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best thing you made this summer?

  • b

What's the best new thing you made this summer? For me it was probably bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and flavorings like blue cheese or a little ranch dressing mix. They keep in the fridge for a long time, or even freeze well (froze some by accident and they did fine - need a new fridge)

And I made peach jelly with a base of home made ginger simple syrup. Didn't write it down, but it worked. Added finely chopped candied ginger to some jars too. Delicious. (had 15 gallons of peaches, enough for some experimenting)

(PS -I read some posts about raspberry/violet jam, and it made me go out and water my sweet violets so I can be sure and try it next year!)

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  1. Grape sorbet. Recipe from Epicurious was so simple. I had bought 4 pounds of green seedless from Costco and the flavor was very marginal, but the sorbet was incredible, and incredibly easy.
    Blend: 2 cups grapes, 1/4 cup sugar, couple tbsp lemon or lime juice. Put liquid through a sieve to separate out the skins, and put the mixture into an ice cream maker for about 20 minutes. Fantastic!!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sasha

      Did you mash them or heat them or just squeezed through the sieve. Sounds great. I'm travelling north in California and might be able to try this with some wine grapes I've seen for sale.

      1. re: kc girl

        No heat - put them in the blender with the acid and sugar and liquefied, then sieved to get the chunks out before putting them in the ice cream maker.

    2. Grape sorbet. Recipe from Epicurious was so simple. I had bought 4 pounds of green seedless from Costco and the flavor was very marginal, but the sorbet was incredible, and incredibly easy.
      Blend: 2 cups grapes, 1/4 cup sugar, couple tbsp lemon or lime juice. Put liquid through a sieve to separate out the skins, and put the mixture into an ice cream maker for about 20 minutes. Fantastic!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sasha

        I made grape sorbet last summer from my concord grapes and it turned out exactly like Welch's, so white grapes are a much better idea. I made popsicles from my Reliance reds last week and they were delicious.

      2. Pavlova with mixed berries.

        Beef rendang, Pernankan-style.

        1. The much discussed watermelon salad which I have since found out is not a Nigella creation but is a Caribbean recipe and there is a recipe for it in Liz Smith's new book "Dishing It" and she talks of having it first at Harbour Island in the Bahamas and gives a recipe for it using balsamic vinegar instead of the lime juice. I will stick wih the lime juice and her recipe calls for sliced radishes instead of red onion.

          The other really best was the Ruby Red Grapefruit and Tarragon granita. Refreshing, tart and savoury at the same time. Got to make some more of that soon.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            And, thanks for that recipe for the granita previously. I saved it.

            1. re: kc girl

              Now try it. You will love it. It really is amazing.

          2. Key Lime Cream Cheese Ice Cream. Hands down.

            In general it's been a really great ice cream summer.

            1 Reply
            1. re: krissywats

              I have the Epicurious cream cheese ice cream recipe that calls for lemon juice, so I think I'll substitute lime (what are sold as key limes) and cut back a little on the sugar to see how it goes. Yes, it has been a great ice cream summer, I just wish I could find a second freezer bowl for my Krups countertop maker.

            2. A wonderful cold tomato boullioun is by far the best new recipe of the summer.

              Delicious, fast, great depth of flavor, and almost fat free.

              Good hot, cold, sprinkled on reheated leftovers, frozen in cubes to add to sauces, etc.

              Recipe by Raymond Blanc at Le Manior aux Quat'Saisons.

              Please let me know if you want the recipe.

              3 Replies
              1. re: JudiAU

                I would love the recipe please.

                1. re: JudiAU

                  I would love the recipe. I've enjoyed doing stuff with fresh tomato juice this summer.

                  1. re: JudiAU

                    Adapted from Raymond Blanc's Cooking for Friends. My version, below, does not include the suggested tomato-based clarification which I am sure makes it even more lovely. Respond if you would like the instructions.

                    "Consomme de tomates parfume au basilic"

                    Sweat one large onion in 3 T olive oil until translucent. Add 2 1/4 pounds of roughly chopped tomatoes, including seeds and skin. It is critical that you use the most glorious & ripe tomatoes you can fine. Overripe is fine. Add 2 peeled and smashed garlic cloves, 15 crushed peppercorns, 3/4 oz. salt (yes), and 2 pints of water. (I include a small pinch of chili flake.)

                    Bring the tomatoes to a boil and skim. Add the basil and cook for a further 6 minutes. You can strain now or let is cool for 10 minutes first. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down well with a ladel. I use a chinois and do not press until the juices stop flowing. This keeps it clear and reduces the need for the clarification. Cool.

                    Chill and serve with a drizzle of excellent olive oil and torn basil.

