Friday, August 27, 2010

Peaches, cream, and more

If its August.  If it's Colorado.  I'm eating peaches.  Any day. Every day.  For at least two weeks.  By themselves.  On Greek Yogurt with Colorado honey and slivered toasted almonds.  Or granola.   On top of vanilla frozen yogurt.  In a salsa on pork chops.  Etcetera.

Here are a few of the yummy things I've done.  Of course the best?  Above.

Grilled peaches:
Preheat clean grill to medium-high heat.  Cut peaches in half and remove pits.  Brush each half with a little bit of canola oil and place cut-side down on grill.  Let cook about 3 or 4 minutes and turn over when grill marks are well-established, but not blackened.  Cook another 2 or 3 minutes until tops of cut-side are somewhat visibly drying.  Remove and cool briefly.  Enjoy as is or try another good idea...

Grilled Peaches with Goat's Cheese, Honey and Thyme

God had to have been in on this creation.  Of course.  Here's how:

Grill peaches as above.  Top each with 1-2 T plain goat's cheese (softened a bit).  Drizzle with your favorite honey and sprinkle with a few leaves of fresh thyme.   (recipe copyright Alyce Morgan, 2010)

Grilled Peach Salsa

Lovely on BBQ Pork Chops (Really),
Shrimp Tacos
Grilled Fish
Tortilla Chips?  Of course.  Here's how:

2-6 t very finely minced jalapeno (to your taste--start with 2t and more if you'd like)
1/3 c finely minced onion
2 large peaches (Colorado preferred), cut in half and grilled*, peeled after grilling, and chopped into 1/2"  pieces
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 ea medium red sweet pepper and green sweet pepper, diced
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Dash of kosher salt and a couple of grates of fresh ground pepper

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. (Add more jalapeno, etc) Serve on with grilled pork chops, shrimp or salmon or on seafood or fish tacos. (recipe copyright Alyce Morgan 2010)

Wine? If you make the bbq pork chops or salmon, try a little inexpensive Beaujolais. Other reds or bigger wines, will overwhelm this meal. It's summer and something lighter and refreshing will turn on these peaches. If you make the shrimp or fish tacos, a cold Spanish Albarino (lovely white) or even an Oregon Pinot Gris could do the trick.

(If you'd like to make the green bean salad, here's the blogpost for it, though I dressed it differently here.  Rather than a mustard vinaigrette, I mixed a bit of top-quality light Ranch with some roasted salsa for a dressing.)

Lovely frozen yogurt from David Levovitz' book THE PERFECT SCOOP. (Click for the recipe.)  Of course, we then had it like this:

                 Vanilla Yogurt with Sliced Colorado Peaches
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the 'Hood

Our tomatoes are ripe.  Salads are every day now.
Skippy Jon Jones and Tucker saying, "Hi!"
Emily's home for a week or so.  Here she helps beat melted chocolate, a little cream, and sugar for a frozen chocolate yogurt testing that looked like this when done:

I'm still working on this...want to try it with toasted almonds, etc.  I'll admit it was tres tres tres like it was... made with Valhrona Chocolate.  Definitely.  Oh my.  Ask for it if you're coming to dinner.

Speaking of coming to dinner:  I have one space left in Cooking with Music for September 18 at 12:30.  It's an Italian class with pizza appetizer, two main-course soups, and an apple crostada (free form apple pie) for $50.  Includes dinner (you also get to invite a friend) and wine.  Email me if you're interested.
Right now, the sun is shining so brightly.  But on the windows I hear the tip, tap, tip of rain.  Opening the shades (closed to keep the sunroom cooler), I see it's definitely raining.   Sun, Rain=Rainbow!  I'll be watching out east for it.

It's time for a little music, a candle or two, cell phones on off, and watches stored.  Friday.  A bit of dinner together.  Breathing how blessed I feel to have almost my whole family in my house.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cooking with Music-French-Session II

If you haven't been here before, I occasionally teach cooking classes at home.  Each class teaches a whole menu and each menu is focused upon a culture, country or culinary form.  This is the second session of Cooking with Music-French and there were two students--mom and four-year-old daughter. 

