There are a couple of signs summer’s upon us: the temperature gauge in your car, the lack of clothing on the people around you, old folks waving magazines and newspapers hoping to catch a breeze, and peaches hitting the farmers stand. Of all these signs, I like the peaches the best! They’re subtly soft, sugary-sweet and delicious, sliced over yogurt in the morning and again over ice cream at night.
I ALWAYS buy too many peaches. I share them with everyone and still have a bunch that are screaming for me to use them up. Often, I bake them into crumbles. In my recent book, Canvas and Cuisine, I used them in a homemade ice cream recipe.
This season, I’ve done the unthinkable. I opted to use the last handful of peaches and make a good old-fashioned peach pie. Caveat here. I’m not the best baker in the world. I often leave desserts to my best pals to bring to my group dinners. But, I’m older…. bolder …. and have more time on my hands, so I thought I would give it (yet another) try. And, guess what! We have SUCCESS!
I used Ina’s pie crust recipe. Why not stick with the expert? And, I did two things I had not tried before. First, I peeled the peaches using the same method that I use to peel tomatoes. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Drop a couple of peaches into the boiling water for just about 10 to 12 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peaches to a bowl filled with ice water. Use a sharp paring knife to peel off the soft skin. It works!
The second thing I did was to drain the seasoned, sliced peaches through a colander before pouring them into the crust. In the past, my fruit pies are often so juicy, the bottom crust becomes soggy. Since I drained most of the juice away, the crust remained firm and the peaches still produced plenty of juicy liquid.
Caveat number two. If it is just too hot to bake a pie, here’s is a simple way to use those peaches (and summer pitted cherries!).
Feel like a Tart?
Roll out a thawed puff pastry crust. Place it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon-sugar and roll up the edges to form a fluted border. Pierce the bottom of the dough with the tines of a fork. Arrange slices of peaches over the dough, and dot with halved pitted cherries. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar. Bake until the crust is golden, about 10 to 15 minutes at 400°. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Super easy and super sweet.
Mine and Ina’s Peach Pie
1 hr and 15 minute cuisine
Serves 4 to 6 for dessert
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup very cold vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
½ cup ice water
8 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
Juice of ½ lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny pieces
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons butter (egg wash)
Cut the butter into tiny pieces and return it to the refrigerator. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out onto a floured board and roll into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the peaches into a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the peaches with the dry ingredients and gently toss.
Roll each disk on a well-floured board into a circle at least 1 inch larger than the pie pan, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough so it doesn’t stick to the board. (You should see bits of butter in the dough.) Fold one circle of dough in half, ease it into the pie pan without stretching at all, and unfold to fit the pan. Brush the bottom of the crust with some of the egg wash, and pierce with the tines of a fork. Use a colander to drain the peaches. Pour the drained peaches into the crust. Gently place the second circle of dough onto the top of the pie. Fold the edges under and crimp together using your fingers or the tines of a fork. Pierce the top crust with the tip of a paring knife making small slits and brush with some of the egg wash. Place the pie pan onto a baking sheet and bake until the top crust is golden, and the filling is bubbling, about 45 to 50 minutes.
As any visitor to Jorj.com might surmise, summer and its farmer’s markets are a big deal to me. I try to visit one every Saturday – not just for ingredients to use in weekend dinners, but for recipe ideas to take me and my family through the season with full bellies and empty plates. This month, inspiration struck when I passed a vendor making Mexican street corn.
I play with corn in Canvas & Cuisine – fresh, roasted ears get slathered in a savory pesto sauce. I was reminded of those flavors when I tasted corn on a stick at the farmer’s market this weekend. I could isolate all kinds of yummy flavors – from peppers to lime juice. There was the tang of tomato and cojita cheese, and bright notes of cilantro – and like all good things, the undeniable presence of sour cream.
Determined to go home and duplicate that taste, I hit the various veggie stands and came back with everything I needed to make Mexican Street Corn – only thing is, it rains a lot in the summer, and backyard BBQs aren’t always possible. I transformed the dish into a skillet version that went over really well as a side this Father’s Day.
A popular item, there were requests for more. I’d run out of fresh corn on the cob at that point and discovered that frozen kernels work just as well. The results were super savory and the juiciness at the bottom of the bowl so good, it got my mind on corn chowder recipes for fall – just gotta get through this beastly summer first!
So, here’s my lighting fast recipe for a bright summer side dish – you can make it in the time it takes a thunderstorm to roll past your house, and the sun to start shining again!
