Well Dined

1Sep/110

CSA Week 13

In the crate this week:

Corn
Bell Peppers
Tomatoes - large and small
Onions - red and white
Eggplant
Peaches
Apples
Pears
Plums

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We love pancakes in this house. My husband's favorite childhood treats were his mother's sourdough pancakes (which I have, sadly, been unable to create successfully thus far). I used to make pancakes from scratch every Sunday as part of a brunch tradition carried over from my father - he would cook a breakfast feast every weekend and we would wake up to the smell of bacon frying. Lately, I have stopped making the Sunday brunch, so I thought it would be nice to surprise Jasper with some corn pancakes the Sunday after the CSA pickup.

Start by melting butter in a skillet. I know that this looks like an awful lot, but this is where all the oil in the batter will come from.

Saute corn kernels in the butter until they just start to brown.

Mix up the pancake batter, using corn meal in addition to flour, and add the corn and butter mixture.

Pour the batter onto a hot griddle brushed with butter. Flip when the batter begins to bubble.

Cook until the other side is golden brown.

Smother with butter and maple syrup and dig in to fluffy, buttery, sweet corn goodness.

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I used the rest of the corn in a country style tomato and corn pie. This recipe uses a biscuit dough for the crust that is soft and easy to work with (if a bit sticky). I substituted buttermilk for the whole milk called for in the recipe, and it came out flaky and buttery and rich. The filling is layered with luscious tomatoes, fresh corn, and vibrant herbs, and topped with a creamy mixture of cheese, mayo, and lemon.

Start by prepping your vegetables - skin, slice, and de-seed the tomatoes (there will be too much liquid otherwise); remove the corn from the cob.

Roll out the dough, and fit into a pie dish.

Layer the tomatoes, corn, and lots of fresh basil and chives.

Top with shredded cheddar and a mixture of mayonnaise and lemon juice - these will cook together to form a creamy topping.

Top with another round of dough, brush with butter, and bake until golden brown.

The result will be a delicious combination of buttery richness and summery freshness.

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On to the desserts! First up - a plum galette.

Grind toasted almonds, flour, and sugar together. Slice plums thinly.

Spread the almond mixture onto a round of pie dough, top with the plum slices, and fold the edges over the fruit.

Sprinkle with sugar and bake until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling. I would "easy as pie", except that it's easier! Make sure to look at the recipe (below) for a tip on making vanilla sugar.

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I had another plum recipe that I decided to adapt to use with the peaches and came up with a peach-almond crumb tart.

Combine ground almonds, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Mix in cold butter until combined.

Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan, reserving some to use as a crumble.

Place peach slices into the crust.

Make a custard of flour, sugar, eggs, cream, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Pour the custard over the fruit and sprinkle the reserved crumble over top.

Bake until golden brown and set.

The result will be nutty, moist, and rich. I served this at a party, and it was gone in minutes.

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Last, but certainly not least, we have one of Jasper's favorite desserts - apple cheddar crumble. This is one of his mother's recipes, and I was really hesitant about it at first: cheese in a fruit crumble? But as soon as I tried it, it became one of my favorites, too. The cheese forms a chewy, salty and sweet layer that goes perfectly with the apples. Jasper loves it hot with vanilla ice cream, I like mine cold for breakfast.

Peel, core, and slice the apples (around 6 is usually good). Mix the slices with cinnamon, lemon juice, and corn syrup.

Cut together butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt.

Mix in grated cheddar cheese (sharper is better).

Place the apple mixture in a baking dish, top with the cheddar mixture.

Bake until the top is brown and the apples are bubbling.

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Sweet Corn Pancakes
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 10-12 pancakes

2 tbsp butter, plus additional for griddle
3/4 cup kernels (one large ear fresh sweet corn)
1/8 teaspoon salt plus additional for seasoning corn
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add corn and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to brown slightly. Sprinkle with salt and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, corn, vanilla and sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing until just combined but still lumpy in appearance.

Heat a griddle to medium. Brush with butter and ladle 1/4 cup batter at a time, 2 inches apart. When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, flip them over and cook them until golden brown underneath. Repeat with remaining batter, and serve immediately with butter and maple syrup. You can keep the pancakes warm by heating the oven to a low setting (175 degrees) and placing the pancakes on a plate in the oven as they are finished.

Tomato and Corn Pie
adapted from Gourmet

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tsp melted
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 lb tomatoes
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups corn (about 3 ears), coarsely puréed in a food processor or with a stick blender
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
7 oz coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Set a pot of water to boil.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out 1 piece between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Remove top sheet of parchment paper, then lift dough using bottom sheet of parchment paper and invert into pie plate, patting with your fingers to fit (trim any overhang). Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. I save the parchment paper to use for the 2nd round, later.

Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and blanch in the boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Remove any seeds and juices from tomatoes.

Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, 1 tbsp basil, 1/2 tbsp chives, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper, then sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in the same manner as the first, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 tsp). Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 30 minutes.

Plum Galette
adapted from Martha Stewart

Pate Brisee, recipe follows
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole, skin-on almonds, toasted
3 tbsp sugar*
5 to 6 plums, halved, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (keep slices together)
1 to 2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a processor, pulse almonds, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons flour until ground to a coarse meal.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; sprinkle almond mixture over dough. With a spatula, transfer plums to dough; press lightly to fan out, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edge of dough over fruit. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Brush crust with cream; sprinkle galette with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until crust is golden and underside is cooked through, about 70 minutes.

*for recipes like this, I like to use vanilla sugar, but regular granulated is fine. To make the vanilla sugar, I put some granulated sugar in a container with split vanilla beans, which infuse the sugar with their flavor. When I'm running low, I just top off the container with more sugar, and give it a shake to distribute the flavor.

Pate Brisee
adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes two 9 inch single-crust pies or one 9 inch double-crust pie

This is seriously the BEST dough recipe. It is flexible, it won't crack, it is super tender and flaky and awesome. It is important that everything be COLD.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup chilled butter flavored Crisco, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Whisk or sift together the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and shortening, and cut together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the ice water evenly over the flour and work together with your hands until the dough just holds together. Do not overwork.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form a disc. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 min before using.

Peach-Almond Crumb Tart
adapted from Martha Stewart

The original recipe uses plums and hazelnuts (as opposed to peaches and almonds). It is a versatile recipe, so any stone fruit is interchangeable. The original also uses fresh raspberries - I didn't have any berries on hand but again, you could use any berry interchangeably.

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), chilled, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup almonds, toasted
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar*
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
4-5 medium-size, ripe peaches
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
Grated nutmeg, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. Place nuts in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until medium fine, about 30 pulses.

Transfer nuts to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix until just combined. Add butter, and mix on low speed until crumb begins to stick together, 2 to 3 minutes. Press 3 cups of crumb into the bottom of the prepared pan and about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan to form crust. Set remaining crumb mixture aside.

Transfer crust to the oven; bake until it appears to be set, 18 to 20 minutes. Set aside. Peel peaches, cut in half and remove pits, slice into eighths. Scatter peaches onto cooled crust; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon flour and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, egg yolk, heavy cream, milk, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg (optional). Pour custard over fruit; sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Transfer tart to the oven; bake until custard has set and is slightly golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Let rest at least 25 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Again, you can use vanilla sugar here (see above).

Jasper's Favorite Apple Cheddar Crisp
Serves 6

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Combine the apples, cinnamon, corn syrup, and lemon juice. Place mixture into a baking dish.

Combine brown sugar, flour, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two forks. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the apples and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until the top is browned and the apples are bubbling.

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