While August isn't, perhaps, the very best time to learn how to bake quiche, it IS the very best time to learn how to make a great salad.  And is anytime a bad time to learn how to make a pie crust?  And, hey,  the quiche tastes wonderfully for lunch.  Chocolate mousse?  Whenever.  Here's today's bunch:

Chocolate Mousse = First, of course
Life is short

This is a no-egg chocolate mousse as eggs are bad boys right now:

Just melt 3/4 c chocolate chips with 3T butter and let that cool.
Whip up 1 cup of whipping cream and add 1T sugar at the end.
Fold a tiny bit of whipping cream into the chocolate to lighten it up a bit and
then fold into the chocolate the rest of the cream in three or four batches.  Spoon into pretty glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours.
Garnish with a dollop of whipping cream, some berries or grated chocolate
Et voila!  Mousse au chocolat!

Moving on from mousse to pate brisee, the super easy crust for the quiche.

"Hey, I can make a pie crust; who knew?"

Getting dirty...but eating fresh!  Like two minutes old.
Talk about organic food.  Making Jamie Olivers's chopped salad. (click here to see the video)

Pixie dusting the salad with kosher salt and the pepper she ground.
FINALLY getting to eat dessert.  Took long enough.

We did it.
We not only cooked, we cooked together.
What a day.

We can now make--for ANYONE!!--the following menu:

Salade Printemps (spring salad w/ fresh herbs)
Quiche avec jambon et fromage (Ham and Cheese quiche)
Mousse au chocolat  (Chocolate mousse)
Fromages (cheese)
Baguette (long, thin loaf of bread) avec buerre (with butter)

Vin: (wine)
Bourgogne (blanc) (2007)-Laboure-Roi, Meursault, Cote d'Or, France
Beaujolais (2008)- Pierre Chermette, Saint Verand, France

Next Cooking with Music is


Pizza as an appetizer
Two main course soups (one vegetarian)
Apple crostada (free form pie)

Offered Saturday, September 18, 2010


We'll cook and eat together.
Students may invite one guest for dinner each- approximately 5:30pm
Includes wine
Cost:  $50 per student

I have one opening for this class at present, but am happy to repeat it if I have requests.

This is a meal wonderful to learn for a dinner party because everything but the pizza (and it's nearly ready) can be done in advance so that you can be...


Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the 'Hood or Kitchen:

Grilling Colorado peaches for a peach salsa or dessert...a blog to come!

There's the grilled peach salsa--perfect for bbq grilled pork chops, shrimp tacos or salmon.

Skippy Jon Jones--visiting Aunt Alyce and Uncle Dave again

And they called it "puppy love."

A few things you might do around the kitchen this week:

Buy a bunch of green beans, trim them and blanch them (2-3 min in boiling water) and throw them in freezer bags into the freezer for the winter.  I got mine for 88cents a pound.

Ditto zucchini or summer squash.

Ditto corn on the cob.  Cook it, let it cool, cut it off the cob and put it in freezer bags.

Buy a dozen red, green, yellow peppers and cut them up and freeze them in small quantities.

Go to the nursery or wherever and buy some herbs to pot and take indoors for the fall.

Stake out your apple-picking spot.  Plan a picking date.

Clean out your freezer and defrost it while it's still warm so you'll be ready to cook, bake and freeze this fall.

There's still time to make peach freezer jam while the peaches are very inexpensive.  I saw some Colorado peaches for 99 cents a pound at King Soopers'.

Eat lots of salad with lots of fresh herbs and great tomatoes.

Try a home-made Cobb or a Greek Salad with grilled chicken.

Make gazpacho.

Make caprese salad.

Consider making and freezing tomato sauce.

Blueberries from Canada are still available if you want to freeze some.  Just throw them in the bag unwashed.  (Rinse them when you use them.)

