberries, washed and patted dry
For the Crumb Topping
  1. 1 cup AP flour
  2. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Make the Crumb Topping
  1. In a medium bowl- mix flour, sugar and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until you have large crumbs. Do not make them too small! Otherwise, the topping will not be crunchy, yummy chunks of buttery goodness on top of your cake... It will melt into the cake.
  2. Chill until you are ready to sprinkle on the cake.
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9x9 baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat until just combined. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, beat until combined. Repeat once more, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, toss blueberries with the teaspoon of flour and gently fold into the batter.
  6. Batter is thick, so being gentle is important! Spoon batter into the baking dish and use an offset spatula if necessary to level the top.
  7. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the entire cake and bake for 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before slicing!
Notes
  1. This is a versatile cake, the blueberries can be swapped out for other berries (like blackberries!) or even stone fruits like cherries or peaches.
  2. It also freezes beautifully for those days when you need just a little something.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
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picmonkey_image

Blueberry Mini Pies

blueberry mini pies3 I’m as patriotic as the next gal, but when Independence Day rolls around and you add the World Cup to that equation,  it seems everyone feels it to a near fever-pitch level of excitement…  (since I started this draft, I am sad to report the US team was knocked out by Belgium) Making good pie crust in Florida is no easy task.  I thought it was just my own shortcoming until  a friend’s sister was lamenting about the fact that she has tried on several occasions to make pie crust here and finds it impossible.    I must tell you, I exhaled a sigh of relief to end all sighs.  I was certain that it was me and that I had somehow lost my touch.   Hearing from  people who also grew up elsewhere that they find making pie crust in the steamy heat of Florida to be a nightmare…  well, that made me feel so much better.    

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Corn Fritters

corn-fritters-for-pp

Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.  As we drive back from the beach, our skin tight from laying in the sun all day, hair still damp from salty ocean water and sand clinging between sunscreen-slicked fingers and toes we pull off the Belt Parkway and drive along Emmons Avenue.  The smell of salt water still fills my head.

Driving along the bay, restaurant after restaurant, across from the fishing boats that take you on day trips is Roll ‘N’ Roaster. 

The place looks like it hasn’t changed a single thing since the day it opened.  I love places like that.  To some they may look tattered and old, but to me there is history in those places… Stories to be told.  Every person I’ve ever talked to about this particular place has stories of going there as a child and the first thing they say is “It looks like it did when I was young”.

 The plastic bench seats, the Formica tabletops, the dangling heat lamps.  All the same. 

There is comfort in that, in things not changing.  So many things in the world change at such a rapid pace we can barely keep up.  You buy a new cell phone and six months later, there is a new, better version of it hitting the market with lines of people wrapped around city blocks camping out to get it.

I like my old things.  They are worn and weathered, but there is history there.  There are memories attached to those old things, those old places.  

Stories of going there with parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles… Maybe that is partly why I loved going there so much.  There was a story with every visit,  it was part of a ritual and it was almost always, after the beach. 

The order, however, never changes:  roast beef sandwich, corn fritters and orangeade. 

corn-fritters-ingredients

Corn Fritters
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  2. 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  3. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. 1 tablespoon sugar
  10. oil for frying (canola or peanut suggested; roughly 2 quarts, depending on size of pot)
Instructions
  1. In a deep, heavy pot, heat oil to 350 - 360 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk and melted butter together. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  3. Stir in corn kernels.
  4. Carefully drop batter into hot oil by the spoonful or using a small cookie scoop. Drop as close to the surface of the oil as possible to avoid a splash. The corn will "pop" a bit causing the oil to spatter, so be careful when turning fritters in the oil.
  5. Let fritters cook until golden brown, turning them every so often so they brown all over. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon (or spider) and set on a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil.
  6. Serve immediately, preferably with an ice cold beer and a sweet & spicy dipping sauce.
I made them plain here, but here is a short list of suggested mix-ins
  1. - crumbled bacon
  2. - crab
  3. - bell peppers
  4. - cheese
  5. - lobster
  6. - hot peppers
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
 corn-fritters-tall

A Peck of Pickled Peppers

 

Banana Peppers

My banana pepper plants have been rather prolific and for this I am grateful.  As most of you who are regular visitors to this little space already know,  I went a little overboard in planting.  I have a tendency to overdo things and this was no exception. 

