Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Peach and Tomato Bread Salad

Peaches and tomatoes: a perfect summer combination.

My co-worker Kathy suggested this recipe -- a salad of fresh peaches and tomato. At first I found this idea weird. But after I thought about it, I decided to give it a try. I modelled it after the Cherry Bread Salad. So if you particularly like a certain ingredient you can add more or omit if you don't like it.

We skinned both the tomato and the peach. To do that, bring a small pot of water to boil. Once it's boiling, drop the peach or tomato in the hot water for about 30 seconds, then place in a bowl of cold water. The skin should slide right off.

Inspired by Kathy W.

Eat Rating: Delicious. Make sure the peach is very ripe for best results.
Difficulty: Easy.

1 peach, skinned and cut into slices
1 yellow tomato, skinned, seeded and cut into slices
1/2 loaf of day-old crusty French bread, cut into cubes
1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Mozzarella cheese, if desired

Place the tomato and peach slices in a large bowl and squeeze lemon over, tossing until coated.

Heat a skillet on the stove, then doss in the cubes of bread, coating lightly with olive oil. Continue cooking on the stovetop until bread has begun to brown. Once browned, remove croutons from pan, cook slightly and then add to the tomato and peach slices.

(If using cheese, add it now)

Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the croutons and fruit, tossing until well-coated. Serve immediately.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tequila-Soaked Watermelon Slices

It looks like watermelon, but there's a "special" ingredient.

I first saw this while flipping through Martha Stewart Living. It seemed like a cutesy idea, but I probably wouldn't have tried it if The Bitten Word guys hadn't said it was delicious.

The dinner party verdict was the slices are addictive and delicious. You can't taste the tequila at all. Whether that's good or bad is anyone's guess...

From the July 2009 Martha Stewart Living, via The Bitten Word

Eat Rating: Awesome
Difficulty: Easy.

1 medium-sized watermelon, cut into wedges (LN: I used a sugar-baby watermelon since those are sweeter. You can also use seedless)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup triple sec
2 limes, cut in half
Coarse salt

Place water, sugar and booze in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute until sugar has completely dissolved, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Arrange watermelon slices in a large baking dish or cookies sheet in a single layer. (If you don't have a big enough pan, follow the steps for a single layer, then repeat) Pour the syrup over the watermelon, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

When ready to serve, remove watermelon slices from fridge and place on a platter. Squeeze lime juice over each slice and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Melon Lime Popsicles

Super easy summer treat.

Sorry for the long hiatus. I have a good reason.

Well, it's not exactly good, but I do have a reason. You see I bought this melon at the farmer's market for a dinner party two weeks ago.

Melon with limes.

And I had no idea what kind of melon it is. But I felt duty-bound to figure out what kind it was before blogging.

I had gone to the market two weeks ago in search of a honeydew. CCO and I were hosting dinner club and it was horribly hot outside, so I had decided on popsicles for dessert. I found this recipe from the July 2004 Gourmet, which was very simple and easy. But at the market, there were no honeydews. Plenty of watermelons, tons of cantelope, but no honeydews. One of the farmer's told me this melon would work well as a substitute, so I bought two for popsicles but forgot to ask its name.

Well, I am happy to report back that it is, in fact, a canary melon. Don't be confused by the green streaks. It's not a christmas or a crenshaw. If you can't find a canary, you can sub a honeydew, since that was the original recipe anyway. The original recipe also calls for you to make a simple syrup to add to the melon/lime. But mine was sweet enough without it, so I stuck with straight fruit.

Eat Rating: Awesome
Difficulty: Very easy. Requires popsicle or lollipop sticks, popsicle molds or ice cube tray and food processor.

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, July 2004

1 medium-sized canary melon (or honeydew melon)
2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes worth)

Cut the melon in half and remove seeds. Cut off the rind and chop into chunks.

Place chunks in the food processor and pulse until the melon has liquified. Stir in lime juice. Pour mixture into popsicle mold or ice tray. If using ice trays, place immediately in freezer for about 1 hour. Remove from freezer and place sticks into each cube. Return to freezer and freeze for at least another 3 hours.

Serve within two days.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Carrot Cake

The cake only looks like its flying.

A carrot cake is a difficult thing. Invariably, half the people at any given party or dinner won't eat any because they hate carrot cake. And the other half is probably judging you. Or your cake anyway.

So I was a little nervous when one of my co-workers requested carrot cake for her birthday. I figured I'd just use my favorite recipe but then I remembered that involves a layer of strawberry jam in the middle with the frosting and sometimes purists react badly when you mess with dessert staples. (Just ask me about the pumpkin pie I brought to Thanksgiving one year.) So instead I used this one from Alton Brown. He's never led me astray. Even that one time he insisted I could not make an apple pie without buying an expensive bottle of apple whiskey.

My cake turned out a little bit on the dry side, probably because of the white whole wheat flour. If you want to use whole wheat, just sub out 1 cup and use the other 1.5 cups of all purpose.

Adapted from
Alton Brown, The Food Network


2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (LN: I subbed white whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup vegetable oil (LN: I used peanut oil, but canola would work as well)

1 8-oz. block of cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9-inch round cake pan.

Place the carrots in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl (or your food processor) mix the dry ingredients -- flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Add the flour mixture to the carrots and stir until combined.

In the bowl of the food processor, whiz the remaining ingredients until smooth. Add the wet mixture to the dry, then stir just until moistened. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, then reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Once cake is cool, combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and blend again. Gradually add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it is completely incorporated into the frosting.

Using a large, serrated knife, cut the cake into two layers. Place the bottom layer on a plate and spread half the frosting on top. Gently add the top layer and then frost with remaining cream cheese mixture. Garnish with walnuts, if desired.

Keep the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Allow the cake to sit for about 10-15 minutes out of the fridge before serving.