Wednesday, June 30, 2010

peach and blackberry crisp

Mercy, is this good. It is good out of the oven with vanilla ice cream puddling around it and, like so many things I love, it is good for breakfast the next day with a dollop of greek yogurt (or with more vanilla ice cream!).

The original recipe for this included raspberries, but blackberries were on sale and I was short a peach. So, I doubled the amount of blackberries and a complete success it turned out to be- the purple streaked berries mingled with the soft honey muskiness of the peaches. This of course is to say nothing of the buttery heaven crisp topping.

Please please try this. It makes enough to feed a crowd but less people also just means more leftovers.
This recipe from The Barefoot Contessa.

Peach and Blackberry Crisp

4 to 5 pounds firm ripe peaches (10 to 12 large peaches)
zest of 1 orange
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups plus 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pint blackberries (here the recipe originally called for 1/2 pint raspberries)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 10x15x2 1/2 inch oval baking dish

2) Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in cold water. Peel the peaches and slice them into thick wedges and place them in to a large bowl. Add the orange zest, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the raspberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

3) Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly.

4) Sprinkle the crisp mixture evenly on top of the peaches and raspberries (or blackberries). Bake for 1 hour until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warm.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

southern pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw

I love food's ability to build connections and establish moments.  One of my favorite things is asking people to describe their favorite meal. It is the most fun to see a person's eyes shine and watch how with animated gestures they describe their comfort dish -perfect bite- food memory.

In college, a friend from Missouri described this sandwich- tender shredded pork, swimming in a vinegary slightly sweet sauce and piled on a soft roll. I did not grow up with this kind of food and am not much of a meat eater, but her description of this sandwich made me crave it too.

I think this is a perfect summer meal with coleslaw and chips. Nothing too fussy, no pretention, just honest good food. The kind of food I like to serve friends.

Also, this is probably the only coleslaw I would serve friends. I may have coleslaw trauma from childhood (why pineapple? why raisins? and why leaving it in a car for four hours before the potluck?). This salad is straightforward- crisp cabbage, shredded carrot, vinegar spiked mayonaise dressing. It is a nice accompaniment to the pulled pork sandwich and is heaven when piled on top.

The pulled pork recipe is from Everyday Food magazine and the coleslaw is The Barefoot Contessa. 

Southern Pulled Pork Sandwich

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
coarse salt and ground pepper
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 4 equal pieces
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 soft sandwich rolls, split
Store-bought barbeque sauce for serving (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in lower and upper positions. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. (I actually do not think I put that much salt in. If you are more comfortable with less than a tablespoon, feel free to reduce the amount as well.)

2) Place pork in a 5 quart dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot; rub with spice mixture.

3) In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, and 1/2 cup water; pour over pork. Cover pot, and place in oven on lower rack. Bake until pork is very tender and separates easily when pulled with a fork, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

4) Moisten shredded pork with the pan juices. When serving, may I recommend potato bread rolls? Their texture seems just right. Also, a varied selection of barbecue sauces along side for topping the sandwiches is fun.

Vegetable Coleslaw

1 pound white cabbage (1/2 small head)
3/4 pound red cabbage (1/2 small head)
5 carrots
2 cups good mayonaise
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

(The Barefoot Contessa recipe calls for shredding the vegetables in a food processor. As always, I include the original recipe instructions below. However, if you do not have a large food processor, please feel free to do what I do: finely slice the cabbage by knife and then shred the carrots on the large holes of a box grater.)

1) Fit a food processor with the thickest slicing blade. Cut the cabbages into small wedges and place horizontally into the feed tube. Process in batches. Next, fit the food processor with the grating blade. Cut the carrots in half and place in the feed tube so they are lying on their sides. Process in batches and mix in a bowl with the grated cabbages.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, celery salt, salt and pepper.

3) Pour enough of the dressing over the grated vegetables to moisten them. Serve cold or at room temperature.