When the recent issue of Gourmet arrived in my mailbox, I was quite taken with their retro-inspired tomato and corn pie recipe. This dish truly embodies the bounty of a midwestern summer. Seasonal ingredients topped with sharp Cheddar cheese, fresh herbs and a dollop of mayonnaise make this meal well worth the trouble of baking in August.
I followed the recipe exactly, so I won't post it here, but I suspect that substituting modified quantities of dried herbs would work just fine if you don't have any fresh available. The biscuit crust is quite forgiving, so this recipe is worth a try even if you have lousy luck with other pie crusts. After baking, the bottom crust came out a big soggy, so I would recommend removing some of the juice from your tomatoes before assembling. Serve with a small green salad and a cool glass of vinho verde for a great end-of-summer supper.
Things have been so busy here! We are finally moving this weekend and I am looking forward to getting my computer back in order, catching up with my photos from Buenos Aires, introducing you to a remarkable bakery in rural Montana, telling you all about my recent Maine lobster binge in Bar Harbor, and sharing details about the excellent dinner I attended last night at Province hosted by the National Honey Board. It has been a truly memorable summer.
In the winter, one of my favorite dishes to make involves cannellini
beans fried in a bit of butter with salt and pepper. It's about as
basic as you can get, but I love the unadulterated flavors of this
creamy bean. As we prepare for our move,
I've continued to try to find ways to use up some of the items on our
kitchen shelves. At some point during our long Chicago winter, I
apparently stocked up on cans of cannellini beans, so I decided to find
a summery way to use them. While a bit more involved than my winter
menu, this meal is still simple and quick to prepare.
White Bean Dip
1 can (15 oz) of cannellini beans, rinsed 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped Juice of 1 lemon ¼
C olive oil 2 Tbl pesto salt and pepper to taste
all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add
a bit more oil or some water if the dip is too thick. Salt and pepper
to taste. Serve with fresh vegetables and oven-baked pita chips (see
Oven-Baked Pita Chips
Makes 48 chips Preheat oven to 400F
3 store-bought pocket pitas (wheat or white) 2 Tbl olive oil 2 Tbl grated Parmesan 1 Tbl Herbes de Provence (or other dried herbs) Kosher flake salt Pepper
the pitas into 8 wedges. Separate each wedge at the seam into two
pieces. Place in one layer on a large sheet pan. Brush or drizzle with
olive oil (don't worry about covering the surfaces, this is mainly for
flavor) and sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper.
chips for about five minutes and then sprinkle on the Parmesan. Bake
for about five more minutes, or until crisp and golden.
We are moving at the end of this month into the main floor
of a beautiful old graystone mansion on one of Chicago’s tree-lined boulevards. It’s the
kind of place that I would often enviously eye as I walked to my uninspiring,
white-walled home - wishing for a bit of that old hardwood and sunshine. Four of us will be sharing the enormous space and saving on rent in the process.
As we begin to plan our move and start another cycle of
security deposits, I have a renewed interest in finding inspiration in my
stockpile of dry goods. While I didn’t have the proper combination of dried
fruits and nuts on hand, Melissa Clark's recent olive oil granola inspired me
to throw together my own version. I still stand by the Harrison House granola as my favorite, but I thought I would share
this perfectly delicious, less expensive recipe with you. The lovely thing about granola is that you can add almost any type of nuts and dried fruits to the basic recipe. Feel free to modify.
Maple and Dried Cranberry Granola
3 C old-fashioned rolled oats
1 C roasted sunflower seeds, hulled and salted
C ground flax seed* ¾ C maple syrup
½ C extra virgin olive oil
½ C packed brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
¾ C dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 300F. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except the dried cranberries. Pour mixture onto a heavy baking sheet in an
even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Stir just enough to ensure the granola won’t burn, but not so much that all the delicious clumps of granola break apart (this is a matter of preference, of course).
When well-toasted and fragrant, remove from the oven and
allow to cool. Mix in the dried
cranberries and store in an air-tight container.
(*If you don't have ground flax seed stashed in your freezer like I do, omitting this ingredient will not dramatically change the final product.)
Ever since my parents brought home an Apple IIc Plus in the late 80's, we've been serious fans of the company. My brother even works for them now. So when the hard drive on my 2007 MacBook failed Monday night as I was uploading photos, it was comforting to know that, because I had recently backed up my data and the hardware was still under warranty, it would be a quick process to get it up and running again. After a thirty minute Genius bar appointment at the Michigan Avenue store, I left with a new hard drive and an updated operating system.
It will take me a few more days to transfer all of my photos back to the computer and pick up editing were I left off, but I wanted to put up a quick post to remind all of you to back-up your data when you get home from work this evening. I am so glad I recently did.
The lovely crepe you see in the photo is from the Rooster Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri. My friends Matt and Diana were married in St. Louis this summer and while we were there we dined at this excellent restaurant every morning. If you are ever in the city searching for brunch, I would highly suggest this establishment.
There are few things better than a salad dressed in homemade, creamy dressing to cool off a summer afternoon. The earthy flavors of dill combined with the subtle tartness buttermilk in this recipe make it the only dairy-based dressing I make with any frequency.
This recipe was inspired by a restaurant here in Chicago called Swim Cafe. They used to serve a salad of spinach, mushrooms, brie and dill topped with a buttermilk dressing. They still offer something similar, but it was this former version that used to make me venture miles out of my way to enjoy as a summer lunch.
Buttermilk Dill Dressing
1/2 C buttermilk, shaken
1/3 C mayonnaise
3 Tbl fresh dill, chopped
1 Tbl shallot, minced
Whisk together the buttermilk and the mayonnaise. Stir in the dill and shallot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate any unused portion.