Several weeks ago, my husband and I went to Qua Pizza in Manasquan, NJ. Qua prepares Roman style pizza. Qua makes rectangle pies from a dough that has a long fermentation and is a high hydration dough. They bake their pies in blue steel pans which results in a crisp crust with a light, soft and airy interior. Between the crust and the tomato sauce, it’s a killer pie! The night my husband and I were there, their special pie that night was Cacio e Pepe with Zucchini Flowers. I’ve had their Cacio e Pepe before, which by the way, inspired me to find a recipe to make it a home. This pie was fabulous! The combination of ingredients and the zucchini blossoms made for a scrumptious supper!
Another evening a neighbor was gifted a fresh tuna filet. What to do? My husband suggested Blackened Tuna Bites. Off to my local food store where I found Cajun’s Choice Blackened Seasonings. I lightly coated the tuna bites with a bit of canola oil and then added the blackening seasoning. A quick sauté in a non-stick skillet and, a voilà quick appetizer, delish!
One of my favorite summertime desserts is blueberry and nectarine buckle from Gourmet Magazine, July 1991. As peak season for these two summer fruits is nearing the end, you must give this recipe a try. You can substitute peaches for the nectarines. However, I would recommend removing the peach skin before adding to the batter.
This recipe has a light crumb topping that really enhances the buckle. For the topping you’ll need unsalted butter, sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. For the batter, unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla, double acting baking powder, all-purpose flour, salt, eggs, blueberries and nectarines. The recipe calls for baking in a 10-x2-inch round cake pan or a 2-quart baking pan.
There’s enough crumb topping to add another layer of both flavor and texture. The combination of the two fruits makes for delightful dessert, especially for a barbecue.
A few weeks ago, in the Monday edition of The New York Times, there was a German Chocolate Cookie recipe by Samantha Seneviratne. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour, natural cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, butter, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, coconut, chopped bittersweet chocolate and chopped pecans.
While the coconut may be essential to a German Chocolate cake, I nixed it for the cookies. I also used light brown sugar as that’s what was in my pantry and I purchased Ghirardelli Baking Bar, Premium, Bittersweet Chocolate, 60% Cacao.
These cookies were divine! The proportion of ingredients made for a slightly crisp edge, but a soft decadent chocolate center. Following the suggestions of other bakers, after rolling the dough in a ball, I slightly flattened the cookies. We didn’t find them overly sweet, but they were rich tasting and one cookie will satisfy any chocolate lover’s craving. I recently brought these to a picnic and I immediately received a request for the recipe from someone who’s husband had the foresight to bring some home to his family that couldn’t attend.
Both of my granddaughters have August birthdays and this year, the youngest turns one and the other four. My daughter is having a joint birthday celebration for the girls and I was tasked to creating sea themed sugar cookies for the young guests to decorate and some for the adults to eat.
My daughter found cookie cutters in the form of a mermaid’s tail, two sizes of star fish and scallop. I made royal icing to outline the cookies then decorated them with colored sugar. The kids had fun both decorating and eating the cookies. The adults enjoyed the cookies too!
Blueberry and Nectarine Buckle
Gourmet Magazine, JULY 1991
For the topping:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the batter:
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups blueberries, picked over and rinsed
2 nectarines, pitted and cut into 1-inch wedges
whipped cream or ice cream as an accompaniment
German Chocolate Cookies
By Samantha Seneviratne
From NYT Cooking
Yield: 2 dozen
Time: 45 Minutes
1 cup/128 grams all-purpose flour
½ cup/47 grams natural cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
½ cup/101 grams granulated sugar
½ cup/110 grams packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups/128 grams lightly toasted, sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup/170 grams chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup/119 grams chopped pecans
By Alison Roman
New York Times Cooking
Yield: about 1-3/4 cups
Time: 5 Minutes
3 large egg whites
3 ¾ cups/453 grams confectioners' sugar (a standard 1-pound box)
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of kosher salt
Food coloring (optional)
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.