Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Food Blog Finds Made At Home

Rachel’s Zucchini (www.orangette.blogspot.com)

This zucchini recipe… so simple yet so unbelievably delicious. Molly Wizenberg, she gets me all the time. I love her writing, I love her recipe shares, and I love this zucchini recipe that she recently raved about. Zucchini is cooked for a long time in garlic infused olive oil until it almost wilts, with just a few pinches of salt and some fresh basil leaves to season it. It is such a humble way of cooking this all-too-common vegetable, but it brings out the zucchini’s true flavors in the best way possible. Do try it! Chances are you will still find zucchinis at the farmers markets.

The moment I laid eyes on this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any good plums anymore, it is too late in the season. I did have some extra blueberries from the ice cream sandwich recipe below that I folded in this cake batter and then I laid thick peach slices on top. This delicate cake is full-bodied with a tender sweetness that will make your heart smile, bite after bite.

I did make the following ingredient substitutions to accommodate for what I had on hand:
1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup spelt flour (instead of 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour)
¾ cup sugar (instead of 1 cup sugar)
no lemon zest (I wouldn’t have skipped that, except for I was out of lemons)
no plums, so I used:
1 and 1/3 cups fresh blueberries
1 peach, peeled and sliced into thick wedges

Five summers ago, I was a nanny for two awesome kids in Seattle. One night, their parents had a dinner party and their mom made this amazing blueberry-lemon ice cream sandwiches from her current Gourmet magazine issue. I fell in love with it and made it for my host parents, Bill and Sally, soon after. For years, this recipe has been on my mind and I don’t know why it took me so long to make it again. So I finally made it last weekend. It is quite a project, but it is so worth it. You will need blueberries for this recipe. I understand that they are not in season right now, but it’s ok because they get turned into a compote anyway. Hello sugared-up blueberries! If you have frozen blueberries from this summer, that’s just perfect! 

Here’s the gist: You will need to soften some vanilla ice cream and stir in fresh lemon juice and some zest. Of course, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own vanilla ice cream from scratch but I won’t judge you if you don’t. Heck, I bought mine! Refreeze the ice cream as the compote is cooling off. Meanwhile, bake two sheets of blonde cookies. Swirl the blueberry compote into the lemony vanilla ice cream, freeze it again. When the blueberry-lemon ice cream has just frozen, spoon it over one cookie sheet and then top with the other cookie sheet. Freeze this huge ice cream sandwich and cut it up right before serving.

DFJ and I took this to his work party last weekend and it was a hit! This crowd-pleaser recipe is totally worth making! I’m sorry I have no pictures to share… I was a little too stressed during the process of making this recipe.    

My apologies for sharing this wonderful summer salad a little too late. I found it almost too late myself (three weeks ago, to be exact). So, I urge you to make a mental note or bookmark this salad for next year because it is a good one. Crunchy, juicy, fruity, minty, cheesy… sweet and savory too with a little kick! Cucumber, watermelon (the recipe really says cantaloupe but watermelon can be used as a substitute), cherry tomatoes, fresh mint, with honey-harissa dressing, lemon and olive oil, and a generous sprinkle of feta cheese. I brought it to a dinner party and everyone liked it. It is totally the perfect side dish for summer get-togethers. No pictures for this recipe either… I was too busy visiting with friends and felt awkward about busting out my camera.

That’s my list of awesome food blog finds this summer. Do you mind sharing yours?