Pasta with Tomatoes and Peaches

5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, dried or oil-based
4 C tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 C fresh or frozen peaches, peeled and chopped
1 C onion, chopped
3 T olive oil
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T tarragon, chopped
Sea salt and pepper

12 oz. chunky-shaped pasta, cooked according to package directions
Parmesan cheese, grated – for serving

If using dried tomatoes that are not in oil, soak the tomatoes in boiling water for 15-20 minutes until softened and plumped. Drain and chop coarsely. If using sun-dried tomatoes in oil, remove them from the jar, drain well and coarsely chop.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a 9×13-inch baking dish, stir together the sundried tomatoes, tomatoes, peaches, onion, olive oil, spices and a bit of salt and pepper. Roast uncovered, stirring a few times until the ingredients have softened and thickened, about 40 minutes. When cooked, remove from oven and stir in the vinegar and tarragon.

While the sauce is roasting, cook the pasta according to the package directions. In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce. Top with grated cheese. Makes 4 servings.


Marinated Tomatoes

cherriesWhen you grow cherry tomatoes, you get a bargain for the space you must alot them. Yes, they are rambunctious and prone to wandering about.  But staying on top of the prodigious output of a cherry variety — a close descendant of the wild cherry native to the roadways, fields and forest edges of South America  — is a summer feat without the famine. This recipes does cherry tomatoes justice, taking full advantage of the characteristic sweetness inherent in the fruit while providing a colorful and flavor-packed condiment, which you can play with by adding hot peppers and/or sliced lemons. And of course, you can always sub out regular tomatoes, just cut them into smallish chunks.  Fill an attractive jar with the marinated tomatoes and make a gift of it.  If you keep yours in the refrigerator — recommended — you’ll have to bring the tomatoes to room temperature before using as the olive oil congeals with the cold to a butter-like consistency.  The original recipe comes from Southern Living. Adrienne demoed this at the US Botanic Garden in August 2015.

8 cups halved assorted grape tomatoes
1/8 C coarse salt
1 large shallot, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1½ C olive oil
14 fresh thyme sprigs
1/3 C white wine vinegar
1 C fresh basil, torn
½ t black pepper
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes

Put grape tomatoes in a large non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with the salt and toss gently with your hands; let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté shallot and garlic in hot oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until vegetables are translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in thyme. Cool completely. Toss together vinegar, next 3 ingredients, tomato mixture, and shallot mixture. Serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 weeks.  Serve over grilled fish, meat or vegetables; atop crackers and cheese; add to salads.


Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Syrup and Creamy Goat Cheese

grilledpeaches2A summertime “must” —  sweet and tangy, elegant as a side dish or a perfect end to a meal. We’ve also seen this garnished with nuts — pecans or almonds. Or even glazed almonds. A shortcut comes in the form of Wegman’s Balsamic Glaze, which you can use in place of making your own — though the scent of the reduction will fill your house and get your appetite going. The recipe was demoed by Danielle at US Botanic Garden August 6, 2015.

4 peaches (firm are best)
¼ C lemon juice
1 T dark brown sugar
1 C balsamic vinegar
2 oz. soft goat cheese
Fresh chopped mint or basil, for garnish (optional)
Light the grill or preheat an indoor tabletop grill.

Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit and set aside. Mix together the lemon juice and brown sugar. Add the peach halves and coat well with the lemon-sugar mixture.

Put the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat once the vinegar boils, and let simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Grill the peaches: place marinated peaches, skin side down, on the grill in indirect heat (if using outdoor grill). Cook about 2 minutes, until grill marks form. Turn over and do the same for the other side. Transfer to a serving platter, skin side up. Place a dollop of goat cheese inside the groove of each peach half. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar and serve immediately. Garnish with mint or basil. Serves 8.


Peach-and-Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt

peach-tomato-gazpacho-sl-x This soup is totally refreshing and quite beautiful, especially if you use all-red tomatoes as your base, but a mixture of colors for the chunked-up portion. Yellow or white peaches do great in it, as well as nectarines and even apricots. I don’t bother peeling any of the fruit or veggies (tomatoes, that is — I do peel the onions!). If you plan on doing some ahead, just do the pureed part — once the peach chunks are cut up and added, the soup will  hold up for only about a day or two. Almonds are optional but they do add a nice crunch and their flavor goes beautifully with peaches. Of course, if you’re coming to eat at our house, you’ll have this soup with a soupcon of red pepper flakes! Demoed by Adrienne at US Botanic Garden August 6, 2015. Adapted from a recipe from Southern Living.

5 large peaches, divided
3 large tomatoes, cored and divided
1/2 medium-size sweet onion, coarsely chopped (about ½ C)
3 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 t red pepper flakes (optional)
½ C slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely ground
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C finely diced cucumber, seeded as needed
1/3 C plain yogurt
2 T minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
snipped chives or minced parsley for garnish
Fresh-ground black pepper

Quarter 4 peaches and 2 tomatoes. Process quartered peaches and tomatoes, onions, vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Chop remaining peach and tomato. Stir into pureed mixture. Add almonds and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1-4 hours. Meanwhile, combine cucumber and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with 1 T yogurt mixture, drizzle with olive oil, garnish with minced parsley or chives and a grind of pepper.

