Grilled Nectarines

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What does SUMMER mean to you?

Since I grew up in New York, and have 4 seasons – summer is particularly nostalgic. Thunderstorms and hot, humid weather was always a sign that school was finishing up and it would soon be summer. Summer, when my parents would grill all sorts of delicious things and we would get to use the dying coals to roast marshmallows, and if you were a mischievous little one like me, you’d surreptitiously poke all sorts of things into the coals to watch them go up in flames. I loved poking sticks, leaves, and cardboard into the grill and watching the embers redden.

These days, instead of gooey marshmallows, I’ve been roasting fruit over the coals once my meal is done. Large chunks of fruit are perfect because they soften and char as you eat your meat and vegetables. Yesterday, I grilled petite steaks with some portabella mushrooms… and while my family and I feasted on the juicy steak and plump mushrooms, we let these nectarines caramelize and char a little bit.

I like to slice the fruit in half (big chunks = longer cooking time, and more time to enjoy the steak), and brush with a little avocado oil to prevent sticking. A healthy sprinkle of salt helps enhance the natural sweetness. I let my fruit blister and get soft before digging in – about 15 minutes on a medium flame.

(Oh yes… this is another “not recipe” recipe)

What does summer mean for you? Do you grill fruit too?

Sautéed Crispy Broccolini with Grey Salt

I get hung up on certain foods… during the winter, I’ll spend hours upon hours peeling pomegranate and slurping down the seeds. When I was a kid, my mother would buy bushels of corn… and I would spend the afternoon dropping ears into boiling water, and neatly cleaning the cobs of their juicy kernels while I read my novels. I have favorites, and once I start on a favorite, it might be weeks before I move on to something else.

This last month has been a month of charred and buttered broccolini with a little sprinkle of grey salt. I’m sure it’s not a groundbreaking, cutting edge process to cooking broccolini, nor is it the most sophisticated, but it is the perfect way to get some crunchy, crispy greens in your tummy. I’m not sure it really calls for a recipe, but I’ve written up my notes below.

Sautéed Crispy Broccolini with Grey Salt (Kaprise Kitchen’s current favorite)

  • A medium sized bunch of broccolini
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality butter
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of filtered water
  • a generous pinch of good grey sea salt – I used a Celtic light grey I found at my local natural foods store
  1. Thoroughly wash the broccolini is cool water, removing any damaged or wilted leaves
  2. Trim and chop the broccolini in 1 1/2 inch segments, stopping just short of the flowering tops. Divide the flowering tops into smaller bunches. The stem in this picture was a bit damaged, so I shaved the stem and removed the damaged flowered pieces – dividing the larger head into two smaller and easier to crisp segments. 
  3. In a large pan, heat two tablespoons of water on medium heat
  4. Add chopped broccolini to bubbling water, stir until bright green and tender
  5. Raise the heat to high and stir until all of the water has evaporated from the pan.
  6. Drizzle in the olive oil and butter. Stir until all of the pieces are coated with butter and oil – I like to set the flowering heads of broccolini on their top to help them crisp
  7. Let the broccolini crisp one side, without stirring. I like my broccolini quite crunchy, so I let the pieces crisp for about two to three minutes before tossing the pan. Stir and crisp until the desired level of crisp and char is acheived.
  8. Turn the heat off, sprinkle with the desired amount of grey salt
  9. Serve hot

Notes:

  • I imagine, in addition to a generous sprinkle of salt, that crushed red pepper flakes would be fantastic for a kickier version. I can also see a generous sprinkle of fresh herbs (say… tarragon, oregano, or basil) would be fantastic in this dish as well.
  • I’ve done a version with fresh sliced garlic, but toss the sliced garlic in a minute or two before your broccolini is done, or your garlic will be a very unforgivable black charcoal chip.

The Rice Crispy Treat For ONE (maybe 2)

Last weekend, in the midst of a friend’s wedding festivities, I had a thought. “Rice Crispy… yes… I need one.”

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The problem with purchasing Rice Crispy (or Krispy, whatever) is that you inevitably get one of those gargantuan slabs of over-sweet goop with soggy rice cereal… or even worse? It’s hard as a brick. I abhor crappy treats.

So, on my way home, I perused some recipes, and again the problem? You get an entirely obscene amount of treats. I mean… really… 6 cups of cereal? One ENTIRE bag of marshmallows? 6 tablespoons of butter? And for those of us who do live alone and have VERY little self restraint, this turns into making an entire sheet of treats, followed by stuffing it into one’s open mouth. Trust me… I know. And if you DO manage not to wolf the entire sheet of treats down in one sitting, or one day – the second day you are left with these sad, dry, and hard treats that are no longer palatable.