Mexican Street Corn Skillet Style
15 minute cuisine
4 cups corn kernels (shucked from fresh ears of corn or frozen)
1 large red tomato, diced
1 bunch chives, washed and chopped, about ½ cup
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped, about ½ cup
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup cojita or feta cheese
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sour cream
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for sautéing
In a skillet set on high heat, sauté the corn, herbs, lime juice, cheese, and cayenne in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix with a spatula, lowering heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
It’s that time…. Father’s Day! To all you Dads out there, enjoy your day. To all you moms and kids old enough to know your way around a kitchen, here’s a fresh farmer’s market salad, WITH an amazing easy to put together dressing. Trust me, it’ll be the only side dish you need to go with perfectly grilled steak, pork or chicken. I’ve included a few extra photos in the cooking instructions to show you what a scrumptious possibility this salad actually is – but before I get to it…
DADS, here’s a foolproof way to create a flavorful grilled dish.
It’s a simple technique of using a board sauce! On your cutting board, chop several cloves of garlic and use the flat side of the knife to smush (a grown up cooking term) the pieces into the board. Choose your favorite herbs like thyme and rosemary, and finely chop these on your board. Drizzle the herbs and garlic with olive oil and dot the board with pieces of butter. Sprinkle kosher salt and coarse black pepper over everything. Now, your board is ready.
Remove your cooked steak (or pork or chicken) from the grill and place it onto your board. Use tongs to flip the steak several times, coating both sides with melty, buttery, garlicky goodness. Cover the steak with aluminum foil, and let it rest in the “sauce” for several minutes. The steak will absorb the flavors of the board sauce, as well as all its juicy goodness. After 4 to 5 minutes, remove the foil and cut the steak into slices right on the board.
You can serve the steak with your favorite side dish, but for all of you Moms out there, here’s an adaptable farmer’s market salad. It’s the perfect way to utilize all the fresh ingredients you’ve piled into your basket at the market. This recipe (like most) is only an inspiration and a guideline. Use whatever veggies you have on hand, and flavor them with your favorite herbs and spices. It’s all good!
1 red bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips
2 beets, roasted, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 bunch radishes, tops trimmed and cut into rounds
½ cup white balsamic vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus a smidge
1 lemon, cut in half
1 bunch haricot vert
1 pint baby tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh chives
I head red leaf lettuce, torn into large pieces
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the baby potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the potatoes are golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Drizzle the warm potatoes with pesto and toss to coat. Cool to room temperature.
Cut the top ⅓ from the garlic bulbs. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Place the bulbs onto a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the garlic leaving an opening at the top of the pouch. Bake until the garlic is soft, and the cloves begin to crawl out of their skins, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Place the carrots, onions and peppers onto a baking dish. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the veggies are just crisp tender and beginning to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Whisk ½ cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Place the beets and radishes into the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the veggies from any excess liquid.
Bring a pot of water to boil over medium high heat. Squeeze the lemon and place into the pot. Add the haricot vert and blanch until just crisp tender and dark green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove the green beans from the ice water bath and transfer to a dish lined with paper towels.
Place the tomatoes into a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of granulated sugar. Toss.
Place the buttermilk and sour cream into the bowl of a food processor or into a blender. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the cream. Add in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Puree the dressing.
Line a large platter with lettuce leaves. Lay the veggies onto the lettuce in bunches. Serve the dressing on the side. You can arrange the salad several hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap. Bring the salad to room temperature before serving.
Canvas & Cuisine is largely made up of true stories – about trips with my friend and co-author, Sue Fazio. I will never forget our adventures in Russia – the tastiest among them, sampling foie gras and caviar. Two decadent gals on vacay, we had caviar at every meal, and even hit up a caviar tasting bar where vodka was on tap. We did it up!
I learned a lot about caviar on that trip with Sue. The tiny black pearls found in a fingertip of caviar are actually the salt-cured eggs of wild sturgeon found in the Caspian Sea. There are different types of Russian caviar, all of which are considered a delicacy. The top three varieties are Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga, each of which come from a specific type of sturgeon.
Why, you ask, am I going on and on about Russian caviar? Well, pin my tail and call me a donkey, but I just found out that real Russian caviar is available at my local farmers market! And, it is delish!!
It turns out that Marshallberg Farm offers sustainable, high quality, pure Osetra caviar. They raise U.S. farmed sturgeon and caviar. I spoke to Sabine Mader from Marshallberg Farms. She told me the whole process has taken over nine years – from the import of the first fish, to the production of the delicious stuff.
I know my subscribers come from all over the place, and may never visit the Watauga Farmer’s market where the Marshallbergs have their stand, but they are a great reminder to expect anything at the weekend markets popping up across America this summer. If you lay your hands on some caviar, here are my tips on what to do with it:
A savory (Parmesan, sausage and chive) waffle dish, topped with a sprinkle of caviar.
