Recipes and Me

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grilling Dessert, Simplicity At Its Most Delicious

Peaches in the summer are a staple at my place.  I pretty much can't help myself from buying them at any market I walk by during the summer months.  The smell of perfectly ripe peaches is so enticing and thankfully they are something I never have to feel bad about eating.  One of my favorite ways to prepare peaches is to grill them for dessert.  The lightly charred caramelization on the grilled surface of the peaches is such a nice contrast to the sweetness of this fruit.  I top the peaches, still warm from the grill, with gelato and crushed caramelized cookies for a light buttery caramel flavor.  I picked up a bottle of peach white balsamic vinegar a couple of months ago after a tasting at an oil and vinegar store blew me away.  Ever since, I've found it has endless uses in the summertime and one day when I drizzled some of it on this dessert, that I had made many times before, I was hooked.  So I'm putting it in the recipe as an optional addition but I really encourage you to try it.  You'll find so many uses for it beyond this recipe.

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Bean Gelato and Caramelized Cookie Crumble
4 servings

4 Ripe Peaches (highly advise getting them from the farmer’s market, big difference)
4 teaspooons vegetable oil (any neutral oil will work)
1 Pint Vanilla Bean Gelato (Ice Cream will work fine too)
½ half sleeve Caramelized Cookies or Biscuits (Biscoff Cookies work very well)
4 Tablespoons Peach White Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Set your grill to medium high heat (about 400 degrees Farenheit).  While the grill is heating up prepare your peaches.  Cut each peach in half, working around the pits to leave them in tact.  Gently pull the halves apart and remove the pit from each peach.  Brush a little vegetable oil on the cut side of each peach to prevent it from sticking to the grill.  Grill the peaches 2-4 minutes cut side down until you have nice grill marks.  Plate 2 peach halves per person on each plate.  Set aside.  Take 2 cookies per person and place in a durable plastic bag (ziploc works well). Securely close the bag. Place a folded towel underneath the bag and with a rolling pin crush the cookies for about 10 seconds.  There will still be some chunkier pieces of cookie and that's okay.  Rustic is good!  Take out your vanilla bean gelato and place one small scoop in each peach half.  This directive is optional but it really amps up the flavor of this dessert: drizzle 1 teaspoon of peach white balsamic vinegar on top of each plated dessert.  Sprinkle the crushed cookies on top of each plate.  Finish the plates off by placing one whole cookie on each.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Ultimate Summer Sandwich - Bahn Mi Part 2

Sorry for the wait foodies!  I took a little vacay in sunny Puerto Rico, plenty to make me lazy for a couple of weeks.  But I’m back and so excited about this recipe!  As I mentioned in my previous post, Bahn Mi sandwiches are one of my favorite summer lunches.  The melding of flavors and textures in this sandwich is so unique and delicious.  The pickled carrots and radishes, crunchy cucumber, fiery jalapenos, and bright green cilantro, with a slather of good mayo are a fantastically fresh combination and surprisingly refreshing for a sandwich.  The meat on the sandwich acts as a condiment too so there will be no deli style meat stacking here, just a couple of slices so veggies and meat get equal love.  The biggest component, I feel, of a good Bahn Mi sandwich though is the BREAD!  Yes, the bread.  Choose the freshest baked baguette bread you can get without going too crazy.  You want baguette loaves that strike the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

All in all, a really simple recipe with a big flavor payoff!

Bahn Mi Sandwiches
4 servings
*Please see previous post for pickled carrot and radish mixture recipe

*4 freshly baked mini baguette rolls (or good 6 inch club rolls)
*Meat of choice (I love good quality roast beef; grilled pork or chicken are also great) – just a couple of slices per sandwich (these are not NY deli sandwiches, don’t crowd the sandwiches with a ton of meat)
*1 cup of pickled carrots and radishes (approx. 1/4 cup per sandwich)
*8 long thin slices of cucumber (2 per sandwich)
*4 jalapenos, sliced rounds (approx. 1 jalapeno per sandwich)
*1 bunch of cilantro (approx. 1 healthy sprig per sandwich)
*3 tablespoons good mayo (a healthy slather per sandwich)

Slice each baguette almost all the way through lengthwise, leaving one long side in tact (you want the baguette to open much like a hot dog bun).  Slather each baguette with a dollop of mayo.  From here on it’s really just assembly.  I like to place the slices of meat first, followed by the jalapenos, pickled veggies and then cilantro.  Close the sandwiches up and enjoy!