Fresh Corn Carbonara

From Epicurious It is a winner!
It’s the end of our corn season in Colorado but I had four ears left and was excited to try this recipe. I love that half of the corn kernels and corn milk and cream are puréed to make the sauce. I got wonderful thick bacon from a new stand at the farmer’s market called The Noble Hog. I added a roasted, peeled and chopped poblano Chile because we like spice. Very simple to make and delicious! I always reserve a cup of pasta water incase the sauce is too thick and I added about 1/2 c. pasta water to the finished dish.

12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
Kosher salt
3-6 slices thick-cut bacon (about 6 ounces), cut into 1/4″ strips
4 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 3 cups), cobs reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces), plus more to serve
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, divided

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain.
Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain (reserve fat). Scrape excess corn milk from cobs into a blender by firmly running the back of a chef’s knife down the sides. Add cream, half of the corn kernels, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 2 Tbsp. reserved bacon fat. Purée until a smooth sauce forms.
Toss hot pasta with corn sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and half each of the remaining corn kernels, bacon, and basil in a large bowl.
Divide pasta among bowls and top with remaining corn kernels, bacon, and basil. Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.

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Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

From the wonderful Flour Bakery in Boston. I would think you could substitute semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolates if you prefer those-it is delicious with milk chocolate. I always make my cookie doughs a day or two ahead of when I want to bake them. Trader Joe’s sells toasted and skinned (mostly) hazelnuts. I use my scale in baking and find it essential.
Makes about 30 cookies.

3/4 c. plus 1 T (1 1/2 sticks plus 1 T.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. (140 grams) granulated sugar
2/3 c. (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. (210 grams) blanched whole hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/2 c. (210 grams) unbleached flour
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. kosher salt
12 oz. (340 grams) milk chocolate, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium speed for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the sides down occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl again.
In a food processor, pulse 1/2 c. (70 grams) of the hazelnuts until ground to a fine powder.Be careful as it will turn into a paste if you over do it. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts. In a medium bowl, stir together the ground and chopped hazelnuts, flour, baking soda, slat and chocolate. On low speed, slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed. Wrap in an airtight container and chill 3-4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drop the dough into 1/4 c. balls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and pale and slightly soft in the center. Cool for 5-10 minuets.Store cookies in an airtight container for 3 days. The unbaked dough can be kept airtight for up to a week.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I have an abundance of tomatoes this year because we got snow at the end of May and I was not sure my plants would survive the weather (but they did!) so I double planted! I used what I had that was ripe and needed to be used. My yield was 1.5 cups of sauce and it is the sweetest, velvety sauce ever!! I caramelized some fennel and onion to go with it tomorrow but it would be fine on it’s own. From the NY Times

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced or thinly sliced (to taste)
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered if you have a food mill, peeled, seeded, and diced if you don’t
⅛ teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs of fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt
1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper

In a wide, nonstick frying pan, or in a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, basil or thyme sprig, and salt (begin with 1/2 teaspoon and add more later), and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until thick. Pulpy tomatoes like romas will usually take 20 to 30 minutes. However, if the tomatoes are very juicy, it will take longer for them to cook down. The longer you cook the sauce, the sweeter it will be. You can speed up the process by turning up the heat, but stir often so the sauce doesn’t scorch. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the slivered fresh basil and some freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
If using quartered tomatoes, put through the medium blade of a food mill. If you used peeled seeded tomatoes but want a sauce with a smooth, even texture, remove the basil sprigs and discard. Pulse the sauce in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Laurie Colwin’s Tomato Pie

Laurie Colwin was a wonderful writer who died too young. My mother and I both loved her recipes and two cookbooks. Her tomato pie is a classic. She uses a biscuit dough which is the perfect texture for the tomato pie. I added corn off the cob because I had it and like the combination. I used a bed of fresh basil and chives from my garden and 4 chopped scallions below the layer of tomatoes. You can bake this ahead and reheat it at 350 degrees or eat right out of the oven. It gets better the next day.

2 pounds homegrown tomatoes, thinly sliced (enough for one layer in your pan), cut 1/4″ thick
2 cups flour
1 stick butter
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Chopped basil, chives or scallions to taste


Make the biscuit-dough crust by blending flour, butter, baking powder and milk either by hand or in a food processor.

Roll out half the dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pie plate with it. This dough is thicker than a normal pie crust.

Layer the tomatoes on top, scarttering with scallions and/or herbs.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheddar over the tomatoes. Thin mayonnaise with lemon juice and drizzle on top, followed by remaining cheddar.

Roll out remaining dough, fit it over the filling and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them.

