Peaches shine in galette

peach galette

Let’s face it, pie is intimidating for many cooks.  Why else would supermarkets sell so many of those cardboard-like frozen crusts in foil pans?

Never fear, pastryphobes.  The French have given us a marvelous alternative to the pie with perfectly ruffled edges–the galette.   A free-form cross between a pie and an open-faced tart, it makes the perfect showcase for sweet and juicy produce of summer’s stone fruit season.

What’s more, it’s a snap to make and actually is supposed to be irregularly shaped. Call it rustic and revel in the imperfections. Continue reading Peaches shine in galette

Strawberries make the salad

Tenderloin salad w:strawberries

When temperatures soar and appetites wilt, nothing is more appealing than a salad packed with cool, crisp greens.  Add a little protein and dinner is ready for the table.

This summer, I’m enamored with the pork tenderloin salad with warm strawberry dressing I found in “The Berry Bible,” by Janie Hibler.  Nominated for a James Beard award when it was first published in 2004, the cookbook is one of the books Amazon Encore is bringing back because customer reviews and other sources indicate they were overlooked and under-appreciated when they were first released. Continue reading Strawberries make the salad

Food books to take to the beach

Summer books should be entertaining page-turners.  Who wants to get bogged down in obtuse economic theory or convoluted political arguments while stretched out on a beach towel or curled up in an Adirondack chair?

Fortunately for food lovers, there’s a whole crop of fun reads out this year that explore the culinary world.  You don’t even have to be a cook to enjoy these memoirs.  Here are my choices:

spoonfedSpoon Fed, by Kim Severson (Riverhead Books, 2010, $25.95).

Kim Severson, one of the best food journalists in the country, has been at the New York Times since 2004 but she began building her reputation at the San Francisco Chronicle six years earlier.  I’ve always admired her as an excellent reporter with a great eye for the stories that define our times.  She’s also an engaging writer with a cheeky sense of humor. Continue reading Food books to take to the beach

Jam jar dressings

jam jar dressing3

We don’t buy salad dressing at the supermarket anymore.  It’s just too easy to make our own now that I’ve switched to shaking them up in a jam jar.  And the flavor is so much better, not to mention the purity of the ingredients.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve never been adept at creating an emulsion by whisking a thin stream of oil into vinegar in the classic technique for making a vinaigrette.  Far too often the dressing separates before I get it to the table.

So I’ve experimented with all sorts of alternatives, from salad dressing bottles with their own stirrers to jars with markings on the sides for measuring out ingredients.  Nothing works as well as a wide-mouthed jam jar with a tight-fitting lid. Continue reading Jam jar dressings