So… the only solution? To make your treats in exactly the serving size you want. I used a not-too-dainty amount of cereal, with a dab of butter and just a few marshmallows for a perfectly reasonable sized treat. You could share if you wanted to, but I recommend against it. I pressed mine, every so gently, into a resealable container before devouring mine.

Another note – I also love a caramelized treat, but one that is still chewy – which is difficult since sugar hardens as it caramelizes into that delicious brown color. To accomplish this feat in rice crispy treats? Add the marshmallows in two batches – allowing the first to take on that delicious brown hue and then adding the poufy white marshmallows at the end to just puddle into the chewy, perfectly caramelized treat you want.

Now… go forth and make multiple single serving sized treats, to inevitably end up eating an entire pan anyway! (haha!)

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The Rice Crispy Treat for One (Kaprise Kitchen’s way of eating ONE treat at a time)

  • 1 cup of rice cereal – I used the classic Kellogg’s
  • 1 teaspoon of butter – I used salted Kerrygold here
  • 6 standard sized marshmallows – Jet Puffed for me. Use the normal sized ones – not those humongous roasting ones they have these days, or those mini-me’s.
  1. Heat butter in a small saucepan until melted, medium/low heat
  2. Add 3 marshmallows, stir until melted and caramelized
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the remaining marshmallows (I tear these into smaller pieces so that they melt quickly). Your mixture should look something like this: a mix of just melted, and caramelized. SONY DSC
  4. Add cereal, stir until coated
  5. Gently press the cereal into a small container, lined with parchment paper.
  6. Once cooled, removed the treat from the container, and slice with a sharp knife into perfect bite sized pieces like I did! Or… dig in! **Remember, heated sugar is very hot, so please be sure to let your perfect rice crispy cool enough**

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Perfectly gooey and caramelized at the same time! 🙂SONY DSC

Bits and Pieces

I can’t remember if I mentioned it here, but my computer kerplunked in November last year, so I have gotten a Mac. My first one ever. It’s skinny, silver, and super pretty. And as thrilled as I am with my new little piece of technology, I’m still figuring out how to use it. As a pledged PC girl… Mac and I are still becoming friends. The point is, I did back up my computer, but I haven’t been able to access my back-up drive because it’s formatted only for PCs and I only have a Mac. So I’ve lost a million recipes I’ve written (during class) and all those pictures I haven’t shown you yet. I mean… I posted the embarrassing ones of my friends on facebook, but I just didn’t get around to sharing them with you in conjunction with my recipes.

But maybe that’s an amazing thing… All new things for this year. I like new! Speaking of new, I recently purchased a handheld mandolin so I could feed my obsession with shredded red cabbage salad. I made it first using my mother’s amazingly thin and sharp chef’s knife… but I’m terrified of sharpening my own knife (come on… all that shing and shang while to fling your blade up and down the sharpener… just seems like an accident waiting to happen) so chopping all that cabbage was a snore at my apartment. So I bought that little mandolin. I love it. LOVE it. I think it loves me back, though it first nipped the tips of my fingers off… but now we are friends.

 

Pink Slaw (Kaprise Kitchen)

The best part of this salad is how pretty it becomes after wilting a bit. The beautiful purple melts a little and turns the white sections of cabbage into bright pink slices.

  • One head of purple cabbage, medium/large
  • 2 limes
  • 1 small mandarin
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  1. Quarter and core the cabbage
  2. Thinly slice the cabbage. If you have a food processor, you can use the slice function. But if you’re like me and have a mini food processor, go ahead and use a knife. OR that zippy new mandolin.
  3. Sprinkle shredded cabbage with salt
  4. If you have purchase spray free fruit, zest one of the limes. Juice limes and mandarin for about 1/2 cup of juice
  5. In a small jar, shake together juice, olive oil, and mustard until creamy.
  6. Toss shredded cabbage with 1/2 of the dressing before adding more as to taste. (The amount of dressing you use is up to you… and somewhat related to how large or small your cabbage is)
  7. Salad will keep in a well sealed container and refrigerated for about 4 or 5 days.

And, since I didn’t take pictures of my pink salad (I wolfed it down right out of the bowl), here are some pictures for the last couple weeks.

Smashed fingerlings, waiting to be crisped with bacon

My Christmas wreath that the grumpy old man at the Farmer’s Market sold to me…. that did not smell Christmassy at all!

Thanksgiving Turkey, slathered with thyme, lemon zest, and butter. 🙂 Pretty!