                    I suggest buying soft tomatoes at the farmer's market.

                  2. b
                    Becca Porter

                    Braised pork chops with creamy cabbage from All About Braising by Molly Stevens.

                    The cabbage is braised with caraway and mustard seeds. It is the most delicious thing I have ever put in my mouth. Very strange that it was that good, but even my sister agreed.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Becca Porter

                      That sounds great. is that a cook book worth ordering, in other words, have you found other great stuff in it?

                      1. re: Betty
                        Becca Porter

                        Everything I've tried has been amazing. It's also an award-winner. There is a whole long thread about it on e-gullet. I highly recommend it.

                    2. c
                      Carpetbagger (John C)

                      A tomato tart recipe that my wife found in Martha Stewart Living. I had never made a pie crust before but this one was fairly simple & came out great. Added some herbs de provence I had in the spice cabinet to the pastry.

                      In hindsight, I would have roasted another head of garlic and squeezed the juice out of some of the tomatoes. Otherwise a great recipe.

                      Link: http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jht...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Carpetbagger (John C)

                        I've made that tomatoe tart for a few years now. It's one of our favs to use with our home-grown tomatoes. I now make it with a storebought pie crust and vary the cheese from time to time. Smoked gouda is really good as well as a bit of added parm. to the orginal recipe. So simple, but so terrific.

                      2. p
                        peppermint pate

                        I made a really nice Thai lamb salad - slices of bbq'd lamb, mixed greens, fish sauce, lime juice, chiles, mint, coriander, etc. The recipe was in a local (Toronto - LCBO) magazine. Very easy and very refreshing.

                        1. A pasta dish using lots of fresh basil and vine-ripened tomatoes. It seems to epitomize summer. (link below)

                          Chopped garlic and basil are infused in olive oil, then cooked pasta is mixed in, followed by cheese and chopped tomatoes. (My daughter has been begging me to make this again.)

                          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                          1. A tough question, since summer cooking is so good! I love tomatoes, and have been making a lot of tomato sauce similar to that described by Funwithfood. This, and tomato soup that can be eaten hot or cold, makes the hot weather bearable.

                            Having just got an ice cream machine a couple of months ago, I have really been enjoying experimenting with it. Most recently, sour cherry sorbet and cherry-vanilla ice cream have been extremely good, thanks to the great fruit from our farmers' market.

                            1. Blackberry lemonade. Summer in a glass.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: verucaamish

                                Mmmmmm. definitely trying with the berries from my cousin's backyard bushes. There were lots of them last August!

                              2. Gazpacho...finally got the texture right with hand chopping the vegs, and added juice of a lemon and just the right amount of vinegar. So refreshing and rejuvenating over thie HOT season!

                                1. I made the Brewmasters chicken from Steve Rachelin's Beer Can Chicken Cookbook. I have never had better chicken in my life. The meat was so moist and tender from the long cooking process, the skin was crispy, and the marinade and rub were very tasty. Top it off with the home made dark beer bbq sauce and it was a memorable meal. I highly reccomend this recipe.

                                  1. The best thing I made this Summer was to attend the Chef-a-Table (Club Culinaire event) at the Jonathon Club in Los Angeles. There were about 150 people and we were individually served a 5-course meal with wine for each course (I guess that's a "tasting menu"). I was totally intrigued how the chef and staff provided for all at such a wonderful sit-down meal. It's a lot of work for me to put out a buffet for 20, much less a sit-down 5-star five course meal for 150.

                                    Also, the day before that event, I noticed two game hens in the fridge that had been completely defrosted already a day. Oooops >> wouldn't last another day, probably. So, I cleaned, salted, sprinkled inside with dried Herbs de Provence mix, filled with small carrots, jullienne celery, and small side disks of red onion, popped in the microwave for 10 minutes and then in the oven. They were done about the time I had to leave for LA (I live in Orange County). And, one-hour later, they were still warm. Late lunched on one when I arrived in my room. And Housekeeping allowed me to keep the other in the fridge in their office on the floor I was staying on. And, they gave me a few cookies, too!

                                    I had the second for breakfast. I kind of giggled that I was atually eating a cornish game hen for breakfast. I liked it and would consider a cornish game hen for breakfast again (enjoyed the macadamia nut/white chocolate cookie after it, too! - Wonka!)

                                    Anyway, the menu at the Chef-a-Table dinner was most interesting. So, the best thing I made this Summer was THAT event. Maybe once next year, too!

                                    1. I'd have to say that, for me, it was cooking lobster. It may not be the absolutely best thing I've made this summer, but I finally conquered my "fear" of lobsters (cooking six of them will do that to you) and can't wait to do some more while on vacation right now.

