Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

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As I’ve mentioned earlier, my sweet tooth has been taking over this summer. This cobbler took a couple of tries to get right, but the final version here showcases some of the best of summer’s fruit, and David and I have been noshing on it after dinner for several nights now.

DSC_0298-1smI usually try to incorporate some whole grains in the recipe, but I’ve discovered a few things to keep in mind with this recipe.

First, using a 50-50 combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour just didn’t work here. With the first cobbler I made, the fruit turned out splendidly, but both David and I felt that we were eating an overly savory biscuit mismatched with a not-quite-sweet-enough dessert. To fix this, I adjusted a few of the ingredients: I took out the whole wheat flour all together and went with all-purpose flour with just a smidgen of cornmeal (which helps with the sweetness). … 

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Roasted Corn and Tomato Lasagna

Summer Lasagna - Mostly Balanced

A few weeks ago, my friends and I met for dinner at one of Cambridge’s great new restaurants, Alden & Harlow. Their menu is based on small plates shared among the table. It was fabulous: we ordered corn fritters, chicken-fried rabbit, sweet corn gnocchi, and a kind of corn flapjack topped with fresh popcorn and sweet syrup. Given that we’re smack in the middle of August, it’s no surprise that the menu is full of fresh corn.

Tomatoes are the other late-summer signature ingredient, and this lasagna combines the best of quintessential summer flavors. It’s actually been rather chilly in Boston lately (barely above 70 degrees for a few days’ stretch), so I’ve been firing up my oven without needing to crank the air conditioning. … 

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Buttermilk Olive Loaf

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Shortly before leaving the North End, we discovered a little bakery that makes fantastic loaves of Italian bread. The North End is full of bakeries: Modern and Mike’s are the classics for pastries, there’s a 24-hour bakery that sells pizza at 2:00 a.m. after the bars close, and a spattering of smaller shops selling Italian classics throughout the neighborhood. Modern and Mike’s are huge tourist attractions with lines out the door most evenings, while some of the smaller ones seem to see so few customers you wonder how they stay in business.

This bakery, Bricco Panetteria, bucks some of the expectations of some of the other North End spots. No cannolis or pizelles here. Instead, they offer maybe a dozen different freshly baked Italian loaves. It’s a small shop with the storefront in an alley, and you descend down a flight of stairs to get to the display of bread. Behind a short counter and cash register lies the rest of the kitchen and prep space, in open view of customers. Two of our far-and-away favorites are the prosciutto & parmesan ciabatta and the olive loaf. … 

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Thai-Style Herb Salad with Grilled Chicken

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Years ago, as a young professional right out of college (and making not as much as I wanted at my first real job), my cooking repertoire for homemade dinners was kinda limited. One of the big reasons I was afraid to (slash couldn’t afford to) branch out into more recipes was because I hadn’t really learned to cook with herbs. I’d flip through cooking magazines, but recipes with long ingredient lists or lots of herbs deterred me. I hated using just a fraction of a bunch of herbs and letting the rest go to waste after several days in my fridge. Sometimes I’d use dried herbs, but more often than not, I’d just skip the recipe.

Hooray for expanding horizons as we grow up.

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Marinated Steak Tips

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This is my go-to steak marinade. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to put this up on the blog; I’ve been using this recipe for a quick and easy base for steak tips for at least five years, and it’s totally worth sharing.

Maybe the final push to post is the fact that David and I are now able to grill our steak tips outside (!) over a flame. For the past few years, I’ve been using a grill pan or even pan searing my steak tips, but it’s so exciting to be able to head outside on a warm summer night and fire up the grill. The good news is that the marinade works well with whichever cooking method you use.

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Buffalo Burgers with Smoked Gouda and Quick-Pickled Onions

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This is actually a pretty simple recipe for grilled burgers that is made special by all the small touches. First, using buffalo or bison meat (although more expensive than ground beef) provides a welcome variation from classic burgers. I incorporate finely diced browned onion directly into the uncooked ground meat to add a bit more flavor. Then come the toppings. I love using smoked gouda to turn these burgers into cheeseburgers. It’s another slight twist that gives the burgers character. And finally, the quick-pickled onions. With a side of grilled vegetables, these are beautiful.

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Quick-Pickled Onions

DSC_1093-1smI’ve been making these quick-pickled onions all summer to top off a variety of grilled meats. We’re trying rotating a variety of burgers, and I’ve found these pair best with salmon burgers (and a bit of tartar sauce instead of ketchup) and buffalo burgers.

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Breakfast Loaves (or Muffins)

DSC_1039-1smWe’re beginning to enjoy our first spring in Cambridgeport. The day David and I moved in, it was snowing. Now, we’re starting to see flowers come up and trees in bloom. It’s such a change from the North End, which, while charming, had a lot of brick and cement without a lot of green space. Now we have trees growing right outside our window!

DSC_1025-1smAlong with the early flowers of spring come stalks of rhubarb. I’ve been making these strawberry-rhubarb loaves for years. Rhubarb doesn’t have a long season, so it’s fun to make these when you can. They transition well, too, to a strawberry-only version later in the summer. This year, I decided to make them with cornmeal flour, but you can take this recipe any number of ways: as muffins or loaves, with whole wheat flour instead of cornmeal, with more or less rhubarb (depending on how tangy you like things).

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Sweet Potato and Pepper Enchiladas

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We’re in that sweet spot of spring when the weather starts to warm and people come out of hibernating and start to socialize, but we’re not yet to the point of jam-packed summer schedules without a free weekend in sight. Having just moved, David and I have been hosting a flurry of casual dinner parties and brunches. A couple of our friends will join us on a Friday evening after work, we’ll give them a tour of the new space, and then we’ll sit down to a long evening of conversation and wine.

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Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake

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My sister joined us for the weekend as our first house guest in the new apartment, and I made this coffee cake to celebrate. Things aren’t quite put together just yet in the kitchen, which this time meant we didn’t have any cinnamon on hand, so I substituted Chinese five spice instead. I’ve done that before with success, so no biggie, right? Except not so much. We’re sitting at the breakfast table over cake and coffee, and she says something tastes just a bit off with the flavor of the cinnamon. I say it’s not cinnamon at all, and she says “oh, that’s probably it then.” So for round two, I went out and bought ground cinnamon, and the coffee cake really is better for it.

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