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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Using My Family As Guinea Pigs For Summer Recipes

I know I don't need to repeat this for the hundredth time, but I love this time of year.  Summer is the best time for food.  Summer is peaches and corn and tomatoes.  Summer is farm markets that contain booths full of actual nutritious fresh produce I want to eat (as opposed to only having cheese, bread, and squash like the fall and winter farm markets).  Most importantly, with all of these topnotch fruit and vegetables so abundant, I am always seeking creative ways to cook them

That is why a few weeks ago I began pestering the husband.  "Let's have people over.  We Must have people over.  I need to have a dinner party."  Sure it sounds rather selfless and generous, but I have an ulterior motive.  I want to test new recipes on my unsuspecting friends and family.

Fortunately, we have family members who are always willing to oblige, so this weekend we had our mothers and family friend come over, thinking that I was just inviting them over from the goodness of my heart.  Little did they know I was testing recipes on them.

Who am I kidding?  They know.  They see me taking photos during dinner.  It's never a secret that I'm cooking certain dishes to feature on the blog.

This particular dinner was meant to feature every star ingredient of late summer:  Corn, tomatoes, and peaches.  Although it's a little past berry season, I did sneak a blueberry pie in there as well.

My first course was savory cornmeal pancakes with basil and tomatoes.  I was thinking of cooking the tomatoes down into a sauce, but decided to leave them raw.  Tomatoes this time of year are good enough that they don't need to have much done to them.  I let them sit in some olive oil, garlic, and fresh oregano for a few hours before I served them over the pancakes.



My main course was a pork loin that I topped with a peach whiskey sauce.  The sauce is very simple, but works very well with the pork.  On the side I served a green bean salad.  I bought green beans, wax beans, and purple string beans for the salad, but the purple beans turned green after two minutes in the steamer.  I dressed them simply with white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and olive oil.


 Finally we had the blueberry crumb pie.  I tried King Arthur Flour pie filling enhancer for the first time.  It makes a huge difference in the consistency of a pie filling.  I recommend it.


Need some recipes?

Pork Loin with Whiskey Peach Sauce

Ingredients
  • 3 lb pork loin roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 6 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup whiskey
  • 2 Tbl honey
  • 6 chopped sage leaves
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Sprinkle pork roast with salt and pepper all over.  Place in a cast iron pan (or other heavy pan) and brown well over medium heat on all sides.  Place in oven and roast for 75 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest 15 minutes.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large pan.  Add the peaches and cook until they soften.  Add the whiskey and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes.  The sauce should thicken and become syrupy.  Stir in the sage leaves and honey and cook another 5 minutes.

Slice the pork and serve topped with the sauce.

Savory Corn Pancakes

Ingredients
  • Kernels scraped from 2 ears of cooked corn
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbl melted butter (plus additional for cooking)
  • 6 basil leaves cut in chiffonade
In a large bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder.

In another bowl, whisk milk, eggs, and butter.

Gently mix together the milk mixture with the flour mixture.  Stir just to blend.  Stir in the corn and basil.  Be careful not to overmix.

Melt butter in a skillet.  You can use a ladle full of batter for large pancakes, or if you prefer mini pancakes, use about 1/4 at a time.  Cook on one side until you see bubbles form and break (look carefully as it won't be as obvious as it is with regular pancakes) and flip over and cook until completely done.

Serve topped with tomatoes, cheese, salsa, or whatever other toppings you feel would be tasty.





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