Baked potatoes with caviar
An everything bagel and lox w/a dollop of caviar
Salted caramel ice cream with a touch of caviar
Sautéed chicken breast made the Jorj way (see below!)
The Millionaires Chicken recipe above is crying out for caviar and white wine cream sauce!? So I whipped up Millionaire Chicken after hitting the Marshallbergs’ stand. I served it alongside a clump of sautéed Swiss chard and a few roasted baby potatoes. The oohhs and aahhs were well worth a million bucks!
30 minute cuisine
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
Place the chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken to about ½-inch of thickness. Season both sides with some of the salt and pepper. Brush both sides with mustard. Dredge in breadcrumbs. Place the chicken onto a platter, cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge. (You can do this several hours in advance.) Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the chicken breasts until golden on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook on the other side until golden, another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, tent with aluminum foil.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion to the pan and cook until just soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, removing all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When most of the wine has disappeared, pour in the chicken stock and cream. Stir in the mustard. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the sauce until it begins to thicken. Add the chicken back into the sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 4 to 5 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce and garnish with a bit of caviar on the top.
My friends, the farmers, are all over social media promising the fruits of their spring labors – I start drooling and reaching for my tote bags every time I go online. I couldn’t wait to get to my favorite place in the mountains, Watauga Farmers Market, which opened for the season on May 4th. Over the last few weekends, I’ve gotten my hands on those lovely purple spring onions and the coils of garlic scapes, painted and cooked a lot within the pages of CANVAS & CUISINE: the art of the fresh market.
Watauga will have early (greenhouse) tomatoes this year and the tender leaves of baby greens. Here I come, and will continue to come through October!
After my first visit this year, I created a dish that pulls together some of my favorite farmer’s market finds: tender collard greens and rich pork belly. It makes for a lovely first course or a wonderful side dish…once you’ve chopped up the belly and stir it into the greens. Either way, it’s sure to delight and perhaps motivate you to find a fresh farmer’s market opening near you. If you find a new one in your neighborhood, please share the experience with us! I love posting scrumptious possibilities to my social media @jorjmorgancooking.
Now, please excuse me while I simmer my greens…
Collard Greens with Slow Roasted Pork Belly
serves 6 or more
30 minute cuisine plus slow cooking
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 (1 ½ pound) piece pork belly
3 bunches collard greens, stemmed, rolled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Mix together the onion, garlic and chili powder with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the pork belly with some of the seasoning. Reserve about a tablespoon for the collards. Heat your slow cooker (or Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Place the pork belly into the cooker and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the pork and brown on the second side, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork belly to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook on low heat (about 275 to 300°) for several hours until the meat falls apart when pulled with a fork.
Place the onion into the bottom of the slow cooker and cook until soft. Add the chopped collard greens and stir. Season with the remaining spices. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Set your slow cooker on high and place the lid on to top. If you are using a Dutch oven, place the lid on top and move it into the oven with the pork belly. Continue cooking adding more liquid as needed to produce soft, syrupy greens. Before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Serve the collard greens on a plate with pieces of tender pork belly on the top. Drizzle the juices from the pork belly pan over the top.
The month of May has been good to me, my family and my friends! I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day weekend that left them full of love and good vibes. In the spirit of that, I am offering to give away a free copy of CANVAS & CUISINE to the first person who comments on, or shares this post!
If the public reaction to the book is any indication, I think you will love this artful cookbook as well. My co-author, Sue Fazio and I just hosted a book signing party in Jupiter, Florida. It was a grand open house event to introduce our neighbors to our new book. For those who don’t already know, Canvas and Cuisine: the art of the fresh market was inspired by trips Sue and I took around the world, ogling at all the exotic fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses of France, Spain, Russia, Vietnam and so much more.
For just one day, we hosted an art gallery/cooking demo. Our readers were able to preview the original artwork that was my whole inspiration for this cookbook.
During the event, guests perused Sue’s (abundant) paintings not only of fresh markets around the globe, but also many of her other passionate pieces. They also sampled several dishes from the recipes I created to go along with Sue’s paintings.
But the real fun occurred when Sue demonstrated how she creates an original painting. Guests huddled around to watch the magic take place. From blank canvas to her vision of the 16th hole at Jupiter Hills…. all in just minutes. She is an inspiration for any aspiring artist!
My blank canvas began with a few cutting boards and a sharp knife. I demonstrated how to prepare the dishes the guests were sampling. My Grilled Guac was a big hit, as were the Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and Cauliflower Risotto— these recipes were posted to Jorj.com recently – and go over well at any party.
Good times were had by all and great benefits were reaped for our charities with painting and book sales soaring!
Thank you to everyone who opened their hearts and their checkbooks and thank you to all of you who are enjoying our book!