IMG_4293

Spending so many years living in an apartment with zero outdoor space, I may have gone a little crazy when I realized that I could grow some of my own food.  This had been a goal of mine for a very long time (growing food, not going crazy… that ship has sailed).  

I am fascinated by the entire process of planting a seed, taking care of it and watching it grow into something that will actually feed you.  

The very first time I had a banana pepper was on a pizza, my Freshman year in college.  A small group of us had descended on the pizza place next to campus.  We were there under the pretense of “studying” I’m sure.  There were pool tables, dart boards (which I became quite skillful at playing), air hockey tables; all the things one thinks of when looking for an appropriate place to “study”.

Anyhow, there we were and one of the guys went to order our pizza and when the waitress came to the table and set it down in front of us, I noticed that it had peppers on it.  Not wanting to draw any attention to myself, I dug right in but in my head was this little voice shouting “are you nuts?!”. 

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie.   These three little words make me sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation.  In my book, it is one of the most perfect desserts.  The fact that it is ridiculously easy gives it major bonus points. 
Growing up, I don’t think I’d even heard of key lime pie.  We had apple, peach, strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry, pecan, pumpkin, lemon meringue, chocolate cream, but never key lime. 

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My Tomatoes Runneth Over…

If you are a tomato person, you will want to check back here from time to time and here’s why:  I have an exploding tomato population.  As someone said to me a few days ago, this is not a bad problem to have! 
So let me just tell you now that for the next few months, there will likely be a number of recipes here using tomatoes…  Salsas, tomato tarts, tomato jam, tomato soup, etc.

Sometimes I am hesitant to put recipes here that I think will be too simple or maybe you just won’t find that interesting.  Recently, there was a discussion amongst a few of my foodie friends regarding the subject of “overdoing” food. 
Example: a cookie inside of a brownie inside of a cupcake inside of a pie, then deep fried and topped with caramel and chocolate sauces, whipped cream and sprinkles.
Obviously this is a gross exaggeration, but you catch my drift. Continue reading

Here’s the Rub…

The weather in Brooklyn is perfect today…  mid 70’s, sunny and breezy.    These end of summer days are the ones I really cherish because I know too well that before long, they will be gone until the spring.

It is nearly unthinkable to cook dinner inside today.   The days left in this year that we can enjoy being outside are numbered and I want every last second of warm sunshine I can get. 

Although, grilling in inclement weather is no foreign concept to me.  I have memories of my grandmother grilling in the rain, tongs in one hand & umbrella in the other…  I guess once she decided what was for dinner, there was no turning back.   Luckily for me, the weather this weekend has been picture perfect. 

If you are among the throngs of apartment dwellers with no access to a grill or outdoor space, this is delicious done on a grill pan or even a saute pan.    Speaking as one of the aforementioned,  I’ve cooked many a steak on top of the stove and they are almost just as good.

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One Last Bite of Summer…

Labor Day has passed and thus marks the unofficial end of summer (moment of silence, please).

Once again, it is time to put away the bathing suits and sunscreen.  No more tousled beach hair, salty lips from the sea or digging your toes into the sand.  Summer fruits and vegetables are still here for a few more weeks and I try to get every last bite I can before they disappear until next year.

Tomatoes will soon be those pale pink, insipid, cellophane-wrapped globes trying to pass for the real thing and even though we know better, some of us will buy them anyway…  only to be thoroughly disappointed.

I usually make a last-ditch effort this time of year to get the last of the summer produce before I am limited to root veggies.  Fall produce is wonderful and I love it,  but there’s nothing like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, etc. during the summer months.

This salad makes wonderful use of what most people grow in their gardens, so if you are lucky enough to grow some of your own veggies, you may not have to go farther than your back yard to get your ingredients!

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