                                      And, the lobster broth I made from the shells was very tasty.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        How did you conquer your fear of cooking lobster? I too suffer from this. I am a lobster hypocrite--love eating them but can't quite bear the thought of plunging the wriggling crustacean into a pot of boiling water! I grew up fishing and can clean fish, cook things like mussels etc without a problem but for some reason have not been able to get over the lobster hurdle.

                                        1. re: LindaMc

                                          Throw them in the freezer for a few minutes to sedate them. Not so problematic when they aren't wriggling.

                                          Or, if that isn't enough, try this tried-and-true method. Close your eyes. Imagine a cockroach, the spindly legs, the antennae. Imagine that the cockroach is in your kitchen, sitting on your counter. Shudder. Now imagine that the cockroach is growing - bigger and bigger and bigger. It's a monster! Open your eyes - there it is! Quick, throw it in the pot!

                                          Works for me every time.

                                          Link: http://seasonalcook.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: curiousbaker

                                            My husband actually did the first ones, and he left the rubber bands on the claws. I have to confess that once I'd resolved to do it, I became desensitized (sp????) to the whole thing. And, the trick to getting the claw meat out in a whole piece - use kitchen shears to cut the shell - after the first try or two, they came out perfectly.

                                            1. re: curiousbaker

                                              This has me laughing out loud! Thanks for the image. My husband won't do it, so I always have to, and usually put them in an inch or two of boiling water - but you have to hold the lid down pretty hard.

                                              1. re: curiousbaker

                                                In school we would anesthetize crustaceans in Sprite or 7-Up before dissecting them. I'm not sure if they feel any pain, but I still use this technique before I crack them between the eyes or plunge them in the pot.

                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                              I've also mastered that. But I've yet to master cutting them in half (between the eyes) while still alive (!), so I can BBQ or broil them. (Not yet ready for that--just par-cook them first, for now.)

                                            3. Country pâté without liver but still tasty with leftover duck meat & fat, pork, veal, pistachios, etc. Basically cold meatloaf that looks like cat food but tastes like heaven.

                                              1. Congrats on everyone's accomplishments!

                                                I try to make at least one thing new every week as I continue to learn to cook and bake... But my best thing had to have been the Apple and Cherry Pie I made early this summer...

                                                For mains: I just enjoyed Alton Brown's Pressure Cooker Short Cut Chili (made in Dutch Oven) for Lunch. Despite the use of Pace Salsa and cheap corn chips, it turned out better than some of my other slow cook chili recipe!

                                                For Drinks: I made Sangria for my father using 2 buck chuck, nice Cognac and macerated fruits. My mother (Who's father is a Spaniard) proclaimed it the best Sangria she's ever tasted...


                                                1. Pasta with goat cheese and garden heirloom tomatoes, chicken salad with grapes,pecans,dried cranberries (made from a store bought roasted chicken) watermelon and mango salad with lime dressing, rosemary focaccia with triple blue cheese and sourwood honey and peaches with cornmeal shortcakes. Thank goodness the summer isn't over yet and I still have so many more recipes to try and to invent.

                                                  1. I just made the Peach Blueberry Cake that's on the cover of the new Gourmet. THAT is the best thing I've made this summer!

                                                    1. It sounds so silly, but I FINALLY made great fried chicken. So it's not "new" - but to me, having it turn out great was definitely a new experience.

                                                      It always strikes me as funny that the things my grandmother excelled at have been, by and large, a mystery too tough for me to unravel. ;-)

                                                      1. Comprising paper-thin slices of ripe muskmelon, topped with good proscuitto, lightly drizzled with EV olive oil and fresh lime juice, and sprinkled with a little grey salt, some fresh-ground pepper, and chopped fresh tarragon. I purloined the recipe from Heather Terhune, the talented and ebullient exec chef at Chicago's Atwood Cafe, and made it as a starter on Sunday. BIG hit. She used a Y-peeler to slice the melon, but I found that my Oxo cheese slicer is the perfect utensil for getting slices of melon as thin as the prosciutto. I don't think my dining companion had ever had a sweet fruit as a first course before, and he doesn't usually like prosciutto, and he literally cooed over it, and he's not customarily given to food-induced cooing. Made for a very pleasant evening. ;o)

                                                        Here's a bit more about Chef Terhune. Lovely person. Really nice, and a LOT of fun to work with:

                                                        Link: http://www.atwoodcafe.com/atwchef/ind...

                                                        Image: http://www.atwoodcafe.com/images/phot...

                                                        1. Watermelon salad. Fruit, feta, pine nuts, red onion, light vinagrette.