Cut several steam vents in the top crust and bake the pie at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Pair this with a salad and glass of wine, and you have an awesome, easy summer supper. Or you can serve it as an appetizer or a side-dish! (Good-quality chopped tomatoes from a can will do in the off-season, too.)

This is one of those dishes that tastes even better as leftovers the next day. Reheat in a 350-degree oven till the cheese is soft and gooey.

No-bake Chocolate Mousse Bars

From the NY Times, a very easy bar that you can make a day or two ahead. Use the best semi sweet chocolate you can find (I used Callebaut). I mistakenly baked the graham cracker crust-do not do the same-it made it way too crumbly! The flavor of the mousse is delicious and it is a wonderful treat!

Crust:
18 whole graham crackers (about 9 1/2 ounces/269 grams)
8 tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Filling:
1 pound/454 grams semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 cups cold heavy cream, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream (optional)

Make the crust: Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. In a food processor, or in a resealable plastic bag, crush the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs (but stop before you have dust). You should have about 2 1/4 cups. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl. Add the butter, sugar and salt and stir until evenly moistened. Tip the crumbs into the prepared pan and press them down into an even layer on the bottom. Transfer to the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling: Set the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup cream, espresso powder and salt until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 2 cups heavy cream until you have stiff peaks. Add the chocolate mixture and gently fold to combine. Pour the mixture over the prepared crust, and spread it out into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. To serve, cut the two edges without parchment free with a sharp knife then use the parchment overhang to transfer the bar to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Tomato Poached Cod with Chile Garlic Oil and Herbs

From Alison Roman in the NY Times Cooking section. This is a wonderful way to cook fish and so simple.I happened to have lots of cherry tomatoes from my garden so happy to use them! The toasted garlic Chile oil adds a great contrast as do the fresh herbs and lime.

¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 pound small, sweet tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1 ¼ pounds fluke, halibut or cod, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 cup cilantro, tender leaves and stems
½ cup mint, tender leaves and stems
Limes, halved, for serving

Heat olive oil in a large skillet (use one with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook, swirling the skillet constantly until they are starting to toast and turn light golden brown, 2 minutes or so. Add red-pepper flakes and swirl to toast for a few seconds. Remove from heat and transfer all to a small bowl. Put 1 T. of he Chile oil in skillet.
Add tomatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until they burst and start to become saucy and jammy, 5 to 8 minutes. Add fish sauce (if using) and 1 1/2 cups water, swirling to release any of the bits stuck on the bottom of the skillet.
Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened but still nice and brothy, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Season the fish with salt and pepper and gently lay the pieces in the brothy tomatoes. Cover the skillet and cook until the fish is opaque and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes (slightly longer for a thicker piece of fish, like halibut).

To serve, transfer fish and brothy tomatoes to a large shallow bowl (or divide among four bowls). Drizzle with reserved bowl of chile oil, more olive oil and the crispy shallots and garlic. Top with cilantro and mint, and serve with limes for squeezing over the top. Serve with tortillas, toast or rice, if you like.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This recipe is from my sister, Meg that she got from a chef that worked at Tuscan Express in Grand Rapids, MI. I found the crust to be a little bit difficult and only rolled out one 10″ tart and used half of the filling mixture and 2.5 pints of raspberries. You can make the tart a day ahead which for me is a huge plus. It is very impressive looking and delicious!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart
Recipe By: Dana, the pastry chef at Charie’s Crab who used to work at Tuscan Express

I use this recipe to make this recipe a 12″ round and three 4″ tarts **note-I made one 10″ and froze the remaining dough.
SWEET DOUGH CRUST:
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter-very cold, (or salted)
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
2 egg yolks
2 T. heavy cream
FOR FILLING:
20 ounce semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
4 pint fresh raspberries, This takes 4 pts. but I usually buy 6 pints so I can pick through for the good ones.

CRUST: Using a food processor, combine butter, sugar, and flour until it resembles course sand. Add yolks and heavy cream. Mix until all ingredients combine. Pour out onto table and kneed together until it forms a ball. Make sure not to over work the dough. Chill 5-10 minutes.
Roll out dough until 1/4 ” thick. Coat tart pan with veggie spray and place dough into pan. Push side of dough down to make sides fit evenly within the pan. Place in freezer 5-10 minutes until chilled. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes. Prick any bubbles that may form at bottom of pan, then continue to bake until golden brown (12-15 minutes) Cool completely.

FOR FILLING: Place chocolate (chop it up) in a bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat to a boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into tart shell.
Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes .
Place fresh raspberries on the top, close together in a nice pattern of some sort.. Chill a few hours or longer.