Yield: Six servings


Killer Gaspacho

 

 

Three years ago we posted this. It’s such a summer favorite that we made it again at US Botanic Garden this week. It takes advantage of the abundance of summer produce, hits the spot on warm evenings. Summer in a bowl. This soup is at its best when all prep is done by hand, rather than processed.  Veggies can be chopped in a processor, but you have to do them in small batches to get the rights consistency and be very careful not to over-process. Demoed by Adrienne July 23 2015.

2 small or one large avocado
2# tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 peeled and seeded cucumber
½ red pepper
½ orange or yellow pepper
2 stalks celery
1½ quarts vegetable juice, chilled
¼ C red wine vinegar
½ C olive oil
1 t Tabasco
2 t Worcestershire
Juice of one lemon or lime (more to taste)
salt & pepper to taste (you don’t need much at all)

Prepare avocado by slicing in half and removing seed; dice the flesh and gently scoop it out of its shell into a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Finely dice all remaining veggies and add to bowl. Add veggie juice and seasonings. Chill and serve. Gets better as it sits in the refrigerator. Will keep up to one week.

Serves many.


Roast Chicken Pure and Simple

chicken 2Maybe because lately I’ve been up to my elbows in peaches and tomatoes, thanks to our current class themes. Or perhaps the sudden glut of zucchini —  from generous neighbor gardeners in the wake of an attack on my own garden by a band of groundhogs (as of yesterday’s death count, two down, one to go). I had in my head to make soups — several of them. That lead to a need for chicken broth home made is so worth the effort. So I brought home a Bart & Sarah’s chicken from the Saturday Warrenton Farmers Market and if you ever are out this way on a Saturday morning or in God-help-you Ballston on a Thursday afternoon, Sarah will happily furnish you with one of her delectable birds. They are worth the trip and this is no lie.

A really good chicken broth must start with a whole chicken. I patted the bird dry inside and out with paper towel, dropped her/him into a plastic bag and added a mixture of equal parts fennel seed, herbes de Provence and coarse salt, which I had ground a bit in the grinder (formerly a coffee grinder). I bounced the chicken about to get the spices evenly distributed over and inside. Let it sit at room temperature, which today, btw, hasn’t been too bad, maybe 78? After an hour or more passed, I trundled the bird out of the bag and onto an oven pan lined with non-stick aluminum, one of mankind’s greatest inventions, right after fire. Into a 425 oven. Another hour or so, during which I went about doing garden chores mostly trying to repair the damage of five weeks while we strolled beaches in Rhode Island in June (hence the platoon of groundhogs moving in).  When I came back in to the aromaI knew I had something special.  Credit goes squarely to Bart and Sarah — this chicken was so reminiscent of my childhood in France, the transporting poulet roti that was served up regularly in our home, made as often by our mother as by what cook might have been working alongside her at any given time. The flavor rich and complex, with the tang of salt, the intensity of the dried herbs and spices. So simple, so pure. Now I have the bones simmering in the Le Crueset on top of the stove. I’ll get to that soup yet.

— Adriennechicken 1

Poulet Roti

By way of  Jody Williams, chef of Buvette in NYC.

1 T coarse salt
1 T fennel seed
1 T herbes do Provence
1 chicken, dried well inside and out with paper towels

Combine herbs in a grinder or mortar and pestle; process just to break up the salt and fennel a bit, one or two seconds. Place chicken in a large plastic bag. Add spices and toss chicken to coat well. Let the bird sit at room temperature for an hour or in the refrigerator up to three days. When ready to cook, heat oven to 425. Place bird in an oven pan. Cook in the oven one hour. Turn off the oven and let it sit until inside temperature reaches 165, or for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit, covered, 15 minutes before cutting into chicken.

 


Peach Buttermilk Pudding

buttermilk-peach-pudding-sl-xTake the time to double sift the flour ingredients as directed in the recipe. The process of doing this will help the texture of the pudding. Folding the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed butter will allow the fat particles to get around the flour, which actually reduces the amount of gluten molecules that release when dry meets wet ingredients. The end result is you’ll create more of a pudding texture rather than a cake texture.

1½ C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t salt
½ t nutmeg
½ t ground ginger
3½ peaches, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1½ lb.)
1 C buttermilk
½ C butter, softened
1½ C sugar
3 large eggs
4 ripe peaches (about 2#), cut up into chunks
1 small peach, sliced, for garnish
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º. Sift together first 7 ingredients; sift again. Process chopped peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Yield should be 2 cups puree.) Stir in buttermilk. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add peach mixture, and beat until well blended. Layer chunked peaches in a greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Fold flour mixture into butter mixture. Pour batter over sliced peaches in pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan, and add boiling water to roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350º for 50 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Arrange sliced peaches in a circle in the middle. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or by itself.