Sing a new song,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

...And the living is easy...

I have a friend who just lives for pasta.
Too bad she didn't show up last night for this luscious bowl.
Fresh tomatoes
Olive oil
So much garlic
So much basil
Brie.  Not so much.  But enough.
I'll just have to make it again when she can come.
She knows who she is.
Please let my tomatoes keep coming so we can have this again.

First ripe tomato this year.  Planted Memorial Day weekend.  Ooh.

This is a summer meal.
Tomatoes are ripe.
You can't cook much because it's too warm.
The deck calls you.
An inexpensive, but lovely white burgundy is cold in the frig.
It doesn't overwhelm this meal, but is just so obviously fine to drink WITH it.
It doesn't hide flavors and you're not terribly aware, "Oh this is a fantastic chardonnay."

Grilled corn
Old-fashioned garlic bread
Come on home, honey; it's summer at Alyce's.

And not for long either.  Last night was 57.
It was 68 at 5pm tonight and windy.
Then the rain started.
Eat fresh herbs while you can.

On to the food...

This is an old SILVER PALATE recipe; it doesn't get any better.  It's on page 79 if you want to look at it; here is my version.  Less salt, smaller portions.  La.

Linguine with tomatoes and basil ala Silver Palate
I think this makes 6 smaller servings, though SP says 4-6 and uses more (1.5 #) pasta

4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes  (or more if you'd like)
1 # brie, rind removed, torn into irregular pieces
1 c fresh basil, cut into strips (save stems)
3 garlic cloves, minced finely as you can
1 c extra-virgin olive oil, best you can afford (yes, you can cut back on this if you must)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1 # whole wheat linguine (I like 365 brand from Whole Foods)

Combine tomatoes, Brie, basil, garlic and olive oil in a very large bowl.  Add 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper.  Let sit 15 minutes.  Meantime, bring 8 qts of water to boil in a 10 or 12 qt stockpot.  Salt and oil the water.  Throw in the basil stems.  Add some pepper.  Add pasta and boil about 10 minutes, maybe 12 if you're at altitude like me.  Drain and immediately add to bowl with tomato mixture.  Mix well and serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold. 


And what did we have with this? 
Well, I had two ears of leftover grilled corn.
I had an eggplant (cheapola at $1 per right now) that needed to be eaten, so Dave grilled that.
I had an idea they should go together, so here's what I did:

Summer Confetti

1T olive oil
1/4 c red onion, chopped coarsely
1 stalk celer, minced
Kernels from 2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
1 eggplant, grilled and chopped into 1/2 " pieces
2t jalapeno, very finely minced indeed
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped into 1/2 " pieces
3T mixed fresh herbs (you could use one or many; I used marjoram, oregano, rosemary, parsley and tarragon)

In a very large skillet, heat oil and add onion. Saute for several minutes until wilted.  Add everything else but the herbs and, stirring frequently, cook for about 10 or 12 minutes until vegetables are softened, but still holding their shape.  Garnish with any fresh herbs and serve hot, warm, at room temp or cold the next day.

Dessert?  Oh, it's Colorado peach time!


This was Friday and Saturday night dessert.  David Lebovitz' Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and Colorado Peaches. 

Two-Dog Kitchen and/or Around the Hood
    I've started a new interim job at The Church at Woodmoor, a non-denominational church up in Monument, Colorado.  I'm directing the choir through Advent.  Come visit!  Worship is 10am.

At home:

Skippy's here this weekend.

A Saturday run up to Florrisant to the Thunderbird Inn with our neighbors.
Bison and bottled beer.  MMM.

Skippy trying to get into the Pinot glass cabinet

Stuck on the deck--through the glass.

See the animals in their new on-line movie, a big hit on youtube:

Sing a new song,

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Figs, Figs, Figs or Bring me some figgy what?

  Bring me some figgy.... oh, just bring me some grilled figs.  With blue cheese and thyme.

