19 July 2008

Berries galore!



This week's CSA looked exactly like last week's CSA. Pound for pound, berry for berry. So instead of boring you with the same picture with a slightly different bowl combination, I thought I would give you something to actually make with berries.

The thing is, it really isn't so much about berries as it is about peaches, which also happen to be in season, along with plums! And there really isn't anyone I know who doesn't like good stone fruit. (Cf: my father, who goes crazy for Red Haven peaches, year after year. And also for Homer's peach ice cream.) This recipe is one I tweaked from Cooking for Mr. Latte, Amanda Hesser's charming recount about falling in love with someone who turned out to be food-challenged but willing to learn. It's great. And some of the recipes have become standbys in my house. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, this tart is just lovely, even though you wouldn't expect it to be anything much. But it tastes like summer, that's the important part. A summer where you don't mind turning on your oven even though you might die of heat stroke. So if you can bear to make it, oven and all, I strongly suggest that you do. You'll be glad you did.

Peach (& Berry!) Tart, adapted from Cooking for Mr. Latte

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt (or medium coarse sea salt)
1/3 + 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar (this will make sense in a minute I promise)
1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
5 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and thickly sliced (about 6 slices per peach)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup cherries, pitted and halved

1. Preheat the oven to 425. In an 8-inch pan (square or round, like a pie plate), stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon slat, and 1 teaspoon sugar. (Don't worry about sifting, that's what this step is for.) In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk and almond extract. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just enough to dampen; do not overwork it. Then use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up the sides to a height of about 3/4 inch. This will be easy if you pat firmly and confidently, but not if you curl your fingertips into the dough. It should be about 1/8 inch thick all around.
2. In a bowl, combine 1/3 + 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 tablespoon salt and butter. (If the fruit is especially juicy, add a little extra flour.) Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, with a miure of fine granules and tiny pebbles. (I personally think that the mixture will look more like, oats and crumbles, but, you know, whatever).
3. Arrange the peaches in tight rows over the pastry; they should fit more or less snugly. Scatter berries so they look pretty, and so they manage to go in the little peaks made by the peach slices. Sprinkle the butter mixture over the top (it will seem like a lot). Bake for 35-45 minutes, until shiny, thick bubbles begin enveloping the fruit and the crust is a nut brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

02 July 2008

CSA.2


Don't they look divine? These darlings would be the fruits (ha ha ha) of our second week of our CSA. When we went to pick them up, Jeff and I perused the vegetable options as well. I started to drool, and to dream of great plans for next summer. Seasonal vegetables, all summer long!

For the blueberries, Jeff and I have differing opinions; he plans to eat them with cornflakes, I want to make muffins. Hopefully there will be enough to do both. As for the cherries, well, I LOVE cherries. I will eat them any way, any how--fresh, dried, pie, juice, tart... However, there aren't enough to make pie, nor jam. Friends, what should I do with them? And do tell me before I gobble them up as they are...