Lemony Farro Orzo Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Mint

This pasta salad is by far the most delicious pasta salad I have ever made! From the NY Times. I love all of the different flavors and textures-especially the apricots and sliced almonds. It makes enough for a crowd or to share with neighbors.

Kosher salt
1 cup farro
2 bay leaves
1 pound orzo
¾ cup diced dried apricots
¾ cup thinly sliced red onion
¾ cup thinly sliced celery
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ cup sliced almonds
2 cups baby spinach leaves (2 ounces)
1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)
½ cup torn mint leaves
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE DRESSING:
2 large lemons
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add farro and bay leaves and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add orzo to the pot and continue to simmer until farro and pasta are cooked through but still al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes longer.
While farro is cooking, prepare the dressing: Finely grate zest from the lemons, and place zest in a large bowl. Squeeze juice from 1 1/2 lemons and add to zest along with salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes, whisking to combine. Gradually whisk in oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice from the other lemon half, or both, if needed.
Drain farro-pasta mixture, discarding bay leaves. Add to bowl with dressing and toss well. Stir in apricots. Let farro and pasta cool, soaking up the dressing. This can be done up to 1 day in advance. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
In a small bowl, combine onions, celery, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Let sit while the pasta cools, at least 20 minutes.
Just before serving, add onion mixture and almonds to the bowl with the farro and pasta and toss well. Gently fold in spinach, goat cheese, mint and parsley. Taste and add more lemon, red-pepper flakes or salt if needed.
Drizzle with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper before serving.

Savory Leek, Corn, Swiss chard and Gruyere Clafouti

From the wonderful Melissa Clark of the NY Times-this is a delicious brunch, lunch or light dinner recipe. It’s a cross between a pancake batter poured over sautéed vegetables and a crustless quiche. Very easy to make. Plan on eating it hot out of the oven or warm.

¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup crème fraîche
4 large eggs
2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more as needed
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère or Cheddar (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large or 3 small leeks (white and light green parts), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cups corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears, or frozen and thawed)
1 large garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (8 cups)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fresh lemon juice, for serving
Red pepper flakes, for serving
Flaky salt, for serving

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together milk, crème fraîche, eggs, flour, parsley, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Whisk in 3/4 cup Gruyère.
Heat olive oil in a 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until they are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn, garlic and a pinch of salt; cook until garlic is fragrant and corn is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chard leaves a handful at a time, and cook until they are wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Season the mixture with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Pour crème fraîche mixture over the corn and chard mixture, and then sprinkle the remaining Gruyère and the Parmigiano on top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until custard is lightly set, about 40 minutes. Serve topped with a sprinkling of lemon juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Nanaimo bars

A recipe from Vancouver Canada via my friend Jen and the NY Times . My crust was a little crumbly and I think I might add 2 more ounces of butter next time. I also think this bar could be baked in a 9″ square pan. I ordered the Bird’s custard powder from Amazon.

½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups/235 grams graham cracker crumbs
1 cup/85 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup/50 grams finely chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans (or a mixture)
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
¼ cup/60 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons custard powder, such as Bird’s
2 cups/245 grams confectioners’ (icing) sugar
FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
4 ounces/115 grams semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-inch (1 1/4-centimeter) pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Line an 8-by-8-inch (20-by-20-centimeter) metal baking pan with parchment, allowing parchment to overhang by about 2 inches (5 centimeters) on two sides.
Prepare the base: In a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water, whisk butter with granulated sugar, egg, cocoa powder and vanilla until melted. Continue whisking until mixture thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in crumbs, coconut and nuts until the mixture is well combined and resembles wet sand.
Transfer mixture to the parchment-lined pan and use your fingers to press it into an even layer. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to chill until firm, at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add heavy cream and custard powder and mix until combined, scraping sides and bottom of the work bowl as needed. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl as needed, then mix on medium-high speed until smooth, light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove pan from refrigerator. Dollop the buttercream on top of the base layer then gently spread it evenly on top using an offset spatula. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to chill until buttercream is set, about 30 minutes.
Prepare the topping: In a small, heavy saucepan or a double boiler, heat the chocolate and butter over low, stirring often, until melted and evenly combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Take pan from refrigerator and pour chocolate on top of buttercream layer. Working quickly and carefully, spread the chocolate evenly over the buttercream using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using.
Return pan to refrigerator and chill until chocolate hardens, about 25 minutes.
To serve the bars: Lift excess parchment to remove Nanaimo square from the pan. Cut into 16 2-inch (5-centimeter) squares. Store bars in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving. Store remaining bars in the refrigerator for a few days, or wrap well and freeze.