I missed you, blog.  Travel.  Work.  Kitten-sitting.  Cooking for folks.  Uh, writing for other websites (sorry.)

But I'm back.  And I'm back with figs.  If you haven't grabbed fresh figs yet this season, the season is, my friends, waning.  (If it were early in fig season, would we say the season was waxing?)  Cheap?  OH NO.  Guess not.  So you better make the most of every biteful and not let one single one get too mushy to eat.

My little pint made it through two courses and I'll share them with you.  After I tell you that I ate figs at Tyler Florence's new restaurant, Wayfare Tavern, in San Francisco last Friday at lunch.  (Along with halibut and berry pound cake served with cabernet sorbet.) Of course, figs are a bit more available in California (just a tad) and Tyler had featured them as a starter with burrata cheese, onions and honey.  Were they good? Yes.  But why not save that buck (a little more than a buck to get to SF) and do something sweet at home?

Did we see Tyler? Yes!!!  Really.  What a day.  (Other spots we ate and loved in SF:  Scala Bistro-dinner and breakfast-wow; Cliff House --lunch at the bistro; dinner in the dr-best view in town!--a whole local sole-so fresh and perfectly fileted by the waiter at table; Tea House at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park; AT&T Park--what beats a beer and a dog?)

Anyway, back to our (your) figs.  I grew up eating fig preserves or stewed figs my mom put up in the summer.  I can't figure out where she got figs, but get them she did.  And how did we eat them?  In a little bowl to the side of a nice, big breakfast or right on top of a big plate of buttered biscuits that often were piled high with...sour cream. 

Nowadays, I often have dried figs with cheese in the winter.  Or I poach them in a little wine and serve them with honey and goat's cheese or mascarpone cheese.  I have a youza youza recipe with puff pastry, reconstituted figs and blue cheese that is a slamdunk dessert with port in the winter.  But today.  This weekend.  It's fresh figs in Colorado.  Get yours today.  Eat them plain.   Split them with a little knife and take off the stem or just eat them whole while holding the stem.  Or, you can do what I did:

Recipe 1:  Figs on the Grill   2 servings

1/2 pint fresh figs
2 ounces blue cheese (I like Maytag for this, but any blue would be fine.)  cut into pieces 1/4x1" or so
2-3 T honey
2t fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2t freshly ground black pepper

Heat grill, indoors or out, to medium-high temperature.  Slice figs in half and place cut side down on grill.  Let cook about 2-3 minutes until golden and sizzling with grill marks. 

 Turn over and let cook about 1 minute.  Place a tiny piece of blue cheese on each fig half right in the middle of the fig, pressing down a little to make sure the cheese stays put. 

 Cook until cheese is softened and just barely getting gooey.  Remove figs from grill, using tongs,  and divide between two plates.  Drizzle with honey and dust with thyme and a little black pepper on each.

Drink?  Ruby port. 

Fig "recipe" #2  Oatmeal with Fresh Figs and Almonds

Make your favorite oatmeal exactly as you like it.  While it cooks, slice some fresh figs into 1/4" slices and toast 1/4 c sliced almonds.  When the oatmeal is done, sprinkle each serving with Vietnamese cinnamon and about 1T brown sugar.   Add some sliced figs on top and shower with toasted almonds.  Add about 1/3 c hot milk and chow down your goodferya breakfast.  Ahhhhhhh...perfect.

Drink?  Coffee, I'd guess.

Two-Dog Kitchen + 1 Kitten... and Around the Hood

Skippy Jon Jones is visiting Aunt Alyce and Uncle Dave for a few days while Mom goes to the mountains.
A few bloody clawmarks.
A little cat litter eating by the dogs.
A little catfood eating by the dogs.
Much general merriment.
We're thinking Skippito.

The fam in San Fran
Check out all the pics on my fb page

Rhyan brings dad for a hamburger and rootbeer float lunch on Saturday.
We still have to watch "The Incredibles"
Grandma never tires of it.  Well, not too much.

Sing a new song; eat a new fig,