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Nectarine & Marscapone Tart with a Gingersnap Crust

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This recipe is from Bon Appétit magazine and makes a great Summer dessert. I thought the filling maybe needed a bit more ooomph — next time, I may add a teaspoon or two of orange or lemon liqueur. Of course, this might also be because I used “light” cream cheese. Perhaps that was a mistake. Next time? Bring on the fat.

To get the crust nicely padded into the tart pan, I usually use a shot glass to help flatten the bottom and press the sides up. This works very well. I forget where I learned that tip but I did not make it up myself.

Use ripe, tasty nectarines for this — you will not be sorry.

Crust
25 gingersnap cookies, coarsely broken (about 6 ounces; about 2 1/4 cups pieces)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
Optional: 1-2 tsp of your favorite citrusy liqueur (Grand Marnier? Limoncello?)

Topping
4 to 5 small nectarines, halved, pitted, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup peach jam, warmed
2 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger

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For crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. . . . → Read More: Nectarine & Marscapone Tart with a Gingersnap Crust

Cornbread Panzanella for Dinner + Flowers

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This is a great meal for when you don’t really know what you feel like or what you want for dinner. It has everything — bread, cheese, veggies, and basil. If you wanted to go crazy, I bet you could even add some cooked, cubed chicken. jwa and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The slightly sweet cornbread really works with the tomatoes, cheese (what doesn’t work with cheese?) and lemony olive oil.

I just used a box of cornbread mix (Trader Joe’s brand), baked that (I added a little garlic, sautéed leeks and fresh herbs to the mix) and then let it cool before cubing it and drying the cubes of bread out a little in a 290 degree oven. That worked just great.

Cornbread Panzanella Salad
This recipe is based on one by Giada De Laurentiis.
4 cups cornbread, cut into cubes
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fontina cheese, cubed
1/2 hothouse cucumber, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes

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Combine the cornbread, garlic, cheese, cucumber, onion, basil and cherry tomatoes in a large . . . → Read More: Cornbread Panzanella for Dinner + Flowers

Sangria + Grilled Chicken is a Great Summer Combo

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The other night we pulled the little Weber grill out of the garage again and grilled some chicken, caramelized some bell peppers and onions (inside, in a pan, with a little salt, cumin and chili powder), made some guacamole and to accompany it all there was a pitcher of tasty, tasty sangria.

The sangria recipe is from the old red and white checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. This is probably one of the only recipes I still use this cookbook for, but that alone makes it worth the shelf space, imho. I’m not sure how completely authentic it is, but it is dependably good.

Really Good Summer Sangria
1 bottle red wine (I used $4 barefoot merlot)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1-2 cups sparkling water

Add the sugar, water and the end fruit slices (6 total from the ends of the lemon, lime and orange) to the pan and heat until boiling and all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

sangria

Meanwhile, pour the wine into a big pitcher and add the uncooked fruit slices. After the syrup has cooled down add that too, reserving the cooked fruit . . . → Read More: Sangria + Grilled Chicken is a Great Summer Combo

Quick and Easy Three Bean Salad

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We recently did a first grilling of the season test by making two huge, juicy cheeseburgers. There are no pictures of the cheeseburgers because I did not trust jwa with my plate so that I could go get the camera. Plus, it was so delicious I did not want to leave it. Sometimes, this is what happens when you have an awesome cheeseburger meal.

To accompany the cheeseburgers, I threw together some lemony and herby three bean salad. This recipe is based on one I found at Whole Foods Market.

Thee Bean Salad
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 big bunch of green beans, trimmed and steamed until tender
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Dressing
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all salad ingredients together.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Toss over the salad beans. Adjust seasonings and oil-to-vinegar ratio to taste. Let it all meld in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

Next, start the grill…

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Friday’s post will involve a drink . . . → Read More: Quick and Easy Three Bean Salad

Almond Cake: Well, Now it’s Just Really Kind of Anticlimactic

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I originally envisioned this post for Weekend Cookbook Challenge 17, but I didn’t get it up in time. Most of this week (in the evening) has been devoted to working on the wedding website with jwa. Happily, save the date cards went out last Thursday. Well, at least the main bulk of them — there’s a few still lingering on the dining room table while we locate addresses.. Hopefully, those will make it out this week.

But, let’s move on. This recipe is from Everyday Italian and it turned out pretty well. The texture is a little different due to the cornmeal but once you get used to that, it’s really quite good. In addition to the almond paste, I also added about a teaspoon of almond extract, based on the recommendations from reviewers on the site.

Almond Cake
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup almond paste, cut into half-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with vegetable spray or you could . . . → Read More: Almond Cake: Well, Now it’s Just Really Kind of Anticlimactic