It’s ‘Mater season! Tennessee is having an extremely hot summer so our yield is lower than normal and many are splitting but the ones we are lucky to get are super tasty this year! Oh, and the basil and sage are rockin’! So, I try to incorporate those ingredients whenever possible.
I made a tomato veggie quiche one morning, cheddar sage biscuits with fresh tomato slices another morning and we’ve been tearing fresh basil up and adding it to our salads as we did above, served with grilled salmon and homemade croutons.
Here’s my biscuit recipe:
Cheddar Sage Biscuits
2 cups White Lily self-rising flour
an extra tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
2/3-3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
a bunch of fresh sage, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Cut butter into pieces and add to bowl. Mix with hands gently until the butter is in crumbs the size of peas. Add the cheese and sage. Blend in buttermilk and gently mix in but do not over mix. Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead gently 2-3 times. Roll dough to 1/2″ thickness. Grind pepper over dough. Cut using a biscuit cutter. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden on tops.
Speaking of pesto, Grant and I both get a little bored with it so I tried to make it a little different. I used basil, spinach, garlic cloves, parmesan reggiano, salt pepper, olive oil, and toasted South Carolina pecans. We tried coming up with some different ways to use it since we had so much. We made pesto toasts a few time which turned out to be a lovely and delicious appetizer or accompaniment to an antipasto plate. We also made a simple dish of cappellini pasta, pesto, and tomatoes from the garden with parmesan reggiano shaved on top. Another good use of pesto is mixing some in with rice for a nice side dish.
And, my favorite beverage lately is, basil lemonade! It is so delicious and very thirst quenching.
This month’s been busy- Grant’s had lots of gigage and a new job, we had a fun family visit and my Birthday! Grant made me a delicious Birthday breakfast casserole and instead of cake, homemade peanut ice cream!!! It was so delicious. Below, is the recipe. The next day, our friend Kristin brought over homemade Crawfish Pie (Me Oh My Oh!) which was amazing. Food is always a good gift.
Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream
This recipe is based on one in Bruce Weinstein’s The Ice Cream Book (William Morrow and Company, 1999) and we found it in Saveur, issue #86.
1 cup milk
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup salted, roasted, shelled peanuts, chopped
1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just hot. Meanwhile, beat sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until thick and pale yellow.
2. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture in bowl, then pour milk–egg mixture into saucepan. Return saucepan to medium-low heat and cook custard, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1⁄2 cup of the peanut butter. Strain custard into a large bowl, let cool briefly, stirring often, then stir in cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold, 6–8 hours.
3. Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, adding 1⁄2 cup of the chopped nuts to the ice cream 30 seconds before it has finished churning. Transfer to a bowl, quickly swirl in remaining 1⁄2 cup peanut butter, cover, and freeze until hard. Serve ice cream sprinkled with the remaining 1⁄2 cup nuts.
Also from one of our Saveur magazines, I made a Sofrito. I was trying to find a good use of all the peppers that we have from our garden. The recipe says this is traditionally used as a base for soups or sauces. We sauteed some chicken and onions and topped those with some of the Sofrito and served it with pesto rice and a salad for a completely green themed meal! The flavors were really nice together. We enjoyed this meal listening to a new cd Kristin brought over for us by a young Irish fellow, Garreth Dunlop. Check him out!
1⁄4 lb. aji dulce chiles or Italian frying peppers,
stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
8 sprigs cilantro
6 leaves flat-leaf parsley
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded,
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and purée, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until a semicoarse paste forms, about 1 minute. Refrigerate the sofrito for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
For my Birthday, we went in search of South Carolina peaches as those are the very best! Luckily, we didn’t have to travel far. We bought a big basket at the Nashville Farmer’s Market. Pies of the last couple of weeks were- peach and blueberry, peach with pecan crumble top, blueberry with crumble top, and a plum custard. Our friends Catherine and Aaron just gave us a couple of bags of figs from their yard with the assignment to come up with a fig pie recipe! I’m excited to work on that.
I’ll end with a photo of my favorite summer wine which we like to get at our favorite neighborhood wine store, Woodland Wine Merchants. (They have an awesome website, check it out!!!) This wine is affordable, delicious and very food friendly.