Blueberry Crostata

Yesterday, I took my girls blueberry picking at a local organic blueberry farm.  We paid for just over two pounds of fresh blueberries, but smuggled much more away in our bloated stomachs.  I threatened the girls that the men at the scales would know by their blue faces just how many blueberries they had eaten in the field and make them pay for the berries with toys, but neither seemed too concerned with the consequences of petty blueberry theft.

We  made the simplest blueberry crostata with the berries.  I just tossed about 2 1/2 cups of the blueberries with 1/3 cup of sugar, a dusting of corn starch, lemon juice, a dash of vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon and baked it in a roll-out pie crust for 15 minutes at 420°.  I had planned to make the pie crust, but we were out blueberry picking all morning, remember?

For dinner, we had a classic Cobb Salad.  I learned from Cook’s Illustrated to add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce to the dressing and you can’t imagine how it elevates a basic vinaigrette to a “Cobb Salad” vinaigrette.

But enough about the salad.  Dinner last night was all about getting to dessert.

– Catherine

Corn Chowder with Beer Bread, Part Deux

I love corn chowder in the summer and had leftover corn on the cob I wanted to use last night.  I thought I had a good corn chowder recipe, but last night I made Andra’s, and it was so good, I’ll never use another recipe.  I also made the beer bread she always makes to go with this, and it was also amazing.  I used a Guinness for the bread, and it tasted like something you’d get at an Irish pub to go with your fish and chips.  The next time I make it, I’ll use a Miller Lite just to see if the bread tastes more like something you’d eat with buffalo wings.  I’ll let you know.

– Catherine

Chinese Five Spice Pork Lettuce Wraps

Last night, I made this pork, but simplified it by using a 3-pound pork loin and searing it whole, instead of cutting it up as the recipe indicates and using more chicken stock to cover it halfway.  I figure if it gets a good sear and it’s going to be braised anyway, why add a step?

We eat this with either romaine or butter lettuce, whichever I have on hand (last night I had romaine), a pot of jasmine rice, scallions and lime and then add a little bit of hoisin and Sriracha at the table.

I put the rice cooker, pork and condiments out and we all assembled our own plates.  Don’t worry, I moved that big knife before my four-year old put hers together.

– Catherine

Solstice Birthday Season

My husband and daughter almost share a birthday; their birthdays are the 20th and 21st respectively.  With Father’s Day thrown in there, it makes for a busy week.  Last night, to celebrate my husband’s birthday, we had fresh steamed lobster.  He’s from Massachusetts, and when given the option for a birthday dinner selection, it’s always his first choice.   If his birthday was in December, we probably wouldn’t do this.  But, once a year, at the beginning of summer, when the corn is perfect and you’ve been to the beach, there is nothing better than this meal.

I served it with fresh corn on the cob, chive roasted potatoes and champagne (we also used $100 bills as napkins).  For dessert, I made strawberry shortcakes.  I used a new recipe for the shortcakes, which was good, but next time I’ll go back to the perfect shortcake recipe from Cook’s Illustrated’s New Best Recipe Cookbook.  (I only deviated because I needed to find a recipe for shortcake on my iPhone while sitting on the beach yesterday.)  I whipped the cream in my new copper bowl that my husband gave me for Mother’s Day.  It really did taste better than cream whipped in the KitchenAid.

The only problem with this meal is explaining to your young daughter how a lobster is different from her pet hermit crab.  Yes, that’s a picture of my daughter kissing the lobster.  (And, no, we won’t eat the hermit crab.)

– Catherine

Swiss Chard and Quinoa Pilaf

There’s been a lot of celebrating around here lately, so we were in need of a detox night.  Last night we had a Swiss chard and quinoa pilaf based on this recipe from Food52.  I’ve made this with olive oil and walnut oil and honestly don’t think it makes a big difference, so I’ve stopped buying the walnut oil specifically for this recipe.

This would be so good with a piece of perfectly pan roasted salmon right on top of it, which I’ll do next time.  Maybe next week, when we’ll be detoxing after the last birthday of the season.

– Catherine

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